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Sunn? Really? mini-rant


boynigel
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Weird choice w/the Sunn.  Maybe the next update will include a Bedrock? ;)  I would have much preferred a Morgan AC20 or Friedman Smallbox 50.  I'm 54, been playing since '82 , and have NEVER come across a Sunn amp, and i've spent an embarrassing amount of time in many a music store.

 

Thanks for the update L6, it's great, but next time give me something i know, please and thank you. To be fair, the Sunn model sounds good but i can't speak to its authenticity for the aforementioned reason.  

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On 11/4/2022 at 10:03 AM, DunedinDragon said:

I'm sure they'll check in with you before they make any decisions about what kind of amp they're going to model specifically for you for free......

I love sarcasm.  Touché.  Now, now...there was nothing mean-spirited about my post.  Regarding your "for free" statement, I respectfully disagree.  Everyone's initial purchase of a Helix family product finances the updates...likely even peoples' non-Helix purchases.  L6 is a big, deep pool.  Little in life is truly free.

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On 11/4/2022 at 10:09 AM, PierM said:

... Jimi Hendrix, Adam Jones, Kurt Cobain, Pete Townsend, Melvins, Pelican, ISIS, etc etc etc...

most of them for about five minutes, but point taken...and i knew someone would rattle off some artists.  you get the "first" award! ;)

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Rod Price of Foghat fame loved the Model T and used them quite a bit.

I borrowed a friend’s years ago to play at a gig(I play a lot of slide) and it sounded great but it had to be completely dimed to get that sound.

Not usable in a venue at all. I’m looking forward to trying the model.

 

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On 11/4/2022 at 9:56 AM, boynigel said:

I would have much preferred a Morgan AC20 or Friedman Smallbox 50.

If they would have added your preferred amps, there'd be someone wondering why they didn't add any Sunn amps. There's very little consensus from the user base as to what amps should be added next. I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for your preferred amps to make it in, because at this point most of the big name stuff that people expect to be there is already there, and the L6 guys are really just adding what THEY want now. Like, the Cartographer (I think?) is the L6 modeling guru's personal, highly modified test amp that nobody even knew about, much less asked for. They're not really consulting users on new amp models anymore, and they probably shouldn't be, because the stuff they add is usually pretty unique compared to what's there. Morgans are Vox clones, I gather, and Friedmans are Marshall clones AFAIK? There's already plenty of Vox and Marshall models in the Helix. 

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The choice of an amp like this one makes me wonder if their development process allows for pet projects (or "free time" or "hobby").  Maybe someone really wanted this one and spent a lot of their personnel time on it, they got it working/sounding great, so it made it in.  

 

One thing I wish that Line 6 would be more public about is what is coming and when.  Not even necessarily specifics, but I don't see how it serves Line6 against competition to be secretive about it.  For example, Quad Cortex has some (or all) of the new cab features regarding microphone positioning, stereo balancing and delays.  Some notable people have gone to QC recently due to DSP limitations (at least I think that is their rationale, but there is probably more that goes into it).  This release has impacts on both of these perceived limitations.  How many others have moved on, but may have delayed that knowing these major improvements were coming?  

 

I understand being careful to commit to a future release, and there are a lot of companies that are secretive.  I just don't get it unless they have some concern that corporate could pull the rug out from the plans at any moment.

 

And these new features are increcible, but right now we actually have no idea what comes next.  Is *this* the last major update?  A roadmap would help.  Although honestly, at some point I think they have to upgrade their hardware -- even if they don't need to -- to extract more revenues from their existing customer base.    Regarding "our initial purchases fund updates": that sounds nice in marketing and we like to believe that as users, but that revenue is long gone. It isn't funding anything.  It is more accurate to say that new purchases are funding current development. 

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On 11/4/2022 at 3:17 PM, boynigel said:

most of them for about five minutes, but point taken...and i knew someone would rattle off some artists.  you get the "first" award! ;)

 

You must have missed the fact this is a porting from Line6 Metallurgy plugin (as well as the other amps added), which is a collection of metal/doom amps, also sporting the new cab technology.

