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SteinbergerHack

Amp question

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This is going to sound really dumb, but:

For those of you who use digital/modeling/profiling amps, how do you go about auditioning an amp?

I have never had a problem getting a feel for what a basic tube amp sounds like from simply plugging in and dialing in some gain and tone settings - about 2 minutes in I can have a sense of what the character of the amp is, and what sound it will give. Even a complex one like the XTC or VH4 has a personality that you can sort out pretty quickly. I don't use pedals for any gain or distortion (all amp), and all of my time delay and EQ is rack FX, so I'm only looking at the raw amp emulation.

I want to go test-drive a Kemper to get a sense of whether it will do what I need/want for live use, but I really don't know where to start, and I don't want to spend hours fumbling around trying to figure out how to get to a basic set of sounds. OTOH, it's enough $$$ that I don't want to just risk-buy based on a bunch of internet reviews and Youtube clips - I really want to get a sense of how the thing operates and how easy it is to set up a basic sound, then navigate around among the rigs/patches.

Any suggestions on how to start? Help!?!?!?!?!?!

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27 minutes ago, SteinbergerHack said:

This is going to sound really dumb, but:

For those of you who use digital/modeling/profiling amps, how do you go about auditioning an amp?

I have never had a problem getting a feel for what a basic tube amp sounds like from simply plugging in and dialing in some gain and tone settings - about 2 minutes in I can have a sense of what the character of the amp is, and what sound it will give. Even a complex one like the XTC or VH4 has a personality that you can sort out pretty quickly. I don't use pedals for any gain or distortion (all amp), and all of my time delay and EQ is rack FX, so I'm only looking at the raw amp emulation.

I want to go test-drive a Kemper to get a sense of whether it will do what I need/want for live use, but I really don't know where to start, and I don't want to spend hours fumbling around trying to figure out how to get to a basic set of sounds. OTOH, it's enough $$$ that I don't want to just risk-buy based on a bunch of internet reviews and Youtube clips - I really want to get a sense of how the thing operates and how easy it is to set up a basic sound, then navigate around among the rigs/patches.

Any suggestions on how to start? Help!?!?!?!?!?!

Well there's a couple of ways.....

You can search YT or forums for folks who have created patches to play songs you know to see if they're close. Maybe get a couple of MP3s to listen to in a car.

Or you can test drive someone's who uses theirs regularly for gigs etc.

I know a guy who uses AXFX fairly regularly and aside from patches, the way in which you use it also determinative. 

For instance, would you be plugging direct into a mixer-PA? Or using a power amp/cab like a tube amp?

If the later, a solid state amp or tube? 

My nephew's band uses modelers almost exclusively while on tour. Most in the audience are none the wiser, and the teardown/setup is very quick and simple. Especially as they build a library of the venues.

 

Edit: Keep in mind tube amps are similar to modelers except they're for men. ;) :lol:

 

Edited by nedezero1
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Stevie Ray wouldn't use a modeler. Neither would Brian Setzer. Or many others.

I view modelers as production, not art. But I'm of the opinion that it's a hard task to find the right tube amp. Once you do though, the glory.

For your use, a modeler may indeed be the ticket.

Edited by Hoot Owl
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26 minutes ago, nedezero1 said:

Well there's a couple of ways.....

You can search YT or forums for folks who have created patches to play songs you know to see if they're close. Maybe get a couple of MP3s to listen to in a car.

Yeah, already did this to get a sense that it might make sense for me - but that doesn't give me a sense of the "feel" nor of how it works in real practice.  I play a lot of gigis in a wide range of environments, so I need something that's easy to use and intuitive, as well as maintaining the quality of sound that gets me those gigs.

26 minutes ago, nedezero1 said:

Or you can test drive someone's who uses theirs regularly for gigs etc.

I have a buddy at work who has one and has offered to let me borrow it...but he is a bedroom-only player and doesn't have a gig setup.

33 minutes ago, nedezero1 said:

I know a guy who uses AXFX fairly regularly and aside from patches, the way in which you use it also determinative. 

For instance, would you be plugging direct into a mixer-PA? Or using a power amp/cab like a tube amp?

If the later, a solid state amp or tube?

My most common rig setups now are either (1) running my head (Bogner or JCM800) into a 1960A cabinet and a Torpedo Live (loadbox / cabinet sim) which generates the FOH feed -  OR - (2) doing away with the cabinet and running the output of the Torpedo into an XR12 which feeds both the FOH and a wedge monitor for me (the second is for when I am also using acoustic instruments that go into the XR12).

For the Kemper, I am thinking that I would go to setup 2 for all gigs, and just use the XR12 and a monitor wedge.

