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NucleusX

Will digital modelling ever replace analogue.

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Been in thought about this and reflecting back over the years since I begun using digital modellers about 20 odd years ago.

As we all know, the holy grail of modellers is conquering the tube and everything analogue. We are seeing a slow and steady

progression to this mark as DSP and algorithms improve, but then, what happens when its finally reached ? and is it really

in the best interests for companies to surpass analogue (if its even possible) with digital modellers. Lets imagine a world

with perfect modellers, what happens to all that's invested in the analogue world, will it be the end of amp and FX companies

we all benchmark and compare against ? I have my doubts as to wether digital will be allowed to surpass analogue, but remain

to give us the impression that progress is being made, with very slight incremental improvements. This reminds me of the

energy industry with oil as the analogy, which holds the monopoly and will fight to stay relevant regardless of better alternatives

because of all that's invested in the oil industry, bad analogy I know, but its the best I can think of right now. If the all things

analogue are finally conquered, what would be next, and what would the new benchmark be to reach in the digital realm ?

 

Converse.....

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Let's say...

  • Frank is a weekend warrior and demands the experience of being in the same room as a warmed up, properly biased, roaring tube amp
  • Bob is a golden ear session musician and demands the experience of being in a studio's control room while a warmed up, properly biased, roaring tube amp is mic'ed up in a separate tracking room

Frank will likely never find tonal bliss with modeling, no matter how far the technology advances. Bob's probably been very happy for years.

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holly s!@#$#!!!...t.

it seems i have double personality :P

last century i used 2 b Frank, but nowadays i'm Bob :) :) :)

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when i was frank, i carried my small kustom profile 200 system to gigs and was as happy as the bob i am nowadays :)

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I think th HD series is the first modelling unit that can replace the real thing, before not sure....but I think there always be analouge :)

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I have some Frank and Bob in me. As someone who has a DT25 and HD500, I see that rig as a half Frank, half Bob -- maybe call me Frob?!

 

The tricky thing with the DT setup is it sounds so great that inevitably I want to capture a recorded version of that sound. Simply going back to the Pod won't do at the point, though I can get some good sounds with the Pod direct. My quest for awhile has been trying to mic the DT25 sound that I love so much. It feels weird when I think about using a mic on an amp that has a modeled preamp!

And of course it is a struggle. I am no engineer, and though there was one day I got a great miked sound, I have had trouble duplicating the experience even though I took pictures of the setup and saved patches.

 

The Quest of Frob continues!

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Well digital modeling will eventually replace tube amps when the tubes are gone, but it will never replicate it. There is saying " you can't simulate reality"

 

Yes it is true it is hard to tell the difference in a recording, recordings are all 100% digital today anyways, so in the studio they are extremely usefull when a producer wants to dial up a tone ASAP and get to work.

 

Modelers are great for "simulating" guitar tones and amps. Just like simulated leather and sweeteners, they are similar, but not the real thing. Every year for the past 25 years,  new device or software upgrade is suposed to make all the diference, and then to the next 20 years with new devices and software upgrades are supposed to make the difference. and we will still be here debating it.

 

Modelers can't act, react and sound 100% exactly like a real tube amp, because they are not a tube amp. But they can give you arppoximations for many usefull applications.

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Just to clarify, I'm not only thinking of this as a musician on a never-ending quest for tone, which seems to run ramped with modellers

the most, and the never-ending suggestions and requests from users for features that take things another increment. I'm also looking

at this from a business perspective, which only remains relevant if modellers remain deficient in comparison to the analogue benchmark.

The current technology has brought us so close to the mark, one has to wonder what happens once we reach it.

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Good question!

When you consider that if you are any good as a guitarist and someone wants to record you;their studio will be well equipped to get a good sound by experienced hands.

 

A guitarist could try and mic an amp and go for a home studio setup and likely get unsatisfactory results due to recording is an Engineering Art and requires some knowledge which could be gotten. While it is easy to mic an amp for a live show; right up to the grill cloth on a speaker edge you'll get the hottest sound.

 

In the Studio you can mic the amp at a distance with a large diaphragm condenser.

The room itself can interact in a controlled way with the mic as the room will be acoustically treated. 

