#1
Been getting back into playing after a long while of not really bothering with it and I've got my eye on a new epiphone explorer I saw in a music shop yesterday but wondering if it will be worth it or not with my current amp. Both are pretty low end especially my guitar! It's a Jackson JS30 KV and the amp is a 150w Line 6 spider 3, would a new guitar make that amp sound any better? I pretty much just play metal on it. Thanks!
#2
Think of the amp as the ice cream in the sundae of your tone. If you REALLY want to change your sundae's quality & flavor, you start with the ice cream. So if you're not satisfied with your sound, look to your amp first.
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#3
Replace the Spyder 3 first, no pickups or guitar is going to make that Line 6 sound better!

What is your location and budget? What kind of metal do you play? Are you willing to buy used?
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#4
😭 UK budget I don't really have one, I don't want to go crazy but about £500. I only play at home for fun so was hoping a new guitar would do it that's a shame. Mainly thrash/heavy bands like Metallica,slayer,sabbath I rarely downtune or anything.
#5
The guitar is your user interface with the amp & pedals. If you are concerned about the way your guitar feels when you play it, you need a new guitar. But changing guitars won't do much to improve your tone.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at May 15, 2016,
#6
That said, you should be able to get a pretty decent amp between £350-500 if you're willing to go used.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#7
Quote by dannyalcatraz
The guitar is your user interface with the amp & pedals. If you are concerned about the way your guitar feels when you play it, you need a new guitar. But changing guitars won't do much to improve your tone.


Haha thanks for the advice. I may have to wait a bit and see, sounds dumb but I'd happily drop £500 on a guitar but hesitant to do that on an amp.
#8
I have @30 guitars and one amp, so I understand. Guitars are sexy; amps are a necessary evil.

But amps are the biggest factor in your sound. The power behind the tone, as it were.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#9
Quote by dannyalcatraz
I have @30 guitars and one amp, so I understand. Guitars are sexy; amps are a necessary evil.

But amps are the biggest factor in your sound. The power behind the tone, as it were.


Got ya...any recommendations?
#10
I'd say try some amps out locally and see if that would change your mind. I think there are still a few music shops in Nottingham although the last one I went in ( Music Inn ) the choice was a bit disappointing.
#11
Quote by Matt_B
Got ya...any recommendations?

Alas, I'm on the other side of the pond- I don't know what would be a reasonable option in your price range on your side of the Atlantic.

I'd think Laney would be viable. Orange, maybe. Marshall. Tubes if you can afford it.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#12
get the ice cream first (amp ) ...... then maybe upgrade guitar/pick ups later ( topping's for the ice cream ) ..... lol at Danny but dam good reference pun intended
#14
I got a used Crate 212 V18 recently for $230. I'm very happy with it, has a very nice cleans and overdrive on it. I would go for the new amp, as the amp is the basis for your tone.
#15
I would definitely look into buying a second hand amp first. You can get a lot for your money used these days, the Laney isn't a bad idea as mentioned above, though that might be too big a step up if you want something smallish. Bare in mind that you don't need a lot of watts for home practice, or even band practice.

To throw something mega into the mix, here's the Blackstar HT20 Studio:

https://new.andertons.co.uk/p/HTSTUDIO20/combo-amps/blackstar-ht20-studio-20-1x12-combo

It's 499 UK. This amp is a really good amp and it has tubes in it, giving it that extra tonal quality and loudness. You can absolutely home practice and gig with this little monster. It'll be a significant step up from that Line 6, and it'll probably be better than that Laney since you need a cab to go with it. This combo amp is plug in and play with as little messing as possible. It'll get you where you want be in very little time. The Laney will be more of a hassle.

Here's some user reviews:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HTSTUD20C/reviews

It'll match nicely with your guitar, honestly I can't really think of or recommend anything better
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#16
Quote by dannyalcatraz
I have @30 guitars and one amp, so I understand. Guitars are sexy; amps are a necessary evil.

But amps are the biggest factor in your sound. The power behind the tone, as it were.


asshole i have 25 guitars and 17 tube amps.

___

now to bring in a little meat... i owned a dozen guitars before i bought a nice amp. whilst my amp wasn't terrible, it totally changed everything when i got a nice one. as a beginner early on, i felt guitars were more fun to spend money on, (maybe that is normal?) and that amps weren't making as much of a difference to me for the money. now, i have probably bought six-ish nice amps in the last year and maybe three guitars?i have also sold three guitars and no amps.

the spider is honestly a flat out terrible amp. you will be much better off replacing that as far as your tone goes. but if you don't like how your guitar feels, an amp ain't gonna do it.

if i were to talk to myself 10 years ago, i would tell myself to get the amp, and not so many guitars. but hey, its up to you.
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#17
I think it's a balancing act; you want a guitar that gives you that feeling, a guitar that meets your dreams and expectations. So it's easy to see why a new guitar is the go-to. To be honest, I was tempted to suggest totally ditching an amp and instead getting BIAS FX Desktop and a DAW; you can save a shit load of money that way and get those premium tones that would otherwise be out of your reach.

