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Downsides to modeling amps?

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

  1. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    New York
    Those are our only 2 choices? Some people choose not to get too wrapped up
    in material possessions.

  2. jaytee32

    jaytee32 Tele-Meister

    May 30, 2011
    Hey Jim,

    Oh I didn't think you were rude at all, sorry for giving you that impression! I just thought since you hadn't been gigging with it, it was gonna be tough to get the point across, because the only problem I had with the thing was in a gig setting. Just playing at home, it's a dream (and actually even the Mustang II was great for home playing).

    This may be a workable solution; do you know if you can set the 4-button switch in a mode where it just cannot get into "preset change mode"? IIRC the 4B switch has four modes:

    - tuner
    - preset up / down
    - preset quick access
    - stomp mode

    what i'd want to do then is to disable both of the "preset" modes and just have the tuner, or the stomp mode, as options on the 4B switch. I don't know if this is possible? I do use the tuner.

    Not possible .. the stage is miniscule, and I am not playing every song, and when I'm not playing, there are other people walking around in my tiny space. This is why I slide the footswitch under the piano when I vacate the stage, I've had people step on pedals / buttons before while others are on the stage. I can't stand there on stage and protect my amp while others are performing ;-)

    It's a great place to play, really, just not conducive at all to having an amp where things can easily go wrong :)

  3. jaytee32

    jaytee32 Tele-Meister

    May 30, 2011
    btw there is another thread active about preset level equalization, where I see people making similar remarks as I do -- the first gig with the M3 being a "roller coaster" as the presets sound vastly different at stage volume in a band, than they do at home. After enough gigs things settle down. My situation is (at the moment) only 4 gigs per year, so it's gonna take me a while for things to settle down (I've only had two full-band gigs with it so far).

  4. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    New York
    I get it now, and remember your situation. Sorry I wasn't connecting the dots with our past discussions.

    Rather than me steer this topic off course,
    I'm gonna start a new thread on Mustang gigging strategies so we can start fresh.

  5. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    I can only give my opinion, which is that modeling amps make me spend more time fiddling than actually playing. They never actually sound quite like the thing they are supposed to sound like--they sound really close though, and so I spend all my time trying to dial in that last 5%. The Mustang looks like a nightmare to me, frankly. I'd spend all my time playing my same tried and true collection of cliches through different amp models, and each time my cliches would get a little bit more like the style associated with that amp model, but actual music making would not occur. Instead it would be browsing the familiar. I never end up playing the amp I have, I end up constantly amp hopping.

    My tastes for solid state have settled on the ZT amps lunchbox, which uses DSP to get a nice sound but doesn't try to imitate any specific amp. They spent a lot of time getting the attack/release parameters generally right, and then there's just a single tone knob. It's a relief. No clicking through various models, no parametric eq twitchery. I can stop fiddling with the tool and start making music.

    I feel this way about gig rigs too though--I want less controls, not more.

  6. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    That's the fletcher-munson curve at work right there

  7. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2011
    los angeles
    Exactly. Tube amps, even the best ones do the same thing. Has nothing to do with the amp, it's the speaker and the human ear at work there.

    Same here. But i look at the almost infinite controls of the mustang very differently than that. I see them as having so many tools available that you will have a much greater chance of honing in on your best possible tone and feel for you, then once accomplished use it as a single channel amp and never have to touch it at a gig aside from maybe using the footswitch for a chorus now and then or to turn the stomp on and off for more variation withing that one preset. So in other words, all those control you dislike i look at as the tools you only need to use initially to accomplish your tonal goals, then after that never have to touch them again except for slight tweaks. And thats exactly what i do. I may tweak for the room or such, but i'm talking no more fiddling than I'd do with any tube amp.

  8. Drubbing

    Drubbing Friend of Leo's

    Give me one amp and a rack of pedals - and I've never used these before, and it's the same thing. Most players have grown up with the 1 amp/rack of pedals approach.

    The Mustang isn't doing anything different, it's just putting it all in one place, and allows a foot switch to do the stuff that a pedal tap dance does.

    Either approach to the uninitiated is going to look 'too complex'.

  9. LarsPluto

    LarsPluto TDPRI Member

    Dec 6, 2014
    London, UK
    As a Mustang lover who gigs with one several times a week, I will say that I agree that it never gets me 100% to the tones I'm after in my head. However, given the fact that it gets me 98% there at a fraction of the cost is good enough for me. I don't want to lug around any of my heavy, fragile tube amps and pedal boards with a million different patch cables. Any one of which can go wrong for no reason whatsoever.
    I'd rather rock up to the gig plug in one cable and go. At this point I have about 7 or 8 patches that get used throughout our set and they're all pretty well dialled in at this point and I never have to do much tweaking. For me it works just the same as a full rack of pedals. Just easier to have it all in one box.

