Future of modeling technology

ricky1918

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Hello folks, while my Kemper is being repaired (hardware failure - lucky me it was in warranty) I was wondering, seeing some new modeling technology as the SIM1 XT1, what should we look forward for the new generation of high end modeling.

Personally, what I would really appreciate to become a much more common feature would be SPDIF input/output in every digital device.

I'll explain, right now I'm using a Line6 G55 wireless jack, digitech jam man, the kemper, and I hope to try out that SIM1 someday, all going into a Scarlett 18i8 via SPDIF.

Since all these devices are digital, in each and every one of them there is a analog to digital conversion, and then a digital to analog one.

While they may all be state-of-the-art converters (which they are not) - still - I think that all these conversions would not be necessary if we could just use the SPDIF between our digital devices, decreasing overall latency and other problems that may be caused by the multiple conversions of the signal.

I think the industry should consider going this way, devices would be considerably less expensive if there is no need of ADC/DAC converters in all of the units(while they could still sell stand alone converters for those with mixed analog/digital setups)

Just a shower thought, what do you think, gentlemen?
 

KenG

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If all you used them for was recording then maybe having only Digital Outputs would be fine. But when using these to play live into analog equipment it forces them to have convertors or would make all the other analog devices provide them and a digital input in the required format. I think another consideration is the SPDIF interface is not standard on all Laptops/PCs/MAC etc but instead can require add-ons to provide it. It is also a question of Copper vs Fibre Optic interfaces (whihc one would you want?). HDMI is quickly replacing SPDIF for most apps anyway on PCs.
 

mmd

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That SIM1 seems interesting. Having had a Roland VG88 the idea is less than exciting to me because (and that was some OLD tech) the tracking and modeled tones were not right....kind of like electronic drum cymbals - they just don't have it....

As far as the future of the tech as a whole? Hmmmm, I think I am a bit of a weirdo with modeling. I would prefer that all the digital connectivity not be there at all, lol. I don't use it, don't understand it, and find it an element that keeps the cost up. I am all about simplicity. If I have an interface in my studio, I don't need my modeler to be an interface also...

For instance, with the Helix I COULD use it as a multi-channel (8 I think) interface. It has a mic input and everything. Why? I think the product could be brought out at a lower price point if you didn't have that function. I guess it COULD be an attractive feature for those without an interface - but who does home recording these days without a dedicated interface?

Again, I may not get where you are coming from because I don't use that method and don't totally understand what you mean. I just think it would be cool if the tech went into a direction that was not focused on "extras" and just offered up a solid product that gave awesome models - kind of like a TOTALLY stripped down Helix....

BTW - I am open to having somebody explain to me what the OP is actually talking about and why everything would need to be connected via SPDIF.....

Educate me, friends!!!
 

Pwrmac7600

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That SIM1 seems interesting. Having had a Roland VG88 the idea is less than exciting to me because (and that was some OLD tech) the tracking and modeled tones were not right....kind of like electronic drum cymbals - they just don't have it....

As far as the future of the tech as a whole? Hmmmm, I think I am a bit of a weirdo with modeling. I would prefer that all the digital connectivity not be there at all, lol. I don't use it, don't understand it, and find it an element that keeps the cost up. I am all about simplicity. If I have an interface in my studio, I don't need my modeler to be an interface also...

For instance, with the Helix I COULD use it as a multi-channel (8 I think) interface. It has a mic input and everything. Why? I think the product could be brought out at a lower price point if you didn't have that function. I guess it COULD be an attractive feature for those without an interface - but who does home recording these days without a dedicated interface?

Again, I may not get where you are coming from because I don't use that method and don't totally understand what you mean. I just think it would be cool if the tech went into a direction that was not focused on "extras" and just offered up a solid product that gave awesome models - kind of like a TOTALLY stripped down Helix....

BTW - I am open to having somebody explain to me what the OP is actually talking about and why everything would need to be connected via SPDIF.....

Educate me, friends!!!
Even if your Helix didn't act as an interface it would still require A/D - D/A converters in order to convert your analog guitar signal to digital, and your processed Helix sound back to analog. Converters are normally one of the most expensive devices in a Digital unit. So i totally get what the OP is saying. But I think we are a loooooong way away from live systems being abundant enough to be able to cut out the analog path all together.
 

