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Mod Britannia
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm extremely happy with the sounds I'm getting out of my current rig (Maxon OD808 > Marshall JMP-1 > TC G System > VHT 2/90/2), but I'm debating a rig overhaul. There's a couple of things behind it, partly the weight/size (currently split over a 4U rack weighing around 18kg with my wireless, tuner, JMP1 & G System and a 2u rack with the VHT weighing in about the same), partly because I worry about the possibility of my near 30 year old digital preamp shitting the bed and being unrepairable and partly because as amazing a bit of kit as it is, the G System is a bit of a PITA to program. Plus Adam has got himself an Axe FX as a second rig, and I have to be honest and admit I was really surprised at how good it sounds through my VHT (we pretty much managed to nail my tone with very little tweaking) and the ease of editing/routing options on it are extremely impressive.

My current front runner is getting an Axe FX ii and getting my rig down to a 4U rack of around 25kg, but I'm also kicking around the idea of a H&K Grandmeister (around the same price as a used Axe FX ii and would give me an entire rig in an amp) or Tubemeister (which is cheaper but requires me to keep the G System). I'm also completely open to suggestions/feedback etc.

My requirements are:

  • Get my whole rig into a maximum 6U (prefereably 4U) rack weighing 25kg or less. I'm not fussed over a rackmounted preamp or a mini head that I could get in a rack, just as long as I can get it in a rack
  • A nice clean channel, a great tight metal rhythm tone that will still work around a Mark IV (so Marshall-esque is good). A 3rd tone for leads is a bonus, but not essential
  • Great fx
  • Budget of around £1000 used (assuming I'm selling the G System, or around £600 if I keep it)

My budget would come from selling the JMP-1 & G System. The VHT is absolutely *not* going to be sold, I got it for far too good a price. Plus it'd provide power if I went for a preamp.
 

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Premium Member
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with the VHT already in hand I would suggest an axe fx or helix.

Helix units are going used for just inside your budget and if you find an axe fx 2 mk II you will likely get it for somewhere in the region of 1300 - 1500. The current fractal lineup (XL and XL+) will run you significantly more.
 

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Could be Hitler
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My buddy has a HELIX and it is pretty freaking awesome. Every time I play his HELIX he can't get me off it :lol:. I haven't ever really had the chance to have any extensive playing time with a Fractal unit but I can't imagine it's that much, or any, better than the HELIX. If you are going to go the modeler route, I would seriously consider the L6 offering simply for the fact that it sounds very good and is a good bit cheaper.
 

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yeah fwiw I own an axe fx ii and if I were buying a modeller today I would likely buy a helix due to the lack of tonal difference between them and the fact the helix is less than half the price.

A guy in my local guitar store plays in a successful touring band and has plenty of cash to spend on whatever he wants (he owns about 5 suhrs and just dropped 9k on a ltd edition les paul) - he is using a helix.
 

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My buddy has a HELIX and it is pretty freaking awesome. Every time I play his HELIX he can't get me off it :lol:. I haven't ever really had the chance to have any extensive playing time with a Fractal unit but I can't imagine it's that much, or any, better than the HELIX. If you are going to go the modeler route, I would seriously consider the L6 offering simply for the fact that it sounds very good and is a good bit cheaper.
Dude, there's a massive difference in tone. Just ask any Fractal owner, and they'll defend it to the death. :lol:
 

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Could be Hitler
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Dude, there's a massive difference in tone. Just ask any Fractal owner, and they'll defend it to the death. :lol:
Of course, it's the salve for their stretched out asshole over the price/performance comparison :shrug:
 

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Señor Member
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The VHT is absolutely *not* going to be sold, I got it for far too good a price. Plus it'd provide power if I went for a preamp.
I know I'm going against this but if you want lighter weight, you could always sell the VHT (which would up your budget) and get a powered Kemper. Then you've got everything you need in a 2 space.
 

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Mod Britannia
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I know I'm going against this but if you want lighter weight, you could always sell the VHT (which would up your budget) and get a powered Kemper. Then you've got everything you need in a 2 space.
Nah, not happening. I mean, I'd consider a powered Kemper, but not selling the VHT. It's too good an amp and cost me so little, plus I'd never be able to replace it as they just don't come up for sale in the UK. Plus I still want to keep some tubes in my signal chain, and my past experience shows they're most important in the power section.

