It looks like poo next to the Helix, has nowhere near as much functionality, doesn't load IRs, offers a more limited palette of preamp sounds, won't be widely available to test in person and yet.....pretty much costs the same?
They may get traction with heavier players since their theta preamp seems to really excel there. They seem to be lacking some features, but I guess we'll see how this all shakes out in the bigger picture outside of TGP.
I think the idea was to keep the Theta Pro a bit more simple than the crazy deep parameters of the Helix and other such units. It was Buck Waller's throwback to his Rocktron days, but with much better sounds.
Having played the original prototype (much of what you see pictured on the internet so far) at NAMM in January and then played and wrote presets at Gearfest, this thing is easy to use, great display and some of the most incredible sounds I've ever heard. It doesn't have that 'helm of the Enterprise' feel that the Helix does, but man this thing sounds amazing on so many levels.
No offense, Adam, but I think that video is one of the worst longform gear demos I've seen this side of Johnny Demarco.
Nothing against Ethan. Ace player and seems like a nice guy. But it just veers wildly between hyperbole and incoherence. He talks about the "unmatched" tone shaping (because it has a pre and post EQ?!?!), then immediately goes into some slow gear ambient chords that obscure tone altogether? He talks about how the speaker simulation is so "real" yet almost all of the clean tone he demos is "straight to the board" sound buried in chorus straight from the 80s? Ugh.
He uses a tapping lick to demonstrate the "attack" of the unit? I mean, it's all over the place.
As for your comments, sir, I just think when you say stuff like "[it has a] great display", and then one looks at that video or the stock picture on the ISP site....it just undermines your credibility. I know you're affiliated with ISP and are probably genuinely excited about this....I don't really know too many others who are. Whatever black magic you guys claimed to have worked with speaker simulation, it comes across as tone deaf when you create a product in this price bracket that doesn't load IRs from proven speaker/mic simulation experts like Ownhammer, Rosen Digital and Redwirez.
From what i heard this unit sound really amazing. It's like a homage on all the good Rocktron Stuff from the early years - but in 'high end 4K 3D'! This unit has its own sound and it rocks, more than other expensive modellers.
What me really disturbs is this horrible design. Damn, this makes my eyes bleeding. Sad but I hate red! : / Please make a normal black version and i'm sold!!
I'm sure it will be for a lot of people... the idea was to produce a spectacular sounding unit, great flexibility in terms of tone shaping, simple parameters so you don't get lost in sub routines and menus (either in the preamp, pre-eq, post-eq or speaker sims.... or effects!) great for a fly rig, quick changes (turn effects on and off in real time like pedals, etc), song mode (200 presets and 140 songs?), 1/4 inch stage outs with separate volume, XLR outs for recording or front of house, global eq, etc... I don't think Buck designed it in terms of the super parameter tweaking that you'll find in an Axe FX, Kemper or the Helix or the Pod HD. It was never meant to be that... I think he meant it to sound great, and be very user friendly and simple to use. it's a competitor sonically to almost anything out there.
What I see are these awesome units with so much details and IR loading and tweakability that they can do pretty much anything you can think of. And maybe four patches get used! Not true of everyone, but I've even seen a video with Jeff Loomis using a Kemper with only three patches! One for heavy stuff, one heavy with delay and verb and a clean. Awesome player who doesn't mess around. Finds a good sound and runs with it. That's sort of the idea with the Theta Pro... why make options to upload tons of stuff that won't get used? I think Buck built some of the best sounds available... easily. The Theta Preamp (pedal or rack) is awesome for super high gain stuff (listen to my music) and glassy, bright super cleans (again, listen to my stuff). But it also does everything in between supremely well. The Theta Pro expands on that notion while keeping everything simple.
I got to see and hear the Helix at Gearfest... it was the helm of the Enterprise for sure! Was totally blown away by what it could do, but it felt to me like the manual would be 900 pages long. I'm sure the learning curve is great, and I'm sure it will make tons of folks happy to have that amount of possibility at their feet. The screen, the lights, the tap dancing the knobs... oh man... But I couldn't tell you what it sounds like at all. I don't remember. It just didn't stick or stand out to me. At all.... Granted, it's at a loud outdoor trade show... but there was nothing that sounded interesting at all...
To each their own... but the Theta is amazing in my personal experience. I've owned Marshalls, Boogies, Engl's, Carvins, ADA MP-1, MP-2, Rocktron, Peavey and several others. All great. The Theta rack preamp blew me away for what a simple 2 rack space, just a bunch of knobs could do. The Theta Pro DSP is doing that same thing, but this time in terms of simplicity, incredible sounds and effects and lots of options for rigs or live/studio applications.
That was sort of my response back in January at NAMM... it's even more awe now that I've spent more time with it. The Ethan Brosh demo that Buck made at the ISP warehouse has great tone samples on it. I plan to make a bunch of demos/songs when my unit arrives!
"No offense, Adam, but I think that video is one of the worst longform gear demos I've seen this side of Johnny Demarco.
Nothing against Ethan. Ace player and seems like a nice guy. But it just veers wildly between hyperbole and incoherence. He talks about the "unmatched" tone shaping (because it has a pre and post EQ?!?!), then immediately goes into some slow gear ambient chords that obscure tone altogether? He talks about how the speaker simulation is so "real" yet almost all of the clean tone he demos is "straight to the board" sound buried in chorus straight from the 80s? Ugh."
He uses a tapping lick to demonstrate the "attack" of the unit? I mean, it's all over the place."
