Thoughts on Modeling- IF you use it, what are the pros/cons?

Big Twang Theory

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So I've recently dipped my toe in the modeling world when I purchased the Line 6 HX Effects. So I'm curious to hear your thoughts on it. What do you like or dislike? And like the title suggests, I really want to hear from those of you that use it. Those of you that plug your straight into a tube amp, I get it, you probably loathe them. But that's not really helpful, and honestly I was one of you until recently. I didn't plug straight in, always used a pedalboard. But I've always been resistant to modeling. I've used mostly analog effects into really nice tube amps. So what changed my mind?
I basically had two different live music listening experiences that nudged me into looking into the modeling. First one is a local soul/pop/rock band. The guitarist is probably THE guitar player here in Tucson, AZ. Unbelievable player always has exquisite tone and he has used a Helix ever since I started seeing him. Made me think, but I never saw him play a "real" rig, so I didn't have context.

Then recently I went and saw one of my favorite local bands that I've been seeing for years. They play music of the Jerry Garcia Band. He usually plays a normal pedalboard through a Fender Twin. Great tone. At the last show as I listened I thought his tone sounded really great that evening. I was distracted because I had brought my dog to the beer garden, so I was focused on the pooch instead of checking out his rig. I went up to check it out at set break, thinking maybe he got a new amp. I was pretty shocked when there was no amp, just an amp/fx modeler on the floor. It made start to rethink things.

I went out and bought a used HX Effects and set it up on a pedalboard. Like I said, I'm just dipping my toe in the water. I still have my analog OD's and my Volante delay on the board and plan to just use it for modulation. For context I play Americana/roots music, with a dash of Jam band stylings. My usual rig is my "normal" pedalboard into both a Fender Princeton reverb and either a Winfield version of a Tweed Deluxe or his version of a AC15 (GREAT AMPS!)

Just for fun I A/B'd it against the pedals that I have that are in the HX: Tubescreamer, KoT (clone) Klone, Boss vibrato and chorus etc. I honestly couldn't tell the difference (after a few minutes of tweaking the HX.) I haven't tried it at a gig yet. Will have that opportunity this weekend. But it has me wondering, do I go all the way in and try a Helix with no amp? Even if I did, and liked it, I still plan on keeping my amp and pedal collection. I probably will still gig with them at times. But oh man, the thought of such an easy setup sounds amazing. I'm scheduled for a surgery consultation for a spinal fusion, so the idea of not having to lug my two amps to a gig is VERY appealing.

Long winded set up, I know. Just trying to give some context. So any of you out there that are using modeling for gigs, what are your thoughts? What are some of the things you miss from your regular rig when using modeling? Thanks in advance for any information!
Cheers! Cody
 

telemnemonics

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If you like it there are virtually no cons AFAIK.
Maybe the high cost of the best but many who like modelers use a guitar amp that cost like $500 including pedalboard.
Could be diminishing resale value is a con but its a pro for poorly funded players who want a portable versatile rig and cant afford new retail.
My not buying comes largely from demo videos where they try to get a Helix to sound like a genuine vintage Marshall with AB comparison, and whenbthey get there its a buzzy attenuated Marshall sound that some like but I have no use for.
I like the cleans of classic dirty amps set so you can get a snarl or stay clean.
Also want bass that doesnt go buzzy.
Classic Rock crunch seems easy to model and makes most users happy?
 

Big Twang Theory

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If you like it there are virtually no cons AFAIK.
Maybe the high cost of the best but many who like modelers use a guitar amp that cost like $500 including pedalboard.
Could be diminishing resale value is a con but its a pro for poorly funded players who want a portable versatile rig and cant afford new retail.
My not buying comes largely from demo videos where they try to get a Helix to sound like a genuine vintage Marshall with AB comparison, and whenbthey get there its a buzzy attenuated Marshall sound that some like but I have no use for.
I like the cleans of classic dirty amps set so you can get a snarl or stay clean.
Also want bass that doesnt go buzzy.
Classic Rock crunch seems easy to model and makes most users happy?
Cool, thanks for the info! Yeah, I assume the resale value on digital items is not the same as other gear.
 

drmordo

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What is great about modelers is the flexibility.

