Ok I finally got the chance to noodle a bit with these today.
Gear rundown: Ibanez RGIF7 with Fishman Fluence Tosin Abasi pickups and a PRS 277 Baritone with stock P90s/Mad Hatter electronics into a DI box running into my interface. Bear in mind I’m looking at these mostly from a metal player’s perspective.
Started with the Archon 50 model. I tried re-amping with it last week and wasn’t impressed, but I didn’t spend much time with it. Today I started with my Ibanez, and used one of the Devin Townsend presets. Holy shit, once that thing is dialed in properly it sounds monstrous. Same with the PRS. I messed with some other presets that were hit or miss, but that DT one at least proves that the sim can sound great. I’ll get more into dialing in my own stuff at some point. I haven’t used a “real” Archon, so I can’t directly compare, but from what I’ve heard of the actual Archon, those looking for a super-accurate sim will probably be disappointed.
Onto the PRS Dallas. Wasn’t as excited about this one, it was more mid-range-y Marshall-y type stuff. I’ll need to hear it in a mix to see what it can do and give it a proper torture test.
Finally onto the Blue Sierra/V9. Honestly I think this one alone is easily worth the price I paid, and it doesn’t even do metal type tones. Amazing clean tone, and really nice drive and crunch. On my Ibanez there’s a “mode 3” on the Fluence pickups which I think splits the coils and outputs a single-coil tone (people who know more about this than me can correct me). The single-coil pickup tone into this sim was amazing. I found myself noodling the longest on this one, because it was easily the most versatile and had the widest range of quality tones.
At the end of the day, they won’t replace any of my tube heads, but I also don’t have an amp that will do what the Blue Sierra does, so for un-metal that could wind up being my go-to for now.