Blind test #2! (Marshall JCM 800 vs Line 6 Helix vs Kemper vs Axe Fx III)

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by Guitarjon, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. Guitarjon

    Guitarjon SS.org Regular

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    Hey guys, it's time..... for another blind test! yaaaay!

    I did honestly have a lot of fun on the last one so I had to do another one now that I got a Kemper Profiler Stage!

    There were some comments the last time (Dual Rectifier vs modeler) that with high gain tones it's harder to hear the difference. That's why I'm going with a Marshall JCM 800 crunch tone this time. (the studio version to be exact) This amp has a lot of clarity and dynamic. You can really hear every string and it's just a blast to play. Very classic sounding! So mid-gain, dynamic and clear, should be interesting ;) I'm comparing the amp to my Kemper (a profile that I made based on the exact same settings on the real amp), my Line 6 Helix (native in this case because it's way easier to tweak/match the tone that way) and my Axe Fx III.

    I don't want to say too much because I don't want to give anything away but I hope you enjoy it and DO let me know which ones were which! The results will be posted in a couple of days.

     
  2. sakeido

    sakeido Contributor

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    I have 0% confidence in these guesses

    A - Kemper
    B - Real Amp
    C - Helix
    D - Axe FX III

    interesting to see the YT comments all assume the Kemper sounds 100% accurate to the real amp, most guys aren't even trying to separate them
     
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  3. thebeesknees22

    thebeesknees22 SS.org Regular

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    interesting! I was thinking B is the helix. The woofier palm mute sound super familiar to me, but I have no idea. I've listened to it like 5 times now, and I still have no clue.
     
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  4. Guitarjon

    Guitarjon SS.org Regular

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    I'm quite new to this whole amp profiling thing but the Kemper definitely is a 100% accurate most of the times. It's a great device and the tones can be really good and really close. Especially for high gain tones I can certainly hear some differences with the amps I profile but that is to be expected. Sometimes the profiles turn out better than the real amps though, that's sometimes a shocker!
     
  5. sakeido

    sakeido Contributor

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    the woofier palm mutes on the Recto video made me think that was the modeler. I was wrong :lol:

    hmm that makes me think C/D must be the real amp and Kemper then? Those two sound the most alike. That'd make A - Axe B - Helix C - Real amp D - Kemper but tbh I think both sets of my guesses are all wrong. All great tones again.
     
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  6. Guitarjon

    Guitarjon SS.org Regular

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    I'm going to post the reveal later today so if you haven't made your unbiased guesses yet, do it now! :)
     
  7. Guitarmiester

    Guitarmiester Awesome-O

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    No clue which was which. The Recto test was a little easier for me to guess on because I'm used to recording with Rectos. I did like A the most out of every take. B,C and D all had this quackiness that I couldn't un-hear.
     
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  8. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metalâ„¢

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    These were to close to tell Jon!
     
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  9. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    A AxeFX
    B Helix
    C Amp
    D Kemper

    ? All could definitely work, which is the good news. A sounded the most different to me.
     
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  10. Guitarjon

    Guitarjon SS.org Regular

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    UPDATE: Hey everyone, thanks for participating and joining the discussion! Here are the results:




    They all sounded good, they all sounded pretty close so don't feel bad if you didn't get them all, or even one right. It's not super easy for everybody to hear all the super small differences. We all listen in different ways, also based on our experiences as people, musicians and listeners! Let me know how many you got right or how many you got wrong etc. Which one sounded the best to you and why?
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
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  11. thebeesknees22

    thebeesknees22 SS.org Regular

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    ha i was way off. I have brought great shame upon my house. .

    /me commits seppuku
     
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  12. Spinedriver

    Spinedriver SS.org Regular

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    I did get 2 of the 4 (kind of).
    I had a pretty good idea that the first one was the Helix. It just had that 'Line 6 vibe' to me, which isn't a bad thing, it's just recognizable.
    I had thought 3 was the Axe & 4 was the Kemper but wasn't 100% sure. #2 not being the real amp was surprising given the low end 'thump' that tube amps often have and that some modelers fall short of replicating.
     
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  13. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    About to watch the answer part but before i do that I'm guessing
    A) Axe
    B) Real
    C) Helix
    D) Kemper

    On the basis of the high-end hair on B is the most prominent. That same high end hair is missing on A and C, but is there on D but in an unnatural sounding way. C has extra low end that maybe is the Helix trying to "sound good" or "sound modern" if that makes sense. It makes sense to me.

    [a few minutes later]

    Well that was way off. :lol:

    In some way I feel like I got aaaaalmost the right idea - B and D sounded the most similar to me because the both had some high end fuzz the others didn't have. But I've never played any of these so it's entirely guessing.
     
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  14. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    lol, I was 0 for 4

    EDIT: but the Kemper was impressive. Two of them sounded identical to me, and well...
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
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  15. nickgray

    nickgray SS.org Regular

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    I think it's way better than A/B comparison because A/B is just 50/50 if you're taking a guess, and if you've guessed right (aka I totally knew this was a modeler because it sounds so digital) it's just confirmation bias. 1 in 4 is way better, and you also see these same "sounds totally digital" people in the comments to the original video. The ultimate comparison would probably be 10 clips of amps and modelers in some random combination. I'm dead sure the people's guesses will end up looking like random chance (given enough comments), but you'll still see golden ears people who swear they hear that mystical digital edge to the sound.
     
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  16. Spinedriver

    Spinedriver SS.org Regular

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    You also have to take into consideration that he's using the same impulse for all of them, so it may put the real JCM800 at a slight disadvantage because it's designed to sound better when run through a cab, not so much into a load box (unlike the newer heads that are coming with cab sims built right in).
     
  17. Spinedriver

    Spinedriver SS.org Regular

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    You're exactly right. I've seen a few videos where people will plug into a head and then a Kemper or Axe and then say 'I can totally hear the difference'.
    Switch it up, put the source in a seperate room and them playing just with the cab in front of them and all of a sudden, they can't figure out which one is which and they end up just guessing. It's almost as if seeing the source (amp or modeler) in front of them makes some kind of difference.
     
  18. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    One sounded super polished to me. Very amp-like, but polished. I assumed that was a modeler since I assumed there was no post processing. I was right but guessed the modeler wrong.

    One sounded weird. I haven't used a modeler in a few years, but when I did they struggled to make a thick mid-gain tone, instead just pumping in blurry bass. So I guessed right that it was a modeler, but again guessed the wrong one.

    And then two of them sounded identical. I assumed one was the amp and one the Kemper, but had no clue which was which.
     
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  19. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    But an amp cant tell the difference between a load box and a cab :scratch:.
     
  20. Spinedriver

    Spinedriver SS.org Regular

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    I was thinking more along the lines of circuit design. In the newer ones they may have something in the path that colors it a little when it goes to the 'cab sim' output ?
    I just meant that back in the day, they didn't really factor in 'direct from the head to the mixing board' when they designed the preamp section, whereas these days, they probably do.
     

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