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Yes
12 38%
No
20 63%
Voters: 32.
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#1
Inspired by this video.



With the advent of amp sims and VST software getting better and better all the time, and the average personal computer being fast enough to comfortably run them, do you think this approach to getting decent amp tones on the cheap is making the typical practice combo amp less relevant?


To be clear, I'm not talking about higher power guitar amps that are able to keep up with a drummer, I'm talking about those which are only really fit for bedroom practice. Besides, higher power amps are obviously not as affordable and they still suffer the same problems as per below:

1. House inflation causing the vast majority of the millennial generation to be unable to afford better housing than a small apartment with paper thin walls. Said paper thin walls makes traditional speaker cabinets impractical. Thus there's less demand for them. There are plenty of practice combos with headphone outs, but if that's the predominant way the amp is going to be used then why have a physical amp in the first place.

2. Amp sims make getting good quality tones a lot cheaper than practice combos. A lot of decent quality software (Reaper, Poulin, Amplitude, Rosen Digital) can be acquired for free. Decent audio interfaces (E.g Focusrite Scarlett) are also cheaper than ever. You can get a really good sounding rig that'll absolutely smoke any $200 practice combo if you spend that same $200 on amp sim software and hardware instead. Most of the cost of acquiring an amp sim is in the computer itself, and most people already own computers that are fast enough to run them with the appropriate interface.

3. Amp sims are more portable for most people if they want to play guitar in a hotel room or on the road. A laptop, a Focusrite Scarlett and a pair of headphones are compact enough can fit into a laptop bag. A 40 watt modeller with a 1x12" cabinet? Not so much.

...


The only niche a small combo practice amp fills is their ability to be used with other people so long as the other instruments in the group aren't louder than live drums. But overall that's pretty niche and situational. In most other situations, an amp sim is a much better solution. And even if cheap solid state combos can be made loud enough to keep up with a drummer, unless it's really a high power amp, the tone takes a dump in the process.

If your answer to the question is yes, then are small modelling practice amps really the best thing UG should be recommending to beginners? Why do you think amp manufacturers are still pushing small modelling combos to the amp market if you think they're being made obsolete by amp sims?
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#2
well he has some points but seems to be missing at least one. cranking an amp even a smaller beginner model is fun. yes an app on your phone can be great for practicing with headphones. thing about that is it in no way prepares you for playing in a band. i use my POD in the same manor and for recording which is way easier. having said that what works and sounds great in headphones through my POD doesn't translate easily to an actual guitar amp. the dynamics of playing at band voulme can't be had any other way than using an amp (unless you just go totally digital but that is a different scenario) learning to use an amp usually starts with the crappy beginner amp and you work your way up. 

now maybe guitar players need to move on but in that case then do we need amps at all. you can just plug into your phone etc and go direct into the PA and rely totally on monitors (in ear of course) call me old fashioned but i'm not ready to do that just yet. 
#3
Interesting thought. Guitarists are, of course, notoriously set in our silly ways, but of course people who are just starting out don't necessarily have ways to be set in yet, as it were. And, of course, kids grow up ever more aware of what computers are capable of. That said, beginners are a demographic where the relevant marketing techniques for gear manufacturers have really been nailed. I'm sure manufacturers make a pretty penny of their little modellers, so you'd probably need a newcomer or some poor judgement to really get beginners as a whole on board with the idea of using a computer instead of an amp. I think it's fair to say that beginners probably want amps, too. I sure do.

For me, the AmpliFire made a huge amount of sense from a practical point of view, but I came to that conclusion with 5 or 6 years of experience taking an active interest in gear. While my friends were practising and getting better at playing their guitars, I was talking about mine. Clearly, few people start off with that knowledge and I think even for those who need "silent" practice, an amp with a headphone socket remains easier to market.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
The only niche a small combo practice amp fills is their ability to be used with other people so long as the other instruments in the group aren't louder than live drums. But overall that's pretty niche and situational. In most other situations, an amp sim is a much better solution. And even if cheap solid state combos can be made loud enough to keep up with a drummer, unless it's really a high power amp, the tone takes a dump in the process.
I do think that possibly that niche situation you describe might be the reality for quite a lot of beginners looking to start a band.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
If your answer to the question is yes, then are small modelling practice amps really the best thing UG should be recommending to beginners?
Maybe not. It's definitely worth thinking about. I can see it going either way, I'm sure if amp sims become our new 6505+ we'll end up with arguments where someone wants an amp and gets told "No you don't, you want an imaginary amp" and OP still wants an amp

