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Are amp models done differently now ?


Jalvz
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Hello all,

 

Just to spark some discussion (in the best possible sense of the word), hoping that this topic hasn't been discussed before and overlooked by me.

 

It seems unanimous that the latest models captured by Line 6 in the Helix line have "something extra" that makes them stand out (the litigator, the trainwreck, the cartographer, now the BE and the lonestar).

The question that comes to mind is: Did the model creation process change since the initial HELIX firmware ?

And if so will Line 6 re-visit older models under this new profiling paradigm that is producing such fine amp models ?

Will we see older profiles become legacy amp models in the future ?

 

cheers

 

J

 

 

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I wouldn't be surprised if they've refined their methods over the years, but I can't say I notice a difference in quality between the newer and older models. I think the one thing is that the newer models they've added are just offer different sounds than what was originally available. But there's many of the original amps I still love. The Deluxe Reverb is still my most used model.

 

FWIW, the same guy has been doing the amp modeling for Helix from the start. Although he does have some additional help now.

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Personally I attribute the differences to modeling more exotic amps.  The initial set of amps was pretty much stuff that's been dominant in the market over many years and tends to be the models you MUST have to cover most of the bases.  What we're seeing now are some interesting variations and takes on original designs and custom or boutique creations in the amp market.  Also some original designs that don't exist in the real world, but have some unique qualities.

I'm not sure you'd get much more out of a model for a Twin or Deluxe Reverb or a Marshall or Orange as those have been done for years and there are no real surprises in the way they're constructed.

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I wouldn't be surprised if they've refined their methods over the years, but I can't say I notice a difference in quality between the newer and older models. I think the one thing is that the newer models they've added are just offer different sounds than what was originally available. But there's many of the original amps I still love. The Deluxe Reverb is still my most used model.

 

FWIW, the same guy has been doing the amp modeling for Helix from the start. Although he does have some additional help now.

Pretty much my feelings. I think they are just modeling more popular amps now.

 

Personally I attribute the differences to modeling more exotic amps.  The initial set of amps was pretty much stuff that's been dominant in the market over many years and tends to be the models you MUST have to cover most of the bases.  What we're seeing now are some interesting variations and takes on original designs and custom or boutique creations in the amp market.  Also some original designs that don't exist in the real world, but have some unique qualities.

 

I'm not sure you'd get much more out of a model for a Twin or Deluxe Reverb or a Marshall or Orange as those have been done for years and there are no real surprises in the way they're constructed.

 

Yep missed this. I just plugged into the stone age, which i never use, but it sounds damn good. No better or worse than the newer models. My guess is that the OP is more happy with the type of amps L6 is modeling recently, more so than any modeling improvements...but then you and Phil already said that :)

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Just to play Devil's advocate, what difference would having an answer to this question make anyway? New process, old process...if you're happy with the results, who cares?

 

Ditto for anything with a "legacy" designation. Stuff gets old. Hell, we're all one retirement party away from becoming a "legacy" ourselves. I use the dimension chorus because I like it...don't care when it's birthday was. If and when I discover something that I like better, I'll use that.

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Interesting takes. Thanks ! This may well be a very subjective and collectively biased appreciation of the newer models in comparison to the older ones.

 

As for the "what difference does it make" point. I think you are right.

My questions were out of curiosity and what a new process may mean for the future. In my mind I was thinking about new Line 6 products (let's face it, a next-generation Helix is bound to happen sooner or later - let's hope later) or licencing models for software updates..

 

 

J

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I think they've definitely gotten "better" at modeling with the Helix technology as time went on.

When I first got my Helix back in Oct. 2015, my "go to" amp was the Rectifier. It sounded pretty damn good. Not exactly like a "real" one mind you...but it was nice and warm and I was able to get enough sustain and distortion without the use of any pedal effects.

Fast forward to now...the newer amp models blow away the Rectifier. 
And no, in real life they do not.  They might sound different, and some a little "better" to different people's ears.  But a rectifier in real life can stand up to most any amp for distortion and tone.

So I would think it only makes sense that as the L6 team has had more and more experience with modeling for the Helix...that they have gotten better and better at it. :)
 

My "go to" these days for crunch and lead is the Archon amp model. Sings like a bird on leads and crunches nice and heavy for classic rock sounds. 
Makes the old Rectifier model sound pale in comparison. And I doubt very seriously that there is THAT big of a difference between a Rectifier and an Archon in "real life" as far as tonal quality.

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...

So I would think it only makes sense that as the L6 team has had more and more experience with modeling for the Helix...that they have gotten better and better at it. :)

 

...

 

So if this is true and it certainly makes sense the question as alluded to above seems to be "even if they were inclined to apply some of the tricks for better amp/cab design that they have acquired along the way to the older models; how do you do that without impacting everyone's previous preset settings or evoking the always somewhat subjective response, I liked the old amp better than the updated one"? The answer is probably some changes could be applied relatively transparently to the existing older models and others would require a version "2".

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I know that the part about them having more experience in modeling with the Helix is true. 
And I know that most people get better and better at doing something the more they do it. :)

My guess is that going back and trying to make the first generation of amps "better" is probably way at the bottom of the list of things to do. 

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Honestly the point in which they go back, and redo the models that the Helix shipped with, it will probably ship with Helix's successor. (Double Helix, Helix II etc)

 

I don't see them doing that for this product, but hey I could be wrong.  

I see them focusing on more models that aren't there. Hopefully some unique ones, high demand ones (XTC, more Engl), and Line6 originals.  :D

I also see them working on function/features. Even expansion of options, more mics to choose from on the stock cabs, mic placement of more than just distance...

