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firehawkkwah

can you tell the difference?

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Short question: Can you tell the difference between a (Helix/Firehawk FX) and (Powercab) and between the real amp/cab?

  a) In the room? How much (a little ,a lot, tons, barely)?

  b) In a recording? 

 

Context: I've realized most of the patches/presets I like using start with Treadplate, ie Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier. Not all, but most of my go-to tones. For about the same money (say, $1800), you can get a used Mesa Dual Rectifier and cabinet, or you can get a new Helix and Powercab. Yes, I know there are all the other amps, pedals, etc, but if I'm just using the Mesa Boogie presets, why not just have a real Mesa Boogie amp and cab?

 

Expanded context: For recording the real amp/cab, of course you need a good mic, placement, DAW, etc, and then it will eventually come out of whatever your end listener is using. So in terms of recording, does using the Helix/Firehawk direct to DAW really sound different to the end user than mic'ing up the real cab?

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DId you ever get an answer to your question here? I'm curious too. I suspect they're close enough to the real thing.

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In the time since I posted the question, I bought a FRFR (JBL Eon612) and am using it with my Firehawk. 

 

Before doing so I watched a bunch of videos, and found the ones about modelers from Anderton's UK really informative. Granted, they were mainly using the Kemper modeler, but turns out that even when knowing it's a shootout (blindfolded) it's nearly impossible to tell the difference. 

Is the Firehawk FX up to that standard? Well, probably depends on how well you adjust all the settings, honestly. I'm sure you can make the Firehawk sound ridiculously good, just as sure that you can make a $5000 amp and cab sound really terrible! Ha. 

 

I think with any of these modelers (and certainly with the high end stuff) if you set it up right you probably can't tell the difference. But of course it's not really about telling the difference, it's about getting something you like.

 

I also got myself a Variax Standard, and am pretty impressed with the acoustic models, in particular. There's things I'm not crazy about, and with I had gotten a JTV69, or something with real magnetic humbuckers in the bridge since the modeled palm muting is not good. 

 

But back to topic: I think a modeler with a FRFR is the way to go, I doubt I'll ever go back to a real amp and cab. For my uses, it's just not nearly as practical. For 95% of people, I doubt they can tell the difference. Recorded or live. 

And as for the "amp in the room"... I don't know, feels kinda mumbo jumbo. I played with my old amp (a Hughes and Kettner) and my then-new FRFR, and they both sound like, you know, a guitar amp sitting on the floor in front of me... 

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THanks, 

Yes I too have a firehawk fx. I can model some really good tones that sound exactly like the guitar on a song, but it doesn't have the "amp in a room" feel. So its just like a really loud hifi. I've just got myself a shuriken variax and thinking i will also get the powercab 212 because I love stereo effects. I hope it lives up to it the rhetoric!

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I agree with stereo, and since I also use the frfr for a number of other things I think once I move to a bigger space I'll probably get a second one.

That way I can set them up in far corners of the room, or use one next to drums, or leave one at a friend's house and just carry the pedalboard, etc. Lots of flexibility. For my money, two frfr are worth more than a single power cab.

 

And off topic, but the Pod go looks like a really good upgrade to the Firehawk, but without Variax interface, kinda bummer.

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On 6/13/2020 at 6:51 AM, firehawkkwah said:

I also got myself a Variax Standard, and am pretty impressed with the acoustic models, in particular. There's things I'm not crazy about, and with I had gotten a JTV69, or something with real magnetic humbuckers in the bridge since the modeled palm muting is not good. 

 

I have a JTV-69, Helix Floor and PC112+ and I've gotta say the Variax is the only weak link in the chain.  I end up playing my main Strat unless I need to do an open tuning song.  VDI sound is definitely digital while 1/4" out works well as a straight guitar (modeling off).

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Well after getting my Powercab 212 plus, I must say that I can here my music really clear, using the PodGo with it...

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Just got my two PC+ yesterday. I spent several hours with one of them (not opening other cab until I am convinced the cabs are worth it). First impressions: At first, I was disappointed because that all familiar blanket over the cabinet effect was happening. In other words there was that muffled feel to the sound and missing that organic live presence of a real cab. But then I really started to tweak the tones and started to come up with some good sounds. I have two H&K Grandmeisters with matching 2x12 cabs with V30s and have been using those in 7CM to get stereo but thought the PC would be an easier set up. That has yet to be determined. The stock speakers in the PC are about average. Can you dial in a good tone with those? Possibly, but the onboard IRS are much easier to dial in and then I loaded some Redwirez Greenbacks and got some really good tone. Better than my Grandmeisters? Not so sure yet. Luckily I have Sweetwaters 30 Day return period to decide.

 

Here are a couple of observations about set up so far:

You have to get the levels right. To do this you should have the volume knob on the PC all the way down with no sound. Then bring up a preset on the Helix make sure your levels are where you normally would have it. Then start playing or perhaps run a loop so you can have free hands. Now turn up the big master knob on the helix to get the light on the PC to fluctuate from green to orange. Maybe even get the light to go in to the red and back off a bit. Now your volume is set. Now turn up the volume on the PC to listen to your tone. You can go in to edit on the PC and set the volume of the speaker for each preset. I find around -8db works in most cases to bring the speaker sound out and make it more alive. Check to make sure the light on the PC is not clipping and now you should be good to go. There is a Low cut switch on the back of the amp. Probably want to turn that off. Also, you may have to mess with the Hi and Lo Cut settings on the preset as well to really bring out the sound you want from the speaker. Also, tilting the cab back or setting up on something makes a world of difference as it would with a real cab. Having just sit on the floor pointing at your ankles makes for a very muffled and thuddy sound. 

 

I dialed in a Cali Rhythm amp setting on Helix and then brought in the Allure IR V30 on the PC and started playing Metallica. Took some tweaking, but it actually sounded like the tone on Kill Em All. Went to my Grandmeister and was able to dial in the same tone, but the PC got it exact with some tweaking. Got to really work with the Hi and Lo cut on the speaker setting. 

 

I will update once I spend more time. 

 

Also beware that when you purchase IRS from Line6 Marketplace that the files are in .wir. This will not load in to the PC. Line6 is being very stupid about this because .wir is supposed to be their proprietary format for the HX line, but the PC is their product as well, but you cannot load .wir in the PC. So, go to the direct source for you IRS. I was disappointed to discover this yesterday because I had loaded some OH, and some Celestion and Cigma in prep for the PC and to listen to them on the Helix. Of course I can still use these IRS in the Helix and then the PC in FRFR mode which is a good option, but the speaker sims in the PC is what works best so far and using IRS loaded in the PC. 

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