Playing A Real Amp Again!, Just dusted off my Mark V combo
Kristofer Dahl
Sep 7 2020, 11:37 AM
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After many years of Kemper:ing I just couldn't stand playing amplified, so for the last 6 months the only time I have plugged in was to record myself. All other playing/practicing I did on the electric, but unamplified.

I wasn't really sure why, I told myself it's probably because I wanted optimal dynamics...or something.

However today I have been working on new lesson content, and as I needed some gain I brought out my Mark V amp - and I have been playing it the last 20 minutes with a power attenuator and no pedals.

Boy is the difference HUGE to my ears. Here is what I suspect it is: modern amp modulation is the real deal sound and feel wise - they are highly capable production tools. But as for the Kemper/profiling technology I am beginning to think I actually feel/hear that I am playing the same amp "snapshot" over and over, and it gets repetitive.

I guess it could aslo be that some mesa amps are known to not produce accurate kemper profiles. But my theory is that a tube amp, even if you manage to play two identical pick strokes in a row (which is impossible) it will still not sound the same because of inconsistencies in all the analog components... What do you think?

edit - I have not tried profiling my own amp yet. But I have played many Mark V kemper profiles

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Caelumamittendum
Sep 7 2020, 01:08 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Sep 7 2020, 12:37 PM) *
After many years of Kemper:ing I just couldn't stand playing amplified, so for the last 6 months the only time I have plugged in was to record myself. All other playing/practicing I did on the electric, but unamplified.

I wasn't really sure why, I told myself it's probably because I wanted optimal dynamics...or something.

However today I have been working on new lesson content, and as I needed some gain I brought out my Mark V amp - and I have been playing it the last 20 minutes with a power attenuator and no pedals.

Boy is the difference HUGE to my ears. Here is what I suspect it is: modern amp modulation is the real deal sound and feel wise - they are highly capable production tools. But as for the Kemper/profiling technology I am beginning to think I actually feel/hear that I am playing the same amp "snapshot" over and over, and it gets repetitive.

I guess it could aslo be that some mesa amps are known to not produce accurate kemper profiles. But my theory is that a tube amp, even if you manage to play two identical pick strokes in a row (which is impossible) it will still not sound the same because of inconsistencies in all the analog components... What do you think?

edit - I have not tried profiling my own amp yet. But I have played many Mark V kemper profiles


For the longest time I was using plugins (BIAS Fx, Le pou, Ignite Amps Emissary, you name it), but for the album I'm working on at the moment, I decided to try and mic up my Laney IronHeart half stack, and at least in comparison to what I was using it felt like a huge difference. It feels much more "alive" in lack of a better word.

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Phil66
Sep 7 2020, 01:35 PM
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Years ago I have a Peavey Bandit Transtube, I bought a Korg G1 at the same time, I only ever "played" through the G1 into the front of the amp. After about a year I went straight into the amp, I couldn't believe the difference, now that was a solid state amp but as Ben said, it felt more alive, the other thing I felt was a more immediate connection, like it responding immediately.

Now I'm going to get my Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue on when I get home, love that amp cool.gif

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Gabriel Leopardi
Sep 7 2020, 02:20 PM
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Nice!! Can't wait to listen to that new lesson!

Profilers and modelers, are really practical and unlimited tools, but talking about dynamics and feel, nothing can beat a high end amplifier.

Are you using a cab emulation to record?



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Kristofer Dahl
Sep 7 2020, 04:47 PM
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QUOTE (Phil66 @ Sep 7 2020, 02:35 PM) *
Years ago I have a Peavey Bandit Transtube, I bought a Korg G1 at the same time, I only ever "played" through the G1 into the front of the amp. After about a year I went straight into the amp, I couldn't believe the difference, now that was a solid state amp but as Ben said, it felt more alive, the other thing I felt was a more immediate connection, like it responding immediately.

Now I'm going to get my Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue on when I get home, love that amp cool.gif


Very cool, I had the Peavey transtube as well! I liked it back in the days.


QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Sep 7 2020, 03:20 PM) *
Nice!! Can't wait to listen to that new lesson!

Profilers and modelers, are really practical and unlimited tools, but talking about dynamics and feel, nothing can beat a high end amplifier.

Are you using a cab emulation to record?


I have not got to recording yet, but probably I will do that unless I really feel like going all in with an sm57.

I think dynamics in kemper are killer, and feel is a vague word. But I cant help feeling I am playing sound samples. Maybe its just an illusion, but it sure feels different!