On the mix board you can open up and give a greater sense of amplification to the mic'd sound. 

 

Modelling units like Fractal's Axe and the POD HDs and others actually do this for you and are best thought of as what you'd get 

over the monitors in a studio.

 

Well many pro guitarist take their studio tone on the road and alas the Kemper is filling this need in a more personalized way if you can afford it.

 

Where will it get to?

I'd like to see development in the modelling to be able to go beyond that of analogue.

 

I can envision incorporation like the Kaos x y midi controller pad. a la "MUSE"

 

I 'd like to see the actual effects units being able to load VSTi instruments with midi control as they basically are computers in a specialized casing for live work. Even greater implementation into a computer as in midi control etc.

 

It is time for modelers to go beyond what analogue can do and into the realm of creative instrument.

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This is an easy question.  Yes digital modelers will replace analogue amps. 

 

When was the last time you bought music on a vinyl record versus CD or MP3 ?  There's still people out there that say how much better music sounds on a record versus digital, just not near as many.  This will eventually happen to guitar amps.

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Some still listen to vinyl with their hugely expensive tube amp and tube preamp.  But most of us have learned to live with digital music.  Analog has some advantages but it also has some disadvantages.  Digital is so much cheaper and there are not enough Analog nuts so we are stuck with it anyway.

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I'm not so sure looking into the future like that would be so easy, cause lets face it, cd players and mp3 players are a dime a dozen

and turned into disposable products. If that happened to pro musician gear, it kills the music industry and incentive is lost for studio's

to invest in studio gear cause amateur's have access to the same equipment for peanuts. The only reason they make a profit, is

cause they have gear that's so expensive its not accessible to the average joe. It's simular to the gap in civilian vs military technology.

If everyone had access to it, then theres no gap anymore, which is what companies rely on to make a profit from the average joe.

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As far as Vinyl goes, anything that has been produced on vinyl since the early 90's is a scam. Why? Because the music industry digitized all the music cataloques from the Analogue tape masters. And furthermore, the bitrate and conversion rates were not as good then. So they are just putting digial copies on records, no sound improvement even worse. More marketing hype.

 

Now if you are talking about records produced off analog masters(baically mid 80's and before), then yes there is a difference. The reason there is a difference, is music recorded on analog tape or even direct to vinyl has the least amount of compression, this makes the music sound more live like (more peaks and valleys). Music recorded today is heavily compressed because that is the nature of digital conversion. Also we play this digital music on low fi equipement.

 

In fact many record producers are dismayed and discoraged because the music they record is on low fi equipement, iPods MP3, etc.

 

Also Analog does not mean just tube amps, anything that does not use digital converters is Analog. Sollid State amps are analog.

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The other thing to consider is: 

No matter what you play and what gadgets you use, there will always be a need to be heard. Which means that some form of amplification will always exist. 

I mean, I could use a Pignose and mic it and be able to play stadiums. Or I could use a wall of stacks or my L6. But I still need someone, somewhere, to have a speaker that my sound can be played through.

So no matter how good these things get, there will always be amps/speakers, which means there will be people who want to do it on their own.

 

 

But really, who is to say that the 'be all end all' of sound was created by a British guy in 1962? If it was that great, then there never would have been a Peavey or Fender or Krankenstein. 

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baron55

 

 

"Also Analog does not mean just tube amps, anything that does not use digital converters is Analog. Sollid State amps are analog."

 

Goes without saying. I placed that in the "all things analogue" definition, I think we all know that the tube is the epitome of analogue definitions.

 

Actually, If you REALLY wanna get technical, a transistor isn't so much analogue or digital as it is both. A basic transistor contains the elements of

digital, with 2 diodes (the raw components of digital circuits), but behaves electronically as analogue in amplifiers. Depends on its configuration.

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Everything eventually gets replaced. Same way you can't buy a vehicle with a carburetor in it anymore, sooner or later the demand for tubes will drop so low that it will no longer be cost effective for anyone to make them...and even if they do continue to be made in small batches somewhere, they will get so expensive that it will price out all but the wealthiest of customers. It already costs $200-$250 to retube an amp, last time i did it anyway 2 or 3 years ago. How many people will be willing to do that when it's $1000 each time?

