The feel of modeling gear (vs amp or other modeling)

mbenigni

Member
Messages
10,892
Hello. The point of this thread initially was to discuss the feel with fellow guitar players who 1)notice it and 2)get over it.

Yesterday's update to the thread was meant as closure. A footnote.

About singing live: This year marks my 20th as a gigging musician. (not that I gigged much at all 20 years ago, but that's when I started)
Whenever I hear some type of phasing while singing through floor monitors, it is coming from a digital board. Now, I might not hear it everytime I work with digital boards, but when I hear it, that's what's being used.
Hope I don't come across as smug or dry, just trying to be matter of fact.

Not at all. I don't question your bona fides as a musician (and to be clear: I don't share them.) My points are simply:

- "Feel" is hopelessly non-specific.
- Latency is real (probably as much closure as this topic will see), very small, unavoidable with DSP, and also incurred by a number of other factors (distance from speakers, etc.)
- Every guitar rig, every PA, every room, is different. So the leading question of "modeler" vs. "not modeler" is also fraught - each of these being hopelessly non-specific.

P.S. For the record, I have often "noticed it" and have since "gotten over it". Once you've gotten over it, it can be very difficult to say whether the problem is gone or whether you've adapted. The technologies keep improving, and you always try to play your best with the gear that meets your needs, and at some point you meet in the middle.
 
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gregrjones

Member
Messages
356
I'd like to see blind tests for feel comparing the following:

High end modeler
vs.
Mic'd amp isolated in another room

Both routed through the same reference monitors.

If THEN you can feel a difference, then we can talk.

With that said, my Fractal is as dynamic as I'd ever want a tube amp to be. How does it feel? Fine. If I'm missing something, I don't know what it is. I've played/owned plenty of tube amps but usually experienced as 'amp in the room'. The times I did run them in mic'd isolation, I can't recall exactly how that felt to care.
 

JulienVD

Member
Messages
124
I'd like to see blind tests for feel comparing the following:

High end modeler
vs.
Mic'd amp isolated in another room

Both routed through the same reference monitors.

If THEN you can feel a difference, then we can talk.

With that said, my Fractal is as dynamic as I'd ever want a tube amp to be. How does it feel? Fine. If I'm missing something, I don't know what it is. I've played/owned plenty of tube amps but usually experienced as 'amp in the room'. The times I did run them in mic'd isolation, I can't recall exactly how that felt to care.

Yep. Likely I couldn't. Amp mic'd in other room is very different than amp in the room, that's for sure. Then you have all the other gear between the amp and my ears to test. Another spiral.
 

mbenigni

Member
Messages
10,892
Another spiral.

This. We're in "the quality of the answer reflects the quality of the question" territory here.

Need to be specific, compare apples to apples, and acknowledge that there are a million varieties of apples. All of which are supposed to taste a little different.
 
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MikeyG

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,314
The first time I can recall getting a modeler to feel right was the Axe Standard in 2007. We've now progressed to 2019, where almost all modelers regardless of cost, approximate the feel and response of a tube amp.

Does it feel 100% the same? I've not A/B'd the 2, and don't really feel a need... The Axe feels good to play it does an excellent job of mimicing even the most desirable amps like Dumbles and Wrecks. Particularly if you compare them at the same DB level and the same effects chain.

And not only that, you get:

  • Unlimited 'cabs' to tailor your tone
  • The ability to take your favorite amp and make it better: adjust tube types, sag, speaker/cab behavior, on and on. With the Axe at least, you can build a custom amp!
  • Ability to get cranked sound at much lower SPLs
  • Run multiple amps
  • Multiple effects settings per patch
That's just scratching the surface...

If all you've ever used is a Fender amp and pedals, there's probably no need to go to modeling (except may be to save your back). But it wouldn't be because the feel is inferior...
 

frthib

Member
Messages
1,572
For me, the "feel" thing is related to latency and room reflection.. Any amp I play, real, analog or digital, that went through a very short impulse (often they have no room information) (mic'ed very close to the cab grill) automatically feels "fake". I feel like I'm playing through a analog cab sim who consists of low pass filters

I recently discovered that while playing with torpedo wall of sound.. you can pull away the virtual mic. When it's used with a ribbon mic the tone "feel" a lot better. It's even better if you add a touch of "ribbon on the -back- of the cab"
 

MikeyG

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,314
I agree with the OP. Coming recently from tube amps, there is a difference in feel and immediacy. I have heard other experienced players make the same comment. This is a valid comment IMO.

