Question on modern modeling amps

Discussion in 'Amp Modeling' started by kfowler8, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,711
    Likes Received:
    4,475
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    I'm starting to seriously consider picking up one of the new high-end modeling amps (Kemper, Axe FX, Helix). I've owned a POD since it first came out back in the day. What was that? Late 90s? One of things I've never liked about modeling technology is I felt it sterilized the guitar. In that I mean all my humbucker guitars sounded the same. Where as when I play them through a tube amp, I can tell the difference between each.

    I own a Two Notes Torpedo Live now which I think is fantastic. So I am currently using some modeling/IRs in my chain. What I've liked about the Two Notes is it maintains the characteristics of your guitars and amps.

    So for example the Kemper or Axe FX, do you feel it sterilizes your guitars at all or do they keep their own distinct sound? For example, I have a PRS with SD Whole Lotta Humbuckers, a single cut with PRS 7s, and an LP with SD APH2s. They all sound like humbuckers but still different from each other. I want to be able to keep that.

    Thanks!
     
    NotScott likes this.
  2. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Premium Member

    Messages:
    5,311
    Likes Received:
    8,489
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2014
    That’s one of the biggest differences I notice between my Helix and my HD500X (a couple of generations newer than yours).
    The difference is there out of the box. Learning the tricks only increases that. My answer is yes.
     
    kfowler8 likes this.
  3. NotScott

    NotScott Silver Supporter Premium Member

    Messages:
    1,369
    Likes Received:
    2,429
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2012
    This is an excellent question! I was going to write a post about this.

    When I owned a POD, it tended to overpower everything and stamp it with its own tone.

    My AmpliFire is much improved in that regard. I can clearly differentiate between buckers, P90s, Strats and Teles on most settings but, it still has a bit of a processed feel and it does tend to homogenize similar pickups a bit on some settings.

    My Kemper however, actually has BETTER definition than my tube amps. I notice that on my humbucker guitars where my tone controls used to stay the same between guitars, now varies between those same guitars when plugged into the Kemper. After years of using vintage tube amps and knowing how they react to guitar changes, there is a bit of a learning curve for me now adjusting to the response of the Kemper. I have to work a bit more now to get the most out of this improved response.

    Short answer in regards to your question based upon my own experience with a Kemper, you will hear differences in your guitars that you probably never noticed before.
     
    frankv and cybermgk like this.
  4. hbucker

    hbucker Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,626
    Likes Received:
    1,224
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    1. There is no comparison between modeling of the late 90s and the current products. They've come a long way baby!

    2. I own an AX8 and one of the biggest differences I've found between it and all of the tube amps I've owned through the years is that every one of my guitars has a unique voice through the AX8. To answer your original question, tube amps I've used have homogenized my individual guitar tones more than my AX8 does.

    I do agree with your o.p. though. The old modeling units tended to make all guitars sound the same, IMO.

    For any concerns you may have with moving toward modern modeling, sterilizing your individual guitar voices should not be one of them.
     
    frankv likes this.
  5. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,711
    Likes Received:
    4,475
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Thanks guys! Sounds promising. The technology certainly has come a long way. I've been researching the pros and cons of units and trying to figure out which might be best for me. I'm playing with a guy next week that has a Kemper. We've talked about it before but I haven't actually played it. I don't know anyone locally with an Axe FX or Helix.

    FWIW, I did an interesting experiment the other day. I have a Marshall 4x12 cabinet loaded with two WGS Reapers across the top and two WGS Veterans across the bottom. Great sounding cab. I mic'd it using a modified MXL ribbon mic about 32" from the center of the cab. I recorded a sample into my DAW. I then used the Torpedo Live to make an IR of the cab and mic. The recorded it again but this time using the IR instead of the cab.

    The first take you hear is the real thing. The second is the IR.

    I was pretty surprised. What difference I do hear is mainly in how I attached the chords. Ideally I would have used a reamping system so the playing was consistent but I think you get the idea. The IR is pretty spot on.

    https://soundcloud.com/kfowler8/torpedo-live-ir-test
     
  6. hbucker

    hbucker Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,626
    Likes Received:
    1,224
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    That is the exact speaker combination I have in my 2x12 cab. I made some IRs with the help of my friend's AxII and they are my go-to IRs.

