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

weshunter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,156
I use and love both- just depends on volume. A tube amp can't hang with a modeler in a situation where the volume needs to be low and a modeler through a frfr can't hang with a cranked tube amp. I use my eleven rack for about 90% of my gigging and home situations, but when the deluxe reverb is loud and right, that's when I get the best tone.
 

Ben R

Member
Messages
1,958
To the OP: I get where Jay Mitchell was coming from with his reply early on page 1. I'd imagine that guys who have truly abandoned modellers for tube amps probably don't spens much time here any more and likely hang out in the amp forum. You should re-post the same question/thread there to get more feedback. Having said that, beware of cork sniffing modelling haters lying to you and saying that modellers suck when they haven't tried one in over a decade.

.
 

mattball826

Member
Messages
20,814
This is my current feeling. I have an Eleven Rack running into a QSC K10 and the cleans are too sterile. I was on the verge of buying the AXE II, but have decided on the Mesa Mark V head.

I don't need a ton of amp sounds. The Mark V has plenty of great tones and it has the warmth missing in modelers. I will keep the 11R unless I get a decent offer on it. Tubes for me in a live setting from now on.
love my mark v !! :dude

i also started using gsp with some newer owhhammer irs for smaller gigs with the v drums (containing volume). its weird because even though the gsp is older it has a nicer midrange mix tone at those volumes.

for other gigs its my marshall or the mark v in my 90's band.
 

2handband

Member
Messages
28
I tried a Line 6 POD XT Live seven or eight years ago. Am now using a classic Peavey rack rig with a Rockmaster preamp and a Classic 50/50 power amp.

I did have a chance to spend a few hours with an AXE-FX recently. It's a huge improvement over the Line 6... but it still didn't do it for me. Believe me, I want this stuff to work. But if I can tell the difference, at all, I ain't buying.
 

drwiddly

Member
Messages
392
I like both and am usually happiest with a combination. I love midi and really can't see myself going back to using a pedal board (although I might rack a few pedals with a midi switcher in the future).

Last night I did a gig with a 50w tube head, a GSP1101 wired 4cm and two 2x12 cabs. It sounded really good but I found that using the GSP's models into the amp's return sat better in the band mix than the amp with the GSP's FX, I had another gig tonight and being a bit lazy, I decided to leave the head at home and plug the GSP into a Rocktron Velocity 300. It sounded great and I couldn't really tell the difference, never mind the audience!

It's all good. Just find what works for you and enjoy! :rockin
 

charley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,283
I like to use my tube rig and my modeling rigs......just depends on my mood. That being said, I love the geek-out aspect of modelers.
 

Steve Dallas

Member
Messages
8,295
I had no idea so many people had gone back and forth from digital to tubes and vice-versa like myself, also some excellent posts in here :)

One thing I've noticed in the best modeler I own (Eleven Rack) is that even though at times it gets really close to sounding like my tube rig it still lacks in headroom / dynamic range. I mean, if I design my patches with a certain guitar they usually don't sound as good with a different guitar. I used to think that was a good thing, but then I plugged in my tube rig after years of using modelers and realized that yes, different guitars do sound differently through it, but most of the time they still sound pretty good with the same settings regardless of which axe I'm using.

Another plus for tubes / analog is that when stacking (low) gain stages like pedals and the ones inside a tube amp, the harmonic complexity, smoothness / sponginess and variation in frequency response by playing dynamics is rather difficult to reproduce with a modeler. Meaning certain subtleties in picking dynamics, pick angle, slight muting and such come through a lot more lively with tubes than with modelers IMHO.

Not trying to be an ass here, but the extra 0,1% seems to be at the same time extremely important to experienced / talented musicians and completely negligible to most beginners / not so talented (yet) musicians, at least as far as my own observations go. BTW that difference in perspective seems to generate a lot of flaming from both sides here at TGP. Not saying I'm either, but I can definitely say I can perceive differences in tone and feel today that would go completely unnoticed 15 years ago.

For now I know this much: it's quite possible that I might sell my 11R and give the KPA and AxeFXII a try in the near future, and maybe the next ones after those, but I will never, ever sell my JMP1 and Triaxis.
This sums it up perfectly for me. I find both to have their place, but I cannot give up tube amps for modelers completely. I must keep a few good tube amps around to remind of what nuance and dynamics really can be. Modelers have come a long way and certainly give me joy, but tube amps are still very special in some ways.

I also find that after having owned every modeler on Earth, I tend to gravitate toward those that do less, but do those fewer things very well. Back to basics and simplicity. The 11R and S-Gear fill those roles for me very well.
 
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djd100

Member
Messages
3,117
I have both and prefer tubes in my preamp without any doubt, though I often use a modeled tube power section and cab/speaker/mic sims as they weigh next to nothing and sound great at any volume (Two Notes software and hardware in my case).

