How "good" is amp modelling today?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by nosuch, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. beep.click

    beep.click Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    5,686
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    Location:
    California
    Ready for what? It is what it is.

    I go for the best of both worlds approach, as someone else put it. Whatever sounds good IS good. So, one day I got AMAZING sounds with my band, running an SG Classic (P90s) through a Vox ToneLab (modeler), into an Epiphone Classic 30 (tube) amp.

    When I record, it's frequently straight into the computer. Or, JUST through a Snarling Dogs VeryTone. SOMETIMES, I use the "speaker emulated" direct out of my Marshall or Vox tube amps... or my Radial DI, which does the same thing.

    I really love my tubes and analog stuff, but it sure doesn't pay to be a purist!
     
  2. highwayman

    highwayman Former Member

    Posts:
    972
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Location:
    ny
    Uh, I have to really disagree with that.I actually bought an ac15vr to go with my ac15c1.I sent it back 2 days later.Side by side it could not hang with my ac15 tuber,not even close.The vr sounded ok but lacked volume and bottom end.I was really disappointed.I think that amp needs more wattage.It sounded kinda tubish though.
     
  3. tiktok

    tiktok Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,674
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Location:
    Seattle
    Okay, we disagree about the definition of a 'modeling' amp. For most folks, it's an amp that can simulate multiple amp designs, usually via a digital signal processor. For you, it's apparently a non-tube amp that shares some of the physical appearance and naming characteristics of an existing tube amp.
     
  4. TACTICALGLOCK

    TACTICALGLOCK TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    78
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Location:
    CANTON OHIO
    No matter what you get it will never have the tone or sound of a true tube amp.
     
  5. ProToneThinline

    ProToneThinline Tele-Holic

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    763
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2005
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Plus the fact that tubes require additional ancillary components that ss devices don't. Some of these parts (like transformers) can be very expensive. The bottom line is that your "expensive" parts count is much higher on a tube amp.
     
  6. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    13,310
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Location:
    Newbury, England
    What you will find is that most solid stage amps are not as loud as a valve amp of the same power rating, this applies to modelling amps too. The most obvious reason is that they are usually in smaller boxes with smaller speakers, less obvious is that the valve amp's transformer offers less impedance to the speakers back-emf, so you get greater excursion, less damping of the speaker with a valve amp. The transformers can or should account for half the cost of valve amp, they need to be good. This observation is not so noticeable with big pro stage amps (e.g. Bandit) but you do find you need a 30W solid state amp where a 15W valve amp would do the job.
     
  7. shorty ray

    shorty ray Tele-Meister

    Age:
    78
    Posts:
    114
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2005
    Location:
    Wilmington North Carolina
    SimpleOne, what settings on the Super Champ XD do you use for the Princeton sound? I love playing my SC XD. I would really appreciate this information.
     
  8. JohnSS

    JohnSS Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    484
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Location:
    NYC
    I interviewed Steve Howe for www.guitargearheads.com and he goes into great detail as to why he tours with Line 6 Vettas when playing with Yes and Asia and with Spiders for his trio. He thinks that having great guitars is the key to using modeling amps effectively.
     
  9. GigsbyBoyUK

    GigsbyBoyUK Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,883
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    Peterborough, UK
    You mean that ALL tube amps are better than ALL solid state amps? I think not.

    Also let's not overlook the fact that many tube amps need to be pushed to volumes too loud for many gigs before we get that tube sound we love. Some modelling amps do get very, very close to that sound at whatever volume is suitable for the gig.

    Don't get me wrong, I love my Pro Reverb, but there are plenty of solid state/modelling amp users out there getting a tone that's just as good or better.
     
  10. lareplus

    lareplus Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,727
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Location:
    tucson, az
    Thanks for the link, JohnSS. . .practical man that Steve Howe. . .but if he cuts corners like that he'll never get anywhere. .
     
  11. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    17,178
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    The North Coast

    Which true tube amp? You mean mine doesn't sound like a '68 Plexi? Well, not yet it doesn't, but htat doesn't mean modeling won't one day get there. It improves with each generation.

    Or you mean it doesn't sound like a Champ? Well, thank goodness for that! I'd have to throw it in the dumpster.

    Or you mean it doesn't sound like a Crate Stealth?

    Or do you mean it doesn't sound like... Wait, what DO you mean?

    Been in this business a long time. I've played tube amps that made me tingly in the nether regions, made my hair stand up, and put a smile on face so wide you'd think I'd just been hit on by the playmate of the year.

    I've also played tube amps that if they were all I could get, I'd quit playing guitar. I'd take my Roland Cube or one of my bandits over those ANY day of the week.

    Sweeping generalizations like this are part of the ongoing problem. Not all tube amps are benchmarks for tone. And all of the different modelers sound different from one another. Just as each tube amp designer's ears allow them to design and tweak circuits to their liking, every programmer and software designer is going to hear things differently as well. Not to mention, even if they scope every aspect of a vintage tube amp, if a resistor is drifting a little, or the bias is hot, or the speaker is tired, or they use different tubes than you do, their model is garanteed to sound different from your real thing.

    Just like real tube amps. You can line up half a dozen Deluxe Reverb amps. Don't re-tube 'em, don't do anything. Just go find six at random, set them all the same, and plug in. Barring something really wrong with one, they will all be in the same general ballpark, but will all sound different from one another. One will stand out as the dog, one will be exceptional, and the others will just be.