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Why do you think amp manufacturers are still pushing small modelling combos to the amp market if you think they're being made obsolete by amp sims?
It's dangerous to the industry Selling cheap amps is a well-developed practice. Selling amp sims might be too, but not for the same companies.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at May 30, 2017,
#4
K33nbl4d3   good points. i think another issue that may come up is quality of the phone used. i'd hate to have to become an expert on how apps run on various phones to give advice. i currently have a tuner app on my phone. it works but i wouldn't vouch for it's accuracy past ok. i've pretty much found that dedicated hardware works better all around. this is why i like my POD and record with a Zoom Digital 8-Track recorder. the results i get seem to be far better than the average guy on his laptop running some freebie program. 
#5
Amps sims are really useful if you are striving to be a studio musician, and have no intention of every playing in front of an audience. If that describes you, fine. There is nothing wrong with that as your goal or quest as a musician. If that's all I thought I would ever do, I'd sell all my gear and find a new hobby.

The small amp that feeds headphones for practice can also feed directly into a House PA, which makes it suitable for gigging. Or, you can always stick a mic in front of a small amp to feed the PA. Either way, having a small amp is not an impediment to gigging. 

And, even if one needs to use headphones in one's paper-walled apartment to practice, there will come time when one needs to gather with other musicians to jam and/or rehearse. Or, one might get a studio gig backing an old-school performer who wants to actually hear the music being recorded. 

There will always be a need for small but full-featured amps. Calling them "beginner" or "practice" amps is just using words with lots of connotation to denigrate the products. 
#6
i don't think the housing issue is anything new. there have been apartments with paper thin walls since the beginning of time.

but i agree that in general, the options today do make the "need" for a small portable practice amp almost obsolete. at the $99 to $129 type of price-point there are loads of better options than say a spider/mustang/vt/cube for 95% of what people use them for, headphone or super quiet playing.

i think they lost relevance for a while now.

that said, i think most musicians should have some form of playing live or with others even if they only use it 1-10% of the time.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
Last edited by gregs1020 at May 30, 2017,
#7
Quote by gregs1020
i don't think the housing issue is anything new. there have been apartments with paper thin walls since the beginning of time.
This is kind of what you suggest in the rest of your post, but it isn't the problem that's new; it's the solution. More than ever you can have your cake and eat it when it comes to being quiet and sounding good.
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Youre officially uber shit now.

Quote by StewieSwan
3d9310rd is far more upset than i 

Quote by Bladez22
I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
#8
Quote by K33nbl4d3
This is kind of what you suggest in the rest of your post, but it isn't the problem that's new; it's the solution. More than ever you can have your cake and eat it when it comes to being quiet and sounding good.

i couldn't agree more. i think i'm the only one that voted "yes" so far.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
Last edited by gregs1020 at May 30, 2017,
#9
1) pc sims still have latency issues, especially with cheaper interfaces.

2) digital amps are dirt cheap, simple to use, and allow you to easilly jam with others. Good sounds are easilly accessible.

3) if you're buying a set of gear for a kid, its much easier just to buy a small amp than to research and buy an interface, daw, amp sim, monitors etc. And then hope he can figure out how to use all of it and hope that he can figure out daw optimization setting on windows along with downloading the right drivers etc.

4) you can't even buy decent monitors for 120$, let alone an interface, monitors, and an amp sim and daw. The trs cables alone for the monitors are going to run at around 50$. It's much cheaper to just buy a small amp
Last edited by reverb66 at May 30, 2017,
#10
Quote by gregs1020
i couldn't agree more. i think i'm the only one that voted "yes" so far.
I mean in a poll with two votes, one for each option, I give you pretty good odds on that

I haven't voted yet because I'm interested in seeing what else comes up.

Quote by reverb66
4) you can't even buy decent monitors for 120$
These are good enough for me But I take your broader point. That said, none of it needs to be "good", it just needs to match up to an equivalently priced modeller. A beginner doesn't need $50 worth of TRS cables. Truthfully, I have no idea if, with that in mind, you can still get a budget setup that matches up to an amp of the same price or more, but I think your estimations represent a very basic "pro" setup, rather than something equivalent to a basic modeller.