My rig includes an Axe FX Ultra mostly for FX/Synth, though it's easy to A/B the Axe's preamp against the real tube guitar pre's through an identical chain, and there's simply no comparison. The Axe sounds great in it's own right, but it does not sound like a tube guitar preamp.

I've owned or own all the Roland VG Series, L6 Pod and X3, Korg Pandora, ZOOM G1, Digi 11R, Axe Ultra, Revalver, Nigel, Amp Farm TDM, Super Champ XD, and some Freeware so I'm fairly experienced with modelers excepting the Axe II and KPA.

That said, there are great tones in all of these things so it all comes down to personal preference.
 
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pima1234

Supporting Member
Messages
4,174
Helpful.

I have way too many amps, two little ones, and only the rare occasion to even begin to crank those great amps.

Maybe I'll be on the Fractal list after all. Could use the money... But, I'll have to keep a few amps, right?... and maybe at least a few pedals...

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 ….
 

scottywompas

Member
Messages
1,592
I live in both worlds. I gigged a Line 6 spider for a few years. I went back to tubes when I got a steal on a Boogie MKIV combo. Prior to that my tube rigs were all head/cab or rack and cab setups. I bought the spider because I wanted a quick grab and go set up for a cover band I joined.

I prefer the tube stuff live but I record a lot with my RP1000. I almost did a Halloween gig with just the RP1000 through the PA but chickened out at the last minute.

I think there are merits to modeling and it's a great tool.

Scott
 

690MBCOMMANDO

Member
Messages
767
I got an Axe and used it through Atomics and liked it. Through non tube monitors it didn't sound quite the same. Now I use it for multi-effects in my rack. Went back to tube amps.

Got an Axe 2, got Atomics and had the same experience as above, even after getting Adam A7xs. I was trying to lighten up on gear and ended up carrying more. Went back to tube amps.

I really want the modeling thing to work, mainly to lighten up the load. If someone can come up with a realistic all in one floor based unit where I can go direct into FOH I'd be all over that.
 
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2handband

Member
Messages
28
Here's a great truth about modeling gear that the people trying to sell 128 sounds in a box don't tell you... it's something I learned the hard way when I had my Line 6. It's this: unless you're recording, 124 of those sounds are going to be useless to you. When you're playing live you don't want four different hard rock crunch sounds; you just want the one you like best.

You don't really need different tones for live use so much as you need different amounts of distortion and here's the real kicker: if they're not all a different flavor of the same thing the front-of-house sound dude is going to hate you! Let me illustrate with a non-guitar example.

I do sound occasionally for a very good local band that does a lot of original material. They're basically a 90s-flavored guitar-oriented pop band; they remind you by turns of 3 Doors Down and Pearl Jam. They have a great singer who sounds a lot like Eddie Vedder... a very dark tonality. It sounds great but you have to add a good deal of presence to get it to cut through the mix, and it gets worse as the night goes on because he smokes during set breaks. If anyone else in the band uses his mic (they all have bright-sounding tenor voices) it takes your head off.

The same is true of guitars. The front-of house guy is EQing your sound so that it cuts through and sounds good in whatever room you happen to be playing in. If you jump form a darkish tone to a brightish one it's gonna be instant face-melt (and not in a good way), and if you jump from a brightish tone to a darkish one it's going to be buried in the mix.

I play in a band that requires me to cover a lot of stylistic territory. It's an 80s band that does everything from Michael Jackson to Metallica. What do I need for that band? I need sparkly clean, light bluesy breakup, medium distortion, and heavy crunch. Four sounds, and that's two more than most guitarists I do sound for really need. Ideally it's all pretty much the same damn sound with different amounts of distortion, because that translates into way fewer problems out front. I get it with a three-channel tube preamp (Peavey Rockmaster) and an overdrive pedal for the light breakup (once I get the Lexicon processor integrated into my rig I'm hoping it'll replaced the OD pedal).

It's something to consider when buying gear, especially when you're a tight-ass like me and only buy stuff you can get an insanely good deal on used. Line 6 sucks ass, so if you want a decent-sounding modeler you're in for something like an Axe-FX that's going to cost you at least $1200 even if you buy it used... and for most gigging situations you'll still need a power amp, a cab, and a midi pedalboard. Best case scenario you're in $2000 and my whole rig didn't cost me that! Come to think of it, minus the guitars it didn't cost me as much as that used AXE-FX and I feel no need for additional sounds.
 

metalheadx

Member
Messages
33
Here's a great truth about modeling gear that the people trying to sell 128 sounds in a box don't tell you... it's something I learned the hard way when I had my Line 6. It's this: unless you're recording, 124 of those sounds are going to be useless to you. When you're playing live you don't want four different hard rock crunch sounds; you just want the one you like best.