 

 

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On 11/4/2022 at 1:02 PM, zappazapper said:

If they would have added your preferred amps, there'd be someone wondering why they didn't add any Sunn amps. There's very little consensus from the user base as to what amps should be added next. I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for your preferred amps to make it in, because at this point most of the big name stuff that people expect to be there is already there, and the L6 guys are really just adding what THEY want now. Like, the Cartographer (I think?) is the L6 modeling guru's personal, highly modified test amp that nobody even knew about, much less asked for. They're not really consulting users on new amp models anymore, and they probably shouldn't be, because the stuff they add is usually pretty unique compared to what's there. Morgans are Vox clones, I gather, and Friedmans are Marshall clones AFAIK? There's already plenty of Vox and Marshall models in the Helix. 

i agree, all valid points.  i scratched my head w/the Cartographer too.  Yes, the AC20 is a Vox clone, but so is the Matchstick and Divided by 13...albeit steroided-up versions.  Maybe L6 feels they've met the Vox quota so fair enough.  I mentioned the Friedman Smallbox simply because its dynamic response to pick attack and volume knob responsiveness is off the charts, much like the Derailed Ingrid...minus the "spitty-ness" ...not that that sound doesn't have its applications, it's one of my favorites.  

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On 11/4/2022 at 11:27 AM, rwandering said:

I understand being careful to commit to a future release, and there are a lot of companies that are secretive.  I just don't get it unless they have some concern that corporate could pull the rug out from the plans at any moment.

 

Why wrap Christmas presents? Because keeping the children guessing is part of the fun!

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On 11/4/2022 at 1:27 PM, rwandering said:

The choice of an amp like this one makes me wonder if their development process allows for pet projects (or "free time" or "hobby").  Maybe someone really wanted this one and spent a lot of their personnel time on it, they got it working/sounding great, so it made it in. 

My whole thing was, sure it's nice to be introduced to an amp i've no experience with, but given a choice, i'd prefer an amp that i've actually sat in a room with and fell in love with...just not enough to drop 3 grand on it!  A model of the Smallbox in particular would push my pants because its touch sensitivity is phenomenal...like the Derailed Ingrid.  And it sounds incredible.  That said, i'm not holding my breath...hope remains though considering Friedman is still a pretty hot/popular brand so you never know...

 

On 11/4/2022 at 1:27 PM, rwandering said:

It is more accurate to say that new purchases are funding current development. 

yep, and i alluded to that likelihood.  The assurance of more updates also helps w/new Helix sales.  How many posts have you seen over the last couple years from people on the fence about spending $1699 on a new Helix now that it's been around since 2015, the concern being that Helix 2 arrives 2 months after said purchase?  Of course most of the regulars on here already know that there WON'T be a "Helix 2" and even the current Helix's successor is quite a ways away.

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On 11/4/2022 at 2:02 PM, rd2rk said:

 

Why wrap Christmas presents? Because keeping the children guessing is part of the fun!

I'll confess to liking the surprise element.  But there'll always be the brief unwrapping anxiety- is it going to be wool socks, or the latest gizzmo all the kiddies want?

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On 11/4/2022 at 11:07 AM, boynigel said:

My whole thing was, sure it's nice to be introduced to an amp i've no experience with, but given a choice, i'd prefer an amp that i've actually sat in a room with and fell in love with...just not enough to drop 3 grand on it!  

. . . 

 Of course most of the regulars on here already know that there WON'T be a "Helix 2" and even the current Helix's successor is quite a ways away.

 

I get it . . . and think "huh, why this amp when it would make sense for them to put their $/time into this other one" is a totally reasonable opinion to have and to discuss!

 

Though when Line6 says "there won't be a Helix 2", I don't put much stock into that.  I know they have said it, but we all know there will be a successor, and so IMO this really comes down to a branding question.  Unless they kill the ecosystem, Helix Native (or something with a new name) will continue (mentioning that just because it is critical product/feature and representation of their modelling capabilities).  So whether they literally call it "Helix 2" or "Geetar-Pedal-Plus" -- sorry, my naming skills are offline at the moment -- doesn't really matter.  I view the "there won't be a Helix 2" as some marketing calculation that they believe creates the best outcome for them, but that it has zero meaning about product and feature set.  And I don't mean to imply there is any nefarious messaging going on, btw.  They have done an incredible job with this product, and while I don't think I need updated hardware, I'm going to be first in line to get it to continue to support its continued development.