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klasaine
Sep 7 2020, 06:10 PM
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You know I would weigh in on this topic laugh.gif

Digital modeling, profiling, simulation has gotten really good over the past 10 years or so. I love playing the recent amp sims (Brainworks and Softube via UA) and I think I get a good 'recorded' sound using them. But for practicing I use a real amp and usually either straight in or just with OD and delay.

Tubes amps physically change and vary as you play them. The components react slightly differently as they get warm. Since the 50s, amp designers and builders have been trying to get them to be more consistent but it's impossible. Tubes and transformers generate heat when they are working. That heat is the component literally wearing out, decaying. Just the air and sound vibrations moving around inside the chassis, the cabinet and the speaker will cause subtle (and not so subtle) sound variations while you're playing. Same for the recovery time of said components. Tube rattle, cone cry, the cabinet vibrating - all these things contribute to the 'sound' of an amp. Even the grill cloth makes a difference. Then you potentially throw a microphone (or two) into the mix and oh, how about a mic preamp ...
To a good recording engineer, an amp with a speaker in a wooden box sounds different everyday. Humidity, temperature and air pressure all affect the sound. It may be subtle but it is there. It's a given. Those conditions certainly affect your guitar, right? You can feel it. The same materials are in an amp, plus even more. All of that combined with your very personal (analog) set of hands ... voila!

An algorithm is not affected by any of those things.

*An interesting experiment would be to profile an amp when you first turn it on - and then after playing it for 2 hours ... and then after maybe two years of playing.

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MrVegas
Sep 7 2020, 11:47 PM
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my only experience with amps vs modeling is amplitube4 and and my small blackstar tube amp. when im practicing over a backing track using my studio monitors and computer i prefer micing my amp and using my headphones, over using amplitube4 any day! for me amplitube was kind a waste of money.
but have any of you guys tried out neural dsp plugins? , neural dsp also has something that looks like the next generation of kemper type amp modeling coming out called quad cortex
im very tempted to download the neural dsp archetype nolly plugin

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Todd Simpson
Sep 8 2020, 02:21 AM
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That series of amps is legendary for good reason. It's visceral. You feel it your bones when you turn it up a bit. The entire amp is a instrument. So at lower volumes, any decent set of monitors can replicate tone, a mark v combo is built to scream and roar. It's so good that it's even resonant at lower volumes before the power tubes start to saturate. Just a very musical and monstrous amp imho. It can play nice or it can rip ones head off.

QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Sep 7 2020, 06:37 AM) *
After many years of Kemper:ing I just couldn't stand playing amplified, so for the last 6 months the only time I have plugged in was to record myself. All other playing/practicing I did on the electric, but unamplified.

I wasn't really sure why, I told myself it's probably because I wanted optimal dynamics...or something.

However today I have been working on new lesson content, and as I needed some gain I brought out my Mark V amp - and I have been playing it the last 20 minutes with a power attenuator and no pedals.

Boy is the difference HUGE to my ears. Here is what I suspect it is: modern amp modulation is the real deal sound and feel wise - they are highly capable production tools. But as for the Kemper/profiling technology I am beginning to think I actually feel/hear that I am playing the same amp "snapshot" over and over, and it gets repetitive.

I guess it could aslo be that some mesa amps are known to not produce accurate kemper profiles. But my theory is that a tube amp, even if you manage to play two identical pick strokes in a row (which is impossible) it will still not sound the same because of inconsistencies in all the analog components... What do you think?

edit - I have not tried profiling my own amp yet. But I have played many Mark V kemper profiles

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Kristofer Dahl
Sep 8 2020, 09:30 AM
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Posts: 16.893
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From: Stockholm, Sweden
QUOTE (klasaine @ Sep 7 2020, 07:10 PM) *
You know I would weigh in on this topic laugh.gif

Digital modeling, profiling, simulation has gotten really good over the past 10 years or so. I love playing the recent amp sims (Brainworks and Softube via UA) and I think I get a good 'recorded' sound using them. But for practicing I use a real amp and usually either straight in or just with OD and delay.