 

This could easily fill up the next 3-4 years of development for the Helix. Probably long before revisiting ~potentially (slightly) ~ improve amp models that are already there as a priority. They would have to offer them as separate versions, or take the risk of unhappy users with changes to the sound in their carefully crafted presets.

 

No, I see that as a reserve for Helix's successor. 

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Hi all. Your speculations are all generally correct.

 

The first Helix models were done over fife years ago. When we did those early models, my cohort and I were just turned loose to make accurate models without regard to DSP usage. Those became Helix models once the firmware and DSP interface was finalized. We captured a bunch of data such as amplitude, frequency, wave shape, sag, duty cycle, duty cycle shifts, bias excursion, etc. We would try to match all of these. Of course, we might have gotten good matches in five of the categories, but one was way off. when we'd go to match that aspect that was off, we could get it closer, but other aspects would become less accurate. Then we listen and decided how to balance the modeling parameters so that we get a very accurate match that might not be PERFECT in the data, but sounds dead on to our ears.

 

As time went on, we realized which aspects of the data capture and matching were most important to getting an model that matched sonically and felt good to play. We learned where the "on paper" data was most important and where to ignore the "on paper" data in favor of sound and finger response. I'm generally pretty open with how we do the modeling, but in this case I'm not going to write about which technical details make the most difference when modeling.

 

So yeah, we got better with experience. We got better with trial and error. We got better by realizing we needed new DSP processing abilities and having our DSP programmers adjust the DSP code on our modeling "blocks. The first amps aren't bad by any stretch, but we were leaning very far towards absolute accuracy "on paper". Since then we've pulled back a but and with sacrifice a bit of that accuracy for a more realistic feel and experience.

 

Cheers!

Ben Adrian

Line 6

Lead Sound Designer & Sound Design Manager

 

"On Paper" is in quotes because we never actually put anything on paper. It all captures and matched with Audio Precision test equipment as well as other, in-house software. No need to bring dead trees into this process :)

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Hi all. Your speculations are all generally correct.

 

The first Helix models were done over fife years ago. When we did those early models, my cohort and I were just turned loose to make accurate models without regard to DSP usage. Those became Helix models once the firmware and DSP interface was finalized. We captured a bunch of data such as amplitude, frequency, wave shape, sag, duty cycle, duty cycle shifts, bias excursion, etc. We would try to match all of these. Of course, we might have gotten good matches in five of the categories, but one was way off. when we'd go to match that aspect that was off, we could get it closer, but other aspects would become less accurate. Then we listen and decided how to balance the modeling parameters so that we get a very accurate match that might not be PERFECT in the data, but sounds dead on to our ears.

 

As time went on, we realized which aspects of the data capture and matching were most important to getting an model that matched sonically and felt good to play. We learned where the "on paper" data was most important and where to ignore the "on paper" data in favor of sound and finger response. I'm generally pretty open with how we do the modeling, but in this case I'm not going to write about which technical details make the most difference when modeling.

 

So yeah, we got better with experience. We got better with trial and error. We got better by realizing we needed new DSP processing abilities and having our DSP programmers adjust the DSP code on our modeling "blocks. The first amps aren't bad by any stretch, but we were leaning very far towards absolute accuracy "on paper". Since then we've pulled back a but and with sacrifice a bit of that accuracy for a more realistic feel and experience.

 

Cheers!

Ben Adrian

Line 6

Lead Sound Designer & Sound Design Manager

 

"On Paper" is in quotes because we never actually put anything on paper. It all captures and matched with Audio Precision test equipment as well as other, in-house software. No need to bring dead trees into this process :)

 

Awesome and fascinating insight to the process, thanks very much for posting here! Also another huge thanks for all the great models you have whipped up!  :)

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Great insight Ben! I’ve been obsessed with the new Cali Texas Ch2 since updating to firmware v2.50. After dialing it in to my taste and noodling with it for several days, I loaded up my “old†Brit Plexi Brt preset and was pleasantly surprised that one still sounds very convincing by comparison. Two great amp models with different but incredible voicing. It will still have a definite place in my band’s set list. I do think I will replace my Rectifire preset with the Texas! Keep up the awesome work!!!

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I'm kinda hoping that now that they have mastered the art of modeling amps with Helix...that perhaps they can turn that gained knowledge towards the cabs. :)
I love my Redwire Marshall 4x12 IR's...but I'd rather use a well-crafted cab that's included in Helix. 

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I'm kinda hoping that now that they have mastered the art of modeling amps with Helix...that perhaps they can turn that gained knowledge towards the cabs. :)

I love my Redwire Marshall 4x12 IR's...but I'd rather use a well-crafted cab that's included in Helix. 

 

I wouldn't be surprised if some of that has happened already. Maybe both the new amps and new cabs to come are benefiting from experience.

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I think the quality in the modelling varies from an amp to amp basis across the board. Two amps that come to mind for me are first the Plexi models, they sound amazing to me and I've been really able to craft some amazing tones with them with that signature Plexi sound and feel really shining through, but then on the other end of the scale there is the 5150 (Panama) which leaves a lot to be desired in terms of the thickness and warmth of the midrange and the crispness of the top end, it sounds more like your typical generica "high gain modelling" sound from the old days of amp modelling. 

 

The cab modelling is decent and usable but it doesn't compare to pre-recorded sound impulses, and I think what Bias 2 has done partnering with Celestion and integrating the impulses with their mic choice/position graphical interface is the best of both worlds. All of my live patches I'm using since I bought the Helix are the Matchstick Ch.1 and Plexi Jump models into imported impulses (ownhammer and the free allure pack).

 

While I'm here, you considered modelling a Cornford amp? A MK50 or Hellcat model would be a dream come true.

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