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What is your digital amp history since the 90s

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by ASATKat, May 8, 2020.

  1. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    What is your individual digital amp path since the 90s??

    Mine started with a self proclaimed "semi famous" digital amp.

    For me digital didn't click into my head until Line6 premiered the AxSys212 combo amp. At this time in the 90s Zone Music in northern California was the coolest guitar music store I had come across,, even up to now.

    Because they were a hip store the new Line6 company sent one of their AxSys212 to the store for promo/sales, the store guys including the mgr had no clue about what it was. But I had been GASSING the ads in Guitar Player for months, and unexpectedly there it was in front of me. All that magazine gearporn was coming alive. They agreed to $799 for it before it had even been priced for the floor, I may have been a bit pushy in a friendly buddy kind of way. A few days later it was found to be $999. At least I had it a week before the rest of the Pacific Coast making my amp the 1st bought AxSys212 in Northern California up to Seattle.

    By today's digital standards this thing sucked lol. It was great back then. And the vertical/horizontal layout of the tweakables is still widely used.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
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  2. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I worked for GC down in Texas when the Axys212 came out. It was a game changer. Then came the AX2. Then Digitech got into the game with the Johnson Millenium Amps.

    Crate threw their hat in the ring, but the amp was crap, and aesthetically the design was awful. The controls also were not intuitive or easy in any way. They rushed it trying to get into the competition and it killed it for them. They never tried again.

    I had the first POD, the POD 2.0, and the POD XT. By the time the XT came around, the sounds were really very good for direct recording if you knew how to do the deep editing. So many people didn’t and the PODs were largely misunderstood. So many people still aren’t aware that with the XT you could choose your amp, your cab, your mic and placement, on or off axis, loads of stuff. I got killer sounds back then going direct in the studio.

    The best digital modeling amps I’ve ever heard, to this day, are the Yamaha DG series from around 2000 or so. They were amazing! They flopped with consumers. I was working for GC briefly again here in OH, and would pitch them to everyone who came in to look at a Flextone. The DG amps BURIED those things and it wasn’t even close. Everybody bought the Flextone anyhow. Line 6 had cemented their spot in buyer’s brains by being first to the party.

    I remember when the four button stomp box modelers came out right at the end of my employment there. I was talking a lot with the Line 6 factory rep because we were both pedal heads and he was pumping me for input on the prototypes. I’m the one who told him the Rat model was wrong because the tone knob was a “filter” and worked backward. We also spent some time comparing my ancient MXR Phase 90 to their model, and he took some notes. When the thing finally came out, it sounded much better than the prototype.

    I haven’t really been into it since those days. I’ve tried a couple of the Mustangs, Katanas, etc and haven’t been terribly impressed. These days I’ve gone analog solid state for my amplification. But I do dig all the crazy stuff they can put in a tiny space now.

    What I don’t get is how even after all this time, all the presets on all these modelers still suck. I’ve never heard a single factory preset that sounds good. Same goes for multi-effect units. Who programs these things at the factory? Is it deaf people? Is it nine year olds just maxing out crazy sounds? Whoever it is, needs a different job.

    I know what some of this stuff is capable of, even the older stuff. I’m convinced that 99% of the reason that the people who dislike it dislike it, are because they never get past the factory presets. Most of them sound so bad that if you aren’t already into digital and know what it’s capable of, you’d never think it could sound as good as it does. Based on what the presets sound like in a quick demo.
     
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  3. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I have always been a fan of digital but oddly use tube these days. I had an original POD, at the time I thought it was pretty cool. I had bought a Johnson Millennium, possibly the best sounding thing I have owned, I wound up with a Flextone II that I still have, and a Boss 80XL. The Johnson was a beast, super heavy and I didn't think I could ever get anyone to work on it. The Flextone II sounds great but it started changing presets on its own. I moved it the rehearsal room and has been working fine every since. The 80XL was almost perfect, if you could have edited the built in effects I might still have it. I'm sure I will try digital again.
     
  4. Twang-ineer

    Twang-ineer Tele-Meister

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    I am a died in the wool solid state amp guy and I have been since the early 90s when I got my first Bandit. Yup, not a typo.... Bandit.

    Let me preface what I am about to say with.... I use a moderately clean tone on any amp.

    I prefer solid state for playing live. The reliability and consistent fast/clean of well designed solid state amps is awesome.

    As a bass player in the early 90s I jumped on the SGX Nightbass. Really just digital effects before and after a solid state/tube preamp section, I gigged that heavily as I could get a variety of sounds easily for the wide range of music I was doing. I doubled on Electric and upright so VERY useful there. At the time programmable EQ and compression were more than enough to make it worthwhile to deal with the mocking that I took for the day glow pink graphics.

    As a guitarist the first ALL DIGITAL amp that I fell for was the Line 6 DuoVerb. You can call it a simplified Vetta or a Gussied up Flextone... But either way I loved it until it died. As mention up front, I used that amp like a programmable Roland Jazz Chorus, but in head form and with gobs of headroom.

    I have owned and enjoyed the Vox Valvetronix "Blue Series" and the Roland GA12. I did sell my GA12, but not because I didn't like it. I simply can't carry it up a set of stairs without blowing out my back. If you can handle it, they are an amazing deal used.

    I have also extensively used a 4 space rack loaded with either a Pod Pro XT or the Eleven Rack. Both of which I still fire up occasionally, both quality products.

    As for the rest of the market I generally dont like to trash talk products, but there has been some VERY bad stuff out there.

    My current setups are Helix FRFR for Guitar and Fender Rumble Studio for bass on small gigs or the Ampeg PF350 for mid sized gigs.

