Since I believe the PAS is capable of replacing my backline guitar amp with the aid of an amp modeller I figured a comparison/observation thread would be nice. I've been using POD XT Pro and a DigiTech GNX4 for some time so I will type/edit something soon to share my experiences about those in day or two. Y'all are welcome and encouraged to contribute as well.
I should have a Boss GT-6 in studio soon so that will get some test driving results but this next box arrived today and my initial observations follow:
Adrenalinn by Roger Linn. Now this is a different animal. A cross between amp modeller, drum looper and exquisite tempo based effects. When I 1st plugged in the guitar and listened via headphones I was not too impressed with the amp models. Kinda "fizzy" stuff going on in my cans and most of you know how I feel about that. At this point, I was almost ready to pack it up and send back for refund. But, I decided to try it in the PAS and learn the interface. Boy, am I glad I did! The amp models sounded awesome and what's more important they actually felt good under my fingers. I could only detect "good fizz" with the PAS pumping this thing out. The headphone jack was not included with original version so my guess is that the headphone amp isn't very great but the line outputs rock!
Checked all the basics that I'm used to and yep, volume control roll-off cleans things-up a bit, good cleans and fat OD's. Overall a very nice touch/feel playing this unit. It doesn't model stomp boxes or anything like that but it doesn't need to. The amp drive control is more than enough to dial-in a sweet lead tone and then backing the guitar volume down does just what a great amp does. Cleans up a little yet stays fat and sparkly.
So now I'm getting comfortable with the tone and controls so I start a drum loop and learned how to use the tap-tempo function. Very different because it's not a tap at all. Rather, you hold the tempo footswitch for the measure length of the music you wish to synch. Different but cool in it's own way.
Whoa, somebody call a doctor because when you synch this thing to tempo, all kinda great stuff happens. Some of the patches use LFO's to control many different filter, amp, time and modulation parameters. Something about that is very satisfying and helps lend complex sticky/swirling mod/filter stuff to the guitar that just sounds/feels natural and great.
Okay, I realize this may just be a honeymoon period but I'm digging it pretty well and I will keep test driving 'til gig-ready and then figure it out from there. There's a lot here and I'm only scratching the surface but my initial impression is very favorable.
It'll do practically any guitar tone although it doesn't get there like anything else I've ever worked with. But once you get "synch'd" it should put a big smile on your face!
Cool topic. Thanks for the starter. I'll add some XT Live thoughts soon. Gotta fly for now.
Hey Steve, that would be great if you and others contribute your thoughts about the XTL. I guess this is basically a "review" of as many different digital amp modellers as our readers feel like contributing?
Since starting this thread with the newest weapon in my arsenal next I will offer a little review of the oldest:
Yamaha DG Stomp - An old favorite here. Old, as in the design dates back at least to the mid/late 90's but a favorite because of it's ability to do good amp models and a whole range of other duty(s) as well.
The DG Stomp is a 20 bit processor I believe with basic I/O's including SPDIF digital output. Coupled with a foot controller it's a very capable live box. Tuner is okay but not as fine resolution as I personally prefer.
The amp models basically give you 2 voicings (British/American) for each range between clean and distortion sounds. Speaker cab choices are plentiful but fail to do that much IMO. The modulation effects are splendid however and one of the best tremolos I've used in an amp box to date. Cleans are pretty good but as you go into OD/distortion there is some "fizz" or whatever you wish to call that. The A-D/D-A convertors are pretty good for their day but A/B'd with more recent offerings, I can hear a lack of resolution and/or details.
It does well mono but some effects will suffer if not in true stereo. There's no noise gate but you'll find about every other basic guitar effect. The compressor is basic electric guitar fair and it's parameters are not adjustable.
Flexibility is very good however and in the last couple years, I found myself running the DG Stomp in the efx loop of my different tube combo amps with amp/cab models disabled of course. Basically, a volume control and modulation efx solution that works very nicely to this day. It's function as a MIDI controller is very good too.
It sounds good in the PAS but IMO the DSP is just not up to today's amp modeller standards. However, for someone on a limited budget a used ($50-$100) DG Stomp could make a great deal of sense for live use w/PAS.
Boss GT 6
Ugh! I had high expectations for this one but it's just not much of an amp modeller. Pitch efx are outstanding but the FIZZ? Holy cow, it's a nasty hive of bees in there! I tried for an hour or so to make sure I had the best output settings but with that fabulous Roger Linn Adrenalinn sitting there, I finally gave up on the Boss. Not a keeper for sure! 'Glad I saved the boxes.
