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Posts posted by SteinbergerHack

  1. 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?

  2. 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.....

  3. 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.

  4. 1 hour ago, 1001gear said:

    Usually only solos are loud enough for active/effective use of the treble cut on most guitars. Most guitars; that's all it is; treble cut - ironically to make sure the treble cuts, therefore usually dimed.  Active tonal nuance for pop guitar is mostly ineffective; hence wahs and synths and pedals ad infinitum.

    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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.


  7. 45 minutes ago, Mikeo said:

    Remember Rock and Roll is a family business.

    If you make some money in the band, set a schedule C file and have your CPA write it all off.

    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.

  8. 16 hours ago, Inexorable said:

    Would a DSL20 into a 112 or 212 be sufficient for a band situation? I know the 20 isnt as full featured as the 40 combo.


    The idea of being able to experiment with other heads down the road sounds interesting (Joyos? Orange terrors?).

    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.


  9. 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.

  10. On 6/14/2017 at 11:57 PM, Grant Harding said:

    Welcome to 2017 and the Kemper STILL sounds better and has infinitely more flexibility than your tube amp. Most of your heroes are probably using Kempers or AxeFXs on tour and in the studio. I've had your attitude before too, before the technology got here.

    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.

    • Like 1
  11. 15 hours ago, Logan Vanek said:

    The wavelengths sent out by the guitar are far longer than what is meant for a PA system. you could blow out the speakers, same reason why you don't use a guitar on a bass amp

    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.]

    • Like 1
  12. 1 hour ago, kwakatak said:

    I'll give you credit for having a 12 string on the list. I don't know that particular model but a Taylor 12 string is on my list. I like the larger -58s though and haven't really been able to get on board the koa fan bus.

    This is the K66CE.  I played one a few weeks ago, and it is an outstanding instrument.  Koa really works nicely for this particular application, IMO.


    • Thanks 1
  13. 23 minutes ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

    I use an app from Peterson called iStroboSoft. It's basically a Peterson strobe tuner in app form. I have it on both my iPad and my iPhone, so if someone needs to tune while we're working in the studio, I just hand them one or the other and away we go. I like it because I can teach someone how to use it in just a few seconds, and it's very accurate. 


    Do they have it for Android?

  14. On 1/24/2008 at 12:59 AM, missingastring said:

    Never run a tube amp on an extension cord. Such a long run of thin gauge wire carrying a high current could overheat and thereby cause a 'current bottleneck', which could cause the filament within the power tubes to combust. Flaming pieces of glass will be shot all across the room, possibly getting tangled up in nearby drapery or acoustic foam. Tube amps on extension cords are the third most cause of recording studio fires since the 1890's.

    From an engineering perspective, this is complete and utter BS.

    A 100W tube amp draws less than 2 Amps maximum, even at full power.  This is roughly equal to (2) 100 W light bulbs.

    From a code perspective, 14 gauge wire is acceptable for continuous duty at 15 Amps over runs much longer than an average extension cord.  Even a small 18 gauge extension is OK up to 25 or 30 feet, for a single guitar amp.

    Now, you can cause problems if you try to put several amps on a single extension, and/or if you leave the cord tightly coiled or on a spool.

    One thing that IS important is grounding.  ALWAYS use a grounded extension, and don't even think of using one of those two-prong adapters or cutting off the ground pin.  Ground faults are a serious hazard, and you can be seriously hurt or even killed by a fault from an ungrounded guitar or mic.

    • Like 1
  15. I agree with the obvious Aja, DSotM, Turn of a Friendly Card, etc. as complete works. 

    That said, I tend to find specific instrument sounds that hit a chord with me, even if the rest of the production isn't as good.  Examples:

    Bass track on the live "You're My Home" from Billy Joel's "Songs in the Attic".  It's probably the worst vocal track BJ has ever released, but the bass/kick sound is spot-on.

    The intro guitar sound in John Mayer's "Something Like Olivia"

    The guitar sound on Bryan Adams' "When You Love a Woman" (Paco De Lucia).

