Whats anyone using on guitar tracks and mixing

2018…what is it ?

still Fractals or Amp Sims (which ones?)…clean heavy metal?

are there still loyalists to the Marshall Tube amps and a SM57…

I have 2000 Pod Farm 2 Platinum amp sims (and some others I dont use because they didnt sound better than Pod Farm). I went and got a $100 Pod rack unit like Weezer used and a few others temporarily before going back to real amps…and then I wonder is the Fractal really that much better?

Brandon and his sidekick, did the pedal versions and he wasnt saying his Fractal was much better than the new Line 6 HD500 stuff as I recall. That was years ago already.

I might go grab a Fractal used for a weekend and compare. I have a decent live amp but last live amp stuff was a hassle, the Amp Sims kind of beat out the real amps for me…like drums I dont have a good room and am not a drummer and all the mics and etrc…Superior Drummer or WikiDrums is fine.

Maybe theres not been any improvements in the past years of 24bit/ 64bit or 32 bit amp sims and Fractals going from Ultra to III… or Pods going from $100 to the new Helix $1500…

Im confused why a rack unit would sound better than Amp Sims?

I have an old 50 watt Marshall combo sitting in my basement studio but I haven’t used it for recording in a long, long time. I’ve been using free amp sims lately. I like the convenience of the amp simulators.

Eventually I’ll buy the amp sim that I like most and I’ll probably stick with that. I would be happy with a really good clean sim and a good overdriven sim. Not looking for a great variety of sounds but having different flavours to choose from might be useful. Oh, and of course some nice guitar effects.

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Amp sims are all I’ve ever used. Don’t have the space for hardware or the ability to record loud stuff without seriously imperiling domestic stability. And the few times I did try to record my Peavey amp, I regretted it because later mix decisions rendered the choice of sound settings incompatible and I had to re-track – with an amp sim. So I don’t even bother trying anything but sims.

Don’t know about amp sims, but it sure sounds a whole lot easier. I would miss playing tho

It’s not a guitar simulator, just an amp simulator… you still gotta play! Just not through the physical amp.

Biggest downside for me is that there are SO many options to choose from that one can lose oneself fiddling with them… Paralysis by Analysis. :wink:


Some of those rack boxes can change their input impedance based on which amp is being emulated. Does that change your tone? Absolutely. Does that make it better than an amp sim? Maybe. Maybe not. As with anything else, it’s all subjective. Whatever is achieving the tone you’re after, then that’s what wins the day. For me, it’s a pedalboard plugged into a relatively clean, low-wattage tube amp cranked up and a 57. But you may consider my tone to be total garbage for what you’re trying to achieve :stuck_out_tongue:
Personally, I’ve had decent success with my Eleven Rack for amp sims (rack box), but I’ve also heard some great results from folks using software amp sims.
In a working/project studio, I definitely suggest having a number of options on hand.

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Sounds interesting, I have some homework to do. thanks Dave

I don’t think anybody has ever said this. A rack unit will generally have different features that make it more “pro.” Usually more I/O or more routing possibilities. The form factor is more convenient for different situations.

These days, I use Guitar rig when I’m lazy and want to just mess around going through presets, but usually when it comes down to actually using sounds on a song, I’ll use a simpler setup with a basic ignite or lepou head and some IRs. I’m not at the fancy with my guitar sounds though. If I need something more experimental, I’ll put up guitar rig, even though I don’t like the general sound quite as much.

I use real amps mostly, but I have a pod hd and an older pod xt as well that get layered in at times. I’ve used software amp sims occasionally, but I usually spend way too much time trying different impulse responses and never quite finding the right one. So mostly I just mic amps or use the pod.

please delete

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My guitar goes into a Boss GP10, which gives me guitar emulation of all the major models. I then throw that into Logic Pro X where I use one of the great amp sims - Mercuriall 530, Bias Amp Pro, and my absolute favourites - the Kuassa amp sims.

I’m still using amps. I have a Friedman Smallbox and Dirty Shirley mini. It would be a shame not to use them but I stopped using mics about a year ago when I got a Two-Notes Captor. One of the best purchases I’ve made in a while. Many benefits to using it and they far outway the very few (IMO) negatives.

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This is what I really like about amp sims. The ability to change your sound at a later time, if you’re not satisfied with it. Simulators make recording less of a hassle with their flexibility and convenience. They’re great to have especially if you’re recording in a tight space without much room. No more mic stands and guitar amps getting in your way. The mic stand only comes out when I’m ready to record my vocals.

I use both amps and sims. Part of me says to myself, “I’m ready for any situation!” while another part of me just wants to buy more stuff.

To attempt to answer the OP’s last question

I think the simple answer is, in theory they wouldn’t. BUT not all sims are created equal.

