Do you think modelers will get there in the next 10 years?

Speeddemon

Well-known member
20-some years later I still think the POD 2.0/2.3 was one of the best modelers out there.

Pick the Soldano model, and recording direct was never easier.

Now does it compare to a tube amp? Not really, but man I really enjoyed how those sounded.
Interesting point.

I remember back in the day really enjoying that Soldano model (IIRC, it was the X88R or whatever it's called) and the "Line6 High Gain" model on the POD 2.0...
I wanted something newer than the 2.0 at the time, so I got a used Digitech Genesis 3, that had the amp and cab 'warping' feature and some interesting stuff. But as the years went by, I started to detest the Genesis 3's kinda plasticy sound, even after lots of tweaking.
I sold it, but since I wanted to at least have *something* for simple, direct recording, I got a used POD X3, precisely for those aforementioned models, that weren't available in the standard POD Xt. (Only per expansion card, I believe). And I still kinda dig that tone.
I think I used it to create a decent Satchel tone on the Line6 forum (where you can upload/download patches).

I still have that POD X3, but I fire it up maybe twice a year. Play my Engl Savage 60 through a Marshall 1966B 2x12 most of the time at home.
 

SQUAREHEAD

Well-known member
Set up properly ‘through a PA system’, Kemper sounds virtually identical to real Amplifiers, does it feel exactly the same? Not quite, but close enough. Some actually prefer the feel of the Kemper.

For me, with my powered Kemper, It’s the ‘in the room experience’ through 4x12 cabinets where it does not hold up to real amplifiers… but really, this is not one of the main reasons that Kemper was built.

But listening to the FOH PA, or ‘in studio monitors’, it’s pretty much already gotten ‘there’, in my opinion.
 
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panhead

Well-known member
It is all about the feel. I saw a band in early 2000`s all line 6 youd never know it. I bought a kidney bean and thought it sucked . :p
 

easstudios

Member
just to back up what I said earlier about basically all of the modellers being there already.

Here’s my real BE100, Fractal FM-3, Neural DSP and Line 6 Helix. All close enough that the biggest variable is by far human error in dialling them in. I genuinely couldn’t say one sounds objectively better or worse than another:

 

RevDrucifer

Well-known member
I think if more people tried a modeler into actual cabs, you’d hear a lot less speculation about them. I run my FM9 into two different 2x12’s, an old Boogie with Black Shadows and another cab with WGS Retro 30’s, using a Duncan PS170 and a TC BAM200 for power, all that thump and wallop I got with my previous tube amps is there, especially when I can crank them up. The dynamic range of something sparkly clean like a Twin is there. Hell, I’ve barely been playing metal since I put my Gilmour Strat together, I’ve just been diggin’ on JTM45/Superlead tones on the edge of breakup and it’s been a blast.

There’s ample tweakability in the Fractal stuff so I don’t really care about the lack of IR’s being tied to specific amps. I do all the normal chugga chugga metal stuff and EJ-cleans with the same cabs, I just make some EQ cuts when necessary to get the end result. And even then, I can still send a tap off the amp block, recreate the post-effects after an IR and send FOH a DI while I have all my stereo fun onstage. It’s not as portable as just going direct and using IEMs, but I don’t care, this rig is a blast to play through.

23044A73-2188-400D-B8B3-D57614285309.jpeg
 

Jugghaid

Member
A lot of guitar players only play in their basement and dont play actual gigs. They really have no use for a 100w Half stack. Modelers are great for that type of "bedroom" application.

Also, there is no reason for this to be an either/or proposition, I use a Helix in 4cm with a tube half stack. Best of both worlds. It makes a great control center and fx unit with my tube rig. And if I need to add a channel to my setup, it's there.
 

Locrain

Member
A lot of guitar players only play in their basement and dont play actual gigs. They really have no use for a 100w Half stack. Modelers are great for that type of "bedroom" application.

Also, there is no reason for this to be an either/or proposition, I use a Helix in 4cm with a tube half stack. Best of both worlds. It makes a great control center and fx unit with my tube rig. And if I need to add a channel to my setup, it's there.
I would wager the percentage of gigging musicians who actually have a use for a 100w half stack beyond enraging the soundguy is very small. What size venue do you need to be playing where you *need* 100w? I cannot even imagine, as no matter the size of the room I played, the amp always got switched down to 50w (yeah, it's only 3Db, but it's something). The only time I have ever needed it is during practice/rehearsal with a loud drummer...and even then, I used to play in a garage with a band with a way too loud drummer, one night I kept getting onto him because every time he hit the snare, I though I was going to vomit...it was loud. I used a .44 magnum pedal sized 44 watt poweramp for that project, and the volume knobs on the .44 Mag and the Kemper stayed around 9:00-10:00 or under. I have seen people state that that poweramp couldn't keep up with a drummer...that is a loud drummer, I must say. It was not a great sounding poweramp, but it would get very loud before breakup.

