Results from my search for a great clean modeler

strumminsix

Silver Supporting Member
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4,665
I was on the hunt for a great sounding clean modeler to add on my pedalboard. Goal here was amp only. Folks were very helpful and lots of good advice. Wanted to post up what I found. Bought a few units and here are my reviews:

Custom Tones Ethos - sounded ok. Could only get decent tones on one pickup. When i switched from neck to bridge or vice versa the sound was just off. Might be better for others after that D*** sound. I am more of a Fender guy.

Shift Line Twin MkII - nails the Twin sound! Including that weird midhump. Probably the perfect pedal for that Twin sound. Pedal friendly, but need to retweak settings. Nice that it's always on!! And nice guys to work with!

Two Notes Le Clean - a wonderful clean foundation. Most reactive to guitar volume. Integrates great with pedals. Imagine a Fender or Mesa preamp into a SS poweramp and JBL speakers. If that's your thing, this is your thing. It can be noisy if your mixer has lower quality preamps. Annoying. The 2 channels are interesting but the magic is the parallel mix.

Atomic Amplifire - am very impressed. Only using 2 patches: Twin and Deluxe Reverb. Both nail it. Reverb is good, not great, but glad it's there!! The Phaser is really good! Overdrive is lacking but I am spoiled by my Barber LTD SR which I think is the most perfect OD ever. Takes other pedals very well. Am now starting to experiment with my acoustic guitar too.

My choice: Putting the Le Clean on my board and using the Amplifire for rehearsals, grab and go or gig that requires tight setup, quick setup, etc.

thanks again for folks that helped me. I hope others find this helpful.
 

strumminsix

Silver Supporting Member
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4,665
Got a few messages so I'll add: my purpose is to play with band, run direct and recording. Quiet stages, IEM, etc.
 

awdwon

Member
Messages
150
Thanks for your input. I've been searching for a similar sound and just ordered an Ethos Clean (close contender was the Shift Line). I may end up giving the Amplifirebox a go when it eventually lands.
 

strumminsix

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,665
Update: after listening to rehearsal recordings with new band I decided to sell the AF3 and the Shift Line Twin is now on the board. Very consistent great BF tone. It was a very tight competition between it and the Le Clean. Size was a factor as I'm running a PT Jr board. But even comparing the 2 I think the Twin Mk 2 nails a BF tone that sits better with this group. In other outfits where I need a bit more chime and clarity I'll def use the Le Clean.
 

deejayen

Member
Messages
771
That's helpful, Strumminsix. I'm trying to sort out my options for recording direct. I normally play through a Deluxe Reverb. I'm considering the Ethos Clean II and the Shift Line amongst others (I'm even thinking about a Digitech GSP1101 of all things!) A lot of people like the Ethos, and some clips sound good. However, the Twin might be preferable. I'm playing clean old-style country, and some Chet Atkins type of melodic stuff. As I say, it's only for recording. I have an external valve tape delay and spring reverb.
 

strumminsix

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,665
Glad to help! Clean isn't the thing so I figured journal my journey!

I couldn't bond with the ethos, sadly. Ymmv. Shift Line is great and support with tips and tricks is super helpful.

Honestly, the fly rig is impressive too. Tasty cleans. But similar to a Le clean... Nice but non descript. I like the BF clean tones.
 

deejayen

Member
Messages
771
Yes, it's a tricky business! I'm in the UK, and buying something like an Ethos or even the Shift Line takes a bit of commitment - especially since the exchange rate is poor at present!

The Shift Line is appealing in a number of ways, but there aren't many demos of it, and the ones I've heard seem thin, and not really amp-like. However, your experience seems to be the opposite.

The FlyRig or Blonde would be the easiest to buy, but a number of people have said the Ethos is a big improvement over the Tech21 stuff!

The other thing I'm looking at is the Roger Mayer Amp+ 57, but that's a complete unknown at the minute. I might be able to buy one on trial, but it looks like it could be a few weeks before the dealer is able to get one.
 

strumminsix

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,665
Shift line ships from Russia so you may be better off than you know :)

Natively the SL Twin isn't as fat as many Twin demos are. But in reality, many Twin demos would sit horribly in a mix while the SL sits nicely. Just my $.02.

Ethos > Tech21??? Depends. If you're looking for that exact sound, sure. But I find the T21 to be much easier to dial in, sits in a mix better and not as finicky. With my #1 guitar, I could either get Ethos to sound good with my neck or my bridge. Going back and forth was not enjoyable. The rest that I mention didn't have that problem.

Roger Mayer stuff looks interesting. No cab modelling though?!
 

deejayen

Member
Messages
771
Thanks very much, Strumminsix - it's really helpful to hear your experiences.

I've recently bought (but not yet received) an analogue cab simulator, so I could use that with a Roger Mayer Amp+, or as an alternative sim with one of the other units.

What you say about sounds sitting in a mix makes sense. However, it's probably going to be a while before I'm recording anything too complex!

This is one recording I made when just messing around trying to work out what was going on!



Ignore the playing, but I'd be interested to know what you think of the tones. I suspect it's a bit too warm/woolly. However, do you think the Shift Line Twin or any of the other direct recording units is going to sound similar (but better)? A lot of demo recordings on YouTube seem to have some sort of 'plinkiness' or 'grit' to them, and I'm not sure what causes it.
 




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