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 Post subject: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 1:03pm 
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I'm thinking about getting back into a modeler and wanted some of you experts to weigh in. I'm a home player at the moment using a modded Blues Jr and pedals or my Katana Artist. I'm an 70s/80s rock and hard rock guy and am getting into rockabilly so those would be my main tones. Probably 15 or so different presets. The big thing: I am NOT a tweaker by any means and my home tech consists of an iPad pro until I get around to a new hard drive so ease of editing without a computer is what I'm after. Suggestions?


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 1:34pm 
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If you’re not a tweaker then stay away from Fractal. Kemper is more straight forward but you need good profiles.

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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 2:10pm 
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I had a Kemper and honestly I was never satisfied. I kept switching profiles and changing settings. I would love a profile for a little while but it never lasted. Plus in the back of my mind I was always questioning if the profile really sounded like the amp. YMMV but if I knew then what I know now I would have got an Ox Box, Fryette Powerstation or Boss Tube Expander then occasionally grab a 20 watt head in different flavors.

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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 2:21pm 
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I've wanted to grab a Fractal for YEARS and almost finally pulled the trigger a couple months ago, but the endless rabbit hole of tweakability always holds me back from taking the plunge. It's bad enough for me when I have 2 channel amps, so I think an Axe would be a nightmare for me. That said...I have to be honest and say I'm still damn curious though :doh:

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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 2:22pm 
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MetalHeadMike wrote:
I've wanted to grab a Fractal for YEARS and almost finally pulled the trigger a couple months ago, but the endless rabbit hole of tweakability always holds me back from taking the plunge. It's bad enough for me when I have 2 channel amps, so I think an Axe would be a nightmare for me. That said...I have to be honest and say I'm still damn curious though :doh:


I spent more time switching profiles and tweaking with the Kemper more than playing. I couldnt imagine going to Fractal.

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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 2:45pm 
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I avoided Kemper b/c of the endless “is there a better profile out there” tease. Gigged an AXEII for a couple years and have been bouncing between Mesa amps and a Helix for the past couple. Both modelers have great tones in them and tbh, are not difficult to dial in. You do have to concede a few weeks to get up and running as this is a paradigm shift from plugging into an amp. You have to re-work how you think about amplifying your signal. But with a little effort both the AXE and the Helix sound imdistinguishable from each other—and IMO from a mic’ed Tube amp.

Don’t let all the options avail on the Fractal dissuade you—I played the AXE every day for years and never once touched any of the ‘advanced parameters’.


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 2:58pm 
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Thanks for the replies so far folks. I should've stated that the Kemper is out of consideration. I just can't justify that kind of money for a home rig. The Headrush looks promising to me I like the drag and drop screen. I'll see what others say.


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 3:25pm 
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Ease of use without using a computer may be a hard one. I hate editing on little panels and I am not sure any of them are easy for me to edit without connecting to a computer and editing that way (that is super easy to me though). I would probably look at the AmplFIRE products if I wanted to edit directly on the modeling device.

I've had 4 versions of Fractal (Standard, Ultra, the II and now the III) and early on there was the curiosity of tweaking, but after some time that all faded. I really just have about 3 presets that are pretty simple that I normally play and it took me 5 minutes each to make them. So I guess its to say the rabbit hole is there if you want it, but simple is always better. Years ago I'd spend forever on some tweak and then switch to a simple patch that you'd normally dial in (OD, EQ, Amp, Delay Cab) and the simple patch almost 100% of the time sounded better.

I also use it for Cab IR's from my Suhr Reactive Load coming out of an amp and that is my favorite way.

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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 3:28pm 
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This may be a fit for you?
https://atomicamps.com/amplifirebox/

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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 7:14pm 
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stratjacket wrote:
This may be a fit for you?
https://atomicamps.com/amplifirebox/

It’s definitely on my short list. The 7” touchscreen on the Headrush is getting my attention though.


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 7:39pm 
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Findthetone1 wrote:
stratjacket wrote:
This may be a fit for you?
https://atomicamps.com/amplifirebox/

It’s definitely on my short list. The 7” touchscreen on the Headrush is getting my attention though.

I played with a guy who had a Headrush. He never stopped messing around with it the whole time we were playing. Honestly if you have a Katana artist what more do you need for home?
I have the AX8. I have a handful of presets that I use and that's it. If I want to tweak and explore with it I do, but I usually just play it. BTW the AX8 sound WAY better than the Headrush.


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 8:03pm 
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BrokenFusion wrote:
Findthetone1 wrote:
stratjacket wrote:
This may be a fit for you?
https://atomicamps.com/amplifirebox/

It’s definitely on my short list. The 7” touchscreen on the Headrush is getting my attention though.

I played with a guy who had a Headrush. He never stopped messing around with it the whole time we were playing. Honestly if you have a Katana artist what more do you need for home?
I have the AX8. I have a handful of presets that I use and that's it. If I want to tweak and explore with it I do, but I usually just play it. BTW the AX8 sound WAY better than the Headrush.