I'll be shaving around 10kg off my rig if I do switch out the JMP-1/G System, once I factor in the other related components that would no longer be required.
 

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Mod Britannia
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update time:

Lozek has been kind enough to lend me his "spare" Kemper, which I picked up Sunday night. I had a low volume play through some patches last night, running the monitor output with cabs off into my VHT 2/90/2 and my camo Zilla cab (V30 & K100). I'm much more impressed with that than I was with the demo unit in the shop., there's some really nice stuff in the profiles already loaded on it. Unfortunately I won't get a chance to hear it in a band mix at volume until next Tuesday, but that gives me some time to work out which rigs I'd like to try in that context. It does also mean I can't hear it through my main cab until then as well, as that lives at the rehearsal space. That's my snakeskin Zilla with a pair of V30's. But, next Tuesday will be a head to head between my JMP-1, Andy's Kemper and Adam's Axe FX, which will no doubt produce some interesting results.
 

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ya boi
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If you have access to a Kemper, then you should totally make a bunch of profiles of your JMP through your VHT, cut out the middleman, and literally have "your tone" in the much more compact space. That's what I did with the ENGL Savage when I got my Kemper.
 

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If you have access to a Kemper, then you should totally make a bunch of profiles of your JMP through your VHT, cut out the middleman, and literally have "your tone" in the much more compact space. That's what I did with the ENGL Savage when I got my Kemper.
Do we need any special di boxes to do that? So we can run the vht in the captured signal path?

James - also we should totally profile my Mark Iv :wub:
 

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ya boi
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Do we need any special di boxes to do that? So we can run the vht in the captured signal path?

James - also we should totally profile my Mark Iv :wub:
If you want to do direct profiles you'll need either a loadbox or a DI, depending on if you're taking that signal from the speaker out or the FX Send (in this case I'd recommend the FX Send since you'd be running it back into the VHT. You may not need a DI box if you have another method of attenuating the signal, but when I was making profiles for my guitarist's Jet City it yelled at me for the FX send being too loud). But for a regular studio profile, it's just liking micing up a cab, just plugging the mic into the Kemper instead.
 

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Señor Member
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Would you plan on using the Kemper with the VHT permanently if you go that route, or are you thinking of using a power speaker live? I've been curious about teaming an AFX or Kemper up with something like a Tech 21 Power Engine.
 

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James, you were the man back in 2016 when you and I were discussing gear that ultimately led to me getting the G System, which for about a year I used it daily and thought it was the absolute bees knees until Boss introduced the MS-3 this year. The effects quality of the MS-3 and the transparency is an upgrade over the G-System from my experience. If your heart is set on going digital, man you can't really go wrong with an Axe FX II or a Kemper. Hell, the original Axe FX Standard and Ultra are simply phenomenal too and are really inexpensive right now.

If you're going to buy, right now is a great time to do it. At least in the US, prices and demand seem to be in that post-Christmas downtime before tax season hits, not sure how similar the UK market is, but this is a great time for deals on amps and effects.

Just to throw a couple other options at you, I know it's not terribly sexy to only have a power amp in a rack, but what about a great pedalboard like the AX8, Helix LT, or the Headrush? The Helix, at least, sounds phenomenal from what I've heard, and we know what Fractal can do.
 

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Look what I can do
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I'm running an AX8 through a matrix gt1000fx into a vader 2x12 + pair of orange 112's and loving it. Originally I had it paired with an Engl E840/50 but eventually decided I was more interested in turning the poweramp modeling on than I was in keeping tubes around. I haven't sold the engl yet purely out of laziness...I haven't really felt any great urge to put it back in the rack. I'm honestly way more impressed with this solid state amp than I thought I would be, and its 1u and weighs just about nothing.

I haven't had my hands on kemper or helix, or AxeFx (rack) for that matter, but I love my ax8. Tones are phenomenal and I'm loving the simple/easy rig. From what I know about kempers, I feel like owning one would just piss me off. I don't have amps of my own anymore so I have nothing to profile, at which point I'm at the mercy of whatever profiles I can find online? No thanks. I'm sure you can get equally good tones out of a helix vs fractal unit, so IMHO if you're looking at a digital rig, pick the form-factor & features you want and buy that one. Based on my time with a podHD I don't know that I'd be interested in getting back into line6 again...paid expansion packs & lack of consistent updates are things I always hated. No idea if its still the same now that they have the helix out, but thats just my opinion on line6 after moving to fractal.
 
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