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Downsides to modeling amps?

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by AndreasBrown, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. AndreasBrown

    AndreasBrown Tele-Meister

    Jan 1, 2013
    I'm starting to look into the Fender Mustang III, but I know most (and more experienced) players would not recommend going for modeling amps. These were my first thoughts when I found out about this amp (baring in mind I only play in my room):
    -It has 100 presets, including a whole bunch of effects - all of which sound pretty good, and are all editable - so I won't really need to splash out much on pedals
    -I can record straight from the amp into a free recording software that is free with the amp
    -Again, to me it sounds pretty good
    -It's suitable for my room (with my current amp, I have to keep my Roc Pro 1000 volume at 1 1/4 for the sake of my ears :lol:)
    -Very user-friendly, lots of digital tech involved, which is something really like
    -It's only £228

    I've never used a modeling amp, so could somebody list the negatives? I know a lot of people stay away from them, and I'm sure they have good reason. Also, tube amps seem to be the main recommendation from almost everyone. How expensive is a good tube amp, and how will they sound without any pedals, additional cab, etc?

    Thanks for any help :p

  2. Delta Blues

    Delta Blues Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 22, 2011
    Make sure you get a Version 2 Mustang. They supposedly have upgraded transformers to eliminate the fizz issue on clean decaying notes.

  3. AndreasBrown

    AndreasBrown Tele-Meister

    Jan 1, 2013
    Thank you, I was wondering what was different about the V2 :D

  4. Berek Halfhand

    Berek Halfhand Tele-Meister

    Jun 8, 2010
    I purchased a used Line 6 Flextone III xl over a year ago mostly because I just needed the watts (2 x 75 stereo) for outdoor gigs with the big band. I was really only interested in a clean sound anyway, but I must say I do enjoy playing with all the variety.

    Sometimes it can be overwhelming. I am sure that there are sounds in there that would melt the hair on my arms or bring me to tears with a single note, but there is just so much to go through to find everything! There is something to be said for a tube amp with bass, mid, treble, gain, and volume. At least you know how to explore the entire universe of possibilities.

    I do find that most of the "canned" settings are too extreme one way or another. I always have to tweak to get something I would want to use.

    When I play at church I use a Yamaha magic stomp directly into the PA. The MS is a modeling "pedal", and it too can be overwhelming with all the possibilities. A good computer interface to the settings is a must, the MS is nearly unprogrammable without one. (It is physically possible, but with only 4 buttons and three knobs, to go through the hundreds of menus is tedious). I get many compliments on the tone the little MS puts out.

    If you like to tweak and don't mind exploring, I think modeling is a great choice.


  5. AndreasBrown

    AndreasBrown Tele-Meister

    Jan 1, 2013
    Thanks for the help :) I don't think the overwhelming options will be too much, I'm a real computer geek anyway ;) The many options is actually one of the things drawing me towards it.

  6. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 14, 2012
    London, UK
    Every time I think I'd just like a simple amp with fewer knobs, I come back to the fact that if I ditched the modelling amp, I'd have to buy a new pedal or 2.

    I also love the variety of amp sounds on there. I haven't found any downsides yet.

  7. Fearnot

    Fearnot Friend of Leo's

    Jan 17, 2010
    Decatur, GA
    I've had a Vox AD30VT for (geez) 8 years now and really do love it as a practice/home/recording amp... it sounds great in my living room. The couple of times I've had it out for gigging I thought it seemed a bit harsh or too bright, but that may have been the situations... both were plug-and-play with little time to tweak for the room.

    Sometime I hope to swap out the speaker for just that reason, but frankly, if you you do all your playing at home, at living room volumes, those Mustangs sound pretty damned great to my ears.

  8. Pepe

    Pepe Tele-Meister

    Jun 11, 2009
    Hi. Everyone's pretty familiar with what the feature list for these amps looks like. Why don't you list what YOU want from an amp (aside from playing in your room), and folks will be better able to make recommendations. It could be that players with lots of experience are not necessarily looking for the same things from their amps that you are.

  9. macheesmo3

    macheesmo3 Banned

    Nov 28, 2006
    Ocean Springs,Mississippi
    I have the spider valve mark 1 (1X12) and aside from some fun cheese out time, I generally only use the tweed and blackface settings, both of which I find to be very nice.

    I may sell it soon though as I'd like to go back to a 2X12 amp. so PM me if you are interested.

  10. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 20, 2012
    Beirut, Lebanon
    Presets in the hundreds & lotsa effects, don't compensate for a great basic foundation tone.

    If it was me, I would keep this in mind, when shopping for any amp, be it a Fender Mustang, a high end boutique, or a 60s vintage.

    It's there, or it isn't.

    In my particular case, too many options works as a distraction - BUT it is of course good to have them, IF the amp sounds great.

  11. hotpepper

    hotpepper Tele-Meister

    Mar 14, 2013
    no. il.
    I have the Mustang 3. I had a twin but it just got too heavy to carry to gigs. This amp has a high learning curve if you're like me and only had tubes for ever. But this amp is very tweekable. It didn't take too long to get the sounds(country, rock, and blues) that I like. I don't know what music you play but this amp might have the sound you want. One thing I'll add though is this amp can get really loud, maybe too much for a bedroom amp. Maybe look at the M 2.

  12. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

    The "only play in my room" part brings to mind my favorite modeling amp which is the Yamaha THRs.

    The downside is the THR isn't for playing drums, a gig, a lot of jams. I love it because it sounds so rich for personal playing and practice compared to other solid state, modeling, practice etc... units I've had.