This could definitely be true.

One minor frustration I've had with modelers (Particularly the highly tweakable ones like the Helix and Axe) is that they are so deep it can be difficult sometimes to get all settings working in perfect harmony.

I'd love to have a NAMM get together where we attempt to replicate, as much as possible, a great tube tone from the modeled version. This would be alot of fun
 

Guitardave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,951
Everything you plug into changes the feel. That much is true. I was trying to define what is inherent in modelers. My instincts are that some differences can be isolated and attributed to the use of modeling. The difference I have experienced are in touch sensitivity, articulation and, for lack of a better word, "feel". I also know that I am a bit more sensitive to micro-lag than most people around me. If that is what is going on, if this is what I notice, then it is very much an attribute of A/D-D/A conversion and processing. It should not be related to gain structure, e.q. profile, etc.

I get the concept...and am keenly sensitive to it as well.

I've solved it with my own Helix rig to the point where I don't feel anything is lacking switching back and forth with my analog boards and tube amp. But I agree that they don't really respond the same way and for me there is a bit of a disconnect on the explanations. And everyone jumps on the "my modeler is better arguments but all I can say is it's such a subjective evaluation that's pointless to really argue.

I have just been going thru this very sort of comparison with a Kemper and Helix. I like a lot about the Kemper platform - but for whatever reasons I find the Helix is more "immediate" and more "real" to what using my amps sound like. I don't expect others to perceive it the same way but I know I'm clearly experiencing it. So we are all using the same language - but often can't reconcile others experiences on how things feel and sound.

And ready for the drum roll....the single most effective thing I've found with all gear is being willing to simply adjust my guitar controls a bit and LET IT GO. Let my ears and playing adapt a bit to what a rig is giving me at that moment. But again...we are only talking about shades of grey when it's already sounding and feeling really good to me. If it's too far off from my baseline for tone and feel then it's not happening and I need to use something else or figure out a fix.

But once I get to that quality level in tone and feel if I simply stop "comparing" things I've found I can enjoy myself. Same comparison applies when I am using my tube amps and pedals. And overall I still find it easier and more consistent to use the old school gear in many situations. The digital stuff is great...but it's far less forgiving about how you set it up. If anything that is what I notice about using modelers - there are so many ways to take it from sounding amazing to sounding mediocre that it's frustrating. The traditional gear has more tolerance for stuff while still sounding good. It's kind of like old Boogie amps in that regard - get them right and it's awesome...but you really need to know what you are doing to fix things if it's sounding off.

Bottom line is it always comes down to the same thing - am I feeling something is missing/wrong about what I'm hearing as I'm playing. Use whatever gear works for each of us in that regard.
 

MikeyG

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,314
For me, the "feel" thing is related to latency and room reflection.. Any amp I play, real, analog or digital, that went through a very short impulse (often they have no room information) (mic'ed very close to the cab grill) automatically feels "fake". I feel like I'm playing through a analog cab sim who consists of low pass filters

I recently discovered that while playing with torpedo wall of sound.. you can pull away the virtual mic. When it's used with a ribbon mic the tone "feel" a lot better. It's even better if you add a touch of "ribbon on the -back- of the cab"

You can pull back the mic distance on the Axe and Helix.
 

Moe45673

Member
Messages
6,368
I get the concept...and am keenly sensitive to it as well.

I've solved it with my own Helix rig to the point where I don't feel anything is lacking switching back and forth with my analog boards and tube amp. But I agree that they don't really respond the same way and for me there is a bit of a disconnect on the explanations. And everyone jumps on the "my modeler is better arguments but all I can say is it's such a subjective evaluation that's pointless to really argue.

I totally agree. Objectively, my Zoom G5n is better; I have no idea what everyone else is smoking.
 

FractalMB

Member
Messages
164
The first time I can recall getting a modeler to feel right was the Axe Standard in 2007. We've now progressed to 2019, where almost all modelers regardless of cost, approximate the feel and response of a tube amp.

Does it feel 100% the same? I've not A/B'd the 2, and don't really feel a need... The Axe feels good to play it does an excellent job of mimicing even the most desirable amps like Dumbles and Wrecks. Particularly if you compare them at the same DB level and the same effects chain.

