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marmatkat

Most versatile amp, and most versatile cab for cover band?

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Hi All,

 

I finally started playing with snapshots after having owned my LT for a few years and using it in cover bands. I'm now experimenting with the approach of using two amps (I think of them as one "clean", one "dirty") and snapshotting between them for various tones, along with some effects on stomp switches. Currently I have three presets (I haven't gig-tested this setup yet), each containing the same clean amp (US Deluxe Vib) and one of three different dirty amps depending on the type of song: Brit Plexi Jump (vintage), Cali Texas Ch 2 (country/single coil), and Cali Rectifire (modern). I've been using the stock Amp+Cab cabinets so I don't get overwhelmed. (I use two instead of three amps due to DSP limits, but a shared cab might fix that?) So far it's awesome, but I wonder if different amp choices might give me more versatility.

 

So: What two amps (and their cabs) would you use for this kind of setup? Maybe I only need one preset with two different amps. I realize the choice is personal, but the application (a wide range from clean to dirty in a multi-decade rock cover band) might constrain it a bit. (I read that using the same cab for the amps works well and keeps things simpler.)

 

Hopefully that's not too unclear a question :-O  Thanks!

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I do something similar switching between the Archon Clean and Archon Lead amplifiers.  On both I'm using the cabinet that's paired up with them.  On this preset I'm not using snapshots.  I use a foot switch to control one amp going on while the other goes off.  I also add an overdrive pedal that I use on the clean channel to give me the option an in between crunch.  The rest of the foot switches are used for stuff like delay, reverb, phaser, etc. 

 

Good luck.

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The Placater Clean/Dirty setup is perfect for this. The Dirty channel is very flexible. I also like the Texas Cali 2 for cleans/light overdrives with the Placater Dirty. I use a 3 Sigma IR (Marshall 4x12), but the default cab is fine as well. 

 

My other choice is the Cartographer; it can do all of the tones...

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Cali iv (mesa mark 4), lead chanel, can go from clean to distortion and has a great integrated eq. As for a nice all around cab, green 25.

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I have to say it's fairly rare for me to end up using two different amps and cabs within the same song to get a dramatic shift in tone and dynamics.  It happens occasionally, but it's rare.  Most of the time I can accomplish it with the same amp and just tweak gain settings or add a drive pedal.  The only one that really comes to mind is the is one in which I use the Soldano Clean with an Alnico Blue vox style cab combined with a Brit Plexi Bright with a Marshall celestion cab because it really needed a more modern clean sound and a vintage overdriven sound.  But I have to go along with a lot of others here in that the Placater Clean/Dirty or even the Archetype Clean/Lead are pretty versatile setups for such things, but I'll use the same cab for both.

I'm not sure how many different styles your cover band covers, but for myself the rock sound from the 70's, 80's, and 90's are really quite different.  I'm not sure I could do them justice with only a single setup.  Especially not if your multi-decade also includes the 60's and 50's.

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In a live situation I am all about consistency with my tones... rather than use multiple amps (even 2) I use just one model, which is how it would be if I carried one of my amps to a gig. 

 

I setup a deluxe reverb (normal channel) along with an Ownhammer IR (dlx reverb cab / v30 / mic combo of 421 and 121). It's one setting for all, it doesn't change with snapshots at all.

 

I then setup my "pre effects" the exact same way I would setup my pedal board... including a Timmy for overdrive tones and a Tube screamer to push the timmy into oblivion on occasion. The Timmy (Tee-mah) is really versatile at setting up a variety of overdrive tones through snapshots that are really consistent. After the amp is a setup of effects the way I would run them in a studio... such as delay, reverb and the LA Studio Comp to put some polish on the final tone. 

