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Comparing a real Fuchs head vs. Helix's Litigator


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I looked and couldn't find this posted here before, the article is not mine:


IMHO this is one of the best, most useful articles I've ever read about comparing a model to a real amp, and gives you a great idea of the behavior of a modeler vs. the real thing, some of the shortcomings and where the modeler does a great job. Highly recommended, I wish more people did this kind of articles instead of... the stuff I usually see and read.

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It's kind of a funny article because he seems to be operating under the premise that the Litigator is an actual model of a D-style amp... It isn't, of course, so it seems a little odd to put a ton of effort into making them match. It's really kind of an idealized Fender circuit with smoother saturation characteristics. Now, broadly speaking, that could describe a D-style amp as well, so they share some characteristics. A cup of black coffee and an Americano espresso drink share some characteristics, too, but you probably can't necessarily make one taste exactly like the other.

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Just following on from Phil_m, here's Line 6's Ben Adrian on how he created the Litigator model:



(I'm pleased and surprised by the "Litigator" reception. I have to admit, it's fun to see the response when the amp is behind the virtual curtain. So, if you like the model and don't want to ruin the magic, you should stop reading.

We had talked about modeling a smooth-overdriving, easy to play, mid-gain, high dollar boutique amp for a long time. However, they can be expensive and hard to find. When you do find one, people get nervous that it will be partially disassembled and probed.

The "Litigator" was born out of two scenarios; one, I came from the world of building pedals and doing a lot of tube amp repairs and mods, and two, I was not constrained by making a model that matched a real world amp.

I asked myself, "what would I do if someone brought me an amp and wanted me to mod it into something smooth and boutique-y?" So I took a schematic for an amp that we had modeled and I drew out the mods on paper. Yes, it started from a Fender place like so many of the boutique amps.

I made the "mods" in the digital world, and it wasn't right. It didn't sound bad, but it didn't sound like I imagined that it would sound. I was disappointed in myself. So, I went a little further. I moved the tonestack to a different location later in the circuit. I also messed with tone stack cap values and ranges. Plus, I remembered that I wasn't constrained by the real world. I was able to dig into the low pass and high pass filtering before each of the gain stages. I was able to have the drive knob adjust frequency responses in various places in the circuit. Most importantly, I could fine tune the knees of how the individual tube stages entered clipping. I tuned the power amp to make it distort in an idealized way. Finally, I adjusted the sag so that it reacted in a way that was pleasing to me, not just matching what happened in a physical circuit.

So, the amp is not based on any specific amp. It's a circuit I dreamed up based on a heavily modded Fender and then hammered on and tweaked until we all liked playing it around the office. It wouldn't be impossible to make in the physical world, but it might get a little messy. I removed a lot of the noise and irregularities that people find unpleasant, but I was able to add just enough of the wrong things so they enhance without being a distraction. It's like a vintage amp with movie magic color correction and hyped depth of field.

I usually operate in a very objective world. If you like a physical amp, I hope that you like the model of the amp. If you don't like a certain physical amp, then I would not expect you to enjoy the model. I would say that a normal amp model is 95% objective and 5% subjective. The "Litigator" is pretty much 50/50. To be totally frank, I'm generally not a fan of the type of amp that this model is based on. I can sometimes make blues lawyer or yacht rock jokes in private. It's not that I don't respect the musicality, it's just that it's not my world or my wheelhouse. I was expecting to not really like this amp model when I was finished. However, even I couldn't stop playing it when I was done. I kind of sick-burned myself
When it was built into test builds here at Line 6, many other people couldn't stop playing it. It's pretty much the highest compliment when I hear these stories.)

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