firehawk vs amplifire

Discussion in 'Amp Modeling' started by Rhust, Aug 15, 2017.

  1. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    ok, I'm really been soul searching on trying modelling... it's hard to give up the tube-amp crack

    sorry for the wall of text...
    TL;DR version: does the amplifire sound as good and it is it easy to use? compared to the firehawk? either one updates? third party updates/add-ins? with either one I might still want to add a pedal or 2 if needed.. like a muff into the clean channel, for example... do either of them take pedals like a real amp would?

    the full version:
    I even thought about going all-in... selling 2 amps, and a couple guitars to get a ax8 or helix... but first off, I don't want to sell a bunch of stuff to fund a purchase I'm not 100% on anyway... second, I already decided against the helix for one reason only: future updates... line 6 has a history of no longer adding amps/updates to products after a year or 2, which is fine for a $200 pedal... it is what it is, and that's all that it will ever be... for something that is meant to be a full rig replacement, it needs to have a lifespan... if I'm dropping a grand and selling a guitar, etc.. I better not feel jipped in a year.

    so, here's the question, and I'd love to hear from someone who has both a firehawk and an amplifire or amplifire12... which one?

    I don't need a million rigs/tones... I need a
    1) good light crunch tone (ac/dc, classic rock, or punkish... something like a pushed plexi/JTM45, maybe) ,
    2) a super clean (jc120 or fender blackface),
    3) a heavy crunch, like early metallica, classic metal tone, hot rodded JCM800 or something pushed with an OD pedal as needed, and
    4) a stoner/sabbath doom sound...
    everything else is just gravy... I don't use a ton of effects, tiny bit of amp reverb, delay and chorus occasionally... add a wah when I want to play voodoo child or man in the box... that's it.

    honestly, my 6505MH does everything except the clean well enough.. but there's no way to make it cleaner and keep the other 3 sounds. I've tried. so that means either another amp, that could do it all in a small wattage, portable head with either a DI out or a cab clone or similar.

    or I could keep my 6505 and get a small modeller that does it all 'good enough'

    the fire hawk was the first one that really made me consider this, because for the first time, I could use my tablet, that I always keep with me anyway, and don't have to hook it up to my PC or a dedicated laptop to edit...
    the price is right, and it seems robust enough.. but no updates, and no hopes for additions later... plus the few line 6 products I've tried in the past sounded like shit... but those were red beans and lower-end HD series (pre-HD500X)... and youtube doesn't make these sound a WHOLE lot better... but that's not fair either

    then I saw some demos for the atomic amplifire.. I hadn't heard of this (or if I have, I forgot)
    it's a little more expensive, and a lot less known... but add a midi to it, or upgrade to the 12 (for about the price of adding the midi) and you are there... the tones seem pretty good (again, on you tube) but it is a little more expensive, and updates/etc are an unknown... but it seems like there may be 3rd party support too?
    also, no expression pedal? at all? or can that be added to the midi? that's not as big a deal, because it can take a wah/ volume pedal and integrate onto a pedal board...
    my apprehension about the amplifire, is not available locally, so you can't try it first... unknown future, and the interface looks over complicated...

    that's another thing... I've had a few modelling things in the past... and I feel like I was spending all my time jacking with presets and tweaking instead of playing... I would love something simple..
     
  2. hbucker

    hbucker Senior Member

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    I don't know a thing about the Firehawk. So if that's a deal breaker, read no further.

    But, before I got my AX8, the only other product I was really considering was the Amplifire 12, for the very same kinds of needs you describe. I have a lot of faith in the tones that come from the Amplifire. I don't think that would be any kind of a mistake for you. Everything I've heard is that he models are every bit as good as the models of the AX8, but there are just less of them, with less deep editing options (that most people don't care about - I'm not even sure I care about them with my AX8 but can't stop trying to tweak them, just because they are there :dunno::420:

    The AA forum is pretty decent: http://atomicamps.com/forum/index.php Check it out. Last time I was checking, people there were upset about a lack of firmware updates and the lack of communication from the company about all kinds of nuances of their product support. Maybe that's changed, but I haven't been over there in a couple of months.