You don't really need different tones for live use so much as you need different amounts of distortion and here's the real kicker: if they're not all a different flavor of the same thing the front-of-house sound dude is going to hate you! Let me illustrate with a non-guitar example.

I do sound occasionally for a very good local band that does a lot of original material. They're basically a 90s-flavored guitar-oriented pop band; they remind you by turns of 3 Doors Down and Pearl Jam. They have a great singer who sounds a lot like Eddie Vedder... a very dark tonality. It sounds great but you have to add a good deal of presence to get it to cut through the mix, and it gets worse as the night goes on because he smokes during set breaks. If anyone else in the band uses his mic (they all have bright-sounding tenor voices) it takes your head off.

The same is true of guitars. The front-of house guy is EQing your sound so that it cuts through and sounds good in whatever room you happen to be playing in. If you jump form a darkish tone to a brightish one it's gonna be instant face-melt (and not in a good way), and if you jump from a brightish tone to a darkish one it's going to be buried in the mix.

I play in a band that requires me to cover a lot of stylistic territory. It's an 80s band that does everything from Michael Jackson to Metallica. What do I need for that band? I need sparkly clean, light bluesy breakup, medium distortion, and heavy crunch. Four sounds, and that's two more than most guitarists I do sound for really need. Ideally it's all pretty much the same damn sound with different amounts of distortion, because that translates into way fewer problems out front. I get it with a three-channel tube preamp (Peavey Rockmaster) and an overdrive pedal for the light breakup (once I get the Lexicon processor integrated into my rig I'm hoping it'll replaced the OD pedal).

It's something to consider when buying gear, especially when you're a tight-ass like me and only buy stuff you can get an insanely good deal on used. Line 6 sucks ass, so if you want a decent-sounding modeler you're in for something like an Axe-FX that's going to cost you at least $1200 even if you buy it used... and for most gigging situations you'll still need a power amp, a cab, and a midi pedalboard. Best case scenario you're in $2000 and my whole rig didn't cost me that! Come to think of it, minus the guitars it didn't cost me as much as that used AXE-FX and I feel no need for additional sounds.
+1 , echoes my experience as well, while tons of options can be good and cause lack of sleep ;) for my situation and live use i really only need 3-4 go to tones, and sprinkle some effects on top
 

rog951

Member
Messages
5,798
I've got a pretty tweaky back - probably largely from dragging a 100W tube halfstack around since the '80s! :) Consequently, I've made quite a few attempts to get "that" sound from a lighter-weight package. Rockman, MP1, Cream Machine, J-Station and now using an Eleven Rack. I do seem to keep going back to plain old tube amps for gigging. Not always for the tone though. The 11r sounds great live, but it's just a little too fiddly for me on gigs. I love the flexibility and the sounds I'm getting but I'm finding I just like a simpler rig for gigging. At least I'm down to 18 watts and a 2x12 now! ;)
 

Guitar Vilain

Member
Messages
940
Here's a great truth about modeling gear that the people trying to sell 128 sounds in a box don't tell you... it's something I learned the hard way when I had my Line 6. It's this: unless you're recording, 124 of those sounds are going to be useless to you. When you're playing live you don't want four different hard rock crunch sounds; you just want the one you like best.

You don't really need different tones for live use so much as you need different amounts of distortion and here's the real kicker: if they're not all a different flavor of the same thing the front-of-house sound dude is going to hate you! Let me illustrate with a non-guitar example.

I do sound occasionally for a very good local band that does a lot of original material. They're basically a 90s-flavored guitar-oriented pop band; they remind you by turns of 3 Doors Down and Pearl Jam. They have a great singer who sounds a lot like Eddie Vedder... a very dark tonality. It sounds great but you have to add a good deal of presence to get it to cut through the mix, and it gets worse as the night goes on because he smokes during set breaks. If anyone else in the band uses his mic (they all have bright-sounding tenor voices) it takes your head off.

The same is true of guitars. The front-of house guy is EQing your sound so that it cuts through and sounds good in whatever room you happen to be playing in. If you jump form a darkish tone to a brightish one it's gonna be instant face-melt (and not in a good way), and if you jump from a brightish tone to a darkish one it's going to be buried in the mix.

I play in a band that requires me to cover a lot of stylistic territory. It's an 80s band that does everything from Michael Jackson to Metallica. What do I need for that band? I need sparkly clean, light bluesy breakup, medium distortion, and heavy crunch. Four sounds, and that's two more than most guitarists I do sound for really need. Ideally it's all pretty much the same damn sound with different amounts of distortion, because that translates into way fewer problems out front. I get it with a three-channel tube preamp (Peavey Rockmaster) and an overdrive pedal for the light breakup (once I get the Lexicon processor integrated into my rig I'm hoping it'll replaced the OD pedal).

