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NucleusX

Will digital modelling ever replace analogue.

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Look at hardware synths, vsts, and virtual analog. Source of endless debate. Giant market. Evangalists in both camps. Learn from history. Why should guitars be any different? There is nothing to discuss, only attempts to win over converts. Yawn.

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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". 

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

It's a feel  - particularly dynamic response.   Hit the strings plugged into a Marshall, and hit the strings plugged into a HD500X driving a power amp with even more power than the Marshall, and tubes still have this tactile feel.  No model on the HD500X I found can rival the response to pick and guitar volume dynamic like a good tube amp.

 

So I just bought a H&K Grandmeister 36 ($1100, 18lbs), and use the HD for input side effects (noise gate, compressor, tube screamer, wah, volume pedal) and for midi control of the H&K.  For me, that combo feels better than the HD alone.  Someone mentioned price - fortunately for me, my amateur band makes enough to pay for my gear - nice hobby.

 

Now once it gets put thru the PA, maybe all is lost.  But on stage, it feels better.  To me.

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well, you see, that is part of the problem. 

The live crowd and the album buyer - they don't get 'same room' feeling. They get sound. 

 

For me, personally, I go straight to the PA. But floor monitors give me the volume I need to 'feel' it. 

 

 

 

 

And a side note to everyone: 

If you have a Marshall rig, its going to sound like a Marshall. You can't take a POD and use a Fender model in hopes that your Marshall can sound like a Fender. Modeling works, but it only works when you work with it. Generic amps/speakers with no personality of their own (such as what is found on a pa system) will give you the best results for replicating sounds using a modeler.

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I once had the chance to set up an ac30, a park 75 and a pod/dt25 together, and dial in similar sounds on the pod to the amps it imitates. There is no comparison. Although the pod/dt25 sounds nice on its own, it had no chance against the real amps. None. Nada. Nope. No.

 

Of course, its cheaper, and more portable and more flexible and with more options etc etc, but just sitting there on front of em and playing, the pod/dt25 was a sterile, lifeless pale imitation.

 

So in terms of tone and feel, the modellers lose. Convince yourself otherwise if you like, or that the other factors are more important. That might be. For you. End of stupid thread.

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I agree and disagree with the feel and response thing.  I've played straight into amps, without the PODHD or anything, that felt terrible and other amps that felt great.  The PODHD straight into a mixer feels a little flat for me but not bad, could just be the tone I created.  Into the right amp and speakers it feels very responsive and dynamic to me. 

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  • As far as I can tell, the only person that benefits from the amp in the same room feel is the player. No one else "feels" it. Having said that, the "feel" is absolutely there and makes the playing of the guitar more enjoyable, musical, interactive, etc.  It IS there and makes a difference for the player.

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Although the POD HD is good at what it does against simular priced competitors, its safe to say that digital modelling hasn't finished evolving yet.

We may have to wait a few more generations before the critics are convinced of a flawless "imitation" of analogue. Be interesting to know the kind

of hardware/software specs that is required to do its job when DSP gets to that mark. Until then, the AxeFX and computer based hi-res VSTs is

pretty much the best benchmark comparison we have in comparing with the real world, and even they arn't perfect.

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This amp modeling stuff grew out of the impossibility of creating a Solid-State device that is exactly equivalent to a Vacuum Tube in terms of electrical response. Modeling is really the only cost effective way to do that....but that means going digital and back....computation...

 

However, things like this give me some hope that one day we might have a solid-state tube that that yields the same response without the need for a computer...Might have to try some of these...One thing at least for the old gear is that a solid-state tube might introduce the notion of EXACT match pairs/quads etc...

 

http://eshop.amtelectronics.com/6l6-12ax7-amt-electronics-solid-state-tubes.html

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Interesting, I like that heat-sink solution. nice. 12ÐÐ¥7's are pre-amp tubes but I can imagine each 6L6 being realistically more like 20watt

and sharing the load across a few of them for that size heat-sink, chassis fans too maybe. I wanna hear an amp made of these now lol. 

