End of my year long experiment

fender4life

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 18, 2011
Posts
4,394
Location
los angeles
The one thing I've noticed on the few modellers I've used is that they sound like a recording of the amp, not the live version of the amp.

For instance, I have an original '66 Deluxe Reverb and a Mustang III version 2. The Deluxe Reverb model on the Mustang sounds lovely, but it sounds like a recorded, slightly compressed and levelled and EQ'd version of my Deluxe Reverb. It does not sound like a live amp to me, regardless of how I tweak the bias, sag, etc.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. There are plenty of times I'd just as soon have that recorded/engineered sound. But I do wonder why (in my limited experience) the modellers seem to go that pre-recorded, sweetened sound.

A whole other issue is the lack of liveliness/sensitivity/dynamics on some (most?) modellers. They feel like there's some kind of compression or something going on. Luckily, I can dial most of that out by using my Blackstone MOSFET Overdrive, which--although it adds some gain, depending on the setting--restores a sufficient level of "feel" to my Mustang III so that I feel more connected to the amp.

Anyways, not a knock on modelling amps. They are amazing. I'm just curious why as a rule they have gone for a recorded-amp rather than a live-amp sound.
I have the GTX and it doesn't sound like that for me. But then i think it may depend on what u r after. Master volume amps like say a DSL or JCM800/900 arguably sound like recorded amps, IF u compare them to no master marshalls. In that regard i agree somewhat because a deluxe is less smooth and harsher to some degree, especially on the MY which is IMO far more like a recorded tone than the GTX. In other words, i think master volume amps with cascaded preamps can be modeled and sound like the real thing IN THE ROOM. My GTX certainly does, and i've owned a hell of a lot of tube amps before i ever bought a modeler. My GTX by no means sounds like a recorded amp with the models i like, and less so than the MIII on all models. One thing i have said a zillion times and the reason i feel the GTX is far superior to the MIII is the MIII's top end doesn't sound anything like a real tube amp. It could easily be mistaken for a recorded version. That was the one thing i loved about the GT when it frst came out and everyone hated it. Love it or hat it, the top end had been totally revamped to my ear to sound much more real, and after the sept 2018 update even more, then after v3 in the GTX (and available for the GT) even more realistic.

So as far as clean fender tones and other non master models in all the mustangs but much more so in the MIII, they don't sound and feel quite right to me and i would agree with u that it could be said to sound recorded. But in the bassbreaker, british 80s and 70s, blues junior and quite a few others, the sound and feel as "in the room" as tube amps. The MIII, not one model sounded "in the room" to me. I loved it at the time because i was new to modeling and all the advantages in features etc were amazing to me, but the top end and other things about it bothered me and i would absolutely go back to tube amps before i'd go back to the MIII. By the way, i HATE having amps that always feel compressed. I love dynamics, and if the GTX sounded compressed i'd have sold it day one. Thats one of the things i love....i can get a open uncompressed sound even better than some tube amps.
 

JL_LI

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
May 20, 2017
Posts
8,844
Age
72
Location
Long Island, NY
So, what about that clean channel master volume? Does that cause you any issues?
I set the gain and master volume to 11 o’clock to play clean. The clean channel treble is at 1 o’clock. The blues channel is at 11. I play clean, almost always at 5 watts so I’m relying on my fingers to push the amp. I use 25 watts with humbuckers for a thick sound. I control loudness with my BOSS EQ-200. An intensity drop of 5dB makes humbuckers at 25 watts about as loud as single coils at 5 watts. These are home settings that allow me to sing over my guitars without a mic. I use the equalizer’s intensity slider if I want to be loud. I don’t use distortion. This is about as unconventional use of a Boogie as there is but it’s what I like. Don’t confuse my use of the amp with the way it would be used with a drummer in a bar.
 

Bill

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Mar 16, 2003
Posts
7,560
Location
London
I have the GTX and it doesn't sound like that for me. […]

Thanks so much for that informative and thorough reply. It seems like we hear and feel similar things in amp response.

I come from currently having these old Fender amps:

Late 50s Princetons, a blackface Deluxe Reverb, a silverface Princeton Reverb, an early 80s Super Champ, and a silverface Pro Reverb.

So after 45 years that’s what my ears are calibrated to.
 

fender4life

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 18, 2011
Posts
4,394
Location
los angeles
Thanks so much for that informative and thorough reply. It seems like we hear and feel similar things in amp response.

I come from currently having these old Fender amps:

Late 50s Princetons, a blackface Deluxe Reverb, a silverface Princeton Reverb, an early 80s Super Champ, and a silverface Pro Reverb.

