Amplitube or Champ

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Amplitube or Champ

Post by Kevh on Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:06 am

Since I bought my beloved thunder last year I've been playing on an old POD 2 which i picked up for under 20 quid. It's almost as vintage as the Thunder is, but it's kept me going til now. I spent a day round at a mates, who's using a cheap little peavey Xport as an interface and amplitube 3 and amplitube Fender.I've always viewed the POD as basically a distortion modeller with some limited effects thrown in, but I was impressed with what I heard in Amplitube.

The fender cleans had that lovely shimmer, very responsive to the volume control and active switch. In fact I could get some fantastic sounds from practically every model, and needless to say the stomp section just totally blows away the pod.

So here's the crunch. There's a little champ 600 in our local pawn shop. Asking 120 but I'm sure I could get it for a ton. After retubing and throwing a couple of pedals in the mix I imagine there isn't going to be much difference in either option. I was dead set on buying it, but now I am really not so sure. Champ for the tube feel, or Xport and a whole new world of options?

£200 to spend, and now leaning to the software option. Any advice from players using software modellers? Amplitube? Guitar Rig? Revalver? Recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by Barry on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:29 am

Hi Kevh, I think generally speaking, you are always going to be further ahead with a tube amp. The Champ is a nice little piece of gear and I think you'll enjoy it. It's not a performance amp but well suited for solo or practice work.

I am not a big fan of "effects", they grow old very quickly, and from a practical point of view where would you use 99% of them anyway? The Thunder has enough variation in itself to cover off most tonal and "dirt" variations you'd need.

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by corsair on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:49 am

Barry wrote:..... they grow old very quickly, and from a practical point of view where would you use 99% of them anyway?

I can say without the word of a lie that I have used each and every one of my pedals onstage to get a sound I'm after for a song, especially in covers bands when you can go from the shimmery Andy Summers sound, to Hank Marvin clean, to James Hetfield raunch, to Eric Claptons "woman tone".... all in the same bracket!
At one stage I was in demand as a player because I could quickly get very very close to most of the popular guitarists sounds of the day because of those stompers.... esp. the compressor, phase, EQ and chorus FX. I will admit the pitch shifter is just a bit of goofy fun... Though I can get quite a nice 12 string out of it, and a baritone.

Shame my chops were never really that good!! Laughing

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by Guest on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:58 am

I used Guitar Rig and it is pretty good, but I've only used it with headphones, never through a P.A. or anything. It's fun to mess around with, but for recording or playing live, Ill use my Fender Blues DeVille.

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by Kevh on Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:42 am

Maybe there's room for both. I did hear the pawn shops 'guitar guy' refer to the champ as 'The Fisher Price' amp, before pointing some kid towards some solid state 2x12, so i might just go in and make a stupid offer and gauge their reaction.
I think I'll definitely be ordering one of the Xports. They come with some stripped down version of revalver and Reaper, so I could use some of the Lepou and Acmebargig free vst stuff that's supposedly decent.
It's all just for personal pleasure, my dreams of rock stardom ended many moons ago. Point taken about the stomps. No-one needs 50 pedals, but if i found even 3 or 4 usable then I'd be happy.
I'll go in late friday afternoon maybe and offer them 80 notes. I'll use his fisher price comment against him lol.

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by westcoaster on Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:22 pm

Brfore you buy you should check out the reaper site (edit - I think you have) - lots of useful info on amp modelling etc. FWIW I've found reaper to be an excellent bit of recording software, inexpensive easy to set up and will do pretty much anything you want it to do. For ease of use it blows the orhers like cakewalk out of the water. The acme bargig stuff is pretty good but I wouldn't want to try using it in a live situation. Great for home recording though.

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by Barry on Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:33 pm

corsair wrote:...esp. the compressor, phase, EQ and chorus FX...
Can't argue with these. These are pretty much required, even for rhythm guys like me. What I have no time for is all the "silly stuff" that you inevitably find bundled into modelling amps and the like. Fun to fiddle wif, but not really useful musically.

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by METESKY on Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:27 pm

I take it we're talking practice amps here, right?

I have Amplitube on my iPad... Mostly got it out of curiousity. Like starcaster I've only used it to drive headphones. I suppose my choices run like this...

First, if I don't have to play with headphones, and I don't need effects, I play my much abused, much beloved '57 Champ. It'll blow your socks off at four. ;-)

Second, if I need effects, and am playing with headphones I use a Zoom G2.1u, which does an amazing job for its price.

Third, if I'm traveling without the above I use Amplitube, usually the Fender version... But I'm not really knocked out by the sound or features.

My suggestion? Take your Thunder to as many stores as you can and play every amp in your price range. Check out reviews at Harmony Central and elsewhere. I would not suggest going Amplitube as your main path. Unless you are desperate to move on this, you may find you need to save up some more cash to really get something you like the sound of, and that has as many practical applications as possible.

