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bbgun77

Modeling Amp Or Multi Effects Processor?

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i know "which is better" is subjective.........just looking for a pro and con discussion. not a gigger just a man caver

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Do you have any interest in recording some music in the man cave? And, do you have any existing amps, speakers, or means to amplify something like the HD500?

 

There are tons of "all-in-one" type amp / fx combinations, like the Spider, the Flextone, the AMPLiFi, etc. There are also tons of floorboard 'all in one' type units, like the HD500, as well as various offerings from Boss, Digitech, etc.

 

Here's my background: gigged live for several years as a bassist from 2001-2008, and also played a lot of guitar at home and did alot of messing around recording various musical ideas, overdubbing, multitrack recordings, things like that.

 

Went through a variety of pedals with soundcards, then whenever it came out bought the X3Live. Used that for a bunch of live gigs as a bass processor, and used it at home for recording, and as a USB soundcard.

 

Then in 2010, sold my X3L to buy an HD500. At that time in my life, was no longer gigging, and focused more on recording and jamming at home, and recording other bands.

 

Earlier this year got back into playing with other musicians, back to guitar instead of bass, so started assembling a new rig. For years I just used little stereo desk top speakers, or the FX return of little 1x12 combo amps for use with the X3L then the HD500.

 

Now, I've gotten into recording bands mult-track with the M20d, and mixing it at home with ProTools, and overdubbing parts together with various recordings.

 

So, most of the various gear that you can shop will all do variations of the same things. For example, comparing the HD500 to the Eleven Rack; the 11R costs a little more, but it's really ProTools that you are paying for, and the hardware is basically free.

 

In terms of jamming at home, the HD500, or the Eleven Rack, or something like the Digitech RP1000, or the Boss GT-10 - these all still need an amp, or some decent speakers.

 

The thing to consider is those deviced I think all do amp modeling, along with FX. SO you can run them into any speakers; get some M-Audio 5" speakers, in stereo for $200, or spend a little more on something better, or spend less on something that is configured as a pair instead of two individual powered monitors - you'd be surprised how loud a pair of KRK Rokit's are, without even getting to an 8" speaker.

The reason I mention amp modeling, is because the device emulates the entire signal chain - fx, and amp, so it will sound good in headphones, or regular speakers, or a guitar amp.

 

There are also "FX only" processors, which need a real amp to sound right, like the Boss ME50 or the Line6 M13.

 

The key to thinking about an "amp modeling" device, is that it is emulating a preamp, a poweramp, a speaker, a microphone, and a room. Typically, those units (like the HD500) also have a bunch of FX pedal models - for example, the HD500 uses the FX models from the M13 device. Wahs, compressors, distortions, chorus, reverbs, delays, pitch shifting, phaser, etc.

 

The HD500 also has an onboard looper, which I use at home to jam along with ideas. Start a recording, start a loop of some rhy guitar chords, then try out a bunch of licks and riffs, try different modes and scales, just to hear what they sound like.

 

In general, these devices also usually allow multiple simultaneous instrument inputs, so if you have a friend at the man cave, you can both plug into the HD500, set up different or the same signal chains for the two guitars, and play through the speaker system / amps, etc. that you are using to listen / amplify.

 

Like you said, many subjective opinions about what is best, and what sounds the best to each person. The big factor, is how much $$$ do you want to spend? You could go the HD500 route, and then get a pair of L2t speakers, which would sound awesome for jamming, as well as any recording playback or mixing - and they'd be stellar for playing along with songs you want to learn. Or, for a whole lot less money, you could do exactly the same thing with smaller studio monitors, like the M-Audio that I mentioned. My local Guitar Center has the M-Audio BX5 speakers on sale for $100/each right now:

 

BX-5 Guitar Center link

 

Lots of options for making sound! So, get into a store, and play some high end gear, and play some of the gear you can afford, and decide what it's worth to you. Maybe pick up a used amp from someone you know, or at a store, or off craigslist. Typically, when people are selling their gear, it's because they want to buy something new. Guitar Center really, really lowballs what they will pay for gear, because they then mark it up for what they can sell it for. People are thinking, "really, that $500 amp is now only worth $50 at Guitar Center?". So, you can still get a deal; all you have to do is beat the price GC offered to buy their gear for.

 

Take a look at some of the Fender Hot Rod series, you can usually get those used for a decent price. That would get you into the tube amp world, but they key there - is those amps have an FX return. The HD500 will work better / sound best going into the FX return of an amp like that. I mention that, because the Blues Jr does not have an FX loop. The front input of an amp would work with a modeling device, but it's not ideal.

 

I mean, I bought a used, solid state, Paul Rivera-era Fender 1x12 combo, that sounds fantastic with my HD500 going to the FX return; and I paid a guy $90 for it.

