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Thread: Do modeling amps get "lost in the mix"

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    Do modeling amps get "lost in the mix"

    I've heard for years that modeling amps may sound good in isolation but once you get them into a band situation they get utterly lost. I am wondering if this is something that you have experienced, and if it was for certain sounds but not others. I have been messing around lately with an ancient Line 6 AX2 212 and really like some of the sounds I can get with it. I think some of the high gain sounds lose articulation (the preset Rectifier to me sounds like a kazoo) and those would get lost easily, but do cleaner or crunchy sounds get lost as well?

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I don't have a modeling amp, but I think I may have some insight. I believe there's a tendency by both players and builders of less expensive amplifiers with many convenient features to adress bedroom level and digital home studio playing conditions over live conditions. That isn't to say that digital amps don't have watts. I think it's more about the preset EQ parameters and the amps being idealized in this aspect for quieter playing rather than louder playing. Imagine that mid scooped tone that fills up more range in your ears at lower playing volumes.

    Ok, I'll just say it out loud. The digital amp genre does sort of cater to bedroom wanker tone. And yes, that EQ balance is easily swallowed up in a live band mix. You can try turning up the midrange if it's even in a suitable band for a more natural sound. I had 50W (called a 60 actually, but you know...) Peavey tube combo that sounded great at bedroom levels but just couldn't cut through the mix in a live setting. It was definitely geared more toward the uber gain preamp bedroom wanker tones and I imagine the trouble with digital modeler combos could be similar.

    Also, I wouldn't be surprised if most of the stock speakers used in these amps aren't as efficient as the ones we buy for out tube amps. Since modelers need a more flexible and balanced pallet of frequencies to get good results from all the digital images I would expect less pronounced peaks and resonance characteristics. You might get more useful live tones for many digital patches by changing to a standard high end guitar speaker rather than the stock one deemed more suitable for modeling. Though you may not like it with all the offered patches.

    JM2C without the benefit of much actual experience.

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    "Never bet your life on somebody else doing their job." SoulFetish's good friend

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    Not about modeling gear, but "lost in the mix" was a problem for our band even with tube amps mic'ed to mixer/PA and later,
    with analog pedal board direct to mixer/PA.

    We found that "EQ is everything" esp at the mixer/PA end.

    As one of two guitars in our band, I could dial up a great sound on my pedal board thru the PA,
    but as soon as the whole show started, my rhythm sound was lost in the mix.
    Lead guitar had the same problem.

    Tweaking EQ at the mix board made all the difference.
    I don't know exactly what was done as far as the EQ'ing as I don't run the mix board,
    but I think mainly boosting mids and hi freq.

    I now have a HeadRush modeling pedal board but have not used it in the band context yet.

    We are on summer hiatus but might get a jam or 2 in, in the next month or so.

    I'm eager to try out the HR with the band.

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    The world is full of people that are right.

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    Most problems voicing a band are solved by filtering out the redundant, out of phase frequencies. This is the main reason instruments get "lost in the mix" when they sound fine on their own. It's tricky to do if you aren't aware of each instrument sonic profile. Good sound engineers keep a record of the instruments in the bands they mix. Saves time.

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    In playing with this AX2 some more I think the comments about EQing (and general parameter tweaking) may be a major factor. I noticed that many of the presets for Fender or blues amp sounds use a "dark" setting for the distortion pedal model. It makes it sound like there is a blanket over the speakers. Switching to the medium or bright model for the distortion box makes it come to life. But if someone shows up at band practice everyone gets upset if you want to spend 20 minutes playing with all the different settings in the amp, maybe even having to break out the manual to figure it out. About then is when you might start hearing the "why did you get that piece of crap" comments.

    The speakers on these are definitely not as peaky or bright as some others. I had a JC120 and the speakers were getting serviced so I put the AX2 speakers in it, since JC amps supposedly also want a broad band flat speaker. It didn't sound bad with them, but I had to flip the bright switch on just to get it to normal JC120 sound. Maybe not quite as loud as the stock speakers, but still pretty loud.

    I've also found some of my favorite sounds are using totally non-intuitive guitar settings. For example I like using the bridge pickup on my strat but with the its volume turned way down, almost as far down as it goes, and then the bright boost setting, and a high gain amp model. Turning down the volume on the guitar should cut some high frequencies, and cutting out some overtones seems to reduce some of the digital-y sound. This is pretty much the opposite of what the manual would tell you, which is to max the signal from the guitar.

