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Everything posted by SteinbergerHack

  1. If you want to use distortion through a full-rage amp (keyboard amp, PA, etc.) you need some sort of cabinet simulator, like the IRs used in modellers and/or loadboxes. Otherwise, it's going to sound really, really bad.
  2. It's probably a solid molded plug, with no internal connection made. Hilarious, in any case.
  3. In this world of digital modellers and profilers, many of us still maintain that a good tube amp still sounds better, even if the digital rig is lighter, more versatile, has better volume control, etc. BUT: What about tube amps that just never sounded good? Not all of 'em are created equal, and some just plain should never have seen the light of day. What tube amps have you owned that just didn't sound good? I'll start with a particularly wretched example of audio flaccidness:
  4. Warning: https://www.sevenstring.org/threads/all-looks-and-no-quality-grote-guitar.165841/page-4 They used to have a website, which now appears to be defunct. hmm....good luck.
  5. Think of it this way: You can go to a rack Kemper and use a plain old MIDI floor controller to select rigs and presets. No other pedals required - everything is in the rack box. For me, the Kemper would let me drop close to 100 lbs, cut floor space by roughly half, and simplify the setup massively. I add the kemper rack and a wah control pedal. I no longer have to carry the Bogner XTC, the Bogner pedals, rack FX unit, rack tuner, the 4x12 or 2x12 stage cabinet, my Morley wah, one 9V battery, and about a half-dozen cables. I already carry monitor(s) for acoustic instruments and vocals, so nothing additional there. ...and the Kemper sounds extremely good; in the FOH it is indistinguishable from a mic'd tube amp.
  6. Ahhh...sorry, I missed the sarcasm. And yeah, I agree, which is why none of the modellers have ever gotten me to consider moving fro tubes. The Kemper, OTOH, sounds pretty darned good.
  7. Sure, but what does that have to do with amp technologies?
  8. That plant manufactures Epiphones, not Gibsons.
  9. The Kemper has had the same hardware since its release about 8 years ago, so I'm not this is entirely accurate....but certainly true for the modellers. They go obsolete faster than cellphones and laptops. I would also point out that the profilers and modellers really aspire to sounding like a mic'd tube amp, not a tube amp in the room with you. This is not an inconsequential difference, and it has both positive and negative consequences. As far as "get a tube amp and be done with it"....well, that's fine, but what do you do when you get a call for a "silent stage" gig? This happened to me for the first time about 3 years ago, and the money was so good that I had to take the job and figure it out. At the time I solved it with a Bogner and Torpedo loadbox/IR; today I would use a Kemper. In the end, I think that I am headed for keeping my tube amps at home and gigging with a Kemper. I still want the tubes as the template for my sound, but going direct actually gets me to a good FOH sound faster than micing a cabinet, and managing stage volume is a lot easier. JMO, YMMV, lather, rinse, repeat.
  10. Looking at the current crop of products, it seems that there are 4 competing architectures, three of which have well-established market leaders: 1) Profile an existing amp to digitally copy and recreate the transfer function - Kemper. 2) Digitally process the signal through individual component blocks that represent the schematics of existing amps - Axe-FX (and maybe Helix?). 3) Digitally re-configure an analog circuit to re-create the analog circuits of existing amps - BluGuitar. 4) Use a tube amp - Marshall, Vox, Bogner, Diezel, Two Rock, Mesa, Fender, etc. Does this pretty well sum it up? If so, how does this reflect on what guitarists want/need, as opposed to what the amp builders want to design?
