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Thread: Amp - should go digital modelling?

  1. #1

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    Amp - should go digital modelling?

    Okay guys - I keep flipping between which way I should go in terms of a new amp.

    A bit of history... I've had some gorgeous amps such as the Divided By 13 BTR23 when I gigged, with an equally nice array of pedals. However, due to personal circumstances I won't be gigging and will be focusing on recording at home.

    Now that I have time to play the music I like rather than playing the covers others want, I want to spend more time learning and playing some Petrucci with my JPXi.

    My dilema is to either go Boogie or Fractal, value or digital. I had an Axe Fx and ditched it due to the time I spent tweaking it and never quite getting the clean and crunch tones I wanted in the time I had available. However, this was a few years ago and I know firm ware updates have had a big impact on tone and I now have more time to "learn".

    The Boogie looks attractive, either MKV, JP-2C or the Mark Five : 25. Although I will be using it in my home, I am fortunate that I don't need to have "bedroom" volumes. AND being a Petrucci fan, a Boogie does look attractive. I've also got a SM57 mic and Apollo interface for recording.

    The Fractal appeals as I have a Mac / DAW / interface and studio monitors all set up in a treated room and I could plug and play straight away, but having a Boogie and cab also appeals. The Fractal is also the cheaper option, but this is a long term purchase. I also have a ton of pedals O can use.

    Come on guys which way should I go? Any advice as I just cannot decide.

  2. #2

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    I am a tube amp guy through and through, but if I weren't gigging and focusing on playing at home and recording etc, I'd go with an Axe FX or Helix hands down.
    EBMM Axis Super Sport (Pacific Blue Burst)
    EBMM L3 HH (Olive Gold)
    EBMM L3 HSS Roasted (Bodhi Blue)
    EBMM Silo Special (Blue Dawn)
    EBMM Albert Lee SSS (Sky Blue)
    EBMM Majesty (Iced Crimson)
    EBMM Cutlass (Vintage Turquoise)
    EBMM L3 BFR (Blueberry Burst)
    EBMM Cutlass HSS (Firemist Silver)

  3. #3

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    I'm not recording and never will so you might want to ditch my advice but...

    I've recently sold all my amps and pedals and purchased a fractal AX8.

    I only regret not having done so earlier : it is a fantastic machine.

    Indeed you will tweak it a lot but you don't have to. You can get a great sound in minutes without ever touching the advanced parameters.

    It sounds great with my AL's and sounded great when I had my LukeIII.
    Last edited by Magic Jason; 10-26-2016 at 02:33 PM.
    AL SSS BFR Pinkburst
    AL SSS Neptune Blue
    AL HH Starry Night
    AL HH Candy Apple Red
    AL MM90 Sparkle Turquoise

  4. #4

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    Two things:
    I have just bought a Line 6 Helix, and so far it's awesome. I haven't gigged with it or even put it through a power amp (2 days time). But I have been impressed with the sounds.
    And the second thing is - I will be selling my Roadster, G Major 2, Mini Amp Gizmo & Midi Raider
    And I'm very near Manchester
    EBMM JP 7 - Pearl Redburst
    EBMM JP 6 - Mystic Dream
    EBMM SUB-1

  5. #5

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    I vote JP-2C especially if you're a Petrucci fan. I use mine at home with a Fractal FX8 for effects. I can switch the JP-2C channels, FX loop, EQ, and shred mode with the FX8 over midi. It really is a very powerful setup. I use the cab clone into an audio interface for quiet practice late at night.

    Amp modeling is very mature at this point and very flexible but I don't personally think you can replace the feel of an amp. That JPXi deserves tubes!
    EBMM JP6 Mystic Dream
    EBMM JP13
    EBMM Majesty 7 Arctic Dream
    EBMM JP16 6 String
    EBMM Monarchy Majesty
    EBMM Marine Blue Sparkle Majesty #64

  6. #6

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    Hey ZeeW - I completely changed my setup from a Boogie Mark3 to an Axe FX2. Haven't touched the boogie since.

    Despite this, I'm more leaning to recommend you to go the Boogie way because -

    1. you've got a heap of pedals for all the FX you need;
    2. you said you only want to concentrate on playing JP (so won't need the multitude of amps/tones on offer in the AxeFX); and
    3. you've been to the AxeFX before and not liked it. Yes, the firmware updates are great, but if you weren't a fan of tweaking/comparing sounds when you previously owned it, my feeling is that you might feel the same again on your second time around.

