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Who here has tried to like modelers but ended up going back to tube gear?

Guitar Vilain

Member
Messages
940
I'm especially interested in hearing stories about high end modelers like Kemper, Axe-FX and Eleven Rack. Please state how you were monitoring your modeler(s), if you're comfortable tweaking gear and your playing experience.

Myself I've been playing for over 30 years, tried GNX4, RP1000, GT-10, HD500 and 11R and went back to my tube rig (Triaxis, JMP1 and G-Major2 into FX Return of EL34-equipped combo) because I could never make modelers sound even close to what I get from tube gear. Tried monitoring said modelers through QSC K10 and FX return of my tube combo, always with less than stellar results.
 

Jay Mitchell

Member
Messages
5,517
If there are folks like yourself lurking, don't you think they'd tend to spend their time in the amps and cabs forum? Maybe you'll get more responses if you ask the question there.
 

Guitar Vilain

Member
Messages
940
If there are folks like yourself lurking, don't you think they'd tend to spend their time in the amps and cabs forum? Maybe you'll get more responses if you ask the question there.
Maybe, or maybe they like me haven't tried them all and want to trade experiences. Also lugging tube gear around gets tiresome pretty quickly, I still want modeling to work for me.
 

forum_crawler

Member
Messages
7,307
If there are folks like yourself lurking, don't you think they'd tend to spend their time in the amps and cabs forum? Maybe you'll get more responses if you ask the question there.
Unless they do like modelers, but still prefer tubes. There are those of us here...
 

Pietro

2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
Messages
16,447
I went from modeling to tubes a few years ago... LOVED it...

...then I went back again. Like it more back in modeling again, to be honest, but both can be great.
 

Lution

Member
Messages
9,140
I'm currently using both. Tried to go strictly with digital and couldn't do it. Also, tried to go strictly tube and couldn't do that either.
 

cardinal

Member
Messages
5,436
Tried to like the Axe FX II, put into a real guitar cab, but just couldn't dig it. Didn't want to spend time to figure it out, so went back to the amp I like most (Deizel VH4S). In defense of the Fractal, I was using a really cheap power amp because I just couldn't commit to it. Had I spent the money for one of the fancier SS power amps (or had been willing to use some tubes with the modeler rig), I suspect I'd have a different impression of the Axe. Oh well.
 

speedyone

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,616
I appreciate the level headed responses here!

I will be buying back all my gear soon (sold it off for philanthropic purposes), and really want modeling to work for me, but have no opportunity to try the Axe or Kemper locally. My favorite gear has always been a 59' Bassman, DMM, and a couple drive/distortion pedals...I'm hoping modeling can recreate that magic!

Aside from the "Big Two" modelers listed, I've tried everything else, and not yet satisfied. Maybe I'll get the chance to try the 2 listed someday!
 

Shiny McShine

Member
Messages
9,490
Me but I didn't have to buy, I got to try the best one and while very interesting, I couldn't see all the excitement. It's also about $1000 more than my current rig (Timmy > Ampeg Gemini I).

I see that they could be useful but since I'm not trying to have dozens of different sounds or record direct into a computer, it didn't make sense for me.
 

R.D.

Member
Messages
298
I went from tubes ( THD UniValve & BiValve ) to modelling ( POD XT ) in approx. 2000 ….

I got on just slightly O.K. with Line 6's XT technology …, but I also added both the VHT Valvulator for some tube “warmth” and the Behringer DEQ 2496 for some additional EQ’ing that I felt was necessary to get closer to what I was used to from the THD Amps ….

About 2003 I sold the entire rack and bought John Suhr’s CAA OD-100SEPlus, a 4 x 12 cabinet and had a custom switching mounted in the cabinet where I could switch on & off the individual speakers and replace them w/ a 16 ohm power soak load. In essence it allowed me to load the cabinet w/ 4 different speaker types and record them individually if necessary ….

Anyway, after my daughter was born in 2006 I was concerned about the amp volume in my studio leaking out into the rest of the house, so I sold it all again in favor of the Fractal Audio, Axe-Fx Ultra ….

Since then I’ve upgraded to the Axe-Fx II and have NEVER had better tone ( and feel ) in my studio and I don’t worry about bothering the rest of my family with the noise ….

So, I guess I’ve sold amps twice and gone back to modelling both times. Once, not so successful and once VERY successfully.

YMMV ….
 

Eagle1

Senior Member
Messages
8,655
I run an axefx 2 in to a VHT 2502 as well as a Diezel vh4 rig . Horses for courses.If I only had one it would be th vh4.
 

socalscott

Member
Messages
1,966
For the volume impaired(apt/condo). I can't say that my costly ultra lo-watt tube amps, even with scaling, out perform modelers.

I'm basing this on running DG-Stomp headphone-out per 2 1x12's. I recently demo'd the Mustang III...I can see my low db lifestyle improving.
 

barhrecords

Member
Messages
1,523
I use both amp and modeler depending on the gig.

