Caught in this cycle lately (Fractal/Mesa content)

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So I’ve been caught in this cycle lately:

- get curious about just how good I can get my FM9 + Katana 100 power amp + Mesa 2x12 sounding

- force myself to only play that setup for 3-4 days

- enjoy making small tweaks and learning about Fractal amp modelling during those days

- play the results and think, “Damn, that is remarkable and sounds pretty F-ing good” and then start trying to tweak it to sound even better

- play/tweak/play/tweak/play/tweak…

- start to wonder about gigging it, maybe trying a Seymour Duncan PS 200, could this be my new setup, etc

- start to get ear-fatigue from the amp models and then trying various EQ cuts, start to get tired of tweaking

- begin missing my Electra Dyne

- plug back into the Electra Dyne and realize, “JC this sounds and feels amazing and perfect and all I have to do is turn it on” and then just play guitar for a good stretch of time

- get curious about how good can I get my FM9 + Katana 100 power amp + Mesa 2x12 sounding…

Hip Hop Singing GIF by Karma's World
 
The Fractal world is very enticing: endless amp choices, constant updates and improvements, lighter/easier load-ins, fun using state-of-art modelling tech + the current hot item everybody wants but can't get, direct contact with the wizard who creates it all via the forum, a fun community with YT videos and great content from @2112 and others (Cordy, Cooper).

But I can't shake that ultimately I enjoy playing my real amp more and it's not even a super pain to use it anyway. It almost all comes down to the difference in weight between the Katana/other PA option and my small-shell Dyne head, as well as the ease of running direct to the PA instead of a mic or Mic No Mo with my amp. And with the Katana vs Dyne, it's a difference of 20 lbs, and I'm not that old yet where that means anything. So it that worth never being completely happy with the sound and feel?

But I do also realize that amp modelling is likely the future and it's good to be able to function and create in that world.

I guess I just need to realize that, for me, modelling is a fun-sometimes-but-don't-get-stuck-in-a-tweak-vortex activity for home and that my tube amp will still be the #1 setup for general playing and live band stuff, with the FM9 (or something else?) for effects only…
 
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I think you are lucky. Mesa and Fractal could be the most tweaked out amp/modeler combination you could get. Especially if you had, say a MK V and the III. The ElectraDyne is so simplified I can certainly see (bias duly noted on my end) the appeal of it over any modeler.

FAS gear is dangerous if you let it be so. But I find it sounds so darn good OOTB that I don't fall into that trap. The trap I fall into is getting annoyed with it in other areas. But end up finding "solutions" to those annoyances with different gear that present their own dumbness. Rinse and repeat :facepalm:bag:rofl
 
The FM9 is straight up AWESOME. If I was the only guitar player in our band (which I am stupednously glad I AM NOT but that's another discussion); an FM9 and powered cab of some sort would be it.





It
:farley
 
I've been doing this for years now. the struggle is real. after all the experiments, trials, back and forths with different combinations of gear I still think a tube power section is the best and is the easiest way to cut down on tweaking knobs or parameters. the full blown tube amp may sound like 1-2% better (which of course varies by day and maybe even the weather) but then it comes down to dealing with effects and changing amp channels. i like sounds with tons of effects that can be changed instantly to something else that may be drastically different, and i like this with one foot switch click not a ton of tap dancing. this is easy with a modeler which i believe is one of the reasons we all like using them live. with pedals i would need what would be much more complicated for me: a switching system which means a lot more cabling and things that could fail when people are staring at you wanting music.


i think i fall into traps like well if I use a modeler the entire rig has to be more light and convenient or using the modeler is probably pointless. a modeler sounds amazing into a tube amp fx return with lots of speakers and a helix takes up about as much floor space as the pedal board i used use. Another trap may be well i have to use the purest rig of pedals and tube amps because i know in my head it probably sounds the best and therefore everyone else will feel the same - the vast majority of people don't give a fuck what you are using - they just want the best show.


diezel has a newer amp that has effects. that looks really cool but is very expensive. if someone like mesa, evh, orange, peavey or prs could do something like that with tube gain sounds but then digital effects controlled simply with their footswitch in a decent price range i think that could be really cool.
 
I think you are lucky. Mesa and Fractal could be the most tweaked out amp/modeler combination you could get. Especially if you had, say a MK V and the III. The ElectraDyne is so simplified I can certainly see (bias duly noted on my end) the appeal of it over any modeler.

FAS gear is dangerous if you let it be so. But I find it sounds so darn good OOTB that I don't fall into that trap. The trap I fall into is getting annoyed with it in other areas. But end up finding "solutions" to those annoyances with different gear that present their own dumbness. Rinse and repeat :facepalm:bag:rofl

All excellent points! :beer Especially that I'm Iucky a MK V isn't my forever amp… never thought of that, haha. (I did buy/return one a couple months ago.) Also good advice about not letting FAS gear be dangerous and just letting it be awesome.
 
