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Re: OT: amp modelers vs amp modelers???
Here's a copy of part of a posting I made recently to the VG-8 mailing list
that speaks to your query:
> >David wrote: my arsenal of modellers including, to date:
> >VG-8 and 88; GT-5 and 6; DG-Stomp, Digitech GN3, and Pod XT ...
David, it took me ten days to realize that you use ALL these ''toyz''
so could you kindly send us more detailed comparisons of these
modellers and their (dis)advantages in your studio (or on stage).>>
Frankly, I have all of these still hooked up mostly because I can (my rig
doesn't travel) and because I can never duplicate the tones I like on older
models when the new ones come out.
But I'll be glad to ramble on a bit about what I like and don't like about
them, fwiw, and with this disclaimer: I'm almost always looking for unique
and unusual tones, not for ways to duplicate existing, classic (or current)
guitar/amp tones, especially on the VGs, and I don't play live and loud,
only in my studio and for recording. Also, since I do a lot of sound
layering and playing over guitar loops (captured live with delays and other
real-time looping tools), I tend to go for collections of sharply
contrasting tones as much as for ultimate signature lead or solo tones.
....(snip some VG-8 stuff, but this may be relevant:)....
Altho I definitely have some straight guitar/amp sounds on both VGs that I
use and love, I almost always use mag-pickup modellers for those sounds,
since I like my mag pickups, and the rich differences when switching
between them. So, the VGs are my guitar "synths" and my "acoustics," (but
all my favorite acoustic sounds are on the 8, not the 88).
So far, the king of my collection is the Pod XT (QUITE different from
earlier Pods I tried), both for its clean sounds and its drive simulators,
with the GT-6 coming second. Both offer a great range of credible and
attractive distortions, but the POD sounds more organic to me, more spongy
and good-gritty, very warm, while the 6 sounds more processed, more
digital, more raspy, brighter---but both are full of depth and surprises in
their amp/distortion models. For clean tones, I find it almost impossible
to get a strong, punchy, loud clean on the 6 that doesn't get harsh and
distorted on the upper strings when played hard, but this is not a problem
on the Pod. And I haven't found any fx on the 6 that are keepers. For some
reason, all the same effects I loved on the GT-5 sound crummy to me on the
6, less interesting and quickly boring. (Haven't found any Pod fx that
interesting yet, either, but I haven't looked that hard.) And it's so dumb
that there's no separate compressor/limiter block on the 6; it's an option
within the FX1 block. Plus, the noise gate simply doesn't do the job on the
6, but is very effective on the Pod---and the Pod's compressors are very
cool; you can run both a global "LA2A" type and a stomp-box pre-distortion.
(WHY do we need a noise gate on digital modellers, anyway? Can't they build
gain models that delete the warts on their analog forebears??) Again, the
bottom line here is that I have more patches that I actually use on the Pod
(about 10 different ones), compared to maybe 3 on the 6.
The GT-5, DG-Stomp, and Digitech are also-rans, and I could pretty easily
part with them if I had to. I use the Stomp the most, because I like the
wah sounds. They're not classic, more like a tone-control sweep than a
resonant filter, but I find this attractive. I have 3 sounds I like on it,
a clean, a low-drive, and a smooth high-gain, but I need a separate noise
gate to use the latter 2; there's no built-in gate, which either means that
my unit is defectively noisy, or that Yamaha is just cheap. I suspect the
former. Oddly, even with the noise problem, I find the Stomp very hi-fi,
detailed, clear and cutting. Dumb interface for switching sounds on the
The Digi is hooked up into the external loop of the GT-5, and I quit
exploring it after setting up my 1 favorite clean and high-gain tone within
a single patch where I can sweep between them using the GT-5's exp. pedal,
via MIDI. I have one GT-5 patch that gives me access to this sound, which
is very nice, but I'd say it's more one-dimensional than the tones on any
of the other boxes.
Beyond this cool external-loop trick, I keep the GT-5 in honor of some
quirky fx sounds I really love on it, couldn't duplicate with the GT-6, but
don't often return to, including a bitchin' ring-mod bass, some very odd
filtered tones using the Humanizer, and a few variations on a slow-gear
effect I also can't get the 6 to do: not a sweep up in volume, just a soft
or non-existant attack that starts right away. (This is because it takes
both a compressor and the slow-gear to achieve, but on the 6 you have to
choose between the comp and the SG.)
To sum up, I find that even with all these mag choices, I rarely wonder
which unit is currently on without looking, since they all seem to have a
characteristic overall sound, which is part of the reason why I both keep
the old ones, and keep buying new ones. But when I listen back to old
recordings, it's much harder to tell, unless there's a distinctive effect
going on that tips me off. So I guess I'm really more of a self-indulgent
horder of toys than a discriminating tone detective.
PS to Scott:
I haven't tried the Behringer or a J-Station, but I do also have a Pandora
and an Adrenaline, but didn't include these because, while they have some
nice sounds, they both seem not to compare in richness, dimension and
"sculpability" with the units I did mention.
all this talk of amp modelers vs. tubes amps has me wondering:
has anyone ever had a chance to test (A/B) the different
digital amp modelers available?? (pod, j-station, behringer v-amp, digitech
rp & genesis, korg pandora, plus any i'm missing... etc)??
was just curious.
i have the digitech rp100, and it's decent, i've played a pod for about
min once, and wasn't too thrilled w/ it, but that may have been b/c i was
testing it w/ a crappy (new) fender squire strat that was not a great
to play....just curious.....