For what it's worth, I do agree with the rest of your points, though (except the first one purely because I don't know enough about PC sims to form an opinion at all, except this kind).
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Quote by StewieSwan
3d9310rd is far more upset than i 

Quote by Bladez22
I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at May 30, 2017,
#12
Quote by monwobobbo
combo amps are far less likely to fall out of your pocket and get lost  
I've never dropped a computer out of my pocket
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Youre officially uber shit now.

Quote by StewieSwan
3d9310rd is far more upset than i 

Quote by Bladez22
I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
#13
Quote by gregs1020
i couldn't agree more.  i think i'm the only one that voted "yes" so far.  

+1. I believe more and more beginners will go the route of amp sims. You just need a guitar and some smart device. 
#14
Quote by reverb66
1) pc sims still have latency issues, especially with cheaper interfaces.

Not in my experience. The Focusrite mentioned can be bought for £100 all day and used for half that. As interfaces go, that's cheap. And I've never had problems with latency.
2) digital amps are dirt cheap, simple to use, and allow you to easilly jam with others. Good sounds are easilly accessible.

Accessible? Sure, but good? Nope.
3) if you're buying a set of gear for a kid, its much easier just to buy a small amp than to research and buy an interface, daw, amp sim, monitors etc. And then hope he can figure out how to use all of it and hope that he can figure out daw optimization setting on windows along with downloading the right drivers etc.

Sure, its more accessible to get an amp just because one just lacks the knowledge of how to download VST Plugins and just wants instant gratification. But there's this thing called online tutorials that show you how to get that stuff to work. That's how I did it.
4) you can't even buy decent monitors for 120$, let alone an interface, monitors, and an amp sim and daw. The trs cables alone for the monitors are going to run at around 50$. It's much cheaper to just buy a small amp

Monitoring with headphones is really the way to go when starting out. The Sennheiser HD201's can be bought for £20 and I've listened to £100 sets of headphones that sound a lot worse. Being able to jam quietly is one of the key advantages to using an amp sim in the first place. And what beginner needs $50 worth of TRS cables for?
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#15
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I've never dropped a computer out of my pocket

We were talking cell phones not computers. If that was the case then you'd have to add in the cost which puts it above an amp.
#16
Quote by monwobobbo
We were talking cell phones not computers. If that was the case then you'd have to add in the cost which puts it above an amp.
You could argue the same for a phone. Most people have computers and most people have smartphones But yeah no I got that you - I dispute the "we" - were talking about phones; since the OP, and several of the subsequent posts referred to PC-based setups I felt it was worth drawing attention to the fact that those are also very much relevant to the discussion and the limitations of one aren't necessarily shared by the other. I think your average person, having lost or broken their phone, would probably have bigger problems than not having an amp
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Youre officially uber shit now.

Quote by StewieSwan
3d9310rd is far more upset than i 

Quote by Bladez22
I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
#17
Quote by monwobobbo
combo amps are far less likely to fall out of your pocket and get lost  



SICK burn, yo!
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!
#18
Quote by reverb66
if you're buying a set of gear for a kid, its much easier just to buy a small amp than to research and buy an interface, daw, amp sim, monitors etc. And then hope he can figure out how to use all of it and hope that he can figure out daw optimization setting on windows along with downloading the right drivers etc.

This. Amps are so much simpler. You just plug in and you have a sound. Then you turn some knobs to change that sound. As a beginner, you should focus on how to play guitar, not how to get your hardware and software to work properly. I personally think most of those beginner amps are too complicated for the level of player they're advertised to. But then adding software/apps, interfaces, and monitors is just way too much.

He did mention the Yamaha THR as a great amp. Rather than asking if there's a point of beginner amps, he should be asking why more beginner amps haven't moved in that direction. And those beginner amps allow you to actually easily play with other people. That's something amp sims and the THR don't do.
#19
I think that as long as there are parents buying gear for kids, there will be beginner amps.

