Building rig from ground up, suggestions needed.

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by The Bunker, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    So I am building a high gain live rig and need some suggestions.

    I used to have quite a few different amp heads and fx units a few years ago when I was playing live in bands etc... I stopped playing live for a few years and went to a Axe FX based rig to use in my studio. While that's been great, I am looking to start gigging again and playing in a live band situation and want to build a live rig again which is based around a real high gain tube amp. HOWEVER while I LOVE the sound of a real amp and my rigs in the past have always sounded great, what I do not miss is the Russian roulette game of buying bits of gear and hoping that they play nice with each other especially regarding ground loop hums in the FX loop of a high gain amp. As far as I can remember ALL my previous guitar rigs were plagued with this problem despite me doing everything to try to avoid this. The great thing about my Axe FX is that you can chain a million virtual things together inside the unit and everything is silence... not like that in the real world however.

    SO I am wondering if people can tell me a bit about their experiences with high gain heads these days, and if they are using them with digital multi FX units in the FX loop without getting ground loop problems. I am interested to know what amps and fx units ppl are using. I am basically looking for a good high gain amp + 1 digital multi FX unit which has at least an EQ block and a noise gate block.
     
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  2. Disappear_85

    Disappear_85 SS.org Regular

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    I'm no expert, But i use the G major 2 for FX, It has GATE/EQ.

    Currently i'm pairing it with the Engl E530 preamp
     
  3. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    If you like the convenience and reliability of the axe fx but want to go tube, why not use the axe fx as a preamp with a tube poweramp and guitar cab?

    In that way, you'll have flexibility with regard to effects and your preamp sound (poweramp also, if you get a neutral tube poweramp like the Fryette Powerstation) but you still get the tube feel.
     
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  4. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the replies...

    I would probably just end up going with a head rather than a pre amp/power amp setup, just because its more convenient and (hopefully) cheaper. But I am curious, are you getting ground loop hums with this setup?

    I thought about this, but was not convinced that it would really give me that real amp sound. I do currently run it through the Matrix power amp through a cab and I just cannot get it to feel like a real amp. Would a tube power amp REALLY make that much of a difference?
     
  5. vansinn

    vansinn SS.org Regular

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    Not going to comment on your selection; just in general about ground loops..

    Devices, amps and FX's alike, are build differently. Some unfortunately have their jacks connected to chassis.
    Ideally, all should have any electronics and connectors fully isolated from chassis/ground.

    All grounds in the electronics, and including the physical chassis, should be routed to one common ground point, AKA a star ground point.
    This common ground point should be connected to the mains/ac ground wire, which should go to the ground pin in the mains prong.
    The common mains distributor should have matching grounding sockets, so that all devices would see one common ground when connected to this mains panel.

    Now, some devices are indeed build this way, but, as said, some have chassis and/or connectors connected directly to chassis or the common ground point.
    So, when you connect these differently build devices using ordinary cables naturally having the shield connected at both jacks, these devices may end up being grounded at more than one point, and you'll have a ground loop.

    To remedy this, you could open up all devices to check how they're really build WRT grounding. If you aren't a techie, you may oppose to this approach ;)
    Instead, when you have this annoying hum, which, as said, is due to a ground loop, simply use a cable where the shield is connected only at one of the jacks.
    In rarer cases, you may need to use such a cable both for send and return, but usually it'll suffice doing it only on one of those connections.
     
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  6. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    I'm probably not experienced enough to answer the question fully, as with my axe fx II, I've only run it through one tube poweramp (my Fryette 2/50/2 which is awesome) and a couple cheaper solidstates, PA Poweramp and my marshall Valvestate poweramp, neither I think would compare against the matrix.

    The poweramp in my opinion is where you get the tube feel from, I'm much happier with my tube poweramp than I am with the solidstates I've tried. There's also the added benefit that the 2/50/2 makes almost anything plugged into it sound awesome.

    Personally I think preamp Modeling is there, and even analog solidstate preamps can certainly sound good, but for poweramps, still nothing beats tube.