    What's special about this modeling amp is the two 5 watt amps, stereo speakers, engineered baffles sort of makes it respond touch sensitivity or tube rectifier.

    If you can just make one purchase or have one amp then it's worth considering something you can take to a jam where there are drums.

  13. daddyopapa

    daddyopapa Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 27, 2005
    BC Canada
    I find the biggest downside to modeling amps that have a lot of tweakablity (like my HD500) is you spend so much time tweaking for tonal Nirvana that you never spend enough time playing. With a real amp, you just adjust as good as you can get it and play. Good playing will result in better tone than a good patch. I finally decided that the tones I had were good enough and stopped screwing with them.
    How tweakable is the Mustang?

  14. bender-freak

    bender-freak Friend of Leo's

    I am currently using a Roland Cube 40xl. The "amp" models are close enough to the real thing for what I do. The "amp" setting hardly ever comes off "tweed", and I use just a touch of reverb and only change the "delay" settings (tap, intensity, etc.) and even then not that often. I use enough delay to cause a pleasing (to me, anyway) sustain. I VERY seldom do the "dotted 8th note" thing.

    The ONLY thing I wish Roland/Boss woulda done is put an onboard compressor/sustainer in place there instead of the looper function, but that's just my wish.

    It beats carrying around more "stuff" to hook up and and tear down. Does it sound as good as my Tweed Blues deluxe? Of course not, but it's close enough that the difference in the weight factor makes it a fair trade-off for this old picker. Age and back problems DO catch up with us all eventually. They've caught up with me and left me crying in the dirt.

  15. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    My first amp was a modeling amp, but after buying my first tube amp, I saw the light. IMO, unless it is your first amp or for cheap outdoor gigs, forget about them. I'll take the cheapest tube amp over any modeling amp now. I use my modeling amp for a monitor now.
    You can get really good small tube amps now, add a cab for more sound and pedals later if needed.
    My 2 cents TIFWIW.
    Good luck! You are asking the right group.

  16. mefgames

    mefgames Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

    Oct 31, 2010
    North Bay, Ca
    I've never been much of a fan of modeling amps. They come with presets up the wazoo, but most times you'll never use more than 5 to 10 of them, if that. Quite a few of the presets are redundant. That said, at that price, I don't think it's a bad idea. As far as tube amps, a good one can be found in the $ 300 to $ 600 range, Blues Jr to small Mesa's, and depending on your settings can get quite a variation of tones. Probably the best way is to demo them at your local music store. If that's not a good option for you, try googling the amp you're interested in, ie, Mesa F30 demo, or just head to youtube.

    Good Luck, Mike

  17. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

    Nov 20, 2007
    Newbury, England
    You want a Celestion G10-30 Greenback in that AD30VT :D
    and then you'll stop wanting a Mustang.
    but upgrading the speaker is >50% cost of the amp.

    If an amp is good enough to gig, as is the AD30VT, and that harsh and bright speaker is just right for gigging (but not for home), then it is good enough.

    If you don't know what type of amp to get then it's a modelling amp.
    I have to say that my best amps are valve amps, but my two modelling amps have their place: AD30VT and Cube20X

    A good valve amp is like a live animal, it has a degree of touch sensitivity and a dynamic range not yet available in a digital modeller, even one with a starved-plate valve in the modelling section.
    A cheap valve amp is, fairly obviously, not as good as an expensive one.
    Good valve amps are expensive.

    A good modelling amp is comparatively cheap, shockingly cheap actually.

    Downside of modelling amp is too many buttons, presets and functions.

  18. harmonicon

    harmonicon Tele-Meister

    Apr 6, 2012
    The downside is that they sound like crap. That's all. If it sounds good for you, go for it, I guess, but you're better off with one good sound than 100 crappy sounds. No need for pedals? Well, no need for pedals, because you'd be putting them in front of something that will make anything sound like crap. Crappy modeling effects aren't a replacement for good pedals.

    Keep an eye out on ebay, and you can score a nice valve combo for £100 - 200.

  19. playforfun

    playforfun Tele-Holic

    Feb 25, 2013
    Luna Louisiana
    I've owned a mini mustang , a vox DA5, a Roland micro cube,and a bogner line six,oh an a fender deluxe vintage modified. The micro cube was great to take on vacation didn't care for the vox but I think something was wrong with it. The problem is I kept changing presets by accident the amps were to smart for me and like posted above I spent too much time trying to get the right sound an not playing. The only modeling amp I have left is an older Roland cube 30 an I will keep it just because its fun to mess with an does sound good. Having said all that since you are comfortable with computers you may enjoy a very complicated modeling amp and have hours of fun finding different sounds good luck an I hope you find the perfect amp.

  20. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

    Nov 20, 2007
    Newbury, England
    A) - no they don't. You simply haven't tried any of the good ones.

    B) erm, you can't get a good new valve combo for under £200, seriously, this is :oops:. A good valve amp starts upwards of £600, no comparison in capability or tone, or reliability.

    Good, Valve, Cheap - pick any two.

    Effects? - well yes they are a bit simplified but Roland make the Cube, so they use the same FX as in Boss pedals, Korg make the VOX AD30VT and their FX are none too shabby either. And if you really like your pedal collection (I do) then you can put them in front of a modelling amp.

    Definition of good amp: one that sounds good, and good (and tough) enough to be gigged or recorded. I would not even try to gig one of those flimsy cheap valve combos, they're practice amps.

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