    Getting yourself a modeler, flipping to the preset that models your favorite amp, and just going for it is not going to yeild favorable results 99% of the time. It's going to be different because first, YOUR amp wasn't modeled. Second, you are using a setup programmed by somebody who doesn't have your ears, hands, or guitar.

    If one learns to use a modeler for what it is- A tone generator. Just like an amp. With no thought to whether it sounds just like this amp or that amp. One will be able to achieve satisfactory results.

    I also have to wonder about:

    It seems the people in these dicussions that most vehemently oppose modeling, and the people who shout the loudest that they can hear the difference, are always tube amp techs. I'm not saying there is no merit to their claims, but they are hardly an un-biased source. Ever talk to an oil company man about electric or hydrogen car engines? Just sayin'.
     
  12. Skub

    Skub Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,797
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    N.Ireland
    I'm hearing good things about this amp,anyone any direct experience?
     
  13. ImmortalSix

    ImmortalSix Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    254
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    'Nother tool in the toolbox.

    I have a very nice tube amp, a very nice modeling amp, and a very nice solid state amp, and I have gigged all three of them in the past year.

    They're like cars - you don't pull a boat with a Miata and you don't run a racetrack with an F150 - but both of those cars are very good at what they do - they're just not perfect for everything.
     
  14. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    13,310
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Location:
    Newbury, England
    That sounds contentious until you actually A/B a good modelling amp against the equivalent valve amp.

    The sound is similar but generally the valve amp sounds more open. Whether this is ADC latency or just something lacking in the processor model, or a different speaker/cab. However a good modelling amp will cover a much greater range of sounds than a single valve amp. A good modelling amp does sound good and good enough to gig. There is a small interactive difference, the player the might notice the difference in feel but the punters won't hear the difference in sound.

    The modelling amp also has a different feel to an analogue solid state amp. The pure solid state, or better the discrete transistor, feels very much like a valve amp, but sounds different.
     
  15. schenkadere

    schenkadere Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    4,611
    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    Location:
    NY
    I played one at the GC King of the Blues contest...I actually liked it quite a bit...sounded so much better than the Egnator Tweaker I used the week before. Didn't have much time to fiddle, but I would consider this amp if I was in the market for such a beast.
     
  16. timmer114

    timmer114 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    523
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Modelling is getting better! Compare a modern modeller to say something from 5 years back and you can hear it, and feel it.

    I love both modellers and tube amps. I have a Digitech GNX4 I would never part with, I run it into a pair of active monitors and it sounds great. I have gotten pretty good at making amps and presets with it, its quite a toolbox. My Son is learning guitar, so he uses it now and it gives him a palette of sounds that I could only wish I had 30 years ago.

    I also love tube amps too. There is nothing like the chime, dynamics and feel you get from a set of hot tubes. People say tube amps are obsolete and the market will die, but I think its just the opposite, there are more tube amp makers and options now than ever. I am happy for that, it gives all of us choices and the opportunity to get a tube amp at a decent price. I'm glad if anything that a player can walk into a music store with 300 bucks and walk out with either a nice small tube amp, or a hybrid like the SCXD, or the latest modelling amp or multi effect.

    However, back on track..Modellers are getting better. In 2006 I thought my Digitech GNX was amazing. So much versatility, so many tools. However, 5 years later it sounds dated to me. Now the other night, I bought a Mustang II on the cheap from GC, and wow! I can hear (and feel) the advances in modelling. I'll never be able to go buy a PRRI or anything, not at least until my kids are out of the house but I have to say, I can get awful close with this Mustang and the Fuse editing software. Its richer, fuller, less synthetic and most importantly dynamic, much more so than my Digitech (which at one time was a 500 dollar multipedal) I dig into the strings it breaks up nicely, good harmonics, the knobs on my guitar work! In other words it behaves the way I would expect a tube amp to behave, at least it gets very close. It's not quite there yet, but much closer than 2005 modelling gear. It gives me hope that someday modellers will nail it perfectly. I would gladly pay 200 bucks for the Twin Reverb model alone on the Mustang, the rest is just icing on the cake. I really like that for once in my life, I have a modeller that does tweeds well. Sag and all. You can even dial in simluated sag and bias on the Mustang and it changes the tone and dynamics of the amp sim, sweet! I think these little adjustments and tweaks like sag and bias sim are part of the missing link.

    I think there is room for tube amps and modellers, they each have their ups and downs, I have both and appreciate both because they are different tools.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  17. Skub

    Skub Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,797
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    N.Ireland
    Ta for that schenkadere,I hope to check one out in the new year.
     
  18. napawino

    napawino Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    868
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Location:
    Great NW
    One of my amps is a Fender G-Dec 15. Its great for when I want to mess around playing metal. I don't need any of the zillion pedals etc, to get a decent metal tone. The presets suck, but its almost infinitely adjustable and I can dial in and set up a preset. All I use is a laptop and a USB cable. The visual interface looks like a pedalboard. Its got just about every pedal you need. Cabs, amps, etc. Not having to do a bunch of knob twisiting and button pushing is great. Point and click, and save. Thats it.

    Obviously not something for gigging. But for at home, when I want to be Zakk Wylde or pretend I'm a new member of Rammstein, its great. It sounds really good with headphones. STEREO! Cheap too, and has backing tracks to play along with, and I can download my own into it.

    So I would say that modeling has come a long way.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.