AxeFx II -> stage box -> whatever the house sound is

AxeFx II -> stage box + dedicated wedge (el cheapo powered kustom or bag end + crown pwr amp)

AxeFx II -> backline amp / cab (fender twin cab with weber ceramic spkrs + crown pwr amp or Marshall 2x12 with greenbacks)

AxeFx II -> stage box + backline (same rig as above)

Amps -> Shure SM57 or Sennheiser MD421 -> Stage Box (Amps are vintage fenders, bogner shiva combo, 80's Marshall JCM800 into Marshall 2x12 with greebacks)

Richard
 

rburkard

Double Platinum Member
Messages
3,439
AXE FM, AXE FM II, Kemper and then Carol Ann Triptik. No regrets at all to be back in tube land.
Rene
 

Stef_herbuel

Member
Messages
795
I'm especially interested in hearing stories about high end modelers like Kemper, Axe-FX and Eleven Rack. Please state how you were monitoring your modeler(s), if you're comfortable tweaking gear and your playing experience.

Myself I've been playing for over 30 years, tried GNX4, RP1000, GT-10, HD500 and 11R and went back to my tube rig (Triaxis, JMP1 and G-Major2 into FX Return of EL34-equipped combo) because I could never make modelers sound even close to what I get from tube gear. Tried monitoring said modelers through QSC K10 and FX return of my tube combo, always with less than stellar results.
+1 i agree
 
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BCy2k

Member
Messages
1,710
Unless they do like modelers, but still prefer tubes. There are those of us here...
I'm probably still one of these. Since November I've been on a bit of an experimental journey when it comes to gigging modelers. I've got a hybrid of both in my main rig. For me, each (modelers vs tubes) is an entirely different playing experience, and IMHO they each have their strengths & weaknesses. I'm looking at it from an 'overall' perspective and not just obsessing over the typical, "but does it really sound exactly like the real thing" issue.

For me the jury is out, but I do find myself eyeing an Axe FX II more & more.
 

Gasp100

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
23,830
I'm currently using both. Tried to go strictly with digital and couldn't do it. Also, tried to go strictly tube and couldn't do that either.
I'm in the same boat. I'm still trying desperately to stick with a modeling solution in paralell with a tube based solution, but I'm not getting very far <yet>. This is my favorite combo of tube/digital so far...

 
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xjojox

Tardis-dwelling wanker
Messages
5,733
I've always had tube amps around, but I always wanted lots of tones live so I started in with MIDI pretty early. I went thru the MP-1 very quickly, and it was too squashed. I then midi'd up a Mesa Quad Preamp with a bunch of rack effects and it was very cool but was a beast. Then tried a JMP-1. Liked some of the Marshall tones but the cleans felt anemic. Then went Triaxis, and although it didn't do Marshall very well it did so much else that I stayed with it for about 15 years. My basic rig was Triaxis, TC effects, harmonizer, guitar synth engine, mesa 50/50 power amp, a midi switcher, and a few expression pedals to morph stuff. Was it as organic as a combo? No, but it was a great sounding rig, especially on big stages.

I bought the Axe FX as a backup to that rig, because I read that it had spillover (which is very important to me). I then learned that Cliff (designer of Axe) used a similar rig to mine, so I started doing some A/B. There were some things the Axe couldn't do that the Triaxis could, but it was uncanny how close they were for basic boogie sounds if I used the same power amp and cab. I really couldn't tell the difference. Plus I got all kinds of Marshall sounds and other tones I couldn't get with the rack. So eventually the Axe replaced the rack, and I eventually parted most of it out.

When I play out, it's mostly covers, and my band covers a very wide range. I use lots of tones and during our art-rock excursions a fair number of effects as well. There is simply nothing that can do it for me live in a more efficient way than the Axe.

In a situation where I didn't need as broad a palette, and if I wanted a more intimate feel, yes, I'd use a combo and a few pedals. I have some very nice ones, which are mostly for "fireside" moments at home. Live, sure I'd like that better if I was staying within that narrow window of sonic space. But I couldn't see ever giving up the Axe, because it's one stop shopping for recording (I'd never mic again with this thing around) and it covers almost anything I'd want to do live.

As a disclaimer, I do not go FRFR. I could and would go direct into a board and get by with monitors in a situation where that would work, but I would not use an FRFR system as my personal amp. For me, that's because I don't use my Axe to try to "clone" anything. It's just a tone generator and I use it like any other preamp, into a nice power amp and my favored guitar cabs (currently Port City OS Wave cabs but these things change minute by minute). I hear a sound in my head, go after it, save it, and use it. So to me it's just a guitar rig that happens to go direct really really well. (My board feed adds cabinet sims that are similar to the cabs I'm using, so the FOH tone is close to what's coming out of the rig).
 






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