Line6 POD XT pro
Love/hate your thing? This is the one for you! Gotta great DSP engine and convertors but there are problems. 1st thing is a great clean amp sound but the notes die-off much faster than the tone I hear makes me think they should. Does that make sense? Fiddled with compressor all day/night but no go. Dog just don't hunt. Screws my "feel" all up.
Get into OD/distortion mode and the sustain isn't a problem but there's fizz riding on the guitar tone. Stick that on a PAS and you have a recipe for Tylenol after a gig. Amp models seem great until you keep noticing the same 5-6k "hiss", "crackle", "fizz" (whatever you wanna call it) genetically imprinted on every OD/distortion tone in the thing. Simply unusable for me as a stand-alone amp modeller.
However,due to it's fine audio quality, post mod/delay/reverb efx, cab/mic/room models and ample I/O's it's found a home in my rig but I leave the amp modelling to something else and basically use it as an expensive DI. At least the tuner gets high marks with very precise resolution on the unit display. Which can't be said for the FBV. Weird?
Well, this has been a fun box to explore. What it lacks in amp models it makes up in so many other areas. Built-in recorder, CF card storage including MP4 playback plus lotsa pitch bending capabilty. Models can be "warped" or blended together. That along with cab tuning helps keep the fizz at arms length. But, it's obviously not the DSP engine sonically of the POD XT. I love it though and flexibility coupled with practical features make it a regular item in my gig box.
So what is a great amp modeller? How can we tell if something's got the "stuff" or not? Well, it's pretty much like a great amp. A great amp sounds/feels great no matter what guitar you use or where you tweak tone parameters. It's simply impossible to screw it up! The same can be said for amp modelling tone. It shouldn't matter what guitar you use or where you set EQ because if it's got the mojo, it's gonna be right with the world regardless of how bright/muddy it is or how you drive the input.
One thing I discovered throughout all of this was that the PAS presets can help determine if you gotta great modeller or not. For example, the Adrenalinn sounded great no matter what preset I selected or how I wished to EQ the tone. Those things changed the timbre of course, but it never sucked away the "life" and explosiveness that gives the Linn box it's unique mojo. Every other unit in my comparison so far is/was easy to mess-up through presets, moon phases, gutar choices, etc. But never the Adrenalinn. Way too cool and I had to buy an Adrenalinn II because this is the tone I can enjoy without my beloved tube amps.
If you like the feel of a real amp, Adrenalinn makes it happen like nothing else I've ever gigged direct. I mean it's STELLAR stuff in this thing and totally what I was looking for. Trouble is, it's not a "conventional" amp box so you must approach it with patience and willingness to accept that stomp boxes, and "normal" names for efx types don't often apply.
No tuner, no balanced outs, mod pedal, inserts, etc. If you judge this box only by sales engineering criteria you'll be disappointed. But, learn the interface and how the presets are arranged by default so that you understand how to add preset efx to the awesome amp tones and you'll be on your way to a gratifying experience.
Already gotta POD XT with floorboard? Great, use that to control program changes via MIDI with the Adrenalinn and get volume control along with some pretty good post efx and in the case of the bean/Pro you will then have balanced outs. I simply disable all amp models and most of the time the cab/mic/speaker as well. The later can sometimes create an interesting effect. Run line-in to the XT from Adrenalinn output and you are ready to gig with a great sounding/feeling package!
However, for simple setups with the PAS the Adrenalinn II is probably enough to get-by just like a small amp/mic rig. The Adrenalinn II can change program patches from the footswitches more easily than the Adrenalinn I. Don't need much more than that and a guitar to get a totally satisfying electric tone going. Oh yeah, did I mention that the Adrenalinn is sturdy yet light weight? Small enough to fit in a gig bag pocket too and with a simple adapter cable it can also run off battery power for truly mobile fun!
Finally, the drum loops will make you smile time and time again. Get a good beat happening, dial-in your sound for the mood and I just can't put the thing down. It's like crack! If you aren't a better player after working with this box for a week, I'll buy it from you. I think it's so good that I wanna own every unit ever made so the competition can't have one!
This is it - get the Adrenalinn II or just a I if you wanna keep it low-key. But I warn you, if you do that, you'll order a II very soon or the upgrade kit to convert I to a II. In fact, I kept my I and I figure it will be extra cool to use 'em both at the same time somewhere down the road.