It's something to consider when buying gear, especially when you're a tight-ass like me and only buy stuff you can get an insanely good deal on used. Line 6 sucks ass, so if you want a decent-sounding modeler you're in for something like an Axe-FX that's going to cost you at least $1200 even if you buy it used... and for most gigging situations you'll still need a power amp, a cab, and a midi pedalboard. Best case scenario you're in $2000 and my whole rig didn't cost me that! Come to think of it, minus the guitars it didn't cost me as much as that used AXE-FX and I feel no need for additional sounds.
Great perspective on things and very well put, also when you consider the guitar volume, tone and pickup switch and maybe a chorus and a wah your tone versatility increases tenfold in the right hands. A little off on the current used price for an used Axe Ultra but I do get your point. I still use a complicated MIDI switching system for different tones with my tube preamps but I always level them properly during rehearsal and am perfectly aware that only I can hear the difference between some of the patches, but that's why we buy gear after all isn't it? To keep *ourselves* inspired, not really for the benefit of the audience ;)
 

scott58

Member
Messages
5,731
My Variax 700 is still running through my Valve Junior and I still love my stuff after all these years.
 
Messages
84
I used to use a Line 6 PodXT through a Tubeworks poweramp and a Marshall 4X12 and at the time really liked the tones I was getting. I was playing with people using Peavey 5150's, Marshall TSL's, and Mesa Dual Rec's, and I liked my guitar sound better. When I played live, I got compliments on my tone from other guitar players as well.

After a lot of discussion with one of my band members, I decided to buy a Mesa Dual Rec head and matching cab, even though I still thought modelling was right for me. After tweaking the amp a bit, I was getting tones that were a bit better than my PodXT rig. Also, recording direct using the slave output on the Mesa, through the PodXT for cabinet modelling sounded quite a bit better than using the models on the PodXT.

This started to sway me towards tube amps, and I ended up trading in my Mesa rig for an Orange Rockerverb 50 head and PPC412 cab. The PodXt couldn't even come close to the tone of my Orange no matter what I did. As it turns out, I don't like Peavey 5150's, Marshall TSL100's, or Mesa Dual Rec's, and the people that were playing them weren't really great at getting good tones out of their amps. Now that I've gone to tube amps, I haven't had anything sway me back as of yet. I've since traded my Rockerverb head in for a AD140HTC, and I absolutely love the tone I'm getting.

I'm aware that the PodXT is really old technology compared to what is out now, and I haven't tried the Axe FX stuff which I'm sure is light years ahead. I have tried the PodHD stuff and wasn't big on that, but I'm not really looking for amp modelling any more.

There is no way you can try to replicate something and do it better then the original. The best case scenario is that it is exactly the same and the differences are undetectable, but that hasn't happened yet. I still think modelling gear is cool, and I use the Line 6 M9 for a lot of my effects, but for right now I prefer real amp sounds. I think it's awesome that companies are now combining digital technology with classic tube technology, and for me I think that will yield the best results. I'm excited to see what future products come out with that combination. Apologies for the long post :)
 

shredmiyagi

Member
Messages
1,209
Some people might not like this analogy, but....

Sometimes you just need that upright bass player; the E. Bass won't do...

Sometimes you need a real piano, the latest $3K sampled piano keyboard won't do it...

And sometimes you need your guitarist to have a tube amp. I'm not gonna specify when and where and why, but it's just the way it is, and I think there will always be a nook for them, DESPITE THE FACT that (superb) tube modeling already sounds basically undistinguishable on recording.. and I'm sure it'll cont. feeling and sounding better and better in the live environment. Just because the recorded product sounds equally good in a mix doesn't mean it plays and responds the same. Of course the instrument analogies are not entirely perfect because they deal with the instruments themselves, but still, I'll argue it's a good parallel analogy... the on-the-fly, lack of detailed parameters, circuit/tube mis-haps, air movement in 12" guitar speakers, it makes for a different experience for the musician (not the audience, the musician), and it affects the sound in the perf. space.

Truth is, you don't always need a variety of many tones and FX. When you do, the modeling is brilliant. When you don't, it's really easier to just bring your trusty amp and a small pedalboard... vs FRFR speaker(s), rack modeler, midi controller and trusting your sound engineer...

I really believe the AxeFX2 is a touring band's best friend. If I'm playing a small jazz gig or a club with a sh*tty PA, my Princeton or Plexi are far more fun to play with, despite the fact that I'd much rather record the tones with the Axe.

If the sound systems great and you trust the sound engineer, and you're playing "clean polished" music, the modeling makes a lot of sense. If you want a great raw sound with more balls for a lack of a better term, and can give 2 ****s about your delay and EQ chain.. Use the amp.

When I got the Axe 2, I considered selling my pedalboard and amps... well, I did. All the sub-par gear. But I kept my Princeton and Plexi and my fav. pedals... And I'm really happy I just saved up and didn't impulse sell to impulse buy. Because they really have their place.
 




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