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    Member HaroldBrooks's Avatar
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    Excellent comments so far, so I will be 'short' - (correction : not shot, thanks g1) and try not to repeat anyone.

    There's also an advantage a tube amp has in handling picked or strummed transients that is lacking in modeling amp setups as they seem much flatter, with a primary emphasis on frequency content overall, and not in handling live dynamics and non-linear tonal shifts and amplitude correctly.

    I think it's a function of both the type of speaker being used, and the insufficiency of a 'real true' modeling of all types of responses to playing dynamics, pickups, and other voltage / current related behavior that make tube amps do what they do, in response to a user input.

    It's very complex, but I believe that modeling has gotten a lot better, it's just that they can't rest on their laurels if they want to compete directly with the amp in the room in a live setting.

    It's just not that simple to model tube amps, and anyone who says it is, is either lying or in the dark about the dynamics and multiple variables that need to be addressed. Like some giant econometric or weather model, you come close, but still always seem to fall short...

    Frequency response is probably the most important aspect, but the available dynamic range and handling of transients in playing are equally so. Then there's the insufficiency of modeling an open back amp in the actual way it reacts on stage or in any room. A tall order task indeed.

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    Last edited by HaroldBrooks; 06-24-2019 at 11:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HaroldBrooks View Post
    Excellent comments so far, so I will be shot
    Well at least try not to get killed, ok?

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    Just because they don't have tubes doesn't mean they don't have feelings! - glebert

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    Member HaroldBrooks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by g1 View Post
    Well at least try not to get killed, ok?
    LOL, yes I will be short, as I don't want to be shot ! I have to start proof reading I think.

    I drank a little last night, but I am reasonably sober now, one would think anyway.

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    What chuck h said, period.
    To please bedroom wankers playing alone (and this is the key word) typical trick to get a "huge" sound is to apply a "Smiley" curve, meaning boosy highs and lows and *murder* midrange.
    Even worse: too much of that, to compensate for strong bedroom level Fletcher Munson effect which makes ear insensitive to highs and lows.


    Check the blue curves, 100Hz level as example, what is basically flat at 100dB SPL (same level as 1kHz)) needs some 10dB boost at 60 dB SPL (bedroom level)
    Which means exact same preset becomes mush in 2 ways: too much bass makes distortion (and even clean sound) farty mushy, and too little midrange pushes you a mile back in tbhe mix.
    Couple that to typical synthetic distortion kludge of killing treble "so it sounds warm tubey" and you have a perfect storm.

    While classic amps which have its tone polished by DECADES of tweaking to get good Live sound do exact opposite.

    In fact they *cut* bass, to the tune of "everything below 700Hz" typical of VOX to "everything below 150 Hz" typical of Marshall.

    I often mention my every weekend experience with bands which play live , say, 2 times a year, carrying HUGE pedalboards or an almost as large multipurpose simulator, wah/expression pedal included, and plugging that monstrosity into a guitar amp *input* ... the slightly more enlightened ones plugging into Loop return.

    In any case sound is a ball of mushy pink noise.

    When I ask them to ditch it and straight plug into the amp, they look at me in horror and say: "but ... but ... MY sound is in there"

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    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Agree with the above. I'll add: There is typically more compression in a modeling amp to avoid digital clipping in the signal chain. This also adds to the sound getting lost in the mix. Much of the "peak" information is lost.

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    Supporting Member Randall's Avatar
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    I have never had an experience with a modeling amp in a band situation that I didn't hate. I just can't stand them, period.

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    It's weird, because it WAS working fine.....

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    Agree with the above. I'll add: There is typically more compression in a modeling amp to avoid digital clipping in the signal chain. This also adds to the sound getting lost in the mix. Much of the "peak" information is lost.
    THIS!!^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    This has been my argument against digital amps forever. With a digital amp you're not even hearing your guitar (per se') but a vague simulacrum in the EQ and average voltage output. The patches are "told" what to send to the amplifiers as your guitar "triggers" it. And of course there's high and low limits on what works with the patches (in both EQ and voltage dynamics), which is that compression The Dude mentions, as well as a tiny delay and a small amount of encoding noise that sounds like an odd harmonic with multiple triggers. THIS IS THE REASON THEY DEVELOPED VELOCITY SENSITIVE ELECTRONIC KEYBOARDS!!! Piano players didn't like the way piano "patches" on electronic keyboards didn't have the touch sensitivity they were use to from acoustic instruments. Digital amps are getting better, and they're kind of ok for uber gain tones now, but they're a long way from capturing the proper feel and tonality of the amps they claim to replicate. Especially in the "feel" part of the matter. They never "feel" right to me. When I play my tube amps it's like looking in a mirror. When I play through a digital amp it's like I'm doing a mime bit with another person mimicking my moves AS IF I were looking in a mirror. If that makes sense.