 

So, that's my extended rambling opinions on the matter. Cheers! And have FUN! :)

 

 

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wow thanks! im just playing along with records not gigg'n or anything. been using zoom g2 through boom box and i believe it sounds amazing. now, i bought (2)4x12vs cabs from best buy for a steal hoping to flip them. after putting them in the the cave, it looks amazing. i think i want to keep them and was eyeballing the spider iv hd150 head with mkii footswitch or possibly the podhd500x thru a home stereo amp deal then thru cabs(of which someone mentioned but i cant find demo video). i dont know much about either but i know the spider will connect to one 412 cab. the home stereo amp deal is confusing me a bit. how many watts does amp have to be to power thru cab(s). the cabs have 4, 8, 16 olm capabilities. my brain hurts

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If you don't already own the stereo power amp you intend to use.. It's probably a safer bet to purchase a guitar head. Something like the Spider IV HD150 or the Fender Mustang V head would suit you best and they both have built in FX. You could power both cabs with either head. Both heads function best with an 8 ohm load from the speaker cabs.. And they're both stereo heads.. So you would plug the outputs of either head, to each 8 ohm input on both speaker cabs.. Then plug your guitar in and you're good to go. The Spider head does not include a footswitch.. You'd have to also purchase the FBV Express or Shortboard. The Mustang V Head includes a 4 button footswitch.. And for an additional 30 dollars, you can buy the 2 button footswitch and use both of them together to give you a little more freedom as far as switching capabilities. The Spider IV150HD is $400.. Plus an additional 100 for an FBV Express.. Additional 200 for a Shortboard. The Fender Mustang V Head is $300 and includes a 4 button footswitch. Additional 30 for the 2 button. Each has it's perks and each is lacking somewhere. Spider has a lot better foot switching capabilities. Fender is a bit cheaper to buy. Both IMO, sound equally as good, just at different things. The Spider is better at high gain.. Fender better at low gain.. I can keep going but it's completely subjective. Do your homework if you can't go try them in person, and see which one would fit your playing style better. My 28 cents.

 

Also, Colonel makes some great points. Good advice.

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possibly the podhd500x

 

Of all the amp modeling that is out there, in that price point - at least from what Line6 makes, the HD amp modeling is the newest, and at least to my ears, sounds the best. If you have $2,000+ to spend on just the modeling hardware, by all means take a look at Kemper and AXE-FX! But, for 1/4 the cost of the Axe FX, the HD500 is pretty freaking HI-Def, and a load of fun to play.

 

I was able to A/B compare the X3L and the HD500, and I definitely feel they did a great job with the HD amp modeling. Again, it is largely subjective, but, the quality improvement in those HD models is definitely there.

 

For the price, it probably beats most of what's out there.

 

Now, here is where "Pandora's Box" opens up, and you will be tempted to go out and spend around $2,500...

 

First up on the "G.A.S. list", is the DT amps. The manner in which the HD series POD (500, 500x, Pro, etc.) interface with the DT amps is one of a kind, nothing else out there does what those two pieces of gear do, when connected using Line6 Link. And they do offer it as a variety of combos, heads, cabinets, and wattage. I went with the DT25 1x12 combo. They have them in 25 watt and 50 watt.

 

Next up on the 'G.A.S list' is the JTV; James Tyler Variax. This guitar when coupled with the HD500 is also a one of a kind experience; nothing else out there does what those two pieces of gear do.

 

Now, I waited *a long time* before I bought my JTV59 and DT25. I bought the HD500 when it released in 2010; and waited nearly four years before I made the leap to the JTV and the DT25.

 

I won't get into too many specifics on why that gear is so awesome with the HD500 - but think of it like, going with the HD500 gives you some pretty cool options down the road if you want to get into that kind of gear. The Link6 link also can pair the HD500 with the StageSource speakers, if you prefer the 'full range flat response' type sound. The HD500 is capable of emulation the full 'studio direct' signal, which is like I was saying, preamp model, poweramp model, speaker model, mic model, room emulation (distance from cabinet and mic). It can also run in a mode called 'combo/poweramp' and 'stack poweramp', which essentially models the preamp, the poweramp, and the cabinet, and leaves out the mic and room.

 

The difference is like this: studio direct, you are in the studio control room, and your amp is another room, with a mic on it, going to the mixer, and you are hearing the sound of your amp being mic'd, for a recording or live monitors sound.

 

combo and stack poweramp, are the sound of the digital preamp models and the poweramp models and the cabinet model going to the power amp of your actual amp, by passing  the 'real' amp preamp / tone stacks. For lack of a better word, that sound is your amp, in the room next to you. You could then mic that amp for a recording signal with an actual mic, vs the studio direct, where the microphone is a model / simulation. And those mic settings really do correspond to the manner in which the real world mics peform. There is a significant tonal difference between a SM57 on axis vs off axis, and either of those will sound different than a condensor, or a ribbon mic, or a dynamic mic, etc.

