Thinking of a modeling/profiling rig....Who does the best AC30 (or Dr. Z, Matchless, ect...)

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by tele_jas, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. porcytree

    porcytree Member

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    Yup...….the AC30 is my favourite amp and yet has always been the model that disappointed most in pretty much all the modellers I have owned.

    But the GT1000 does them pretty well ( very well in fact ).
    The Diamond Amp, Matchless models are both great variations on the Vox tone but I have also been able to dial in some very "Voxy" tones using both the Boutique & X-Crunch models too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
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  2. RockDebris

    RockDebris Member

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    +1. In that video, the best sounding one had to be the real amp and the worst sounding one had to be the Helix. He was dogging out the Helix at every opportunity before he knew which was which and was singing the praises of the sound he liked the most (which he thought had to be the real amp or maybe the Kemper). I thought his bias was really telling later when he discovered the Helix was the one he liked the most, he then said, "It sounds pretty good". No more praise, just luke-warm, "It's alright", then a shift into talking about the real problem having been the amount of time it took to dial in .....

    My AC-30 tone from the HX Stomp was the easiest to do, add the block and was practically done. Spent maybe 15-20 minutes just being nit-picky, but after that 20 minutes, I had exactly what I wanted and haven't changed it since. Some of the other amp blocks took more effort, so I can appreciate his comment there, but nothing that was such a burden that I would write off the unit.
     
  3. RockDebris

    RockDebris Member

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    I thought that too, but I think it was the fault of shoddy mixing on the direct signal. The reason I think that is because there were a couple times, very rare, in that video when the room mic they were using to capture the dialog, which was normally muted or turned way down during playing, was brought up because what they were saying overlapped someone playing the guitar. When the room mic came up, just for that instant, you could hear that the guitars probably sounded A LOT better in the room.

    So the only value I found from the video was their reactions to stuff, not the actual guitar tones. Those sounded GAWD AWFUL, every single one.
     
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  4. metropolis_4

    metropolis_4 Member

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    I think the 2 hours was spent dialing it in to sound bad.

    That way he could make it a negative video about how these digital devices take too much tweaking to get a good sound, and they don't sound as good as tube amps, because he knows that kind of video will get a lot more hits on youTube than a positive one honestly showing the differences.

    It's all about making good clickbait to increase your social media numbers.
     
  5. MLaVache

    MLaVache Member

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    You might try the Fender Mustang GT amps. The "60's British" is the only Vox model that's ever made me think, "Whoa, I sound like Brian May!"
     
  6. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Supporting Member

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    I skimmed the video. I am a pretty mellow person, but all 3 of those brosephs are pretty punchable. The reference tone that they were going for is harsh and buzzy.
     
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  7. ltkojak

    ltkojak Member

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    Believe it or not, the Behringer V-Amp 3 does excellent AC-30 (Brit Class A), Matchless Chieftain (Class A Norm), not to mention a truly remarkable AC-15 (British Class A 15W) as well.

    The secret for excellence: Ownhammer 2x12" Alnico Silver IRs. All you need is an external IR loader and you'll be sounding getting that iconic "Beatles-y" Jangly tone and/or that angry Brian May tone that made history.

    As it's been discontinued, you can get it second-hand for half a Franklin or even less.
     
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  8. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

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    I never futzed with the Vox stuff when I had my Firebox.


    LT is an incredibly well thought out piece of foot control/switching solution. The Stomp is way more limited by the three switches but it integrates easier into an existing board/rig...it's more of a swiss army knife to use any way that makes sense.

    My experience has been each modeler has different things that I think sound "better". More important is that they all sound good. Helix is still the new kid - listen to some clips and see what you think. I'm not a Vox guy in real life but I think the Helix Fawn AC30 sounds excellent.

    When I got the Floor back in 2015 I recorded some initial tests of a few amp models (Fender/Vox/Marshall/Dr Z). No real tweaking just running thru stock preset and seeing what sounded good.

    @tele_jas - here's a clip of the Vox AC30 Fawn - scroll around as there's a range of tones as I futz around with the settings. And this was original firmware with stock cabs...no tweaking of anything. The Helix has improved since then by most accounts.