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I once had the chance to set up an ac30, a park 75 and a pod/dt25 together, and dial in similar sounds on the pod to the amps it imitates. There is no comparison. Although the pod/dt25 sounds nice on its own, it had no chance against the real amps. None. Nada. Nope. No.

 

Of course, its cheaper, and more portable and more flexible and with more options etc etc, but just sitting there on front of em and playing, the pod/dt25 was a sterile, lifeless pale imitation.

 

So in terms of tone and feel, the modellers lose. Convince yourself otherwise if you like, or that the other factors are more important. That might be. For you. End of stupid thread.

 

Well, the thing about the DT25 is it is a completely analog, tube power section, so from a feel perspective, I feel it feels and reacts much like a real tube amp (because it is!). I have all my amps in the same room, and I've done plenty of side by side comparison, too, and I don't really feel the DT25 is compromising very much compared to my other amps. There are so many variables, though. If the speakers of the real amps were broken in they're going to react completely differently than a DT25 with a new speaker, for one thing. It's hard to say exactly what causes someone to prefer one amp over another one. Like you said, though, I don't see much point in arguing over personal preference.

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All the amps in my test were well used. The dt25 was cold, sterile and brittle, for want of better terms. The ac30 was spongier, springier, somehow. And much warmer and deeper. I was familiar with the sound of my dt25 and thought it was pretty good, but a side by side test was an eye opener.

 

Digital modelling can't replace the analog (yet) so it compensates by adding a lot of options. Whether this is good or bad is debatable... sometimes its better to have an amp with a few knobs, all of which sound good, and you just plug and play. The digital gear often leads into wasted days of tone chasing and fiddling.

 

This debate has been done to death in the analog synth world, comparing hardware to software vst synths. Fact of the matter there is that the software synths are sounding pretty darned near, if not better at many things. Flexibility, configuration options, portability, price. You can't beat a dedicated hardware synth for jamming on and twisting knobs, thats just fun and inspirational. I think the guitar world is gonna end up very much the same... those whoewanna get the job done will be using modellers, those who enjoy their instrument for its own sake won't be satisfied without that tube tone and that simplicity of setup and use. Or they make do with a modeller due to cost.

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Maybe not now, but later Moore's Law will scale us beyond a certain threshold of computations per/second. 

Some believe it takes a certain amount of raw processing power to "mimic" a bit-perfect representation.

The desire is to have an amp-sim that sounds and feels consistently the same in ALL environments.

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  • As far as I can tell, the only person that benefits from the amp in the same room feel is the player. No one else "feels" it. Having said that, the "feel" is absolutely there and makes the playing of the guitar more enjoyable, musical, interactive, etc. It IS there and makes a difference for the player.

 

You could be partially wrong about this. The player may not be able to directly "feel" the difference, but it's possible they can indirectly, or by extension. Assuming the player can feel the difference, they might execute a certain lick that much better, or phrase something with more emotion behind it. So in that way the listener could certainly "feel" the difference, but not tonally.

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I don't think I could ever go back to playing just a single amp live. I've owned lots of great tube amps, of many types, but no amp can give me the real time control or variety I get with modeling.

 

Since the main thing I care about is what goes to the audience or to "tape", why would I ever go back. When I'm playing on stage with in ears or floor monitors, I don't hear much of the amp output in the space anyway. Most pros have gotten past the need to feel the amp pushing air behind them on stage, just as keyboardists and vocalists have done for decades.

 

I think modeling has the potential to actually surpass tube amps in sound quality, and I'm loving the technology ride!

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Hello 
I want to tell you a strange experience about my LINE6 gear.

I use a HD500X together with a DT25 and a ENGL cab.

 

For using it live on stage I replaced the LINE6 logo of my DT25 with an original ENGL metal logo. (have look at the attachment)

A good friend of mine, he is  a very experienced guitar player, told me after a gig, that my guitar sound is very very good and that's the sound 
he is looking for.
But that's not all.
The next time I met him, he told me that he sold his old amp(Mesa Boogie) an bought a new ENGL(head) amp.
Now he is very satisfied with his sound.
Now I have a problem: I can not tell him the truth, that I use a HD500X with a DT25.
He is a very very old school guy and he would never use digital gear.

