What are some of the benefits of Modeling Amps?
Flexibility, consolidation, recording, and lots of channels.
Modeling amps are great for those looking to consolidate their rig into fewer pieces of gear, as many modeling amps and pedals can replace your entire rig, if that's something you're looking to do. They're also great for handling multiple musical styles in one centralized spot.
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Solid state amplifiers have quickly given rise to the popularity of digital modeling amplifiers. These are highly customizable solid state amps that include a slew of effects, amp models, and even cabinet models, all of which are completely digital and adjustable.
These also come in the form of pedals, like the Line 6 Helix and the Neural DSP Quad Cortex.
Check the price tracker: Neural DSP Quad Cortex
Some guitar players don't like modeling amps, or even solid state amps, in favor of the more traditional tube amp.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
But in this case, we're assuming you're interested in modeling amps. So we're going to look at six of the most common benefits of using them. If you have questions, hit me up the comments section below.
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1. Tone versatility
While there are a wide range of modeling amps and pedals, with different levels of flexibility, modeling amps are typically very versatile. Particularly with some of the newer technology, modeling amps can do any or all of the following:
- Replicate vintage amp sounds
- Replicable amp sounds based on musical style
- EQ whatever tone you want
- Replicate different speaker cabs
- Replicate different microphones and microphone placement
All told, this gives you an incredible range of sounds, and allows you to dabble in just about any effect or musical style you can think of.
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2. Price and gear consolidation
A lot of modeling amps and pedals are getting pretty expensive, compared to what you might be used to paying for a traditional multi-effects pedal. But they're still vastly cheaper than acquiring the amount of gear they're able to emulate.
If you want to consolidate multiple amps, effects, cabinets, and microphones into one device, modeling amps and pedals are an ideal solution for this, and are usually able to replace entire guitar rigs.
3. Channels and presets
Modeling amps have very little restriction when it comes to channels. In most cases, they have digital presets, which can number in the hundreds. Some even let you set up sections of presets, sometimes called "set lists". These let you cycle between a lot of different sounds at a quick pace, which is dramatically more flexible than tube amps, which usually have two channels, four if you're lucky.
4. Speakers/cabinets not needed
In tube amps, you must have a speaker cab connected to handle the speaker load, unless you have an attenuator, which is very expensive. Modeling amps usually have the following outputs:
- Speaker outs
- XLR balanced output
- TRS ouputs
- MIDI conectivity
- Headphone outs
This means that you can use speakers if you want, but they're not required. Moreover, you can send your signal straight to a PA system or a set of headphones. With the MIDI option, you can control and select the effects or amp models with an external MIDI controller.
5. Very easy to record
With these outputs, recording is very simple.
You don't need speaker cabs, or a microphone, or any kind of sound-proofing. You can just go straight into an audio interface or a digital recording device.
Some of these amps even have a USB connection, which can be plugged directly into the computer, allowing the amp to function as its own USB interface, further reducing the gear you need outside of the amp itself.
Read more: Guitar amps with a USB connection
6. Modern or vintage
While this is sort of a sub-feature of flexibility, modeling amps can work very well in a wide range of styles and can sound either modern or vintage. They lend themselves to modern rock sounds, especially the more sterile style of electronic rock, but they can usually handle both extremes.
This is a weak area of many traditional tube amps. They can handle blues, some good clean tones, and classic rock, but often struggle with more sterilized styles and heavier distortion tones.
Modeling amps can easily handle both.
Modeling amps are not ideal for everyone. However, they do present a great solution for guitar players that want to consolidate their rig, reduce the amount of gear they have to carry around, and/or experiment with a lot of different sounds and effects.
If that's your situation, they're worth considering, either the amps or the pedal versions.
Bonus points if you're focused on recording and prefer to play without a speaker cab.
For questions about modeling amps, hit up the comments section below and we'll help out.
We answer all of them. See you there.
Written by Bobby Kittleberger on Amps & Comparisons
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