Hey ASAT, when you started raving about the Adrenalinn, I was ready to chalk it up to the usual "everybody hears things differently" explanation of why one man's tone is another man's trash. But I was intrigued enough to go home and pull out my Adrenalinn (updated to Adrenalinn II specs), which I hadn't touched in a year or more. I had bought it to use on something I was producing that needed some filtery effects, which it does brilliantly, but had thought the amp models were a bit thin and
two-dimensional (it's possible I hadn't revisited the amp models after upgrading the box). My conclusion, after messing with the
amp models for about 40 minutes at lunch today,
is that you're on to something here. The response can really be "spongy" and "spanky" and all of those other nebulous descriptors we use. I was just listening through my studio monitors and haven't had a chance to try it through the PAS yet, but you're right about the lack of fizz and the "feel". I'm anxious to
spend more time with it, as I've been less than
thrilled with the Pod XT direct. I usually use the
bean through an Atomic amp, which really fattens it and filters out a lot of fizz; however, it suffers from the well documented shortcomings of amps on stage. Maybe this Adrenalinn will work better through the Bose...
I checked out the Adrenalinn when it first came out a couple years back, and I was equally impressed with the sound quality. The interface, on the other hand, was so sorely lacking for live application that it rendered the unit completely useless for me. Much like my Yamaha DG Stomp - when it first came out, I felt it was by far the best sounding modeler / emulator available. But the incredibly awkward interface landed it in the closet the minute a more user friendly pedal caught up to their sound quality.
I do think the Adrenalinn models are better than the stock Pod models - but I've been able to write my own patches from scratch with the XT Live that are very close to what I want to hear. Add to that the versatilty and friendly layout of the pedal and it definitely wins over a (slightly) better sounding modeler with a (much more) poorly designed interface, in my book.
You're feeling what I feeling, me thinks. It's weird but with the Adrenalinn, I can jam for a long time switching between full power chords and single note licks/runs without that "sinking feeling" of my level dropping. If that makes sense?
It's totally dope in the PAS. You know how you can assign the drums to R and the guitar to L output jacks? I just do that if I gotta free PAS input. Then I can adjust drum level without messing much with the Adrenalinn drum volume routine.
What's even weirder is how the amp models might not sound all that great when isolated/solo'd but put 'em in a mix or at least with a drum beat and all kinda crazy stuff starts to gel. Plus that nice sponginess gives me a great ride everytime I spank the old ASAT through the Adrenalinn.
So yeah, the interface ain't intended for live duty without external MIDI control but if you got an XT or even an old DG, that's easy enough to setup. The XT is particularly nice because of it's excellent post reverb/mod/delay coupled with the abundance of output types and styles.
For program patch change it doesn't address above 65 on the Adrenalinn but that's not much of a big deal plus, hit bypass on the Linn box and I can kick-in an XT patch or two that I actually like.
GNX4 is equally fine too as a live Adrenalinn interface and the recorder is a great feature too if you get a good groove going. Although, the post reverb and A/D convertors aren't as fine as the XT it still provides XLR outputs, patch/volume control and many different "mixing" options through the matrix.
It looks like Linn has also provided his Adrenalinn I amp model touch to the M-audio Black Box. I'm gonna have to run one of those down next, LOL...
Hey ASAT, it sounds like you and I share the same gear and tone-tweaking addictions. I've been trying to get good DI'd tone for 20 years (been playing for 30+) because of the frustration of how amps sound so different depending on where you're standing. I also coveted the programmability of synths, and wanted to be able to change sounds without a juggling-while-tap-dancing routine. I got the first MIDI tube preamp (ADA MP1) and ran that through a H&K Redbox; then went to a Boogie TriAxis through a 20-20 power amp, into a Groove Tubes Speaker Emulator II, with effects applied after the power amp, and sent directly to the PA (this actually worked well, but was still a little fussy). Then the modelers came out and I went with the VG-8, the Pod, the DG Stomp (as well as the AG and UD Stomps), then the XT, then the XT through the Atomic. All of these things gave quite good results, but the quest is never over to somehow gather the good traits of all of them in one easy package.