 

I'm not saying that's the right way, or the best way. That's just what works best for me :) 

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Re: Teemah! And Scream808: when you stack distortion pedals, you can get different results depending on the order of the pedals. When stacking distortion pedals, the one at the end of the signal chain will often dominate the overall tone while the ones earlier drive more saturation. So I’d generally put Teemah! First, with some bass and treble cut to tailor a good overdrive tone. Then the Scream808 can come after to provide the mid boost and higher grit. Doing both has the Teemah! reducing the bass into the Screem808 a little, giving it even more mid focus and reducing the mud. But either way can work.

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Generally speaking I use primarily two different kinds of combinations of amps for max versatility depending on the sounds I'm going for. Sometimes I use the clean, crunch, lead channels of the same amp for consistency as mentioned by DD and other times I use a combination of amps that are renowned for their clean sounds such as a Fender, Roland Jazz Chorus, or maybe even a HiWatt, combined with an amp model famed for its crunch/dirt/lead tones like a Marshall, Soldano, Mesa Boogie, or any of the higher gain amp models.  A little EQ and tone shaping after the amp/cab and you can give even fairly different amps some measure of consistency. Sometimes I find that is the best way to get the perfect clean and the perfect lead tone even if it is not quite as seamless as using multiple channels of the same amp. And of course you can always blend the two - clean and dirty.

 

If you are looking for the absolute most versatile combination in a single preset I would probably use a combination of different amps/cabs and leverage them with snapshots. You seem to be on the right track with your original post and some of the specific suggested amps in other folks' responses. I think it comes down to what works with the material you cover and also what tones sound good to you. The beauty is if one preset doesn't cover it, there's another empty slot waiting for some variation. I have a few general purpose presets that are a catchall and then a bunch of specific presets named after and designed to nail the sound I hear on the cover as closely as possible. Sometimes constructed from the exact models the artist used if I can find it on the internet and want to go to the trouble. So easy to have it all with a digital setup.

 

Lastly once you start adding effects it gets more difficult to pick a "most" versatile amp as they can respond quite differently when pedals are applied.

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While I understand the question I do not understand the question.. :)

Why would you want to stick to a versatile amp/cab or even have desire for 'consistency' sound wise (you definitely want to have consistency volume wise!)?

 

I play in cover band and we play music from 50's onwards and to me Variax + Helix as modeller with all the handy features of snapshots and presets etc provides the means not to be limited like I were with real amp, cab and limited space effect board. I deliberately seek for the sounds to differ from one style / era to another. Typically I create a preset for a certain style & era / band and reuse them by using different snapshots & stomp boxes, change of Variax guitar model etc to match the mood. Also, as a rule I do not switch presets during a song but use snapshots. Of course, occasionally I need to create a song specific preset to have the sound & control needed.

 

These technological options may have spoiled or even damaged me and I may have gone to the extreme. I do not expect the cover bands to provide a copy of the original sound wise nor arrangement wise. But I do often find it quite boring when a band plays and each of the players have pretty much 'one sound' for the whole gig - particularly so with the cover bands.

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Thanks a ton for all your replies, everyone! Super helpful!!

 

Quote

Why would you want to stick to a versatile amp/cab or even have desire for 'consistency' sound wise?

 

Good question. Basically it would be too overwhelming for me to have a ton of presets, so I'm compromising with a small number of general purpose ones. That's just where I am right now. Hell, even wrapping my head around choosing a mic that's different from a stock cab's default makes me nervous. I may change as I delve into this :-)

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21 hours ago, amsdenj said:

When stacking distortion pedals, the one at the end of the signal chain will often dominate the overall tone while the ones earlier drive more saturation. So I’d generally put Teemah! First, with some bass and treble cut to tailor a good overdrive tone. Then the Scream808 can come after to provide the mid boost and higher grit.

 

Absolutely... either way will work and that's a good point about the last one being the dominant tone, but it is for that reason I do it the opposite than you would.

Since I use the Tee-mah for my overdrive tones (varying the setting per snapshot) I put the 808 ahead of it just like I would if I were goosing the front end an overdriven amp with the 808. Again.... I'm not suggesting my way is better.... it's just how I do it. 