Working in a DAW lets you record it too, and you don't need to boost the volume to hit sweet spots; it's always there. If he's just home practicing this is easily the most practical and cost effective way of getting amazing tones, and he'd have a lot of left over money.

That said, setting up DAWs and getting that knowledge etc can be a bit tedious. So maybe an amp is the most straight forward route. Honestly, that Blackstar HT20 Studio is probably the best option here
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#18
Quote by Anthony1991
I would definitely look into buying a second hand amp first. You can get a lot for your money used these days, the Laney isn't a bad idea as mentioned above, though that might be too big a step up if you want something smallish. Bare in mind that you don't need a lot of watts for home practice, or even band practice.

To throw something mega into the mix, here's the Blackstar HT20 Studio:

https://new.andertons.co.uk/p/HTSTUDIO20/combo-amps/blackstar-ht20-studio-20-1x12-combo

It's 499 UK. This amp is a really good amp and it has tubes in it, giving it that extra tonal quality and loudness. You can absolutely home practice and gig with this little monster. It'll be a significant step up from that Line 6, and it'll probably be better than that Laney since you need a cab to go with it. This combo amp is plug in and play with as little messing as possible. It'll get you where you want be in very little time. The Laney will be more of a hassle.

Here's some user reviews:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HTSTUD20C/reviews

It'll match nicely with your guitar, honestly I can't really think of or recommend anything better

One thing to point out though is that the speaker in that is a bit meh. If TS buys that amp, I'd advise a new speaker being the next gear purchase.

#20
Quote by slapsymcdougal
One thing to point out though is that the speaker in that is a bit meh. If TS buys that amp, I'd advise a new speaker being the next gear purchase.



Haha well putting a V30 in anything will do that! I don't think TS will really know the difference between stock and V30 at this point, he's coming from a line 6! I think it's a fine speaker to upgrade to, that V30 can wait for a year if not more to be honest.
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#21
In the UK I'd really look at the Laney IronHeart as mentioned above.

Then buy more Jacksons! Keep a lookout for early to mid 2000s Made in Japan models.
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Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
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#22
Gonna show myself up here as noob but just had a look at the Laney iron heart studio and that looks like just the head..I'm guessing I'd also have to be a speaker or something too? £250 would be a good price for me.
#23
Yes you would need a speaker cabinet. You can use the IronHeart Studio into your computer without a speaker cabinet though.

Can you find a used IronHeart IRT30-112 combo over there?
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Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
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Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#24
Quote by metalmingee
Yes you would need a speaker cabinet. You can use the IronHeart Studio into your computer without a speaker cabinet though.

Can you find a used IronHeart IRT30-112 combo over there?


Yeah pretty pricey though £550 (so almost $800), I've got a fairly decent set of Phillips speakers on my computer? They're just not very big although I don't need them to be particularly loud, as it's more the tone I'm after. My line 6 sounds like a can of bees...
#25
Ah man, just don't bother getting a head. If you're just going to run into a PC you might as well just use a DAW and BIAS FX - that's waaaaay cheaper and a lot less hassle than the Laney. If it's something you're interested I will happily guide you through it
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#26
Quote by Anthony1991
Ah man, just don't bother getting a head. If you're just going to run into a PC you might as well just use a DAW and BIAS FX - that's waaaaay cheaper and a lot less hassle than the Laney. If it's something you're interested I will happily guide you through it



Well I'd rather not run it through my PC really but if it's a cheaper option and it'll sound better than my current amp then I'd definitely go for it lol
#27
Quote by Matt_B
Well I'd rather not run it through my PC really but if it's a cheaper option and it'll sound better than my current amp then I'd definitely go for it lol

Thing is, you can run it through your PC for now, and spend some time looking for a decent 2ns hand cab. Or, if you're any good with a saw, build one yourself.
#28
Quote by Matt_B
Well I'd rather not run it through my PC really but if it's a cheaper option and it'll sound better than my current amp then I'd definitely go for it lol


A head and cab won't be the cheaper option though You've got a decent cab to buy, and if you get a used head those tubes are likely going to need completely changing, which can cost a fair amount in of itself.

