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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Why the fuck has the digital/analogue trend turned into such a clusterfuck?

So I've got a couple of fully valve amp heads which I would like to switch the channels on, whilst also switching my fx. Great. Simple to do. Loads of ways of doing it these days.

Used to have to get that maniac Bob Bradshaw to do all that for ya.

Early-mid 2000's the digital multi-fx thing was all the rage, Digitech GSP series (which I'm thinking of going for for all my modulation fx in the loop + amp channel switching, all MIDI, as is my amp (or one of them at least)) hell even the PodXT rack unit, whilst it couldn't switch your amp channels it was still being used for a multi-fx unit and nobody would have scoffed at you for doing so.

Nowadays, if you want to stay analogue you've got things like The GigRig and the Boss ES-8, pretty sure Joyo make one, as do Mooer I think... They'll switch your amp channel and your pedals on/off, fully programable patches, 4CM routing, all great stuff.

But nobody's playing amps any more?

So AxeFX and Kemper have replaced real amps, whilst everyone's fucking about with boutique pedals and wouldn't dream of using a digital multi-fx unit/switcher system. Not many people (if any?) are making them, and I don't see any touring guys using them that I've seen.

[jackie chan "wtf" face]
 

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I use a Fractal FM3 to switch the channels on my MKV. I don't use the modeling at all, just effects, though I do have a couple of outboard pedals (Strymon boosts). I even made a video about it, even though it's really old news. It was the first time I'd ever used something like this and I think it's nifty as hell. :lol:


The Kemper effects are awful, but I think "amp purists" get caught up in their modeling hate and don't consider that the Fractal effects are, IMO, the best in the industry by a long shot. I have an Axe-Fx III and a Kemper that I use for modeling, AND i have a MKV and a Triaxis that I use for "real" amps.

The only thing that would make things better would be if FAS or Voodoo could figure out how to adjust the presence on my power amps. (Or if Mesa came out with a 2:90 with a presence control that I could adjust w/MIDI.)

Unless I'm missing the core point of your rant, in which case disregard the above. :lol:
 

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When my pedalboard was still together (before I happily rage-unwired it) I was using the Decibel 11 Switch Doctor pedal, and it worked really well. It has two latching relays to change channels/etc on old gear, and a midi-out for new gear. Plus 4 loops. I actually had it paired with their Loop Expander, which is just 4 more loops controlled via midi, so the SwitchDoctor midi only went to the Loop Expander on a drawer in my rack, and I had my E530 in L1, the Mesa Studio in L2, reverbs in L3, and L4 was actually an additional latching switch (used it for channels on Mesa Studio, and SW relays for E530 ch1/ch2 and hi/lo).

It worked beautifully, unless you had an issue with one motherfucking patch cable, which happened a few times at gigs :lol:. Hence, my overload of joy for the AxeFx 2XL Mr Not Test sold me, which has exactly ONE patch cable, from my wireless to the input :)
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I guess my point was the marketing and where it's at? Why has analogue switching/real pedals become trendy again, during the age of the Kemper, and people literally using laptops live? :lol:

I mean, personally, I like the stuff I have in front of my amp; OD/distortion/fuzz... I dig having real pedals there. Not for any other reason than familiarity and tweakability. But stuff in the loop? Modulation stuff? I couldn't give a flying fuck if that was digital, imaginary, or a goddam potato. Delays, choruses, they're all incredibly interchangeable to me. Yet that seems to be the stuff people are gushing over.

I don't have the time or the inclination to tapdance my way through a pedalboard the size of a dining table. Couple of boosts and a midi switcher with expression will do me just fine!
 

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I'm the same way with my AxeFx, actually. I take a lot of time/care to get the OD/boosts right, the amp model settings right, the cab right... but reverb and delay? Fuck it, just toss'em in, they all sound great :lol:
 

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For my main 2 rigs which are racked preamp/poweramps, I use Boss MS-3's 4CM to switch and run FX.
I have a few external pedals, but the MS-3's do the heavy lifting. I ran them with my Peavey tube heads as well,
and they worked fine for that too.
 

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I guess my point was the marketing and where it's at? Why has analogue switching/real pedals become trendy again, during the age of the Kemper, and people literally using laptops live? :lol:
Using a laptop on stage will never, ever be ok. It's the furthest thing from rock & roll possible. It's a sterile means for boring musicians to make lifeless music that nobody will ever remember.