So after 45 years that’s what my ears are calibrated to.
I can then see why u feel like u do. I agree the fender stuff in the MIII is very fake sounding. Not like the real thing in the GTX either, but much better than the MIII. In fact i really love the deluxe in the GTX and it might well be one of if not a main patch if not for the fact it doesn't take boosts well at all. I had the same issue with the MIII deluxe and in the GT. But the GTX deluxe, that issue aside, sounds pretty in the room to me. Go to TGP and check out the GTX thread if u haven't. It's over 300 pages long and a lot of people love that amp. Some prefer it to things like the helix purely for tone and pretty much to a man find that it sounds better then the MIIi. Don't ask here tho....tdpri hates the newer mustangs based on the early days of the GT.
 

tattypicker

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 3, 2019
Posts
368
Age
49
Location
UK
e.g. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN if someone made the bold move to market a modeler WITHOUT METAL amps? Would a bunch of people like me who really don't know how to or want to use metal settings all of a sudden say, "hmmmm"... The Yamaha THR-10C was a step in this direction. And they had a THR-10X that was a step in the other direction. In a way it makes no sense... take features out to create a new product? At this stage it's pure marketing... so who's to say what makes sense?

I agree it's marketing. But, there's no question that there is no shortage of people who don't really see the value or cost of modelling/programming and expect it all to come for free. Who reduce the perceived value of a digital amp to the sum of visible components.

The three THR10 models were a case in point. People (though by no means all) weren't happy with the 5 amp models that came with each amp once they realised that Yamaha had other models, running on the same hardware, in different amps. Even Yamaha seems to have conceded the point in the THRIIs.

Whilst I don't own one, I kinda admire what Fender has done with the Tonemasters, if only for the conviction inherent in their approach of "Here is your one sound..."
 

Digital Larry

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 30, 2017
Posts
3,585
Location
Silicon Valley, CA
I guess we won't have to call you "Tube Larry" ;)
Yeah (cough) only certain people are allowed to call me that. :rolleyes:

Hey I'm keeping the Laney. It's a great little 2-channel 5 watt EL84 amp that gets nice clean and rockin' tones, digital reverb is good, and has good interfacing to the modern home recording studio. IMO the big lesson in all of this is "what is it like to use"? The sound is just one of those aspects. The UI is just as important, shall we say, once the sound differences are below some threshold. I understand the "feelz" contingent and I am not in a position to dispute what they say since my gigging days are long over and I only ever played bass through a solid state amp. :cry:

Here's an example I've come across recently that I think bears exploration.

The Zoom MS-50G, which can easily be had for under $100, is basically a modeler-in-a-pedal. It has amp models, effects, cabinet selection, pretty much everything you might expect. The adjustment UI is somewhat toy-like and monochrome yet it is very well thought out and above all, you can remove blocks that you don't want from the pedal completely using a PC editor over USB, so that you don't have to subsequently flip through them. THAT is brilliant!

So, I took out nearly all of the high gain amps. And since there is not enough room for ALL of the possible blocks, you are put in a position to make tradeoffs. Some people would be disappointed not to have everything, but given the ship-in-a-bottle aspect of such a pedal, I don't think that's what we're going after.
 
Last edited:

maxvintage

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Mar 16, 2003
Posts
6,038
Age
62
Location
Arlington, VA
I have Yamaha THR30 II and it's pretty great for home playing, but it offers way more styles than I need. In general I wish modeling amps offered fewer, better models
 

Mike_LA

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Posts
1,881
Location
Just past 11 on the Dial
I play my Eleven Rack everyday . . .

20210315_131939.jpg
 

Telekarster

Poster Extraordinaire
Gold Supporter
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Posts
5,406
Location
Earth
That’s quite a detailed story of a journey to amplification consciousness. Mine’s a lot simpler. I couldn’t find my tone in a SuperChamp XD but found a Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 to love. I’ve had it 9 or 10 years and keep finding things I must have missed along the way. I use only the two clean channels and now mostly at 5 watts. I use a BOSS EQ-200 as a tone shaper and a Fender Mirror Image Delay in place of the reverb. I’m not saying do what I do. I’m saying finding what works can be liberating and inspiring.

FWIW Recently I modded my lil XD with NOS tubes and a 50's Rola alnico speaker that I bought a couple years ago for a song. I loved my Champ before all ths but now I REALLY love it :D Really surprised me how much difference those simple mods made on it. Night and day, really...
 

985plowboy

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Posts
5,756
Location
South Louisiana
Being my own Sound engineer sounds like it would come with a bunch of very deep rabbit holes that a fella like me could wander down and never be seen again.
Not sure if I could stay on task if I started having that many options.
You have my respect.
 

JL_LI

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
May 20, 2017
Posts
8,844
Age
72
Location
Long Island, NY
FWIW Recently I modded my lil XD with NOS tubes and a 50's Rola alnico speaker that I bought a couple years ago for a song. I loved my Champ before all ths but now I REALLY love it :D Really surprised me how much difference those simple mods made on it. Night and day, really...
I upgraded tubes and the speaker. The Weber speaker I put in doubled the weight and made it too loud. There are more sensible front porch amps. Maybe a THR-10. I hate the thought of CL but it probably makes sense to sell what I rarely use. I have a Gibson SG I feel the same way about. It’s a fine guitar, just not my thing.
 

