Bass Guitar Amp Modeler

bass guitar amp modeler

A bass guitar amp modeler is a digital processor which mimics the sound of amplifiers and speaker cabinets, including effects such as reverb, distortion, and delay.

Wells is now using a Tech-21 Sans Amp RBI single rackmount amplifier as a much lighter replacement to his old bass rig – an Ampeg SVT bass amp and 4×10 cabinet –

The Basics

A bass guitar amp modeler uses computer technology to mimic the tonal characteristics of multiple amplifiers and provide built-in effects, ideal for practice or live performances. Gone are the days of carrying around heavy amp heads and 4×12 cabinets when gigging bassists could pack multiple great amp and cabinet combinations into one portable device that uses bass modeling amp technology.

Modeling amps don’t include the heavy transformers, tubes and speakers found in tube amps; thus making them lighter than traditional amplifiers and easy for bassists who must switch between multiple tone variations during sets. A good modeling bass amp can even double as an audio interface or mixer for recording purposes – an added advantage over regular amps!

Bass guitar amp models typically include several effects like reverb, distortion, delay and chorus built in. Some also provide advanced features like adjustable equalization sections that can shape the overall sound of an instrument – typically comprising dials for bass frequencies, low mid frequencies and high mid frequencies that allow players to customize the low end and mid range power of their bass sound.

As such, this eliminates the need for external pedals when playing live; bassists can quickly adjust their settings on-the-fly instead. Furthermore, many bass modeling amps feature XLR outputs for connecting directly to mixing boards, making them an excellent option for recording musicians.

An additional advantage of bass modeling amps is their versatility: they can connect directly to an acoustic bass and play through a speaker system for use by bassists who don’t have room for full-sized amps in their studio or rehearsal space, yet still need traditional sounds from traditional amps. Many modeling amps also come equipped with various cabinet and mic simulation options so players can find just the right sound for their instrument and environment.

The Pros

Bass guitar amp modelers are tailored specifically for bassists and often feature adjustable EQ settings that enable users to find their ideal tone. Furthermore, many come equipped with effects like reverb and distortion for adding some grit and clarity to their tones.

One advantage of these amps over traditional amplifiers is their portability. Without heavy transformers and tubes to weigh them down, these models are lighter and easier to transport, which makes them especially helpful for gigging bassists who often must lug multiple amps and pedalboards around for their live setups.

Most of the best amp modelers on the market are intended to serve multiple purposes – practice, studio and live amps alike. This is because they offer an impressive variety of tones ranging from cleans to overdrive crunch and everything in between. Plus, most come equipped with different speaker cabinets and virtual mics so that you can find your ideal tone easily.

Kemper, Helix and Axe FX amp modelers sound incredible; much modern music has been recorded using one. However, without proper guidance they can quickly become overwhelming to use and may lead to something that doesn’t reflect your true sound.

Additionally, some of these units feature numerous features that may be overwhelming for beginners. For instance, Helix boasts hundreds of amp models and even offers a profile lock feature which lets users save presets for future use – this can be particularly helpful for bassists just starting out on amp modeling who wish to quickly find great sounding models.

One drawback of these amplifiers is their limited tuning flexibility; if you require perfect amp tones, chances are you may spend some time fiddling with settings before finding one with which you are satisfied.

The Cons

On stage, amp modelers are becoming an increasingly popular choice among bassists as more opt for amp simulators as an easy and more compact way of creating similar sounds at lower costs than traditional amps. Furthermore, bass players who already use one might even switch over and use both systems simultaneously!

There are a few considerations when choosing a bass guitar amp modeler, however. First is flexibility – modelers aren’t as versatile as regular amps in terms of use of external pedals or effects like distortion and chorus pedals, for instance). Furthermore, some models don’t do justice to the classic tube amp sound when compared with real amp output, particularly noticeable when comparing output of modelers with real amp output – even though modeling amp technology has advanced tremendously since its first appearance; yet no modeler has managed to duplicate natural-sounding distortion that genuine valve amps possess!

Keep in mind that amp modelers typically produce stereo outputs which must be converted into mono signals for stage use, making life a little tricky if you want to create specific effects for your lead sound or have many stereo delay effects in your mix of sounds. Therefore, before planning on using one live, check with the FOH engineer in advance to make sure everything will work with no hassles or surprises.

Remember, however, that although a bass guitar amp modeler can be useful at home and studio use, monitoring your sound on stage can be more complex. Most models provide balanced XLR output which can connect directly to PA systems; otherwise you will require an external DI box. Furthermore, it’s wise to save backups of all your sounds both internally and on external drives; in case your best lead sounds accidentally get overwritten during rehearsal rehearsal, at least you have backup copies handy!

The Bottom Line

As previously discussed, a good bass guitar amp modeler offers many features not found on traditional tube amps. These features can include the ability to capture an amp’s sound for use on recordings as well as providing access to more digital effects than even the most expensive multi-effects pedal could provide.

At the same time, modeling amps tend to be lightweight and portable thanks to not requiring the heavy transformers and tubes of traditional amplifiers. Furthermore, they often come in various wattages so you can choose an amp with just enough power for practicing or jamming at home, or opt for something stronger if taking to the stage is your goal.

Dependent upon where and how you plan on using an amp modeler, footswitches may be worth considering as they allow for easy switching between various models and presets. This feature is particularly important if planning to use it live. Some amp modelers such as Kemper Amp Simulators feature built-in footswitches while others such as Helix line of amp modelers require separate floor pedals with their own set of footswitches.

Many of the top amp modelers provide an enormous range of sounds suitable for every musical genre imaginable. For instance, Line 6 POD boasts over 600 amp and cab models made famous by artists such as Alex Lifeson of Rush, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai of Guitar Hero fame, Coheed and Cambria’s Devin Townsend of Coheed and Cambria as well as Metallica.

Fractal Axe-FX, another widely used modeler, has been chosen by over 200 artists – such as those featured above – including bands like Tool, as well as solo musicians looking for something versatile enough to meet all their musical needs. While it may cost slightly more than Kempers, it should certainly be taken into consideration if that’s your goal.

Even though traditional amps still hold their place on stage and studio stages, amp modelers are becoming an increasingly important tool for busy bassists looking for quick access to any amp’s tone with minimal hassle and bother. An amp modeler provides this access in an efficient manner.