I do not really believe there is a size of venue where 100w would benefit anyone over a modeler, given that you have your monitoring set up correctly, and trust the soundguy to give you good FOH sound (combating that with a larger amp would not help anyone anyway except the (un)lucky few to be in the lazer beam soundwave pattern of the cab). If so, what is the benefit? I have seen more than enough live rigs filled with Kempers and Fractal to know many many bands feel the same.

For me, the answer is there; are modelers good enough that great bands that can use whatever they want prefer them? And is this common. If the answer is yes for even a few, we are almost there, and if it is common...well, we are kind of there already, no?

That goes for recording too. I spoke with Chris Crummett a couple years ago about this, and for him, it is style and tuning dependent. Anything more mainstream, or tuned to/near standard, he would usually prefer his tube amps. But with anything tuned very low with a lot of distortion (think Issues) he generally prefers modelers. The first Issues album was Fractal straight to track, no treatment. His answer why, is that, whether on purpose or not, modelers tend to lack a lot of junk in the low end that he would have to cut out on a very low-tuned album, and give him less trouble in that range when he does need to clean up a track. And generally this is the case, live or recorded, a high-pass can avoid a lot of issues with the bassist, and most recorded tones are not at all what you think when isolated (live should be no different), so if (and I found this to be the case with both my Kemper and VST amp sims) this amp gets me closer to my finished tone than that amp, I will pick this amp.

I haven't seen a lot of blind amp/modeler/VST comparison lately where the listener/player gets it all that right. I think digital is just getting too close. But I know I do not have the ear to pick out in a mix whether an amp or a digital one was used, so I guess it just does not bug me. Hell, I did not have the ear to pick a Vox Ac15 from Kemper profiles of the amp, or of a H&K Triamp MKII (the only amps I had when I got the Kemper). Sounds good here, sounds good to an audience, keeps the soundguy and my back happy...

But, I did sell the kemper and mostly play a Suhr pt-15 ir now. I found that the IR was the most interesting part of the tone to play around with, I liked the idea of having one amp I recorded with, and really getting to know that amp, but still having the tonal flexibility that comes with IRs (of course there are other ways to do this, I thought about a two-notes, and several different amps...but I cannot afford that like I used to), and with pedals, I don't think there is a sound I couldn't get out of this amp.
 

Monkey Man

Super Moderator
For anything less than great rooms and mic setups (and skill), modellers are the way to go IMHO.

No room modes, unwanted reflections, boxiness and general gunk to filter out. For me this is the biggest plus.
 

Locrain

Member
For anything less than great rooms and mic setups (and skill), modellers are the way to go IMHO.

No room modes, unwanted reflections, boxiness and general gunk to filter out. For me this is the biggest plus.
I didn't really even think about a couple of those points. Are you here to tell me that a SM57 hanging by its cable down to roughly the speaker area might not be the best way to live mic an amp? Now, that is something that anyone could fix by bring their own mic stand, but that blows. That has been the greatest gift that modelers have given me. Not having to have a perfect room and perfect micing and EQ to have a great tone. Or rather, having those things in the signal chain because of a modeler.
 

Monkey Man

Super Moderator
Exactamundo mate.

Same thing applies to live gigs. The venues' acoustics vary heaps, as do stage levels and extraneous noise, so mic'ing needs to be able to adapt too.
 

Locrain

Member
Been thru all the main ones and they’re pretty great, but I’d still rather use a tube amp that I love the sound and feel of into a load box.
That is where I am right now, and I am happy with it. I like it better than a straight sim. But I don't know if it *is* better. I will say, my favorite tones have been captured with a real amp into an IR/load box...but I am also getting slowly better at recording, and that is how I have been recording lately. So it is hard to say.
 

