I can't find a "direct" semi clean lead sound I can live with.

Discussion in 'Studio & Stage' started by Huggy B, Mar 3, 2019.

  1. Huggy B

    Huggy B I'm feeling funky baby.

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    A very specific target I'm after but it seems to be one of the most elusive. I've been trying to get a good tone for jazz lead on melody and improv (somewhere between George Benson & Larry Carlton) , I have a pod 2.0 and all the amp simulators in logic Pro X, but they all sound like doodoo to me. I've even tried bare-bones straight from my guitar into the board and tried to doctor it up with EQ and effects with very little success.

    For rock sounds my Pod does pretty fine with a Mesa, Marshall, Fender, and hot Rod amp tones, but to do jazz it's a little more subtle (the tone considerations) and so far I haven't come close to the sound of a real amp. I'm starting to think that no form of direct input into recording is going to come close to an SM57 in front of a good amp. Am I wrong?

    I'm sure Les, our studio wizard, must have some sage advice on this subject but if anyone else has suggestions I'd like to hear about it too.
     
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  2. Rider1260

    Rider1260 New Member

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    Since a Roland Jazz Chorus is one of the best clean amps ever and a transistor amp , I can't see why you couldn't get a nice clean tone.
    I would be careful of your input gain it is possible you are clipping the input of you digital devices making them sound poorly
     
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  3. dmatthews

    dmatthews Dave's not here...

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    Kemper?
     
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  4. Boogie

    Boogie SuperD

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    That’s exactly where I was going. What hear in the cans (on the Kemper directly) is exactly what is fed to the board. And with the new reverbs (they just added reverbs as good as anything I’ve heard on a Strymon Big Sky), they’re proving they can make effects. Highly recommended.
     
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  5. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Kemper is a great idea, having previously owned one. That sai, check out the Amplifire products for a fraction of the cost, with PC/Mac editing.
     
  6. dmatthews

    dmatthews Dave's not here...

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    For recording, there are so many fantastic options for us now. @bodia Kemper will have an editor this summer.:D
    And yeah, the new reverbs are sick.
     
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  7. bluenova

    bluenova Electrified since '84

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  8. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules New Member

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    $499 for an Atomic AA6 is a lot of kit for the coin.
     
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  9. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Good to hear about the Kemper editing. That was really my only gripe with it. Loved it, while I had one.
     
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  10. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    Maybe let's back this up a bit, instead of looking for a different "model", have you tweaked the tone and volume and pick-up selector all over the place? The "right" tone sometimes isn't where you expect it to be, and an aggressive roll off of the tone knob combined with a mild roll down in volume reveals a whole new landscape.

    If you've done all that...well, Les would probably say ditch the modelers, get a real tube amp! If you can't find the tone with a tube amp, then no modeler is going to get you there...
     
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  11. Huggy B

    Huggy B I'm feeling funky baby.

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    Thanks for all the input folks!!!

    -Kemper - tried one out about a year ago, at five times the price of a Pod I expected it to sound five times better, alas in the clean spectrum of sound, it wasn't. The rock tones are killer but even with the cab simulators it still fell short to my ears for clean tones. I'm on a jazz forum and there were players that jumped on this item when it first came out, but ended up using it as tone shaper for live applications instead of recording.

    -Amplifire - At close to the price of a Pod I would check one out but I can't find a dealer or a dealer list on their website and I'm definitely not going shooting in the dark on this one. I tried out a Fractal AXE FX unit that was supposed to be a top notch item, it also fell short to my ears.

    -Tweaking knobs & faders -I do plan on going back and going thru all the paces regarding levels, etc. but I felt pretty confident I explored most of the avenues. It is worth a re-look though.

    -Reverb & pedals - I Record dry, never with any reverb or effect, if you record that way you're stuck with that sound, if you add effects later you can control them, add/subtract them, and my effects in Logic Pro sound better.

    Jazz cats are a quirky bunch that pour over details that sometimes don't mean that much to a lot of people when it comes to sound & tone, (TBH solid state amps prevail over tubes in this realm), but I have to agree with a lot of those jazzsnobs that most of the modeling stuff out there falls short.

    Thanks folks, ........... now all we need is a statement from the wizard.
     
  12. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I’m no wizard, but you’re right, no form of direct modeling recording gives you the dynamics and immediacy of a mic in front of a tube amp, and I think this shows up more with clean and “edge of grit” sounds than it does with highly overdriven sounds.

    Thing is, sound isn’t just frequency response or how the distortion works. There are other important factors, and one of them is dynamics. Tube amps are very dynamic (tubes amplify exponentially, transistors amplify in a linear fashion). Modelers are less dynamic. Think of dynamics as a “third dimension,” if you will.

    When you’re modeling an overdriven amp like the models you mentioned that work better, you don’t need as much dynamic range. Overdriven amps are highly compressed, because overdriven tubes compress quite a lot; many tube compressors work on the principle of natural tube compression. So using a somewhat less dynamic device like a modeler works better when it’s modeling less dynamic, highly overdriven signals. Makes sense when you think about it, right?

