Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

What is a "Modeling" Amp?

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by JayFreddy, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2006
    Dallas TX USA
    A copy of something? An idealization of something? Or is it just some silly catch-phrase that caught on in the late 90's that doesn't really mean anything anymore? Did it ever mean anything? If it did, what did it mean? And does it still mean the same thing(s) today? ;)

    Not really trying to stir the pot here, but to me, having a category that includes modelling amps along with "plugins" and "apps" makes me think it's kind of an amorphous/miscellaneous category where we we can file all the new stuff us old guys don't really understand... :oops:

  2. TieDyedDevil

    TieDyedDevil Tele-Holic

    Sep 8, 2006
    Portland, OR
    I think some people read more into the term than was ever intended.

    To me, "modeling" is just using DSP to get behaviors and sounds *similar to* those which are obtainable via tube circuitry.

    From that perspective, plugins, apps and hardware modelers are all on equal footing. Also AFAIC, it doesn't matter whether the modeled amp is supposed to be equivalent to a real amp or a creation of the DSP programmer.

  3. chippertheripper

    chippertheripper Friend of Leo's

    Dec 26, 2010
    Fhvn ma
    An amp that's simulates other amp tones my best understanding.

  4. Informal

    Informal Tele-Holic

    Jan 16, 2013

    Glad to be of service.

  5. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Aug 17, 2012
    Modeling, plug-ins, and apps are all closely related in that they all use software to generate the sound. Some do it very well, some much less so.

  6. Teletubbi

    Teletubbi Tele-Holic

    Oct 10, 2012
    Its an amp with a final stage that your raw tone passes thru and is digitally tweaked to sound like a specific real world amp when the sparks hit the speaker. The 'model' designers are pretty good at what they do. Because each 'model' of a popular amp is simply a bit of digital code, the modeling amp can have models of dozens of popular amps on hand to be chosen with the turn of the dial.
    Want a 57 bassman? no problem. How about a twin reverb. Lets get jiggy and play through a Marshall stack. Maybe a Vox AC 50? Many more available.
    Most folks say its a poor attempt at virtual amp reality but I wonder how many would do a blind test with a 12 pak at stake?

    Apple's Garage Band recording software had digital amps years ago and then the amplifier companies picked it up and ran with it. Getting better all the time.
    Now if they could just perfect my virtual housekeeper.

  7. Abu Twangy

    Abu Twangy Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2012
    Rocky Mount, NC
    Over the past twenty or so years digital models have come a lot closer to replicating the original amp and/or effects. And amps with built-in modeling have become more common

    Years ago I had a Zoom 505 II pedalwhich I bought primarily to use to create effects patches for certain songs. Beside not being particularly used friendly the few amp models were hideous attempts at mimicking amps. I never could figure out if the "Peavey" model represented any particular amp or some pawn shop wreck. My Les Paul didn't sound much different than my Tele with most of the models. And when I created the perfect effects patch for a concert tune it managed to cut out during my solo.

    More recently I had a Vox Tone Lab ST which had some good effects models and some acceptable amp models. However it wasn't sturdy enough to take typical travel abuse.

    So I picked up a $39 used Peavey Vypyr 15, replaced the stock speaker with a Jensen 10". A couple of times I ran a line from the Vypyr to the PA board when I needed more volume. That worked good enough that I got a used Vypyr 30. Ultimately this led me to dispose of all five of my "one trick pony" tube amps. I like being able to get a Vox AC30 sound, a vintage 40's tube amp spound and a Fender Tweed and blackface sound with one amp.

    There are quite a few companies putting out good popular-priced modeling amps--Fender, Line 6, Peavey and Vox plus others. And some pricey ones such as the Kemper Profiling amp.

  8. colorado

    colorado Tele-Holic

    Mar 19, 2012
    A modeling amp is a specific thing. It has a computer in the amp that runs software. The software (which can take several approaches depending on the code) "models" a (typically tube) amp. Usually the software either "builds" a virtual circuit or jumps over that and has code that "models" the output of the amp as a whole.

    In either case you are NOT running electricity through a circuit to get your sounfd. You are running a computer software program that sends a signal to a power amp.

  9. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2006
    Dallas TX USA
    Thanks for your replies. More than anything else, I guess I was just a bit surprised by the new subforum naming... Seems awkward and incomplete to me.