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    "Never bet your life on somebody else doing their job." SoulFetish's good friend

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

    "Back to the amp. It makes horrible sounds when I play my guitar thru it... because I suck at playing guitar." Mike6158

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randall View Post
    I have never had an experience with a modeling amp in a band situation that I didn't hate. I just can't stand them, period.
    Please multiply my thumb up by an insane quantity. I hate those things...

    Justin

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    "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    And to add to what Chuck said,

    I do not care how many "famous artists" are switching over to digital/modeling/profiling/whatever from their old standby rigs. They all sound like crap since they did, to my ears.

    I will give digital amps one thing: if you are writing club music that is heavily synthesized anyway, it's a natural habitat for a digital amp to be in. But that's it.

    Justin

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    A large part of the modeling craze can be answered with a question.

    How many people under 30 have ever heard a completely analog recording?

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    A large part of the modeling craze can be answered with a question.

    How many people under 30 have ever heard a completely analog recording?
    +10

    The good new is that I hear plenty of young artists (likely using mostly digital equipment) making some good music anyway. It's just a new generation with new and different tools. But you can't stop the base instinct to communicate musically, and often aggressively. Rock lives. Pop lives (and pop is not a derogative term here). Pop is just a youthful expression of a new generation stating their mind on the way things are. What else has rock and pop ever been. I know there's a new "pop" label that has a bunch of teen girls bouncing around. But that has always been the case too, but there are other aspects. My point is that the cause recreates itself with every generation. This one is using awful digital gear, but it's getting it done anyway for the most part Me? I'll keep to my tube amps. Thank you. These kids don't know what they're missing Which is sad because they're the ones with the physical resilience to lug this crap around.

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    "Never bet your life on somebody else doing their job." SoulFetish's good friend

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

    "Back to the amp. It makes horrible sounds when I play my guitar thru it... because I suck at playing guitar." Mike6158

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    I trust none of you curmudgeons have a digital delay on your pedal boards

    FWIW, this guy was basically how I started using the AX2 amp. I bought the one in this video from him for $25 (after he broke it) because I wanted to build a 212 cabinet and was going to junk the chassis. Ended up being an easy fix and I ended up kind of liking it. I thought his tone was pretty passable here especially considering this isn't a great audio recording. I think he had changed the speakers out to something like V30s.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcGDBWjI3Yw

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    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    The “compression factor” is really obvious if you share the stage using traditional gear with someone using a modeling amp. In general they have 2 modes imhe. Either burying you with 200 Watts on tap or not. Unless they set up a “boost” patch their leads usually don’t “pop” and are at the level of their rhythm setting. Plus there is too much temptation for trail echos, noise, gates, and tons of other crap that mud up everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glebert View Post
    I trust none of you curmudgeons have a digital delay on your pedal boards
    Nope. Sold my DD5 over a decade ago & never looked back. I did pick up a cheesy Danelectro slapback thingy for $5, but never used it out. Actually I've never used a delay of any kind since. I just hit the note twice.

    Jusrin

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    "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
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    Supporting Member Randall's Avatar
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    "I trust none of you curmudgeons have a digital delay on your pedal boards"

    That's not even close to what this is about. I had a Boss D-delay om my board, FWIW.

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    It's weird, because it WAS working fine.....

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I used a BOSS digital delay when I gigged (still have it, it's dusty). Also a digital reverb and a Whammy pedal. As noted, not the same thing as having your main, dry signal be a "replicant". Digital effects get a pass from me. Gotta draw the line somewhere I suppose if only for convenience. Which is the same for the digital amps. They can be convenient. When they're not getting drowned out of the mix anyway. I imagine it like junk food. I prefer to eat better but burger joints can be valid when you're hungry and don't want to drive further or spend more. I'll make such dietary concessions that detriment my health, but not those concessions that detriment my tone and art. I think something has to be held to a high standard if only to avoid having your whole life become a Big Mac.

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    "Never bet your life on somebody else doing their job." SoulFetish's good friend

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

    "Back to the amp. It makes horrible sounds when I play my guitar thru it... because I suck at playing guitar." Mike6158

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    Fekking brilliant with that one, Chuck!