As far as effects go, I have two+ cases of them. They're important to have, but unless you have serious recording or giging in your future go with a multi pedal like the Zoom above, Pod... you know the kind I mean. I'd guess that 70% of the time I just use an old Tube Screamer and Univibe with the Champ, but you know best what your style demands.

Happy hunting, and have fun!

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:11 pm

I've used Guitar Rig for a good few years... It's great if you have a decent soundcard and a good sized speaker to hrar it, but I'd go amp and pedal for reliability and convenience..... Plug in and switch on... Or sit and wait for bootup and latency issues :-)

incidentally today I took in a Vox Vt15 with a valve at the output stage, this thing is incredible...... Really shows how poor the UBC's are No

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by Barry on Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:45 pm

Sgt. Vimes wrote:...today I took in a Vox Vt15 with a valve at the output stage, this thing is incredible...
Twisted Evil
Really shows how poor the UBC's are No
Yup.

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by corsair on Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:15 pm

Barry wrote: Really shows how poor the UBC's are No Yup.

Hmmmmmm.... the faux UBCs are weaker than 45s, I'll grant you, but given that we're talking about outboard FX and amp emulators here, I reckon I could play you bods the same piece of music, through the same gear set up - honking great 100w combo with 6550s and both pedalboards, then miked through a PA - with a UBC guitar and a 45 equipped guitar, and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference on sound alone.

I've said it once and I'll keep on saying it: at stage volumes with FX and microphones/PA in the mix, the pickup choice isn't vital! It's only when you're sitting on your arse in a quiet room, dicking about with a guitar that any differences become apparent...

My 2€...

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by Westbone on Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:54 am

Give Steve Vai, Joe Satirani some UBC's then

UBC's just don't have the dynamics.

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:11 am

I only sit on my arse dicking about in a quiet room, so yeh, I want better.

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by Kevh on Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:45 am

All great advice , and thanks for that everyone. For the moment I'm going to go down the software route. I've got a tower i can dedicate to just that, and it's decently specced. I just think it offers a lot of bang per buck for a player like myself who just plays for fun.

There are that many manufacturers knocking out low wattage amps these days, I can't see it being too long before they start appearing on the second hand market in larger numbers. These amps are now within range of beginners, who sell on pdq once they realise you have to put some actual effort in before you get the pay off (this is my theory at least lol)

And it doesn't need to be either /or, I'll wait a few month then take a look whats available.

EDIT. Re latency. I've tried the xport through the machine i have designated, latency isn't an issue. It's got a creative audigy soundcard sat in it, and the Xport does the job just fine. I feel no difference playing through the Xport than the pod so that's good enough for me.

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by Barry on Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:24 pm

What Westbone said. The UBC's are tinny and shrill sounding with very low output.

Johnny, most of us plunkers have not been blessed with the sort of on stage rig you describe. In my world I saw/see individual amplification, with the PA pretty much separate from the instruments except perhaps for an acoustic-electric guitar or the drummer's kick bass. I can count the number of times on one hand that we were lucky enough to have a proper mixer board with all inputs AND a sound man to run it. Yeah, luxury!

Under those conditions I'd more or less agree with you. But in the average Bar/party/dance environment the UBC just does not cut it. As mentioned often here before, "back in the day" I had to swap out my bridge UBC in the ST in order to be heard above all the bloody Fenders in the band! tongue

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by corsair on Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:56 am

I suppose so, but my rig is exceptionally basic, eh; nothing too flash for me as I could never afford top flight gear!!

However, my old combo amp is a real belter; sadly atm in bits as it needs some TLC and the bloody reverb is busted to boot!

Soundman?! Christ, most of the time our drummer ran the board - such as it was!

No Fenders in my last 2 bands, nor Gibsons, neither; my Vantage and a Yamaha RGX 112 or the Genesis II for slide and the singers Ibanez thing; bassist was on an early Ibanez which I rate as good as my Spectrum GTBass; it is a beauty!!

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Re: Amplitube or Champ

Post by anaerobe on Fri May 24, 2013 11:26 pm

One of the best/cheapest multi-effects pedals out there is a mid 2000's Line 6 Pod xt. I got one on Kijijii -which was preloaded with extra amp models and 60 effects for about a $ hundred bucks CDN. With my nice old Univox bass amp (really a clean amp), and through a set of old celestion 12" greenbacks I can really make some good JCM 800 noises ----- and dual recto, and jumpered lead 100 Marshall, and Valco/Supro class A, blackface saggy sounds, clean twin reverb a la Dire Straits, etc.

The effects are good too - they've nailed the wobbly Univibe and MXR phase sounds, ping pong and tape delay, a really terrific autowah, etc.

A champ would go well with this, as long as you kept it clean. You can adjust the output of the pedal to dress it up for a decent tube amp, and it does a good job.

Another reason I like these old line 6 boxes is because they are plentiful, and the on-line libraries are huge and diverse. The boss GT series are also good bang for the buck. I still play an old Zoom G2.1, but its not close to Line 6 or Boss stuff that mentioned above.


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Re: Amplitube or Champ

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