    The reasons I went for the AX8 over the Amplifire? I'll admit this is probably a silly one, but the wall wart. I have a problem with a wall wart for serious gigging gear. It would force me to mount it to a pedalboard, which I didn't want to do. The AX8 has a hardwired, durable power cable.The other reason was my familiarity with Fractal products through my friend, and the fact that I'm pretty sure I would have wondered what I was missing out on with more options that are offered by the AX8. So I bit the bullet. I have to say, via the Fractal forum, there is all kinds of support from moderators and folks who know a lot about Fractal products. Questions of all kinds are answered in almost no time. It's really nice for a frustrated knob-turner like myself.

    If not for my nervous curiosity/insecurity, I'm sure I could have been happy with the Amplifire, wall wart aside.

    IMO, look at the features it provides. Don't worry about the tone. It'll be there one way or the other. If it has the features and support that you're satisfied with, the Amplifire can't be a mistake for you.

    good luck :dude:
     
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  3. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    my biggest apprehension in the amplifire is the interface. it's almost like they should include a small/cheap laptop with every purchase, because changing on the board itself seems like a major pain in the ass. I'm pretty much resigned that neither will have future updates or new amps added, but that's acceptable at the price point.

    you are right, I bet either one will have good enough tones for me.. as one guy said the other day here "I'm the weakest link in my chain" that could not be more true for me...

    never thought about the wall wort, my current pedal board has one, and works fine, but it's a good point... the female connector sometimes gets loose and has to be plugged in again...
    I could always mount a power strip to the inside of the pedalboard to help the issue, but it hasn't been a constant problem.

    I did seriously consider the AX8... I just can't seem to pull the trigger, and sell so much to make the purchase funded... but maybe next year, after saving pennies for it.... you notice I didn't mention the kemper and bias head? the kemper's price and the bias' lack of effects are deal breakers.
     
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  4. hbucker

    hbucker Senior Member

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    I misspoke. The AX8 had a removable power cable. But its still a cable....

    And I was the one that said I was the weakest link. ...Still am. ;)
     
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  5. AmpedUp

    AmpedUp Senior Member

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    I've been enjoying the Atomic Amps AmpliFIRE 3 switch version for about 6 months now. Tone wise, it was a serious step up from the HD500X Pod I have. Can't say anything about the Firehawk.
    The AA3 interface either on the front panel or the PC editor is very straightforward. There are at least 3 Eq blocks that can be placed before or after the amp block in various filter modes. Much less knob twisting on the AA3 for me. YMMV.
    Brett Kingman has a video on the current PC Editor and another on the AA12 using the current firmware. The 3 and the 12 supposedly utilize the same firmware. Also it's been posted that the Amplifirebox is about to begin shipping towards the end of the month.




     
  6. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    well, I thought it was perfect.

    I watched all of kingman's videos about amplifire yesterday... the guy never sounds bad... he also never complains about the user interface... there was another video where the guy only ditched his amplifire3 for a helix, because of the interface... I'll admit the L6 interface on the helix and firehawk are really nice looking, and simple

    I didn't know about the amplifirebox... I'll have to look. thanks for the info. I think you are right, though... it seems like the 12 is the exact same as the 3, but more footswitches+I/O so it kinda takes the place of the "need" of a midi...
     
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  7. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    have you had any luck adding existing pedals like a standard OD or fuzz to the amplifire?
     
  8. AmpedUp

    AmpedUp Senior Member

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    Rhust, yes, looks like the Editor is the same as well as the firmware for the 3 and the 12, just more footswitch allocation with the 12. I have 5 O/D distortion pedals in front. It takes them very well. It appears from what they have shown so far, that the Editor will be a completely different looking reduced version with what looks like the pedal face as the skin for the Amplifirebox and reworked since it has less functions.
     