 

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17 hours ago, marmatkat said:

 

Good question. Basically it would be too overwhelming for me to have a ton of presets, so I'm compromising with a small number of general purpose ones. That's just where I am right now. Hell, even wrapping my head around choosing a mic that's different from a stock cab's default makes me nervous. I may change as I delve into this :-)

 

I'd bet with some pre-planning you could settle on just a handful of key presets based on music styles that would get you the versatility without overwhelming you.  When I do open mic nights or jam sessions I have a set of about 7 or 8 presets I can choose from that cover 50's, 60's Brit Rock, 60's Flower Power, 70's Rock, 70's Funk....and so forth.

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4 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

 

I'd bet with some pre-planning you could settle on just a handful of key presets based on music styles that would get you the versatility without overwhelming you.  When I do open mic nights or jam sessions I have a set of about 7 or 8 presets I can choose from that cover 50's, 60's Brit Rock, 60's Flower Power, 70's Rock, 70's Funk....and so forth.

Yes I do this, I have 7 core sounds and then I use those 'template settings' to build song specific presets....or will save those in banks that make sense for genres. 

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On 4/13/2019 at 3:53 PM, amsdenj said:

Re: Teemah! And Scream808: when you stack distortion pedals, you can get different results depending on the order of the pedals. When stacking distortion pedals, the one at the end of the signal chain will often dominate the overall tone while the ones earlier drive more saturation. So I’d generally put Teemah! First, with some bass and treble cut to tailor a good overdrive tone. Then the Scream808 can come after to provide the mid boost and higher grit. Doing both has the Teemah! reducing the bass into the Screem808 a little, giving it even more mid focus and reducing the mud. But either way can work.

Stacking drives in this way is exactly how I've run my amp/pedal setup for years.  The Teemah! sounds great on its own and also stacked with others.  I found a great combo in stacking it with the Kinky Boost with the Kinky last in the signal chain (generally going low gain > high gain from guitar input and stacking).  I then program one of the foot switches to engage a volume boost on any combo of 3 overdrives I set for leads, etc.  

 

I've never been into using different combos of amps for different tones instead opting for one amp and using pedals to dictate my tonal needs (usually differing amounts of drive). I think if I were in a show band where all the instruments were trying to sound period-correct, I'd be more apt to program things with different amp models to match genre.  But in a bar/clubsituation, it doesn't matter too much and those who don't know about tone don't care.  I stick with what's comfortable and sounds good to me.  My 2 cents.

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On 4/14/2019 at 2:26 PM, codamedia said:

 

Absolutely... either way will work and that's a good point about the last one being the dominant tone, but it is for that reason I do it the opposite than you would.

Since I use the Tee-mah for my overdrive tones (varying the setting per snapshot) I put the 808 ahead of it just like I would if I were goosing the front end an overdriven amp with the 808. Again.... I'm not suggesting my way is better.... it's just how I do it. 

 

I see your point. If Teemah! and it bass and treble cut establishes your base tone, then Scream808 in front would retain that tone while providing additional saturation with a mid hump that isn’t going to give a lot of bass mud and treble ice-pick into the Teemah!. I like that idea. 

 

The reason I put the Scream808 after Teemah! is because I actually want it to dominate the tone as it’s mid hump is an iconic sound that fits a lot of songs. 

 

The point is to think about what you’re trying to achieve, and to realize that the last pedal in a chain is going to have the biggest impact on tone, while the ones before it will have the most impact on saturation. But its actually a pretty complex interaction, so you might find the logic doesn’t always work and you have to try different things and trust your ears.

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Placater clean and dirty.   It’s great that there are so many choices and I do use other amp models for different things but I think if these were the only two amp models in the helix, I would have no trouble doing patches for all the tunes I play in both bands.  They are so versatile and sound so good.  And If I didn’t have any IRs i would use the greenback 25. 

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