I'm sure it wasn't meant to be a cohesive, detailed demo you'd find on a Boogie site, it was a quick demo (I know, 12 minutes...) after a day of Ethan writing presets. Just a quick burst of some of the range of tones/effects. There are still some quick tweaks before it goes into production in a few weeks. He does a nice thick jazzy tone (with simulation) at one point, and then another sort of fat clean (also simulated I think)... he's an 80's guy, so yeah, some of his presets are buried in chorus. Again, he was just showing some of the possibilities. And yes, the pre and post eq offers a TON of tone shaping... with the compressor and sag features, 3 different preamps. Again, not supposed to be an Axe, Kemper, Line 6 with a ton of models of amps or cabs.
"As for your comments, sir, I just think when you say stuff like "[it has a] great display", and then one looks at that video or the stock picture on the ISP site....it just undermines your credibility. I know you're affiliated with ISP and are probably genuinely excited about this....I don't really know too many others who are. Whatever black magic you guys claimed to have worked with speaker simulation, it comes across as tone deaf when you create a product in this price bracket that doesn't load IRs from proven speaker/mic simulation experts like Ownhammer, Rosen Digital and Redwirez.
You're swimming against the tide there."
Perhaps I am.... but that's if I'm making direct comparisons to how the Theta functions to other machines.... it's not an Axe or a Kemper. It's not designed to be. The speakers sims you hear on the video are pretty clear... For what I like, I think the display is great... it doesn't look like a super dense computer screen... that's not what I'm after. Some big simple block letters/numbers you can see under stage lights. I'm not sure how that undermines my 'credibility.' Again, think of what the purpose of the Theta Pro is... it isn't supposed to be an Axe or a Kemper... at all. It is it's own thing. Designed for ease of use... I'm not bashing the Axe or the Kemper or anything else... they are just designed differently for different purposes. Excellent machines that have specific purposes. And as far as credibility and 'proven' cab sims... it's interesting that a player like Michael Thompson loves his little ADA GCS-2... no IR loader there at all, just a filter (I had one and loved it!)... he played with a Two Notes C.A.B. and found it to be too much to fiddle with... and he's musically brilliant and makes amazing music that sounds incredible. I'm sure if he played with a C.A.B. more, he'd love what it can do. But his ADA works great for him. Again, two different machines with two different purposes... to compare them is kind of silly.
I think it's all a matter of preference on what you (or I) need or want. Do you want a machine that does everything you can think of? Loads IR's, computer/USB interface for computer preset writing/storing, bells whistles, all possibilities? Great! Go for that device. That's awesome. Just because the Theta Pro doesn't do what other devices do, doesn't make it bad, or not industry standard. If you use that mentality, then why on earth would any company sell anything less that a full out flagship machine? A chorus pedal would be silly.
But don't you see the disconnect in selling it being "super flexible" in terms of tone shaping, yet not letting you load the IRs you like (which account for a huge amount of the tone)? That's also a big part of "ease of use" these days. With third party IRs becoming way more advanced, it's easy to load a few up into an Axe-FX or Amplifire or Helix and start playing with great tone.
There's no need anymore to explore all of the "bells and whistles" on a Kemper or Axe-FX or Helix or Amplifire or whatever. They all load great IRs, and once you find some great ones, you don't have far to go to complete your tone quest. What's easier than that?
But anyway, you're an ISP-affiliated artist. Nothing I say would make you feel any differently. But going to the titular question of this thread....the makers of this product may want to consider the answers bandied about here (and elsewhere).
Nope... no disconnect at all. Yes, cab sims/IR's do account for a lot of tone shaping, in a direct recording/live to the front of the house setting. As does any other stage of sound: fretboard, strings, pickup (active/passive, alnico/ceramic), number of strings, pick type vs. finger, cables, pre-distort eq/compression or not, gain stages, tubes or not, types of tubes, pedals, etc... and don't forget style of playing!! all the way down through your power section, types of power tubes (or not), how big your real or simulated cab is, type of wood, number of speakers, types/brands of speakers, microphones, microphone placement, etc. and the list goes on. Damn near ALL of which you can tweak in several great machines to a level of detail that is mind boggling. Awesome.
However, with everything in the Theta, it is 'super flexible' in terms of tone shaping. It just doesn't load IR's. It has it's own. That are awesome to my ears. I think you are making comparisons in functionality that aren't relevant. Again, if that's what you are after, go for it. It's great that you can load IR's into your DAW and tweak away with great sims. It's great you can do that with other physical devices. That's not what the Theta is. To compare it to that just isn't what this machine is about. It wasn't meant to be. Nothing I can say will make you understand that.
You could always call up Buck at ISP and chat with him about it... he's all about what players need. He was very specific about what he wanted the Theta Pro to be.
And to be clear, yes I love my ISP gear (Theta Rack Preamp, Combo, Impression, Stealth, etc), but it's all empirical and practical for me. Their gear fits my needs, my style, my ears. Period. If I found gear that worked better for me or sounded better, I would use it. To me and what I'm after, ISP does the trick. If it doesn't for you, don't use it.
I was never going to buy/use it, Adam. I succinctly stated why in post #3. Even if I was and was more excited for it than you, it's irrelevant.
Again, think about what you say this product does and how awesome you claim it to be, then think about the titular question here.
There are reasons why the threads for Helix and Atomic Amps Amplifire go on for pages and pages and pages, but online interest in the Theta Pro is nowhere near even a fraction of that. That's what this thread is about.
It's funny that a new thread has popped up about a very similarly priced and positioned product - the DV Mark Multiamp. I think this is mk II of that.
I'm all for discussion. I just don't think an honest dialogue about a product is going to occur when one of the participants has a vested interest in the company, constantly touts the greatness of said product across multiple forums, and is cited on the product company's website.
In fact, I'd say you account for a good 30-40 percent of the "discussion" I've read about this product here and elsewhere.
Getting back to the thread question, maybe interest will pick up when some real demos are done and an "introductory" price cut happens.