  10. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2011
    los angeles
    I've never had a tube amp that does either. There IS no perfect tone and thats because due to the human aspect amp tone changes from minute to minute day to day, or should i say WE change which makes the sound seem different. So if you have a perfect tone at a given moment, the next it may not be. That said a mustang IMO changes less than tube amps.

    But if you mean by "the tone in your head" a certain brand model, then thats never going to happen exactly. Personally my tone is one that simply reacts to my player input dynamically and has a tone that works for anything i need to play. To me the mustang does that for me with the one model i found best with my settings as good as any amp i've owned. Not once in my entire gigging days did i ever think "in need brand/model X for this gig or this song", etc. To me a amp that lets me ply the way i do w/o struggling to get what i want out of it and sounds full and sweet Is all i need from any amp. In other words, the ability to play a gig and never have to think about my tone as i'm playing, just think about playing and the song. Few amps have ever given me that consistently but the mustang is as consistent as anything i've owned.

    What it comes down to is weighing the advantages and disadvantages, and the mustang has so many of the former it wins easily. But if it compromised in any way in tone or playing dynamics no amount of advantages would make me keep it.

  11. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 20, 2013
    Northeast Ohio, USA
    This has become a mantra for me in my quest for a new amp.

    I loved the DRRI and Wampler Clarksdale I played at a store, and would want to add a delay pedal as well. Or look at a PRRI. Unfortunately, I'm looking at $1200 to $1500 for those options.

    Or go M3, and for $330 I could have all that and a few more effect and a lot more "amps" in one box.

    "The perfect tone" seems to be a myth. You may capture it one day, leave everything alone, and the next day it just won't be there. You know this drill.

    Getting within 5% consistently and saving a grand? That seems to make sense. I still have another thread about "Convince me the M3 is the right amp" out there; I still long for a tube amp, but my checking account longs for an M3, and my sense of adventure longs for an M3, my daughter's tuition bill longs for an M3, my propensity to play at low volume longs for an M3, etc. I think if I spend some quality time with an M3 like I did with the DRRI, I may be able to put aside the tube quest longings and doubt. Plus, for the price, I can afford to go tube later if I start to play out a lot and decide that is the right choice - and leave the M3 for home practice or a backup or whatever. That price make the trigger soooooo much easier to pull.

  12. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2011
    los angeles
    It is absolutely a myth, yes. I have had tones that were orgasmic only to plug into the same amp, everything exactly the same later on, sometimes even just minutes later, and find the tone leaves a lot to be desired. there are so may outside variables (outside of the amp that is) that may come into play that no perfect sound exists *consistantly*. I can't count the times i've had perfect tone. But it is a crap shoot as to whether it will be so the next time i plug in. I've owned amps that were so overly sensitive to room acoustics that i'd be drooling all over it at one gig and fully wanting to sell it the next. Thats no exaggeration. I sold several amps like that including some high end ones.

    So with all that said, the only thing you can expect as a "perfect" sound is one that is LESS inconsistent and still sounds and feels good enough to make you happy if not thrilled. Thats where i find the mustang does it for me. It seems more consistently good from room to room, minute to minute, day to day. It rarely sounds much different. And the tone and dynamics are NOT just adequate, they are at worse what I would call as good as most any production tube amp and probably better than the majority. Yes, there are tube amps that do the kind of tones i use in the mustang better by a bit, but not all of them and probably only a small percent. And not as consistently, not near as cheap, no effects built in, not near as light, and no other options should i decide i'm getting a bit bored with my tone. If i am, tho to date i have not been, it would just be a matter of choosing a different sounding model.

  13. Abu Twangy

    Abu Twangy Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2012
    Rocky Mount, NC
    When I played in a house band seven nights a week for a few years I had some days where I thought my sound was great, some days not so great but most of the time felt my setup sounded pretty good. So every year or so I replaced the amp with something different and started the cycle again.

    This still occurs with my sound as a part-timer. After ditching my tube amps for modeling amps, I was happy with my sound for several years. Then I went back to tube amps. I'm starting to miss the flexibility of my modeling amps.

    And so the cycle goes.

