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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just kidding guys.

Sort of.


A few months back I tried using a Vox Tonelab SE for live gigs. I run it direct via two DIs to our PA. The PA is full stereo so I use two channels panned hard left and right. I hear myself via one of the PAs discrete monitor mixes.

The sound is phenominal both on stage and out front.


No amp whatsoever on stage and I've never heard myself more clearly. Also the other guys have the luxury of being able to dial in as much or little guitar as the want. Stage volume is nice and low.




The end result and my goal is that the sound is much better out front where the audience is sitting. No mics, no bleeding, more room on stage, harmonic feedback is easier (wedges right in front of me).



It works and it works bloody well.


 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jeff Flowerday said:
Dude, you've sold you soul to the devil. :)

I've never been able to find a modeler that sounds half as good as my tube amps. Then there the feel, it's just not the same.

The amps I mothballed were tube amps. I've been playing a LONG time and always used 2 X 12 combos or 4 X 12 cabs.


The mistake most people make with modellers is that they try to use them in conjunction with a conventional guitar amp. WRONG approach.

Try one direct. I like the Vox, but I've heard great results with Pod XT Live when used direct.


Through an amp, even in the effects loop they ALL sound like ass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Accept2 said:
My preamp has XLR stereo outs allowing balanced direct plugin to the board, but I have found micing sounds way better, especially since I use a chorus amp to smooth the gain produced by the preamp. Sorry, but amps rule..............

Running direct outs from a preamp is not even close to a modeller. Good modellers model the amps preamp, power amp AND cabinet.

I've tried a direct line out of a Mesa Triaxis, ADA MP1 and a Dean Marlely and yes, it sounds like crap.


The Vox sounds fantastic, in fact, I get guys coming up to me at gigs asking if I'm using some sort of boutique tube amp. One guy swore I must have had a Dumble up there. As all amps on our stage are covered with back drop it's a fair blindfold test.

Amps are fine, but if you want to make a fair assesment of modelers you have to rty them WITHOUT a guitar amp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Accept2 said:
I use 2 setups, a Rocktron VooduValve in the rack setup, and a Roland VG8 in the other setup. The VooduValve has modeling as well as the VG8. The VG8s modelling goes well beyond other modellers though as it models more than just amps...........

This is also true of the Vox Tonelab SE. It models amps, cabinets and a number of vintage and modern effects.


Personally, I do more than just guitar. I'm also the lead vocalist and play a variety of instruments in the course of our gigs. I need consistancy and ease of use.

The Vox replaced a 4 X 12 amp and a surfboard sized pedalboard. It's very tweakable and thus my sound is continuosly evolving and improving.

Just a matter of taste of course, but again, the sound out front is really my biggest concern and frankly it's just much better now than when I was using a conventional amp.

I own the PA and the tech works for me so I really try to see things from the "big picture" perspective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here's a bit of an addendum.


I view my "amp" or "rig" as a comprehensive entity. It's all a part of the P.A.

If I could eliminate mics on the kit by going to an electronic kit I'd be as happy as a little girl.

Keeping stage volume to a minimum has long been our mantra.

We can actually talk to each other on stage without screaming. The PA itself has ample power (8800 watts FOH and 1600 watts monitor) to fill most rooms. I try to use good quality DIs for anything that allows it.

Using a modeler and other efforts have resulted in a much better sounding band. That's my mission.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
JamesPeters said:
What Lucius said.

Also, remember that a lot of *us* have also been playing a long time, and *have* given modellers a lot of chances. Too many people assume if someone doesn't like a modelling device that he hasn't "tried to tweak it properly" or "hasn't heard the best of what it has to offer". That's not always true, certainly not in my case and I'm betting not in Jeff's case either.

Easy big fella. No need to get defensive. I encounter the "tubes rule" paradigm on an ongoing basis.

Typically when put to the blindfold test almost nobody can really tell the difference, particularly after the signal makes its way through a 100' snake, through the console, effects rack, back through the snake (yup still 100') into the power amps, through the speaker cables to the mains and finally to their ears.

My point is, modelers can work VERY effectively if used in a sensible way and very few guys really take the long view on this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
JamesPeters said:
If I sounded as though I was being defensive, it was to point out that you had sounded defensive towards Jeff's post. No offense was meant.

People do know what you're saying. Well, some don't but then you'll never change their minds anyway. And that is sad, because modelling devices can be quite effective. I had an uphill struggle years ago trying to explain to people how to get the Johnson J-Station to sound good in recordings. It was pretty easy, but most people who claimed it wasn't possible hadn't bothered to really try. Once I posted clips which proved it could sound good, those people just vanished from the threads rather than admitting they might be a bit prejudiced towards the devices.