For the last year-and-a-half I've been gigging with a female singer (the best I'
ve ever worked with; equal parts Sarah Vaughn
and Janis Joplin, with everything in between as well) For that I'm using a Godin Multiac Jazz, with the Roland output feeding the VG-8, and the acoustic output feeding a Fishman Aura and an Aphex pedal, which then returns to the aux in of the VG-8; the output of the VG-8 goes to a Boss Loop Station and out to the PA. (This is all built into a pedalboard. The top comes off, I plug it in and it's ready to go) I'm able to get good acoustic sounds for rhythm and fingerpicking, and fat hollowbody tone for fingerstyle jazz accompaniment, either of which
I can loop while she's singing and then solo over later in the song with any number of tones from the VG-8. I also use the open tuning capability of the VG for slide breaks in the Bonnie Raitt and Lucinda Williams tunes. It all works remarkably well. The rough part was building up the strenth to play rock and blues solos on acoustic strings (12's).
If you've worked with a VG-8, you know it wants to sound bad. It takes all of your tweaking skills to get it to sound decent, but until recently, it was the only way to do what it did. Now with Variax and Workbench, Line 6 is getting there.
Like a lot of the guys on the Line 6 message
boards, a Roland-ready Variax with passive pickups as well and separate acoustic output sounds like a good idea to me. And then one floor box that can model amps like the Adrenalinn and Pod, acoustics like the Aura, and open tunings like the VG-8, with synth sounds too, and looping capability as well. A guy can dream.......
I should add that the PAS has made getting these sounds out so much easier. I have two double B1 systems, but usually only need one for my rig and the vocalist. We played in the middle of a park last week, and you could here us clearly for a block in every direction. (Even behind us, oddly enough) When local celebs
(Detroit sports stars and news anchors) took the mic, as long as they stayed right on the grill they could be heard clearly through the whole park. This thing really works..........
JimR - It's a crazy journey for sure! BTW - I'm a former member, resigned in good standing, of Detroit Local #5. Lived downtown off Orleans and played a few gigs in the park too! If you ever bump into Ralphe Armstrong, give him a big hello from Joe at the GEM theatre production we worked together. Awesome bass man!
'Never got into the VG8 but I did run Roland synth setup, VG/VR 01 (or something?) for a few years? Hex pup is picky to be sure but I got it tracking and it managed to star in a few productions until I just tired of playing synth parts and figured it best left to keys anyway.
I'm highly intrigued by the Variax but since I'm married to a B-bender I'm afraid the piezo bridge wouldn't survive the use of a hipshot or something similar? I asked L6 if they were able to do individual string bends via the software but never received a reply.
That would actually be a HUGE capability via the CC pedal or even a simple MIDI controller attached to the guitar to perform "software bends" much like a Parson/White, Glasier and/or Hipshot mechanism does. Oh well, like you said - "If only we could get everything we need in one package?" LOL...
At least the PAS delivers those goods and then some. Pretty amazing results for every gig I've employed the PAS. Like you, I don't mess with double B1's for my electric but I do like a single. However, for acoustic only gigs, I've actually been leaving the B1 at home too and it's plenty of bass for me with the Taylor and vocals and sometimes mandolin/fiddle/banjo.
I've had some great gigs performing with the PAS as my backline amp too. FOH guys are always surprised how much my sound covers the venue. Sometimes they can't even mix their big stacks with the group to match my little ol' PAS.
I'm merely looking for a couple of electric setups that will cover the many different gigs I work without a combo amp. It's pretty dang close and I've got most bases covered to the point that I'm truly happy with the feel and range of tones as long as the Adrenalinn is someplace in the chain.
OMT - Checked the headphone output again on the Adrenalinn and it's really not very good compared to what I hear through the line-outs either into PAS or another processors headphone output. Just an FYI in case somebody only uses that to qualify the Adrenalinn. It's okay for light-weight practice but don't judge the Adrenalinn tone only by the headphone output on the box. Audition it into something else and/or preferably the PAS which has become my favorite way to hear it anyway.
By the way, the VG-8 can do software bending. You can program each string individually to any starting pitch, and have it shift to any other with the expression pedal. You can even have one string rise in pitch while another falls. I used to cover pedal steel parts with it in a rootsy band I was in.
I'll bet a hipshot B-Bender would work fine with a Variax. A Parsons-White would be tough to do with all of the V-axe electronics in the way. I also build and repair guitars, and my guess is the hipshot would work alright with the piezo saddles. There's also that other model that attaches to the tuner on the headstock and operates from the strap.
Honestly, though, I picked up a Variaxe 300, and while it's pretty cool, it just doesn't feel or sound as 3 dimensional in the room with
you as a real guitar. There's also a distinct lack of low end on the models compared to the real guitars. As I think you've mentioned in your posts, listeners might not know the difference, but the guy playing can sure feel it.