 

My only regret is that I bought an LT and not the Floor and I honestly do find it hard to make the upgrade when I feel like something is coming in 2023.  

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For me, a mix of amps is ideal. I like the classics too, but currently I probably have more projects using the Cartographer and Ventoux than other amps.

 

As to Sunn amps, they were a big deal back in the 60s. They were big and loud, in an era when guitar players were trying to fill stadiums with a Fender Twin. It was a favorite among bass players, but guitarists liked them too. They were also relatively clean.

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On 11/4/2022 at 2:54 PM, craiganderton said:

For me, a mix of amps is ideal. I like the classics too, but currently I probably have more projects using the Cartographer and Ventoux than other amps.

 

As to Sunn amps, they were a big deal back in the 60s. They were big and loud, in an era when guitar players were trying to fill stadiums with a Fender Twin. It was a favorite among bass players, but guitarists liked them too. They were also relatively clean.

Craig, I've read enough of your articles over the years to know your gear choices tend to lean eccentric!  And i say that with reverence.  The world has enough people playing through Vox, Fender, and Marshalls ;)

 

I think fender tried re-launching Sunn back in the 90's.  I remember the ads- "Stand back.  No, WAY back!"

 

BTW- imminent update for your BB of H by chance?  Or maybe it already has.  Off to sweetwater to check now.

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On 11/4/2022 at 12:39 PM, rwandering said:

 

I get it . . . and think "huh, why this amp when it would make sense for them to put their $/time into this other one" is a totally reasonable opinion to have and to discuss!

 

Though when Line6 says "there won't be a Helix 2", I don't put much stock into that.  I know they have said it, but we all know there will be a successor, and so IMO this really comes down to a branding question.  Unless they kill the ecosystem, Helix Native (or something with a new name) will continue (mentioning that just because it is critical product/feature and representation of their modelling capabilities).  So whether they literally call it "Helix 2" or "Geetar-Pedal-Plus" -- sorry, my naming skills are offline at the moment -- doesn't really matter.  I view the "there won't be a Helix 2" as some marketing calculation that they believe creates the best outcome for them, but that it has zero meaning about product and feature set.  And I don't mean to imply there is any nefarious messaging going on, btw.  They have done an incredible job with this product, and while I don't think I need updated hardware, I'm going to be first in line to get it to continue to support its continued development.

 

My only regret is that I bought an LT and not the Floor and I honestly do find it hard to make the upgrade when I feel like something is coming in 2023.  

 

WARNING: SARCASM ALERT!

 

DI keeps saying that the Helix replacement, while inevitable, is not imminent because the Helix still has plenty of room for improvement designed in. But what does he know? He's probably just lying so as not to affect sales of the current Helix. The absolutely minimal and mostly useless and cosmetic improvements in the joke of a 3.50 "update" (Sunn indeed!) should be proof enough for anybody with half a brain. If you're smart you'll sell that crappy sounding POS now, because when the Geetar-Pedal-Plus hits the market in 2023 Reverb and Craigslist will be positively FLOODED with Helix users trying to dump their garbage Helixes for $tree-fiddy at best to get the NEW IMPROVED REALER THAN REAL Geetar-Pedal-Plus for ONLY $2500 (special limited time early adopter pre-release price) which likely won't actually be available in the numbers required until 2025 due to supply chain issues BUT we all KNOW it will ABSOLUTELY be worth the wait!

 

;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) etc.

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On 11/4/2022 at 12:17 PM, rd2rk said:

WARNING: SARCASM ALERT!

 

Ha!  But wait, that sounds like my internal FOMO voice . . . which happily I can mostly silence!

 

To be clear, my thinking a new product is coming soon is frankly an opinion without much merit.   That said, I think new hardware may be predicated on modernization and feature comparisons over actual Helix limitations.  

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On 11/4/2022 at 2:16 PM, boynigel said:

BTW- imminent update for your BB of H by chance?  Or maybe it already has.  Off to sweetwater to check now.

 

Thanks for your interest! In case you missed it, I posted this in the "Big Book" thread:

 

There's a dedicated support forum for all my Sweetwater Publishing books in the forum section of musicplayer.com. I just posted in the Helix thread today.