    I think you'd have more fun rockin out on the boogie option - and also remember products like the Two notes Torpedo (not to mention the inbuilt Boogie Cab Clone) which will allow you to seamlessly interface with your studio setup

    2017 JP6 - Starry Night
    2012 JP6 BFR - Black Quilt
    25th Anniversary - Venetian Red
    2014 Albert Lee HH - White
    2001 Silhouette Special - Las Vegas Gold

  7. #7

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    Mesa mark 35. 5 watts or 35. Cab clone di. Perfect. Mesa Boogie Mark 5 35 | MESA/Boogie(R)
    2009: JP6 w/BFR Rosewood Neck - Ice Blue
    2010: Silhouette HSH w/Matching Neck - Black
    2010: Ernie Ball WAH - Black/Green and smooth like silk
    2011: Sterling H w/Matching Neck - Black

  8. #8

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    I've been using Fractal Audio since 2009...
    I'm using an Axe FX XL now and would never go back...I have few Tube Amps(Triple Rec,5150II,Bassman) Collecting dust....
    The latest Firmware is unbelievable ...
    2005-JP6 RED PEARL
    2015-JP15 BLUEBERRY BURST (#57-300)

  9. #9

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    With as nice of an interface as you have, you could do direct and use amp sims to play around with that get you in the ballpark of the Axe-Fx. I would only get the Fractal if you need lots of FX and endless tweaking options.

    I would explore other amp options as well, if you don't mind used, there are used Mesas that John has used in the past that can sound super cool. IE, Mark IVs, Different Era Rectos can be had cheap and with pedals can really sound good.

    Personally I use amp sims inside my DAW and don't mind at all with my JPs since I am a studio only guy.
    2013 JP7 Mystic Dream w/ Piezo
    2012 Steve Morse Deep Purple Y2D Hardtail
    2013 JPXI 7 String Onyx

  10. #10

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    Its worth checking out This...

    Thats from a guy with Kemper and Helix.

    Ernie Ball Music Man Steve Morse Y2D
    Ernie Ball Music Man Steve Morse Signature

  11. #11

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    Sold all my amps, cabs and pedals to get an AxeFx, MFC, and two Atomic CLR wedges. Not one ounce of regret. My rig sounds unreal and I don't see myself ever going with anything other than an AxeFx now. Taking the time to really learn the ins and outs of the AxeFx was really beneficial, but you can get good sounds without having to dive deep into the AxeFx vortex.

  12. #12

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    I vote for Kemper... Check it out, its a really great piece of gear!

  13. #13

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    I'm lucky enough to have both an Axe FX 2 and a Dual Recto/4x12...honestly they're both great set-ups, and either one (modeler/tube rig) would get you where you need to be. One of the nice things about the Mesa amps is that they rely very much on the preamp for their sound, so you can actually get great sounds at low volume with an SM57. That's been my recent revelation and I've been spending some time lately running the Dual Rec low with a mic through my monitors working on putting together some low volume recording tones. The advantage of a tube setup is that if you do end up playing out again, or jamming with friends, the amp/cab has you covered. Of course I also live in a house where I can crank it up if I want to. The downside to the tube set up would be cost, maintenance, and the need for more outboard gear for fx, which are such a big part of JPs sound. Also, if you can't ever crank it, it's kind of like having a Mustang and only ever driving it 20 mph.

    The Axe FX is pretty great. I've only ever had the Axe FX 2, so don't know the tweaking struggles of the earlier models, but even with the 2, it took me awhile to get gain sounds that I like, and I do still probably spend more time tweaking than I'd like. The Mesa sounds are great, and its an all in one solution for what you're after...amp models, fx, interface. Downside would be the need for a powered speaker or power amp and cab to play out or jam with others. You'll probably also want a MIDI controller to get the full potential out if it while playing. I have both a Matrix power amp to run it into my 4x12 and a powered Mackie speaker. I'm just not a fan of the FRFR thing, at least for playing metal. I like having a guitar cab when playing live...the FRFR just isn't the same to me. The biggest advantage to the Axe FX 2 is it's flexibility and the fact that it can be used in a number of ways (direct, frfr, power amp + cab) and can be easily integrated into other rigs (4 cable method, as an fx processor only). When I got my Axe FX 2 it did squash my interest in gear for quite awhile, it just covers so much ground. But I do find myself starting to think about putting together a pedal switching rig for my amp, and I too am lusting for the JP-2c...

  14. #14

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    My experience with FRFR has been the opposite of somata. I absolutely love it for metal, or anything else for that matter.

  15. #15

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    +1 for Fractal. Especially for recording and re-amping. It could require a bit of a learning curve, but it is great. User since 2012 and couldn't be happier. It's really come to life since around quantum 2.00 firmware IMHO.
    Current EBMM Guitars:
    2012 JPXI-7
    2014 JP6 BFR Koa
    2018 Valentine
    2018 JP15 BFR Eminence Purple

    My Youtube Channel

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