And not only that, you get:

  • Unlimited 'cabs' to tailor your tone
  • The ability to take your favorite amp and make it better: adjust tube types, sag, speaker/cab behavior, on and on. With the Axe at least, you can build a custom amp!
  • Ability to get cranked sound at much lower SPLs
  • Run multiple amps
  • Multiple effects settings per patch
That's just scratching the surface...

If all you've ever used is a Fender amp and pedals, there's probably no need to go to modeling (except may be to save your back). But it wouldn't be because the feel is inferior...

This!! 100% agree! I've owned a lot of different tube amps and yeah they sound amazing in a room when you can crank them, but I live in an apartment and my neighbors suck. I don't miss them, I've got everything I need in my Axe-Fx III and AX8(which I travel with). Plus I can record in near silence without disturbing my girl or neighbors, my favorite gear invention in this century hands down!
 

fretworn

Member
Messages
2,092
EDITED for correctness:

Latency on an AxeFx III is akin to standing 15” from your cab. Does that really screw with your ability to “connect” with your instrument?

Recent firmware updates have greatly improve cabinet handling with moving/aligning IR waveforms, “room” amount and sizes, microphone proximitity, mixing 4 IRS in real-time and the recent addition of floor reflections. No limits.
 
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JulienVD

Member
Messages
124
Latency on an AxeFx III is akin to standing 10’ from your cab. Does that really screw with your ability to “connect” with your instrument?

Recent firmware updates have greatly improve cabinet handling with moving/aligning IR waveforms, “room” amount and sizes, microphone proximitity, mixing 4 IRS in real-time and the recent addition of floor reflections. No limits.

Just reread your comment. Actually, 10 feet is pretty long! I've walked around on stages big and small and 10 feet from your amp is not the sweet spot if you really want a certain type of connection. I'm eyeballing my amp right now and I'd say it's a good enough distance to feel things differently. Of course, there's always room reflections in the real world, whereas we're only talking about latency, here. Yeah. Apples to cucumbers, I guess.
 

randall d

Member
Messages
266
Plus you have to add the distance of the speaker you are hearing the Axe through to that 10'. So if you are 5 feet from your monitor and add that 10 feet, you are now talking about 15 feet. Of course IEM's would not add anything.
 

alex mansman

Member
Messages
849
Honestly where "feel" is concerned, I'm blown away by the "feel" I get from playing a 100 watt plexi amp model with the Hi volume cranked 100% and the mids cranked 100% through my Headrush pedalboard. My lead sound adds a TS9 in the front and a graphic EQ after the amp model and it'll blow your mind. No problems being heard with those settings lol

In full disclosure: I dont play through an FRFR with IRs and what not, i use a Quilter tone block 200 straight through the front (has no FX loop) and a Carvin 2x12 with some V30 knockoffs in it.

I know that the feel i get from playing a plexi like this is something I'll never get to do with a real plexi so this will have to do and I
 

Fractal Audio

Member
Messages
1,282
Latency on an AxeFx III is akin to standing 10’ from your cab. Does that really screw with your ability to “connect” with your instrument?

Recent firmware updates have greatly improve cabinet handling with moving/aligning IR waveforms, “room” amount and sizes, microphone proximitity, mixing 4 IRS in real-time and the recent addition of floor reflections. No limits.
No, it's the equivalent of 15 inches. Most modeling products have latencies in the range of 1-2 ms which is roughly equivalent to 1-2 feet away from the speaker. Our products have less latency than most, if not all, competing products as that was a design goal from day one.
 

fretworn

Member
Messages
2,092
No, it's the equivalent of 15 inches. Most modeling products have latencies in the range of 1-2 ms which is roughly equivalent to 1-2 feet away from the speaker. Our products have less latency than most, if not all, competing products as that was a design goal from day one.

Apologies for the misinformation Cliff. Edited my post to correct this value. Thanks for chiming in!
 

fretworn

Member
Messages
2,092
Just reread your comment. Actually, 10 feet is pretty long! I've walked around on stages big and small and 10 feet from your amp is not the sweet spot if you really want a certain type of connection. I'm eyeballing my amp right now and I'd say it's a good enough distance to feel things differently. Of course, there's always room reflections in the real world, whereas we're only talking about latency, here. Yeah. Apples to cucumbers, I guess.


Sorry; I had bad data. Fractal says it’s 15” at most.
 




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