Empress Heavy? Empress Multidrive? Something Else?

KnightBrolaire

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Pretty much every pedal on your list of ones you've tried is intended to be an overdrive/distortion pedal to put into the front of an amp or into its fx return. You are unlikely to be happy with any of them if you intend to use them as a substitute for an amp.
the ceres is a dedicated preamp tho
I was curious about that.
Tell me, are they actually running enough volts through those things to actually get the tubes working?



Yes. In full mixes, guitar, bass, and drums, most of them sound usable, But... I'm looking to sort of take my tone to the next stage, if you catch my drift. Not that I'm looking for some kind of miracle box, but something that just has more "ooomph" and overall tonal refinement. I mean my guitar's good, no complaints there, and my interface, an Audient Sono, is more than getting the job done. It's just that I'm finding it hard to get a good sounding "core" tone. Not that I have a specific type of sound in my head, as I'm open to just about any high gain solution. Guess it's just a case of "I'll know it when I hear it", which is why I've been running through all these different types of pedals lately.
They need a specialized higher voltage and higher Milliamp power cable (12v, 1.25 amp) so they are getting more to the tube than with say a 9v cable. As to whether they're pulling enough to fully utilize the 12ax7, i don't really know.
 

Lechmere

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the ceres is a dedicated preamp tho

They need a specialized higher voltage and higher Milliamp power cable (12v, 1.25 amp) so they are getting more to the tube than with say a 9v cable. As to whether they're pulling enough to fully utilize the 12ax7, i don't really know.
Have you tried/owned any of them yourself, and if so what's your take on them?
 

ATRguitar91

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I've tried or owned a lot of the pedals you've mentioned, and it doesn't get any better than the Tight Metal Pro or Ceres. If you don't jive with those, I'm not sure you're a preamp pedal kind of guy. The only other one I would recommend is the ISP Theta, killer pedal.

With regards to the Empress Heavy, I wanted to love it because the feature set is killer, but I didn't hold onto it. It sounded pretty good, but there was something in the mids that didn't jive with me, so I eventually sold it. I think it may have worked better as a distortion pedal into a clean amp, but I like to run my preamps into a clean poweramp or IR's.

What about the Helix did you like or dislike? As much as I love my preamps, I'm using the HX amps most of the time these days.
 

KnightBrolaire

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Have you tried/owned any of them yourself, and if so what's your take on them?
I have the VT Lead brick, which is based off the vht pittbull and sounds excellent. It sounds great straight into an interface ime. I own a pittbull 100cl/have owned a pittbull ultralead and I'd say it does a verrrry good job of getting that sound/feel .
 

Kosthrash

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Since you like ada mp1, I recall there was a pedal version (ADA MP-1 channel with 2 12AX7 Preamp tubes) you may locate used perhaps?
 

Lechmere

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I've tried or owned a lot of the pedals you've mentioned, and it doesn't get any better than the Tight Metal Pro or Ceres. If you don't jive with those, I'm not sure you're a preamp pedal kind of guy. The only other one I would recommend is the ISP Theta, killer pedal.

With regards to the Empress Heavy, I wanted to love it because the feature set is killer, but I didn't hold onto it. It sounded pretty good, but there was something in the mids that didn't jive with me, so I eventually sold it. I think it may have worked better as a distortion pedal into a clean amp, but I like to run my preamps into a clean poweramp or IR's.

What about the Helix did you like or dislike? As much as I love my preamps, I'm using the HX amps most of the time these days.
The ISP Theta was on my short list already.

The Helix was good for fx, but all the high gain amps sort of sounded the same to me. I especially don't like the Helix's cabs, which all sounded overly boxy to me. That said, I much preferred the Metalurgy stuff L6's been doing lately. Hopefully, they'll put it in a pedal format.


I have the VT Lead brick, which is based off the vht pittbull and sounds excellent. It sounds great straight into an interface ime. I own a pittbull 100cl/have owned a pittbull ultralead and I'd say it does a verrrry good job of getting that sound/feel .
I was looking at the VT, the Marshall, and the Mesa.


