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State of the art? Nope


357mag
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I just tried a Fractal Axe-FX II expecting to be blown away but I was not. It's supposed to be state of the art. Least it was before Axe-FX III took it's place. But even the Marshall JCM 800 did not sound as good as what is in the POD X3. I've tried a Fractal and an Eleven rack and neither one compares to the JCM 800 that is in my X3. Plus all the detailed knobs which are unnecessary that don't do much to change the sound of what you are hearing.

 

Maybe I'll try a Helix next. Seems Line6 stuff is equal to if not better than anyone else's.

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NO TWO "real" JCM800's sound or react the same. Fractal and Line 6 do not have access to the "same" JCM800... nor do they model them the same way. Of course their will be differences. Maybe you prefer the way Line 6 models the amps.... maybe you prefer the JCM800 that Line 6 has access to over the one Fractal has access to.... or maybe you don't realize that the amps are different in real life, and require different settings to get the most out of them. 

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I don't think you can judge a Fractal unit just because you don't like a JCM800, it's just that you prefer the sound of the model you are used to, which is fine. The rest is totally subjective. Like, for example, I never heard a JCM800 sounding good, either as real amp, or modeled. :)

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We hope you've enjoyed this episode of Subjective Truth...be sure to tune in tomorrow when we'll finally answer a question that has plagued mankind for centuries:  "Lima beans: Hero or Villian?". Same dumb time, same dumb channel.

 

Tastes great! Less filling! ;)

 

 

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We're at the point where there are diminishing returns in "better" as far as amp modeling goes. The biggest hurdle now is getting most people to understand the different between a guitar cab and FRFR with speaker/mic modeling. There still seems to be a lot of people that think something is wrong when a complete "Studio" tone through a PA doesn't feel like a 4x12 at 110dB.

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4 hours ago, gunpointmetal said:

We're at the point where there are diminishing returns in "better" as far as amp modeling goes. The biggest hurdle now is getting most people to understand the different between a guitar cab and FRFR with speaker/mic modeling. There still seems to be a lot of people that think something is wrong when a complete "Studio" tone through a PA doesn't feel like a 4x12 at 110dB.

 

That...and the problem exposed above... the mistaken assumption that every amp bearing the same model number, when dialed with the same settings, will sound identical...and therefore the digital models should too. It would be lovely if life were that simple.

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19 hours ago, gunpointmetal said:

. There still seems to be a lot of people that think something is wrong when a complete "Studio" tone through a PA doesn't feel like a 4x12 at 110dB.

 

Always been like that, since recorded music exists. If you isolate most famous rock guitar riff from '60/70, out of the mix, they sounds weird at best, when not totally horrible (yep, mixing voodoo). Problem is today many people play and noodle mostly alone (and waste more time chasing tone than playing), so they wouldnt really need that technology if they only want to enjoy that amp in the room feeling, especially for high gain stuff (for cleans, modeling is imho in general much better than amp in the room). Mic'ing an amp,  always meant to be for recording and mix, or for live. My opinion is, if you want just to noodle hendrix solos in your bedroom (if that's ok for the neighbors), just stick with a real amp, even small, and forget modeling.

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6 hours ago, PierM said:

 

Always been like that, since recorded music exists. If you isolate most famous rock guitar riff from '60/70, out of the mix, they sounds weird at best, when not totally horrible (yep, mixing voodoo). Problem is today many people play and noodle mostly alone (and waste more time chasing tone than playing), so they wouldnt really need that technology if they only want to enjoy that amp in the room feeling, especially for high gain stuff (for cleans, modeling is imho in general much better than amp in the room). Mic'ing an amp,  always meant to be for recording and mix, or for live. My opinion is, if you want just to noodle hendrix solos in your bedroom (if that's ok for the neighbors), just stick with a real amp, even small, and forget modeling.

I would agree with that and would add that if you are at home playing along with your favorite music, modeling is great. You can sound like what is on the recording because that is what modeling does best. What is on the recording was in a studio with a microphone and different cabinet, guitar, etc. If you like the sound of your tube amp...then great, but that sound is going to have to be mic'd in a live situation or in the studio then the sound on the recording or through the PA will be different from sitting in the room with the amp. Recently, my tube amps still sit in my room and from time to time I plug in and set tones for what I will be doing in a given situation, but overall, the Helix to the PC+ is doing a fine job of emulating my favorite recordings and the stuff I hear in my head when composing music. It is a great time to be alive when all of this is right at our fingertips, so to speak. 

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When you are paying huge amounts of money and the unit is advertised and talked about as being state of the art then the consumer has the right to expect to be blown away. Otherwise why build and advertise it. I was not blown away. I think  the POD X3 sounds better especially the JCM 800.