 

Ultimately it won't matter anyway...eventually there will be a generation that  learns to play with nothing but modeling amps, and they won't feel the "need" for analog gear because they will never have even stood in the same room with one (except maybe in a museum), let alone played one. Can't miss the "good old days" if you never had any...

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No matter what you play and what gadgets you use, there will always be a need to be heard. Which means that some form of amplification will always exist. 

 

Not necessarily. If you try and look a little further into the future and also take into consideration something else, which would be the integration of technology into human beings. Could there be a time, maybe 100 years from now (or longer), where the need for huge speaker systems in huge venues, or any venue, are obsolete? Maybe this is accomplished by the transfer of information (music) using electromagnetic energy that communicates to a small, implanted processor that's able to intercept, modify, and replace the signals going to different parts of a human brain, essentially making our senses to the outside world obsolete. In this case, the replaced part would be the signals going to the audio processing center of the brain. Even people with no ears would benefit. And no more worrying about stereo imaging vs mono. There is one thing that all of the above might rely on though, and that would be the technological singularity. But if this were to actually happen, would human beings be changed too much to even have music as a prioritized part our culture anymore? What becomes of the guitar then? Could be a sad day for guitar players and musicians. But if it happens and doesn't mean a discarding of human cultural history, it could be a most wonderful thing. Anyway, this is getting a bit too much in la-la-land.

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I never had a valve amp, so I can't say exactly, but I think decent modern modelers sound great. There might be some nuances missing but it's getting closer and closer every year.

 

I've been using modeling for a long time, mostly software modelers, but I've been using my HD a lot now. 

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Modelers can't act, react and sound 100% exactly like a real tube amp, because they are not a tube amp. But they can give you arppoximations for many usefull applications.

 

The point of my first post is that modelers can indeed act, react, and sound 100% exactly like a real tube amp, if you're used to listening to said tube amp mic'ed up in a different room. If you expect modelers to act, react, and sound 100% exactly like a real tube amp, and you're used to hearing them in front of you, then you'll likely be disappointed forever.

 

It's not a limitation of modeling technology, it's a limitation of physics. Think about it—hearing a band playing in an arena is very, very different from hearing a recording of the show. Until technology can audibly convince everyone they're actually at the venue—and not listening to a CD in their living room—some people will continue to eschew modeling, because they don't have the proper context.

 

When double-blind A/B listening tests can fool golden ear recording engineers (and POD HD has on occasion), I'd say we're already there. But again, you have to compare a mic'ed up amp from another room, not an amp in the same room.

 

DT25 and DT50 are meant to scratch that "amp in a room" itch. L2 and L3 are for those of us who've grown up with modelers, or are used to hearing them in proper context. Since this new generation of guitarists is generally comfortable recording direct on their laptops and iPads, it's safe to say the "amp in a room" itch will become less common as years go by.

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DT25 and DT50 are meant to scratch that "amp in a room" itch. L2 and L3 are for those of us who've grown up with modelers, or are used to hearing them in proper context. 

 

Yep I got the right setup for me then. For recording I love my HD500x just by itself. It's got a worderful sound and access to a lot of amps and effects I can spend the time to tweak to my desire. Live I'm using my HD500x with a DT25. Becuase it's just a more live experice and has that "roar" of real tubes which to me still adds a warm and vibe I still can not get with a Modeller alone. Althought I could get it done with just L2 or L3 but to my ears it's just not the same. Close and usable but not quite same. One thing Line 6 I don't see doing yet thought modelling many modern setups. Most of the effects and amps are your old school "vintage" type stuff. That makes sense as those are the sought after sounds and hard to come by the real deal without tons of cash.  Line 6 has made some inroads with that with JTV89/89f. But the inroads are the analog side of that.  To my knowledge there is no EMG 81/85 model yet or others. While there is the some in the High Gain areas Angel Fireball etc... on the amp models there isn't a lot yet. To take the analog out the different companies are going to need to look into the modern side as well as the vintage side.

