Can digitally modelled amps replace traditional analogue amplifiers? (listening test)
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Old 01-06-2016, 12:41 AM   #1
Matheus95
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Can digitally modelled amps replace traditional analogue amplifiers? (listening test)

Hey Guys!

I'm conducting a study on the topic of digitally modelled amps. It's based on my own hypothesis that digital amp modelling can replace all types analogue amplification (tube amps in particular) for common guitar practices which include practicing at home, live performances and studio recording. Therefore, I created a listening test which is primarily intended to illustrate whether guitarists would happily use amp modellers as opposed to tube amps and other analogue amplifiers in terms of tonal quality. The questions aren't perfect (biased in some people's opinion), but hopefully your feedback will enable me to generate sufficient data for me to prove or disprove my initial hypothesis. So if anyone is interested in participating, you would be contributing towards new research on guitar amplification would be helping me out massively! Therefore please message me personally and I will send you over the listening test to complete!

(Also, make sure you read the instructions before completing the test as there are audio files you need to download to use whilst doing the test)

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Old 01-06-2016, 03:18 AM   #2
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

Digital modelling is all well and good, but at some point that signal needs to be amplified for real and fed out a speaker.
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Old 01-06-2016, 09:03 AM   #3
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

Hmmm...first post asking for us to fill in a questionnaire...?
Should be insta-delete tbh.

Anyway, check out Line 6 who are already doing what you're suggesting.
Do I think it will replace all analogue amplification?
No, not for a good while at least. Partly because of tonal reasons and partly because some people are just traditionalists, look at the car scene as an example.
Electric cars are currently easily as powerful as traditional I.C.E cars, but they're very exclusive and expensive and some people also like the noise and smell of fuel being burnt, for them it's part of what makes a car a car, so they'll never switch. But their son probably doesn't really care about the expensive fuel and is worried about the environment, and has some interest in the new technology. Grandson thinks the old way of doing things is stupid because it's not iPad compatible. Basically it'll take some time while the new technology improves and the old way of thinking dies out.
Some guitarists are like that about amplification too.
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Old 04-06-2016, 01:22 PM   #4
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

In terms of sound quality, digital modelling amplifiers such as Line 6's products are getting better and better each day. For the vast majority of music listeners the difference will be negligible at most. Add the fact that all music these days is at one point digitally processed, one could make the case that all we ever hear is modeled sounds.

However, as a guitar player who has played several modelling amps and tube amps, there is something that just feels different about a modelling amp. It doesn't react in a similar manner to tubes, and I can definitely detect a sonic difference. Now, if you gave me a listening test I may or may not be able to tell the difference. But if you gave me a guitar and told me to play through a modelling amp and a tube amp, I would definitely be able to tell which is which. And that's a big reason why tube amps are still king when it comes to guitars.
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Old 04-06-2016, 02:37 PM   #5
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

I have used digital modeling since 2000 in some form or another. i've owned many Line6 products, used Revalver, Amplitube, LePou, TSE Audio, Ignite Amps etc for years on recordings after eqing the living shit out of fizzy 6khz, 4khz 4.5khz. 4.9 khz the list goes on with khzes....You can't beat miking up a mesa boogie OS cab with Celestion V30s run by a Peavey 5150 using a Shure SM57 and getting it about 1 inch from the grillecloth. The Kemper modeling amp is the closest thing I've heard but for getting anything other than a sparkling clean solid state tone ala Roland Jazz Chorus, I'd pick a real amp every time.
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Old 06-06-2016, 07:25 PM   #6
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

Well I use direct input of my e-guitar most times.

But if I would rig it to its amp and mic that it would sound very different and that can be smth I would want at some point. I could simulate it in my DAW and come close and in the DAW I have more control over the sound but still it might be easier to get a certain result just from playing with mic proximity and that amps settings.

I'm by far an experienced e-guitarist, but I am very picky in how my reggae skanks ends upp and would use all tools I have to get a proper end product for the song in question.
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Old 11-06-2016, 05:40 AM   #7
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

Listening to recorded amps is one thing. Playing them is another.

Why does this matter?

It matters because the amplifier is as much an instrument as anything else in the chain. How you interact with it can GREATLY effect the performance. Therefore, you just cannot sub one for the other.