I've been doing this for years now. the struggle is real. after all the experiments, trials, back and forths with different combinations of gear I still think a tube power section is the best and is the easiest way to cut down on tweaking knobs or parameters. the full blown tube amp may sound like 1-2% better (which of course varies by day and maybe even the weather) but then it comes down to dealing with effects and changing amp channels. i like sounds with tons of effects that can be changed instantly to something else that may be drastically different, and i like this with one foot switch click not a ton of tap dancing. this is easy with a modeler which i believe is one of the reasons we all like using them live. with pedals i would need what would be much more complicated for me: a switching system which means a lot more cabling and things that could fail when people are staring at you wanting music.


i think i fall into traps like well if I use a modeler the entire rig has to be more light and convenient or using the modeler is probably pointless. a modeler sounds amazing into a tube amp fx return with lots of speakers and a helix takes up about as much floor space as the pedal board i used use. Another trap may be well i have to use the purest rig of pedals and tube amps because i know in my head it probably sounds the best and therefore everyone else will feel the same - the vast majority of people don't give a f**k what you are using - they just want the best show.


diezel has a newer amp that has effects. that looks really cool but is very expensive. if someone like mesa, evh, orange, peavey or prs could do something like that with tube gain sounds but then digital effects controlled simply with their footswitch in a decent price range i think that could be really cool.

Yes, I get into a lot of those same traps myself, like “if I use a modeler the entire rig has to be more light and convenient or using the modeler is probably pointless,” as well as the “purest rig“ one.
 
I have went round with all this stuff (as have all of us here) for years. I am never going to get it boiled down to an Iridium, folding traveler guitar and lightweight coily cable. Not going to happen.

My current trick is finding an amp that has blended in SO WELL with our band in the live setting that the other logistics aren't a hassle to make happen. I think tube power amp isn't the differentiator so much as the whole amp. I think having guitar cabs vs powered monitors using purpose built guitar speakers that are "flat"(ish) all contribute to "doing the trick for me". This is all subject to change on a whim; but it's my current story and I am sticking to it for now.
 
I think that's part of the upside of having multiple rigs. You can switch if the workflow or vibe isn't happening.

I've got a few different rigs and enjoy them for different reasons. I've got a direct modeling setup (Fractal FM3), a hybrid setup (Strymon Iridium and HX Stomp with pedals), and a combo amp (Line 6 Catalyst plus pedals). When I want maximum flexibility with all the bells and whistles, the Fractal works great. When I want to minimize tweaking and focus on playing, the amp and pedals are great.

My dream setup is still a hybrid of analog and digital. I'd love a rack preamp (like a Demeter TGP-3) running into an Axe FX 3 for effects and switching, into either a power amp and stereo cabs or stereo monitors. I think you'd get the best of both worlds, a great core amp sound and all the benefits of modern effect modeling and switching. Kind of like an updated version of a Bradshaw system.

Maybe I ought to look into a switching preamp pedal and see how I like that, as a gateway to that big setup. Something like the new Two Notes Revolt or the Victory stuff. I could run that into the FM3, then get a second Line 6 Catalyst and run those as stereo 1x12 powered cabs... :satan
 
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I think that's part of the upside of having multiple rigs. You can switch if the workflow or vibe isn't happening.

I've got a few different rigs and enjoy them for different reasons. I've got a direct modeling setup (Fractal FM3), a hybrid setup (Strymon Iridium and HX Stomp with pedals), and a combo amp (Line 6 Catalyst plus pedals). When I want maximum flexibility with all the bells and whistles, the Fractal works great. When I want to minimize tweaking and focus on playing, the amp and pedals are great.


This is a great way to approach it and generally what I try to do, too. I’ll try to get back to that.

But I seem to have drink-the-kool-aid, all or nothing tendencies and have this urge to “make a big switch and change it all” for some reason. Happens sometimes with amps and pedals too.

(Although I’m good at ultimately sticking with what works with those: same amp for past five years, another amp for seven years before that, same two dirt/boost pedals for eight years now.)
 
I'm considering buying a tube amp and load box and getting stuck in the same cycle.

If the amp sounds better to you and/or is easier to dial in, why bother with the modeler at that point?
For me it's still providing switching, effects, routing and a back up. So still plenty of necessity; even when the amp is doing the "heavy lifting".
 
For me it's still providing switching, effects, routing and a back up. So still plenty of necessity; even when the amp is doing the "heavy lifting".

Same. Plus what I mentioned in post #4 ^^^. Fractal's modelling world has a lot of appealing elements (even if it never really sounds or feels as good as my amp). :bag:wat :sofa:banana
 
Same. Plus what I mentioned in post #4 ^^^. Fractal's modelling world has a lot of appealing elements (even if it never really sounds or feels as good as my amp). :bag:wat :sofa:banana
I will say this. This could be total placebo? Input circuitry as well as variable input impedance on the FM9 is something special. FM3 MKII with it would be pretty d@mn cool :unsure:
 
I will say this. This could be total placebo? Input circuitry as well as variable input impedance on the FM9 is something special. FM3 MKII with it would be pretty d@mn cool :unsure:

The FM9 does sound better in 4cm with a tube amp than the FM3, IME. Maybe placebo from knowing it has better circuitry for it, who knows, but I don't think so.

(It also sounds 1000x better than the HXFX in 4cm, that I can say pretty much hands down.)
 
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