You see: analog and digital is only in our heads !!! On stage you can't hear the difference.

 

P09.jpg

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Hello 

I want to tell you a strange experience about my LINE6 gear.

I use a HD500X together with a DT25 and a ENGL cab.

 

For using it live on stage I replaced the LINE6 logo of my DT25 with an original ENGL metal logo. (have look at the attachment)

A good friend of mine, he is  a very experienced guitar player, told me after a gig, that my guitar sound is very very good and that's the sound 

he is looking for.

But that's not all.

The next time I met him, he told me that he sold his old amp(Mesa Boogie) an bought an new ENGL(head) amp.

Now He very satisfied about his sound.

Now I have a problem: I can not tell him the truth, that I use a HD500X with a DT25.

He is a very very old school guy and he would never use digital gear.

 

You see: analog and digital is only in our heads !!! On stage you can't hear the difference.

 

P09.jpg

 

Like the wine snob and the "foodie", a lot of guys only think they can tell the difference.... Many, including tons of very good, experienced players would fail a blind test...and be terribly embarrassed by it. So they'll stick to their "nothing will ever compare to tubes" Gospel (and the herniated discs that often accompany them, lol) forever. By never giving modeling a chance, they can sleep soundly knowing they haven't "polluted their musical groundwater", so to speak. To each their own...

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However, things like this give me some hope that one day we might have a solid-state tube that that yields the same response without the need for a computer...Might have to try some of these...One thing at least for the old gear is that a solid-state tube might introduce the notion of EXACT match pairs/quads etc...

 

This was a very interesting development at NAMM and might offer a whole new range of possibilities for modelers in the future... a real miniature high performance vacuum tube.

 

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Korg_Noritake_Nutube_-_2015_NAMM_Show.jpg

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  • As far as I can tell, the only person that benefits from the amp in the same room feel is the player. No one else "feels" it. Having said that, the "feel" is absolutely there and makes the playing of the guitar more enjoyable, musical, interactive, etc.  It IS there and makes a difference for the player.

 

 

The problem, though, is when you get into different environments. 

I've been in places that (i've been in a lot of places) you couldn't hear your rig (for various reasons). Therefore you would never be able to feel it. You are only hearing the monitors (floor or ear). The fact that its coming out of a 2nd source after the mix, means that its not the original amp that one would base their feeling on. 

 

 

 

 

You could be partially wrong about this. The player may not be able to directly "feel" the difference, but it's possible they can indirectly, or by extension. Assuming the player can feel the difference, they might execute a certain lick that much better, or phrase something with more emotion behind it. So in that way the listener could certainly "feel" the difference, but not tonally.

 

Yes. I made many recordings on the digital pianos. And I have afterwards tried to switch out the samples - for example jazz piano to grand piano. 

The sound one hears often dictates the way one plays. I am often unable to switch the samples because I adjusted my playing based on the way the original performed.  

Which always makes me scratch my head when people say 'I am going to record dry and add fx later'. Maybe its a style of music, for me, that prevents changing tones, but I just can't do that. 

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You could be partially wrong about this. The player may not be able to directly "feel" the difference, but it's possible they can indirectly, or by extension. Assuming the player can feel the difference, they might execute a certain lick that much better, or phrase something with more emotion behind it. So in that way the listener could certainly "feel" the difference, but not tonally.

 

Well I only know about the "feel" because I have felt it. It's hard to describe but it feels like you're interacting with the amp itself. How you move, how you handle your strings, etc., something a listener would have no way of feeling. And I've only experienced it with a tube amp. I have never owned a full tube amp but have played through a few and the "feel" phenomenon was very pronounced each time. And it wasn't psychosematic (sp?) since the first few times I new nothing about the "feel" other than I was feeling it when I played through that tube amp.