 

Please note this isn't only about me posting stuff about when to expect an update!! Feel free to post suggestions about what you want to see covered in future updates, any problems you encounter with any of the tips, any typoze you find, anything that's not clear, and of course, anything you particularly like so I'll keep going in that direction. 

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On 11/4/2022 at 12:32 PM, craiganderton said:

There's a dedicated support forum for all my Sweetwater Publishing books in the forum section of musicplayer.com. I just posted in the Helix thread today.

 

The current version is super helpful, thank you!  I subscribed to that board a couple of days ago to get the announcements right away. 

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On 11/4/2022 at 10:00 AM, delacloche said:

Probably the most famous player of Sunn amps in the 70's was the great Leslie West of Mountain. His tone using a Les Paul Junior into a stack of Sunn amps is widely regarded as one of the all time classics!

 

It is true but it was a Sunn PA amp, not a guitar amp. I actually already knew that. It's in the article I posted above. He ordered one and when he got it, expecting a guitar amp, it was a PA amp. According to the article, it actually acted like a master volume amp, of which there were few to none at the time. He liked the sound he got out of it, so he kept it. I don't know how close you can get with the amp in Helix but it is not the same amp. At the very least, it is my understandeing that the sound you hear on MIssissippi Queen is the Sunn PA. Not the guitar amp.

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I had a thought on this. Probably way off base. But after watching Jim Lill's YouTube video on tone it seems like the order of gain and EQ stages have a huge effect on tone. Maybe this Sun amp has a gain/EQ order that is not already in the typical Vox, Fender, Marshall amp sections? So it may have its own voice?

 

I sometimes like to play with dual amp setups and maybe it could be something that works well with another amp as well?

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On 11/4/2022 at 8:56 AM, boynigel said:

To be fair, the Sunn model sounds good but i can't speak to its authenticity for the aforementioned reason.  

 

I fail to understand how you're lack of experience with a model makes you question it? Even after you admit it "sounds good"?

 

On 11/4/2022 at 8:56 AM, boynigel said:

next time give me something i know, please and thank you.

 

Please Line 6.... do not follow this advice. 

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Actually, a Sunn guitar amp model was on my list of "overdue" missing Helix amps.  I actually felt a bit let down that there were only 2 new amps in the update, after all the "mysterious" hype from people in the know saying that there would be so much new stuff in the update.  We are still missing a few well known amps/amp families that are industry standards: a VHT Pitbull of some sort, a Laney (Supergroup would be nice), Bogner Ecstacy, and some others.  I do appreciate this stuff is free, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to them rounding out the collection and filling in the missing spots.  However, now that I found out that the new cabs are essentially thousands of IRs funneled into a user friendly UI, I can sort of see why there weren't more amps and effects: all that shooting of IRs takes time and manpower.  And I won't lie, the results are actually more impactful than I thought they'd be, even for a guy like me who uses real combo speakers.  The 57 mic'd cabs previously sounded grainy, undefined and muffled, so I'd always need to include a 112 dynamic in a matching dual cab with it.  Now, there is this punch and clarity, and high cuts don't muffle things quite like they did before.

 

That said........why are the Catalyst amps not included?  It seems like such an obvious win from a metrics standpoint to throw in 6 new amp models that are already completely designed, and make the update seem that much more impactful from a "new toys" standpoint.  They use HX technology too, so I don't see why they weren't ported over.  From a business standpoint, it would make sense- for people who start w/ a Catalyst amp, if they decide to move to a Helix, they'd have a few familiar models they could rely on while learning how the other ones work.  And the Helix and Catalyst are not in direct competition with each other- the Catalyst is focused on providing a relatively cheap, loud amp, with a range of models to make it versatile and better sounding than, say, the 90s solid state Peaveys that were dominating the "cheap loud amp" market.

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On 11/5/2022 at 8:44 AM, codamedia said:

I fail to understand how you're lack of experience with a model makes you question it? Even after you admit it "sounds good"?

said it sounds good because it does.  also mentioned that it sounds good as to not butt-hurt anyone and not come off as hostile or mean spirited, which I wasn't.  does it sound great?  that's subjective. 

 

On 11/5/2022 at 8:44 AM, codamedia said:

Please Line 6.... do not follow this advice. 

