Tube Amp or Modeler - For Home

Russ73

Member
Messages
1,175
OP I have a few tube amps I dig but for NY Apt living im simply running pedals into a Quilter mini head into my 2x12 and it sounds awesome, I get great cleans with some verb and I can run my ts9 to my 5153 pedals for tones and its been alot of fun experimenting with different pedals for tones including delays etc....I recently posted a thread about an all in one pedal and there some great inexpensive suggestions on there////good luck and let us know what you decide..
 

High/Deaf

Member
Messages
673
Ok got it,. Tubes. The decision is solely based upon folks out there telling me that a tube amp sounds better than a Kemper. At some point though a modeling amp will sound as good as a tube. Its interesting how passionate folks are about tubes. But isn't music about passion? Thanks all.
Considering you already have some nice tube amps, I wonder how much more you'll be getting with another tube amp?

I'll swim against the stream here and suggest that a modeler/profiler may be your most logical 'next' step. Or maybe not. I really depends on you and what you want to do, where you want to go.

I gig with a Kemper, I practice with it, I jam with it and I record with it. I also do most of those things with tube amps. Vive la difference. It may be inevitable that you end up with digital gear somewhere down the road. It isn't easy, the learning curve is a real thing. But with some time and patience, modelers/profilers may open up a whole new world that another tube voice may not.

There is no wrong answer here. Gear is good. As was said, if you asked this question on the modeler subforum, the answers would be quite different. Don't worry what other people would do, do what you want. There's some great gear out there on both sides of 'the fence'- enjoy it!
 
Messages
396
OP, my advice would be not to go all-in just yet with the most expensive modeler imaginable, but try it out first with something much more affordable, leaving yourself plenty of funds for that nice tube amp. Doesn't have to be one or the other.

A Two Notes Torpedo CAB-M+ costs $300 and gives you a modeled Fender Bassman pedal platform amp which is second to none tone-wise. For the same price an Atomic Amplifirebox gives you a selection of a few more modeled amps which sound excellent. For $400 there's the Strymon Iridium. For $500-$600 a Line 6 HX Stomp will give you the full gamut of every classic amp you'd realistically ever think of wanting to play... plus a ton of great effects.

To offer a perspective in contrast to what many others have said on this thread... in live settings, I have consistently found the sound quality of our modelers (Helix, Kemper, CAB-M+) to be as good as or better than tube amps running to mic-ed up cabs offstage... a few of the sound techs are much more adamant than I am that the modelers we use actually sound better.

I personally still prefer tube amps and analog pedals at home day-to-day, but not because of sound quality - because of workflow and simplicity and the "amp in a room" sound compared to an "amp mic-ed and recorded" sound... which is just different, not better or worse.

The TGP joke answer is always "get both!" but in this case I really mean it.
 
Messages
396
Ok got it,. Tubes. The decision is solely based upon folks out there telling me that a tube amp sounds better than a Kemper. At some point though a modeling amp will sound as good as a tube. Its interesting how passionate folks are about tubes. But isn't music about passion? Thanks all.
We're reliving the same experience we had with digital photography roughly 15 years ago. It was finally reaching a level of equivalence with film, and some serious professionals were starting to embrace it, but there were a majority of old-school purists who just refused to believe it could ever be as good as film. And look where we are today.

Give it a bit more time, and everyone on this thread will be failing blind audio comparisons. ;)

And I speak as a forever-fan of real tube amps who will never give up my tubes!
 

Pongo

Member
Messages
1,111
Any tonal reason to go with a tube amp?
Yeah, they have an indescribable different feel and unpredictability that affects how I play, which in turn affects the end tone. The "It's just more satisfying" argument holds water for me.

That said, as far as pure sound quality goes, I would not be willing to bet $100 that I could tell the difference between a recording of my '65 DRRI and its closest model 10 out of 10 times. Further, if you're exclusively playing at home, you're adding a ton of versatility and subtracting a lot of cost and headache going the modeler route. So you really have to ask yourself if that extra "satisfaction" is worth the additional hundreds (thousands?) of dollars of a boutique tube amp.

PS. this might get me dragged away to a reeducation camp in Petaluma, but as much as I love my tube amps, when it comes down to it, I'm perfectly happy playing through the amps that came loaded with my iMac, and have used them for throwing together quick recording without complaint multiple times. I think the bottom line is, if you just really like playing and are crafty -- but not overly fussy -- about shaping your sound, you'll get something worth listening to regardless what you use.
 

Adelbatross

Member
Messages
304
Do you have a big pedal collection and want to use them? If so, it’s been my experience that analog effects work best with tube amps, so if you’re going the modeling route it’s probably best to go all the way, meaning your pedalboard might start collecting dust. More and more pros are going the modeling route for live use and every year that tech gets a bit better.

