The Gear Forum designs a next-gen digital modeler!

laxu

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Your task - should you choose to accept it - is to design the next generation of digital modelers from any current brand.

You can write down what you want it to be or flex your Photoshop skills and show us what it should be if those modeler makers didn't do it wrong all the time!

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Some sort of “mini rack” type FM0 or HX0 where the brains of the unit is small enough to mount to a mic stand where you have access to the screen and knobs. You pick the midi controlled footswitch based on the number of switches you want and they come with scribble strips. It’s 2023, my lazy ass doesn’t want to bend down to the ground to change a setting.

Another game changer for me would be a Fractal or Helix version of the Zoom MS-70CDR. 1 footswitch to switch between 2 scenes/snapshots. 3 blocks.
 
Honestly think I'd be pretty darn happy w just a helix w more dsp. But shoot if we're getting crazy throw in a touch screen and built in wireless.
 
Helix:
For sure 2 to 4 times the DSP and memory to match for future use
Touch Screen for the Gigging musicians, larger screen, maybe OLED tech same for Scribble strips
Wi-Fi
New improved Amps, with amp ability to have separate channels on one amp
Rack Pre Amps and Studio EQ like a Pultec
New Next Gen HX edit with 3 levels of parameters Authentic, Advanced, Deep, Improved Graphics eye candy is always nice
Separate expression pedal for floor model
Other colors besides black, Maybe Brushed aluminum, Nickel if black color the sides like maybe ruby, sapphire, emerald, topaz
 
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These are my first thoughts on what I’d like to see:
  • Multiple groupings of Snapshots/Scenes that can be controlled independently from each other. Ex: Snapshots group A is set up to control the amp block and drive pedals, Snapshots group B is set up to control delay/reverb/mod effects. I can change between Snapshots in Group A without changing Group B
  • Amp models contain all the same controls as their physical counterparts
  • Multi-channel amps as single models
  • Ability to separate amps from effects - change one independently of the other rather than both being linked together by the same preset.
 
Half as expensive as current gen. :rofl

Seriously..., I don't know enough to change the Axe III design much, but I'd love if the metronome was control-able, with more features such as programmable measures, and a multi-channel Looper that could save its specific loops in different presets.

Other than that, I mostly use it for at-home practice, so I haven't delved deep enough to find it needing much else. But that's just me.

Maybe an included video series that would show you how to use the deep parameters, why you would use them, and show you how the changes actually affect your tones. Kinda like Pete Thorn did in a video showing how his bright cap mods changed the sound. It was subtle, but you could hear it.

Oh and include notes that let you know what type guitar was used for each factory preset, and scene, if they're different.
 
What would be better than an FM9 would be my ask but I’m not sure the format isn’t optimal already.
 
Ouch, this could become longer, but I'll try to keep it civil for a start.

Hardware:

1) "Core Unit"
This will be the same in all iterations (whether there'd be a scaled down version at one point in time is irrelevant for now).
While some things could possibly be discussed, it should only contain the most essential things. Could be like a sort of "block-ish" design with a touchscreen on top (which will likely be subject to further discussion...) and just some barebone I/O on whatever side, kinda like stereo I/O, USB I/O and that was it already. In addition there would also be some "docking" connector (of whatever format).

2) "Floor Dock"
Something to seamlessly fit the Core Unit in. Needs to be pretty much a one-click operation, just slide it in, make it click and both units should look like one.
Btw, there's sort of a successful example of this kind of approach, namely the TC G-System which had the rack-compatible core unit mounted below the pedalboard thing so you could use it either just on the floor or mount it in a rack.
The featureset of the Floor Dock could be discussed, ideally it'd either be stackable (4, 8, 16, 256 switches and knobs, whatever...) and in an ideal world the "dock standard" would allow for 3rd party solutions, but as I do in fact understand companies having to make profit, I could as well understand this to remain largely proprietary - just do things right!
This very dock would of course also come with all the connections you may need. Could perhaps even be done in a modular fashion, should people need very little or a whole lot of connections. Think along the lines of, say, I/O cards that you can slap into mixing desks (usually a pretty painless affair which even less tech savy folks manage to accomplish).
It could be discussed whether switches and knobs needed scribble strips. They're fantastic but perhaps wasting space, costing money and adding another layer of something that could break.

