Thoughts on using a digital multi-fx with classic amps?

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by What?, Nov 6, 2020.

  1. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    I'm half-ass thinking about getting a multi-fx unit to use with my old Fender amps, plexi clone, and DSL50. Do you think digital effects are up to par these days? The dirt stuff isn't to my ears, but things like eq, clean boost, and time-based effects just may be good enough that compromising for a simpler setup might be worth it. What do you think? I tend to like classic sounding effects such as spring reverb, tremolo, unvibe, wah, as well as eq and clean boost. I guess I'm concerned with both the quality of effects and any monkey screwing that a multi-fx unit might introduce such as loss of tone from digital conversion and introduction of noise.
     
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  2. junk notes

    junk notes Well-Known Member

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    Nothing wrong with that. I think there is a thread or two on which to use with a Marshall without stepping on the amps tone. I want to say one of VOX's ToneLab tube hybrid versions sounded great without too much coloring. I am guessing some new stuff (tech) out there that compliments and covers those concerns of using a multi affects unit without compromising your invested tones.
     
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  3. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Do whatever works and gets you where you want to be.
     
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  4. SkyMonkey

    SkyMonkey Well-Known Member

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    The Line 6 Helix range is right up there with the best for multi effects.
    The Helix HX Effects entirely dispenses with amp and cab sims for just your kind of needs.
    It does 4CM to place boosts and TBE's in their correct place.
    But if you need more footswitches and an expression pedal the full Helix or Helix LT are the best of the range.
    Just turn all the amp/cab sims off.
     
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  5. Marshall Boogie

    Marshall Boogie Well-Known Member

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    Analogue is no clear winner anymore in the realm of effects. While buffering type may come into play, I find that these considerations are best left to each persons preference(I find most buffers are destructive to tone....however I have recently purchased a rack eq that REALLY drops the signal and needs a buffer near it(I found pedals usually do not suffer this kind of loss and you can get by without buffers). I love the eq's tone shaping ability and will suffer a buffer to keep using it(never thought I would say that....I was a true bypass nazi until last month). But the effects that are digital are EVERY bit as good as any analogue (I had a Waza delay and sold it as I prefer the DD-7 I have...waza analogue and DD-7 digital.)
     
  6. Biff Maloy

    Biff Maloy Well-Known Member

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    I prefer a basic rig first off like you describe. Basic effect pedals and not many. But, I've also wanted to try an all in one way of going about it. Does add a lot of versatility. I have a Line 6 Helix. It's great in a lot of ways on its own but i end up ditching the experiment every time i try to use it with an amp. The idea you have for using just time based, like running it in say my 2525H's effects loop, i have meant to try but 4CM with it I'm just not a fan of it. Disconnect all that and the amp just sounds better to me. Basic pedals from there i don't notice much if any difference.

    I've had the Helix for years. All the connections, levels, etc were right. It's easy to miss something in your signal flow though.

    If you need more options for time based stuff this is what i do. I chose pedal effects that have midi control and i store them in a drawer right near the head. Very short cable run also. Like my TC Electronic Flashback X4 Delay. You got 3 different delays you can control remotely. I wouldn't mind getting the Reverb version next but either way i just prefer it this way.
     
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  7. wakjob

    wakjob Well-Known Member

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    Home Forums > Music Gear > The Tone Zone >
    Thoughts on using a digital multi-fx with classic amps?

    Nitwit purists will bash you over the head for doing it...

    Normal people will give you the green light.
     
  8. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    Try it out before you buy it .
     
  9. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I have the Helix LT and run it 4CM with my DSL40C and am really happy with it. I initially bought it more for the effects and as a backup to my DSL, but over time I find myself using more amp models and less of my DSL.

    It’s only one man’s opinion but illustrates how far modelers have come IMO.
     
  10. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    The Line 6 stuff looks interesting in terms of speed of switching between effects setups and having a simple effects rig. On quality of effects, it seems less so. Listening through this video there are negative differences to the analog counterparts to my ears, where the digital modulations sound flat (lacking engaging depth) and the dirt pedals sound less bitey and upfront. I have heard these same sorts of characteristics with other digital pedals. And I guess that is the major tradeoff with going digital. Gaining recallable setups, losing some quality of sound.



    At the moment the effects that I have (after alot of listening) are all analog, and I actually do enjoy using them here and there. A univibe type pedal, a tremolo, a wah, a boost, and recently I have taken to using a cheapo analog delay once in a while. The dirt pedals all stay shelved. And I still need another eq pedal since my last one died. But I have been mulling over which one to get for too long. That kind of escalated into looking at digital eq pedals, which furthered to looking at multi-effects, given the price of digital eq pedals.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
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  11. Filipe Soares

    Filipe Soares Well-Known Member

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    no issues man, 4 cable method is the way to go. and if it sounds good, it is good!
     
