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Helix vs Amplitube vs Revalver vs TH3 vs Pod Farm vs 8505 vs Guitar Rig vs Axe FX: 5150 edition

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Hey guys,

With all the 'vs' and modeler battle demos going on I thought it would be cool to do a few SDS style.
We're comparing 8 different amp modelers in a full band context, just as you would use/hear them in real life.
All of the amp modelers are running through the exact same OwnHammer 4x12 EVH IR.
All of the plugins without IR loaders go through NadIR (with the internal cabs disabled).

The modelers in this video include:

Fractal Audio Axe FX
Overloud TH3
Peavey Revalver 4 
IK Multimedia Amplitube 4
Native Instruments Guitar Rig 5
Line 6 Pod Farm 2
Nick Crow 8505
Line 6 Helix Floor

This episode focuses on the legendary Peavey 5150 amp.

I'd love to hear your thoughts guys!
How well does the Helix stack up to the rest?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cFhcZpxHbg

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I am not a high gain connoisseur. They all sounded the same to me except for the POD Farm.

 

I'll go away and play my Tele now... 

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the peavey and pod farm are the only two that are much different to my ears. 

 

The helix and axefx seemed to have the most grit/high end

 

...I have the nick crow 8505 vst.. might have to use that a little more often..  :ph34r:

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The Pod farm were a bit weak sounding and so was Guitar Rig. Also both sounded a bit muffled. The Axe FX were just a bit more full sounding than Helix/TH3. But the helix won me over by it's piercing pick attack. 

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I dont think any of them are going to make or break a mix. In a commercial mix youd be able to tell. Then they may play some importance on the value of the song, but for most of our needs they are all pretty good.  I was least interested in the POD farm tone and most surprised by the 8505.

 

Wondering how you dialed the amps? Set all controls the same? or set each amp to what sounded best or made them sound most alike? 

 

Though, i have no idea why anyone would downvote your efforts. Thanks for doing this.

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I think helix did very well.

what do you think😉

 

I agree, the Helix sounded very good in this comparison!

 

the peavey and pod farm are the only two that are much different to my ears. 

 

The helix and axefx seemed to have the most grit/high end

 

...I have the nick crow 8505 vst.. might have to use that a little more often..  :ph34r:

 

I agree!

 

The Pod farm were a bit weak sounding and so was Guitar Rig. Also both sounded a bit muffled. The Axe FX were just a bit more full sounding than Helix/TH3. But the helix won me over by it's piercing pick attack. 

 

Yep, the Helix is totally one of the best tones in this video.

 

I dont think any of them are going to make or break a mix. In a commercial mix youd be able to tell. Then they may play some importance on the value of the song, but for most of our needs they are all pretty good.  I was least interested in the POD farm tone and most surprised by the 8505.

 

Wondering how you dialed the amps? Set all controls the same? or set each amp to what sounded best or made them sound most alike? 

 

Though, i have no idea why anyone would downvote your efforts. Thanks for doing this.

 

I didn't set them all the same as you can see in the video.

I just basically dialed them in to sound to my liking.

Probably not surprising that because of that, they sound a bit similar.

I guess in the end I ran by all of them to see if any frequencies stood out in a bad way and made some tweaks from there.

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When you get to a certain number of choices, it's impossible for the brain to sort out...

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Modeling is no longer in it's infancy. At this point and in the right hands, they can all be made to sound good. They can also be made to sound grotesque...these comparisons really don't mean much anymore, and the fanatical devotion to one brand or another that is often seen, is exactly that...fanatical devotion. Doesn't much matter if it's Ford, Chevy, Axe FX, or Buddha. In the end, you either know how to use the gear, or you don't.

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When you get to a certain number of choices, it's impossible for the brain to sort out...

 

I agree. It took me a few runs to make any distinction between the different modellers although Pod farm and Guitar Rig stood out during the first run.

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Modeling is no longer in it's infancy. At this point and in the right hands, they can all be made to sound good. They can also be made to sound grotesque...these comparisons really don't mean much anymore. You either know how to use the gear, or you don't.

 

 

Also true. I don't even listen to most shootouts anymore.

 

A few months back, I had a get-together at the church I worked at where a couple of us with Helices (one with a Variax JTV) and one guy with an AX8 got together to compare.

 

We all agreed we wanted both...

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Most modellers and respected VSTs will get you great results if your willing to try.

 

The great things with Helix, and they really stand out:

 

Are unified sharing of the system like all presets work across all versions including the plugin.

 

Ease of use of actually dialing in a tone from scratch, the UI is phenomenal on board, and the editor. Makes for less time tweaking, and more making music.

 

Routing capabilities compared to other modellers.

 

These 3 things are quite a bit more significant compared to the minute differences they may have sonically.

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Modeling is no longer in it's infancy. At this point and in the right hands, they can all be made to sound good. They can also be made to sound grotesque...these comparisons really don't mean much anymore, and the fanatical devotion to one brand or another that is often seen, is exactly that...fanatical devotion. Doesn't much matter if it's Ford, Chevy, Axe FX, or Buddha. In the end, you either know how to use the gear, or you don't.

indeed

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All sounded much the same! Good Engineering! An actual 5150 sample would of been good but as I am familiar to it's to its tone the Axe, Revalver and Helix shone the most to my ears but really all were very much the same

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Jesus, such an awful guitar style to compare guitar tone.

Yours is far worse believe me. 

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Helix held up very well IMHO. The only one that sounded obviously digital to me was the Pod Farm. I agree with several posters that the tech has progressed to a level where, in the right hands, tones can be dialed in to the degree that our audiences wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I noticed when I got my LT and dialed in some basic tones, they sounded a lot like the ones I had dialed in on my Firehawk and RP500 before that... just fuller, less digital and more reactive. I believe it comes down to this... we are all shooting for that ideal tone in our heads and it’s different for each of us. Even the OP used the tools at his disposal to make each modeler sound as similar to his ideal tone as possible in the video. I’ve noticed that when I build a Helix preset from scratch that it gravitates towards my ideal tone regardless of which amp model and whether I use an IR or built in cabs. After that, it comes down to picking style and technique. EVH or JP playing through any of these modelers would still sound like EVH or JP!

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We did our last two albums with Pod Farm and X3 Pro/Live units. Lots of different people praised our sounds and many guitarists asked what the hell we were uaing that sounded so good and translated so perfectly live. People couldn't tell if we weren't just playing the album at shows.

The new album is almost in the can using Native and Helix units so I'm looking forward to seeing how people respond to the change or if they even notice at all.

The bass player and I have been using helix live for a handful of shows already and some people have clocked them on the floor and commented about them. The impression i get from those conversations is people still generally don't believe you can run direct and sound that good and relatively few people have played with a helix or any other modeller to see what it's all about still.

 

We live in exciting times where we can have so much to play with in one tiny box.

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I have to be honest I thought the Helix was the 2nd worst sounding here behind Pod Farm, with the best showings coming from Guitar Rig 5, Peavey Revalver and that 8505 one I've not heard of before, though to be honest all of the non Line 6 ones were close enough that it didn't matter. I have a Peavey 5150 sitting right behind me, have recorded it lots of times and I still don't think the modelling is there on any of them, well it simply isn't 100% yet.

 

I love the Helix but the 5150 is not an amp it does well, and it is not in my opinion an amp that any modeller does well enough that it can replace the real thing on record if you're putting attention to detail into every element.

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