    No doubt you’ve heard people say tube amps are louder. Well, no, it’s not that they’re louder, it’s that they reach their note attack amplitude faster, and in a different way.

    That’s dynamics.

    So take that same guitar, and plug it into a model of a clean amp, and the difference in dynamics is palpable. You feel it as well as hear it. I think a lot has to do with what the ear perceives at the very attack of the note.

    Every note or chord has an envelope, consisting of the note attack, the initial decay, the sustain, and the release. This is called the ADSR Envelope.

    Clean tube amps sound more dynamic in the attack portion of the note than models of the same amp because tubes are, in fact, more dynamic than transistor based things. Note attack is what the ear perceives first, and it tends to dominate the ear on a plucked instrument. When some of it goes missing, the ear is disappointed.

    Of course, when the dynamics are missing, you play differently, too. That’s why modelers, for better or worse, have a different feel than playing through a tube amp.

    However, short of getting out a mic and sticking it in front of an amp (which is preferable for the above reasons), there’s something you might try that might improve the modeled sound after you record it: you can use an envelope shaper, and set it for a faster, sharper attack. Sometimes this works well, other times not so well. There are a lot of factors involved, but it’s worth a try.

    I believe that Logic has an envelope shaper in its standard plugin array. You can make it accent the note attack a little harder, or you can use it to slow down a note attack. Obviously, you want it faster.

    One additional observation - a model of “an” amp isn’t necessarily a model of your amp, set up the way you set it up, and sticking it in your room where you can get it to sound exactly the way you like it. Models are also limited by their ability to process quickly in what they can and can’t do. A/D conversion and D/A conversion takes processing time. To understand this, all you have to do is think about what happens when you record in Logic; there’s a “round trip” latency that takes place. You can hear it. I guess that’s two observations, isn’t it? Oh well!
     
    #12 LSchefman, Mar 4, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
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  13. Huggy B

    Huggy B I'm feeling funky baby.

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    Thx for the input, I'll keep it in mind when I go back to the board and dissect the parts of this whole equation. One thing though, it's not the attack that concerns me, it's the overall characteristic of the tone. The mids is what I always find lacking when going direct, no matter how much I tweak, I guess that goes back to the first part of your statement.

    As for Logic Pro latency, I've gotten around that one by leaving all effects & EQ out during the recording process, works well.
     
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  14. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    My point about the latency is simply that it takes time for AD/DA converters to actually do their thing.

    Tone character is a personal thing; all modelers sound different, anyway. The old PODs are pretty old technology. But you'd be surprised how the dynamic of a note affects perception of tone quality.

    And if because of latency that occurs in all converters of digital devices, you play differently, that affects your tone as well. Because a good chunk of tone is you.
     
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  15. Huggy B

    Huggy B I'm feeling funky baby.

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    True, I really had a tough time dealing with it when EQ'd or with effects, without them I couldn't notice or feel any latency so it's been a non-issue. Maybe the fraction of a millisecond in digital conversion without the EQ & effects is unnoticeable to me.
     
  16. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    You won't find an Amplifire in the wild. They only sell direct. I haven't had my AA12 long enough to give any solid input, other than I like it. Hit up DTR for some specifics. He's got a ton of experience.
     
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  17. goat-n-gitter

    goat-n-gitter Dismembered

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    I'm surprised at the OP's issue. On my old PodXT, the Twin Reverb emulation is one of the few amp sims I still find tolerable. I can get awesome amp tones of all varieties from my Helix, but that is certainly not a budget solution. Have you looked at the Sansamp stuff? most of their stuff is pretty affordable and well regarded (and all analog). There is also the new Line 6 Helix Stomp, which will do all the amp models the Helix will and is just $600, still a bit pricey.
    With all that said, I do still prefer my amps (Mesa MKV and Vox AC30) over sims. Sims are just very convenient for low volume noodling.
     
  18. Huggy B

    Huggy B I'm feeling funky baby.

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    I agree, I was just looking to better my tone & signal for recording, so I don't have to torture my neighbors doing multiple takes.:oops: (Having an inspirational tone for "noodling" helps too though.)

    Went thru all the models in my Pod last night after listening to some high end units.....

    ..... needless to say, my noodles were pretty soggy and not "al dente".:(
     
  19. Huggy B

    Huggy B I'm feeling funky baby.

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    After giving a listen to some other modelers I figured I'd at least share my thoughts.

    I checked out a Kemper again, the Axe FX III, and the Line 6 Helix. Oh yes they're better than the old Pod 2.0, but the prices......... :confused: Hard to spring that kind of cash for something I won't use that often, but a good direct sound would be useful, I think the jury will be out on that for a while.

    I will say this though, I've read a lot about the Kemper here and around the web, but to my ears the Fractal Axe FX was a notch above it in tones. Worth the difference in price? Not sure but that's the impression I got.

    *All tested using my HB II, I always bring in my own guitar to test amps & effects.
     
  20. dmatthews

    dmatthews Dave's not here...

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    It's only money, and you can't take it with you.
    But... it is your money:D
     
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