Anyway, the forums are full of people who either swear that modelling devices are "better than having amps" or that they're "terrible". Posting either one is a bit extreme. I'd also venture that saying "almost no one can tell the difference" is pushing it too, since I know many people who can.

I suppose I can seem a bit overbearing. Perhaps once you get to know me a bit you'll know how to take me.

I agree that if you A/B a well programmed modeler and a tube amp, you'll likely hear a difference, but I have done the double blind test with a couple of dyed in the wool Tube nuts (no offense) and they were unable to tell which was which. They could hear differences, but were unable to tell me which was the amp.


The reason I think Modelers are the way to go is not because they sound better. They don't. I'd say they can sound as good in the right hands, but that's another discussion. It's because they lend themselves to working with a PA or recording console in a much more efficient and effective (in my opinion) way.


I still have a few amps and may change my mind at some point.

But.... I've been gigging since last summer with it and I'm blown away.

Also, I recorded an entire album in Oct ~ Nov and never used an amp, in spite of the abundance of them in the studio. I'll post clips soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
james on bass said:
so far, for rehearsal, his XT Live sounds really good. His amp was an older MArshal Mosfet? It always sounded like razor-blades, even with tonnes of effects piled on. Now, it his Strat through the XT into his 2 Marshall cabs. Lots of great sounds. He just needs to fine-tune everything before he uses it live.

I know a few guys using the XT Live for gigs (no amp) and they're seeing the same results I am. The XT Live, Digitech GNX3000 and Vox Tonelab SE are all fantastic both for live use and for recording.

The first time I tried an XT Live I tried it with a Marshall JCM 900, both in the input and in the effects return. It sounded like unadulterated crap. Then I tried it through the bands monitor system and voila, beautiful sound.


As for not wanting to use a PA when you rehearse, I don't really see how this is possible, unless you're an instrumental group. You have to use SOMETHING to hear vocals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
JamesPeters said:
I'm guessing you didn't defeat the cab sims on the unit. That's key to getting a better sound when playing it through a guitar amp in any way at all.

Yes, actually we tried both leaving the cab sims active and defeating them.


The issue in my opinion was not the cab sims. It was the power amp sims. I suspect these could be defeated as well but I didn't have time to dig that deeply. I did try my Tonelab through an amp with the "amp" setting selected as opposed to the "line" setting.

Remember, these things model the entire amp, not just the preamp and speakers. As most tube amp lovers will attest, the power stage has a very significant impact on the sound, in fact it's the power stage being pushed that results in the tone that many tube amp lovers swear by.


If you want a multi effects unit, there are many excellent units available. I just don't think the modelers are the best choice to use with a conventional amp.

Again, just my opinion.

It still really didn't sound anywhere as good as going direct.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
ClamBoy said:
If you're willing to share patches for your Tonelab, I'd like to check them out. I'm interested hearing what is working well for you out front.

I'd be happy to, but I'm not the most skilled individual when it comes to internet stuff. Also, obviously my patches are tweaked to suit my EMG equipped guitars so the patches won't sound the same with passives.


Tell me how to do it and I'll try.


Really I don't use a huge amount of patches. I set up a couple of banks with a clean patch and gradually more distorted patches.


I also have patches including song specific effects like ping pong delays and tremelo and a couple for the lap steel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
JamesPeters said:
Pardon my presumptuousness. :) Every time someone has complained about how such a device sounds through a guitar poweramp (that I've seen on HC, the Gear Page, etc.), he has not shut off the cab sim.

I've had quite good luck running an original POD, POD2, and J-Station through a good tube guitar poweramp and guitar speaker cab. Most who heard these setups considered them superior to the devices themselves direct into a mixer, although still short of "the real thing".

You can't defeat the "poweramp sims" because there really aren't any. They try to simulate "the entire amp" with each "amp model".

Well, just before I mothballed my rack amp I tried the Tonelab through the power amp (Peavey Classic 60/60) and a 4 X 12 Celestion. It sounded not bad, but again it was like night and day compared to direct to console. With the direct approach I barely had to touch the strips on the board to get a good sound. It's almost flat. I just set the input gain on the two channels and bam!
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
JamesPeters said:
That's one device I haven't tried through a guitar poweramp and cab. It makes sense that it should sound better direct, and that's part of what bothered me about the POD, J-Station and so forth. (Although I do think the PODxt is fine sounding direct too.)