I also think that as amp sims and portable digital modelers- Korg Pandoras, Line 6 PODs, etc.- get better, there will be more pressure on amp makers to make those amps better.
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!
#20
Quote by dannyalcatraz
I think that as long as there are parents buying gear for kids, there will be beginner amps..

well if the budget is there what kid is going to talk them out of it?
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#21
Quote by K33nbl4d3
You could argue the same for a phone. Most people have computers and most people have smartphones But yeah no I got that you - I dispute the "we" - were talking about phones; since the OP, and several of the subsequent posts referred to PC-based setups I felt it was worth drawing attention to the fact that those are also very much relevant to the discussion and the limitations of one aren't necessarily shared by the other. I think your average person, having lost or broken their phone, would probably have bigger problems than not having an amp


The vid talked about phones almost exclusively, so that is what I was referring to. This also was a bit of a joke. Certainly there is merit to the debate and many are going in this direction. Don't think apps can replace an amp in terms of total experience though.

The idea that makers may have to improve lower end amps to compete is likely true
#22
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Not in my experience. The Focusrite mentioned can be bought for £100 all day and used for half that. As interfaces go, that's cheap. And I've never had problems with latency.

Accessible? Sure, but good? Nope.

Sure, its more accessible to get an amp just because one just lacks the knowledge of how to download VST Plugins and just wants instant gratification. But there's this thing called online tutorials that show you how to get that stuff to work. That's how I did it.

Monitoring with headphones is really the way to go when starting out. The Sennheiser HD201's can be bought for £20 and I've listened to £100 sets of headphones that sound a lot worse. Being able to jam quietly is one of the key advantages to using an amp sim in the first place. And what beginner needs $50 worth of TRS cables

I fail to see how an interface + monitors+ daw + amp sim + headphones + actually getting all of this to work well, which is not a given for most people ( check any forum, including this one), is going to somehow render a $130 amp obsolete - it isn't going to happen - the argument makes zero sense - it's not cost effective, it doesn't sound better unless you spend a lot, it's not easier, and it's not as portable. Also, the products aren't even competing - I've never met a guitarist that didn't have an amp. 

Nearly every digital practice amp has a headphone out. 

I'm an advocate for every musician owning a recording interface and learning to use it, but to say that cheap practice amps are losing relevance is  false, and it will be for a long time.  Walk into any music store - the recording gear is hiding in the corner for the music nerds, everything else is front and center with the guitars. There's like a 100 different amps under the $300.00 price range - it's a huge market and these things cost as much as a pedal. They're priced for parents to buy them - and parents like easy purchases. 

It's the golden age of practice amps - you have no idea how terrible practice amps used to be, now you get amp models, effects, and decent tones for pennies. 

I bought a Roland Micro Cube for like $100 years ago - it's amazing for the price - I 've used it in countless house party jams and I've even used it for bass, it farts out a bit but actually sounds decent. It can even keep up with a drummer if he's using brushes. 

For the record, I practice and record with sims like Bias, UAD sims, Guitar Rig, Waves amps, some free ones like Rednef Twin,  all the time. I'm not oblivious to sims, they're awesome, but people are still going to buy amps, especially beginners.  
#23
Quote by reverb66
I fail to see how an interface + monitors+ daw + amp sim + headphones + actually getting all of this to work well, which is not a given for most people ( check any forum, including this one), is going to somehow render a $130 amp obsolete - it isn't going to happen - the argument makes zero sense - it's not cost effective, it doesn't sound better unless you spend a lot, it's not easier, and it's not as portable. Also, the products aren't even competing - I've never met a guitarist that didn't have an amp.  

Why are you assuming all of that for a beginner?  The IRig2 is $40.  Plug that into an iPhone or iPad and your done.  They will most likely grow into an amp but not the cheap starter amps for $150.  Like any product change, it will take some time for these companies to sunset the starter amps, or launch digital apps themselves, but change is coming,
#24
Well, if we're counting $$$, iPhones & iPads aren't free. You need to factor that into your calculations.
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!
#25
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Well, if we're counting $$$, iPhones & iPads aren't free.  You need to factor that into your calculations.

That is a fair point.  However, it is only an additional cost if it is not already owned. And in my experience, most people have some kind of smart device, even kids. 

Think of it this way, how many people carry a camera with them for daily use?  Sure, there are expensive cameras that are much better than any camera on a phone, but there is no denying that they fundamentally changed the camera industry.  I believe this same paradigm shift will occur with starter amps.  
#26
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE

With the advent of amp sims and VST software getting better and better all the time, and the average personal computer being fast enough to comfortably run them, do you think this approach to getting decent amp tones on the cheap is making the typical practice combo amp less relevant?


Nope.
For starters, I can't just walk up to a computer, plug in, and play. There's an interface. There are speakers or headphones to plug in. There's software to boot up. A typical practice combo amp is simpler.