KenG

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A/D Convertor or CODEC prices pale beside DSP, Memory and FPGA prices! The ones we use will do high sampling rates, full audio bandwidth, stereo IO, come with I2C or I2S interfaces and cost less than $10 each. One of the FPGA's we use is >$500 and really good processors with industrial ratings ar in the 100's as well.
We still need USB to allow for PC editing, downloading updates, or saving /loadig patches (backup from other storage).
I think the Line 6 HELIX LT is a good example on how to trim some significant $$ off by reducing costs in the right areas without sacrificing performance.
 

cherryles

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50's style wiring option would be an awesome feature, couldn't be that difficult to include a button :)
 

ricky1918

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Ok guys maybe I have thought about it too much from just my point of view.

I'll explain my case, with the band we all play thru a Scarlett 18i8.
I connect via SPDIF, so I can use just one cable to have stereo sound and better quality (at least to my ears it sounds slightly better than XLR/jack, tested on yamaha HS8).


My guitar signal is A/D D/A converted 7 times, 2 for the wireless, 2 for the loop station, 2 for the kemper and 1 in the soundcard.

I was wondering, if all my equipment could handle SPDIF, I could convert my signal just 2 times, A/D with the wireless and D/A with the soundcard.



It's not about modelers being interfaces too, I'm talking about connection between digital pedals/modelers/sound card/mixer.

Practically, I'm just saying "instead of using 1/4 inch jack cables to connect our digital gear, let's just use SPDIF"

I understand ADC/DAC cost nothing compared to DSPs, but my point is not just about the money, I'm talking about audio quality mainly, and performances (you know latency and stuff).

I'm talking about a far future, as there is still a lot of people that mix analog and digital gear and it would be a PITA having to deal with all that stuff.

I don't know, it was just an idea after all. Wanted to ear your thoughts about it
 

KenG

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SPDIF is lower noise not better frequency response, meaning the scheme for transporting signals is more noise immune than and audio path, that's all. The quality of the audio can easily be just as high resolution on the good gear.
Your description of purely digital signals between pedals and modeling already occurs inside modellers as all that happens in the digital realm. When you add analog stuff into the modellers path (like using their effects loop for your looper or effects pedals) you are actually working against that because you're forcing the conversion back to analog so you can use those item in the path.
I think you are also assuming latency is due to the solely to audio conversion which is not the case. Latency is the excessive buffering of digital packets for processing in the digital domain as devices wait their turn for the processing required to transfer the packets not the codec or AD convertors time to convert the data. Their is no detectable latency in the high end modellers when you plug a guitar in and monitor the audio out. If you route the USB data to another device that of course will be another story.
Oh and SPDIF would still require a convertor of some type to take the digital data that a processor can work with and convert it to the new format. Texas Instrument SPDIF convertors can take I2S and SPI data and convert it to audio, this is no different than what occurs in a CODEC or DAC.
 

hbucker

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There is NOTHING wrong with any of this if that's what you're into. But, I see a line somewhere in the mix where a person's hobby becomes more about digital hardware than it is about guitars and guitar gear. That's fine, but it comes down to how you enjoy making guitar noises.

If I like guitars, different guitars, and how they inspire me to play different ways, this product wouldn't appeal to me because even if it nailed the tones, it can't mimic the feel: Teles, LP's and Strats, etc. simply don't feel the same to play.

Similar situation, but different context: I like records/LP's/Vinyl. I don't like them because they're more convenient. They aren't. I like the sound, the experience of listening to vinyl, and the large format for the artwork and liner notes. I also like digital (CD's/MP3s) for the convenience. Couldn't live without them. But my preference for sitting down and just listening to my speakers is a good LP.

I personally understand amp modeling a lot more than guitar modeling. If I'm playing live I can get a lot of sounds out of a guitar or two. In the studio, it's nothing to set a guitar down and pick up another.

Do what you enjoy. That's all that matters.

Your results may vary.
 

cybermgk

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If I like guitars, different guitars, and how they inspire me to play different ways, this product wouldn't appeal to me because even if it nailed the tones, it can't mimic the feel: Teles, LP's and Strats, etc. simply don't feel the same to play.
And some just want the tone of different guitars, but via the tried and true axe. As you say, to each his own.
 

ricky1918

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I think the SIM1 might come handy when you need to play far away and can't load your car with just guitars.
Or when you can't carry an acoustic, stuff like that.
It's just progress, if it works there'll be a lot of people using it, like Kemper/Axe.


To KenG ok, thx for the infos. I didn't know there was the need of converters even for SPDIF, I thought it was a signal taken before the DAC.
About the loop I'm aware of that, but in the everything-digital argument I was making I meant even pedals in the loop. I mean, a lot of people already use digital delays and reverbs(strymon and stuff like that)!
thanks! :)
 

tzd

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If you limit yourself within all the effects provided by a Fractal or Helix, you will have a pure digital path until it outputs to your speaker.
 


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