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Strymon Iridium - thoughts after 1 week

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by Axegrinder77, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    My expectations were perhaps unrealistic. Yes it has good tone, and yes it's plug and play. However, it's still a digital modeler, and you still need to dial in your tones a little, as you would with any "real" amp.

    At first I was a bit disappointed. Going through headphones - akg, audio Technica, Grado. But I think I was a victim of the ridiculous hype.

    I've been using my modded 68 CPR with a brake light attenuator and some bedroom sound treatment (very mild), and it's been really good for jamming out, with my pedal board, during the work day when the wife and kid are gone - we're in a townhouse.

    In the evening, I get hints from my wife that it's a bit irritating at 3 on the cpr, attenuated down 11 db (full). On 2, the tone becomes "just ok" and it's still only quite enough for pre-bedtime.

    So needed a solution, as most of us do.

    Tone was the priority, so went this direction. My desktop monitors are crap - too bass heavy, so have a decent pair of JBL on the way.

    Lucky to have a great pair of cans my brother gave me - Grado ps1000. These things are worth more than most of my guitars. That helped boost up my expectations too I suppose.

    Anyhow, today I just had a fantastic experience with the Iridium. A/b'd it with the Princeton at 3, then at 2. Different obviously, and the cpr edges it out when on 3 (attenuated). But compared with Princeton on 2 (also attenuated), the Iridium through cans gave me an overall more inspiring noodle. I think a real guitar speaker can only tolerate so little volume.

    I think it's important to run a little reverb - the room knob is more to emulate an amp in a room, but it's still a bit "dry." You also need to dial in your tones.. it's not automatically glorious tonal nirvana.

    And yeah, the cans (and hopefully monitor arriving soon) make a difference. You might need to experiment. My akgs are more expensive than my ATs but sound way worse. The grados kill, but they are $1600 (I think, didn't buy them).

    Another annoyance is connecting. No XLR or balanced trs out. I was told I could try short instrument cable to the monitors and it should be ok, but monitors want balanced, due to possible noise issues. So you need a stereo DI to do things properly.. another $300...

    In the end, if you want to invest in a low volume set up which can include your pedal board, and have the ability to go straight to FOH live, this is a worthy endeavor imo. The tones and dynamics are there.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  2. Mike M

    Mike M Tele-Meister

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    Great review.

    I love the Iridium for what it is. All 3 amps (and who need more?) are great, especially the Vox, and its so simple to use.

    It runs louds, so Strymon recommends headphones in the 25 to 70 ohms range. I love turning the room onto the LARGE room setting, with the knob at around 2pm.

    I also love the favorite option for a higher gain setting, so its like having two amps at your feet.
     
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  3. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Yeah the favorite knob is cool, but it ducks when depressed, so not very useful live. I think it's more of a "I found my tone and l want it saved."

    All 3 headphones I tried are within that impedance range, which is pretty standard I think. You'd want to avoid extremes, like your phone ear buds, or 250+ ohm studio cans.

    I'm thinking that flatter the eq response, the better. Most headphones - even my $1600 grados, give you eq coloring. I just learned to dial back the treble a bit to counter the notorious Grado "presence" eqing.
     
  4. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks for the review. When playing electric guitar at home, I mostly play completely unplugged, actually. But I have had my eye on the Iridium as a possible high end solution for going into DAW or FOH.

    I got a Line 6 Pod Go and after downloading a couple of good patches with IRs it does sound very good. Certainly good for headphone playing and going into DAW. Also could work as an emergency FOH solution. But after giving it the old college try I decided I actually prefer using analog pedals into an old school tube amp for live applications. Digital just doesn't cut it for me yet. I had the same experience with trying out the Tonemaster Twin at a music store. The Iridium does get a lot of hype, but so do these other digital options....folks have to test with their own ears, give things an honest test, and then decide if it works for them or not.
     
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  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Curious what kind of sounds sound big when tiny?

    I assume the CPR into an attenuator is a dirty sound, or an edge of dirty sound.
    Are you putting screaming Brutish amp sounds through headphones?
    Or just Bluesy fat?

    I’m not sure why or what for, I would use that tool, but it IS an interesting tool.
    I still have an old pod I used a few times 20 years ago, and I’m sure the iridium is worlds better plus sort of old curmudgeon approved.

    Maybe it’s for new dads with old souls?
     
  6. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I like my Princeton on 3 to 4 generally. It opens up tonally, sounds thick yet clean, and has a bit (just a bit) of headroom to push pedals into with great results.

    Amp crunch happens at around 5 (with guitar volume up). I prefer the blend of preamp and power tube distortion, so I keep in the 3 to 4 range, and use pedals.

    I had a pod 2.0 like 20 years ago. Was cool then and cooler even now, although, yes, the DSP has evolved to a much more convincing sound.

    If I were to, say, play my tele at a coffee shop or small pub gig, I'd seriously consider bringing the Iridium and a few pedals, rather than my amp -to attenuate, and mic up. Depends on my mood, but the Iridium could get the job done for sure, and be more predictable. Pushed deluxe reverb or ac30 tones at any volume? That's cool, and it's getting there, it really is. It's good enough to be worth using, let's just say that.
     
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  7. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    My issue with live play is that digital running through PA speakers sounds different than an actual open backed guitar amp. More like a miked amp than an actual amp. And I love the sound of a real amp behind me.Even running through a monitor right behind me the sound and feel is more remote, less visceral.
     