What I’ve really liked is my Captor X which allows me to combine old and new tech. I can use tube amps and my pedalboard while being able to use IRs and other options for recording or just silent playing at home. I enjoy tube amps, they’re my jam, so I’ve just stuck with them. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a purist or anything, it’s just what I like so I’m sticking with that. YMMV
 

Ejay

Member
Messages
5,516
Your posting in the amp section....that determines what advice your gonna get.

Im a very happy kemper user. It does not feel as a compromise whatsover for recording, or used live through a (tube) powersection into a cab. (Which id recommend with any modeler) Having had all but fractal on my desk....little doubt that kemper is the best choice in modeling. (or maybe fractal...idnk...sounds good on YT ;))

However, If your only aim is a good sound at home with diversity of amps id go for a Boss GT core 1000 into the return of a half decent tube combo. Thats the best way to amp a modeler if your not into recording the sounds of different mics/mic techniques. The GT sounds great in this application, some amp models have a little “something” that adds to feel on low volumes, which I have not experienced in the analog domain. Doing a/b tests in 4 Cm with various amps, switching between modeled amps and analog of the amp, I did not experience any quality or feel difference other then the result of selecting different amps. At least it allows you to benchmark against “real” for the situations where you wonder if it really sounds “as good”...I guess all digital users (should) have these moments.

This setup sounds/feels uncompromised to full analog, yet allows me to use different amps, effects, and gives me control to get the sound where I want it. Tube powersection is what takes away classic objections against modeling. I gig it using the return of 2 small tube combos...stereo setup from a tube “1 walk from the car” rig...what’s not to like ;)
 

Ejay

Member
Messages
5,516
Ok got it,. Tubes. The decision is solely based upon folks out there telling me that a tube amp sounds better than a Kemper. At some point though a modeling amp will sound as good as a tube. Its interesting how passionate folks are about tubes. But isn't music about passion? Thanks all.
In every single blind comparison between modeld and real....the TGP community was NOT able to tell what is what....and yet there is strong opinion on what is best, and you are about to follow that.
All of those tests where invalid cause of their methods? The players in blind tests fools or actors?

post the same question in the digital section to balance the responses to the point where there’s no other option then to try for yourself;)
 

SD-David

Member
Messages
81
I think we all agree that if you know what you are doing it is possible to get the latest AxeFX or Kemper sound pretty much indistinguishable from a tube amp, be it recorded or through a (preferably tube) power amp for live playing. However, the feel is off for many players, which in turn affects everything again. When I went down the AxeFX rabbit hole I loved the sounds I could get, but gradually I lost all of the enthusiasm for letting it rip. I did not even realize it until I got myself a 100 watter again, which was a drunk night decision on a very limited edition Engl amp. From that point on the Axe gathered dust, I had to re-learn my timing which had been afffected by coping with lag, and it was blissful again. My amps were liberated from storage, I discovered TGP which of course led to the purchase of many high-profile amps (Two-Rock, Friedman, Bogner,....) and I’m not looking back. BUT: I can play loud at home, and I don’t record much. Nevertheless I’d take the inconvenience of dealing with unnerved neighbours, miking cabs, mic pre’s + AD interfaces any time over a digital solution because I just have more fun and inspiration .
I appreciate the reply. I get it. Your reply gave me what I was looking for. Glad you found your way back. I was wrong that it wad all about the tone. It really is all about the joy of playing.
 

SD-David

Member
Messages
81
I think for $2500 you could swing a decent tube amp, an amp/cab modeler, and some other decent FX pedals. If you want to run the modeler into the amp you'll want an amp with FX loop and preferably also the capability of swapping different power tube types with minimal fuss. Plug the modeler straight into the power section (FX loop return) and swap tubes to taste. Might want to disable the cab modeling if you're more of a purist, but there are some interesting and sometimes stunning results you can achieve by mixing and matching these things.

Just my two cents. Time to go practice.
Thanks. I do have a question. I bought an Iridiium and ran it through the return on my PRS. Lots of noise. Spoke to Strymom and they suggested chat that often occurs to the "noise floor". so a bit worried about running a modeler through the loop. Thoughts?
 

SD-David

Member
Messages
81
Considering you already have some nice tube amps, I wonder how much more you'll be getting with another tube amp?

I'll swim against the stream here and suggest that a modeler/profiler may be your most logical 'next' step. Or maybe not. I really depends on you and what you want to do, where you want to go.

I gig with a Kemper, I practice with it, I jam with it and I record with it. I also do most of those things with tube amps. Vive la difference. It may be inevitable that you end up with digital gear somewhere down the road. It isn't easy, the learning curve is a real thing. But with some time and patience, modelers/profilers may open up a whole new world that another tube voice may not.