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Well I only know about the "feel" because I have felt it. It's hard to describe but it feels like you're interacting with the amp itself. How you move, how you handle your strings, etc., something a listener would have no way of feeling. And I've only experienced it with a tube amp. I have never owned a full tube amp but have played through a few and the "feel" phenomenon was very pronounced each time. And it wasn't psychosematic (sp?) since the first few times I new nothing about the "feel" other than I was feeling it when I played through that tube amp.

 

Oops. Sorry about that. After reading what I wrote, the word player in the second sentence should have been listener, not player. I was basically agreeing with you but expanding it a bit. :)

 

I have no doubt there are differences between modeling and an amp/cabinet in a room pushing air. I used to love playing through 4 4x12 cabinets cranked up through a stereo peavey power amp with a bunch of rackmount stuff for the pre-amp and post effects. Long time ago, but still remember what it's like. Now I only ever use headphones.

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I know this "feeling" too, something about the warm purring feeling of a full-tilt tube

amp, that I can only compare to hearing a ballistic V8 roaring by, its almost primal. 

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TOTALLY converted over here. I've had an HD Pro since the day it came out in Canada. It's pretty darn sweet.

 

It's not really comparable to a tube amp though.. nore do I want it to be. It IS an extremely powerful tool for guitarists / bassists / producers, that is pretty easy to use. AND extremely affordable. 

 

I have never been more productive as a musician / producer since I grabbed the HD. Sweet box.

 

Highly recommend it!

 

Cheers!

Bunn 

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Some thoughts about the human brain:

Example:

If you play a very expensive master build guitar then this guitar will sound good to you and you can even play better on such a guitar.
But you take the same guitar and give it to another guitar player and you say it is only a 500$ guitar, he will say the guitar is ok for the price.
I know it's an extreme case, but it reality it works like this.

 

What I want to say is:

If you believe in tubes, vintage amps, vintage fx then it will sound better to you. The brain will reward you.
But you you don't believe in high-end digital gear, you will always be disappointed by digital gear.

 

opposite:

If you believe in digital gear, ....

 

conclusion:

There is no right or wrong with both systems. Both deliver great sounds to the audience.

Only the player hears the difference (in his brain).
( I know that there are sure sound differences beween analog and digital gear,
but in 2015 it's not so easy to find it out !!!)

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As anyone who has ever played a trombone or trumpet will tell you... 

No digital sample will ever get it right. 

(of course, they hear the instrument from the player's perspective with the metal touching the skull vibrating the hands as it passes through, and not from the side that the sound actually comes out of)

 

Yet, I have some killer recordings that no one would be able to listen to and be able to decipher which parts are real and which were sampled. 

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Will digital modelling ever replace analog? Yes. Maybe not tomorrow but one day it will. You just can't stop technology. The question should be "Will a lot artists ever play a 100% digital reproduction of an analog amp without the looks of the original?". Because I think advancements in audio reproduction will, one day, even recreate the "amp in the room" and at that point it will only remain the different look of the product...

 

Also we play this digital music on low fi equipement.

 

Well not myself. I still use a (Yamaha!) AV/Receviver and good Hi-Fi speakers I have since 1987 :D

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On a somewhat related and parallel note, how many people prefer listening to a live recording of a band rather than the studio version? When I listen to Satriani or Vai, I always prefer the live version. The guitars' tones sound much more organic in most cases, less processed, less sterile, less clean.

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I think it says it all when we, as guitar players, struggle to hear the differences.  We are closer than you think...

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Throughout this thread people seem to have forgotten that Line 6 have not attempted (with the Pod)  to create a device that replicates standing in front of a tube amp etc.  They have always been explicit that the Pods are intended to recreate the signal one gets from a microphone placed in front of an amp.  All discussions must be about comparing the sound one hears back through monitors (be they studio or live).

 

Ive never played through a DT series amp, but these will always be compromised when the tone one is building is based on say, a 4 x 12 (we call then "quad boxes" over here) and the DT is an open back 1 x 12 (or whatever configuration you have).