41 minutes ago, nedezero1 said:

Edit: Keep in mind tube amps are similar to modelers except they're for men. ;) :lol:

Hey now!  I'm not getting rid of my tube amps - I just don't want to be hauling them out every weekend.

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1 hour ago, SteinbergerHack said:

I want to go test-drive a Kemper to get a sense of whether it will do what I need/want for live use, but I really don't know where to start, and I don't want to spend hours fumbling around trying to figure out how to get to a basic set of sounds.

So why not just go through the presets then? 

The "problem" is that a modeling amp like that isn't supposed to have its own character - it's basically all about trying to ape the character of other amps. I'm sure a bit of research (via online videos, checking out the manual, etc.) would give you an idea of which presets were emulating which amps, and that you're probably familiar with the sound of at least some of those amps. How successful it is (to you) regarding the quality and accuracy of those emulations and the overall "feel" of the amp when auditioning it (again, comparing that to the experience you have with some of the emulated amps) would probably tell you whether or not  such an amp might be "for you" or not. 

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22 minutes ago, Hoot Owl said:

Stevie Ray wouldn't use a modeler. Neither would Brian Setzer. Or many others.

I view modelers as production, not art. But I'm of the opinion that it's a hard task to find the right tube amp. Once you do though, the glory.

For your use, a modeler may indeed be the ticket.

Well, the Kemper isn't a modeler, per se.  It reproduces the sound of your amp - you actually let the Kemper play through your amp to develop the map.

I agree that finding the right tube amp is a long, arduous task - and I really love what I have with my Marshall and Bogner.

I haven't found a modeler that I like at all, but the profiler (Kemper) actually does what I am looking for - reproduce the sound of my existing amps, but at a much lighter weght.

Edited by SteinbergerHack

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I spent those weeks on disability awaiting back surgery due to picking up an amp the wrong way. I can sympathize with the draw toward something solid state! But I have no clue how to test them.

Manufacturers really ought to turn toward building realistic, practical, low-cost roadie simulators. 

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I used VOX tone lab for years. some of the button etc went noodely so I retired it. I got two Mortatones. a tremlux 5E9-A clone and a black face super AB763 clone. Im using the moorgerverb live pretty exclusively these days with just a few pedals. I'll never got back to a modeler.  I have a connection with my guitar sound that I never could get out of the modeler.  

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3 minutes ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

So why not just go through the presets then?

There are hundreds, so it's not something that you can do in a short audition session.  It's also not clear from the naming exactly what they are, which makes it even more user-hostile, IMO.  Once I get my own setup built, I can easily remember what my own patch names mean, but figuring out what " ACE - CF Rh Zillah " is intended to denote is a bit obtuse, iMO.

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You probably don't want to hear this, but why not just grab a blues jr. or an ac15? Do you need a modeler?

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4 minutes ago, SteinbergerHack said:

Well, the Kemper isn't a modeler, per se.  It reproduces the sound of your amp - you actually let the Kemper play through your amp to develop the map.

 

 

They're not using factory-predefined algorithms for the models, but basically it's still a form of modeling, just as using impulse responses and convolution is a form of modeling. You feed in the sound of the room (via a sample recorded in it) or the sound of a piece of gear (by running a test signal through it) when you create impulses for use in convolution reverbs. I could be mistaken, but my understanding is that the Kemper Profiler works in a similar manner.

 

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6 minutes ago, arcadesonfire said:

Manufacturers really ought to turn toward building realistic, practical, low-cost roadie simulators. 

:lol:

Best laugh of the day so far, by quite a wide margin. 

Thanks Jesse! :philthumb:

 

 

 

P.S. I'd also be in favor of them building some realistic, practical, low-cost, high-quality studio intern simulators... 

 

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28 minutes ago, erok123 said:

You probably don't want to hear this, but why not just grab a blues jr. or an ac15? Do you need a modeler?

I have some really good amps already.  The point is to have their sound (or extremely close) without having to take them out.  If I wanted the sound of a different amp I would already have it.

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27 minutes ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

:lol:

Best laugh of the day so far, by quite a wide margin. 

Thanks Jesse! :philthumb:

 

 

 

P.S. I'd also be in favor of them building some realistic, practical, low-cost, high-quality studio intern simulators... 

 

aren't studio interns by definition cheap? 

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29 minutes ago, erok123 said:

You probably don't want to hear this, but why not just grab a blues jr. or an ac15? Do you need a modeler?

For something like being in a pit orchestra for a Broadway show, I could totally understand the need to go from country Fender cleans to deadly triple-rectified brutalz to plexi rock and on and on. Small tube amps can't cover the range. Even if the audience won't think of the guitar amp as they evaluate the show, the realism of the guitar's various sounds could affect their experience... And it could certainly affect casting directors' opinions.