If I want to go and play with some friends, or at church, or whatever, I just pick up the combo and the cable and go. With the computer, I'm almost always putting a fairly expensive computing gadget at risk, and I've gotta carry more stuff and plug in more things. Honestly, if I've got a choice between carting a couple of hundred dollars of guitar amp around or carting my far more expensive MacBook Pro (which I use for other stuff and which actually has some fairly confidential information on it), it's going to be the cheap amp.

I think it's nice to know that you CAN do these things with a computer, and I have amplitube on some of the others on my phone and iPad, but having figured out that I *can* do some of these things with a computer, I honestly see no reason to. I can do far more with something like a Korg Pandora, and I can leave it in my guitar case and it's cheaper than an iPhone or iPad and I don't need any additional bits and pieces plugged into it and if it accidentally gets pulled off the desk and onto a concrete floor, I haven't screwed up all of the rest of my computing information and hardware at the same time.

Sorry, but I"m not buying his premise.

Neither, apparently, are consumers, who are buying these silly amps in droves.
#27
Quote by MAChiefs
T
Think of it this way, how many people carry a camera with them for daily use?  Sure, there are expensive cameras that are much better than any camera on a phone, but there is no denying that they fundamentally changed the camera industry.  I believe this same paradigm shift will occur with starter amps.  


This isn't new technology. But the real problem is that it's not uncomplicated, the way that a cellphone camera has become. You essentially have everything you need to take and save a photograph in your cell phone. You don't need to add a lens, plug something in, plug something ELSE in, etc. in order to take a photograph or a video. It's all in your pocket.

That isn't true of the whole process of making your cell phone power your guitar modeling.
#28
Quote by MAChiefs
That is a fair point.  However, it is only an additional cost if it is not already owned. And in my experience, most people have some kind of smart device, even kids. 


From an economics standpoint, you really need to account for all costs, even if you already have some of the equipment in hand. It's a sunk cost, yes, but still a necessary prerequisite.
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!
#29
Quote by dspellman
This isn't new technology. But the real problem is that it's not uncomplicated, the way that a cellphone camera has become.  You essentially have everything you need to take and save a photograph in your cell phone. You don't need to add a lens, plug something in, plug something ELSE in, etc. in order to take a photograph or a video. It's all in your pocket.    

That isn't true of the whole process of making your cell phone power your guitar modeling.

All it takes is an adapter. Phones come with headphones, they may not be great headphones, but they work. We are talking about beginners.  I disagree on the complexity piece, each iteration will be simpler and these adapters will continue to drop in price, while improving in sound quality. In the future, starter packs will include adapters and a trial subscription with the guitar, strap, picks, etc. Lower price point for the parents and there will be more of these kinds of videos demonstrating the benefits of a digital apps.

it isn't going to happen overnight but it will be quicker than you might think.  
#30
I don't work for any of these companies so I have no agenda; however, for those of you that remember the personal computer, it too was met with scepticism because of its "complexity" And "economic model". The first computers had to write to tape as they had no onboard memory but that didn't stop people. 

Why would a beginner want a crappy starter pack (or similar amp) that sounds like crap when they could just plug in and play a marshall, fender or Mesa amp sim?  Not saying they are great but starter amps aren't great either. 

In the end, we will see.  
#31
There IS an information gap, though.  How many newbies actually know about amp sims?  How many music store employees will tell such a cutomer about those options when he's got amps to sell?

Websites like this kind of distort perception: only a fraction of the market is going to visit, so there's a bit of selection bias.
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!
#32
Quote by MAChiefs
I don't work for any of these companies so I have no agenda; however, for those of you that remember the personal computer, it too was met with scepticism because of its "complexity" And "economic model". The first computers had to write to tape as they had no onboard memory but that didn't stop people.

But I don't think that's what people are even saying. People are only arguing that computer amp simulators may not be better for beginners than a small practice amp, not that computer amp simulators are too complex, therefore nobody wants to use them. (Well, at least I feel like you were implying in your comment that people here would be totally against the technology like people used to be against the computer, but I may have misinterpreted it. But I still don't think that's a perfectly valid comparison.)

Computer amp simulators are great if you want to record or practice at a low volume in your bedroom. But are they better than a small practice amp for beginners? I think this is the main question.