 

My own perspective is that I don't care at all if the medium gain crunch sounds are exactly like some specific model of Marshall, or if the high gains models are the exactly the same as an UberSchall or whatever....cos thats simply irrelevant.  What matters is this:

Does the HD500X provide me with a range of great sounds that I can rely on at very gig, at a low cost, with a simple setup, at any volume,  and replicate exactly in the studio.

Hell yeah!

 

So Modelling has therefore surpassed  analogue which simply cannot do this.

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My own perspective is that I don't care at all if the medium gain crunch sounds are exactly like some specific model of Marshall, or if the high gains models are the exactly the same as an UberSchall or whatever....cos thats simply irrelevant.  What matters is this:

Does the HD500X provide me with a range of great sounds that I can rely on at very gig, at a low cost, with a simple setup, at any volume,  and replicate exactly in the studio.

Hell yeah!

 

So Modelling has therefore surpassed  analogue which simply cannot do this.

 

Amen...

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Hehe, he's got a point.  If you tried to replicate a PODHD with analogue equipment you'd have to bring a truck load of different amps and effects to your gigs. 

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Throughout this thread people seem to have forgotten that Line 6 have not attempted (with the Pod)  to create a device that replicates standing in front of a tube amp etc.  They have always been explicit that the Pods are intended to recreate the signal one gets from a microphone placed in front of an amp.  All discussions must be about comparing the sound one hears back through monitors (be they studio or live).

 

Ive never played through a DT series amp, but these will always be compromised when the tone one is building is based on say, a 4 x 12 (we call then "quad boxes" over here) and the DT is an open back 1 x 12 (or whatever configuration you have).

 

My own perspective is that I don't care at all if the medium gain crunch sounds are exactly like some specific model of Marshall, or if the high gains models are the exactly the same as an UberSchall or whatever....cos thats simply irrelevant.  What matters is this:

Does the HD500X provide me with a range of great sounds that I can rely on at very gig, at a low cost, with a simple setup, at any volume,  and replicate exactly in the studio.

Hell yeah!

 

So Modelling has therefore surpassed  analogue which simply cannot do this.

 

Actually, I think Line 6 has given us enough to model what we need in the POD and recreate the experience (pretty close) with the DTs...

 

However, for me it takes two DTs to get close enough that I am not bothered for what I need...A DT112 combo sitting on top of a closed back 212 powered by a DT25...Sure, it isn't exactly the same thing as using 412, but it's close enough....I can do convincing closed back and open back tones with more preamp models in the HD POD than I will ever need....without a truck... B)

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The definition of a "modeller" is something that attempts to recreate the full experience of the real-world reference. If your happy with

approximations then great, have fun with your approximations, but that doesn't mean a "modeller" doesn't have room for improvement.

A modeller will be considered done with when they model flawlessly. Theres your standards, and then theres universal standards the

definition must fulfil in the progression of its evolution. So be happy with the current approximations I guess, but don't go saying

digital has surpassed analogue when it can't "model" flawlessly, your personal bias means nothing to the intrinsic science of it all.

And that's irrespective of what speaker/environment it has to model. The reference has constants in variable environments and so

should the digital model of it, if it is considered to be flawless. In recording it will fool some, live, it will fool less, it needs work here. 

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Ive edited my statements here away from addressing any particlar forumite...

 

Strange and weird posts ....

This thread asks the question "Will digital modelling ever replace analogue?".  It does not, nor should it, ask if the models will ever exactly replicate the entire experience of a given amp.

Some of the views expressed  seem to assume that there is something perfect about some existing valve amps...when there is not.  Not one of the amps ever built is perfect....some do some things well and some dont.  Actully, I go so far as to say that every Tube and traditional solid state amp ever built has major problems in meeting all the possible expectations of an amp.  Even the very best of the "swiss army knives" such as the Mesa V series doesnt come close to being able to cover every possible base.  Every tube amp ever built is a compromise.  The fact that some players like the characteristics that various amps exhibit is a positive but undeniably most big rock amps are too loud for small gigs, most cool lil retro amps cant do modern rock sounds, most great clean amps have a limited range of drive tones, most light amps lack girth on a big stage, most great recording amps are less suitable live.,...the list goes on.

