#1
Hey everyone. I need some opinions. I don't gig anymore and I just play down in my basement along with my music collection for fun. I have a bunch of nice gear that I am considering selling all of and moving to a digital modeling system for convenience and flexibility. I don't want to go ultra high end like Axe FX or Kemper, but I have been looking at Line 6 Firehawk 1500 or HD500x and a DT50. I've also looked at the likes of Peavey Vypyr Pro and might be interested in thoughts on Eleven Rack. Throw me some bones, people!
#2
The Eleven Rack is a good piece, but it's an orphan (no support and no new products coming down the pipeline that we know of).
There are several manufacturers who have things in the $1500 range (like the Line 6 Helix and the AX8 from Fractal)
I think I'd go for the HD500X before the Firehawk (personal preference only)
If you get any of these preamp-style setups, however, you'll be best off with some kind of wide-range flat frequency response setup rather than a standard guitar amp. In fact, I'd even suggest studio monitors, like the KRK Rokit 5 or 8 (I have the 8's), which have up to 100W each speaker. You might want to consider adding a subwoofer at some point (the KRK 10S is the least expensive "mate" for the Rokit 5 or Rokit 8 series). The nice part of doing this is that you can use these for a LOT of other things, including your 108" curved 4K widescreen, your new computer, or just your iPhone.
#3
I wouldn't go with either one of these options.
Maybe Atomic?
You can even go in the box with vsts.
I actually downscaled to several small tube amps, orange TT combo for crunch to mid gain, Laney LC combo for bluesy crunch, and a Mesa Mini Rectifier for clean and high gain. You can pair with 1x12 speakers.
#4
Quote by dspellman
The Eleven Rack is a good piece, but it's an orphan (no support and no new products coming down the pipeline that we know of).
There are several manufacturers who have things in the $1500 range (like the Line 6 Helix and the AX8 from Fractal)
I think I'd go for the HD500X before the Firehawk (personal preference only)
If you get any of these preamp-style setups, however, you'll be best off with some kind of wide-range flat frequency response setup rather than a standard guitar amp. In fact, I'd even suggest studio monitors, like the KRK Rokit 5 or 8 (I have the 8's), which have up to 100W each speaker. You might want to consider adding a subwoofer at some point (the KRK 10S is the least expensive "mate" for the Rokit 5 or Rokit 8 series). The nice part of doing this is that you can use these for a LOT of other things, including your 108" curved 4K widescreen, your new computer, or just your iPhone.


Truthfully I am looking more to a guitar setup rather than a studio setup. If I were to go with a preamp style device, I would pair it with a good power amp and guitar cab...MAYBE a FRFR speaker set (which was partially my interest in the Firehawk 1500). I'm honestly leaning mostly towards the HD500x and a DT amp because of the interconnectivity and functionality, but I'm really looking for someone to tell me that it's A) Totally awesome and I should do it without question. or B) Terrible idea...you should do *This*
#5
Quote by diabolical
I wouldn't go with either one of these options.
Maybe Atomic?
You can even go in the box with vsts.
I actually downscaled to several small tube amps, orange TT combo for crunch to mid gain, Laney LC combo for bluesy crunch, and a Mesa Mini Rectifier for clean and high gain. You can pair with 1x12 speakers.


You know, I've looked at the Amplifire setup and I like it except for two things...one of which I might be wrong about. First, damn it's expensive. I mean, if I went on the cheap for a power amp and cabinet, I could probably pull it off. Second, I really like to change the order of effects in the chain a lot to experiment with different sounds. It doesn't look like the Amplifire is able to do that with its predefined Pre-Effects and Post-Effects banks.

The VST's are a no go for me. I've tried the computer setup before and I just don't like it. It's not comfortable for me.

Thoughts on H&K Grandmeister?
#6
I'll tell you that is an OK idea...not too exciting or too bad. I think these guys do better modelling and if you're going for a vst style of amps paired with good IR responses on the cheap (or I should say cheaper) I think this is a better option:
http://atomicamps.com/amplifire-pedal/

How about Kemper? Used it is getting into "decent" price category:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kemper-Profiling-Amplifier-Rack-Mount-EXCELLENT-CONDITION-Amp-/182191741353?hash=item2a6b7959a9:g:VzIAAOSwOVpXducm

Yeah Grandmeister might just be your ticket. I'd probably say that it is your best option if you can be happy with the effects options. I know they sound good from what I've heard. Somewhat on the bright and modern side as most H&K, but if you can live with that it is a great amp. Maybe order one with return option and give it a go to see if you'll like it. GC might even have them.