The Katana is packed up because I had it in the classifieds but your question is a good one. Maybe I’m bored. IDK lol. You can only access 8 tones on the Katana and I guess ease of accessing more presets would be nice. I’ll probably spend more time with it in the next week though.


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 8:54pm 
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Guys talking about the Fractals being complex may not have played one recently. They are not really any harder to dial in than the amp they model these days. So a Mark model will be a PITA a Plexi model will be simple and so forth. The Fractal stuff is way up there tonally. The Kemper is cool too but data management is a thing due to the profiles.

The Atomics are nice simple units. The Helix has a nice user interface but I don't like it as much sound wise as Fractal or even Atomic.


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 9:06pm 
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ClintN667 wrote:
I had a Kemper and honestly I was never satisfied. I kept switching profiles and changing settings. I would love a profile for a little while but it never lasted. Plus in the back of my mind I was always questioning if the profile really sounded like the amp. YMMV but if I knew then what I know now I would have got an Ox Box, Fryette Powerstation or Boss Tube Expander then occasionally grab a 20 watt head in different flavors.


Did this with an Axe II for a year.....when I decided to get the Kemper, I told myself that I was going to run 5 profiles....one for each of the amps I dig.

So far, my recording folder has.....5 profiles in it.

I think it's a personal thing....like I said, I did it with the Fractal, but just told myself not to with the Kemper.

Far as cost goes, it's worth it to me to have those 5 representations of the amps, especially the two I use that I could pretty much never afford.

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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 9:11pm 
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Elric wrote:
Guys talking about the Fractals being complex may not have played one recently. They are not really any harder to dial in than the amp they model these days. So a Mark model will be a PITA a Plexi model will be simple and so forth. The Fractal stuff is way up there tonally. The Kemper is cool too but data management is a thing due to the profiles.

The Atomics are nice simple units. The Helix has a nice user interface but I don't like it as much sound wise as Fractal or even Atomic.

Agree about the Fractal but I found the opposite with the Atomic. In fairness I had it several years ago. I’ve spent years with both the AXE and the Helix and I am pretty confident I couldn’t tell one from the other in a blind test. I would not say that about the Atomic, but IME IMO and all that.


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 9:28pm 
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Home player, just use bias/jamup on your ipad.


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 9:28pm 
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Elric wrote:
Guys talking about the Fractals being complex may not have played one recently. They are not really any harder to dial in than the amp they model these days. So a Mark model will be a PITA a Plexi model will be simple and so forth. The Fractal stuff is way up there tonally. The Kemper is cool too but data management is a thing due to the profiles.

The Atomics are nice simple units. The Helix has a nice user interface but I don't like it as much sound wise as Fractal or even Atomic.


I owned one recently, AX8, and I'm very familiar with how to tweak it. When Leon Todd has a 30 minute video on how to set the levels to get your presets to match in a live setting you know it's a different world from an amp. Shutting off a modeler and firing up an amp is like the sensation of biting into a York Pepper Mint Patty. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Wed, Feb 13, 2019 11:47pm 
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danyeo wrote:
I owned one recently, AX8, and I'm very familiar with how to tweak it. When Leon Todd has a 30 minute video on how to set the levels to get your presets to match in a live setting you know it's a different world from an amp. Shutting off a modeler and firing up an amp is like the sensation of biting into a York Pepper Mint Patty. :D

Again, if you don’t have a few weeks to get yourself up to speed on the hardware and workflow, don’t bother. You will just end up frustrated and underwhelmed. Most of what you are hearing difference wise is how the tone is monitored. An amp on the floor next to you compared to a modeler (or a the real thing for that matter) through near field monitors, or a PA, or headphones is a completely different experience. You could take the time to run a modeler preamp into a power amp and then a guitar cab but IMO if you are going to do that, just bring a fucking amp it’s much easier lol.


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Thu, Feb 14, 2019 12:35am 
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Leon Todd shows how to get a pretty decent Mesa C++ tone in about five minutes right here: (with a Fractal)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU5V9lEalmE

Not bad....

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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Thu, Feb 14, 2019 2:49am 
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Steinmetzify, good to see you bro'.

To the OP:
I take it that a 2nd-had Kemper is out-of-the-question price-wise too?

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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Thu, Feb 14, 2019 4:09am 
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Seriously, if you just want to play, and mostly at home..
Get a Mooer micro preamp and a couple of effects.
Hell, get two preamps. You'll still have spent less than on an Amplifire.

My honest opinion is that if one "needs" more than four amp channels, you either play in a top 40 cover band, or U2.. :D

But I can see why someone who likes tweaking gets one of the big boys.


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Thu, Feb 14, 2019 11:36am 
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buy a good tube amp and be done with it

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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Thu, Feb 14, 2019 12:44pm 
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snowdog wrote:
buy a good tube amp and be done with it

I have and have had several "good" tube amps. From Bogner to VHT. I well aware of the upsides of tube amps. The post isn't about tube amps vs. modelers but thanks for your input.