To your second point, I think most people just don't care what the band is playing through. I'm a guitar player so I naturally take a peek at the guitarist's setup when I see live bands but I generally couldn't care less once the music starts. If it sounds cool, it is cool. Kempers sound awesome. Fractals sound awesome. 5150s sound awesome. It's all good. :yesway:

I have to think that the advent of great modeling has been a boon for touring guitarists. Traveling with a 5 pound Axe-Fx that you can plug into FOH has to be a shitload more convenient (and a lot cheaper) than toting a tube head and a bunch of cabs around.
 

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I have to think that the advent of great modeling has been a boon for guitarists who do any gigging whatsoever. Traveling with a 5 pound Axe-Fx that you can plug into FOH has to be a shitload more convenient (and a lot cheaper) than toting a tube head and a bunch of cabs around.
 

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You beat me to the quote. So much analysis online about the virtues/pitfalls of X digital system vs Y authentic tube tone, yet the quietest section on somewhere like SS is.......live performance. I came to the conclusion a long while ago that guitarists much prefer dissecting choices over actually playing because it's easier and doesn't make you confront your shortfalls.

And to address Matt's original point, I guess it's like anything else currently, that polarisation about being more 'authentic' than the other guy is the biggest sales tool around.
 

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You beat me to the quote. So much analysis online about the virtues/pitfalls of X digital system vs Y authentic tube tone, yet the quietest section on somewhere like SS is.......live performance.
It's also because it's easy and fun to talk about shiny new toys that you can see, touch, feel, and get a dopamine hit from buying or selling. It's much more work to talk about someone's music, especially when they have to pitch it to you for you to listen to it. You know it, being a live musician is hard, getting people to listen or care about your music is hard. That's why there's not a lot of talk about live performance IMO. On the other side as a listener, it can be overwhelming too b/c everybody can record now, so instead of having a few hundred signed bands back in the 90s, now there are millions of recording artist on Spotify, Soundcloud, Youtube, etc. And they all want you to listen to them. Tough market for sure.

As for my take on modelers and live performance, I LOVE modeling for live performance. I can throw my FM3 and PS170 in a backpack and go play a show. Heck I have a HX stomp in the backpack as a backup! Coming from a guy that used to play out of a 12 space refrigerator rack, that's amazing. I'm jonesing to play live again and may just join the first original band I find after this pandemic is over just to get back out there again. Recording at home is hella fun, but playing live and with other people is where it's at for me.
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah, I guess I was skirting around that point really, we are in the age of the bedroom guitarist where their rigs rival any touring musicians, before they've ever even played a gig.

I guess the same thing is responsible for the lunchbox amp craze.
 

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I guess the same thing is responsible for the lunchbox amp craze.
I'm actually a bit surprised that it took so long for amp manufacturers to figure out that people want good sounding small amps. The vast majority of guitarists have always been bedroom ones, but even bedroom guitarists want good tone. IF something like the Laney I have, a 6505MH or similar, would have been available in 2003, I'd have bought that any day instead of the Flextone I ended up with (which looking back was a huge mistake!). I think the only affordable tube amps I was aware of back then were 50 W or more (I think the Peavey Valveking or something). Of course there were still better options available than the Flextone, I could have e.g. gone for a Tech 21, but the options these days are 1000x better for people who aren't even interested in gigging.

And to address Matt's original point, I guess it's like anything else currently, that polarisation about being more 'authentic' than the other guy is the biggest sales tool around.
 

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One of my favourite memes, I love the fact that through most of that video he looks like he's about to cry.

I really miss not having a great big rack of stuff and a ton of cabs behind me onstage, but I have to be honest that my sound is the best it's ever been (and more importantly, it's consistent and much less open to variation based on conditions) with the Kemper, and of course I can fly with it. So my compromise is that I'm planning to build a large rig with dual Kempers and various outboard gear that lives in Germany.
 

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You beat me to the quote. So much analysis online about the virtues/pitfalls of X digital system vs Y authentic tube tone, yet the quietest section on somewhere like SS is.......live performance. I came to the conclusion a long while ago that guitarists much prefer dissecting choices over actually playing because it's easier and doesn't make you confront your shortfalls.