Since you like ada mp1, I recall there was a pedal version (ADA MP-1 channel with 2 12AX7 Preamp tubes) you may locate used perhaps?
Was thinking that too, but there're none on Reverb atm.
 

Spinedriver

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I feel like if you didn't like any of those, your problem is your power amp/IR selection, not the preamp.
Choosing the right IR to go with a preamp can make or break your tone. When you were using the previous pedals, what were you using for IRs ? York Audio and Bogren Digital have some really good ones.
Have you tried any of the Mooer Pre Amp pedals ? They're reasonably priced, designed to go direct and people have said they are really good for the money.
 

budda

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Sounds like a fractal fm3 would be a good buy here :2c:
 

mongey

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As a big empress fan , I have 5 or their pedals , the heavy is on my list next time
I have some cash burning a hole in my
Pocket.

That said you have tried allot of quality pedals. Maybe a parametric eq would sort out your issues? And empress make a great one
 

Metaldestroyerdennis

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I think you should quit beating around the bush and buy some plugins or a modeler. No pedal will beat them for direct recording. Neural stuff is good, Helix is good, Axe-Fx is good. You're focusing too much on buying a new gear box toy thing to play with and not enough on "sort of take my tone to the next stage" if that is indeed what you're actually trying to do. Just my 2c
 

ATRguitar91

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The Helix was good for fx, but all the high gain amps sort of sounded the same to me. I especially don't like the Helix's cabs, which all sounded overly boxy to me. That said, I much preferred the Metalurgy stuff L6's been doing lately.
The Helix cabs are a well known weak point, did you ever try external IRs? Makes a huge difference. And if you dig the Metallurgy stuff, that's all just Helix modelling with a few add ons and a new cab section. Some of the amps are similar in the Helix, but there is a pretty huge variety high gain tones to me.

You've had your hands on some pretty nice gear, gear that a lot of people here get satisfactory tones with. It sounds like you either need to adjust your expectations or spend more time tweaking what you already have. I can find tones I like with free plugins, my preamps into an IR or amp/cab, and using my HX Stomp exclusively.

You've never mentioned a budget, maybe look into a reactive load and amp heads?
 

Emperoff

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Preamp pedals direct to interface never sounded good to me on their own, since there is no poweramp involved.

When I've run preamps direct to interface always used either Mercuriall's or Ignite's (TPA-1 I believe) power amp simulations. The Ignite one is free, so give it a try. Just place the plugin before the IR and play around the settings.
 

Lechmere

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Choosing the right IR to go with a preamp can make or break your tone. When you were using the previous pedals, what were you using for IRs ? York Audio and Bogren Digital have some really good ones.
Have you tried any of the Mooer Pre Amp pedals ? They're reasonably priced, designed to go direct and people have said they are really good for the money.
I've tried so many IRs.... Ownhammer. Redwirez. Celestion. ML Sound Labs. But I always seem to gravitate back this certain Two-Notes IR based off of a Marshall 4X12. BritGreen 2, I think it is.

And yes, I did try a couple of those Mooer minis. Not bad for the price, but I noticed they get kind of hot after being plugged in for a
while. Weird.

Sounds like a fractal fm3 would be a good buy here :2c:
I was seriously thinking of getting one when I was flush with COVID cash a little while ago. Now there're a little out of my ballpark wallet-wise atm.

As a big empress fan , I have 5 or their pedals , the heavy is on my list next time
I have some cash burning a hole in my
Pocket.

That said you have tried allot of quality pedals. Maybe a parametric eq would sort out your issues? And empress make a great one
Have you tried Empress' parametric eq?

I think you should quit beating around the bush and buy some plugins or a modeler. No pedal will beat them for direct recording. Neural stuff is good, Helix is good, Axe-Fx is good. You're focusing too much on buying a new gear box toy thing to play with and not enough on "sort of take my tone to the next stage" if that is indeed what you're actually trying to do. Just my 2c
Bear in mind all the purchases I've been referring to here have been made over a period of SEVERAL years, and not over a couple of months or something. That, and I took some time off playing for a number of years as well after getting sort of burned out over music-related stuff too.