    Justin & Jusrin

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    "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    I've never used a delay of any kind since. I just hit the note twice.
    That's beautiful. Do you use a 'straight-in' pedal too?

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    Just because they don't have tubes doesn't mean they don't have feelings! - glebert

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    I wish I could send pictures from my phone. (I probably could figure it out if I took the time). I did rig up a cardboard box once with a jack in each side, wired straight across. I scribbled "EFFECTS BOX" on the front & played a church gig with it. I just played with my Arion SCH-1 & Sparkle Drive on the whole time, out of sight. Then straight into my 62 Concert.

    Justin

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    "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    I wish I could send pictures from my phone. (I probably could figure it out if I took the time). I did rig up a cardboard box once with a jack in each side, wired straight across. I scribbled "EFFECTS BOX" on the front & played a church gig with it. I just played with my Arion SCH-1 & Sparkle Drive on the whole time, out of sight. Then straight into my 62 Concert.

    Justin
    When I gigged it was easy to identify the guitarists in any club. They're the ones that walk up and inspect your rig. Sometimes when it was appropriate I would leave the pedal board at home and plug my Warmoth strat straight into my Marshall. Now, my strat is modded with series and phase options that allow me to get huge tones. And the Marshall was stealth modded with a channel stack and my own tweaks, but done in a way to keep it stock looking. Guys would come up to look at my amp settings and ask me "How do you get that killer tone?" My answer was always "I dunno. It's just a strat plugged into a Marshall."

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    "Never bet your life on somebody else doing their job." SoulFetish's good friend

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

    "Back to the amp. It makes horrible sounds when I play my guitar thru it... because I suck at playing guitar." Mike6158

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    When I gigged it was easy to identify the guitarists in any club. They're the ones that walk up and inspect your rig. Sometimes when it was appropriate I would leave the pedal board at home and plug my Warmoth strat straight into my Marshall. Now, my strat is modded with series and phase options that allow me to get huge tones. And the Marshall was stealth modded with a channel stack and my own tweaks, but done in a way to keep it stock looking. Guys would come up to look at my amp settings and ask me "How do you get that killer tone?" My answer was always "I dunno. It's just a strat plugged into a Marshall."
    Shouldve told them you always keep your audio cord in the freezer until it's time to play. So the electrons can rest abit.
    nosaj

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    Binkie McFartnuggets‏:If we really wanted to know the meaning of life we would have fed Stephen Hawking shrooms a long time ago.

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    Why I wanna build something into a Gorilla Tube Cruncher...

    Jusrin

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    "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Member HaroldBrooks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randall View Post
    "I trust none of you curmudgeons have a digital delay on your pedal boards"

    That's not even close to what this is about. I had a Boss D-delay om my board, FWIW.
    I agree. Comparing a Digital Delay to a tube or solid state modeling amp is like comparing your Lawnmower to you car. Both run gas engines, but are quite different in their function. You wouldn't evaluate your lawnmower on the basis of 0-60mph or if it lacked A/C ?

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  29. #29
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    It was a joke guys.

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    Member HaroldBrooks's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by glebert View Post
    It was a joke guys.
    Ok, LOL, I tend to have a quick trigger when talking about modeling, that has been established on other boards.

    I used to own and gig with an early 70's Marshall Plexi, and about a Dozen or more other great vintage amps years ago in a rotation (and a couple today still !), and it makes me laugh, bristle, and a bit sad when I catch a kid talking about the latest "Plexi Pedal" or modeling amp with an "Exact" copy of a Marshall Plexi, and asking why would anyone need anything else ?

    I am in a 12 step program to stop trying to convince the young crowd that there's a difference between a real tube amp and the fake kind.

    99.5% of them have never been within 20 ft of an actual vintage Marshall, much less had the opportunity to play one dimed in a live gig setting, for the whole night !

    Oh well, times they are a changin'.
    https://www.google.com/search?source...31.wx4TmkyGMR4


    This is definitely NOT a modeling amp, Enjoy !
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZBlqcbpmxY

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    Last edited by HaroldBrooks; 06-29-2019 at 08:16 AM.

  31. #31
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HaroldBrooks View Post
    Ok, LOL, I tend to have a quick trigger when talking about modeling, that has been established on other boards.