And to address Matt's original point, I guess it's like anything else currently, that polarisation about being more 'authentic' than the other guy is the biggest sales tool around.
Plus, younger guitarists don't want to be rock stars, they want to be social media stars. Then you have the old farts like myself who never gigged at all but have more processing power in their home offices than the large hadron collider.

I personally never really cared much about the "does my modeler sound authentic enough" or "does my tube amp sound tubey enough or do I need this rare vintage 12AX7 that was buried in a polish bunker" side of things. I had a GSP2101 for ages and loved it. I have tube amps now and they're awesome. I have modelers and they're awesome too. One of my favorite tones ever is oldschool green-stripe Peavey solid state tone.

This is the age of everyone having to have one better than the next guy. People who can't enjoy their awesome Axe-Fx standard because it's not an Ultra, or their mini Mark because its not the big version. It's silly. As long as your gear doesn't say Line 6 on it, chances are your tone is already pretty solid.
 

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Using a laptop on stage will never, ever be ok. It's the furthest thing from rock & roll possible. It's a sterile means for boring musicians to make lifeless music that nobody will ever remember.
A part of me agrees with you, but I saw T-Ride do it in 1991 and they absolutely crushed. I've seen Therion be awesome using the orchestra in the box. Lacuna Coil, some others. Jag Panzer flies stuff in and kills it every time. Iced Earth.

The problem is people us it as a crutch, kind of like bands flying in guitar parts when they have 3 guys on stage anyway.

Shitty bands will always find a way to use tech to make their music shittier and unexciting.
 

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Yeah, I guess I was skirting around that point really, we are in the age of the bedroom guitarist where their rigs rival any touring musicians, before they've ever even played a gig.

I guess the same thing is responsible for the lunchbox amp craze.
The lunchboxes come from the fact that most gigging musicians now are playing in smaller rooms. That's straight out why I have one - it has other advantages, but mainly the reason is so I can play with my cover band without having to be deafening. Every cover band I see is doing the same.
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Plus, younger guitarists don't want to be rock starts, they want to be social media stars. Then you have the old farts like myself who never gigged at all but have more processing power in their home offices than the large hadron collider.

I personally never really cared much about the "does my modeler sound authentic enough" or "does my tube amp sound tubey enough or do I need this rare vintage 12AX7 that was buried in a polish bunker" side of things. I had a GSP2101 for ages and loved it. I have tube amps now and they're awesome. I have modelers and they're awesome too. One of my favorite tones ever is oldschool green-stripe Peavey solid state tone.

This is the age of everyone having to have one better than the next guy. People who can't enjoy their awesome Axe-Fx standard because it's not an Ultra, or their mini Mark because its not the big version. It's silly. As long as your gear doesn't say Line 6 on it, chances are your tone is already pretty solid.
I feel like this is why I've always felt comfortable with mid-range gear. I've never really owned anything that anybody would consider boutique (mainly because I can't afford it :lol: ) But especially since working as a guitar tech, and you get to "peek behind the curtain" so to speak on so many brands of guitars and amps, and you just realise that the law of diminished returns is astronomical on that shit.

The most expensive bit of kit I own/have owned is a Dual Rec, and whilst that's a unique and cool amp, I don't love it because it's expensive. Hell, I'm going between that and my JVM at the moment which I'm actually preferring, and that's like half the retail price of the DR.

Like you said, it is about attainment these days, and "flossing" as the kids say... Showing off your wares, and not actually using them.
 

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Guiterrorizer
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I think part of it with analog pedals is that everything old is new again. Give it 15 years and watch people gravitate to all-digital screen-only options.

Lunchbox amps almost seem like electric cars - it's where things were headed, but companies wanted to sell their old school cred (V8s and 8+ tubes).
 

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Plus, younger guitarists don't want to be rock stars, they want to be social media stars.
I'll take your word for it. The only musicians under 30 I know IRL wouldn't help your case though
 

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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'll take your word for it. The only musicians under 30 I know IRL wouldn't help your case though
Dude you live among an enclave of privileged little shits running amok in central London. Throw a fucking rock and you'll hit some prick attempting to be a rock star :lol: Not exactly a realistic representation of the bedroom warrior demographic.
 
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