Friday, December 4, 2009

Cleaning out my analog closet

I feel like I should post since Karl was nice enough to link my blog and say kind things about it! The internet doesn't need another "sorry I haven't posted in a while" blogs so I'll just skip past that.

Life has brought about a lot of changes this year. I just became and uncle and I started dating the most amazing woman I've ever met. That wasn't enough change so I decided to get engaged, start planning a wedding, and look for a house for us to buy as well. Whoa.

In terms of guitar, the biggest change will be moving to a smaller house. Currently I live with 3 other guys who are all musicians and we have a 20' x 20' room full of recording gear, drumsets, bass rigs, guitars and amps, a fender rhodes and a hammond B3. I have lots and lots of stuff in that room. I won't have room for it and honestly I don't use a lot of it so I've been selling stuff off. I'll be taking my amp, three electrics, an acoustic, my pedalboard (plus a few extra pedals), and the rhodes with. Everything else is going.

In the downsize, one of the things that crossed my mind was selling my amp, cab, and pedalboard and replacing it with a digital modeling system. I couldn't bring myself to do it, though. Not because I'm against modelers but because I really like what I'm getting with my current gear. Why fix it if it ain't broken?

However, I did decide two things: 1) If I didn't have any gear and I was starting from scratch I would go digital and 2) when my amp dies I will most likely switch. My amp is 38 years old, it will die someday and I have it insured so even if it just dies of old age I'll still get the appraised value, score!

So, what should I get if my amp died today or hypothetically I didn't own any gear?

I have a few criteria:

1) It has to sound good. Not "people falling to their knees that single note sounded so sweet" good. Maybe 90% that good.

2) I has to keep presets and have a simple layout so with two or less buttons I can bring up a new song with a new tempo.

3) It has have great delay, light overdrive, tube screamer (solo), and high gain - or let me input my Tim, TS808, and OCD.

4) It has to model a Superbass/Bassman and AC30 well. Bonus if it models a bluesy fender.

5) It has to be significantly cheaper and/or easier to transport than my current set up. Otherwise, what's the point?

6) Has line out to the sound board and the option to go out to a solid state power amp with a speaker.

Components I would look at:

1) Axe-fx
2) Line6 M13
3) Line6 M9
4) Line6 EchoPro (rack delay)
5) Digidesign eleven-rack
6) POD (maybe..)

Any recommendations?!?


Karl said...

Bro, congrats on getting engaged! I mean, keep the gear, but still...congratulations! :)

mapleneck said...

I think the Axe-Fx is the only amp modeler + effects unit that can currently satisfy those conditions. I have heard my friend's on stage, through IEMs, through mains and it is impressive. I haven't tried it myself so I can't comment on the feel. The only person that I've heard live that didn't sound like crap through the Pod was Lincoln Brewster. He's on the Axe-Fx + Liquid Foot controller + Mission Engineering expression pedal. now. Weird - he switched and picked up the best set-up right away.

Congratulations on getting engaged!

lespaulplayerdoctor said...

The M9 is definitely not an amp modulator, but so far I can see myself using it in place of my whole rig if needed. The overdrives don't feel the same as analog, but you can tweak them enough to get sounds you want. I really like that. As I sometimes have to play a gig "right now" with a church, the M9 is easiest for my wife to throw in the car and bring me vs the whole pedalboard.

オテモヤン said...


Andrew said...

seems like you've already got things in the right order already i'm not sure how much your current rig set up is but the digidesign eleven rack it really sweet check it out man.

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ketar said...

I own a 11R and this is a first time in my life that a modeled sound is really convincing me: and I do love valves... Never tried/heard the AXE thing but one thing is sure: simplicity is not on his side. I guess all your conditions are satisfied only by the 11R. said...

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Tim said...

+1 for the Axe fx. I was at a summer conference in England and one of the electric guitarists had one and sounded just as good in that environment as the other guy with his Pete Cornish effects and a Top Hat amp.

It helped matters for him that they hid away their amps under the stage so the other guy didn't have his Top Hat pointing at him, which I think would've made a big difference.