Amp/fx modeler as preamp, what rig(poweramp/cab) do I need?

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Demartan, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. Demartan

    Demartan SS.org Regular

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    Hi,

    I've been a 'poor' combo user for most of my life. Not too long ago I switched from a combo to a modeler (POD HD500X) for practicing at home. I'm just plugging the pod output into my home speaker/PA system. And tbh I'm loving the pod :)

    Which means I want to build a rig in which I use my pod as the amp modeler.
    Did a small bit of searching and it looks like I need a poweramp and a cabinet for this to work. However, I am a total newbie in stacks/poweramps/cabs I have no clue what to look for.

    Are there any specific things I need to look for/pay extra attention to, or any other recommendations you guys have?

    Cheers!
     
  2. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    If you're happy to use the cab models in the POD, then a powered speaker or studio monitors will work. These both contain a poweramp inside the speaker cab.

    Passive PA cabs and passive studio monitors will require a seperate poweramp, however.

    There are PA-oriented stuff that works fine, like Alto TS series, basically any powered PA speaker. While they are theoretically all flat response, nothing is perfect, so in general the cheap stuff won't sound as good. If you can, try before you buy.

    There is also some more guitar-oriented flat-response(ish) powered speakers like the Atomic CLR, and Friedman ASM. They get pricey quick though.

    If you prefer not to use cab models and use a real cab (personally I think PODs are great but their cab modelling is sub-par and really let the unit down, however that's just my opinion, plenty of people think they're fine), you can get a poweramp and guitar cab.

    Guitar cabs do not contain poweramps, so you will need a separate poweramp.

    It can be either a solidstate poweramp (like a solidstate PA poweramp, or a more 'guitar oriented' solidstate poweramp like a Matrix GT or Seymour Duncan Powerstage) or a tube poweramp (some great deals to be found on eBay as rack mount gear is less popular than it used to be. Also they're heavy).

    Most poweramps are rack-mount and stereo (basically two poweramps in one, one on the left and one on the right). You can run just one side, or on many solidstate amps (and some tube amps) you can run it bridged. Or you can run stereo if you get two cabs.
     
  3. exo

    exo SS.org Regular

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    If you're looking to do this "on a budget", hunt around for a Peavey Windsor half stack, and run your POD into the FX return. The cab isn't the world's greatest, but it's definitely passable, and the amp head will essentially be a 100 watt EL34 tube power amp with resonance and presence controls. Probably run you around $400 total for the head and cab......
     
  4. Demartan

    Demartan SS.org Regular

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    Thanks! Looks like a decent solution, however then I'd still be lugging around a 'full-sized' amp head. Seems like a good option overall though.

    I haven't experimented much with cabs on my POD, but they all sounded better than my cheap combo anyway so yeah :p But if the general consensus is that the cabs in the POD are okay/meh at best, I could just turn off the cab sim and use only a preamp.
    More inclined towards guitar-specific, so I checked out the Atomic and Friedman - spec wise they look good but for a thousand euros it seems like I would be cheaper off with a separate poweramp/cabinet combination.

    As far as power amps go, is 'any' power amp fairly similar? I'm asking this because the Seymour Duncan ones costs 400-700, but I found a cheap-ish Harley Benton one on Thomann. I know it's their in-house brand, but the price seems really low compared to others so I'm just curious if there's any real difference or reason for it to be so cheap/the others to be so expensive.

    I mainly play modern metal, so would a Mesa/EVH/Peavey cab be best? Or does the cab matter less than the preamp model for 'modeling' the sound I will hear through the cab?
     
  5. exo

    exo SS.org Regular

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    Keep in mind that if you get ANY tube poweramp, or even some of the older "vintage" solidstate units and put them in a rack, there's gonna be negligible weight difference between that's solution and a head.

    No experience with the Thomann or Duncan units, so I can't offer any advice there.

    As far as the cab goes, I wouldn't say EITHER the modeler or the cab are "more important", since they'll both affect the sound you get.....speakers will still impart their tonal characteristics on whatever is coming out of them. A "dark" amp model thru a "dark" speaker/cab pairing is gonna be muddy, and vice versa, that's why you see a lot of talk about FRFR speakers being used with modeler. If you like a patch that uses an the XXL cab model and the 421 mic sim, you might want to either avoid something like a MESA oversized cab, or run POD's "amp only" models that don't use a cab sim......but maybe a more mid/high mid voiced cab would compliment the patch..... In my experience, every significant part of signal path from your strings all the way to the speakers will affect what you hear.......the trick is finding the right combination.
     
  6. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    The solidstate amps sound be similar-ish, as in that GPA400 is trying to do the same thing as the Duncan Powerstage (flat reproduction of the source signal without coloration) but they'll accomplish it with varying degrees of success.

    Unfortunately I havent tried either, but the Powerstage seems to get good reviews. It's new though so I don't imagine a lot of people have used them yet.

    The GPA400 I have seen some reviews online, if you google it you'll probably find them. From what I recall the consensus was it was good "for the price".

    The feel of the amp will also factor in, that's one of the selling points of the Matrix poweramps, that the response is more 'tube like' and less instantaneous than other solidstate amps.

    You can kind of fudge it a bit on frequency response with an eq. If it's too thin you can boost lows, too dark you can boost highs. Not a lot to be done about the feel though.

    If you're not as concerned about versatility you can just get a guitar cab. The cool thing about FRFR is being able to use different cab models. For instance you can go from using a recto model into a recto cab impulse, then switch to a fender model into a Marshall cab, or whatever. With a real guitar cab, you're stuck with the sound of your real cab. Whether that's a good thing or bad thing is up to you.

    A good quality FRFR system can be expensive so if you're only into one basic sound with slight variations you may find yourself in a place where you're spending €1000 to sound like you're playing though a €500 poweramp and cab setup.

    As far as importance of the cab, I'd say it's almost as important as the amp you choose. Different cabinets can have drastically different sounds from each other. Even different mics and mic positions on the same cab can have big impacts. Just click through cab models in the POD to hear.

    That is one thing that really annoys me about impulses, even when you know what cab and speakers you want, there's still like 1000 different mic combos and positions to choose from and they all sound different. I went poweramp/guitar cab with my axe fx because I started falling down the rabbit hole with hundreds od impulses, so I figured I'd rather skip that.
     
  7. Zoobiedood

    Zoobiedood SS.org Regular

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    If you intend to use power amp & cab modeling, then a clean power amp like the PowerStage 170 into a full range/flat response cabinet is a great solution...that is what I use. If you didn't use cab modeling, you can send it to a regular guitar cab..but I dig not having to bring a guitar cab to a gig.
     

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