    The digital tone stack on a Roland Cube XL amplifier is essentially the same technology as that used for the Boss ME series effects pedals, but the way this subforum is labelled, you would never know it.

    I think this area would be better served with a name like, "The Digital Domain", where old fashioned digital signal processing (DSP) could exist side by side with more contemporary ideas about circuit and effects modeling.

    Nobody/Nothing's perfect, but I think a rethink/renaming of this subforum could be a good thing... Thanks again for your input!

  10. Toxic Tom

    Toxic Tom Tele-Meister

    May 12, 2012
    It'd be good to see a solid state forum too

  11. Jefe

    Jefe Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 17, 2004
    Wallingford, CT
    +1 - there are a lot of good solid state amps out there, and SS are pretty popular here at TDPRI, so I'm kinda surprised they didnt get their own category. SS doesnt fit here in ''modeling", so I'm not sure where we're supposed to discuss them.

    Edit: I guess that's what the Amp Central Station area is for.

  12. dconeill

    dconeill Tele-Afflicted


  13. musicmatty

    musicmatty Former Member

    Aug 18, 2008

    Very well stated! Do these modeling amps exactly replicate the tone of the amp that they're trying to replicate?? ... hard to say, since everyone hears things differently. However, I don't think there's any question that these modeling amps capture the strongest elements and characteristics of the tone of the amps that they are trying to replicate.

  14. Abu Twangy

    Abu Twangy Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2012
    Rocky Mount, NC
    Some of the newer modelers/modeling amps allow you to do more than adjust tone settings and gain or drive on models or change cabinet emulation. So it is possible to create a black face Twin Reverb with more sag or create a looser output. This level of tweakability won't get things exactly like the original but may let you create the specific tone you want.

    And with the Kemper Profiling amp you can create a model of your treasured vintage tube amp or anyone else who has done this with their amp who is willing to share their model with you.

  15. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

    the tough thing about innovating is that people are NEVER ready for it.

    modeling amps got that name so that the regular person would have a context for it. The controversy actually helps business... for every thread that talks about 'graininess' and how they don't measure up.. they sell 10 or 20 units... the people who hate them actually help them.

    I have several modelers. I don't look at any of them as 'modeling' a sound from another amp. Each of them has voices and sounds of their own...

    to me they are like siblings or cousins... nothing is worse than comparing siblings and family members... let them all be who they are, value them for what they can do and then get a sandwich!

  16. dgr888

    dgr888 Tele-Meister

    Sep 20, 2010
    Modeling is a term that has been created to take the place of the negative term "solid state". Solid State technology has been around since the advent of the transistor which is the technology used in "modeling". "Digital" signal processing (which all modeling technology employs) use transistors to convert from analog to digital (A to D converter) to manipulate the signal in various ways then back through an D to A converter to the output transistors/chips to your speaker. The point here is that your guitar SIGNAL doesn't magically "jump" somewhere as some would have you believe but stays virtually intact although manipulated while it is being "modeled" through the solid state DSP's and yet another ploy to distance this technology from the negative connotation associated with solid state...So to answer Modeling is solid state transistor based technology which tries to recreate the sound of tube amps or any other type amp/pedals/guitars etc...

  17. rangercaster

    rangercaster Friend of Leo's

    May 8, 2008
    portland, or
    I own a first generation modeling amp , a Crate DX series from 2001 ... here is how the designer explains a modeling amp ...

  18. colorado

    colorado Tele-Holic

    Mar 19, 2012
    Don't listen to dgr888, he makes this case all the time. He doesn't understand the difference between solid state circuitry and a computer simulation and feels compelled to argue they are the same thing.

    A solid state amp and a digital modeling amp are totally different animals.

  19. gpasq

    gpasq Friend of Leo's

    Oct 15, 2011
    Littleton, CO
    What? Uh... no. How does a signal "remain intact although manipulated"? :rolleyes:

    Didn't we do this a while ago and you were wrong then too?

  20. gpasq

    gpasq Friend of Leo's

    Oct 15, 2011
    Littleton, CO
    From the point of view of the forum names, I wonder where something like a Tweaker or a Line 6 DT50 would fit. They're not modelers in the sense that don't use software to manipulate the signal, but they do model the sounds of other amps in circuitry.

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.