  11. A new Torpedo Live showed up at my door just before Christmas. Nice piece of equipment, looks sharp, seems easy and intuitive to get started. Naturally, I dropped everything, unboxed it and connected the output of my Bogner XTC for a quick test.First impression:This thing has a lot of nice little tweaks that you can use to adjust speaker model, mic type and location, along with a modest EQ. You can also add a tube power amp emulator if you're using the line in, and you can add a touch of reverb or slap (room emulation).I selected the standard Marshall 1960 4x12 with a SM57 - that's about as "go-to" a selection as I can imagine. I plugged in my ATH-M50x headphones for a first pass test - again, a widely used "basic" test platform that should sound relatively accurate and representative of most real-world situations (i.e., not an A-list recording studio). I disabled the power amp model since the Bogner is in-line, and also turned off the room ambiance/reverb/slap, since I have those in my FX rack already. EQ set to flat, I plugged in a guitar and started to play.....So, how does it sound? Way better than any cabinet emulator I've used in the past. Unfortunately, the straight-outtta-the-box patches still have a bit of that annoying upper-frequency grit that just sounds like a FuzzFace plugged straight into a recording console....but just a bit. It's almost usable without any real tweaking, but not quite.Next Steps:The Torpedo Live has two basic modes for building patches - "Arcade" and "Simulation". It appears that all of the stock patches delivered with the unit are built in "Arcade" mode, which is the simplest and easiest to work with. There are only a few parameters you can select - cabinet model, power amp model, room type (delay/reverb FX) and some very limited tweaks.In order to work with the EQ, disable the time delay FX and get into serious tweaking, you will need to work in the "Simulation" mode. Still working with the same baseline patch, I started playing around with the patch edit interface and found it to be a bit confusing at first, but once I worked with it a bit, I found it to be fairly easy to navigate. Personally, I would have found it easier if the twist-knobs incorporated the more common "push to select" function, but the workaround that the Two Notes guys came up with is usable.Having figured out the interface, I set about trying to get the output to sound less "direct" and more like the sound of a real cabinet.....and it was pretty easy to do. A few dB cut on the highest EQ band, move the mic back a bit from the cabinet and a touch off-center, and it started to sound really, really good. Actual use:Once I had a good baseline, I bolted the Torpedo Live into my rack, and took it to a real live gig to see how it functions in the real world.On the job:The job was a "direct-only" musical theater show, with a 21-piece pit orchestra. No cabinets for any of the electronic instruments, so I had to rely 100% on the sound from the Torpedo Live. Listening through my headphones, I was able to dial in levels and sounds fairly easily. Overall, the sounds I was able to get from this setup were easily as good as I could have gotten from my normal rig at pit levels (i.e., very, very low volume), and the direct connection eliminates problems with mic bleed.Here's the rub: It sounds good, but it is definitely not a real cabinet. I found that when playing through the Torpedo Live my relative levels between patches and channels were off. After some playing around, I think that it comes down to two things: Compression and dynamic frequency response. The modelling Two Notes has developed is very, very good, but it seems that there are still a few areas where it isn't perfect yet - and those areas are audible enough to require some attention.The Good:The Torpedo Live can sound very, very good with some tweaking, and indeed was a lot easier to set up in a live situation than a mic'd cabinet. Once I get a bit more comfortable with it, I may keep it in my go-to live rack just to have an easier solution and one less mic stand to trip over - and less signal bleed. On balance, it is by far the best sounding of any cabinet emulator I have played through, by a fairly wide margin. [To be fair, I have not played through the Palmer PDIs.]The control and connection locations are generally well thought-out, and clearly designed by someone who has used rack-mount guitar systems in tight, poorly lit performance situations. One nice touch is the red surround on the speaker input jack (not shown in Two Notes' product photos).The Torpedo also has tube amp emulation and time-delay FX (room ambience) which I have not yet tested to any degree of depth.The Bad:The factory patches don't give a good representation of what the Torpedo Live is capable of delivering, so it takes some directed tweaking to get to a sound you'll be happy with. Also, the lack of a XLR line out is unfortunate. Given that it is designed for live performance use, this seems to me to be a significant oversight. Most live performance situations give the guitarist a standard mic input to feed, so this unit requires you to carry a balanced 1/4 to XLR converter. This is easy enough to source and keep around, but it is just one more thing to carry. Neither of these is worth passing on the Torpedo Live, though, if you want to use your real tube amp in a setting where you need to provide a direct input or play at headphone volume levels.The Ugly:The price. This thing is not inexpensive, and ranks among the most expensive of any loadboxes and cabinet emulators available today. That said, it's not that much more than you would pay for a small combo cabinet, and less than you would pay for many of the high-end cabinets that it models.Summary:This is a solid piece of equipment that delivers very good sound quality and is reasonably easy to use and drop into your rack. Even when you are using a cabinet as a monitor, it will let you select different cabinet models for the output signal, which could be very useful in a situation where you need to cover a lot of different styles with a single rig. I think that the Torpedo Live is going to stay in my rack - it's that good.