I can get you sounding great for less than 150 quid:

1. Focusrite 2i2 Audio Interface (or any audio interface, but I like Focusrite (you can typically find these second hand a lot cheaper))

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Musical-Instruments-Focusrite-Scarlett-2i2-Computer-Interface/dp/B005OZE9SA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1463408658&sr=8-1&keywords=focusrite+2i2

2. Buy and download BIAS FX Desktop (it's $69)

https://store.positivegrid.com/

3. Plug in the Focusrite to the PC via provided USB cable. Connect guitar to the audio interface using a standard guitar cable

4. Open up BIAS FX Desktop, in options set audio input to Focusrite

5. Pick amp/setting, done


All of the above then gives you the option to record whatever you're doing, mess with a tonne of different tones, and play along to Guitar Pro/MP3s on your computer. You also don't need it to be ultra loud, it can literally be as quiet as you want and still give you 100% of the tone. An amp just can't do that.

Another thing is that using BIAS because it just takes the direct signal it'll make your guitar sound a lot better than it actually is. Pick-ups don't quite make such a big difference when you start getting direct signals.
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#29
Did you just list this amp for sale on facebook?
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#30
Quote by Anthony1991
Did you just list this amp for sale on facebook?


Nope? Lol interesting idea with buying that interface too, may do that short term and save for a quality amp.
#31
Do you ever plan on playing with friends or playing in a band, OP? If so I wouldn't recommend really spending much money on VST and computer emulations. Another thing is a lot of the VST programs do take a bit of tinkering to get sounding nice and if you aren't the most computer savvy, it can be tricky finding everything you need for the sounds you want. So if you're more of a plug and play guy, that's something to keep in mind.

That being said, if you're just playing at home and aren't planning on playing with people then by all means consider VST programs (especially if you're in a situation where volume from a live amp would be a problem). BUT I recommend just getting a cheaper interface like an M-audio cable and trying free VST programs like the ones offered by LePou and TSE before you spend a ton of money on emulators and expensive interfaces to see if it's right for you. Heck, some of the pay stuff you might not even find much better than the free stuff so you might not even bother with much else. Personally, I have used AT3, GR5, Overloud TH2 and use BIAS FX right now and I can tell you, I still prefer the LePou stuff more than most of the tones I could produce with those payed products.

For rock tones, LePou has the Hybrit (a Marshall style amp) and things like the Le456 (which is an Engl style amp) and the Lecto (which is obviously a recto). TSE does really awesome clones of the 6505 series amps called the X50 and Nick Crow also does one called the 8505. They're all free and can be used with a cabinet emulator (LePou has one called LeCab) and speaker IRs to emulate the tone of specific cabinet/speaker/mic setups.


But yeah, if you want to play out in the future, I would recommend getting an amp. If a head isn't ideal, then most amps come as a combo. If you can stretch your budget a bit, you could probably pick up something like an Ironheart Head/Cab bundle etc...
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#32
Quote by Matt_B
Nope? Lol interesting idea with buying that interface too, may do that short term and save for a quality amp.


Haha I just saw the amp you listed being up for sale on facebook!

In my opinion free VSTs are rife with issues. It might not immediately sound like they're not great, but they won't be great. They'll often have a really annoying frequency range or just not have the punch a real VST would. Ones included inside of professional DAWs are a different story though.

By all means pick up a cheaper audio interface, but the lower you go it will affect your tone and options down the road. I have a Focusrite 2i2 and I trust it immensely, a lot of people have it. It's sturdy, well built, and they have absolutely exceptional customer service.

The thing to do with DAWs, audio interfaces, VST, plug-ins etc is just to spend a bit of time finding a 'generic' tone you like. Then just save it to a template called 'Generic' or something, that way you can open it up immediately when you first start up and just use that.

For example when I open up Cubase I have a template called 'General Overdrive/Distortion' that contains:

1 acoustic channel (tuned to my Martin)
1 clean channel
1 General Overdrive
1 Distortion

All of which have a slightly different reverb/EQ on that can be toggled on off. If I'm recording something I'll just rename the file name rather than start a new project altogether. The time it takes between picking up the guitar and playing through a similar sounding 5150 or Mesa Dual Rectifier is less than 10 seconds
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#33
Quote by Anthony1991 at #33972214


In my opinion free VSTs are rife with issues. It might not immediately sound like they're not great, but they won't be great. They'll often have a really annoying frequency range or just not have the punch a real VST would. Ones included inside of professional DAWs are a different story though.



Never had any of the issues that you're stating. Just curious, what free VSTs do you use that have those issues? I don't mean that as a dig either. I'm just genuinely curious because I have never experienced that at all and I have used quite a few free ones along with the pay ones.


I like the 2i2 as well. I own it. But if I had no plans on recording things with real mics, I would probably rather a cheaper interface though. What benefits does a 2i2 really have if you're just recording DI? Seems kind of excessive considering the biggest benefit to the 2i2 are the mic pres. Plus, the 2i4 I would say is a bit better for recording direct considering it has a PAD and the 2i2 doesn't.
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#34
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Never had any of the issues that you're stating. Just curious, what free VSTs do you use that have those issues? I don't mean that as a dig either. I'm just genuinely curious because I have never experienced that at all and I have used quite a few free ones along with the pay ones.

