I’m happy to double post.You're starting off with a bad assumption. I'm not into classic rock. I don't sit around in my studio re-creating Cream or Hendrix. I'd be out of business if I still played that stuff. I do national ad work, and it has to embrace a lot of current styles.
However, the Plexi sound is timeless and very useful in current music.
The other incorrect assumption is that the bells and whistles like MVs and FX loops don't affect the tone. They do.
It's easy to hear this - spend some time with an amp like Mesa's Lone Star, that allows the player to switch the global MV and FX loop out of the circuit. Switch them out, the amp sounds more transparent. I have one sitting in my studio, so I'm familiar with what it does. Anyone with ears can hear exactly what MVs and FX loops do with a simple switch.
Any time you add a gain stage, you add a little wool to the tone of the amp.
I used to use FX loops back in the 80s and 90s. FX loops have been around for over 40 years! Putting an FX loop in an amp is hardly moving things forward. It's retrograde. I'd argue that it's more progressive to wake up and eliminate the stuff that sucks tone.
Loops also add noise. In addition, there's a desirable saturation that happens running FX in front of the preamp. You want clean effects? Run them at the console. It sounds better than any FX loop.
The reason that companies haven't been able to replicate the Plexi tone correctly is because they cave in to notions like "We have to have a master volume and FX loop." You make a compromise in design, you hear that compromise in tone. Simple as that.
As to Paul Smith, there are lots of different kinds of challenges in gear. Moving the ball forward is only one of them. Another one might be, "Can I re-create the tone of a much-loved icon whose recordings still inspire guitar players?" If the answer to that questions is yes, he's got a super-desirable product for a lot of different players.
Am I “Les old”? No.
Yes, get something special! You urned it!Wait, am I that old?
Dude, I am still rockin' in the free world! I just did national ad music for a car company, playing loud electric guitars fergodskes!
"Les, I think what he's implying is that it might be wiser to invest in something you'll get more use out of in the near term. Something like, um...a burial plot."
"I'm going to be cremated."
"That's a space-saving idea. So get yourself a nice urn."