This section reviews different modellers and how they perform both with traditional amps and FRFR speakers.
I have been doing a lot of research on Kemper, Axe Fx, Line6 Helix in terms of what amplifier and speakers do Kemper, Fractal Audio and Line6 recommend you should use. I now have a Fractal Audio Axe Fx III based on recommendations from Fremen Presets, Brett Kingman and Leon Todd in preference to others.
Full Range Flat Response FRFR, speakers and amplifiers are recommended. Why because to reproduce the amp and cabinet model / profile you need the full range. If you use a guitar amp / speaker it will be coloured by the valves and cones of those, plus a normal guitar amp goes to about 5k and starts higher hence cannot take on a bass guitar well.
So studio monitors are fine through your DAW where you will get the actual sounds the vendors are wanting you to here for practicing and recording. I use Presonus Eris E5s with a Tamblor 10.
This means any guitar amp or speaker you have you will not use with these modellers / profilers.
So what is recommended for on stage or in live situations:
Atomic CLR, Mission Engineering Gemini 1 and 2, Matrix, Yamaha DXR, JBL EON, Friedman ASM12, Headrush, Laney LFR112 etc
These are all monitors, some wedges and powered or stand alone speakers.
Others to be considered Laney IRTX
Kemper and Fractal Audio initialling went after the DAW market and have added products for live use, but added is the word. Kemper really have added a pedal and an amp, but are reliant on 3rd party passive speakers! FA have done nothing this area in terms of amp or speakers.
And then there is Line6 who are going full bore into the amplifiers for this to replace your standard amp. Amplifi and the Firehawk 1500. And of course these can be used as a full acoustic amp as much as pickup guitar. The Boss Katana is a tremendous replacement for your traditional valve areas, highly controllable. The new Hughes & Kettner Spirit 200 floor takes the amp and FX to a floor pedal which is unique at the moment.
A bungle of questions arise:
Do these actually allow dynamics when you turn the guitar volume down, picking strength, feedback, thump, that awesome moving air of bigger speaker cabs?
Can you run your pedal board through these and how will they react?
Well the Kemper does, but I have not heard that questions answered for the others as yet. My expectation is they will. FA with Aries is now user friendly and you need to use the PC interface for each of use and is great in the recording studio and has produced the floor FC6 and FC12 pedal connections supporting a live environment.
Positive Grid Bias have produced an amp no speaker and just recommend a standard 8/16ohm cab for its 600w, which I think is not helpful. However, FRFR is what is designed for so if you want true model reproduction you will need one of third parties above.
Interesting Positive Grid have modelling overdrive/distortion, modulation and delay pedals so you can load up your favourite pedals into it and use with a standard valve set up. A new platform and very interesting.
So where next. The cost is a la the same as a mid range valve combo £850 as this is written. Kemper with amp is £1720 with passive speaker £500 to £600 plus £450 for the controller. Expensive and now old tech. Fractal Audio AX8 is £1100, Axe FX III £2200 and now about to introduce a lower priced FM3. So Line6 Helix is the cheapest modeller with a complete amp set up. It also runs a complete wet dry and stereo capability saves having two or in my case 3 amps with Helix floor, rack, LT, effects only or HX stomp and has the best user interface.
So you can take your studio sounds to the stage in stereo, not have a huge variation based on your settings of your valve and pedal set up.
I am now thinking of downsizing everything. Listening to Leon Todd, Fremen Presets who I have contacted, the sound in the Axe FX III is great as to the others being good. However, when you have £4000 of pedals its not a straight forward go get as my sound is already awesome, yet I have now purchased the Axe Fx III and will be selling off more pedals.