Future-Proofing / Obsolescence - Classic Tube vs. Modeling Amps

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by rob5755, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,140
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I'm fascinated by the new modeling stuff, and I will eventually get something from Line 6 or whoever so I can play around. That is, use it as a fun distraction. But what I really, really want in a piece of amplification gear is that it NOT have bluetooth, 47 models of Marshall stacks, and all of that. I want to plug it into a wall, plug a cable into it, and focus on making music. I want the amp to be a part of the instrument, not one more piece of tech that has me staring at a computer screen, hunting around for a special cable, lusting after the new version, and so on. It's really only somewhat about the sound (though my new, hand-made, Allen Accomplice does SOUND great!). It's also about the experience of using it in the real world and my relationship to it as a musician. So in that sense, being obsolete or not obsolete is beside the point. Is a violin "obsolete"? A grand piano? You can replicate the sound pretty well through high end keyboards and a good PA. But it's somehow not about that.
     
    Gardo likes this.
  2. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,337
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Location:
    Near Athens GA USA
    I think that's where some of the savvy companies are heading, limited choices instead of many. That's kind of the point of the Strymon Iridium and Fender Tonemaster, a few great tones.
     
    Digital Larry likes this.
  3. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    953
    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    ...Not to mention the opportunity for you to open your wallet again when you need one more great tone that didn't come with what you bought.

    The Tonemaster's target audience is people who know how to operate TRs and DRs and don't want to change anything about that experience. I'm not bagging on people who want it that way; I'm just not that audience. 40 years of writing software has made me like things that I can bend into what I want without having to go out and buy more stuff to do it because that's what I value in a digital gadget. Maybe applying what I don't suck at to things I do suck at is a my way of compensating for being a mediocre musician, but it is what it is.
     
    Dennyf likes this.
  4. Ignatius

    Ignatius Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,765
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    I buy and use whatever gear serves as a useful tool for me to make music, gig, etc. Although I do consider the value/payback proposition to a certain degree (i.e., I wouldn't buy a Dumble to play in a cover band), I don't get hung up on whether it will be of "value" in ten years. If I did that I'd probably never buy any music gear.

    MANY players - pros, studio cats, amateurs - were convinced during the 80s that you needed to have a big rack system. We all know where that went.

    I recently bought a Tone Master Deluxe. It's a nearly perfect solution for a lot of what I need out of a guitar amp these days (for perspective - I've owned and gigged extensively with an array of tube amps from Dr. Z, Morgan, Fuchs, Boogie, and Fender). In 5-10 years my Tone Master will still sound pretty much like a Deluxe Reverb. If it doesn't break down. But as far as that goes, do a search here for threads on what a piece of crap the DRRIs are with their cheap PCBs, and then consider how many of those amps are getting hammered on week in and week out. I know several players who have owned "inferior" Fender Reissue and Hot Rod Deluxe, etc., amps for a couple decades. Most of them are out playing music and not reading internet forums to determine whether their gear is forum-approved.

    For additional perspective - how many of us are in bands that spend a pretty tidy sum on our PA systems? And how come this longevity/repairability/reliability/value conversation isn't occurring there? Powered speaker technology has evolved considerably. These speakers are loaded in, loaded out, hoisted on poles, set on the floor as monitors, etc. They continue to work (with exceptions of course, but I don't hear a lot of dialog about how today's powered PA speakers are unreliable and unrepairable). And guess what, internally they're not all that dissimilar to what's inside a Tone Master amp.

    Guitar players are weird.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
    bsman, ataylor, Apache Snow and 6 others like this.
  5. TobyZ28

    TobyZ28 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    146
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2020
    Location:
    Vancouver
    The other question to consider is do modeling amps need to last as long.. since they are digital, newer amps can exactly match what the older models did and do it better. Modeling amps will get smaller/cheaper/better over time meaning the older models lose their value.
     
  6. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    1,494
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Midland TX
    Another take on a recurring theme: digital is great until the next best thing and marketing hype comes along. I recall when the Alexis Quadraverb was the do-all-end-all...then variations from ART, Rocktron, etc. I spend a huge sum of cash on a Mackie d8b recording console, only to have it end up in a landfill...

    how much did people invest in their ProTools 888s, ADATS, Sony Oxford consoles, etc before they were insanely outdated? I’m convinced the same “great until the next thing” mindset applies in all aspects of audio, music, computing, etc.

    Some call it progress...some call it exploitation... some call it free market...but until manufacturers are legally bound to support products for a specific period then the digital world is iffy at best.

    yes, I have a Line 6 HX Effects...and it’s soon to be for sale
     
  7. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,488
    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Knoxville TN for now
    Screw it all ... Live for today ... if an amp or guitar appeals to you,
    Go for it !!! ... we are not promised tomorrow ...
    Of course, after you buy it, the new, improved lower priced version will appear ...
     
  8. Ducerro

    Ducerro Tele-Holic

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    556
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2017
    Location:
    Yoakum, Texas
    I figure there will come a time in the not to distant future when tubes - replacement or otherwise - will simply not be available any more. When that happens it's just a matter of time until the last remaining tube amp fades to black.

    I don't see much point in modeling amps either - as several have already mentioned the software isn't going to be able to keep up with advances in technology. Our future computers will not be able to run the software and when that happens - just like the tubes in our beloved tube amps - they'll simply fade to black.