3) "Desktop Dock"
Again something to mount the Core Unit to seamlessly. And again something that could come in more than just one incarnation. Could as well feature different I/O options than the floor unit. For example, when gigging, SPDIF is pretty irrelevant whereas in a recording environment, you may want it. Obviously, you'd likely need no switches, either - but maybe more knobs (in a future world, this could as well even function as a DAW controller).

3b) "Rack Dock"
Pretty much a mixture of (2) and (3).

4) General things:
- All encoders are endless "clicky" versions with very clear LED readouts.
- The display(s), LEDs and what not *need* to be visible under all lightning conditions (no Helix "I can't even see whether the thing is switched on" drama again!).

So much for the basic hardware design ideas.
There's still lots of things that could obviously be discussed.

- What I would find great would be if the touchscreen could be unmounted from the Core Unit (and btw, I would love that with any modelers coming with a touchscreen). It should instantly work wirelessly and be charged already. That way you could just place it next to you in case you're, say, rehearsing and still need to adjust sounds (without spending half of the rehearsal crawling on the floor).
Another idea would be to detach the entire Core Unit from the Floor Dock and connect it through some docking port extension cable.

- Having said that, the Core Unit may not even need a touchscreen to start with - but there's defenitely some pros to keeping it proprietary instead of having to support multiple mobile OSes.

- There could as well be detachable knob "bars". You might even be able to detach them from the Core Unit along with the touchscreen and mount the two on a dedicated stand. Again, that'd make editing "floor-crawling-free" and you could abuse the combination of touchscreen and knobs for wild realtime tweaking mayhems.

Needless to say, all components should be of very decent quality. I don't want to deal with broken joysticks again just because some company wanted to save a few pennies. I'd happily be charged the extra cost.

Hardwarewise, these alone would cover pretty much everything that is available at the moment in terms of possible form factors.
Also, with a system such as this, you'd probably never need any software editor as the device could always be placed in reach - which could save quite some development costs.

Ah well, will continue with the software portion later on.
 
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  • Amp models contain all the same controls as their physical counterparts
  • Multi-channel amps as single models

Yes please.
Add to that a UI panel that looks like the original amp.

Amplitube has always been doing that and I think it would be very cool to have something similar in hardware modelers even if it is just the Desktop Editor that has the original amp graphics and the hardware UI remains simplistic but still has all the controls.

at5_amp_Mark_V.jpg



Or this:
HDMI & USB to connect a Screen, Mouse and Keyboard right into the modeler, not computers needed.
Put 50" TV on top of your Cab and there you have a life size virtual amp you can control with a Mouse. :LOL:
Seriously, HDMI output with a nice UI in a hardware modeler is not a bad idea.
 
I would like to see Vox make a Tonelab that’s just their amp models with the nutube and an IR loader. It’s rugged with the proper ins and outs, multi-channel or presets, and no stupid shapes or useless displays.
 
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Put 50" TV on top of your Cab and there you have a life size virtual amp you can control with a Mouse.

Seriously, regardless of the size of the screen, a mouse is a way less than ideal input device for guitarists to adjust whatever it might be. A touchscreen is much better, ideally along with some physical knobs or faders.
To adjust things, you will often hold a note/chord and all that's left for adjustments is your picking hand, likely holding a pick. Fooling around with a mouse while holding a pick is pretty awkward in my book.
 
Seriously, regardless of the size of the screen, a mouse is a way less than ideal input device for guitarists to adjust whatever it might be. A touchscreen is much better, ideally along with some physical knobs or faders.
To adjust things, you will often hold a note/chord and all that's left for adjustments is your picking hand, likely holding a pick. Fooling around with a mouse while holding a pick is pretty awkward in my book.
Touchscreen is about as bad as a mouse if the inputs on screen are not designed for it. Virtual knobs are kind of awful to operate with both mouse and touchscreen. Sliders work better for both but I understand why people don't like them as they tend to take a lot of space and are not easy to read at a glance compared to knobs.

FracPad solves that issue in an interesting way by popping up a slider on screen as you adjust a control but otherwise shows knobs. I think that's a novel solution.

What is truly needed is better remote control with endless encoders. I have a 16 knob/button Arturia Beatstep MIDI controller here that I can't effectively utilize with any digital modeler on the market. I'd like to open up Axe-Edit, have those 16 knobs mapped to controls on any block I select automatically so I get the physical knob experience paired with the virtual one. But this is not possible.
 
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