I picked up a Helix Rack last week, and from my understanding, the Helix Native plugin uses all the same algos. The difference is in the offloading of CPU resources to the rack unit. Also, I’ve built the Helix into a rig with a couple of my tube heads, so I’m not tethered to a computer if I want to use it live. That being said, the Fractal stuff is supposed to be a cut above the rest of the modeling systems. I haven’t used one, but I’ve watched a bazillion demos, and while obviously it’s very subjective, I do find that their emulations are generally of a higher quality. BUT at this point, most newer sims can get you like 90% of the way to the amps they’re emulating, so having the Axe FX may get you a bit closer, but the divide is so much smaller these days… and the price tag for the Axe FX is a huge deterrent for me. ITB sims are getting better all the time too. Most people swear by S-Gear. I just installed the Fortin Nameless sim, and for metal stuff it blows me away.

For me, the reality is, while I’ll mic a cabinet whenever I can, I’m also taking the direct feed through a load box so I can use IRs and a DI to run through sims and IR’s blah blah blah… and sometimes the sims just sound better in a mix. Do whatever serves the mix at the end of the day. I think it’s a really cool time to be doing this kinda thing… while there are WAY too many options, unless you’re under a super tight deadline it’s just fun to experiment and see what kinda tones you can squeeze out of gear.

The summary of everyone on here :yum:


I just picked up a pair of 2 notes Torpedo Captors. Haven’t had a chance to go in deep with them, but I’m really not happy with these things at the moment.

I don’t have a problem with the unit itself but the lack of usability of the impulse responses makes these unusable. They just don’t sound or act anything like a mic infront of a cab. When I apply a mic config at a certain distance or a combination of mics to a cab, I expect it to mimic what would happen under the same circumstances in real life. These things aren’t even close. I’m gonna spend more time with them before returning this damn thing, but so far its been a major letdown.


I’ve had the same issue to a certain degree. I can get some usable sound of it, but I almost always tend to fall back on the IR’s I have from OwnHammer and other vendors. The plugin is a nasty resource hog as well, at least on Windows. Having all the parameters is cool, but it’s definitely a chore to pull good tones, and it’s a giant steaming waste of time if you’re using non-Torpedo IR’s.

Interesting so youve tried the $$$ Helix.

A lot of great info and that was a question I had you also mentioned the sims are getting better.
I was wondering if new-improved is really better or not… Ive heard that about the Axe FX original to the newest best version arguments…of the Pod vs Po HD vs Helix…

I can only sorta answer this. The last Line 6 product I used was the original Pod. Compared to that the Helix is the greatest thing ever made…

According to Line 6, they’ve completely redone how they do the emulations and are supposed to be more “accurate” now. I put it in quotes because it will never sound exactly the same as the amp it’s simulating, and I’m perfectly ok with that because I haven’t played through 75% of the amps it’s simulating. As long as I can pull a usable tone then I’m happy. If there’s an amp in there that I want to sound 100% like the original, I’ll either use one of the actual heads that I have, or buy one if it’s that important (and not fiscally insane).

It’s worth noting though, the stock cabinets in the Helix aren’t great in a lot of cases… some work just fine, but some are not good. BUT, one of the great parts about Helix is loading my own IR’s and using them with the Helix’s amps… it drastically improves some of them… which is the same thing I do with ITB amp sims. I dunno if Line 6’s previous “flagship” units allowed loading IR’s though.

Otherwise, the routing and FX in the Helix for me are worth the price of admission. Case n point: I’ve got an EVH 5150iii and a Marshall DSL100 both hooked up via the 4-cable method. The EVH’s channel switching is being controlled by the Helix, and I think I can control the Marshall as well, but haven’t tested yet. On another effects loop I have a Voodoo Labs loop switcher with 8 of my analog pedals hooked up, and switched on and off via MIDI from the Helix. The fact that I can build patches inside Helix with one or both of my tube heads, any of the pedals I have hooked up, and anything from the Helix and can choose whether to output to a cabinet or keep it inside the Helix with an IR (or both)… it blows my mind. That’s the kinda stuff people paid Bob Bradshaw $$$$$ to custom build for them back in the day.

I have an upcoming project with someone who has a Pod X3 so I’m excited to do a comparison between that and the Helix. We shall see!

I’ve had a horrific amount of problems with the Helix here. The Pod HD was by far the best performer out of all the new guitar gear I’ve tried lately, for the mere fact that it functioned. The POD HD thing for me was completely a convenience move to control stage noise and its smaller and easier to move than a pedal board with Sans Amp gear. I fought with it a good bit in the studio and then decided the Scuffham, Waves, and UAD plugins were a much better way to go. I did get the POD working. Could have used it if I needed to, but wouldn’t have wanted to. Sold it off on the way to NAMM.