I wish you could.

I run a line 6 helix at home and sure it's great for what I do at home. But I have a couple rare and ridiculously expensive amps that I use when I play for real. There's things that imo cannot be replicated. The feel and subtle dynamic interaction are a huge part of what I end up playing.
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Old 11-06-2016, 06:52 AM   #8
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

Quote:
Originally Posted by envelope3 View Post
Listening to recorded amps is one thing. Playing them is another.

Why does this matter?

It matters because the amplifier is as much an instrument as anything else in the chain. How you interact with it can GREATLY effect the performance. Therefore, you just cannot sub one for the other.

I wish you could.

I run a line 6 helix at home and sure it's great for what I do at home. But I have a couple rare and ridiculously expensive amps that I use when I play for real. There's things that imo cannot be replicated. The feel and subtle dynamic interaction are a huge part of what I end up playing.
EXACTLY RIGHT! I've played through an AXE II and it sounded pretty great. In a blind test of recorded solo playing the only way I'd be able tell the difference from the real amps is that slight digital "sizzle" that really irks my ear. In my own recordings I mostly use POD HD500 and NI's Guitar Rig, they are much more convenient than miking and futzing around with real amps when trying to get a guitar to sit well in the mix. And although they're generally not terribly inspiring, they both sound fine when dialed in. However, when I really want to get my bliss on I heat up the tubes. Partly because I am pretty fanatical about tone (evidenced by vintage Fender and THD boutique amps, NOS tubes, Greenbacks and ToneTubbies, Mogami cables, etc). But the real thing is the way a tube amp seems to respond to you, physically. When I play I feel "enveloped" (gratuitous shout out), and it's not just the sheer volume or moving air. Maybe it the amp's electrical energy field, or maybe its the ghost in the machine. Whatever it is, it feels fucking great and I'm sure it translates to my playing. Bliss will do that...
For me - modelers and amps each have their place, but I want to be buried with my amps and a stockpile of Mullard tubes.
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Old 11-06-2016, 06:57 AM   #9
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

You have a stockpile of mullards? Can I come over? Lol

In all seriousness, I recently purchased a bunch of now pre-amp tubes and the difference is shocking. I'm using them in my two rock kimock put a nos mullard in v1 and v2. Just amazing

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Old 11-06-2016, 07:01 AM   #10
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

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check out 3:32 on in this to hear that two rock. glory tone. lol
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Old 11-06-2016, 07:11 AM   #11
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

Yeah Mullards are the shit. Cost the earth but worth every penny. Got a few of each: Mullard, GE, RCA, Phillips, Sylvania preamps . Tung Sol, Raytheon and Amperex power tubes. About 20 in all. Keep a pair of Mullard preamps in my blackface Vibrochamp, and switch the others in and out of the THD as mood dictatates.
How's the Two Rock? Supposed to be the stepchild of Dumble
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Old 11-06-2016, 07:18 AM   #12
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

This particular two rock is absolutely lovely. I heard one rows away at a trade show in 2006. It took getting divorced and selling my house combined with one showing up reasonably priced on ebay when the canadian dollar was high. The stars alinged and I snapped it up. It's one of five that have the later mods on this model. Two tube rectifiers. Copy of Steve Kimock's dumble. Made with NOS parts. It's my baby
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Old 11-06-2016, 07:22 AM   #13
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

conversely, here is an isolated modeled guitar track. It sounds good but I'll take my amps every day

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Old 11-06-2016, 07:26 AM   #14
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

Well I guess we both answered the OP's question. Never gonna feel that way about a modeler.
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Old 11-06-2016, 07:27 AM   #15
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

There she is
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Old 11-06-2016, 07:28 AM   #16
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfonz View Post
Well I guess we both answered the OP's question. Never gonna feel that way about a modeler.
lol.
proceed to amp geek out.
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Old 11-06-2016, 07:30 AM   #17
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

Drool
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Old 11-06-2016, 08:06 AM   #18
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Re: Can Digitally Modelled Amps replace traditional Analogue Amplifiers? (listening t

The amp on the left is an exact copy of Dumble's Steel String Singer #9. Clean to extreme. Like clean with a Les Paul kinda clean. Just magic with big verbs that eat up headroom.

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