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Thu, Feb 14, 2019 1:51pm 
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Findthetone1 wrote:
snowdog wrote:
buy a good tube amp and be done with it

I have and have had several "good" tube amps. From Bogner to VHT. I well aware of the upsides of tube amps. The post isn't about tube amps vs. modelers but thanks for your input.

Amen—not every tool is best for every situation. I have 7 ‘good tube amps’—you know how many of them sound or feel HALF as good as a Helix or an AXE at the volumes I need to play at home? None.

And as far as the ‘it’s only for playing at home, it doesn’t matter how you sound’ crowd...screw that noise. I much prefer to have tone that is inspiring, no matter what the situation is. These new modelers allow for that.


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Thu, Feb 14, 2019 2:48pm 
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I moved to the Helix LT camp after having Axe Fx2, and trying out the Headrush. I went Helix LT because it sounds great, and has everything on the floor system. Fractal was cool too, but too much crap to lug around extra. Cabling, rack, conditioner, and then extra stuff for the controller. AX8 was an option for me, but I discovered the DSP very limiting.

SW offered me a good price on Helix LT too. $829


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Thu, Feb 14, 2019 3:29pm 
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tallcoolone wrote:
Findthetone1 wrote:
snowdog wrote:
buy a good tube amp and be done with it

I have and have had several "good" tube amps. From Bogner to VHT. I well aware of the upsides of tube amps. The post isn't about tube amps vs. modelers but thanks for your input.

Amen—not every tool is best for every situation. I have 7 ‘good tube amps’—you know how many of them sound or feel HALF as good as a Helix or an AXE at the volumes I need to play at home? None.

And as far as the ‘it’s only for playing at home, it doesn’t matter how you sound’ crowd...screw that noise. I much prefer to have tone that is inspiring, no matter what the situation is. These new modelers allow for that.

I couldn't have said it better.


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 Post subject: Re: Amp Modeler Advice
PostPosted: Sat, Feb 16, 2019 5:58pm 
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I'll throw my 2 cents in. I recently picked up the Headrush Gig board. I have also tried out the Helix LT and was originally going to go for that. The Headrush was easier for me to get a good sound going into headphones which was a plus for me. The Helix was initially better for me running into a power amp and my 212 cab. Headrush took a little more tweaking of output levels etc and not all the models work that well with my crappy 212, but when they do, it's really good. The Helix has a lot more routing options as well as more amps and effects but the Headrush is quite a bit simpler to operate.

For me, it came down to size, interface, features and price. The LT definitely would have done the job for me but it's a lot more money. The Helix stomp was just slightly too limited for some of the things I wanted to do with it.

Before I started researching the current batch of modellers, I thought the Headrush wasn't going to sound as good as the Helix, but really, you can't go wrong with either one and they are both dramatically better than the options we've had in the past

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PostPosted: Sat, Feb 16, 2019 9:15pm 
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bias mini. had a friend go from his usual 5150II rig and it sounds killer. tweak if ya want or just grab a model and go.

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PostPosted: Mon, Feb 18, 2019 1:50am 
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The Overloud THU with amp-rig capture just dropped.

The Slate version will be out soon and is included in the everything bundle.

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PostPosted: Mon, Feb 18, 2019 9:05am 
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I LOVE my Helix units. As easy as dialing in an amp and pedals. No option paralysis unless you bring it with you.

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PostPosted: Mon, Feb 18, 2019 10:02am 
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^^^ this.

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PostPosted: Mon, Feb 18, 2019 10:39am 
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Findthetone1 wrote:
snowdog wrote:
buy a good tube amp and be done with it

I have and have had several "good" tube amps. From Bogner to VHT. I well aware of the upsides of tube amps. The post isn't about tube amps vs. modelers but thanks for your input.


Get a Fryette GPDI and a 1x8, 1x10 or 1x12 to play it through. When you change styles, flip a switch and twist a couple knobs. Done.

If you’re prone to tone fickleness then a good modeler will send you down a path of endless tweaking and of course analog amps will satisfy only for a short time until you’re looking for something better.

There are so many good choices out there nowadays. The trick is to find something you dig, get it dialed in and then stop dissecting your tone and focus on the music.

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PostPosted: Mon, Feb 18, 2019 11:15am 
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I have been a Fractal Axe-FX II owner since 2012 and love it. I haven't bought another amp since I got that thing.

With that said, every time I go to Guitar Center to try out a guitar, I plug into the BOSS Katana. I think it is a great little amp and has some great tones in there. If I didn't have the Fractal and wasn't involved in recordings, etc., I'd probably just have a little tube amp or solid state combo, etc. Like Bob said, just to be able to play.

I love my Axe-Fx II but I don't tweak settings like I used to. I have a few go to high gain amps (Friedman, Cameron) and some clean sounds (Fender) and that is about it. It is nice to have the option to play other types, etc. but I'd much rather have a few modeled amps that sound great. Everyone is different, but for me the Fractal kept my amp G.A.S. at bay for years. I spent too much time going thru "phases" in my guitar playing and would sell one amp to get another....only to miss that type and buy it later.

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"I read all this and think my water just broke." - steve_k, RT legend, R.I.P.


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