Author Topic: First Amp - Fighting my nature - what is good enough?  (Read 862 times)

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Offline VincentK

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First Amp - Fighting my nature - what is good enough?
« on: October 29, 2018, 05:03:03 am »
This is me, blowing bubbles  - feel free pop my bubbles.

I decided that I was spending too much time watching YouTube videos. The other day I had to move a guitar case out of the way, and I realized I hadn't played in years (like maybe 15?) and that getting back into it would give me something to do besides watching YouTube (100,000,000 channels and nothing I really want to see)

Apparently, the solution was to spend a couple hundred hours researching electric guitars & amps - on YouTube.  So, I've got a used ESP EC-1000 with Seymour Duncan JB/59's on hold because I wanted actually to play one before I bought a used one. In the meantime, I've been driving myself nuts looking at amps & pedals and watching dozens and dozens of hours of That Pedal Show, which I get a kick out of for some odd reason. 

My first inclination (being wired the way I am) was to want a Morgan MVP23 because I really like the design. That meant, pedals - eventually, lots of pedals. I started thinking about how much all that would cost and came to the conclusion that I'm nuts.  Pedals are, based on my research - addictive, once you start down that dark path - there is no going back. 

So - dipping my toe into the pool of sanity - I started looking at the Katana 50 and the Line-6 Spider V 60.   I haven't heard either one, but based on feature set, I'm leaning toward the Line-6 - Ultimately it'll depend on sound - I may end up with Line-6 even if it doesn't sound quite as good as the Katana - and I'm only suspicious of that because EVERYONE loves the Katana, and very few people talk about the Line-6. I'm not sure how much sound quality I'd sacrifice, but I'll know it when I hear it. I'm also not sure how much the extra features actually add to the value.  Metronome - kinda cool, drum loop - also kinda cool. Lots and lots of built-in pedal effects - very cool. Wireless - yeah that got my attention. Front panel controls I like a lot.  Lack of attenuation might be a problem. 

Katana 50 with GA-FC Pedal - about $320
Spider-V 60 with FVB-3 Pedal $590 + $100 for Wireless.

If you compare the pedals, controls, software, etc. I think the Line-6 is worth the extra unless it sounds blown speaker.  The Katana has the advantage of being less distracting - which is also a good thing.  So, I just don't know.

Acoustic 1: Lowden 52-SJ  nylon string cutaway
Acoustic 2: Martin DCM
Electric 1:  ???
Amp: ???

Offline Majik

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Re: First Amp - Fighting my nature - what is good enough?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2018, 09:07:29 am »
You are asking to chose between probably the best modelling amp in that price range on the market today (Katana) and the worst (Spider).

I am going to strongly recommend you get the Katana. It really is no contest.

The Line 6 Spider amps are almost universally panned. I've not come across anyone who likes them (at least anyone who has experience with other amps).

OTOH, the Katana amps are almost universally rated highly.

They may not have a couple of the features that the Line 6 has (like the backing track capabilities) but there's easy ways to play backing tracks via line in if you need that.

You may also want to consider the Katana 100 as it has an FX loop, which is useful if you want to use a looper in the future (such as the RC-3 which also has basic drum tracks and could be used for backing tracks).

Wireless can be easily added later if you want it.

Cheers,

Keith


Sent from my [device_name] using JustinGuitar Community mobile app
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline close2u

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Re: First Amp - Fighting my nature - what is good enough?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2018, 09:10:47 am »
I back up Keith's comments.
Line 6 Spider's have long been and continue to be sonically inferior to their rivals.

Offline Joerfe

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Re: First Amp - Fighting my nature - what is good enough?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2018, 09:24:42 am »
Not really a contest between those two amps as I see it.....
/Jesper

Sigma SOMR28H, Fender Classic '50s Tele, Fender Std Stratocaster, Gibson lpj '14, BOSS Katana 100-212 amp.
Me on da Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/jesper-j-rgensen-11

Offline Styrr

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Re: First Amp - Fighting my nature - what is good enough?
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2018, 05:56:56 pm »
A bit strange going from thinking about a Morgan MVP23 then moving on to solid state ‘modelling amps.  I would have thought that the pedal costs would be the last thing to put you off.
You really don’t need loads of pedals, and they don’t have to be the expensive ones that The Pedal Show have reviewed/demo’d . If the pedalboard rabbit hole is putting you off then how about the Line6 Helix (the version with just the pedals) and a valve amp.

