Jump to content

Amp Modeler/Multieffect round up.


MrMunky

Recommended Posts

  • Members

I have lived in apartments for the last few years and have grown to really appreciate modelers for playing at home and recording. Live I still tend to use just a plain ol' amp and maybe a few effects.

 

Anyway, recently I noticed that there have been some new developments on the modeling front, so I thought hey, perhaps I can upgrade from the Boss GT-8 that I've enjoyed using for the past couple of years. In the last week or two, I've tried the Pod X3, Tonelab LE and Digitech GSP1101. Here are a few thoughts on each of them.

 

POD X3

 

Positives:

 

-Definitely the most options in terms of both amp and effect models. Tons of effects that are useful, including a really impressive array of guitar synth type tones you really can't get elsewhere.

 

-Allows you to configure two completely independent full signal chains, and pan each one however you want. This is a really great feature that nobody else offers, as far as I know.

 

-Better overall tone than the Pod XT; they seem to have corrected the annoying compressor and noise gate.

 

Negatives:

 

-$399 for a device made in China; The X3 Live is $499 for a plastic device made in China.

 

-The bean version requires you to buy a proprietary board just to use a wah or other pedal effect

 

-No software editor!

 

-The amp models still slice off your high end at a musically unnatural level. They sound better than the Pod 2 and XT models, but they still sound distinctively POD-like

 

Tonelab LE:

 

This is an overall great unit. The tonelab offers probably the most authentic feeling and authentically responsive amp models out there. I ended up taking this one back because it really isn't much different than the standard tonelab, which is $200. The two big problems with the original Tonelab---the inability to configure the signal chain and the overall lack of headroom---remain on the LE. Also it's $400, uses technology that's been around for a while, and is made in China.

 

Excellent, easy to use software editor.

 

Digitech GSP1101

 

Positives:

 

-Overall amp tone is excellent. Not nearly the variety of amp and effect models that the POD offers, but they sound richer and the top end is all there.

 

-Outstanding chorus, delay and reverb models. These alone sound like the quality you expect from $1000+ rack units.

 

-Stereo Effects Loop

 

-Excellent, easy to use software editor that allows you to configure every variable including "system" variables.

 

-Made in the USA!

 

Negatives:

 

-No S/PDIF out. It comes with a driver for USB recording, but if you're not using it with a PC, you're likely out of luck (or, if, in my case, the driver doesn't seem to work with your system, you're stuck not making any clips).

-No instructions/support for the USB drivers anywhere to be found.

 

-Peculiar arrangement of what effects can be used at the same time. They seem to have taken a step backwards with this one - on the old RP and GNX series you could use chorus with whammy or other effects. On this one, you have to choose one or the other.

 

-The effect chain is peculiar for direct recording. The compressor is near the front, and it is not stereo.

 

 

All told, I am sending each of these back and sticking with the GT-8 for a while. The GT-8 beats all of them in a few respects - it has a metal chassis, made in Taiwan. You can hook up an expression and control pedal without any special proprietary boards or cables. It has a great assortment of effects that actually sound like analog boxes, and a few more out there but musically useful effects. One thing it has on all of the "next gen" units is you can fully configure the signal chain - put any effect/amp/compressor/delay/reverb/noise gate/whatever - anywhere in the chain, including the effect loop. The GT-8 also has more headroom than any of the above.

 

The GT-8s biggest drawbacks are twofold - none of the amp tones sound good right out of the box, you have to tweak them ad nauseam, which is a pain because there is no software editor. The result is that I only have one or two amp tones that I like. But they'll do for a while longer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I've had most of these or their predecessors.

 

None of them came even close to a Damage Control Demonizer for direct recording. Nothing can beat real tubes. Digital blows, but hey it took me only 3 years of endless fiddling with EQ and FX to figure it out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

What does lack of headroom for the Tonelab LE mean?

 

 

The signal compresses and clips without a very strong input signal. If it were occurring only in the preamp gain and "poweramp" gain sections it would probably be ok, but I suspect that it is not. You hear the artifacts of compression and clipping even on very clean settings.

 

I actually had the Zoom unit about two years ago. I took it back too but I can't remember enough about it to explain why.

 

I have a Damage Control Demonizer and a Womanizer. I agree that they are outstanding units and I use them live. But for what I want do do I would need the Damage Control and a mixer and a host of other effects (although a Womanizer + a Magicstomp makes for a great live rig that does just about anything you could want).

 

Incidentally, I went back and got the POD X3 back. Some, perhaps most, of the amp models have an artificial high end cutoff. But, after spending some time with it, I realize that not all of them do. I've been able to dial in a couple good key amp tones. That makes it worthwhile, because it has some great effects.

 

I'm strongly contemplating an Axe-FX. It's way too much money for what I will use it for, but it would sure be nice to have every single feature that I want.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I guess my issue is that in my current super-simple setup:

 

guitar -> Demonizer -> sound card

 

I get a far better tone than I ever got with any modelling device I had (and I've gone through a whole truckload of them) and it took me a fraction of the time to get it (I recall with horror the hours I spent twiddling with a Boss GT6 trying to get it to deliver anything resembling a usable distortion).

 

I would only buy a GT6/GT8/POD X3 to use them for effects and have the Demonizer in the FX loop for the actual distortion. FX is the only thing modellers are great at.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...