Interesting about the VG8 string bender? I've seen that headstock/tuner rig too. Higgins or something like that? Doesn't look like my kinda deal though. I'm already a Hipshot guy and with an ASAT, why not? It's a perfect match for the non-Tele through-body bridge.
I've considered morhping a 300 with a Warmoth Tele body & neck. Keep magnetic pups too and while we're at it, throw a Roland GK pup on there as well. That would keep me out of trouble for a while!
Totally agree about playing this new-fangled stuff! It may sound great but it just takes so much work to feel like I know what I'm doing. Gimme a basic ASAT with good amp/tone and I can usually keep fooling 'em!
Hey ASAT and JimR -
We are on the same wavelength. I have been using my XTL with the PAS just because of the Variax equation, but I also use the GNX4 whenever I am traveling and need just one box to use with headphones. I also upgrade my Adrenalinn to the II and the one thing I miss is some of the drum patterns. Otherwise that thing is the Nazz.
I am going to try the GNX4 and ADII with the PAS and I will let you know how that works out.
If you would have told me a year ago that I would be leaving my Fender Deluxe Reverb at home and playing through a 7 foot stick, I would have said "you're nuts."
My band purchased a couple of BOSE PS1's a few months ago, so I bought a POD XT Live. I'm impressed. The stock tones aren't that good, but once I messed around with it and created the patches I wanted to use, it workds great.
I set up 4 patches side by side in Bank 17 for easy access. Patch 1 is a Fender Twin, Patch 2 is a Matchless model with a bit of Overdrive (that responds nicely to picking attack), 3 is a Matchless with the gain set higher, and 4 is A Marshall Plexi with everything running full out. This pretty much gives me all the sounds I need for a typical gig, as my group play Classic Rock, Blues, R&B, and little country.
My only complaint is that the clean sounds (i.e. Twin) can be a little brittle. Does this system sound exaclty like my pedal board/mic'd amp rig? No. But it's so close, and so convenient to set up. I'm sold.
Bose Diddly by ASAT
'Don't like to post sound clips of my playing but here's a short example of what I mean about "grooving" with the Adrenalinn/PAS.
The signal path is/was this:
Adrenalinn I - line outs - guitar L, drums R=>
PAS ch-1/2, L/R respectively=>
Grabbed line-out from the PAS inserts with 1/4" phono to 1st click of each jack=>
Cool Edit Pro normalized the 2 mono tracks and mix/pasted them together. No efx, no nothing but what came outta the insert sends of the PAS into the computer. PAS was a lot more fun than cans for a recording monitor too.
BTW - I wasn't able to get the PAS digital output to communicate with my soundcard/computer. I know it worked in the past but I wasn't in the mood to troubleshoot digital electronics.
Obviously nothing great but a genuine, quick, dirty and humble example of a creative groove Adrenalinn is capable of sparking. Coupled with the PAS, I can get-lost for hours in a HUGE sweet pocket of tone and vibe. Kinda like a big amp but without the ear/back-ache of a big amp.
At least for me, all kinda unique signatures and new licks surface when cruising with this Adrenalinn/PAS combo. With the band, things have been getting really insane lately too. Although I don't use the drum box much live I still synch to tempo where the best stuff always seems to live.
Hopefully, a Jerk Lounge juke-box could sprout from this feeble offering so please don't hesitate to post something you enjoy jamming through your PAS!
Hey! That tone works for me Great noodling.
What type of cable(s) from the the line outs of channels 1/2 to your soundcard? Not sure what you mean by Grabbed line-out from the PAS inserts with 1/4" phono to 1st click of each jack=>
What brand of soundcard? Anything real fancy or simple soundblaster?
I would like to set something like this up for #2 son to noodle with. He has been talking about recording. He has a lick/riff base for LOTS of songs and I would like to lay some down before he forgets them all (Easier said than done to actually write some songs, however). It would be so much nicer to hear the dynamics through the PAS vs using cans while recording.
Does the VHT Valvulator really help? It would be interesting to hear an A/B with/without it?
Coz I'm wondering if it would enhance the sound enough to justify the $199 (I would buy the less expensive unit) with my PODxt bean and Tonelab.
I have Audition v1.5 and #2 son uses Tracktion v2.0.
You have used the Digital out in the past?
HarryThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Harry,
Tasty stuff, ASAT!
FYI - Don't forget that the PS1 digital out is 24 bit, 48Khz...
Enough with the modesty, ASAT, that rocks......I have a terrible suspicion that your main riff will seep into my subconscious and re-emerge in a few months, and I'll think I'm brilliant. Which amp model was that?
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