You can sound like Van Halen on one song and Jerry Reed on the next.

Also, if you like to play very different guitars you can have your "Les Paul" setup dialed in to sound like a Marshall and then also have a "Tele" setup with a Twin.

Maybe you are gigging and for some reason your normal setup sounds weird in that particular room - try a different amp!

You could take it to the ultimate extreme and get a modelling guitar - then you can use a 'acoustic' for your rhythm parts and with a flick of the pickup switch and a pedal stomp you sound like a Tele into a Twin.

The downside is you really have to tweak to get the sound you want. I highly recommend turning off the speaker emulation if you are running it thru a guitar amp. When I got my first Flextone II, I was very disappointed until I turned off the speaker emulation, and then I was amazed how great it sounded. I would only use the emulation if I was running direct into the PA.
 

DugT

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With modelers, like my Helix, there are infinity tones possible and that can be an infinity time sink. For me, it is a fun separate hobby. Being somewhat new to electric guitars, amps and pedals, I like having all of the controls and options in one box rather than have infinity options of buying infinity pedals and infinity amps.
 

mexicanyella

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I got into it because I was taking up bass, didn’t know what kind of sound I wanted yet, and already had a rack power amp and bass cab. So to save money and time buying and trying a ton of things I borrowed a Line 6 Pod 2.0 for awhile and used it as a preamp. Then gave it back and bought a used Zoom B2. Then someone gave me a Behringer V-amp Pro.

I don’t have sophisticated tonal needs and can get fingerstyle rock P-bass sounds out of either of those units easily, and the big advantage of modeling tech for me is, I’ve got a tuner, compressor, gain, EQ and noise gate all in one compact portable box. And in the case of the B2, I can even leave the power strip at home and run it on AA batteries.

I have since set aside several user patches in the Zoom for guitar-friendly sounds too, and used it for home recording. The V-amp just stays on my one user stored bass sound so far.

These are probably stone tools compared to your Helix-era rig but they are still useful, reliable and compact tone shapers that meet my needs.
 

Big Twang Theory

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What is great about modelers is the flexibility.

You can sound like Van Halen on one song and Jerry Reed on the next.

Also, if you like to play very different guitars you can have your "Les Paul" setup dialed in to sound like a Marshall and then also have a "Tele" setup with a Twin.

Maybe you are gigging and for some reason your normal setup sounds weird in that particular room - try a different amp!

You could take it to the ultimate extreme and get a modelling guitar - then you can use a 'acoustic' for your rhythm parts and with a flick of the pickup switch and a pedal stomp you sound like a Tele into a Twin.

The downside is you really have to tweak to get the sound you want. I highly recommend turning off the speaker emulation if you are running it thru a guitar amp. When I got my first Flextone II, I was very disappointed until I turned off the speaker emulation, and then I was amazed how great it sounded. I would only use the emulation if I was running direct into the PA.
Yeah versatility is kind of the main benefit for getting the HX Effects. My drive section is pretty much settled (TS->Klon->ODR-1->Mostortion) but I'm CONSTANTLY changing up my modulation pedals. I only use them here and there on gigs, but I always switch up what I do use. From tremolo, harmonic tremolo, vibrato, chorus, rotary, univibe etc. So invariably I'm redoing my pedalboard every gig to swap out mod pedals. So it would be nice to just have a set board. And I can make a few different presets for however my modulation mood is for that particular day.
 

AustinPaul

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I had to laugh (at myself). I was ready to say how much I'm not into modeling, but then I looked to my right at my Deluxe Reverb Tonemaster! Man, I love that amp. I use it every single day.

It's been my first positive experience with modeling, and a very positive experience indeed.
 

generic202

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Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe HX Effects offers only modeling pedals/effects and no amps/cabs, correct?
 

Big Twang Theory

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I had to laugh (at myself). I was ready to say how much I'm not into modeling, but then I looked to my right at my Deluxe Reverb Tonemaster! Man, I love that amp. I use it every single day.