I am not opposed to the HD500x as a 4 cable setup (or Boss GT-100 for that matter) and I'd go for modular tube pre and tube power amp, not really excited by these modeled sounds, I actually like the results that I achieve in software better than what I've heard from both Boss and Line6.

BTW - I think Atomic might have something more robust, I am not very familiar with their product range besides the fact that they sound better than your standard garden variety modeler.
Last edited by diabolical at Jul 3, 2016,
#7
Quote by CReeves76
Truthfully I am looking more to a guitar setup rather than a studio setup. If I were to go with a preamp style device, I would pair it with a good power amp and guitar cab...MAYBE a FRFR speaker set (which was partially my interest in the Firehawk 1500). I'm honestly leaning mostly towards the HD500x and a DT amp because of the interconnectivity and functionality, but I'm really looking for someone to tell me that it's A) Totally awesome and I should do it without question. or B) Terrible idea...you should do *This*


ALL of these are preamp style devices. You can run them all into a good power amp/guitar cab if you want. You're just largely shucking the "cab" portion of most of them out by running into a guitar cab. Been there, did that. I started with a Carvin TS-100 tube power amp and guitar cabs. Then built some wider-range cabinets (Eminence Delta ProA speakers plus 1165N tweeters in ported closed-back cabinets), then realized that to reproduce bottom end at loud levels I needed more power (went to a 1500W power amp) and then got into some serious cabinets.

I use the KRK Rokit 8's at home because they each have about 100W RMS of power amp internally (which will reproduce clean bottom end down to 35Hz with those little 8" woofers) and I can use them for everything from guitar to keys to computer to TV. And because they're small and a great FRFR setup. Studio recording is not something I normally do at home, except with the 16-track sequencers on the keyboards. Add the KRK 10S or 12" series subwoofer to these guys and your den/living room will be bouncing.

I like the DT50 and the interconnectivity and functionality. I play through one every time I go out to Line 6 in Calabasas. I've never purchased one. I don't think the DT50 adds enough to the mix. Besides, I've had a trio of older Atomic Reactor tube powered speakers (look them up -- I have 112 and 212 versions with built in 18W EL84 and 50W 6L6 power amps inside) forever, and they fill that niche and they run around $350 if you can find them on eBay.

I like the HD500X because I can plug my Variax guitars into it (and into the new Helix) and because THAT is increased functionality and connectivity. And I've got four of those Variax things.

The new Helix is probably out of your price range, but it'll take IRs like the big boys, and honestly, that's the game changer. Here's a guy who's doing custom patches (but without third-party IRs):



And check out some of the comments from Peter Thorn and his use of both the Ownhammer IRs and even a freebie acoustic guitar (Taylor 314?) IR that he picked up online with the Helix. I've been using IRs with the Two-Notes Torpedo C.A.B. behind the HD500x, and when I tell people that it changes everything they don't believe me...until they hear it.
#8
Pffft, if you're not gonna go all out with a Kemper why not keep shit real and get a Randall RM or the Egnater version? That way you only have the one amp but can collect and mod all the classic "amps" the gear nerd in you wants. Its much cheaper and efficient, but you still get tube-tone-intensity.

Be loud cause you can. You've got a basement, I'm so frickin' jealous of you! Use it!
Fender Mustang/Derfenstein DST> Boss Power Wah> Pedal Monsters Klone> Bogner Uberschall> Walrus Audio Janus> Randall RM20> Line 6 M9> Randall RM20
#9
It can work. I played a gig today and needed some specific effects I don't currently have on my pedal board (Tap delay, Univibe, digital reverb, AC30TB tone base). I took my 10 yr old Vox Tonelab LE DMFX and it worked out great. Setup was quick and easy to get the patches I wanted dialed-in while punching in and out of delay or Univibe on the fly. It gave me 95% of the tone I was looking for quickly and the sound tech was floored by the result.

All these things are just tools for creating music. None are perfect and they all come with limitations of one sort or another. Choose a tool and learn to use it well.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#10
if you are just getting a POD i wouldn't bother. don't get me wrong some pods can sound good, but nothing i personally would use for a main tone.

unless you go kemper or axe i wouldn't bother going digital at this point.
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#11
The Atomic Amplifire uses the same processors as an AxeFX.
I'm buying one. They aren't expensive, they're just $600.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
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#12
Quote by Cathbard
The Atomic Amplifire uses the same processors as an AxeFX.
I'm buying one. They aren't expensive, they're just $600.


+1 i haven't tried one though. but the demos do sound good.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#13
Quote by Cathbard
The Atomic Amplifire uses the same processors as an AxeFX.
I'm buying one. They aren't expensive, they're just $600.