Tubes amps physically change and vary as you play them. The components react slightly differently as they get warm. Since the 50s, amp designers and builders have been trying to get them to be more consistent but it's impossible. Tubes and transformers generate heat when they are working. That heat is the component literally wearing out, decaying. Just the air and sound vibrations moving around inside the chassis, the cabinet and the speaker will cause subtle (and not so subtle) sound variations while you're playing. Same for the recovery time of said components. Tube rattle, cone cry, the cabinet vibrating - all these things contribute to the 'sound' of an amp. Even the grill cloth makes a difference. Then you potentially throw a microphone (or two) into the mix and oh, how about a mic preamp ...
To a good recording engineer, an amp with a speaker in a wooden box sounds different everyday. Humidity, temperature and air pressure all affect the sound. It may be subtle but it is there. It's a given. Those conditions certainly affect your guitar, right? You can feel it. The same materials are in an amp, plus even more. All of that combined with your very personal (analog) set of hands ... voila!

An algorithm is not affected by any of those things.

*An interesting experiment would be to profile an amp when you first turn it on - and then after playing it for 2 hours ... and then after maybe two years of playing.


I get it that an amp sounds different from day to day and all that. But it's the difference from note-to-note that kinda surprises me - if that makes sense. That part should be possible to get perfectly right through algorithm.

I guess we constantly (me at least) tend to think, this is is it - the algo is now sophisticated to the point of perfection... but I guess we still have a decade or more to go.

QUOTE (MrVegas @ Sep 8 2020, 12:47 AM) *
my only experience with amps vs modeling is amplitube4 and and my small blackstar tube amp. when im practicing over a backing track using my studio monitors and computer i prefer micing my amp and using my headphones, over using amplitube4 any day!


For me one of the major advantages with a digital amp, is the total control of levels when I am practicing or recording a backing - I feel it's much harder with a tube amp standing beside you (compared to getting all sound from the monitors).

QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Sep 8 2020, 03:21 AM) *
That series of amps is legendary for good reason. It's visceral. You feel it your bones when you turn it up a bit. The entire amp is a instrument. So at lower volumes, any decent set of monitors can replicate tone, a mark v combo is built to scream and roar. It's so good that it's even resonant at lower volumes before the power tubes start to saturate. Just a very musical and monstrous amp imho. It can play nice or it can rip ones head off.


Yeah! And I love its analog versatility.

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Darius Wave
Sep 8 2020, 04:06 PM
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Well I generally have similar observations.

I always prefer real amp as long as it doesn't deliver additional logistic complications (usually transport issues) but on daily basis I work mostly with profiled digital tones. Unfortunately the comfort of work wins it all.When I set the room for recording a real amp, it's frozne for any other type of work. Also...why to use unnecessary electricity when the PC is alrady turned on and everything I need is already there.

I do lanuch my tubes sometimes to "satisfy myself" but once I started to travel more as a session musicnian, I hardly have anybody to carry any cab bigger than 1x12" smile.gif Fortunately I found a way to combine these two worlds. I use analog amp with impulse response loader, when I need to plug straight in to the line in of P.A system.

Same as you said Chris - I have belive that the magic of unexpected amp behaviors and rich harmonic content makes me always feel like it's the proper way things should be done...smile.gif

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klasaine
Sep 8 2020, 06:01 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Sep 8 2020, 01:30 AM) *
I get it that an amp sounds different from day to day and all that. But it's the difference from note-to-note that kinda surprises me - if that makes sense. That part should be possible to get perfectly right through algorithm.


Seems incredible I know, but all those things that are variable with a tube/analog amp happen note to note. Every note you play has to pass though several analog components that are constantly reacting and recovering and they don't react and recover nearly as fast and as consistently as digital components. It's chaotic. The quest for modeling technology is not to get it perfectly "right" - because there is no "right". It's to figure out how to inject that perfectly tiny amount of true chaos into the modeled components: input and output transformers, preamp tubes, power amp tubes, capacitors, resistors, some type of rectifier circuit, an output transformer, a speaker and finally a cabinet resonating. That's a lot of stuff to not only 'model' but then impart with some type of non-linear fluctuation that is influenced by the behavior of the component just prior to it and also the component(s) just after it that in a real amp will then re-influence the prior components. Remember, we're talking about metal alloy(s), glass, paper and wood that physically move and change as electricity moves through them and around them.
I'm sure you've at some point noticed that if you're wailing through a low wattage tube amp cranked way up, that you can actually play faster than the amp can really react - tube and transformer "sag". That's hard to emulate convincingly. *UA has a Tweed Fender Deluxe sim that's pretty good but it uses 69% of a sharc chip to do it.

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Kristofer Dahl
Sep 9 2020, 07:39 AM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Sep 8 2020, 05:06 PM) *
I do lanuch my tubes sometimes to "satisfy myself" but once I started to travel more as a session musicnian, I hardly have anybody to carry any cab bigger than 1x12" smile.gif Fortunately I found a way to combine these two worlds. I use analog amp with impulse response loader, when I need to plug straight in to the line in of P.A system.