    I presently own the Boss Nextone, and I gotta say that after a speaker upgrade it is a very nice simple solution combo amp to throw in the car and go jam with. It is not a premium product in many ways, but I really enjoy it. And for me, this is all about fun at this point.
     
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  5. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Holic

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    Roland Micro Cube and Blues Cube Hot.

    I used to have an Ibanez digital floor multi-FX pedalboard back in the cassette 4-Track days and found I wasted too much time and creative energy tweaking tones instead of recording. That soured me on menus. The Micro Cube would have been perfect in those days.

    GarageBand is great because you can just record first then tweak.
     
  6. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    For several years, I used a Line 6 POD live (direct into the PA), in stereo with my Vibroverb (sometimes mic’d, sometimes not) until one day I realized the best tones were coming out of the Vibroverb.

    I still use the POD in-studio...I don’t worry about the amp it’s supposed to be emulating—I just set it to the best sound for that song and move forward.

    It sounds good, but live?
    Gimme the Vibroverb...
     
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  7. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    THR10II For about two weeks now. Meh,.... good enough to practice with. Convenient Bluetooth to phone... it’s got it’s good points...
     
  8. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    Played with a a few Line6 Pods and Spider amps. Never liked them.

    Fast forward to last year when I discovered the Fender SuperChamp XD. Wow! They were discontinued by that time but I managed to find two for under $300 for the pair. They are a modeler front end with an all tube Princeton styled output stage. Great for bedroom levels to almost band levels.

    Now, Line6 has released the Pod Go and not only has it replaced my cumbersome pedal board, I’m now recording with it direct into my DAW.

    After 56 years of guitar playing, digital gear has finally arrived... for me.
     
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  9. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Holic

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    I've only ever used budget digital options for practice and products like Kemper et al are too dear and i have no need f them. Neither for a cheap Katana.Stuck to valve amps.
    BUT, the Fender Tonemaster series have got me tickled.
    If I didn't already have valve amps i w consider them.
    I also like the Quilter SS products but mostly in a wet/dry setup.
    So, i didnt feel the need f digital in the past and i probably won't in the future, unless someone is going to hire me to fly and do gigs in big places.
    Chances of that, close to 0.
    Sorry, i didnt really answered the OP and my answer is a tad beside the point.
    I take it there are many in the same boat, though.
    By the posts i gather people have dabbled into digital, not being their main platform and never went over completely.
    That probably will change w new people entering the market although the coolness factor of valve amps continue to draw a solid customer base..
     
  10. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Holic

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    that makes perfect sense.
    But it's still only the modelled front end, handy as it may be.
    For some that's enough.
    For recording purposes digital has always been a solid option.
     
  11. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I use DIGITECH PREAMP/PROCESSOR GSP-1101,While learning how to use these Mooer preamps 011 Cali Dual, Mesa Dual Rectifier TAXIDEA TAXUS 014, Suhr Badger
     
  12. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Tele-Afflicted

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    I've actually never owned a digital amp, only tube amps and pedals. I have a lower end Rivera 25 watt that has been modified a bit, that I really like for the last 15 years. I would like to try one of the Kemper amps. My next amp will likely be a Trainwreck if I can find one that I like, and it is also for sale.
     
  13. scooteraz

    scooteraz Friend of Leo's

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    Well the amp was always either the PA at church or an acoustic performance full range amp. I have had an original kidney bean POD, an XT Floor, a HD500 floor and currently a Helix. All intended for when I perform at church, as we have a silent stage.


    I also have an HX Effects for times when I want to play a regular amp, and want a really simple pedalboard.
     
  14. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    I have a Pocket Pod, a Micro Cube and a Katana. Over the years they have helped me to maintain peace at home by offering virtual silence when required, something my valve amps were never able to do.
     
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  15. stratoman1

    stratoman1 Friend of Leo's

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    I had a Peavey Transtube. I liked it at first. But as I got more guitars I noticed that they all sounded pretty much the same through it
     
  16. black_doug

    black_doug Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    For a little while in the '90s I played through a POD. It was connected to the Fender Acoustasonic amp and it sounded great. Then one day it just stopped working. That was my first and last digital modelling purchase.

    Last year I tried out a Roland Blues Cube Tour head. But it didn't convince me to go back to digital.

    Now it's only tube amps for me.
     
  17. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    Peavey transtube is a digital amp ? I think my peavey bandit 112 is a transtube, or something in that vein.

    By digital, i thought mustang. I have one, a mustang 2 i think. It is ok to mess around with.
     
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  18. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    Had a Sessionette 75 for a while early on in the 80’s.. quite nice cleans and reverb but pretty horrid dirt.

    But hot tubes have something in the feel and response when played at decent volume that all the digital facsimiles cannot yet capture.

    Tried all the Mustangs, Katanas and vox digital amps. Nothing has quite got ‘it’.... at least for me.

    I am thoroughly spoiled with Mesa and vintage and modern Marshalls and three fully tweaked tube amps I’ve built myself with NOS tubes and top speakers. So i dont really need pedals for decent crunch, dirt and high gain. Got digital rack fx.. lexicon & yamaha

    i have a big Boss GT unit that is far better as a manual fx board to my tube amp than an alternative to it.
     
  19. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've always used digital for recording at home, 'cause I had no studio. So, I used a PV Classic 30 for playing with my band, but used a Digitech rackmount, Korg Pandora, Sansamp rackmount, or POD for recording. But, I've always tried new tech, from the original Spider amps (which IMO were much better than the last few iterations) to the G-Dec, to the Mustangs. Now I use a Katana Mini, a Mustang LT25, and a THR10C for playing at home, because I'm in a tiny studio apt., and they sound better at low volume to me than even a Blues Jr. or other small tube amp.
     
  20. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Never had one but considering a Tone Master as it seems a very practical solution.
     
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