No it doesn't. Which doesn't mean it doesn't sound good. It just doesn't use the same processors. The axe uses TigerSharcs, Amplifire uses Sharcs. TigerSharcs are much more powerful. This is from memory...I could be mistaken.
Guitars
- Strandberg OS6, Strandberg CL7, Gibson LP Studio, S570DXQM (2), RG7421, Mayer Strat

Amps
- Peavey Invective, Mesa TC-50, Vypyr 60
#14
Quote by Deadpool_25
No it doesn't. Which doesn't mean it doesn't sound good. It just doesn't use the same processors. The axe uses TigerSharcs, Amplifire uses Sharcs. TigerSharcs are much more powerful. This is from memory...I could be mistaken.


The Axe runs dual core Tigersharcs @ 600mhz and the Atomic preamp runs dual core Sharcs @ 400mhz IIRC.
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#15
Quote by Deadpool_25
No it doesn't. Which doesn't mean it doesn't sound good. It just doesn't use the same processors. The axe uses TigerSharcs, Amplifire uses Sharcs. TigerSharcs are much more powerful. This is from memory...I could be mistaken.


No, you're on the money. They're not the same DSPs by a long shot. In fact, I think the TigerSHARC used by Fractal is being discontinued (not to fear, of course, this is computer stuff, and there's always a better one coming along).
#16
Oh OK. Lied to by Andertons. Thanks for clearing that up.
I'm still buying one though.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#17
Quote by Cathbard
Oh OK. Lied to by Andertons. Thanks for clearing that up.
I'm still buying one though.
Haha, you have to be careful of Anderton's. Ever since the awkward gunpoint re-review of the Mesa cab simulator, I don't trust their reviews like I used to.
Gibson Les Paul 60s Tribute
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Digitech JamMan Solo XT
Peavey Vypyr VIP 1
#18
Apparently so. Still, software matters more and I'm yet to hear an AxeFX have the same level of dynamics as an Amplifire - and that's about the software, not the hardware.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#19
Interesting. The Axe FX has fantastic dynamics. It's an absolutely amazing unit, and well worth the money if you want or need its power. I can only say what I've seen from the videos on the Amplifire, but it looks to be a very good sounding unit, perhaps on par with the Axe FX for the models it has. Perhaps. The Axe is clearly faaaaaar more powerful, with hundreds more amp models, far more and superior effects, tone matching, dual amps, etc. However, I suspect for many users that power is overkill.

Honestly I'm not yet buying that the Amplifire is a "better" unit in the general sense...not by a long shot. However I can totally see how it could absolutely be better for certain users.
Guitars
- Strandberg OS6, Strandberg CL7, Gibson LP Studio, S570DXQM (2), RG7421, Mayer Strat

Amps
- Peavey Invective, Mesa TC-50, Vypyr 60
#20
You need to make some choices up front on what you need and what you want to do. If you're not into recording or playing with others either jamming or gigging then all you likely need is a decent all in one solution (Modeller, amplifier, speaker in a single package). Some are better than others and most are bound to have a model or two you won't like or use but also have some you will. I haven't tried many high end ones (Dspellman has more experience with these) but I've had several all in ones and the HD500 as well. While the HD needs some tweaking (presets suck - you need to pick the basic amps sims, cabs and speakers then EQ out some of the frequencies & BTW it's used live by Steve Howe, other professional musicians and recording artists despite what the forum members say) it's more of a pain to use compared to an all in one that you simply turn on, select your model, minor tweak from the controls and go.
Right now I'm down to the HD and Blackstar ID TVP series amps but I'm seriously looking at VOXs new AV30 which is not a DSP modeller (there is a DSP but it's used solely for the 3 effects) it uses all analog circuitry (SS and 2 12AX7As 1 for preamp and 1 for the pre-power amp). The modelling is done by reconfiguring the circuits to emulate those of the real amps they analyzed. Apparently takes pedals well and the sounds done on some of the reviews are very good and natural. It wouldn't be a metal amp though without a pedal from what I've heard.
If you decide to go with a high end modeller (Fractal, Helix) for crying out loud don't run it through a guitar amp! The amp sims, cabs etc are all geared to be played through an FRFR system, a guitar amps limited response will color the sound throwing off the models (even if you turn off the cabs). Guitar cabs also have narrow projection beams as anyone who's stood in front of one knows while FRFR dispersion is much better so the guitar sounds the same as you move around. These setups will not sound like the "amp in the room" so don't expect them to, they will sound like a good mic'ed guitar amp through a high quality PA or recording.
Moving on.....
#21
Quote by KenG
You need to make some choices up front on what you need and what you want to do. If you're not into recording or playing with others either jamming or gigging then all you likely need is a decent all in one solution (Modeller, amplifier, speaker in a single package). Some are better than others and most are bound to have a model or two you won't like or use but also have some you will. I haven't tried many high end ones (Dspellman has more experience with these) but I've had several all in ones and the HD500 as well. While the HD needs some tweaking (presets suck - you need to pick the basic amps sims, cabs and speakers then EQ out some of the frequencies & BTW it's used live by Steve Howe, other professional musicians and recording artists despite what the forum members say) it's more of a pain to use compared to an all in one that you simply turn on, select your model, minor tweak from the controls and go.
Right now I'm down to the HD and Blackstar ID TVP series amps but I'm seriously looking at VOXs new AV30 which is not a DSP modeller (there is a DSP but it's used solely for the 3 effects) it uses all analog circuitry (SS and 2 12AX7As 1 for preamp and 1 for the pre-power amp). The modelling is done by reconfiguring the circuits to emulate those of the real amps they analyzed. Apparently takes pedals well and the sounds done on some of the reviews are very good and natural. It wouldn't be a metal amp though without a pedal from what I've heard.
If you decide to go with a high end modeller (Fractal, Helix) for crying out loud don't run it through a guitar amp! The amp sims, cabs etc are all geared to be played through an FRFR system, a guitar amps limited response will color the sound throwing off the models (even if you turn off the cabs). Guitar cabs also have narrow projection beams as anyone who's stood in front of one knows while FRFR dispersion is much better so the guitar sounds the same as you move around. These setups will not sound like the "amp in the room" so don't expect them to, they will sound like a good mic'ed guitar amp through a high quality PA or recording.