BTW, I see nothing wrong with being skeptical of new inventions. Some of the criticism is definitely valid. I'm pretty sure when people criticized the computer for its complexity and price, they were right back then, because old computers pretty much sucked. But sure, saying that something will never happen and basing that argument on how things are at the moment doesn't make much sense.

Why would a beginner want a crappy starter pack (or similar amp) that sounds like crap when they could just plug in and play a marshall, fender or Mesa amp sim?  Not saying they are great but starter amps aren't great either. 

In the end, we will see.  

Nobody wants a crappy starter pack amp. But for example while Micro Cube definitely doesn't sound amazing, it still sounds pretty decent and more than good enough for beginners, and it doesn't cost a lot. And I don't think it sounds worse than a computer through crappy headphones or speakers. If you are concerned about sound, you still need to buy good speakers/headphones and a good simulator. When it comes to portability, OK, a smartphone and a speaker aren't really any less portable than a practice amp. But I would still prefer plugging into an amp over plugging into a phone that I plug into a speaker, unless the phone had a (good) wireless connection. And when it comes to computers, amps are definitely easier than that. But yeah, I think the smartphone argument is valid and I guess that's where the future of "beginner amps" may be. I don't think it will completely replace small amps, but it will probably make some amps, like the 15 watt Line 6 Spider kind of amp that the video talked about, obsolete.

And I totally agree with the video. He was talking about stuff like 15 watt Line 6 Spider or whatever, not about Micro Cube or other kind of portable battery powered amps.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 31, 2017,
#33
Not to be nitpicky about they guy in the vids math but $9.99+9.99 doesn't equal = $30.00

For a bedroom player that has no ambition of playing with anybody else the entry level combo has become obsolete.  It wasn't worthwhile 20 years ago either because we could still plug into our tape decks which everybody had.  

For a bedroom player, with little money, that wants to be able to jam with a friend someday then a  5 or 10 watt crappy combo can let you do that.  Most people that play music think about the possibility of playing with other people once in awhile.  Even if it never happens we all want to be ready when someone calls for a jam session.  I'm not talking about playing in a 6 pc band with horns and a drum kit.  I'm talking about 2 guitarists getting together.  That doesn't work well when done through a phone or computer so if you are only going to do it a few times a crappy little combo could be worth it. 
Not taking any online orders.
#34
I don't know man, a little Mexican made fender frontman 15 and a boss metalzone is how I started!

Honestly, imo, the best thing is something that doesn't have a crap load of bells and whistles. The more knobs and sounds to fiddle with drive me crazy because I spend more time trying everything to find the best sound. That time could be spent practicing. That's with both modelers and sims. Glad I don't have a huge pedal selection cause I'm a tone tweaker

On a related note, new players should be taught to be weary of what guitar center employees try to sell them saying "this will get that tone you're looking for". They are always recommending spiders or metalzones. Its counterintuitive to newer/younger/inexperienced players.

Pic related
#35
A lot of my early playing experience was carrying my little amp to my friends house and two or three guys playing together (garage band era) and sharing new things we learned. It wasn't my "practice" amp since was my only amp. Are you going to pick up your computer and go to a friends house to jam using your sim? Doubtful. The assumption must be that you never expect to play with anyone else outside of your home. If that's true, that's a real shame.

P.S. Love the pic above. 
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at May 31, 2017,
#36
It really depends on what you're looking for. I mean, if you're a person that is doing a lot of jamming at home or recording and have no aspirations to play out then you really can't beat plugging into a computer or using an Iphone app. You also don't need to be using expensive interfaces and expensive monitors to use them. Most of the apps are perfectly fine with stock PC speakers and cheapo iRig or Behringer cables so its not like you need to buy like a Focusrite and some Rokits or something to be able to use them (although they are a nice addition). They are also very powerful free options out there now so you don't need to pay for crazy guitar suites or effects to get decent results. VSTs might not be quite as user friendly initially and they aren't quite set and forget but thankfully, once you do dial in your tones, you can save every single setting you have and that includes mic positions, pedal settings and the like. For me, that's quite a big time saver in the long run because sometimes the most time consuming thing I would have to do with my traditional rig is plug into my amp and having to play with pedals and knobs to find that really cool sound I had again or playing with mic positions for half an hour because my sound is a bit off even though I didn't touch anything. With a VST or an app, I can have it back with a click of a button and just focus on playing. Downsides are obviously portability since you're bound to a computer so you'll have to bring a pc with you to use your stuff and hope you have a way to amplify it (or bring a whole setup with you) and I'd also say another issue can be reliability since not a lot of people are very tech savvy and tend to run into issues or hardware bottlenecks because they're still using a core 2 duo macbook to record like 24 tracks with a ton of VSTs and the unibody is thermal throttling and crashing logic