    Good luck with your search
     
    kfowler8 likes this.
  7. pnuggett

    pnuggett Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Likes Received:
    1,223
    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    When a profile of an amp is created for a Kemper by micing an actual amp isn't it affected by the input including the guitar used, type of pickup, pickup position, string gauge, etc?
     
  8. Rocco Crocco

    Rocco Crocco Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,252
    Likes Received:
    7,106
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2013
    Different pickups characteristics are very noticeable on my Helix.
     
    MusicLaw likes this.
  9. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,711
    Likes Received:
    4,475
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    I thought it used a sin wave created by the Kemper itself. Not sure though.
     
  10. NotScott

    NotScott Silver Supporter Premium Member

    Messages:
    1,369
    Likes Received:
    2,429
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2012
    The Kemper uses a series of tones to profile an amp. If you like it, it stays that way. If you want to refine it, you then play some chords and the profile is refined further to match the response of that particular guitar through that particular amp with those particular settings. This is no different than setting up your amp and tweaking it for one guitar versus another.
     
    lakeburst and MusicLaw like this.
  11. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,711
    Likes Received:
    4,475
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    So when you make a profile, it includes the amp, speaker, cabinet, and mic right? So afterwards, can you change the speaker/Cab/mic config but keep the same amp?
     
  12. NotScott

    NotScott Silver Supporter Premium Member

    Messages:
    1,369
    Likes Received:
    2,429
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2012
    If you have a direct profile, it will consist of just the amplifier and you can add whatever IRs you want to or play it through a conventional guitar cab.

    Even if you don't have a direct profile, you can modify the cab responses or even disable the IR and add another if you wish. The IR removal process is an approximation though so this method won't be as realistic as it could be.

    Remember, the Kemper is not a modeler. Although it is much more flexible than most people are aware, approaching the Kemper like a modeler is akin to approaching a modeler like a tube amp. You need to think differently to get the most out of this tech.
     
    lakeburst, MusicLaw, pnuggett and 3 others like this.
  13. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,711
    Likes Received:
    4,475
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Ok, that's good feedback and aligns with what I've read. The Axe FX appears to be "models" of famous amps with almost unlimited tweak ability. The Kemper approaches it differently where it's an impulse response of actual amps. Almost like you're taking a picture or snapshot of a specific tone. A con being it allows less tweaking options compared to the Axe FX. I will say that often more options are not necessarily a good thing and can be debilitating depending on what you want out of the amp.
     
  14. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    12,439
    Likes Received:
    15,625
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    I completely second this. In fact, I can REALLY hear differences in different PAFs on similar guitars, differences in different P90s, etc. It was actually one of the things that hooked me hard at first.

    Amp profiles react as they should, differently to these different pickups.

    Axe FX II does as well.
     
    frankv likes this.
  15. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    12,439
    Likes Received:
    15,625
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    see also my sticky http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/finally-my-lengthy-opus-comparison-of-the-axe-and-kemper.386136/
     
    kfowler8 likes this.
  16. KenG

    KenG Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,152
    Likes Received:
    3,227
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Just listen PJH (Peter's) Helix video in post 195 of "Lets hear your playing through your rig" thread .... you can clearly hear the Strat sound in the section of the song and how it's distinguisable from the other guitars.
     
    MusicLaw, frankv and kfowler8 like this.
  17. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,711
    Likes Received:
    4,475
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
  18. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    280
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2013
    I got a Kemper yesterday. My Strat, PRS, and Les Pauls all sound like themselves through it. None of them sound sterile in the slightest.

    If you go down that route, you won't have a problem.
     
    NotScott, MusicLaw, AmpedUp and 3 others like this.
  19. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    13,971
    Likes Received:
    12,068
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    So what do you think Brother Tim? The snowball is getting larger as it rolls down that hill?
     
    MusicLaw, AmpedUp and mmd like this.
  20. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,200
    Likes Received:
    1,957
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    :D

    @kfowler8 I went Helix and never looked back. I still have my original POD kidney bean, and enjoy it for what it is. I still record with it sometimes. However, with the Helix, the playing response and feel are DEAD on, and guitars have VERY clear "individuality" with the various models. Just like with a real amp, the differences between my different PRS guitars are noticeable. Once I make a "rig", I can vary how it sounds by changing guitars. It's really impressive....
     
    NotScott, MusicLaw, AmpedUp and 2 others like this.

Share This Page