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HX stomp is pretty reasonably priced and is a decent modeler. You might just pick one up, play with it and see if it works. If you don’t like the amp sounds it’s a pretty sweet multi fx 

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39 minutes ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

They're not using factory-predefined algorithms for the models, but basically it's still a form of modeling, just as using impulse responses and convolution is a form of modeling. You feed in the sound of the room (via a sample recorded in it) or the sound of a piece of gear (by running a test signal through it) when you create impulses for use in convolution reverbs. I could be mistaken, but my understanding is that the Kemper Profiler works in a similar manner.

At the processing level I believe that you are correct (and it's probably the only way to effectively mimic a tube amp's transfer function).  For my application, the difference is that I can use my own amps' transfer functions as the base model - which is what I am looking for.  I don't want a different sound - I just want to be able carry it around without having to see a chiropractor after every gig.

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9 minutes ago, arcadesonfire said:

For something like being in a pit orchestra for a Broadway show, I could totally understand the need to go from country Fender cleans to deadly triple-rectified brutalz to plexi rock and on and on. Small tube amps can't cover the range. Even if the audience won't think of the guitar amp as they evaluate the show, the realism of the guitar's various sounds could affect their experience... And it could certainly affect casting directors' opinions.

This - and the Bogner XTC combined with real acoustic instruments gets the job done.  Something like a Fender Princeton would not (or it would require a whole lot of pedals that I don't want to have to carry around).

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12 minutes ago, moogerfooger said:

aren't studio interns by definition cheap? 

 

Sure... but how often does realistic, practical, or HIGH-QUALITY apply to interns? ;) 

I don't want to have to pay extra (as in, anything at all... :lol: ) for high quality interns... IF they can manage to create some. ;) :D

 

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5 minutes ago, gspointer said:

HX stomp is pretty reasonably priced and is a decent modeler. You might just pick one up, play with it and see if it works. If you don’t like the amp sounds it’s a pretty sweet multi fx 

Interesting concept, but I haven't played through any standard modeller that doesn't make me want to walk away in disgust.  They just don't work for me.  Keep in mind that the benchmark i am trying to duplicate is a Bogner XTC, occasionally paired with a JCM800.

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3 minutes ago, SteinbergerHack said:

Interesting concept, but I haven't played through any standard modeller that doesn't make me want to walk away in disgust.  They just don't work for me.  Keep in mind that the benchmark i am trying to duplicate is a Bogner XTC, occasionally paired with a JCM800.

FWIW, I have a friend that is very particular about his sound and has used primarily Tube Marshals through the years. He was giving serious consideration to the high end Helix. That surprised me. You might pick one or 2 of your favorite amp/cab combos and have the modeler simulate them. Hook it up to a nice full range monitor and play around with it. If it gets you where you want to be, or at least close, it may be worth it. I’m not as picky. I tend to play in bars and individual volume is not your friend. The modelers are an acceptable compromise to me. Slight disadvantage from the player aspect, but made up in the convenience, versatility and the overall band mix. 

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I am not a performing musician but I feel your pain. My ex, thinking she was doing me a favor, bought me a Mustang II amp. I found I fiddled with it more than I liked. I found a Boss Katana and tried it. I loved the sound it made just when I plugged in and started playing. Then I realized it was a modeling amp. I liked it so much I bought it. 

Now, when I turn in on the first thing I do is turn the modeling knobs up and then all the way down. This turns off any modeling from those controls. I then set reverb if I want and the only knobs I mess with are the "cabs": Clean, distortion, lead, Brown, and one other I never use. Then I just use adjust the gain, volume and tone to what I want for the song or music I am playing. When I do fiddle it is usually only to change cabs and with the volume and gain. 

This may not work for you, but I have found my answer to your dilemma. 

My other amp is a twin-reverb digital clone (with a spring reverb). Not many settings to mess up on that one. 

Edited by gp2112

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1 hour ago, SteinbergerHack said:

Well, the Kemper isn't a modeler, per se.  It reproduces the sound of your amp - you actually let the Kemper play through your amp to develop the map.

I agree that finding the right tube amp is a long, arduous task - and I really love what I have with my Marshall and Bogner.

I haven't found a modeler that I like at all, but the profiler (Kemper) actually does what I am looking for - reproduce the sound of my existing amps, but at a much lighter weght.

Not really...I bought a small box non-master volume 50 watt Marshall in 1970...I've stuck with non-master Marshalls ever since. Never needed anything else.

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Just now, Hoddy said:

Not really...I bought a small box non-master volume 50 watt Marshall in 1970...I've stuck with non-master Marshalls ever since. Never needed anything else.

Well, yeah - you got the right stuff on the first try.  There's nothing wrong with a Marshall of that era from just about any perspective!

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