Anyway the Peavey Classic 60/60 is a guitar poweramp I'm not very fond of. It's fairly bland sounding no matter what tubes are in it. They come up used for cheap quite often so people snap them up, and then they post on the boards about how their Mesa Quad, Marshall JMP-1 etc. preamps don't sound as good as they expect. :) No one thinks to blame the poweramp.

Also, depending on what Celestion speakers you have, and what cab that really was (cabs are important too), maybe you didn't get as good a sound as you could've because of that too.

Well the ADA MP1 preamp I WAS using with the Peavey 60/60 and the same cab, sounded very nice. The cab was a Marshall 1960A wired in stereo. I still have two of the speakers and I honestly don't recall the model but they were celestions for sure.

Really my opinion was and still is, that all things being equal the Tonelab likes going direct much better than the comprimised method of bypassing the cab models and if possible the power amp models.


To me, this is much like the supposed "paperless" office where everyone prints hard copies anyway.


These things are designed to replace amps, nit work as a glorified effects processor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 · (Edited)
JamesPeters said:
If that was a stock 1960A, it's a bit fizzly sounding partially because it's a slant (brighter sounding from that alone) and it has G12T-75 speakers (which can sound nice, but typically sound a bit sizzly because they seem to require very loud volumes to start sounding rounder). The ADA worked better with it because it's quite midrange-heavy and it filled up a lot of the space in the mids that the G12T-75s miss at lower to medium volumes. (I wouldn't use that ADA with Vintage 30s, personally, because the mids would stack up and be too much for me.)

I agree that running the modeller direct makes the most sense and it's what I'd ultimately prefer to do. Anyway, the point I was making was about avoiding making widesweeping generalizations. Unless you've tried a device with lots of "peripheral pieces of gear", it's hard to make an appropriate judgement of it.

Widesweeping generalizations?


I can only comment on my experiences and results. Any comments I make are my opinions only and I don't mean to sound like I'm stating facts.

I have used many amps, some tube (including high end boutique stuff), some SS and some hybrid. I've used rack based amps and modelers. For the time being I'm content with the Tonelab SE going direct, but my results are so good that I'm willing to try others direct as well.


I'm intrigued by the Digitech GNX3000. In spite of poor results I've had with other Digitech units and their "cheap" construction, a lot of guys who like modelers REALY like the GNX3000.


It's worth trying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
JamesPeters said:
Sorry, I'm being a bit cranky today I guess. Maybe it's from posting on HC or maybe it's the lack of coffee, or both...

The GNX is a good enough sounding device. I found some sounds which were nice. It's in the realm of the J-Station to my ears, which is fine.

No need to apologize. I get a bit high handed periodically and need to be kept in check.

Have you tried the latest GNX3000? I tried earlier versions and wasn't blown away, but guys like Craig Anderton are raving about the latest one.

Not sure why I want to try it. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind.

Having said that I tend to follow the "Kaisen" philosophy of continuous improvement so I'm curious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
ENDITOL said:
Good points all around. One thing to remember when posing the 'audience can't tall the difference anyway' argument is the fact that the tone obviously make a huge difference to how the artist feels and performs. Thus the audience will undoubtably know the difference if the artist isn't playing thier best due to a tone / feel issue. It's all related and besides the audience often is smarter and more saavy then they are given credit for in my opinion.

- Sacha

ENDITOL

DIVINITY

Well this is absolutely true. I would go a bit further along this line of reasoning however and say that guys who obsess about tone on stage are often semi-oblivious to the audience and the performance in cases like this invariably suffers.

You have to get your gear prepared and make sure it works. Once you're on stage it's time to get over the nuances and subtleties and play the damn guitar.


Oh and I still maintain that the vast majority of people in the audience, even when the audience is largely comprised of musicians, cannot hear the difference between a well mic'd tube amp and a modeler once it makes its way through a few miles of copper, ICs and the mains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 · (Edited)
buckaroobanzai said:
Hopefully I won't get hacked to death for this, but...

I keep a Behringer GDI21 and a 35' XLR cable in my gig bag for emergencies.
I have convinced our guitar player (I'm on bass right now) to do the same.
Last week we had a couple of extra players show up at our jam, with guitars but no amps. (we usually have extras around, but they were all loaned out at the time.)

Both guys played thru the GDI21's into the PA.

Great, tube-quality sound? No.

Able to play instead of standing around? Yes.

For $35, it's a steal to have around if your amp (or modeller) bites it.


Yes, a good contingency item for sure.
 
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