Jon BCN

Active member
No, I don't think they will ever "get there"... if you have good ears, experience in using the real thing and a sensitivity for touch!
People... there is ONE thing that won't change and that is the voltage, power! The way a power section creates tone and feel in a real amp can't be perfectly reproduced as there are billions of variables that you can't calculate in a logic way as they are not linear.
World isn't a 5 volts reality... that's what a DSP needs to run.
I'm not sure how many of you have an ear and an eye to pro-audio gear... I mean mic/line/instr preamps, compressors, EQs, etc.... the stuff that MAKES tone, character, personality, joy of listening. No matter what technology has been used in the last 70 years, you ALWAYS find these things in the recording chain and often in playing situations too. To tell you the truth, since the beginning of digital recording and more and more recently w/plugins and modellers.... this pro-stuff (VOLTAGE!!!) has increased a lot in brands and number of products... proving how badly all non-analog technology requires VOLTAGE based monsters to get the right tone... now that's "getting there"!
Current efx are a tonal bloodbath.... 99% of them sound ugly, shrill, even nasty to ear drums.... as DSPs have gotten enough powerful to do the work of traditional inputs stages (preamp/filters/compander/etc,) which were what truly created the legendary tone of your classic units.
Take two legends, Lexicon 480 and H3000. These are still very expensive and sought after... open them up and find those Murata filters which have a mild tone and a way to react to input levels that makes tone just beautiful, wide and spread, warm and natural. Open up a Lex 300 or 480 and you'll fins a power section (transformer + analog input signal stages) that is MUCH larger than any whole current product. That tells you how much care was put in engineering the things. You can't model all behaviours of such sections and render them in the proper way.
So to my ears... digital is a great way to freeze audio events that have been processed thru tonal shaping ANALOG processes, where the natural essence of power and reactance work in a way that is the closest to respect human performance touch and dynamics, yet giving beautiful tone to what you play.

The same is true for guitar amps.... until the legacy treasure of tru amps will be alive, nothing can touch how a Fender Twin clean sounds like and classic Marshalls, Soldanos, Mesa Boogies....................... nothing.

Just to give you an idea about how your guitar (and everything else) gets recorded and plugs can't do what real outboard does, here are some examples that should make you hear how amazing these analog processes sound and how great their tone is at ANY setting. Never boomy nor shrill... but more importantly neven fake, never an "attempt to..."
The real thing is always better than its copy. That's now nature works. Respect for that is what keeps us human.

Listen,,,, even under YouTube bad audio processing...


While everything you said it's probably true, there's one important aspect you're missing.

We don't hear music like microphones do.

What you hear in a room, especially at low volume, it's night and day to what a microphone would hear. A lot of people is really underwhelmed by the experience of playing a tube amp, realising it doesn't sound like their favourite records until you hear the recording of what the microphone heard. That's when digital modelers, ir's and the like com really in handy, because then you can have a recorded tone in your bedroom and enjoy a tone that for a lot of people, it's actually better than hearing a real amp with real speakers giving a really raw tone.
 

Jugghaid

Member
I would wager the percentage of gigging musicians who actually have a use for a 100w half stack beyond enraging the soundguy is very small. What size venue do you need to be playing where you *need* 100w? I cannot even imagine, as no matter the size of the room I played, the amp always got switched down to 50w (yeah, it's only 3Db, but it's something). The only time I have ever needed it is during practice/rehearsal with a loud drummer...and even then, I used to play in a garage with a band with a way too loud drummer, one night I kept getting onto him because every time he hit the snare, I though I was going to vomit...it was loud. I used a .44 magnum pedal sized 44 watt poweramp for that project, and the volume knobs on the .44 Mag and the Kemper stayed around 9:00-10:00 or under. I have seen people state that that poweramp couldn't keep up with a drummer...that is a loud drummer, I must say. It was not a great sounding poweramp, but it would get very loud before breakup.

I do not really believe there is a size of venue where 100w would benefit anyone over a modeler, given that you have your monitoring set up correctly, and trust the soundguy to give you good FOH sound (combating that with a larger amp would not help anyone anyway except the (un)lucky few to be in the lazer beam soundwave pattern of the cab). If so, what is the benefit? I have seen more than enough live rigs filled with Kempers and Fractal to know many many bands feel the same.

For me, the answer is there; are modelers good enough that great bands that can use whatever they want prefer them? And is this common. If the answer is yes for even a few, we are almost there, and if it is common...well, we are kind of there already, no?

