Opinions from those that have gone all digital for gigging?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by ledvedder, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. ledvedder

    ledvedder Member

    Messages:
    507
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I'm considering going with a Helix/FRFR setup for gigging. I'm currently using an HX Effects in 4cm with my 5150iii and I absolutely love it. That's making me consider going with the full Helix or LT. I'm just wondering what everyone else who has gone this route, or at least tried it thinks about it.
     
  2. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,800
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Location:
    Benicia, CA
    It's doable - you probably know all the advantages/disadvantages.

    Were it me I'd tread carefully and not try to commit until you've experimented for a bit.

    Mostly I don't look at any of this stuff as either/or. I've got the Stomp/Floor/PC+ and my tube amps and can use them fairly interchangeably or in combination. I find hearing my guitar from a full range monitor relatively uninspiring compared to a guitar cab.

    Consider a used (or new) Stomp or Amplifirebox. That way you can see how you feel about using amp modeling. Personally I like having the amp modeling on my board if only for backup and flexibility. I use my Stomp for delay/verb/trem/chorus with my amp and enable amp modeling typically when I run direct or to add flexibility to my tube rig. And all those same ideas apply with the LT. There's really no wrong choice...

    As for the FRFR - you can test that idea out really easily with a regular PA monitor. FRFR is just marketing hype to sell stuff to sucker, er I mean guitar players. A good quality PA monitor should do the trick. If you like the result then you can see about getting something. I don't find it as satisfying but YMMV.

    BTW - you can test running direct by just adding an IR to your HX FX and use OD models and EQ. Yes, it's better to have full amp modeling but honestly you can get surprisingly great direct tones with no amp modeling at all. It's amazing how many classic recordings were done with no amps at all.
     
    JiveTurkey, Alex Kenivel and mikah912 like this.
  3. themightyjay

    themightyjay Member

    Messages:
    715
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2012
    Any particular reason you feel the need to go FRFR? If you’re struggling with sound levels etc it’s worth it but otherwise I’d stick with what you have if you love it already.

    I run a Kemper direct into FOH but always have an actual cab onstage too. That’s the best way IMO.
     
    Beagle1, JiveTurkey and aleclee like this.
  4. 65inside

    65inside Member

    Messages:
    137
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2019
    I just run a HX Stomp with a SupaTrem in front.
    We have click/backing tracks so I need IEMs and I prefer not having an amp on stage for this.
    If it wasn't for that, I'd be using a mic'ed amp.
     
  5. danel59

    danel59 Member

    Messages:
    886
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    London Ontario
    I run Kemper direct and have a feed to my monitor. Took a while to tweak tones and level but am pretty happy with the results. Due to back and leg issues it sure makes hauling gear a lot easier. I won’t sell my amps and use them at home sometimes but even there use my KPA a lot too.
     
  6. burningyen

    burningyen Member

    Messages:
    14,182
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    I’ve been gigging digital+FRFR for 10 years now. I love it, but some words of advice:
    • The dream of dialing in your patches at home through headphones or at bedroom volume and showing up ready to go at the gig? It’s not real. You have to program your gig patches at gig volume if you want your EQ, gain, compression and wet/dry mixes to sound right.
    • Invest in the best FRFR you can afford. The way the sound changes as you move your head around and the transient response can be noticeably different depending on what monitor you use. I recommend the Atomic CLR if you can get a hold of one.
    • Standard cab sims and IRs give you close-miked tones like what you hear on recordings, which is very different from what you hear when playing a traditional amp. If that difference bothers you, do a search for far-field IRs.
     
  7. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

    Messages:
    12,004
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    5868 ft above sea level
    So much this. Know what you want to accomplish with a gear change. That makes it much easier to balance the pros and cons as you make the decision.
     
    Cool Hand Luke likes this.
  8. Saxon68

    Saxon68 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    956
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2017
    I pretty much did that in steps. Had helix floor in 4CM with MIDI on my 5150III 50 watt head and either 1/12 or 4/12 depending on venue.

    I wanted a backup so got the EHX 44Magnum in case the head died and made a couple patches with modeling, using Soldano and plexi models.

    jammed with full band to test and it sounded so good I stopped using the head, after 5 months or so and as many gigs I got rid of the head.

    got a Headrush FRFR112 for home and again, sounded so good and much easier to transport than the 4x12 that I’ve been FRFR only ever since. Has better spread on stage live, and sound guys love it since it’s easier for them to control stage sound versus PA.
     
    tvegas99 and flimz like this.
  9. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Trumpets and Tants Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,980
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    What's driving your desire to go this route?
     
  10. XTC Blue

    XTC Blue Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,464
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2018
    @ledvedder Would love to check out a Chupacabra some day. What do you think of it? Just how insane is the gain?
     
  11. ledvedder

    ledvedder Member

    Messages:
    507
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey
    My biggest reason is ease of use and transportation. Plus, I love having all of the amp options.
     
  12. Rango

    Rango Member

    Messages:
    1,676
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    The FAR side of the middle of Nowhere
    I took a gig in an established band that asked me to use my Kemper. We recently transitioned to IEM and ditched the wedges. There's an adjustment period as a player but now... for live, I think this is the way to go.

