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Jazz Chorus Model and "Unforgiving" Amps

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I've been researching and checking out the different amp models in Helix.  What model do you find to be the most unforgiving (as in articulate, dynamic, any mistake you make will be heard)?  I've been told that the Roland JC-120 is a form of this beast.  What are your experiences?  Just another month or so until I get all my cash saved up!

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I don't think it is so much about being unforgiving or not covering up mistakes, but it is about signal distortion. Generally speaking, an amp with a clean tone does not introduce any/much clipping or transients to the overall signal, therefore being closer to the direct signal from the pickups. The more distortion added, as in high gain amps, the more "stuff" is added to the signal. I guess this is what you are referring to. 

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Honestly I think what you're referring to has more to do with what you're playing the Helix through than the Helix itself.  The Helix will accurately produce the same response as any amp would have.  If you play it through a standard guitar amp cabinet, the articulation and clarity will not be that of a precision full range style speaker such as a Yamaha, QSC, or Alto so small technical messups won't be as obvious.  The Roland, Soldano Clean, or Archetype clean will probably make them even more obvious, but you can rest assured they'll still be there with more overdriven sounds through one of these types of speakers as well.

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I think compression is also important here. Lots of dynamics require very a steady picking technique (or just digging in hard). I really like some amount of compression from the amp itself, so it hides my sloppy playing dynamics.

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respectfully, I don't think you guys are addressing what he is asking about.  I apologize if I'm missing the boat on the OP request and the answers above me.

 

I think what he is referring to with it being unforgiving is the 'feel' of the amp being tight or loose.  I typically like a tighter amp for rhythm stuff, but like a looser amp for leads as the dynamics and sound to me is fuller. 

 

I haven't really noticed it with 'clean' sounds, but when you get into sounds that have a gain structure to them, there is a different feel between an amp that has a loose sound (maybe 'sag' is what should be used to describe this?) and some of the other amps that if you miss a note, it stands out, because the amp has a tighter sound. 

 

An example I could maybe try to throw out there would be if you take an amp and say crank the gain to 7 and get a decent medium/high gain sound, with just the amp, it will have a certain feel to the palm mutes, the way the notes bloom or are attacked from the guitar signal.  If you put a pedal in front (yes it tightens the bass usually) it can have the effect of tightening up the amp as well.  This could just be tied to the gain on the amp being lower as its driven harder though. 

 

When I had a fractal I think there was a parameter that specifically allowed you to change this feel.  I don't recall its specific name, but I thought it was the Negative Feedback or something like that. 

 

Again, I apologize if I'm off base, or missed something in the OP and previous responses.

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respectfully, I don't think you guys are addressing what he is asking about. I apologize if I'm missing the boat on the OP request and the answers above me.

 

I think what he is referring to with it being unforgiving is the 'feel' of the amp being tight or loose. I typically like a tighter amp for rhythm stuff, but like a looser amp for leads as the dynamics and sound to me is fuller.

 

I haven't really noticed it with 'clean' sounds, but when you get into sounds that have a gain structure to them, there is a different feel between an amp that has a loose sound (maybe 'sag' is what should be used to describe this?) and some of the other amps that if you miss a note, it stands out, because the amp has a tighter sound.

I think Jos_K covered this when he talked about compression. I would only add that if the JC-120 model had more sag, I'd probably use it more.

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Yeah I mean one that is sensitive to attack and doesn't have as much compression or sag.  If I hit a sour note or I get a buzzy and farty sound I want to hear it.  The goal is to improve the quality of my picking and my fretting hand so that as I learn to play faster my notes will be clear, clean, and defined.  No lazy sloppy playing.  Good discussion tho :)

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Honestly I think what you're referring to has more to do with what you're playing the Helix through than the Helix itself. The Helix will accurately produce the same response as any amp would have. If you play it through a standard guitar amp cabinet, the articulation and clarity will not be that of a precision full range style speaker such as a Yamaha, QSC, or Alto so small technical messups won't be as obvious. The Roland, Soldano Clean, or Archetype clean will probably make them even more obvious, but you can rest assured they'll still be there with more overdriven sounds through one of these types of speakers as well.

I agree with this and other comments here. A digital modeler into a full range speaker already delivers a level of faithfulness and accuracy to the material being played that many analog signal chains don't possess. The frequency range tends to be wider and the frequency response more even across a wider range. Add a tone rich in mids and high end, especially a clean sound, no compression, and no EQ dips, and you can end up with a very unforgiving sound that reveals every mistake and nuance in technicolor.

I noticed this in our friends' bands and our own band when we moved from old analog mixing boards and unpowered speakers to digital mixers with modern powered speakers. The vocals and guitars generally sounded much clearer and more articulate and accurate with a superior high end. The vocals now required a better job of EQ to prevent them from sounding too harsh while exposing every frequency and bit of timbre, pleasant or otherwise, in the singer's voice. We also had to adjust mentally to the sound of hearing our voices more clearly in the monitors. You don't get the same cover of "mud" in the monitors and FOH that you did with so many older PA systems. Mud that could sound very musical, very forgiving, and provide some cover.

Modern digital sound systems and speakers are like starting with a perfect view and a pair of perfectly clear sunglasses and adding tint (EQ, compression, etc.) until the sun stops burning your retinas. Not saying a great soundman can't dial in an old analog system for that kind of clarity but generally they didn't or couldn't. My bandmates and I have definitely observed that some of our friends bands' older analog PA systems sound like ours with a blanket thrown over it. Not near as present or clear although sometimes those older systems still sound great, just in a more muted way.

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Yeah I mean one that is sensitive to attack and doesn't have as much compression or sag. If I hit a sour note or I get a buzzy and farty sound I want to hear it. The goal is to improve the quality of my picking and my fretting hand so that as I learn to play faster my notes will be clear, clean, and defined. No lazy sloppy playing. Good discussion tho :)

If you're thinking that compression will hide a buzzy or farty sound, I guarantee you it will not. Compression will only make those sounds more apparent. A heavily compressing amp will not just bring down the really loud parts, it also has the tendency to make the softer parts more easily heard.

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That's why I said "sloppy playing dynamics". Not sloppy playing. If you want to hide that, turn the volume down.

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It is a thing - any real amp with really fast response and no negative feedback is going to feel very immediate and direct to play - this is why some people really feel uncomfortable playing some amps.

 

My Dr Z Maz was like this, but my playing improved a LOT while I owned it (and it sounded great) 

 

I am told that this is a thing with the Dumbles too. 

 

I think part of the reason that the JC-120 gets that tag is because you barely touch the volume knob and it is LOUD which contributes to it. But also yes, very little compression or overdrive to soften the response. 

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