    All that being said, if you don't need that versatility, a tube head would probably be smaller and more portable than a 4+ space rack. Then there's the issue that if you only want to sound like a 5150 with a couple effects, you'd be using 3k worth of equipment to sound like you're playing 1k worth of equipment.
     
  7. DarthV

    DarthV SS.org Regular

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    If you want a tube amp + flexibility, go 4CM with a high gain head & cab of choice. 5150III 50w + helix(lt?)/fx8(ax8?) + 212 cab and you're set.
     
  8. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    I have tried this method in several scenarios and it NEVER helped. If someone can literally show me how to do this in person and show me results I will consider it, failing that I am just going to now consider only equipment that is built in such a way that it does not cause ground loops.

    I am worried that I would spend all this money on a tube power amp, only to be not satisfied with the tone again. That is why I am considering going back to the head + cab setup which is tried and tested and I KNOW how to dial in a killer sound with.
     
  9. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    Have you tried a 5150III with digital FX in the loop using a 4CM and can verify that it DOESN'T hum?
     
  10. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    5150II/6534+ into your choice of 212 or 412 with a boss GE7 and ISP Decimator.

    Done.
     
  11. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I feel like it's expecting a bit much of a high-gain amp like that to be silent. Big ol' powerful high gain tube amps are noisy. Any 5150-ish amp I've ever played through made some noise. Probably the same with any Recto I can remember. My Mark IV sometimes buzzes like it's going out of style- but I dig that amp so much that I live with it. I don't run super high-gain so I can get away without the gates, but if I bought a 5150-anything I'd probably expect to buy a noise gate shortly after.
     
  12. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive SS.org Regular

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    Honestly I'd just go axe fx straight into the PA for convenience. In a live band mix, nobody is going to be able to tell if you're using a modeler, a mark V, or a metal zone plugged into a peavey practice amp.

    If you really want those tubes and/or you want a cab for monitoring that's one thing, but I know I'd rather show up to a gig with a rack, a pedal board, and a guitar instead of a whole rig.

    The other thing is that modelers tend to be REALLY quiet since they basically don't have any self-noise (once the signal is digitized, analog interference doesn't affect it). I used to have a 6505+ in my practice room and a 6505+ modeler on my pc (same room) plugging into one vs the other was night and day in terms of noise. No gate on either one.
     
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  13. DarthV

    DarthV SS.org Regular

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    Haven't tried my Kemper in 4CM with my 5153/markV, but you could use a gate block in front of everything and then another in the loop.
     
  14. Dineley

    Dineley SS.org Regular

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    the 50 watt 5150 III is my suggestion as well, then you could either run your ax-fx into the effects loop in, get an fx8 or even better helix or helix LT to use in 4cm, plus the 50 watt head is Midi controllable so with the right setup you get loads of flexibility.

    And yeah just grab an Avatar 2x12 to pair with it and you'll be killing it hard.
     
  15. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    I've been using an Axe-FX II in 4CM with my VHT 50/CL and love it. Tons of flexibility and a great core sound from the amp itself with minimal noise. You will always get a little bit of noise running 4CM due to the A/D and D/A converters, but the gates built into the Axe will take care of it no problem since it's not something problematic like ground loops or bad wiring.

    I'd recommend running your Axe FX in conjunction with a high gain amp of your choice. 5153 50w, 6505, Rectifier, etc. :yesway: it really comes down to budget and what kind of core sound you're chasing. So long as the amp has a good FX loop, you'll be set.
     
  16. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    AX8 (Helix LT)>DXR10 (or similar) and FOH, easiest live setup ever. Tubes are great, but lugging them around sucks.
     
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  17. maggotspawn

    maggotspawn SS.org Regular

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    I run a XXX with a G-Major 2, also a JSX with a Replifex. No problems with noise.
     
  18. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    Lots of replies... some people seem to be mistaking general amp noise with ground loop hums. I am aware that high gain heads make a lot of noise but ground loops cause by fx units in the fx loop are a different thing. I am after a combination of head and fx unit that is known to not be problematic in this regard.
     
  19. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    I used to have a JSX actually... same issue with the loop causing hum.
     
  20. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    Also another point of clarification... I'd like to keep the axe fx out of the equation all together and keep it in my studio for recording only.
     

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