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  9. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    Awesome. That's my biggest fear.. I've always been a stompbox guy, but the modelers in the past did not take pedals the way a real amp would...

    I'm still curious if anyone has tried the firehawk and amplifire both... since the firehawk is quite a bit cheaper (used) than the amplifire, but I'm really leaning towards the AA3, and adding a simple midi pedal later to turn on/off stomp boxes inside the rig, and switch between a few patches.. but I may just bite the bullet and get the Aa12.

    The fact you think it sounds better than your 500X tells me that it would sound better than the firehawk too
     
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  10. AmpedUp

    AmpedUp Senior Member

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    I've begun trying I/Rs with the AA3, and the 32 user slots for those is just as simple to load/swap as changing around all the EQ options if that's ever a desire for you. I'm finding great sounds with the factory Ownhammer cab sims as well.
    There's a post from "rgys" member on the gear page stating that the Firehawk cab sims are from pre-HD units and that the preamp models are from HD as well as pre-HD models. True or not I don't know? But with the Firehawk you're stuck with the factory cab sims unless you turn them off and utilize cab sims through an external method, DAW, Two Notes Torpedo, Redbox etc. And either way, you are stuck at the HD preamp technology limit with the Firehawk. To each their own though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
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  11. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    that appears to be true.
    a) I'm hoping to not need to load custom IRs... but it's nice to have the option.
    b) I believe what you say to be 100% accurate... I think the old HD500 was the same way, there were a several HD amp models, then 200 amp models, (non-hd) that most of which sounded like ass. looking at the lists of amp models on the firehawk, it seems they kept that up, but who knows, now the normal ones might be better... they also say some cabs are HD, and some effects are HD, I think... seems like they upgraded some tones, and kept a lot of others from the 500X to keep the numbers up... the firehawk is supposed to be very similar to the hd500X, with the main difference being the bluetooth interface..

    I think I'm convinced. :)

    one more question, one youtube video said they could edit the amplifire with a tablet? I thought it was PC/MAC only?
     
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  12. AmpedUp

    AmpedUp Senior Member

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    PC for sure that I can personally verify yes. Windows tablets that runs .exe executables, most likely so. I don't run Mac, so not sure if so?
     
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  13. AmpedUp

    AmpedUp Senior Member

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    I run Linux primarily and the Amplifire Editor will also recognize and function within a Windows Virtualbox inside of Linux.
     
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  14. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    So a lot of soul searching last night. I took the power dongle into consideration. I took into consideration the future updates. I read the concerns and complaints on the amplifire and fractal sites... I decided that the "buy it for life" decision is probably going to be the AA12 or the ax8. I'm shooting for the ax8, and selling a guitar and amp and maybe even my 6505mh and going 'all-in'... worst case scenario, I could always sell the ax8 and get just about all I pay for it, plenty to get a tube amp again, if it goes that way.

    The amp models in the amplifire seem 90-95% as good as the fractal, but the effects don't seem as robust or complete.

    Considering that I'm looking for this to be a full-rig replacement, I want to give the best chance for success... let it not be said that I didn't give it an honest chance.

    Now, if I don't sell what I need to to make it happen, then the decision is made for me:)
     
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  15. hbucker

    hbucker Senior Member

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    You have come to the identical place I found myself in, for exactly the same reasons. Honestly, I don't think there is a right or wrong answer here. I went with the AX8 (bit the bullet) thinking the extra expense would be justified and completely forgotten down the road. I have found that to be the case. While I still believe the AA12 is a good product at a fair price. The AX8 is so much more expandable and has a lot more potential. (The learning curve is frustrating though.)

    Keep in mind that once you have your modeler, you have to play it through something. Everyone here and on the modeler forums has an opinion on what you must do and what just won't cut it - go figure. But that is an expense to keep in mind if you don't already own a power amp/cab or a powered monitor.

    IMO, hang out at the AA forum as well as the Fractal forum. You'll get a real sense of what it's like to use these products as well as the kinds of support you can expect once you are playing with them.