There is no wrong answer here. Gear is good. As was said, if you asked this question on the modeler subforum, the answers would be quite different. Don't worry what other people would do, do what you want. There's some great gear out there on both sides of 'the fence'- enjoy it!
Thanks. I know a am a bit of a glutton for getting another amp. But two reasons. First is Covid. Been following the rules so going a bit nuts and need an outlet. Second for many years raising kids et al I was on a strict budget. Now the kids are out and I can buy toys. So better by a new amp is like Christmas when I was a kid.
 

FOTM704

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
529
For me, I’m currently venturing down the amp modeling path. I don’t gig, and I like the idea of being able to switch between two vastly different amps at the push of a button such as a Princeton and Trainwreck express. Creating a rig to do this with real amps would be prohibitively expensive, time consuming, and require massive amounts of attenuation to play at home
 

SD-David

Member
Messages
81
OP, my advice would be not to go all-in just yet with the most expensive modeler imaginable, but try it out first with something much more affordable, leaving yourself plenty of funds for that nice tube amp. Doesn't have to be one or the other.

A Two Notes Torpedo CAB-M+ costs $300 and gives you a modeled Fender Bassman pedal platform amp which is second to none tone-wise. For the same price an Atomic Amplifirebox gives you a selection of a few more modeled amps which sound excellent. For $400 there's the Strymon Iridium. For $500-$600 a Line 6 HX Stomp will give you the full gamut of every classic amp you'd realistically ever think of wanting to play... plus a ton of great effects.

To offer a perspective in contrast to what many others have said on this thread... in live settings, I have consistently found the sound quality of our modelers (Helix, Kemper, CAB-M+) to be as good as or better than tube amps running to mic-ed up cabs offstage... a few of the sound techs are much more adamant than I am that the modelers we use actually sound better.

I personally still prefer tube amps and analog pedals at home day-to-day, but not because of sound quality - because of workflow and simplicity and the "amp in a room" sound compared to an "amp mic-ed and recorded" sound... which is just different, not better or worse.

The TGP joke answer is always "get both!" but in this case I really mean it.
I like the reply. Get both. But I'm at the stage that "life is to short to drink cheap wine". I finally have the money so might as well go for it. A little side note. I also found the most expensive is not the best. I have a Carcosa fuzz that cost $100 that sounds better to me than fuzzes at raise the price.
 

SD-David

Member
Messages
81
In every single blind comparison between modeld and real....the TGP community was NOT able to tell what is what....and yet there is strong opinion on what is best, and you are about to follow that.
All of those tests where invalid cause of their methods? The players in blind tests fools or actors?

post the same question in the digital section to balance the responses to the point where there’s no other option then to try for yourself;)
You are right.
 

SD-David

Member
Messages
81
These responses helped me what was important. Thanks all. Its not about the tone or technical stuff. Its about the joy of playing. I did not realize that. I am a tube guy. I like the look and feel of an amp. Its funny that I am an electrical engineer and should lean towards the technical (modeler). Also my favorite pedal is a Hudson Broadcast. Even though its tone is awesome the look and feel is old school great.
 

Ejay

Member
Messages
5,516
Thanks. I do have a question. I bought an Iridiium and ran it through the return on my PRS. Lots of noise. Spoke to Strymom and they suggested chat that often occurs to the "noise floor". so a bit worried about running a modeler through the loop. Thoughts?
If that amp doesn't have a volume knob after the return, you are plugging a device into a very hot input, so even the lowest amount of noise will be amped. Probably the output level of the iridium is set very low. I also plug into hot returns, and never had any problems with units noise floor. If you keep the cable inserted and the iridium off and the noise is gone...you found your suspect. If both amp and iridium are keepers...adding a pot to the return should be an under 75,- job for a tech...or add volume pedal behind the iridium so you raise the volume on the iridium, reducing the the noise ratio. (That only works if the iridium generates noise with its output set to zero)
 

jm9239

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,838
I have and love both tube amps and modeling gear (Axe FX3). If I frequently needed to play at low levels or needed access to several different amps, cabs and effects, I’d absolutely go with the modeler. If you can crank it frequently and don’t need a ton of different sounds, tube amp all the way. I adore my Axe 3, but there’s no replacement for the character and feel of the actual thing, especially being able to adjust with physical knobs.
 

71strat

Member
Messages
9,271
Id have Valvestorm build a Marshall 1986 model, with Metro 0 Loss FX Loop, and run my Fractal Modeling Amp through the effects loop, and use the 1986 for the power section. 1986 has a super wide frequency response being a Bass amp.

OR, a Hi Tone HT50 DG with effects loop/Fractal.
 




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