I like the 2i2 as well. I own it. But if I had no plans on recording things with real mics, I would probably rather a cheaper interface though. What benefits does a 2i2 really have if you're just recording DI? Seems kind of excessive considering the biggest benefit to the 2i2 are the mic pres. Plus, the 2i4 I would say is a bit better for recording direct considering it has a PAD and the 2i2 doesn't.


I honestly can't remember what VSTs I used previously - my most recent experience was visiting a local studio and you could just hear that harshness, that almost robotic tone to the guitars; and they were free VSTs. I just don't have a very impression of them to be honest, I trust the BIAS software and the research/money/time they put into it too. I guess it's a preference thing, but I would rather that extra money to get something that is effectively a 1 to 1 clone.

I think that the 2i2 is a good balance between what you can do with it and its cost, the 2i4 is a bit more of a step up into production the 2i2 is just less confusing as a whole, it's smaller too and I think that'll be to TSs benefit
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#35
Quote by Anthony1991 at #33972262
I honestly can't remember what VSTs I used previously - my most recent experience was visiting a local studio and you could just hear that harshness, that almost robotic tone to the guitars; and they were free VSTs. I just don't have a very impression of them to be honest, I trust the BIAS software and the research/money/time they put into it too. I guess it's a preference thing, but I would rather that extra money to get something that is effectively a 1 to 1 clone.

I think that the 2i2 is a good balance between what you can do with it and its cost, the 2i4 is a bit more of a step up into production the 2i2 is just less confusing as a whole, it's smaller too and I think that'll be to TSs benefit


Well it might not be fair to make a generalization like that considering you can't even remember what they were using. If you can't even remember what it was, what's to say that it was even a free one in the first place?


The 2i2 and the 2i4 are the same sizes pretty sure.


Honestly, I think if you aren't using multiple inputs and need the mic pres, the 2i2 is even too much interface. Even something like an M-audio cable or a GX I think would be a better introduction.


Also Im not trying to say that the 2i2 and Bias are bad either but I think if he wanted to test the water with VST there are cheaper ways to do it. Then if he is serious maybe he could upgrade to a 2i2 if he needs those features.
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#36
Quote by trashedlostfdup
asshole i have 25 guitars and 17 tube amps.

if i were to talk to myself 10 years ago, i would tell myself to get the amp, and not so many guitars. but hey, its up to you.


I have A Buncha guitars and A Buncha tube amps, and I mostly end up using a modeler. Go figure. It weighs a lot less and takes up a lot less room than my Buncha tube amps (and I'm still wondering why I pay for a storage unit...) and it does just fine sound-wise.

If I were to talk to myself 10 years ago, I would tell my self to buy more Apple stock and quit dawdling and *jump* that willing brunette, ferchrissakes. But 10 years ago I was an idiot and probably wouldn't have listened.
#37
Now that we're on the topic of computer amp simulations pickup a Guitar to USB Cable ($20ish) and check out Peavey ReValver. It's very, very easy to use and comes with a ton of presets.

It's free to start using and the big pack is $99. You can also buy single amps, cabs, and pedals.

ReValver also runs stand alone so you don't have to load crap into a DAW or the like.
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#38
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Well it might not be fair to make a generalization like that considering you can't even remember what they were using. If you can't even remember what it was, what's to say that it was even a free one in the first place?


The 2i2 and the 2i4 are the same sizes pretty sure.


Honestly, I think if you aren't using multiple inputs and need the mic pres, the 2i2 is even too much interface. Even something like an M-audio cable or a GX I think would be a better introduction.


Also Im not trying to say that the 2i2 and Bias are bad either but I think if he wanted to test the water with VST there are cheaper ways to do it. Then if he is serious maybe he could upgrade to a 2i2 if he needs those features.


Ehh I suppose it's a generalization, but that's my experience. He said they were free ones, it something of a brag, I didn't quite understand It's the same as sample drums that are free, they've got nothing on Toon Track's work - in my opinion at least.

I think if he gets Bias FX it'll such a big step up that it'll immediately feel like its worth it, and there's a tonne of updates/online support for Bias/Focusrite etc
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#39
Yeah for sure. Bias also has a ton of addons and if you require everything (like multiple amps) guitar suites like Bias are much easier compared to having to download every individual effects you want.

That being said I figured I would mention some alternatives in case he wants to try them first.
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#40
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Yeah for sure. Bias also has a ton of addons and if you require everything (like multiple amps) guitar suites like Bias are much easier compared to having to download every individual effects you want.

That being said I figured I would mention some alternatives in case he wants to try them first.


Yeah absolutely man, I just wish Bias was around when I wanted something Same with the audio interfaces etc, from the outside it looks complicated but it's a really simply set up
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