I have 3 questions related to 3 dimensions of Digital Modeling:
- Digitally Modeled Effect Chain Visualization (more of a rant -sorry)
- Making sense of Digitally Modeled Effects and Amplifiers
- Backward Engineering Digitally Modeled Patches
My question regarding Digital Modeling Platforms isn’t which is best, although I imagine there may be some strongly held opinions there. Also I am not arguing for or against the merits of Digital Modeling (DP). Rather it is the efficient and effective utilization of these platforms which translates to overcoming some of the challenges they inherently present.
By way of example, I purchased the (poor man’s DP) GT-1000 and a few weeks later began to notice a few short comings which have nothing to do with its reproduction of ‘real’ amps and effect sounds.
First, with real amps and effects, it’s not hard to discern what equipment you’re using or how that equipment is dialed in (parameterized). All you have to do is look around. In contrast, with DPs you see amps and effects as icons on the device or a computer screen but those icons are somewhat opaque- you have to drill into them individually to see what those icons represent. Likewise the parameters for those devices are only visible when you’re drilled into that specific device. With physical devices, you can easily scan your effects chain and understand what’s in play. With DPs you can’t. So, although I believe it to be a fanciful idea, “feature request” for digital platforms - please give me a picture of the devices and amps in the chain with visible parameters.
Second, while these platforms model an impressive (if not amazing) selection of amps and effects, at least in the case of BOSS, the literature regarding what is being modelled is painfully thin. For example, the X-CRUNCH amp is explained to be “Crunch sound that uses MDP to deliver a crisp tone from all strings.” Is that Bud Light “Crisp”? For classic amp types e.g. BRIT STACK = “This models a Marshall 1959.” which is admittedly more precise, but still implies you know what that means practically.
Third, the GT-1000 comes with 50 factory preset patches which presumably are the sounds BOSS thought would be of the most interest to their market. However, there is very little, well, no information as to the rationale underlying that patch selection or why BOSS chose a particular combination of amps and effects to create those sounds.
Finally, a more esoteric issue. With real amps it’s not unusual to have to get loud! to get those amps to deliver their iconic sound. Is that also true of their digital twins? The answer isn’t entirely obvious. The good news might be that DPs can give you that ‘get loud!’ performance without risking a restraining order or divorce proceeding. The bad news might be that you still have to drive the digital twin (presumably into FRFR amps) to get that iconic delivery. The answer is probably in the middle somewhere which implies making some decisions and tradeoffs.
So my (simple) questions:
Is it possible to associate digitally modelled amps with signature sounds or artists? For example, Santana uses a Mesa Boogie King Snake amp with more or less nothing else. Can I reduce Mesa Boogie to that sound? Likewise, Clapton and others used Marshalls back in the Wheels of Fire days and presumably not much else. Is that classic the “1959 Marshall” sound? Without some sort of reference point it’s difficult to make practical sense of these digital twin amps (e.g. how to implement them?).
Similarly, regarding the dozens of effects offered by DPs, how do I associate a useful sound with those devices? Obviously, with both the amps and effects, there may be a number of associated “iconic” sounds and artists, which is fine, but some sort of reference table (cheat sheet) would be useful.
Regarding the patches themselves, each patch typically has AT LEAST 6 devices, each with 6 - 12 parameters so backward engineering those sounds can be daunting. I guess I could dissect each patch, painstakingly turning off and on devices and adjusting parameters to learn what scope of each device can deliver. And of course some patches are stupid, er I mean, “personally unappealing” so I could kick those to the curb. I realize some “painstaking” effort will be unavoidable, but it would be nice to have a decision tree, so to speak, by which to evaluate the default patches so I could use that knowledge to create the patches I want and need.
What do people think about the get loud! question? Must digital amps be played as loudly as their mighty & distinguished (but so last week) parents?