 

No piece of equipment in any field is considered perfect by every user.  There is no universal standard of quality for a guitar amp.  Guitar sounds are based on fads, fashions and trends and, all too much, on blindly hero worshipping and copying succesful artists.

 

Modelling, as an approach to creating useful guitar sounds, enables the creation and editing of tones in a format that feels familiar to users.  We have heard Plexi Marshalls so we have a sense of the general ballpark of what types of sounds they can create. Likewise with a fender model or whatever. This makes modelling a valid approach to a product even if it never replicates any given amp exactly.  After all, every 30 year old Marshall sounds different...and many of them dont sound "good" at all.  As we have seen with the deep editing parameters, most players are overwhelmed by too many subtle choices,..imagine if we had a product that gave all the choices without any reference to previous amps...it would be a nightmare.

 

The answer remains true...Can a digital modelling amp replace analogue.  Yes it can.  Does it need to perfectly model any existing amps to do so  -no it doesnt.

 

The fact that I choose to use a practical solution, and one that meets all 99% of my needs well does not give anyone a warrant to question my standards.   In fact, as an artist I will argue that by creating my own tones without specifically trying to copy somebody elses ideas on what is a great tone is a more artistically valid approach.  

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You misunderstand me. From an objective point, all valve amps and muliti-fx modellers fall prone to faults and manufacturing mishaps and is not

representative of a best case scenario of said analogue hardware config, that's completely outside the point. The discussion was intended squarely

at the "replication/conversion/modelled" process itself from analogue to digital, and not whatever the sampled tech may be, valve, solid-state, or digital.

This subject may very well go down to the core of what every modeller needs, and that's the DSP chip itself, and the software algorithms it runs on.

I've even considered this may spawn off a new post-fx category available in your future mfx pedal like psycho-acoustics and room correction technologies

that could maybe take place of the cab, and/or mic-sim when required, and call it the environment-sim if you will, hungry DSP demands. You would

most likely need to run this via constant FRFR cabs for this to have a chance at working one would think. The kemper profiles surrounding environment

I believe. It goes through an audible sequence of test tones to assess it, i imagine that tech can be used solely for the purposes of environment.

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some of the responses seem to miss the question altogether... it wasn't are modelers better than valves? or will modelers ever sound better than valves?  The question was will modeling ever replace analogue?  For that, they don't have to sound better or even as good.  They don't have to exceed some gold standard.  They simply have to be adopted by a majority of guitar players, both amateur and professional.  For that there is a point (and we may not be far off) where the quality of the tone and the practicality and reliability of the gear combines with cost efficiency to win the majority market share.  Especially with the amazing improvements in powered speakers with built in DSP to match up with them.  That day will surely come as technology continues to grow.  There will always be a market for valves, it won't go away, but it is a certain bet that the day will come when digital will have replaced analogue just as it did for hifi electronics, tv, computers, avionics, etc...

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It really depends on the tones you're after as far as "feel" goes.....  I played a tube rig for a few years (Carvin X100, a dozen or so pedals) but I, for my uses, was always fighting that "spongy" feel. So modelers "feel" right to me. I don't want my amplification affecting how I play. Probably why I practice unplugged to a metronome. I have to say though, a POD HD500X with a pre-only amp model, no cab, and stack return output mode into my Powerblock and a 4x12 "feels" just as good as my old tube head, my old Randall SS head, etc..... I've always said to people who ask that if you just wanna crank up, turn a few knobs, and go, get a tube amp. If you want to have micro-control over your tone and make it YOUR tone without adding hundreds of dollars of crap to your tube amp, try modeling. The sounds are there, the feel is up to the player (I think), and the cost/usefulness ratio is off the charts.

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If modelling managed to replace analog completely, it would be like Syndrome said;

 

"...'everyone' can have powers. 'Everyone' can be super! And when everyone is super...'no one' will be."

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