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Amp-a-palooza


MikeDV1
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Took the time today with my Helix rack - went to each amp dry - not preamp or with speaker sim - left whatever drive setting was there and put everything else at 5, except presence which I set at zero.  Tried to balance volume on all of them - I tried to set channel volume at 5, and used master volume where possible to get everything at roughly an equal volume.  That required some variations (some with master at 5, some at 8 or 9).  Some also required the channel volume to be bumped a touch as well.  Saved most of the amp models after adjustment  to my favorites and will set up some various effects to try each of them out.  Each one still had a taste of what it was supposed to be, but in a flat condition; what I would do first if I had the actual amp.  Probably start with various compressors, before and after for the next phase. 

 

The factory setting always had too much treble for my taste, and going through the stock amp presets I could see why.  Some of the amps, by their nature, are pretty bright.  But even with those, a lot of the presence and treble were up pretty high.  I go into a power amp/speaker cab, so I rarely use cab sims or IRs.  As I methodically go down the line, I'll probably start to mix in the cabs, mostly for use into a DAW or direct to a PA. 

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The one problem you might have with you approach is that the recommendation from Line 6 for equalizing volume on the amp models has always been to use the amp's channel volume, not the master volume as the the channel volume is guaranteed not to affect the tone of the amp.  Master volume on the other hand can and does affect the overall tone in terms of overdrive characteristics.  To give you an example, the WhoWatt is a very nice clean amp with the master volume at 2 but begins to get a bit of a crunch to it at a master volume of 5.

In theory I like your approach, but it could get in the way of selecting the right amp for a given preset as a master volume of 5 may not give you the best indication of how a specific amp will sound.  Again looking at the WhoWatt that particular amp was designed specifically for being very good at working with external overdrive pedals for adding crunch and overdrive while retaining it's underlying tone and that underlying tone changes significantly when you adjust the master volume.

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I thought it was exactly the opposite - channel volume affected the tone rather than the master - exactly why I chose the master.  Will see if I can find where I read that, and also try adjust both on the Helix to contrast/compare.

 

Edit:  found it - I remembered wrong; thanks for the post!  Will go back into my favorites and make adjustments with that CORRECT knowledge in mind.   Given that, I may even add a couple more models to my favorites list.

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21 hours ago, MikeDV1 said:

left whatever drive setting was there and put everything else at 5

 

Fwiw, this is not the best way to see what an amp can do for you. Neither in the real nor in the virtual world.

Yes, I'm pretty much aware of all those various tests, saying "I set everthing to 5 and this amp sounds killer already!". That's only true for some amps. "English" tone stack on a classic Marshall anyone? Yes, everything turned up all the way. Or take a Boogie Mk XYZ model. Those are known for their super effective tone stacks and also for the interaction between tone stack and gain controls. In real life, you'd never chose a "let's hang around as close to 5 as possible" approach. It's not what you can see being dialed in on most people's amps, either.

 

In case of the Line 6 factory defaults, leaving the drive settings at what they come up with is an even bigger mistake, at least IMO. Some of the default settings do their best to demonstrate how to *not* dial in an amp. Just check, say, the first 13 guitar amps in the list. What in the world were they thinking? Not one clean default and some of them aren't even just "hairy" but horribly "over-dialed". The first exception is amp #14, namely the Princess. But right after that, the mess continues. Deluxes and Twins are mainly known for their clean-ish tones - but Line 6 tries to turn them into whatever else it might be. Usually the result is plain awful.

 

And fwiw, the same goes for most master settings (on amps offering MV in real life), sag, hum and ripple. All turned up WAY too high to represent the real amps in a way comparable to how most people are using them.

Seriously, Line 6 did a pretty bad job on almost all their factory default settings.

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On 1/8/2022 at 7:01 PM, MikeDV1 said:

left whatever drive setting was there and put everything else at 5, except presence which I set at zero.  

 

FWIW... The first thing I adjust is the drive setting. It is rarely set where "I want it" for my guitar(s) and personal taste. 

 

On 1/8/2022 at 7:01 PM, MikeDV1 said:

Each one still had a taste of what it was supposed to be, but in a flat condition; what I would do first if I had the actual amp.  

 

There nothing FLAT about setting everything at 5 in amps. Every amp model is very different... and although some might sound decent with 12 O'clock settings, many will not. The tone stacks in each amp behave very differently... and are often highly interactive with each other. RARELY is 5 a flat setting on any amp. 

 

Although it is highly subjective, Line 6 had already given you many of the standard "starting points for the amps you load. But that starting point will sound very different depending on the guitar you are holding. 

 

On 1/9/2022 at 6:49 AM, MikeDV1 said:

I thought it was exactly the opposite - channel volume affected the tone rather than the master - exactly why I chose the master.  

 

No... the channel volume is quite transparent compared to the master volume. Use the GAIN and MASTER to shape your tone, then set the CHANNEL Volume to set the level. By turning down the master to 5 you have neutered the "power amp tone" of many of the amps.

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