As for the Helix.. Well that's sort of one of those things that other people can seem to get a great tone out of. I personally never really could. The Quad Cortex looks very promising, but I really can't afford one atm.


The Helix cabs are a well known weak point, did you ever try external IRs? Makes a huge difference. And if you dig the Metallurgy stuff, that's all just Helix modelling with a few add ons and a new cab section. Some of the amps are similar in the Helix, but there is a pretty huge variety high gain tones to me.

You've had your hands on some pretty nice gear, gear that a lot of people here get satisfactory tones with. It sounds like you either need to adjust your expectations or spend more time tweaking what you already have. I can find tones I like with free plugins, my preamps into an IR or amp/cab, and using my HX Stomp exclusively.

You've never mentioned a budget, maybe look into a reactive load and amp heads?
Speaking of L6 cabs, I thought the Metalurgy cabs were a signifigant sounding improvement over the Helix's.

I've used a Suhr reactive loadbox before with my PRS MT-15, but felt like the amp was always too dark sounding. My 20 watt JCM800 on the other hand has a very useful DI out which I find quite useful.

Preamp pedals direct to interface never sounded good to me on their own, since there is no poweramp involved.

When I've run preamps direct to interface always used either Mercuriall's or Ignite's (TPA-1 I believe) power amp simulations. The Ignite one is free, so give it a try. Just place the plugin before the IR and play around the settings.
I concur. I think it would be really something if someone were to make a preamp pedal with some poweramp sims built in.
 

ExMachina

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You can get an engl cabloader has a Poweramp sim in there.
 

Metaldestroyerdennis

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Remind me again why you won't give the Neural stuff a try? It's not as flexible but I'd say it sounds pretty up there with my Axe-Fx and it's free for 2 weeks so there's literally no cost to you if you don't like it. It also goes on sale all the time.

I know I keep ignoring your original post but that's only because I don't think there's an option other than modeling that comes anywhere close to a real amp.
 

mongey

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I've tried so many IRs.... Ownhammer. Redwirez. Celestion. ML Sound Labs. But I always seem to gravitate back this certain Two-Notes IR based off of a Marshall 4X12. BritGreen 2, I think it is.

And yes, I did try a couple of those Mooer minis. Not bad for the price, but I noticed they get kind of hot after being plugged in for a
while. Weird.


I was seriously thinking of getting one when I was flush with COVID cash a little while ago. Now there're a little out of my ballpark wallet-wise atm.


Have you tried Empress' parametric eq?


Bear in mind all the purchases I've been referring to here have been made over a period of SEVERAL years, and not over a couple of months or something. That, and I took some time off playing for a number of years as well after getting sort of burned out over music-related stuff too.

As for the Helix.. Well that's sort of one of those things that other people can seem to get a great tone out of. I personally never really could. The Quad Cortex looks very promising, but I really can't afford one atm.



Speaking of L6 cabs, I thought the Metalurgy cabs were a signifigant sounding improvement over the Helix's.

I've used a Suhr reactive loadbox before with my PRS MT-15, but felt like the amp was always too dark sounding. My 20 watt JCM800 on the other hand has a very useful DI out which I find quite useful.


I concur. I think it would be really something if someone were to make a preamp pedal with some poweramp sims built in.
Yeah I have the empress eq
 

cmpxchg

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You need to try more IRs. Get the OH Heavy Hitters, York Audio Mesa 2x12 or 4x12 or DV77, something like that. Try a bunch (a BUNCH) of different mics. The IR is your problem, not the preamps.
 

budda

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Hey OP:

Post bands that have the sound you want.
 

Shoeless_jose

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Lol the Metallurgy stuff is literally Helix amps which you apparently don't like so shit not sure what unicorn you are chasing but yeah get some IRs instead of stock Helix cabs as their cabs take a lot of tweaking.

Best of luck on your hunt
 


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