    Bottom line: The AA may be plenty for you, but the possibility exists that it may not be enough to keep you happy as long as the AX8 might. That's just for you to decide.

    Good luck :headbanger:
     
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  16. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    day 1 I'll be using my 6505 effects return and bypassing the cab sim...
    soon after, I'll be looking at a FRFR at a reasonable price, like the Laney IRT-X or even just a good PA speaker for the house... don't need a ton of power for the house, and the whole point of this is that I won't need to drag a cab with me either. I already use the DI out on my 6505, and love that feature... but to be able to reduce everything down to just a pedalboard-sized carry-in item is the goal

    the forums were sorta the make or break for me... I heard a lot more complaints about support on the AA side. I also saw more people jumping ship and moving forward to something like the AX8 or helix... they felt the AA limited them... now, I'm fairly simple... but also, if I'm going to drop 800 (AA12) to 1300(AX8) on something, I want to make sure it will still be relevant in a year or 2, the company will still be around, and supporting the product and that it's not going to leave me wondering "what-if"

    granted this is all 2x-3x more than I initially thought about spending... and I'm selling my THR and my LP to get it. so, yea, I'll be disappointed if this doesn't pan out.

    the AA3 was eliminated because of the need for an extra midi controller, and having to program that too... the price savings just wasn't there, once time is factored in.
     
  17. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    on the AX8, have you figured out a solution for headphones?

    there are 2 things on the AX8 that really make me wonder wtf is going on...
    #1, no USB audio out... seriously, even the little THR10 can do that... that would also solve the headphone problem which is #2... why no headphone out at all? so, day 1, I'm thinking I need a small mixer for headphone and USB audio out to PC sound... granted that can be had for $50-60... but damn!
    the mixer could also drive a couple small studio monitors like KRK Rokit 5 or something... so it's not a bad idea, but I just scratch my head at that...
     
  18. hbucker

    hbucker Senior Member

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    The only time I find the need to use headphones is when I'm recording - and really only for vocals. So I just plug into my Scarlet interface box for that. Otherwise, I can say that a headphone jack would probably be nice, and seems like a no-brainer, but honestly I don't really miss it.

    Also, setting up patches is dicey on headphones. I find that these often do not translate well to monitors. With that, there is very little else I'd need to use headphones for. I can't remember the last time I thought, "If I only had a headphone jack..."
     
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  19. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    true, I'm just thinking for a swiss army knife, solve all problems in one, the late night jam is missing... not a huge deal... the lack of USB audio out is the real head scratcher, like you said you use your scarlet interface, which is another $200 minimum... or a little cheap mixer for $100 or something... granted, if I keep the 6505, problem solved... it does USB audio out to pro tools/cuBase whatever, it also has a headphone out... so I could run the AX8 into the return on the peavey, at least until I get a more dedicated unit... I'm worried now I might be biting off more than I can chew :) we will see...
     
  20. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    ya'll going to get sick of me...

    I read both manuals last night, and watched some how-to videos... AX8 looks holy hell complicated... even the videos.... every one of them :
    "let's dial up a simple patch..." *dances on 9 buttons* "there it is, simple"
    I'm sure it's easier once you get into it, but for a total newb, it's overwhelming. I don't have time to get a degree in Ax-ology I need something I can buy on wednesday, and be ready to play out on saturday, while keeping a full time job...

    no. I need something an ape like me can use. I'm back in AA3 camp, I can add a midi, buy a reverb pedal or a M9 or something and still be way ahead in both time and money... and enough left over for a cab like the IRT-X or an Alto TS212...
    that's the thing... when you are trying to jump the tube ship, it's not just the "thing" you need... it's all the things you need for the thing to work properly.... by the time I added up the pieces, I was going to be closer to 2k spent.

    I think going AA3, a midi (can be used with other devices), a cab (can be used with other devices), studio monitors, or whatever... then stepping UP to something later, when you already have all the other pieces... that's what works better for me... the AA3 gives me a representative slice, without being force fed the whole cake...
     

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