 

Think about the DT amp series like this: Line6 digital preamps going into a Bogner tube amp, where the HD500 controls the analog switching and power amp characteristics of the actual tube amp portion. When using the DT amp series, the use typically programs the HD500 to use the 'PRE preamp' portions of the amp models, which models only the preamp and tone / drive stacks of each amp model, and leaves the DT to handle the actual tube amp and power amp functions. Switching between, say pentode and triode in the HD500 patch actually changes up the power amp on the DT from pentode to triode, instead of digitally modeling those sounds.

 

The HD500 becomes the brains of the whole rig, and patches can be programmed to recall both amp models, FX settings, and also recall the guitar, pickup and tuning settings on the JTV. So, in one footswitch click, you change from a Fender Blackface to a Marshall Plexi, and at the same time, your Variax changes from a telecaster single coil in standard tuning to a les paul in open G tuning.

 

The JTV guitars have six piezo pickups, one under each string, so the alternate tunings are very realistic, and perform extremely well. This isn't like an octave pedal, that switches all your strings equally, or a 'smart harmony' that shifts the notes specific to a certain key. You can create custom tunings, and it has a virtual capo, so you can adjust the strings as if you were using a capo any # of steps, yet always be playing the guitar in the standard string tension that you are used to, in the standard positions you are comfortable with. It also has a slew of other instruments models, including 12 string acoustics, 6 string acoustics, banjo, sitar, dobro, you can even make a mandolin!

 

So, yeah. Like I said: "Pandora's Box", also known as the Dream Rig.... Let your Budget BEWARE!! ;)

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I'm not looking to put a damper on anything BUT... unless your man cave is the size of a small parking garage two 4X12 cabs is not going to be ideal...  you will never be able to turn your amp up anywhere near optimal and you will be needing Obamacare to pay for the hearing aids real quick...  Perhaps your idea to flip them is a good one.

 

There was great info from the Colonel above.  I won't add to it except to say you should consider balance between your guitar/effects/amp and whatever you plan on playing your backing music through.  For instance if you are using your computer to play music, consider a nice pair of active monitors or powered PA speakers.  Now you can plug the POD HD500(x) into the computer via USB and the speakers into the POD and you have a really nice guitar rig that also doubles as an awesome music system.  You will be able to jam with your favorite bands mixed together through the same speakers and it will sound awesome as opposed to trying to match a big amp and a pair of 4X12 cabs to a regular stereo...

 

Then again, if you don't mind getting or using Apple products, cosider the AMPLIFi (75 or 150).  It can also play your music and has the amp modeling and effects built in too.  Perhaps not as top of the line as the HD500 but may be just what the doctor ordered for what you want to do... However, if you don't have an iOS product to control it forget about it...

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ratatats, u are absolutely right. the 2 cabs are highly impractical. my plan was to keep a slant cab. my original idea (out of shear ignorance) was to buy these cabs, flip them to finance the spider iv half stack hoping that since it was a modeling, digital, stereo situation that it would produce great sounds at lower volumes and look badass in the whole hard rock/ metal decor going on in the room instead of my g2 going though my milwaukee "ghetto blaster" (which does everything i need and pleases the ear). would it be that the spider iv half stack be to loud for the closed door goof around play along sessions or would it give me lower volume delight like my current set up? when i played the spider iv 75 combo at the store it sounded great at the lower volume. does the half stack behave differently?

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simply put... it won't sound the same.  The 4X12 is a closed backcab and obviously much more speaker area to push more air where as the Spider 75 combo is open back and in a small area like a man cave the sound can breathe a little without having to be cranked as much.  I can't truly say you won't be happy with the 150 half stack, its just overkill for a smaller space.  As far as stereo for music playback, you do know the Spider has an mp3/CD jack right?  just plug your music right in and play right through your rig. 

 

In the end its all up to you.  No point in taking a beating on the cabs but if you can get out clean, it may make sense to revaluate your options based on all the input so far...  Keep us posted!

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I'm with radatats on this one. I have the SpiderIV75 in my bedroom, and I can drive ANYBODY out of the house with it. I seldom crank it past about 4 (once in a long while, it goes to 5), and I'm about half deaf already, so, if your ears are any better than mine, it'll be more than you'll ever need for home. If you're taking it onstage at a medium/large venue, THEN you'll need to take the headphone out into a larger amp.

 

Oh! That mp3 input is great! I plug my computer into that and jam with it from iTunes, and that's the ticket to some great sound - the bee's knees! B)

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I run a couple of rigs depending on size of where we are playing.

 

Mid/large gigs I run my HD150 with all the built in effects.

Smaller gigs I run my Behringer 2x 12 amp with my Digitech GNX4.

 

One things nice about the non built in effects like the digitech is I don't need a amp I can run it directly into the soundboards.  Most setups for small I run the pedal into the board for a Mains, and use the amp as my personal monitor.  Works great. 

 

What worries me is if my HD150 goes out I am screwed..  So I have been bring the backup just in case. 

 

 

Just wanted to add in a small area you would never be able to crank the 150 up.  It really is over killer but hey I am a man over kill is in my DNA..

 

Do what you think is best for you.  

 

I have been looking at a Pod, and a 6505 + head and some pedals.  Love these toys.

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