  14. Drubbing

    Drubbing Friend of Leo's

    This is what happens with much of audio. Audiophiles will pay vast amounts chasing that last 5% of whatever they think they want.

    Ironically, it often involves high end tube amps to power speakers and headphones. Given high end audio is about pristine and perfect reproduction, I find it laughable they prize an amp that is not designed to be, nor never will be, driven to harmonic distortion. However they swear by the 'warmth' of tubes. Having heard a lot of tube and SS, one topology doesn't have a monopoly on sounding good. A good amp is a good amp. SS cost a lot less than tubes to get really good ones.

    People who love guitar tube amps have the same mindset. Digital amps are missing that little bit extra, as few will disagree they are very good sounding amps. That bit extra (that most of the time I can't use at low volumes) would cost me over $1200 more.

  15. BryMelvin

    BryMelvin Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 4, 2014
    Arivaca AZ
    We have several different modeling amps. They are great to practice with and small gigs.
    Big stuff and the JCM800 and mic'd 5e3 com out for me along with a rack with processors/reverbs etc in it controlled by a midi pedal.

    However I have done some bar Jams with just a pair of Frontman 65 DSP amps.

    There are several good modeling amps that are completely fine for most people. My son is partial to a few year old Vetta II and the Mustangs. He particularly likes the floor pedal only version of the Mustang. It gives you a great variety when plugged into a good tube amp, or even to a PA.


    CHUCKHDTV Tele-Holic

    Feb 6, 2013
    Since I bought it I thought my Digitech rp-355 modeler was great. A month ago I tried a 50's tube amp. I don't use my pedal anymore...

  17. unlawfulsoup

    unlawfulsoup TDPRI Member

    Feb 14, 2014
    I guess this is as good of a place as any to ask. Have any of you had any luck with the Orange amp model with your Mustangs? I have been playing around a lot with the Brit models, with generally good results. The AC30 model is phenomenal with my Gretsch, and in general I can get really nice results with my SGJ on the Marshall amps. The Orange on the other hand, ick. It sounds boxey, and I have spent a good amount of time hand tuning things. Any guitar I put it through sounds lifeless, almost like I'm listening to a lo-fi recording. I am not a really big Orange fan in general, but going from the AC30 or Marshall with some gain or stomp to the Orange sounds like going from a boutique amp to 2" speaker made for $10. Maybe I just need a good patch, anyone have any suggestions?

    I also hate the Silvertone model, but I really dislike Silvertones in general so I think that is hopeless.
    Last edited: May 19, 2015

  18. euro

    euro Tele-Holic

    Apr 30, 2014
    I get the same feeling about the Orange amp and the Silvertone amp in the M3. To me personally, the only British amps I want to here or use are the Vox and Marshalls. Everything else is kind of like an off-shoot of those two tones.
    I start by going to the basic amp I want, and without doing much, or nothing at all to it, I then start adding the effects I want from it.

    Once I get everything reacting pretty well, I walk away from the amp for awhile and give my ears a chance to recoup...even when playing at lower volumes. I need to start fresh, so after an hour or so, I go back, and refine what I did. Then I start trying different guitars that I will be using and try to find a balanced middle ground in tone and volume. Once I get there, I have to wait until I am on the job to refine the settings further.

    If I get the amp close enough where I don't really notice anything lacking in a major way, I will leave the settings alone, or start copying them over one of the rock star presets lower down the rotary dial. This way, I might be able to group my settings by guitar for the amp models I will primarily use, then refine each amp setting in it's group for that specific guitar I will use for that group.

  19. StormJH1

    StormJH1 Tele-Holic

    Orange amps, in general, are a bit of a niche tone. They absolutely have their fans, but it's tough to nail down expectations for an Orange amp. I will say that on my Mustang I, I am only allowed 24 presets, but one of them does use the Orange model - it's very thick and fuzzy. As with most things on the Mustang, I try to forget about what it's supposed to be in real life and just ask if it sounds "good". My favorite preset is the Two Rock Studio 22 from intheblues, but there obviously is not a specific model for that type of amp...the preset was just crafted using EQ, compression, etc. to sound like that particular amp, and I like it.

    I struggle with "boxy" as an adjective - I see people use that to mean that something small is trying to sound artificially large, but I've seen other people use it other ways!

  20. nick0

    nick0 Tele-Meister

    Feb 2, 2015
    South Wales, UK
    The orange amp setting on the mustang is one of my favs , whether it sounds like a proper orange?? I dont care, i just love the tone.

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