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  8. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    That Pedal Show did an interesting show on the Iridium.

    Their conclusion - sounds great. BUT. Sounds and feels like a great RECORDED live tone rather than a great live amp tone.

    Does that mesh with what you are hearing @Axegrinder77?

    What are the “outs” on the Iridium? Just headphone and instrument cable? Seems like a provision to Goto Studio monitors is a bit oversight if so.
     
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  9. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, it's about compromises imo.

    I remember our bass player in the studio asking me to turn up my amp and lower the pa level. I could hear my amp fine, as a monitor, right behind me, but he couldn't. Interesting that he wanted to.
     
  10. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    The outs are headphone and two unbalanced 1/4 inch. I think at line level.

    I'm not sure what that means.. recorded amp vs live amp tone. I get that the feel is different, of course.

    Some of the greatest guitar tones I've ever heard are recorded... I wasn't around during the prime days of pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Sabbath etc... Yet I can throw on a record or cd and my fancy headphones and get goose bumps.

    I'd say it's more of a real live breathing tube amp vs digital modeling. It's good digital, but still digital. The tubes just add that little extra magic. Similar to my experience with the very impressive tone master. That amp sounds great, and I would totally use it, but it doesn't sound like a tube amp, because engineers haven't yet been able to defy physics.

    Imho, the biggest issues to date with digital modeling are dynamics and fidelity. In those regards, the Iridium is an impressive step forward. The fact that a tone/tube snob like me would consider using it live is the biggest compliment I can give probably. I'm just not going to say it's equivalent to a real tube amp, because it isn't unless you have a very mediocre ear.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
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  11. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I love mine, I have had it about a week. It has opened the electric guitar world back up for me. My headphones are an inexpensive pair of Samson's, I have no quibbles with the tone but, with my hearing I wanted more volume. I use my Iridium as a preamp and run it into a headphone amplifier. (I have a tube amp for headphones coming). Guess iv'e gone overboard on my setup but it has it's use... and I play it close to 5 hours a day.
    You can use patch cables with 1/4" TS on one end and RCA on the other for more connectivity options.

    As far as feel, I think the guitar plays a big role in that... My tele is lively and has tons of sustain... it feels like I am playing a real tube amp, yes the sound is not the same but the Iridium is the best option IMHO...
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
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  12. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I wonder if a DAC would help with the "digital" sound? I hear the difference as well but, the Iridium is much better than the THR's and Adio.
     
  13. swervinbob

    swervinbob Tele-Holic

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    I had one and really liked it. But I also have an HX Stomp and plenty of amp sims and realized I just had too much. The Stomp won out because of everything else it could do.
     
  14. TX_Slinger

    TX_Slinger Tele-Meister

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    i would love to see a comparison between the Iridium and Nux Simple Studio. They are so similarly featured that I'm surprised no one has done this yet. Not saying the build quality is close but neither is the price.

    nux-solid-studio-custom.jpg 61Zfy4uWMUL._AC_SX425_.jpg
     
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  15. Ed Driscoll

    Ed Driscoll Tele-Holic

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    Perhaps it depends on your audio interface; I'm running my Iridium into my RME Fireface UFX+ through my patchbay via a pair of 1/4" to XLR cables, and it records great. The Iridium will also take stereo effects via 1/4" plug with a Y-splitter.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
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  16. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

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    An "amp in the room" sounds very different than that same amp, in a different room, miced up and pumped back to you through a set of studio monitors or FRFR. The Iridium will be more like the latter.... while your 68 CPR will sound like the former.

    The trick is getting the "miced up amp" to sound like a little more like an "amp in the room". That is why there always appears to be more tweaking involved with a modeler/amp sim.

    It takes a lot of work in a studio to get those great tones.... it's not just "put on a mic and it's done". There is mic choice, mic placement, multi-mic setups, console pre-amps, filters (HPF/LPF), compression at multiple levels (channel strip, outboard, mix compression, mastering limiting), EQ, and added effects.

    Think about it.... the vast majority of us has never heard our favorite players "Amp in the Room". Mostly we just hear the recordings! Even if we see them live, most often we hear the miced up amp through a PA... which is quite different from what they hear on stage.
     
  17. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

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    I kind of disagree with that :oops:.

    IMO... The one thing engineers have not been able to defy is humans and in particular, confirmation bias. Those Tone Master Fenders always sound better when the Tone Master badge is removed from the front of it just like a Peavey Bandit always sound better when they are behind the backdrop ;).
     
  18. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I'm sure that happens.

    Although, I said they sound good, just not like a tube amp. Some can't hear the difference, and blame that on something psychosomatic within other people, rather than just admitting they themselves cannot distinguish the difference.

    Based on your logic, you couldn't possibly know that there is no audible difference. So there we are.
     
  19. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Alternatively, they know the science and know there is no fundamental, reliable and perceivable difference.

    And they know the limitations of sensory memory, particularly auditory. How fleeting and flawed it is. Making even rapid A/B comparisons difficult. And how what we "know" influences what we perceive. Making non-blind A/B comparisons a waste of time.

    So there's that.
     
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  20. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    There's a certain dB mark, somewhere North of 85 where it sounds good in the bedroom. 'Course that's also the mark where it is too loud to watch TV in the living room. Attenuation will not solve this, only wAiting till the wife is out.
     
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