    I used to own and gig with an early 70's Marshall Plexi, and about a Dozen or more other great vintage amps years ago (and a couple today still !), and it makes me laugh, bristle, and a bit sad when I catch a kid talking about the latest "Plexi Pedal" or modeling amp with an "Exact" copy of a Marshall Plexi, and asking why would anyone need anything else ?

    I am in a 12 step program to stop trying to convince the young crowd that there's a difference. 99.5% of them have never been within 20 ft of an actual vintage Marshall, much less had the opportunity to play one dimed in a live setting, for the whole night !

    Oh well, times they are a changin'.
    https://www.google.com/search?source...31.wx4TmkyGMR4


    This is definitely NOT a modeling amp, Enjoy !
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZBlqcbpmxY
    This post reminds me of the time I was playing a gig and, even though the crowd was on their feet and having a good time, the club owner came over between songs and said "Could you guys turn it down." I said "Sure." Reached over and turned my 1959 Marshall UP. Then I looked over my left shoulder and said to the guys "Voodoo Child."

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    "Never bet your life on somebody else doing their job." SoulFetish's good friend

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

    "Back to the amp. It makes horrible sounds when I play my guitar thru it... because I suck at playing guitar." Mike6158

  32. #32
    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Just last night I stayed up late (think 2 or 3 AM, a couple hours ago) repairing a friend´s 80´s Silverface Twin Reverb.
    Got 4 fresh JJ 6L6 , 2 fresh JJ 12AX7 which got in the first preamp stages, old ones were hissy buzzy, plus replacing toasted screen resistors, the wirewound filament hum trimmer *exploded* (there were bits and pieces everywhere plus leaving a large soot covered area around it), one former 6L6 also exploded throwing glass shrapnel all around, a mini WW3 scenario.

    OMFG!!! , that is the real thing.
    LOUD and clear is just starting to describe it.

    He also has a MB MK 3 plus matching 4 x 12" cab (2 Celestion on top, 2 Eminence on bottom) ... not even that beast can match, live and dimed, the sheer projection achieved by the Twin Reverb.
    MB sound even if tube is kind of "processed", and in my opinion too much messing with *natural* guitar sound is shooting own foot.

    The Twin, like all classic Fender, simply "amplifies what you feed it", period, and that´s good; guitar can always be clearly heard through the stage ball of sound.

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    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    I would like to add,
    I play my 67 Mustang Bass through either a 67 Bassman or 74 Bassman 100 (AB165 preamp mod) & a 68 2x15 w. real speakers. People say all the time they can tell all the notes, that I sound lively, goes right to the back of the room (several hundred people usually), etc.

    So screw you & your subs, or plugging me into the snake, or your kilowatt "bass" amp with "bass" speakers. I'd rather energize people without disembowling them. So, yeah. 50-100W <IS> all you need. With real speakers.

    Justin

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    "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Found something interesting that seems like it would be a factor in this. Last night I had been playing my old AX2 through headphones, had tweaked my settings and models to get something I liked quite a bit. Was playing with it again this evening and put it through the speakers and it sounded very two-dimensional, flat, thin, etc. I sat down in front of the amp (which is on a stand already) and the goodness was suddenly back. I found that, at least on that amp with those models etc, that there is a very narrow beam where it sounds good, and if you get even six inches above that it all falls apart. I don't know how much of this is a function of the stock speakers or if there is something about modeling that makes it more beam-y. I know all speakers will have some beaming, but compared to my tube 212s this seems much more extreme in the effect and narrowness of the beam. I could see this causing an amp that sounds good in isolation (when you are in the beam) totally get lost in a band situation.

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  35. #35
    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Sounds reasonable.

    Just thinking aloud, I often see people fear so much SS/Digital amps being "harsh/buzzy/bees in a can/fingernails on a blackboard" sounding that designers overcompensate by killing treble in general.

    Nice when alone at low power but on a band situation they crumble down.

    Standing exactly on axis adds a much needed 9/12dB peak at 2k5 Hz to 3k5 Hz ... which sadly is on a narrow beam.

    Even some tube amps do that.
    Check , say, Peavey Classic amps; most (all?) incorporate a "warming" low mids boost circuit after saturation stage.
    Nice at home or when testing (at lowish volume) at GC ; a blanket over your mouth on stage where they sound reasonably good but struggle fighting others.
    While other Peavey amps, say the Butcher (which is basically a JCM 800 version) tears your head off your shoulders.
    Modern Mesa Boogie amps are muddy in my book, but their Stiletto is approppriately named

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    Juan Manuel Fahey

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