It's been my first positive experience with modeling, and a very positive experience indeed.
Ha, that's exactly it. I was the same way. Then I got a Strymon Flint and it's by far my favorite harmonic tremolo. And I have or tried them all. Then I played a gig on someone's ToneMaster Deluxe and REALLY liked it. So that's when I started realizing my bias was only holding me back from trying new things that I might really like and be inspired by .
 

Thin white duke

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I don't use amps anymore, at the moment for going to p.a. i've got a Mooer preamp, Nux mini studio and a Palmer d.i. plus all the effects placed before, i really like the tone i get, i'm thinking to buy he new Nux Amp Factory, from the videos it sounds great and i can get rid of 3 pedals because it is a preamp, i.r. loader and d.i.
 

nickmm

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I don't use amps anymore, at the moment for going to p.a. i've got a Mooer preamp, Nux mini studio and a Palmer d.i. plus all the effects placed before, i really like the tone i get, i'm thinking to buy he new Nux Amp Factory, from the videos it sounds great and i can get rid of 3 pedals because it is a preamp, i.r. loader and d.i.
If that is your artistic standard. fine
 

mexicanyella

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If that is your artistic standard. fine
Not my thread, and maybe I misunderstand your intent, but that reads like you’re passively implying that someone else’s tonal standards and artistic goals are somehow lesser than your own. That seems unwarranted to me in any context and certainly in this thread about advantages of modeling.

If I misunderstood, disregard.
 

twangjeff

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Pros: They sound good, they are flexible, you have infinite programmability, you can synch all of your modulation and delays to a midi clock if you play with a click. I am a tube amp guy, but I play with a lot of folks who use the Axe FX and Neural, etc. etc. and I admit that they sound really good. We have come a long way since the days of the kidney bean POD. :) I would say that my decision to choose to use an amp is more due to personal preference than objective superiority. This was not the case 20 years ago.

Cons: On the fly adjustment can be tough. I see a lot of modeler players who tweak their sounds in the bedroom, and then on the gig have way too much low end, way too much reverb, etc. etc. It's easy with a conventional rig to reach down and spin a knob without calling NASA to reprogram your rig.

Eventual obsolescence: As soon as somebody comes out with a better mousetrap, you have a very expensive paperweight. This is a pro and a con as the technology keeps improving. I've seen guys pour hours into programming their Line 6 gear, then throw that out and spends hours programming their Kemper, then throw that out and spend hours programming their Neural Cortex... and eventually something will come out that is better than that and they'll start all over again.

All that said, even though I don't personally like modelers, I'll admit that they have come a long way and that they really do sound outstanding now. I think the decision is more about interface and tweakability than it is tone at this point.
 

nickmm

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Not my thread, and maybe I misunderstand your intent, but that reads like you’re passively implying that someone else’s tonal standards and artistic goals are somehow lesser than your own. That seems unwarranted to me in any context and certainly in this thread about advantages of modeling.

If I misunderstood, disregard.
Not at all. I'm asking is this a creative tool for you or a tool reduce your rig?
 

RolandG

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... What do you like or dislike?
Switching. You know those songs where the rhythm is clean with chorus, and the lead is overdriven with delay. That used to mean tap dancing on three pedals.

Less to carry. There are the songs which need a different version of an effects pedal; or where I want a flanger, but only for one song; or the song where I want three different amp sounds.

Cost. I’m currently running a pair of modelled Vibroluxes, with the Steve Ray Vaughan transformer mod, with a second pair with different settings for my lead sound.

No micing up. I go direct to PA, with a floor monitor to avoid a totally quiet stage.

Availability. Last month I wanted a looper. My AxeFX has one.

Integration. My AxeFX also triggers our lighting rig when I change songs or scenes (intro, verse, chorus, bridge, outro).

What do I dislike? Those people who tell me that a valve amp is better. “Better” is a relative term. If I were playing blues in a sweaty little club, with only the singer going through the PA, then a small valve amp, a tube screamer, and a Wah pedal, would be perfect. I’m not.
 




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