    Personally, I see amp sims as the future. I think - in the future - we'll all have pedals that mimic our favorite amps of the past (some of us already do) - and those will feed into a FOH system with no amps on the floor. It's not what I want - it's just what I see.
     
  9. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    2,311
    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA
    I had a J-Station that after a few years started spewing loud noise out the S/PDIF, so I got rid of that. Now I have a 10 year old Eleven Rack I got for $200 connected to my mixer using XLR cables. I could use USB but don't bother, too much futzing around. If the Eleven broke I'd probably get another one for about $200. I've been buying computers and guitar stuff for 30 years easily but I'm a "trailing-edge" kinda guy. I never get the newest most expensive anything. I usually get "at least one generation old" stuff because it's cheaper and works just fine. Really!

    The only real times that computer obsolescence bit me was when I was using a Firewire audio interface and the motherboard I had at the time with FW built in fried. I got another one and upgraded to Windows 10 and that never worked well. So I got rid of the FW interface (junked it) and got some USB audio interfaces all of which worked fine. Also it seems to me that Mac computers have more issues with OS upgrades than Windows. At least in my experience. I had a 2 GB RAM Mac Mini at one point and the OS/X upgrades wouldn't work with it. I put Linux on it for awhile then I threw it away. I didn't cry or get mad.

    I recently pulled my GK 200MB (solid state, not modeling) bass amp out of mothballs and it's developed a pretty bad sound. I have the schematics and can probably debug it but I'm just using the Eleven for recording bass tracks which is more flexible anyway.
     
  10. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    2,311
    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA
    I think it's easy to conclude that one's lack of success as an artist in the music industry is about "gear". I'd say it's more about the difficulty of writing a song that is both true to who you are as a person and also manages to captivate an audience tuned to "taste du jour".
     
    Apache Snow, BobbyZ and Frodebro like this.
  11. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    1,494
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Midland TX
    I agree with that...the song and the performance are the highest priority...my point is only digital is a tool with a very finite lifetime, relying on irreplaceable parts and devices/operating systems that are abandoned the moment said products don’t have a high enough return...
     
    BobbyZ likes this.
  12. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    2,311
    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Well OK, but no different in that regard than myriad other things we use in our daily lives. So Avid EOL'ed support for the Eleven Rack. Did it stop working? Not yet. I'm unaware of any particularly high failure rate of commercial amp modelers compared to other electronic devices.
     
  13. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,528
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    Since most people fill a canoe with pedals and stick that in front of whatever amp they have ... they only need the equivalent of a PA system, just give me loudness and all the toanze I'll get from my big canoe.

    Get a Peavey Bandit amp from the 80s and many are still going strong -- solid state and able to do cleans quite handily. They are great at taking pedals. Just about the perfect amp.

    The digital system amps can cover all that but they are computer systems subjected to Moore's Law of Obsolescence. A computer system loses it's value at the rate of 10% PER MONTH. Software bloat pushes the need for more ram and cpu, more transistors packed on a chip, fewer chips, and the build costs of the new ones go down while performance goes up.

    What can save all the digital gizmos is when they realize they need and can take weight out so the aging baby boomers have a chance at lugging them around to gigs. But the problem then is the complexity factor for minds that are getting more feeble on average every year "what does this button do?" "I think it's a delay but I tried pushing this other one over here two weeks ago and I couldn't get anything but a screaming wah out of it until today! No way am I pushing that button."

    .
     
  14. Neener

    Neener Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    631
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2019
    Location:
    Detroit
    Not a cork-sniffer but I just buy the amp I like the sound of and don't have to worry about computer updates.

    Tube amps (for me) will never be outdated.
     
  15. FelixV

    FelixV TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    30
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2020
    Location:
    Cardiff, UK
    I would seriously worry about catastrophic failure in these digital amps. Very scary if it suddenly breaks and you are left unable to have it repaired.
     
  16. Apache Snow

    Apache Snow Tele-Meister

    Age:
    76
    Posts:
    265
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2019
    Location:
    gone fishing
    Its not one of the things on my list of things to worry about.

    I've got a Yamaha G50-112 II. Its was made around 1980 I think. It sounds as good today as it did when it was new. I've got a Blues JR III, a Princeton Reverb and a Tone Master Deluxe Reverb. I'm good for a long while.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
  17. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    50
    Posts:
    16,049
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle
    They don't fail catastrophically. I've owned and used digital units of one type or another for 30 years and have never had one go TU on me.
     
  18. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,958
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Location:
    On Location
    If the Fender TMs are selling as well as I think they are, here's the timeline for how this is gonna work out:

    2019:Tonemaster Twin and Deluxe released
    2020-2023: New Tonemaster models released each year (Tweeds, Champs, Bassmen, etc)
    2024: TONEMASTER II RELEASED!!!! This time they sound EVEN MORE like a real tube amp!!!


    No one wants to gig with a 1965 Shure Vocalmaster anymore, and no one ever made a Vocalmaster reissue. A '65 Deluxe Reverb is just as useful as it's ever been though. There have been even more advances in PA gear than in guitar amps since 1965, and they're accepted because (for the most part) they all represent improvements over previous generations. The Deluxe Reverb was basically perfect as it was in '65, so I get comparing a "new" version to the "old" version, and one thing to consider is longevity.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.