    We spent hours sound checking and setting mixes and have those saved. Both Guitar players run Kemper, Bass Player is though an HX Stomp and the drums are Rolands. Our set up is VERY repeatable now. And there is less gear to haul. ;)

    Crappy daytime pic... but you can see Kemper Remotes. There's the HX Stomp to the right of the Bass Player, IEMs....
    [​IMG]
     
  13. ledvedder

    ledvedder Member

    Messages:
    507
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I love it! The gain isn't nearly as insane as the 5150iii. Plus it's a more Marshall type of gain, which is what I tend to prefer. Very VH.
     
    XTC Blue likes this.
  14. sertshark

    sertshark Member

    Messages:
    271
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2018
    Location:
    California
    I had trouble committing to going full digital. I have the Helix floor, and run it into the FOH, with a tube amp as a backline, just for stage volume (and rehearsal volume). I've played it into the FX return of a Marshall head and a Marshall combo, and to be honest I am just really, really tired of messing with tubes. To me, there is still nothing like playing through a tube amp, but I've gotten to where: a) I don't want to lug the extra weight in and out for a gig, and b) I'm tired of tube issues (either going out, wiggling loose, or being temperamental). Waiting on my ASC-10 to be delivered because, as much as I love a tube amp, I think I'm done with tubes. Don't know if this helps your post or not, but going digital was a tough decision for me because for a long, long time I was a tube amp/stomp pedal guy. In a sense, it was my guitar-identity, like any guitar player and their pedalboard/amp setup. I'm looking for doable sounds, but easier to deal with. Dialing in the presets takes a lot of work as you tweak and get all the levels right, and as someone posted, you have to finalize it at gig volume. Setting it up at home will seem right, and then with a full band playing you'll realize it isn't right.
     
  15. AuntieDiluvian

    AuntieDiluvian Member

    Messages:
    355
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    I've gone to a rig that starts with a tube head (Bogner or Marshall), then into a loadbox/cab sim (Torpedo Live) which feeds my XR12 submixer into standard PA-style powered wedges. Acoustic instruments and a vocal monitor feed also go to the XR12.

    After running this for about a year, I have zero intent to ever carry a standard cabinet again, and the groups I play with are happy with the results. My next step is likely to be replacing the head and loadbox with a Kemper Stage, but I'm still on the fence about that part of it. That's a lot of effort to get all of my sounds re-created, and the only real benefit I would expect would be less stuff to haul and lighter weight.
     
  16. dougb415

    dougb415 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,636
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Location:
    Urbana IL
    Back issues are my main reasons for going digital. Just can’t handle moving a lot of gear anymore. Still dialing it all in, but going from a big pedalboard and heavy combo amp to an Ampero and 2 mic cables is a big plus for me.
     
    darth_tar and Bob Pollock like this.
  17. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Member

    Messages:
    4,086
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    Location:
    Edgewood NM
    Until I can get a roadie I have to go all direct. Right now trying it with my GP-10 because I need acoustics, alt tunings, and organs also.
     
  18. Just Mike

    Just Mike Member

    Messages:
    276
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    Orlando FL
    I took the plunge at our last gig. It is different than having an amp onstage, but after about 3 songs, I adapted and I don't think I'm looking back. One thing though-I have a Sennheiser G4 IEM system with Shure SE425 earbuds, a pretty good setup, but for some reason, they don't have a lot of low end and the GT-100 doesn't sound that great thru them. I've actually been working with it today and I think it's because of the way they fit. I'm starting to believe that having professionally made ear molds is the way to go.
    We do use side fills on stage and the rig sounds good thru them, so I don't notice the bad sound of the IEMs while we're gigging. And our audience and the club owner where we played were very impressed with our sound. It helps to have a good soundman out front too!
    Our drummer plays acoustics, but he's behind a shield and I've got his overheads and some bass guitar in my ears. Also, I believe it helps to have side fills, not just for us on stage, but now that there's no bass or guitar amps on stage, it helps to fill in the dance floor area.
    By the way, we're a classic rock band and we've always played pretty loud, but with the ears and the fact that I can still feel the PA, it sounds loud to me.
     
    thawn5150, Bob Pollock and RLD like this.
  19. PBGas

    PBGas Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,972
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I finally made the switch to this back in early July. Since that point, I have sold both of my amp heads and cabs and pedalboards. I have a Kemper and an Axe III that I rotate through for various gigs. If I am using the Axe III, the Kemper is the backup and vice versa. Instant hookups through a punched Neutrik D panel at the front and go. I run these through a couple of Friedman 10" monitors and they both sound fabulous!

    My weight and setup time is greatly reduced and I have a very easy time getting a good FOH tone to run direct. What I love is the consistency of things. I know how it is going to sound each and every time. There are no surprises.

    Even at rehearsals now, I just go direct into the PA. I just prefer it at this point.
     
    AuntieDiluvian and RLD like this.
  20. 65inside

    65inside Member

    Messages:
    137
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2019
    The big plus for me is that I can be in my car on the way home 10 minutes after the end of the gig.
    Also, I can sometimes skip sound check because of my work and in 5 minutes I'm ready to do a line check and play the show.
     
    AuntieDiluvian and RLD like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice