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Miked Amp or Going Direct Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 6th August 2014
  #31
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Kiwi - agree there's no need for a good pedal, amp, etc. to sound like sonic mud, but user error can make them sound this way. A lot of bedroom players scoop the mids, crank the gain and it sounds great on headphones or computer speakers. Live; those settings will sound like crud and won't cut through. My point was that you can use the same gear in recording/live, but know that you may have to have different settings for live to make it work.

Agree there's no excuse, but we've all heard the poor results from someone who has that tone.
Old 9th August 2014
  #32
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I have just upgraded my guitar rig for the first time in about 20 years.

I still have my venerable VHT Pittbull, but when I get over the idea that it is only gathering dust in my basement now, I will likely sell it. Why?

The Kemper profiling amp.

The other posters are correct that you are looking at around 2K for a Kemper, but how that is considered expensive compared to my VHT rig is beyond me. In fact, when I finish selling off my VHT rig, I will have actually made money in the exchange.

To be fair, I hear good things about the Axe II Fx as well, but it comes in at an even higher price tag, and it is generally agreed that the pure tone of the Kemper is better (while the Axe has more and better efx). I have found that the efx in the Kemper are quite good, so I can only imagine how good the Axe must be.

Direct in? You bet. My band runs vDrums, bass DI, my guitar DI, and only the lead guitar is miced.

Now, here is the rub on most sims. Most of them were previously designed to go into an amp and guitar cab. A guitar amp and a guitar cab are the LEAST linear responding system you may ever come across. Therefore, something that sounds good through a guitar amp, will sound like pure unadulterated crap if you put it directly in to a full range speaker system like your PA.

The more modern sims like the Axe and Kemper sound beautiful going straight in (to be fair, the Kemper is a profiler, not a sim or modeler).

My band uses IEM's. Once you go all DI, you really do need to think seriously about IEM's. With the stage volume gone, good monitoring is even more important.
Old 1st June 2015
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimanistar View Post
with all the amp simulators out there many guitar players are looking to bypass amps and go direct...what's your opinion on this?
I've been playing out since the 1980's and while I admit there is nothing like the sound of a nice tube amp (preferably Mesa Boogie), modern technology replicates extremely well! I run sound from stage and have to move a lot of equipment. I now use a Digitech 500 Pedal board direct to the board, In-Ear-Monitors and usually require all musicians in the band to go direct (without an amp). There is not only less equipment to move, but less sound stage thereby creating a cleaner sound (no feedback whatsoever). It is much easier on the body, and on everyone's ears!! It took me many years to give in, but I will never go back to the old way of doing things!
Old 2nd June 2015
  #34
My biggest problem with depending on DI is the guy running the sound. At least with the amps on the stage there is a reference for what the mix is supposed to sound like (given that the band members are professionals and are disciplined enough to manage their own stage blend). If that's the case then the PA only has to replicate that stage mix and project it along with the vocals. Way too often the person running the sound has his own ideas about mixing the levels which is often very different from the mix that we, as the band, expect to have. I trust my fellow band members to achieve an appropriate mix and blend, I don't trust the sound guy to do that.
Old 2nd June 2015
  #35
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wado1942's Avatar
 

I'm definitely pro-mic. I don't even DI the bass (blech!). Sure, there's some pretty good simulations, but nothing beats the real thing.
Old 7th December 2015
  #36
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So, how does one go about setting up an amp backstage when there's at least 20meters between the musician and the rig?

I'm asking for a project I got this christmas. Running an unbalanced line that far seems like asking for trouble, and I'm not sure how to go about the signal (for the amp) when putting a DI inbetween. So it would be nice to hear from someone who knows.

Any input is much appreciated.

Cheers!
Old 7th December 2015
  #37
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From the point of the soundman and for the benefit of the entire mix, running direct would be preferred. Mics can move during the show which can alter the sound and they also will pick up other stage noise, resulting in loss of punch to everything else.
Old 7th December 2015
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dboomer View Post
From the point of the soundman and for the benefit of the entire mix, running direct would be preferred. Mics can move during the show which can alter the sound and they also will pick up other stage noise, resulting in loss of punch to everything else.
I guess it depends on the objectives of those involved, but I don't know that this is 'better' for the mix, it's certainly more convenient and easier for some people to go that route.

I however would rather spend the time and effort needed to work through this with a like minded band than try to survive a 90 min. set with V-Drums and PODs...but that's just me.
Old 7th December 2015
  #39
KEL
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If the tone is good and the stage volume/bleed/monitor wash is manageable, I don't really care. I will say that direct seems to exaccerbate differences in patch volumes. That's a problem with pedals too but seems more pronounced with direct only.. Often an amp's first stage, especially a tube stage, can compress those differences to an extent.
Old 7th December 2015
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michiellll View Post
So, how does one go about setting up an amp backstage when there's at least 20meters between the musician and the rig?

I'm asking for a project I got this christmas. Running an unbalanced line that far seems like asking for trouble, and I'm not sure how to go about the signal (for the amp) when putting a DI inbetween. So it would be nice to hear from someone who knows.

Any input is much appreciated.

Cheers!
theres a whole bunch of options, you could run wireless, or use a balun based system to convert the instrument level unbalanced signal to balanced line level and then back again at the other end (like a radial SGI), or use a combination of the two, go wireless, take a line level out from the wireless rig and chuck that through a re-amping box
Old 7th December 2015
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
I guess it depends on the objectives of those involved, but I don't know that this is 'better' for the mix, it's certainly more convenient and easier for some people to go that route.

I however would rather spend the time and effort needed to work through this with a like minded band than try to survive a 90 min. set with V-Drums and PODs...but that's just me.
_________________
Sam Clayton
Making it more complicated won't make it better, keep it simple stupid.

Wait ... I thought "keep it simple stupid" was your mantra. There seems to be a contradiction here.
Old 8th December 2015
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dboomer View Post
Wait ... I thought "keep it simple stupid" was your mantra. There seems to be a contradiction here.
No contradiction at all..keeping it simple means not putting 25 microphones on a 5-piece kit in a small bar, it doesn't mean substituting a 'real' kit for V-Drums and real amps for simulators.

But, as I said before it really depends on the objectives of the people involved...I don't really care what a band does, but when we start making claims like this: "for the benefit of the entire mix, running direct would be preferred", it starts to get wonky.
Old 8th December 2015
  #43
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I see ... so "it depends". Much in the same way that "complicated won't make it better" WILL make it better in some circumstances, right? It just depends on the circumstances and the people involved.
Old 8th December 2015
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
I guess it depends on the objectives of those involved, but I don't know that this is 'better' for the mix, it's certainly more convenient and easier for some people to go that route.

I however would rather spend the time and effort needed to work through this with a like minded band than try to survive a 90 min. set with V-Drums and PODs...but that's just me.
Tricky topic and a highly debatable response.

vDrums are absolutely easier to get a good mix out of than any acoustic kit I have ever worked with. I would guess that 70% of bands and their mixing would sound WAY better with vDrums simply because most bands lack the equipment and know-how to make acoustic drums sound good, and most drummers lack the ability to play an acoustic drum in a smaller venue and end up ripping the ears of of anyone near the stage with the horrific SPL generated in the higher frequencies.

Given that, some of the best mixes I have heard used acoustic drums..... but most people would be better off in many ways using vDrums.

I have now had quite a bit of time on my Kemper. There is NO advantage in tone by using a real tube amp. In fact, I find there are many things that sound much better that the Kemper can do that a real tube amp can not.

I think that there are many more bands out there injecting pain to the audience using a JCM800 and an acoustic drum kit than there are doing it with vDrums and a Kemper.

Just out of curiosity, have you heard the Kemper or the Roland TD35's? I would agree with you on the POD by the way. Horrible sound.
Old 8th December 2015
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneEng View Post
Tricky topic and a highly debatable response.

vDrums are absolutely easier to get a good mix out of than any acoustic kit I have ever worked with. I would guess that 70% of bands and their mixing would sound WAY better with vDrums simply because most bands lack the equipment and know-how to make acoustic drums sound good, and most drummers lack the ability to play an acoustic drum in a smaller venue and end up ripping the ears of of anyone near the stage with the horrific SPL generated in the higher frequencies.
The V-Drums are certainly less challenging to balance, but when you need the sound of 'real' drums, no electronic kit will do. The fact that some drummers and sound mixers lack the skill to make a real kit sound good in all situations does not change this fact.

Quote:
Given that, some of the best mixes I have heard used acoustic drums..... but most people would be better off in many ways using vDrums.
All the best mixes I've ever heard had acoustic kits, and think a better option would be for drummers to acquire the skills which will allow them to play their instrument in all circumstances.

A drummer choosing to play an electronic kit because that is the sound he wants is one thing, but using an electronic kit to make up for his lack of skills is another thing.

Quote:
I have now had quite a bit of time on my Kemper. There is NO advantage in tone by using a real tube amp. In fact, I find there are many things that sound much better that the Kemper can do that a real tube amp can not.
So, the amp modeler sounds 'better' than the amplifiers it was modeled after? There are are so many different types of amplifiers out there, does it sound like, (or better than) all of them? I don't argue that it can probably do things a tube amp can't do, but when you need a certain tube amp sound this will only give you (at best) a likeness of that sound.

Quote:
I think that there are many more bands out there injecting pain to the audience using a JCM800 and an acoustic drum kit than there are doing it with vDrums and a Kemper.
I think there is little wonder that we almost only see amateur, cover-bands using this gear...especially electronic drums. can't tell you the amount of times I've seen (and heard) really good sounding bands in small venues using acoustic kits and amplifiers...sometimes even without a PA and if most people would just turn off those stupid little PAs they don't know how to use they would be better off. I recently heard a 12-piece ska band (with a 5-piece horn section) and a kicking 4-piece rock band in a small basement bar/venue with a low ceiling and a capacity of about 100 including the staff and the bands.

They were not loud at all, and both bands sounded great, the most impressive thing for me was how well these expert musicians balanced themselves, they were controlled without the annoying sound of maladjusted compressors on every channel or the hand of an incompetent mixer messing with the mix balance all the time. Vocals and keys only in the PA and two monitor wedges for the ska band which was a set and forget affair as far as I could see, and a single vocal mic for the rock band which was also set and forget.

In my opinion, any band that want to do more than just make sound should aspire to this level of competence, not switch to electronic drums and amp simulators...

Quote:
Just out of curiosity, have you heard the Kemper or the Roland TD35's? I would agree with you on the POD by the way. Horrible sound.
Yes, I have heard the Kemper, not the Roland.

If I were a young mixer starting out now I would hitch my wagon onto a band that was using acoustic drums and real amps...if nothing else I could at least learn to really mix real drums and guitar amplifiers and be an all-round better sound person. But, as said before, it really depends on the objectives of the people involved.

Last edited by Samc; 8th December 2015 at 11:13 AM..
Old 8th December 2015
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dboomer View Post
I see ... so "it depends". Much in the same way that "complicated won't make it better" WILL make it better in some circumstances, right? It just depends on the circumstances and the people involved.
No.

If you want the ****ty sound of electronic drums or don't want to make the effort of learning to play your drums, then by all means use electronic drums. But don't make the claim that it's better (in any way shape or form) than using a real kit...which is basically what you did here: "From the point of the soundman and for the benefit of the entire mix, running direct would be preferred".
Old 8th December 2015
  #47
This topic is always a hot one with everyone's individual passions, personal likes and dislikes, and obvious egos.....but what always gets forgotten is that ultimately the audience is the judge. Like it or not, you won't be judged based on your preferences for acoustic versus electronic drums or tube amps versus modelers. You WILL be judged on the overall blend and mix and proficiency of the band regardless of the equipment used. We commonly headline multi band concerts...using V-Drums and modeling. The reason we headline is because our sound is extremely accurate and polished for each and every song. No two songs are exactly alike and in the studio it's quite common to use different amps and drum arrangements. Because we understand modeling and know how to apply it, we can accomplish that same thing live. Our stage blend is controlled and accurate and not all mashed together or unpredictable like most live band setups, and therefore it's easy for that to be translated into the FOH sound...and modeling is a big part of that.

The biggest impediment most people have is the lack of interest or ability to understand how to best exploit this technology. I will admit there is less thought and effort required to simply plug into one amp or use one drum set all night long. But the drum set and the amp will not easily adapt to different song styles or sounds. Much more time and consideration has to be given to preparing a modeling setup because it's far more like what you would do in a studio than what you would typically do in a live performance. And your approach for choice of amp, compressor, and other effects and their individual settings, or in the case of the drums, what kit and mix of tone on the drums and cymbals and overall ambience best fits the sound and feel for a given song does take some time and thought. But then each song will be a studio-worthy performance for the audience. Best of all, it's always repeatable from performance to performance, venue to venue.

I can't tell you the number of times people that follow us make statements about how good and consistent we sound wherever we play. I have a saying we've adopted.."you're only as good as you're PREPARED to be". That obviously means rehearsal, but that also means giving consideration to the overall sound and mix of the band and how that translates onto stage in a consistent manner.

Even with all that effort, we make it APPEAR easy to the audience.
Old 8th December 2015
  #48
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I wonder how all the great bands we know and love have gotten by without this stuff...how were they able to create and make famous the music you now claim can't be reproduced without electronic drums...that incidentally don't sound like real drums?

I'm also left to wonder why I can't think of one notable band or drummer that use this gear?

There are hundreds...thousands of bands all over the world (at all levels) that use real drums and real cabs and sound fantastic. Playing electronic drums have nothing to do with studio recording...it does not sound like an acoustic kit at all, you don't have to worry about tuning, bleed or microphone position and a host of other things, and the guy playing it does not need to be as concerned with stick pressure or placement and a million other things I could get into.

I think the biggest challenge for most people with these things is the sound...not the technology, let's not forget what they are and why they were designed in the first place.

Last edited by Samc; 8th December 2015 at 03:37 PM..
Old 8th December 2015
  #49
KEL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
No.

If you want the ****ty sound of electronic drums or don't want to make the effort of learning to play your drums, then by all means use electronic drums. But don't make the claim that it's better (in any way shape or form) than using a real kit...which is basically what you did here: "From the point of the soundman and for the benefit of the entire mix, running direct would be preferred".
I missed where Don mentioned electronic drums. His post was in response to direct guitar options. But I might be wrong. Wouldnt be the first time
Old 8th December 2015
  #50
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mbvoxx's Avatar
I have used a POD XT for a couple of gigs where the load in was too brutal to lug an amp, but prefer my Z Carmen Ghia or Z Wreck, depending on the staging, with a Senn 906 sending it thru the IEMS and FOH. There's something about having the speakers pushing air behind me, and the stage mix from the amps and drums that just can't really be bettered by going direct.
Old 8th December 2015
  #51
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anadelman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naindurth View Post
A good band can adapt their sound to the room they're playing. If you can only play at high spl, well that's the band's problem, not the amps.
Too bad we can't all work with good bands for every gig!
Old 8th December 2015
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anadelman View Post
Too bad we can't all work with good bands for every gig!
Not every band wants to be great...some just want to make sound.
Old 8th December 2015
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KEL View Post
I missed where Don mentioned electronic drums. His post was in response to direct guitar options. But I might be wrong. Wouldnt be the first time
Thanks ... yes my point WAS to running a guitar direct. But let me backup just a bit.

First ... Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Second, I would expect that most people reading an opinion or even a fact in response to a question that dissent contain a LOT of specific information would not expect there to be exceptions to one's answer. I always assume that when "music" is discussed on this forum it generally means some for of Rock type music and it was in that spirit I answered.

Obviously following through this thread there are lots of opinions about guitar tone. But go to a guitar forum and that number of opinions will increase by at least a few orders of magnitude. So I guess no one can state what a guitar should sound like.

My response was from a purely practical position and that just about anything an engineer can do to increase isolation and reduce the number of open mics on a stage will in most (but not all) cases be a desirable thing for the maintenance of a mix in a show. I'm betting a huge percentage of the audience can't hear the finer shade of a guitar's tone ... and a large percentage of them can't even distinguish the difference between an electric guitar and an electric bass.

And in the spirit of "just stick a 57 in front of your amp" guys ... all I can say is that mic greatly colors the actual sound coming out of your amp. If you really want to do it right, get a Royer ribbon.

Now if we were discussing a world class acoustic guitarist might come to a different conclusion (or maybe not). I do recall some world class pianists that prefer to travel with high end electronic pianos because from the practical side of touring they got more consistent performance (as well as lower production costs) that was as opposed to whatever piano might be on the stage any given night.

Having said all that ... lets talk about electronic drums. And again if were talking about some kind of rock show I would say from my experience of mixing hundreds (if not thousands) of shows over the years, most drummers and their bands are looking to get the sounds of "recorded" drums into the mix. Thats a relatively complicated thing to do as it requires skill on the part of the engineer and a tone of equipment. And while that equipment is mostly available on the A level tour circuit, it probably drops of drastically as you get down to the club level (although that is rapidly changing with digital mixers and plugs). So using a good electronic kit can make that pretty easy. Is it "real" drums ... hell no. Is it better? For a lot of people it certainly is.

So my personal opinion ... Unless the guitarist's name is on the marquee, I'd much rather deal with going direct. Same goes for drummers, and pianists.
Old 9th December 2015
  #54
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Like anything else in music, one should choose the gear most appropriate to their end goal. V-drums lack the feel, nuance and warmth of acoustic drums, but they can do things acoustic drums cannot. I remember being flabbergasted when I saw Leonard Cohen's drummer using mostly pads, but in the context of the show it made plenty of sense. They wanted to capture the album sounds from a long career filled with a variety of styles. Everything from kettle drums to cheesy reverse gate Phil Collins stuff. Short of having a bigger kit than Primus, I don't how else they could have created those sounds.

On the other hand you have a band like Green Day where every song basically sounds the same. Its hard to imagine any reason not to use acoustic drums in that situation.

The best use of guitar modelling I've seen was in the hands of Annie from St. Vincent. She does a ton of super over the top, Adrian Belew with Talking Heads type tones and it works. Its not supposed to sound like a Princeton or a Vox, its supposed to be a modern evolution of guitar tones. To me, this is a great reason, maybe the only reason to use modelling - when you want a sound that a tube amp can't make. On the other hand someone like Nels Cline or Blake Mills can create a huge range of tones and textures with a pretty basic amp setup. Part of that is the knowledge and skill to be able to manage gain effectively and not rely on a bunch of pedals to create tone. Can you imagine how frustrated a player like Nels would be attempting to dial in a Kemper after decades of mastering amplifiers? But who knows, perhaps he'll do a record where he wants to create strange new tones in the digital realm.

I guess my point is that digital emulations of analog instruments offer certain flexibility that can be beneficial if it serves your music. BUT, using digital gear just to not have to learn how to tune a drum or manage stage volume effectively is just a cop out and kind of sad IMO.
Old 9th December 2015
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adastra View Post
I guess my point is that digital emulations of analog instruments offer certain flexibility that can be beneficial if it serves your music. BUT, using digital gear just to not have to learn how to tune a drum or manage stage volume effectively is just a cop out and kind of sad IMO.
And to then make the claim that it is somehow better to do that is lame.
Old 9th December 2015
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dboomer View Post
Obviously following through this thread there are lots of opinions about guitar tone. But go to a guitar forum and that number of opinions will increase by at least a few orders of magnitude. So I guess no one can state what a guitar should sound like.
people have caring opinions about guitar tone so therefore nobody knows what a guitar should sound like?!?

My response was from a purely practical position and that just about anything an engineer can do to increase isolation and reduce the number of open mics on a stage will in most (but not all) cases be a desirable thing for the maintenance of a mix in a show. I'm betting a huge percentage of the audience can't hear the finer shade of a guitar's tone ... and a large percentage of them can't even distinguish the difference between an electric guitar and an electric bass.

Quote:
And in the spirit of "just stick a 57 in front of your amp" guys ... all I can say is that mic greatly colors the actual sound coming out of your amp. If you really want to do it right, get a Royer ribbon.
If you want to do it right use the mic that gets you where you want to go...it may, or may not be a Royer.

Quote:
Having said all that ... lets talk about electronic drums. And again if were talking about some kind of rock show I would say from my experience of mixing hundreds (if not thousands) of shows over the years, most drummers and their bands are looking to get the sounds of "recorded" drums into the mix. Thats a relatively complicated thing to do as it requires skill on the part of the engineer and a tone of equipment. And while that equipment is mostly available on the A level tour circuit, it probably drops of drastically as you get down to the club level (although that is rapidly changing with digital mixers and plugs). So using a good electronic kit can make that pretty easy. Is it "real" drums ... hell no. Is it better? For a lot of people it certainly is.
This is an overstatement of the facts, it does not require a ton of gear to get good drum sounds when the drummer and the mixer know what they're doing. Depending on the situation you may not need anything except the drummer and his kit...of course it helps if he knows how to tune and play it expertly.
Old 9th December 2015
  #57
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@Sam,

Not sure what bars you frequent, but in my neck of the woods there are many more drum mixes and drummers on acoustic drums that sound bad than those that sound good. Of the local bands that use vDrums, the mixes consistently sound better (including my own band).

A fact we can all agree on is that it takes MUCH more skill and equipment to make acoustic drums (in a rock setting as Don pointed out) sound good in the mix than it does to make vDrums sound good in the mix. There are therefore many more situations that will arise where a band with vDrums will sound better than a band with acoustic drums. Sure, higher end acts will sound better. Good Lord lets hope so.

As for the Kemper, YES. I contend that you could not tell the difference in a blind listening test from the FOH position..... and YES the Kemper can do much more than any 1 great tube amp could ever do ..... because it can sound exactly like any number of good tube amps. Moreover, it can sound like those amps at their best for your particular guitar setup and sound that good every night. I would note that while the rhythm guitar can live quite easily with just a straight DI off of a Kemper, the lead player is still going to need a monitor to get the air interaction with the strings. I play rhythm and can get enough action from most stage setups just from the FOH bleed onto stage, but not on all. For me that is OK since I rarely need to induce feedback for what I do.

The problem with most of these discussions is that the OP generally is asking about bar venue situations while many people here respond with what an A level act at a major venue would do. I am sure we would all love to have the best musicians and best equipment and best mix engineers at our disposal ..... but sadly, for most of us, that is fantasy land and we unfortunately have to live in the real world.

In the real world of bar bands playing rock, you are going to get a better mix going DI. The smaller the venue, the more true this is.
Old 9th December 2015
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreichmcculloch View Post
All the amp simulators I've had to mix sounded like crap when put direct through a PA... usually something akin to a nest of angry bees.
Considering the number of name acts that use a Palmer simulator despite having stacks of cabs, it can be done. It's part what cab simulator, and what amp and amp settings going into it. Don't blame the tool, blame the settings.
Old 9th December 2015
  #59
Gear Head
 

To each of their own. I've heard guitarists going inline that just nailed it. Some of them sounded at parts like a bees nest, but in a way that was just the icing on the cake. Then I saw Todd Rundgren do it, and it was the biggest heap of bulls**t ever to come out of a guitar rig.
Old 9th December 2015
  #60
Quote:
Originally Posted by OneEng View Post
@Sam,

Not sure what bars you frequent, but in my neck of the woods there are many more drum mixes and drummers on acoustic drums that sound bad than those that sound good. Of the local bands that use vDrums, the mixes consistently sound better (including my own band).

A fact we can all agree on is that it takes MUCH more skill and equipment to make acoustic drums (in a rock setting as Don pointed out) sound good in the mix than it does to make vDrums sound good in the mix. There are therefore many more situations that will arise where a band with vDrums will sound better than a band with acoustic drums. Sure, higher end acts will sound better. Good Lord lets hope so.

As for the Kemper, YES. I contend that you could not tell the difference in a blind listening test from the FOH position..... and YES the Kemper can do much more than any 1 great tube amp could ever do ..... because it can sound exactly like any number of good tube amps. Moreover, it can sound like those amps at their best for your particular guitar setup and sound that good every night. I would note that while the rhythm guitar can live quite easily with just a straight DI off of a Kemper, the lead player is still going to need a monitor to get the air interaction with the strings. I play rhythm and can get enough action from most stage setups just from the FOH bleed onto stage, but not on all. For me that is OK since I rarely need to induce feedback for what I do.

The problem with most of these discussions is that the OP generally is asking about bar venue situations while many people here respond with what an A level act at a major venue would do. I am sure we would all love to have the best musicians and best equipment and best mix engineers at our disposal ..... but sadly, for most of us, that is fantasy land and we unfortunately have to live in the real world.

In the real world of bar bands playing rock, you are going to get a better mix going DI. The smaller the venue, the more true this is.
I couldn't agree more. The problem is there are a LOT of musicians that think they're playing in a colliseum when they're really playing in a bar with horrifying acoustics and a PA system from the 80's, with a "sound engineer" that is also responsible for filling the ice bins at the bar. More times than not they end up with a big mashup of noise which isn't anything close to a clean, articulated and polished studio-level performance.
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