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1 hour ago, 357mag said:

When you are paying huge amounts of money and the unit is advertised and talked about as being state of the art then the consumer has the right to expect to be blown away. Otherwise why build and advertise it. I was not blown away. I think  the POD X3 sounds better especially the JCM 800.

 

You make it sound like Fractal is guilty of false advertising with the AXE FXII released in 2011. Last time I checked, this is 2021...  "state of the art" has changed. That said, IMO... AXE FX II is holding up just fine... and the X3 still sounds great as well. 

 

IMO... You can decide what YOU like and don't like, but you can't decide what EVERYONE likes or dislikes.

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As the Russian saying goes, "for a bad dancer, the bollocks get in the way". 

 

I have been using digital gadgets for about 6 years now, all of them can be tweaked to sound good.  The only thing that was not addressed on some units was the silence between presets until recently.  There were various workarounds for that annoying silence..... 

 

In 2021 all digital processors: Helix, AX FX, Zoom processors, Kemper all have a way to seamlessly switch either between scenes/snapshots or presets.  All of them have oversampled, stereo hi-fi sounds.  The rest is up to the user, how much you are willing to tweak, and how much time you are willing to invest.  They all sound good, they all sound like the real thing. 

 

To me, the biggest advantage of a Helix is that it's:

  1. self-contained
  2. has a big display/scribble strips
  3. has an amazing editor for the computer, and is very easy to backup/restore things, unlike other pieces of gear

 

 

Just as an example, for the heck of it, this concert was recorded by running a Vox ToneLab to the FOH.  No tube amps, no analog reverbs, or vintage tube screamers.  Vox ToneLab came out like 20 years ago at this point.  If you know how to tweak it, it will sound analog-y and tube-y.  This was 2005.  No balanced outputs on that.  No oversampling.  I bet you when you first saw that Vox processor you thought it was for boomers to play Rollin' Stones at home....

 

image.png.ad01bfb704a6fedb55c295b618dc7d08.png

 

 

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To give the "I used to live in big studios" perspective, it wasn't easy to get a good mic'ed amp sound, either. There was choosing the mic, deciding where to put it in relationship to the cab, checking to see if in something like a 4 x12 whether one speaker was better than the others, whether to add a room mic, and then EQ, dynamics, etc. at the mixing board...and of course, did the guitar player use light or heavy gauge strings, nickel core, the kind of wrap, pick, pickup placement...so many variables.

 

Getting a really good guitar tone takes effort, regardless of whether you're using an amp sim, or miking an amp. To me the value of something like Helix isn't as much about emulating sounds that have been popular for decades, although that has its moments :), but pushing what's possible. Sometimes those experiments end up as epic fails, but sometimes, they create sounds that have no precedent, and sound great.

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17 hours ago, 357mag said:

When you are paying huge amounts of money and the unit is advertised and talked about as being state of the art then the consumer has the right to expect to be blown away. Otherwise why build and advertise it. I was not blown away. I think  the POD X3 sounds better especially the JCM 800.

consumer has the right to:

  • make informed choices
  • choose from many products
  • return products that do not operate as advertised (at least in some countries)
  • beware (caveat emptor)

But a right to expect anything simply because of price? Sorry, just no.

 

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On 7/21/2021 at 1:24 PM, 357mag said:

When you are paying huge amounts of money and the unit is advertised and talked about as being state of the art then the consumer has the right to expect to be blown away.

 

So let me see if I've got this straight....your gripe is that the device fails to measure up to it's own advertising gibberish? Say it ain't so, Flava Flav! I gotta ask...is this the first time you've encountered advertising? Did your last Big Mac actually look like the ones in the commercial, or was it a soggy, disgusting mess, containing meat of questionable origin? If this is your yardstick, you're in for a lifetime of disappointment with every purchase you ever make.

 

Let me save you the suspense... all advertising is bull$hit. Every product ever sold has been touted as the best thing since indoor plumbing... why? Because if the sales pitch was "Try our mediocre crap, and the borderline adequacy you deserve can be yours today!", then they wouldn't move too many units, would they?

 

Salesmen are the only people on the planet who lie more than politicians. If unvarnished truth actually started appearing in brochures, capitalism would collapse. Realistic expectations make life much easier....

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8 hours ago, Anderton said:

Getting a really good guitar tone takes effort, regardless of whether you're using an amp sim, or miking an amp.

 

In the end, all of these discussions boil down to exactly this... unfortunately, "I spent money, so I shouldn't have to lift a finger beyond that" is an impossible nut to crack.

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Honestly the disàppoinment you felt on axe 2 I get on hd500. It was advértised that you can create a chain as your heart desires. But I run out of dsp very quick, and to get a good sound you needed at least 2 eq in a 8 effects chain. As for the jcm 800, personal taste I agree with the op. The jam 800 of xt and x3 was really great sounding, as well as the modern high gain. I can not replicate these sounds on any other unit. 

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