Moving on to modelling amps. Most suffer from the same problem. High gain amp models don’t really sound that good, at least not if you use the presets. You have to go in and fiddle to get them to sound reasonable. Clean channels they do a decent job. I think that’s why Line 6 get a lot of flak – their presets are mostly rubbish.
Of the two you have named I would go with all the other posters and say Katana. But upgrade to the 100 or even the 100 artist versions. The Katana is simple to use and sounds good. Even on the higher gain channels. And you can attenuate it to low output and still get decent tones. I went with the 100 because it has an FX loop and the 50 doesn’t.

If you want wireless etc and bells and whistles then you may want to consider the Fender Mustang GT. The first firmware versions got panned at least for gigging with. They have released  new firmware which has improved it. But again from the 3 reviews I have seen, it looks like if you want heavy distortion then you need to set your own presets.

I have all three:, Line 6 spyder, Fender Mustang and Boss Katana (although both the line 6 and Fender are earlier versions). I would quite happily use any of them (for practice), but I use the Katana mostly for its simplicity to get the tones I want. But that’s me and not you. It’s not everyones cup of tea and If this thread goes on for longer you will get even more suggestions (such as Blackstar).

So it’s down to you to go and listen and play with them to see if you can achieve the tones you want from them (and in the style you want to play).

hope that helps and doesn't doesn't muddy the water further.


“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I cannot accept not trying.”
Michael Jordan

Offline VincentK

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Re: First Amp - Fighting my nature - what is good enough?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2018, 07:33:26 pm »
More research done - did I mention I love doing research? It's a great way to waste time and make decisions even harder - until you hit absolute saturation, then suddenly things get easier.
I added the Blues Cube to the list of possible amps, and took the Morgan off - maybe some day, if I work at it and become a decent player, I'll revisit that - or look at other tube amps.

I listened to the Katana, the Katana Artist, the Line 6, and the Blues Cube.

To my ear - the Blues Cube made the others sound lacking - most they sounded muddy and restricted. In order of preference - Blues Cube, Katana Artist, Katana 100, Line6.  The two Katana's were closer to each other than either was to the other amps.

Having been down the road of audiophile gear, I know a lot of the decisions I end up making are based on factors other than pure sound. And I suspect this one was no different. I found I was spending a lot of  time researching pedals & pedal simulations - time that would have been better spent practicing. Knowing my faults, I may have been someone affected by my fear of just how much time I'd spend goofing around with software and settings - rather than practicing.   

So, I found a used Blues Cube Artist and bought it. Until I can actually play a few dozen songs, I'm not even going to look at pedals - the amp has wonderful clean and pretty good dirty, a nice reverb & tremolo and even  that is more than I need to be messing with while trying to learn.

Thanks for the advice - I can see (or hear) why the Katana is so popular, it's pretty hard to beat without going used or spending nearly double.  I think for me, the used Blue Cube Artist is going to do everything I need, even a few years down the road and to my ears, it sounded the best.

Acoustic 1: Lowden 52-SJ  nylon string cutaway
Acoustic 2: Martin DCM
Electric 1:  ???
Amp: ???

Offline close2u

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Re: First Amp - Fighting my nature - what is good enough?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2018, 07:43:35 pm »
Good on ya … happy NAD. :)

Offline Joerfe

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Re: First Amp - Fighting my nature - what is good enough?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2018, 08:41:21 pm »
You went with a great amp. The Blues Cube was definately a runner up when I went for the Katana. But it was too bluesy sounding to me.
Congratulations!
/Jesper

Sigma SOMR28H, Fender Classic '50s Tele, Fender Std Stratocaster, Gibson lpj '14, BOSS Katana 100-212 amp.
Me on da Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/jesper-j-rgensen-11

 

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