That goes for recording too. I spoke with Chris Crummett a couple years ago about this, and for him, it is style and tuning dependent. Anything more mainstream, or tuned to/near standard, he would usually prefer his tube amps. But with anything tuned very low with a lot of distortion (think Issues) he generally prefers modelers. The first Issues album was Fractal straight to track, no treatment. His answer why, is that, whether on purpose or not, modelers tend to lack a lot of junk in the low end that he would have to cut out on a very low-tuned album, and give him less trouble in that range when he does need to clean up a track. And generally this is the case, live or recorded, a high-pass can avoid a lot of issues with the bassist, and most recorded tones are not at all what you think when isolated (live should be no different), so if (and I found this to be the case with both my Kemper and VST amp sims) this amp gets me closer to my finished tone than that amp, I will pick this amp.

I haven't seen a lot of blind amp/modeler/VST comparison lately where the listener/player gets it all that right. I think digital is just getting too close. But I know I do not have the ear to pick out in a mix whether an amp or a digital one was used, so I guess it just does not bug me. Hell, I did not have the ear to pick a Vox Ac15 from Kemper profiles of the amp, or of a H&K Triamp MKII (the only amps I had when I got the Kemper). Sounds good here, sounds good to an audience, keeps the soundguy and my back happy...

But, I did sell the kemper and mostly play a Suhr pt-15 ir now. I found that the IR was the most interesting part of the tone to play around with, I liked the idea of having one amp I recorded with, and really getting to know that amp, but still having the tonal flexibility that comes with IRs (of course there are other ways to do this, I thought about a two-notes, and several different amps...but I cannot afford that like I used to), and with pedals, I don't think there is a sound I couldn't get out of this amp.
All good points.

I use an HK Triamp MKIII as well and/or an Engl Inferno depending on my mood for gigs in a 1/2 stack. Most places we play (or played since I'm back on bass now) had professional sound guys that actually do their job. We would get the occasional idiot, but for the most part, not an issue. Most gigs when I was on guitar were the theater type gigs, so decent sized room as well...... Also, we know how to use a master volume. I don't know why that is a problem for most. Even a half stack is a stage monitor and we usually side loaded. Sometimes not though. Put it at the right volume and let the mains do their work in the FOH system. There is no need to ever have a dimed half stack on stage. I don't care if you are playing a stadium. It's dumb.

I'm pretty sure that I'm gonna go with just my helix for bass going forward. I have really nice tube bass rigs (Trace V6/Berg NV610, etc) and I love how they sound, but for 90% of gigs, there is no need to drag that shit around. Maybe if I play Red Rocks or something. :)
 

Locrain

Member
All good points.

I'm pretty sure that I'm gonna go with just my helix for bass going forward. I have really nice tube bass rigs (Trace V6/Berg NV610, etc) and I love how they sound, but for 90% of gigs, there is no need to drag that shit around. Maybe if I play Red Rocks or something. :)

And I bet FOH would still talk shit about you. :D 150 watts? Obscene. :p The sound system at RR is truly obscene, I guess it has to be, outside.
Never got to play the MKIII, but I have played 99% of my gigs with a Triamp MKII, which I still have, and currently have a Tubemiester deluxe 40, which is apparently shares much of the preamp circuit with the MKIII as I understand it. Fantastic amps, and the lack of profiles was a (small) part of why I went back to them from the Kemper, there just were not a lot of good Triamp Profiles when I had mine.
 

Jugghaid

Member
And I bet FOH would still talk shit about you. :D 150 watts? Obscene. :p The sound system at RR is truly obscene, I guess it has to be, outside.
Never got to play the MKIII, but I have played 99% of my gigs with a Triamp MKII, which I still have, and currently have a Tubemiester deluxe 40, which is apparently shares much of the preamp circuit with the MKIII as I understand it. Fantastic amps, and the lack of profiles was a (small) part of why I went back to them from the Kemper, there just were not a lot of good Triamp Profiles when I had mine.
I had a grandmeister 36 before the triamp and always wanted the big boy.

I usually only run 50w at a time honestly. I have it loaded with 6L6, EL34. and KT88 pairs and switch depending on the channel I'm playing. I also incorporate a synergy syn1 and a couple more channels just for fun. That's why I love the Helix. It's an awesome control center.
 

ccn

Active member
How about a modeler that doesn't need anything else like the Fractals etc.. People like and want simple they don't want to spend extra on things and there should be no need to spend extra on things .

If the Katana and other amps of it's kind sound as good as the modelers with all the extra's than the answer is modelers are there . If the Katana's do not sound as good than clearly modelers are not there .
 

Bro KV

Well-known member
I’ve had the Fractal setup, it’s good just not for me. I prefer my 100W+ half stacks in my room and I don’t gig out. Just my preference.
 
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