     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
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  9. themightyjay

    themightyjay Member

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    That’s settled it then, even an AC30 can’t get decent AC30 tones apparently.
     
  10. Godspeed64

    Godspeed64 Member

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    Specifically a Vox AC sound, my limited experience is that the Helix, Axe, and Kemper (based on profiles my friend had) are okay, but won't grant me the same happiness and THIS IS IT moment as plugging into my HW. However for AC-ish sounds, the DC30 on Helix is great, the Morgan AC20 on Axe and a free Morgan AC20 profile on Kemper are all solid options. I can't pick one over the other based on tonality. Both Bias and Amplitube were only okay.

    In this quest too I have played the Tech 21 Liverpool, and AMT V1. To get things straight, anything using older cab modelling technology will sound noticeably worse than IR technology IME. The V1 is a solid sounding preamp, have not tried with IRs but the speaker cab is not enough for me. The Menatone TBIAC is also almost there, and I haven't tried direct.

    A surprise inclusion is the Tonelab Desktop. This is the brain of the fabled blue valvetronix amps and the ac30 sounds great. The cab simulation sounds dated however. But both the AMT and Tonelab Desktop through an amp's fx return have yielded solid results for me.

    So in summary:
    IR is key.
    If purely Vox AC30 sounds, the top tiers have not done it for me but I would pick Kemper purely on the belief that there must be a profile out there for me.
    If AC30-ish sounds, the HX Stomp is a value proposition that is tough to beat.
    On a budget, I would try the Tonelab Desktop and get some IR loading device to up the ante.

    Disclaimer: I am a Normal channel advocate and finding that tone is elusive as heck.
     
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  11. josetxu

    josetxu Member

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    From what pack?
     
  12. ltkojak

    ltkojak Member

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  13. josetxu

    josetxu Member

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  14. John Mark Painter

    John Mark Painter Silver Supporting Member

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  15. tele_jas

    tele_jas Member

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    Thanks for all the replies guys!

    Love the Helix clips the best, so far from @Guitardave ....and the speaker cab technology explanation, from @Godspeed64 was a big help in understanding why newer technology sounds better and more realistic through a PA or into a DAW.

    I seen a couple recommendations for a Katana, but not really looking for an amp... Really only looking for a pedal/mini-head I can take to gigs and plug into a PA and maybe monitor through the stage monitors or an actual amp.

    If I go the modeling route, I'll probably still use tube amps most of the time at the gigs....But this will be for those quick setup gigs, or the ones where you can't have any real stage volume (like a casino). Would probably still rely on my pedals, for the most part, live.....So, a good base - AC30 tone would get me where I need to be. If it had channel switching, or a stomp-box mode, that would be useful in the future. I just find that most modelers either have one or the other; a good clean, or good drive.

    We'll see.......I'm thinking about selling some gear off to get a GOOD modeler, but it's so hard thinking about selling a tube amp that holds it's value (pretty well) for a piece of technology that will be updated in a year or two, and be worth 1/5 of what I paid for it in 6-8 years when the updated models come out. Ugggg.....The decisions we have to make!
     
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  16. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

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    Glad you liked the clip. That was seriously the first time I had used the Helix amp stuff. I was just trying some presets to see how they recorded.

    Since this posted the Fractal FM3 was announced so add that to the possibilities. But odds are you'll be waiting a long while.

    Personally I'd still recommend you start with the Helix Stomp. You can pick one up for around $500 on sale and it'll do exactly what you described on every level. The bigger units are harder to integrate with other pedals without it become a really big pedalboard. The Stomp is amazingly powerful for it's size. I sold off my Helix Floor and kept the Stomp.

    Overall - I've found the modeling tech has reached the point where I'm quite content to use it. But for simplicity sake I still still gig with small combo amps or backline setups. It's simpler because most of my gigs are small clubs with moderate volumes where my amp carries the room. Personally I think the hybrid rigs are the way to go...you can use the modelers to do nearly anything you can dream up. Love using the digital preamps with an amp with an effects return. Opens up a huge range of tonal options and it's simple. You can easily switch from a Fender to a Vox and a Marshall voicing - albeit thru the same power amp/speaker section but it's surprisingly versatile.

    Post some feedback on how it all works out.
     
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