Any of the high end modelers allow you to disable the cab sim and work just fine through a power amp & cab. Sure, you will lose out on the ability to change cabs/mics on the fly but You might want to check out how people are using Fractal, Helix and Kempers on their forums. The KPA now has the 'pure cab' feature that does some sort of filtering to make it sound more like an amp in the room.

Hell, you can buy a Kemper with an on board power amp!

For home use only, no jamming & loud needs, you're right. I'd go FRFR. Which is what I did with my KPA. Still need to hook it up through the fx return on my 5153 & 2x12 for shits & giggles
Fleet of MiJ Ibanez
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#22
Precisely. If you like the power amp and cab in your guitar amp why not use it? Why model something that's sitting in front of you?
Having said that though, I just bought a powered wedge for my Amplifire - and I've got tube amps coming out of my arse.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#23
Well in my case, went from pedals, 6505 212 & mesa 4x12 to a kemper & frfr. A friend wants to start jamming and I could have just bought a powered wedge. But I wanted a real cab. Then found a great deal on a used 5153 & cab and figured why not? Guess I could have asked for advice here, but I knew what sort of enablers you all are
Fleet of MiJ Ibanez
Couple of Balls
Peavey & EVH Wolfgangs
Eclipse
Fender HM Strat
Kemper KPA
5150 III 50w & cabs
#24
Quote by DarthV
You might want to check out how people are using Fractal, Helix and Kempers on their forums.

Hell, you can buy a Kemper with an on board power amp!


I looked at the Kemper with the power amp and said, "Nah...not enough POWAH!"
I think it's 600W.
More importantly, since I use my FRFR cabs for bass and keyboards as well, I need more for bottom end, so I've got a 1500W power amp per pair of cabinets (I have four, but have really needed them all together). And it was a good thing, since I decided I didn't need the Kemper modeler, either.

98% of the people I know who have high end modelers are using 2% of what they're capable of. That's not a bad thing, of course, but it's leaving a LOT of versatility (and a lot of what you've paid for) on the table.
#25
Quote by dspellman
I looked at the Kemper with the power amp and said, "Nah...not enough POWAH!"
I think it's 600W.
More importantly, since I use my FRFR cabs for bass and keyboards as well, I need more for bottom end, so I've got a 1500W power amp per pair of cabinets (I have four, but have really needed them all together). And it was a good thing, since I decided I didn't need the Kemper modeler, either.

98% of the people I know who have high end modelers are using 2% of what they're capable of. That's not a bad thing, of course, but it's leaving a LOT of versatility (and a lot of what you've paid for) on the table.


Yep! Guilty as charged, but since I had bought the 6505 & mesa used, I didn't lose any money when I sold them to buy the KPA. Ended up buying the Kemper before the price increases (and 30% drop in the CAD), so if I sold that I might make money on it. It still puts a smile on my face every time I turn it on, that's the important part!
Fleet of MiJ Ibanez
Couple of Balls
Peavey & EVH Wolfgangs
Eclipse
Fender HM Strat
Kemper KPA
5150 III 50w & cabs