  12. SteinbergerHack


    I have a show coming up where I need a radically different sound than I normally get from my Bogner, Marshall or MP-1. Solution? I borrowed a Kemper powered toaster to see if it could get me there. Now, I'm pretty picky about my sound/tone, as I am used to using GOOD tube amps and very little FX - no excuses, and no hiding behind gobs of delay/reverb/chorus/etc. My prior experience with all sorts of modellers has been that they just don't quite do it for me - they just don't have the feel of a great tube amp, and don't make me want to play more. When I last played a Kemper in a GC through a cheap powered cabinet, I was thoroughly underwhelmed. That said, enough serious recording pros use them that there has to be a reason - it has to be capable of getting a great sound...but the in-store demo wasn't convincing at all. So, I picked up the box from my buddy, and took it home for some in-depth investigation. After using the RigManager software to load some profiles from both the Rig Exchange and a couple of vendors, I built performance patches using headphones (ATH-M50x), and then dragged it out to rehearsal. My rehearsal rig is the Kemper, my trusty old ADA MP-1 MIDI control pedalboard, and a Yamaha DXR12 powered monitor. Nothing else - no pedals, no outboard FX, just the Kemper. WOW!!!!! This thing surprised me in a big way. Great sound, relatively easy to use, volume control is superb, and it worked with MIDI control with zero configuration effort - none whatsoever. The other guitar player I was working with noted just how good it sounds and how closely it got to the exact "correct" sound for the material we are playing. All of the FX I needed for this gig are in the box, and dialing them in was quick and painless. Does it sound like my Bogner XTC or Marshall is in the room with me? No. It sounds like some of the best recorded guitar sounds I've heard, though, and in the end this is what the audience wants to hear. Unfortunately, I'll have to give this Kemper back, as the owner isn't interested in selling. In any case, I would probably prefer the unpowered rack model...hmm...... Two things to note: 1) The profiles matter. I went through probably 50 profiles before finding 4 that I will actually use in performance. It's not different from playing 50 guitars or amps at a store to find the one that you want. Many are just poorly done, and many more are perfectly good, but not a match for my particular style and guitar selection. Time spent here pays big dividends. 2) The monitor you use makes a difference. The cheap ones at the big-box shops are just that - cheap. If you use the best self-powered PA-style monitor/main cabinet you can get, you will be MUCH happier with the results, and the sound you hear will be a closer match to the sound you get in recording or FOH. Color me amazed - this is the first time in over a decade that a new piece of gear has really gotten me interested. The last time this happened, I bought a Bogner XTC.....
  13. That looks like the ones that they built in the 80s - the shape of the upper bouts is unmistakeable. Japanese built, IIRC, though there were a couple of custom shops in the US that did some of their "special" jobs. My recollection is a bit hazy, though. I definitely remember that some of the Aria Pro II were really good-playing guitars when they first came out - not sure how they have held up since then, though.
  14. Not sure what sort of board you're looking for, but there are a number of people who still lurk here. YMMV.
  15. Good point - my Steinberger has an active tone control with boost and cut, so I normally set everything up with it in the center then boost or cut as needed. I never do that with my passive guitars, though.
  16. The company that made it is long out of business - it's a Matsumoku guitar from about '84. 500k, splined, likely a long shaft because it's rear-mount (similar to a Les Paul routing). The link looks like it will get me there - thanks!