 

Will the modeller ever completely replace tube amps? I dunno. They are getting better and better. But I don't think it's in the foreseable future. I think they have pentraited the live local scenese pretty well. They offer so much flexablity and bang for the buck. But on the Pro level how many do you see using a modeller live? I know on permier gutiars rig rundowns you will see a lot of Axe-Fx units but they are being used mostly for backups, if the tube rig fails. Once your at that level you have "your" tone and sound. You don't need quite the flexablity because you know which effects and amps you need to accomplish that tone. So the flexablity angle falls off a lot. Althought I'm willing to bet it's modeller on a lot of the modern recordings though.

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I thought modelling had already beaten analogue!

I mean I can experiment to my hearts content with different chains, using 100's of effects I could never afford with a ton of amps I've never even seen, and I can record a face melting solo in virtual silence while my children sleep upstairs

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This is a trick question!!

 

Everything is digital, we are a simulation in a computer program.

 

Unless of course the computer running this sim is running on tubes - then every thing is analog. :mellow:

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I thought modelling had already beaten analogue!

I mean I can experiment to my hearts content with different chains, using 100's of effects I could never afford with a ton of amps I've never even seen, and I can record a face melting solo in virtual silence while my children sleep upstairs

 

This is exactly how I look at it. Sure, there's differences to a guitar player or someone with a trained ear for analog vs digital, but guitar players in general can be a bit obsessive. To the average listener, there's no way they know, or probably even care what kind of equipment you're playing though.

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Will the modeller ever completely replace tube amps?

 

Reader's Digest version:

 

For an "amp in the room" sound? No.

For a recorded sound? Yes, it already has.

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The tricky thing with the DT setup is it sounds so great that inevitably I want to capture a recorded version of that sound. Simply going back to the Pod won't do at the point, though I can get some good sounds with the Pod direct. My quest for awhile has been trying to mic the DT25 sound that I love so much. It feels weird when I think about using a mic on an amp that has a modeled preamp!

 

Yeah, the DT is the best of both Frank and Bob! I get excellent results using the XLR out from the back of my DT25's.

It does make sense to want to mic the DT amps though; and regardless of the digital preamp, you are still hearing / recording the analog tube portion of the signal, and that's the most important aspect anyway.

 

Digital preamp into analog tube power will/should/does sound better than analog preamp into solid state poweramp.

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Digital_Igloo

 

"Reader's Digest version:

 

For an "amp in the room" sound? No.

For a recorded sound? Yes, it already has."

 

Well I guess your job isn't done yet, better get to it !

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That's kind of like asking "will automatic transmissions ever completely replace standards?"  Technologically, for 99% of the people, they're there.  

 

While modeling isn't at 99%, it's really closing in fast.  

 

I believe we will get to the point that models can perfectly replicate analog equipment, but they will never completely replace it.

 

Vintage and classic amps will still be highly prized and sought after.

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It already has for me! I haven't used a solid-state or tube preamp in about 12 years, and I'm working my way into a full-range rig for live shows.....

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I think modeling has surpassed most solid state analog amps. 

My POD HD and amp software sounds miles better than my solid state amp.

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. The reason there is a difference, is music recorded on analog tape or even direct to vinyl has the least amount of compression, this makes the music sound more live like (more peaks and valleys). Music recorded today is heavily compressed because that is the nature of digital conversion. 

 

Sorry...Im not in the habit of posts that argue with people but this is just completely wrong.  The dynamic range of 16bit audio is  greater than tape and much greater than vinyl ...once you get to 24 bit the difference is huge.  The usable range of vinyl i.e.. the range between the noise floor and the highest peak is not great - not sure of actual figures but I think 40dB is a good guess - Im sure some one will tell me if thats wrong.  One of the things people like about recording on tape is the fact that it compresses on its own.....

 

Music is heavily compressed today because record companies and radio stations and , Im sad to say, artists done care about audio quality they just want it loud.

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Reader's Digest version:

 

For an "amp in the room" sound? No.

For a recorded sound? Yes, it already has.

 

I see where you're coming from...but I think that at least some of it is little more than perceived wisdom. Some guys will only ride Harleys...just because. But that doesn't mean that nobody else makes a good motorcycle. Change is always feared, and the familiar difficult to part with. Old vs. new too often becomes a good vs. evil comparison.