Telekarster

Poster Extraordinaire
Gold Supporter
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Posts
5,406
Location
Earth
I upgraded tubes and the speaker. The Weber speaker I put in doubled the weight and made it too loud. There are more sensible front porch amps. Maybe a THR-10. I hate the thought of CL but it probably makes sense to sell what I rarely use. I have a Gibson SG I feel the same way about. It’s a fine guitar, just not my thing.

Ha! Funny you say that about the SG. I have one too, and great guitar etc., but just not my thing either... it's slated to be moved onto a new owner, soon ;)
 

Blrfl

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
May 3, 2018
Posts
1,839
Location
Northern Virginia
At one level of modelling, all anyone is apparently doing is entering a schematic into a computer which "computes" what that circuit would do when given a signal. You don't have to measure a real amp to make this happen.

That depends on your goal. If you're out to model the "ideal" version of an amp, you'd start with the schematic and use the values for the parts as-specified. Real amps rarely live up to that standard, so you're often better off measuring the parts in a specimen you like and modeling that.

Multiply a tolerance of 5% across the 18 fixed resistors in a 5E3 and you've got an awful lot of permutations of physical amps rolling off the production line. Expand beyond just the resistors and you've got even more. Somebody with a 5E3 that has a different set of variations will invariably do a side-by-side with a model and say the model sounds nothing like the real thing even though it might be a near-dead ringer for the actual amp used to develop it.

For example, I am interested to know WHY the capabilities of 99% of modelers exceed the needs of the customer by about 1000%? This needless clutter does not come without a price!

I'd like to hear what you think that price is, because I disagree.

Let me draw a comparison to the PC on your desk, which has capabilities that exceed your needs by far more than 1,000%. Dell doesn't produce a Digital Larry Edition of that computer that's loaded with only the applications you want to run and incapable of running others. People would poo-poo Twinkies* if they found out they had to buy a specialized computer for some new application and there'd be threads abound on Bad Dog about how computer manufacturers are a bunch of evil scammers.

Modeling isn't like physical amps where if you want 6L6 or EL84 power sections in the same box, you have to add hardware to do both and more hardware to switch between them and it's more stuff to fail. It's software, which is cheap to develop, cheap to manufacture and imposes zero penalty when you're not using it other than taking up some inexpensive storage space. The metal amps in a modeler are like the Solitaire and Minesweeper games on Windows: all they do when not in use is occupy a little bit of inexpensive storage space and run on the same processor as your DAW. Microsoft isn't going to ship separate releases of Windows with and without them because it's simply not worth doing.

There are reasons why it's better to put the kitchen sink into one unit; I'll explain that in another post if you want, because this one's long enough.



*Sorry, I really wanted to say something involving bricks.
 

codamedia

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 4, 2009
Posts
5,963
Location
Western Canada
The adjustment UI is somewhat toy-like and monochrome yet it is very well thought out and above all, you can remove blocks that you don't want from the pedal completely using a PC editor over USB, so that you don't have to subsequently flip through them. THAT is brilliant!


That is a great solution for streamlining the product. I wish I could do that with my Helix.
Of course, people would then stress about what they choose to leave off in fear of missing out on something ;).

A company cannot win the battle of "option overload". If they keep it simple people complain that they are not providing enough, and if they load it up people complain there are too many options to go through. It's a human problem that many humans expect the product to solve.
 
Last edited:

chris m.

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Mar 25, 2003
Posts
10,198
Location
Santa Barbara, California
That is a great solution for streamlining the product. I wish I could do that with my Helix.
Of course, people would then stress about what they choose to leave off in fear of missing out on something ;).

A company cannot win the battle of "option overload". If they keep it simple people complain that they are not providing enough, and if they load it up people complain there are too many options to go through. It's a human problem that many humans expect the product to solve.

With the ability to plug your device into a computer and customize it to meet your needs, I think it is now possible to "win the battle of option overload". The key here is for someone really smart to develop an excellent, intuitive software interface that makes it super easy to understand how to go about it. For example, have a few very simple links to short YouTube videos that provide "how to" tutorials, right there in the app. But beyond that, try to make it so dang intuitive that anyone can pretty much figure it out just by looking at it.
 

codamedia

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 4, 2009
Posts
5,963
Location
Western Canada
With the ability to plug your device into a computer and customize it to meet your needs, I think it is now possible to "win the battle of option overload".

In a perfect world yes is should... but people continually seek new things to complain about.
In the case of the MS-50 which actually has that option, the product cannot hold EVERY option and therefore that becomes the focus of complaints ;)

try to make it so dang intuitive that anyone can pretty much figure it out just by looking at it.

As a Helix User.... I would love a simple "hide" feature. Once an amp or effect is hidden it won't appear in the day to day choices but can be accessed in it's own folder (aptly named "hidden") in case you wish to "unhide" it later. No computer required.
 




New Posts

Top