  17. Question: I have an '80s superstrat in HSH configuration with three push-pull pots, (1) volume, (2) tone. All three are DPDT, the switches are (IIRC) coil-tap, phase, and center p/u enable. I need to replace the volume pot, and I'm not sure where to go for a direct replacement. Any ideas for source, and/or a spec or part number? I love this guitar, but the erratic volume pot has reached the point that I can't gig with it until it's fixed.
  18. This. As long as you have steady revenue and show a small profit every 2-3 years, you can deduct your years of losses on gear purchases. Some of my work results in 10-99s, so I have no choice but to report to the IRS - I do it every year.
  19. It depends on the cabinet you use and the band you're playing with. The cabinet/speaker pairing can have an efficiency difference of as much as 10dB - that's literally twice as loud with the exact same input power. Here's a good reference brochure - you can see that Celestion speakers range from 94-100 dB @1W. Add to that the differences in cabinets and it starts to add up. https://celestion.com/files/brochures/Guitar_Speaker_Catalogue.pdf
  20. The core issue here is that a guitar amp is the wrong device for a steel-string or classical guitar. A guitar amp intentionally colors the sound of the instrument, and you don't want that coloration when amplifying a steel-string or classical. The correct approach for an acoustic is to use a PA cabinet or equivalent, not a guitar amp. In order to have a single rig for both, the best solution (IMO) is to use either a modeller/profiler or a tube head with a loadbox/cabinet simulator. From there, go into small mixer (I use a XR12) that feeds a standard PA monitor cabinet. Run the acoustic directly into the mixer on a separate channel from the electric feed. Personally, I use a Bogner XTC feeding a Torpedo Live cabinet simulator, then run my acoustics direct into the board. The board then feeds my onstage wedge monitors, and this also gives me a single feed to the FOH system. No mics are needed onstage, which makes life a lot easier for the sound techs, and I can also mix the vocal monitor feed into my wedge(s), which cleans up the stage and helps with keeping the levels balanced. It sounds complex at first, but once you get it set up and working properly, it actually makes setup and soundcheck very simple and easy.
  21. Flexibility? Yes, there's no question about that. Sounds better? I can't see that even now, perhaps never. Given that the entire purpose of the Kemper is to copy the sound of a great amp, even if it were perfect it would sound just as good as the amp, not better. I am sitting in front of a Kemper toaster as I write this, and while it does indeed sound very, very good, it's not "better" than my Bogner XTC, JCM800 or MP-1.....but if I want a sound other than those three amps in my collection, the Kemper is the only way to get there without buying yet another tube amp. I am contemplating buying a Kemper for pit gigs - the size and flexibility is perfect for that sort of work. I won't get rid of the tube heads yet, though. For band gigs, the XTC just plain feels better to me and pulls more creativity out of me. YMMV.
  22. Sorry, but this has no relationship to the way audio systems work. A guitar cabinet has a very non-flat response, and this response is part of the overall sound of the amp. In contrast, PA cabinets are designed to get as close to a perfectly flat response as possible. A regular old tube amp connected to a good PA cabinet is going to sound very gritty and harsh - nobody is going to like the sound very much. It won't damage the speaker, though, unless you exceed it's power rating (or if you connect the speaker output of the amp into the line input of a powered cabinet, which will rapidly let the magic smoke out of the electronics). That said, a modeler or profiler will have a cabinet emulator section that will get very close to the sound of that amp played through a cabinet and mic'd - and that signal will sound very good through a PA cabinet (and won't sound very good through a regular old guitar amp cabinet). In the end, various kinds of cabinets are designed for specific purposes, and will function best when used as intended. [Note that the supposed "FRFR" modeler cabinets are really just plain old PA cabinets with a different logo and a higher price tag. Caveat emptor.] [FWIW, the "wavelength" of a kick drum or bass guitar signal coming from a PA is far longer than anything a guitar will ever produce. Wavelength is inversely proportional to frequency.]
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