 

And I'm no stranger to tube rigs. For years I carted around a Marshall 9100 power amp, a 25th Anniversary Silver Jubilee 4x12 (that I just finished restoring with new everything, tolex, all the hardware...turned out great, but I digress...) with a variety of tube pre-amps, pedals, and multi-fx units. But I can't say that my current set-up is any less satisfying...there's still an "amp in the room". The L2T is still pushing air. Loud is loud. There just aren't any pretty, glowing orange lights...but I like it just as much, if not better. And it's not just because I'm not 25 anymore, and lifting heavy things comes with a price...that 9100 is a boat anchor...

 

The modeling is so friggin' close to the real deal, that for live use it's nearly indistinguishable. If I were to A/B the two rigs side by side, in an otherwise quiet room, or the controlled environment of a studio, maybe there are some subtle differences to pick out...but not enough to make me abandon the flexibility, and the variety of tones I can coax out of this thing. Or perhaps I've gone deaf...lol ;)

 

I dunno...they both have their place. Currently enjoying the digital ride...YMMV.

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I see where you're coming from...but I think that at least some of it is little more than perceived wisdom.

 

No, you're right. Modeling's big hurdle isn't sound quality, it's perception and context.

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No, you're right. Modeling's big hurdle isn't sound quality, it's perception and context.

Nobody asks me what modeler I'm using, they ask what amp I'm using. As soon as I tell them its a POD HD500X, they act like they didn't really care for it in the first place....

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Nobody asks me what modeler I'm using, they ask what amp I'm using. As soon as I tell them its a POD HD500X, they act like they didn't really care for it in the first place....

Lol...I love people.

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bjnette

 

"I can envision incorporation like the Kaos x y midi controller pad. a la "MUSE"

 

Funny you mention that, this was just announced. http://www.ibanez.co.jp/eu/news/f_products/2014/KP/index.html

 

It's not something I'd buy, but it shows how much they are trying to innovate something different to the norm.

The future is here!

When you consider what we have available for recording mixing and mastering. It is a great time to be alive! Yeah!

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I modeled for years with a singer/songwriter, so I was the only electric guitar in the band.   My "amp" was a gutted Vox 1x12 cab with a Crate Powerblock for my modeler's poweramp.  People would come up to me (especially guitar players) and tell me what great tone my Vox had  :D   Then the guitar players would notice my modeler, and turn their nose up and walk away - while I laughed AT them of course.

Now I am in a Allman Bros tribute band, two guitar players.  The other guitarist is using tubes.  Side by side, you can tell a modeler from a tube amp.  In this band, no one every told me I had good tone until I got a tube amp.

My $.02

-Bob

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Cost and variety are 2 big factors as well.  With the current quality of modeling, I can't see myself ever spending over $1000 for an amp.  There must be others who think the same way and I'm sure it's affecting amp sales.  Manufacturers will chase the money.

 

For instance, the new Hughes & Kettner Triamp MKIII is amazing but it's priced at $4000.

 

For that amount I could get a Kemper Profiler and an Axe FX to go with my HD500X.

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Now I am in a Allman Bros tribute band, two guitar players.  The other guitarist is using tubes.  Side by side, you can tell a modeler from a tube amp.  In this band, no one every told me I had good tone until I got a tube amp.

Can you tell a difference between between tubes and modelers, or can you just hear a difference between two sounds. 

Meaning: If this was a record/cd of the two. Could you say "yes, that is real and that is fake". 

 

 

Cost and variety are 2 big factors as well.  With the current quality of modeling, I can't see myself ever spending over $1000 for an amp.  There must be others who think the same way and I'm sure it's affecting amp sales.  Manufacturers will chase the money.

 

 

For me, it wasn't money. Since I am no longer a kid trying to become a rock star... 

It was more about not wanting to own a storage facility to store gear, and needing a separate vehicle to lug it all. A 12 space rack doesn't fit in my car. Actually, its not even the 12 space that doesn't fit, it is the deepness. So, really, a two or 6 wouldn't fit if they need to stay "this end up". 

 

 

 

 

But the simple truth to the matter is... 

As evidenced by the numerous posts hear on this board... 

Some people will always have an amp. They don't trust their sound system/tech. So they want to provide their own stacks to blow out the audience without the need of a PA. 

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