    The guitar sound on George Benson's "Masquerade" - IMO, the definitive jazz guitar sound.

    The vocal tracks on the Operation Mindcrime album - Queensryche.

    The drum track on "Rosanna" by Toto.

    The guitar sound on Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" (Strat perfection, IMO).

  16. 10 hours ago, Grant Harding said:

    The deciding point for me was when I was jamming away, thinking I was playing through the Shiva, but it was the Kemper with a profile of the amp, powering the actual open-back speakers in the amp. It sounds and feels exactly like it.

    Then add all the effects I want, with incredible quality and a floorboard + expression pedal(s), etc..

    Some people complain about the lack of the "amp in the room sound" from the Kemper, but that's not true at all. 

    The Kemper powered head delivers primarily 2 different types of output (plus lots more options):

    - One is a stereo pair that sounds like the amp + stomp boxes + speakers with a mic on it and stereo post effects. The sound of the original speaker is baked into this output, which is really significant. Exactly what you want to send to a PA or full range powered speaker. This is supposed to sound like a guitar on a record or in a stadium, not an amp in a room. 

    - The other ignores the speaker cab/mic bit and runs through the internal 600w amp. This is designed to drive guitar speaker cabs onstage or if you want a grab and go for a jam or small gig. Sounds just like an amp in a room. It's going to sound best with an amp profile that matches the actual cab (eg: Fender Champ profile into a 4x12 with Celestion Greenbacks isn't going to sound very traditional),

    No I don't work for them. 😄🎵🎶

    My application would be the complete profile of my existing amp, including the cab (or cab sim).  I have exactly zero interest in hauling around my cabinets anymore - I haven't had them with me on a gig in over a year, and I don't have a desire to go backwards.

    Currently, I run my XTC into a Torpedo Live loadbox/cab sim, then into my XR12 which feeds both FOH and my personal monitors.  I've built a cab model that duplicates my mic'd 1960A, so I no longer carry anything except the one wedge monitor that I use for all of my instruments (acoustic and electric) and vocals.  My goal is to get rid of the amp head, just to reduce the weight and fragility.

    With the Stage version, I assume that I would also be able to leave the Torpedo Live at home, and only use it while actually profiling.

    So far, the playing I have done with the KPA leads me to the conclusion that it's very, very good, and much better for my application than any of the modellers.  It is not exactly the same thing as my XTC, but close enough that nobody in the audience will ever hear a difference, and the ease of use and mobility is a bigger benefit than the liability in tone.  It is also less of a difference than if I were to shift to a different amp, which should put it in perspective.

    Thanks for the input!

    • Thanks 1
  17. 13 hours ago, Grant Harding said:

    I use a Kemper powered head and love it. My Bogner Shiva got pushed out the door. Amazing being able to go from Bogner to Vox to Dumble to Fender...

    Really?  That's saying something.  I've had a hard time believing that anything could sound as good as the XTC....but the older I get, the heavier it is to carry.....

  18. 3 hours ago, Red Ant said:

    Considering the XTC is imho the finest and most versatile multi-channel amp available, that is a tall order. 

    Well, yes.  That's why I have stuck with the XTC for almost 15 years now.  There's nothing else out there that covers more ground, IMO.

    3 hours ago, Red Ant said:

    That being said, I think the Kemper is your best bet, as you can virtually "clone" your XTC and JCM800 and then add whatever else you may want/need.

    That's the idea. I played one for about 30 minutes today, and while it sounded very good, it wasn't inspiring.  I think that I need to borrow one and do my own profiling to see what it can really do.  The stock profiles aren't good enough, but they show that it might be able to get there. We'll see.

  19. 4 hours ago, redEL34 said:

    Freakin Monoprice 15 watt. NOS tubes, new reverb tank, Eminence Legend GB128, that`s one hell of an amp.

    Nice enough, but a combo amp is absolutely not the solution for my gigs.

    I'm not looking for a new sound, I am looking for a lighter weight, smaller way to duplicate what I already have - the Bogner XTC and JCM800.

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