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  12. rick16v

    rick16v Well-Known Member

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    Do it. Line6 HELIX pedals are great
     
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  13. ampeq

    ampeq Well-Known Member

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    This is the baby you want and it comes with some free software right now. https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...-multi-effects-floor-processor-worship-bundle I have it and it works very good, some of the boost and drive pedals are awesome. The reverbs are some of the best I'v heard and there is ton's of stuff to play with. Once you learn it you can set it up to turn on several things at once and blend effects. Nice and small too, you can drop it in the back of a combo amp and go. Check out the list of effects in these things, to me it's a no-brainer. $600 for well over 100 pedals or roughly $250 each.....hmmm... I like my amps so I didn't want amp modeling or speaker cabs, just effects. When I got this thing I sold my Helix LT, this one is simple, small, and has all the same effects.
     
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  14. Waldog

    Waldog Member

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    If you’re using old amps the TC Electronics GMajor2 or a Marshall JFX-1 would be good. They both have the ability to switch channels on an old skool amp as well. This really opens up some options for any old footswitchable amp and the FX sound great.
     
  15. Crikey

    Crikey Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion and unless you like tweaking computer presets versus turning outboard effects, then stay away. I have a line 6 hd500xt and its a pain in the ass to adjust. Forget adjusting on stage, its not happening.
     
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  16. freefrog

    freefrog Member

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    I use digital MFX's in 4CM with tube amps since the late 90's and it works for me.

    Granted, it's not always easy to set. I typically use a frequency analyzer to measure output level, bandwidth, phase response, noise floor and THD... then I stop to tweak only when the curves obtained with the digital MFX are similar enough to those of my analog FX's and direct tone. It's not always efficient: i've sent back a few digital units that I couldn't set to my liking... But when it works, once it's done, it's a "set and forget" thing.

    I don't use digital distortion, that said: I avoid anything else than "smooth gain" digital FX's (boosters, OD like TS clones) and I "spice" my tube driven tones thx to non gainy FX's - compressors, wah, modulation, delay/reverb. Reason: if digital fizz is there, it sings its ugly song with onboard digital high gain. Other FX's are generally fine.

    For the record, I've at disposal several pedalboards. Two of them are all analog and include FX's that I've modified / built and sometimes designed myself. That being said to put my testimonial in perspective. :)
     
  17. ampeq

    ampeq Well-Known Member

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    Scroll down to the list and look at what you get. A lot are spot on and some can even be better, but no matter what you can get a great sound very easy. Combining pedals to make your own can work great as well. https://line6.com/data/6/0a020a3d3f.../HX Effects 2.50 Owners Manual - English .pdf
     
  18. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    The large variety of effects and instant recall does sound attractive.

    I have been researching the Line 6 stuff a bit this weekend. It seems that the issues I heard in the comparison video linked to above are due to the HX Effects having a fixed 1M ohm input impedance, where the HX Stomp and higher priced Helix units have a variable input impedance for matching the load on a guitar's pickups to the response of the first model in the effects chain. Those devices with fixed input impedance are handicapped in that each model is designed around having it's own input impedance like the analog counterparts. It seems that this issue can have more or less consequences depending on which model is first in the chain.

    Also, I have been reading that the HX Effects has a tone suck issue (other than the input impedance issue) when using the effects loop on the device with an amp's effects loop.

    Another issue I found is that the Helix stuff isn't really true bypass, although Line 6 initially claimed it to be. When set for true bypass mode (vs. buffered bypass mode) it seems that the input circuitry has some sort of split and has a capacitive load. Some of the sound examples I heard sounded pretty dulled by this. This may or may not be an issue depending on how the device is being used. For example, if you always run in buffered mode it likely wouldn't be an issue.

    Anyway, just sharing a little about what I'm finding. Line 6 does seem to have some nice effects models, but the hardware could present some issues for transparency when using their devices with an amp.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
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  19. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    Are you using a hardware frequency analyzer for this or something else? I agree on the digital fizz issue. So that may throw out the possibility of using any of the dirt effects in a multi-effects unit, leaving clean gain, time, and modulation effects. I'm already just above covered in all those areas with pedals, and it might make sense to add a couple more rather than going for a multi-effects unit. A pedal setup doesn't have instant recall, but in practice I don't use wildly different arrangements and settings anyway.
     
  20. Filipe Soares

    Filipe Soares Well-Known Member

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    that sounds like a lot of trouble... I'm a very simple person, if it sounds good is good... generally my ears are the judge.
     

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