If you're a person that probably wants to be playing out with friends, I can understand the notion that you would want a physical amp that you can take with you. They're also pretty 'set and forget' so for people that aren't particular with their tones or fiddling, its a no frills, no hassle setup. If you're running very few sounds (or maybe just using a clean sound and pedals for color) then I can see a traditional amp setup being probably more ideal since you don't need all the features of the modellers or recording stuff and you could probably save some cash by just getting a cheapo amp to run your stuff into. Also as mentioned, parents buying their kids an amp will probably always be a thing and they just want something cheap and easy (and also something you can sell once junior gets bored of guitar after high school). The only thing is IMO I would think at the point where you want to play out, you'd probably want something louder than a little 15w practice amp so for me a little practice amp isn't even something I'd consider if I wanted to play with people and I'd be upping my budget and getting a nicer amp. That being said, it was mentioned by mono or somebody that using an amp is fun and sometimes the feeling of an amp with a guitar cab is more satisfying to people than using your monitors or headphones. For me, I just like that amp in a room sound once in a while so they're nice in that aspect. 

So yeah, I don't think small practice amps are completely obsolete but I do think they aren't going to be as popular moving forward and especially with how much easier and more accessible VST stuff is becoming. For me, little practice amps were always for home use anyway and IMO I think VSTs are much better for that and also have the double benefit of being a useful recording tool so I'd be hard pressed to think of a place I'd need one. 

Personally though, modelling stuff gets really interesting once you get to a bit of a higher budget. My amp is a computer that I can take with me and fits on my pedal board along with my power amp. If I wanted to gig with my recording rig, it wouldn't be adding anything additional to what I would usually be carrying with a traditional amp setup. Before I'd lug my heavy 30 watter and a pedal bag, now I lug around a pedalboard and a light 1x12 extension cab. To my ears too, when I'm running it into a guitar cab, it sounds and feels like a guitar amp too so I can say I'm not really missing much at this point. I've got the best of both worlds tbh!  
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#37
Quote by Rickholly74
A lot of my early playing experience was carrying my little amp to my friends house and two or three guys playing together (garage band era) and sharing new things we learned. It wasn't my "practice" amp since was my only amp. Are you going to pick up your computer and go to a friends house to jam using your sim? Doubtful. The assumption must be that you never expect to play with anyone else outside of your home. If that's true, that's a real shame.

P.S. Love the pic above. 

This is why, at least for me, they only real reason to get a small practice amp.

Its also kind of hard for me to really say and be totally objective about it.
Where I live, I can dime my AC30 2x12 and play all day and never hear a complaint.
The nearest neighbor is about 200 yards away, and he's rarely home anyway. The next neighbor is about 1/4 mile away.
#38
Quote by Rickholly74
A lot of my early playing experience was carrying my little amp to my friends house and two or three guys playing together (garage band era) and sharing new things we learned. It wasn't my "practice" amp since was my only amp. Are you going to pick up your computer and go to a friends house to jam using your sim? Doubtful. The assumption must be that you never expect to play with anyone else outside of your home. If that's true, that's a real shame.

P.S. Love the pic above. 



I do





Quote by zgr0826
My culture is worthless and absolutely inferior to the almighty Leaf.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#39
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I do





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Youre officially uber shit now.

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3d9310rd is far more upset than i 

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I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
#40
Quote by K33nbl4d3


Surprisingly sounds good in that configuration too. I was really expecting it to sound lackluster like my previous experiments with amplifying modellers like that but its actually more than convincing even for me. Had a loud Marshall patch going and to my busted up ears, it was grinding really nice (a bit nicer than my vintage club too).


Got my buddy to play around with it and he was blown away and couldn't stop messing with it. He was asking me all these questions about routing and shit and he is considering selling his switchblade gigging setup for a setup similar to mine. He just couldn't believe it wasn't a real tube amp. He thought I was routing him into the VC at first.
Quote by zgr0826
My culture is worthless and absolutely inferior to the almighty Leaf.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
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