Cool! So what amp do you use, and do you use the line out for this purpose?

QUOTE (klasaine @ Sep 8 2020, 07:01 PM) *
Seems incredible I know, but all those things that are variable with a tube/analog amp happen note to note. Every note you play has to pass though several analog components that are constantly reacting and recovering and they don't react and recover nearly as fast and as consistently as digital components. It's chaotic. The quest for modeling technology is not to get it perfectly "right" - because there is no "right". It's to figure out how to inject that perfectly tiny amount of true chaos into the modeled components: input and output transformers, preamp tubes, power amp tubes, capacitors, resistors, some type of rectifier circuit, an output transformer, a speaker and finally a cabinet resonating. That's a lot of stuff to not only 'model' but then impart with some type of non-linear fluctuation that is influenced by the behavior of the component just prior to it and also the component(s) just after it that in a real amp will then re-influence the prior components. Remember, we're talking about metal alloy(s), glass, paper and wood that physically move and change as electricity moves through them and around them.
I'm sure you've at some point noticed that if you're wailing through a low wattage tube amp cranked way up, that you can actually play faster than the amp can really react - tube and transformer "sag". That's hard to emulate convincingly. *UA has a Tweed Fender Deluxe sim that's pretty good but it uses 69% of a sharc chip to do it.


Cool description Ken - I guess inconsistent analog chaos is hard to replicate via algo 😎 I am very happy I kept the Mark V, I predict I will be using it quite a bit now. Can't wait to start testing cab sims with it (there is a whole bunch included in various factory plugins in logic pro). However I guess there is a risk I will spend a couple of years on this just to realise I would have been better off micing the amp 😅

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Darius Wave
Sep 9 2020, 08:56 AM
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I use Cornford RH30 and Laney VH100R. First has simialr vocing to orange amps, second has more open sound, more flat, I guess better for recording when the "air" is needed. I feel like I'm going towards Plexi tone through last years and I'm wondering on simply getting one of super leads to let it stay in rehearsal room and go to the for pleasant practise. Both of my amps haven't seen stage for years...sad.gif


For gigs I use taurus Stomp-head which is a hybrid construction with tube comrpession but boosted with class-D power amp. It feels like a real deal amp when it comes to sensitivity and touch. This one has need to have cabinet plugged to so I don't need to use any dummy load. I go with this and impulse loader and I'm both - mobile and satisfied with tone and amp response.

Lately I found that I really dig the bogner blue stomp box tough I generally prefer the distortion from the amp.

I was using my fully tube amps with impulses as well. I found that affordable Jet City attenuator has a line out as well. You need to use adi-box to solve ground issues between amp and interface but then you can record raw tone from your amp and launch your favorite impulses in DAW.

If you want to d othis on stage, there are several units, such as Mooer Radar or Pangaea CP100...and some more


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Kristofer Dahl
Sep 9 2020, 09:36 AM
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Cool - the Stomp Head feels like something that would suit me - small, versatile and analog.

I also use a (Harley Benton) attenuator which is a necessity to get the nice tones at practice levels from the Mark V - even on the 10W mode. It has line out with speaker emulation which I will likely experiment with this month.

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Darius Wave
Sep 9 2020, 10:17 AM
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I know what you mean biggrin.gif V100R was moded and have a 1W mode...which still makes me able to set volume on 1..no further smile.gif))

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Kristofer Dahl
Sep 15 2020, 09:26 AM
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Here is a first recording with the amp:
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...st&p=780334

I will add a second software mic though - to get some more bottom end. The highend here is nice though 👌

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Gabriel Leopardi
Sep 15 2020, 07:34 PM
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Awesome! Killer tone!! I like how warm and deep it sounds. It's also impressing how much sustain you can get from your amp.

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Kristofer Dahl
Sep 15 2020, 07:43 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Sep 15 2020, 08:34 PM) *
It's also impressing how much sustain you can get from your amp.


My LP has some responsibility for that as well 😁👌

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Todd Simpson
Sep 16 2020, 01:58 AM
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It's a great idea to combine a real amp, and what it does best, with a software mic/etc. and get some of what software does best, and mix them both together. Sounds good as it is, I imagine it will only improve with the "software extension"

QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Sep 15 2020, 04:26 AM) *
Here is a first recording with the amp:
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...st&p=780334

I will add a second software mic though - to get some more bottom end. The highend here is nice though 👌

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