Why?  are the two amps on my wish list horrible?  I'm not a gambler but I'd bet if a poll were taken on an non-L6 forum, and the Sunn, along with the two amps from my wish list were on a list with 10-20 other amp models, and people were asked to vote on which ones they'd want in a modeler, I'd be willing to bet the Sunn would get less votes than either of the two I suggested.

 

FWIW, I made a similar comment elsewhere on the interwebs and got a lot of amens, and saw posts from others questioning the Sunn choice as well.  But yes L6, don't listen to me because codamedia said not to. I'm just a guy who's money is as green as the next guy's, who made a comment/suggestion.  the nerve of ME. ;)

 

 

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On 11/5/2022 at 2:59 PM, boynigel said:

Why?  are the two amps on my wish list horrible?  

 

No they aren't...  they would be fine additions, but I wasn't commenting on those. I simply like that fact that L6 continues to deliver models users are not expecting, and wouldn't want that to stop just because some users have no experience with it.

 

I would never question your "wish list"... or anyone's wish list. 

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I for one really welcome the inclusion of the Model T (and Life Pedal for that matter too). The Model T may have been around in the 70s but it really only rose to prominence in the last 20 years (the prices they fetch nowadays are obscene to be honest, and they're getting very hard to find) within the doom metal scene, as they were extensively used by Sunn O))) (a band that literally named itself after their favorite amp brand). It's basically a holy grail amp within that scene, on account of it's insane headroom and bass/lower mids. A lot people want that kind of sound, but they can't exactly afford to spend in excess of 5k for a 50 year old amp. 

Now most modelers cater to classic rock, clean, blues or modern high gain sounds. It's kind of rare to see anything catering to the doom crowd, but it's great to see that Line6 is making an effort to reach out to that crowd too that has so far been largely ignored (though I suppose it's a mutual thing as a lot of doom metal guitarists seem to be very preoccupied with analog gear). Ever since Metallurgy Doom was released I had hope that the Moo)))n would come to Helix too - the fact that they added the Vital Distortion (another coveted piece of doom gear) is just the icing on the cake. I could see a lot of doom folks looking into Helix on account of these effects (as well as the two Oranges, which are already great amps).

It's not exactly as popular an amp as a Fender Twin or some kind of 5150 but Line6 is wise to branch out, as those bases have already been covered extensively by them (as well as their competition) by offering something actually new and novel. As far as I know the only other modeler that offers some kind of Model T emulation is the Quad Cortex, and I don't know if that one can replicate the jumped channel sound that most people use with the amp.

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At this point the Helix can do any guitar sound you want.  It's only weakness is synth sounds which for most us is a shrug weakness. 

 

It may not get there your preferred way - but it'll get there, whatever the sound is. 

 

It's still fun to get new amps and effects, and I totally hope the original poster gets their wish,  but the Helix doesn't NEED any more updates.  It's all gravy now. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sunn was unexpected, but a nice surprise.  At least it's a name I recognize and not one of those weird boo-teek Twin clones.  :P 

 

Jes' funnin... I'm waiting for a clone of my old Laney AOR series... I just don't manage to fire up mine much anymore, since the Helix acquisition.

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The new amps are great! IMHO this topic focuses on entirely the wrong issue. It is the potential of provoking an anxiety attack via grammatical OCD brought on by the egregious use of so many orphaned close parentheses in the new model names that we should be concerned with! It's a slippery slope from here to amp names with stranded closed brackets or curly braces, or in an ever more dystopian descent, and I shudder even contemplating it, multiple umlauts ;-)

 

#Märshäll800}}}}]]]]]

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On 11/21/2022 at 5:10 PM, mr_bungle_45 said:

I'm waiting for a clone of my old Laney AOR series... I just don't manage to fire up mine much anymore, since the Helix acquisition.

I have a Laney AOR Series 30. It has more options but it can sound VERY close to the Brit 2204. The treble pot is different - 3 on the Brit is about 6 on the Laney. And the Laney seems to have more sag.

The Brit 2204 is a 70s Marshall (not the 800 series) and Laney seems to have ripped this version of and put more features on it.

The Laney's pulled volume cleaner side sound close to the Brit J45 btw.

 

 

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