Amplification recommendations for DSP Guitar Modeling systems

Started by Elantric, February 10, 2008, 07:15:37 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


One must learn what the typical sound of the typical guitar Amp Frequency Range is , as this knowledge helps allow you to make patches that can sit in a band mix. The typical problem when using any guitar modeler is dialing in too much bass low end frequencies in your guitar tone.
I like to A/B compare the tone I'm working on with the typical guitar tone from a commercial record. If you train your ears you can get in the ballpark using headphones at home, but this knowledge takes time to learn. And then make final minor tweaks at band rehearsal to make the final saved patch.

I will add that it helps having spent years in LA studios where I used to be hired as the "Fix it" man  - my name never made final credits but my Tel number was on a few LA producer's rolodex, and often the big name LA session player who played the original solo on someones song demo was overbooked and could not return to play a few "fix it" bars in the new song arrangement - so back in the mid 1990's  I owned a Zoom 9030 and GSP-2101, and with one of those I could dial in a sound that landed in 85% of the same sonic space as the original solo recording- which was good enough for rock and roll. But my point is its a real education to hear raw naked studio guitar tracks of a miked guitar amp, before all the final mixing and production. You discover that many Guitar tones that you love on the music you hear sounds "dull and lifeless  when you press the Track solo button on the studio mixer. You discover often the perfect guitar tone for the song is one that lives in its own limited frequency domain and does not walk all over the rest of the instruments and suits the singer.
Ear training is more than just learning the Note pitches and rhythmic time / space co-ordinates for the song groove -  but also understanding the Instrument Timbre and Frequency Range, and knowing the Frequency Response of Guitar speakers and studio mic placement during recording.

I find studying these Amp/Cab/Mic Freq Curve plots helps too
Heres a popular Fender Speaker - Jenson C10Q

Observe Sound Pressure ( red line) and its peaks and valleys across the 10-11K Hz frequency spectrum in the logarithmic scale horizontal axis 

While thats fine for 80% of all electric guitar - - its not going to work well if you desire to use MIDI Guitar triggered Synths or Acoustic Instrument DSP Models  - where a Flat Response (flat line with minimal peaks and valleys) would be ideal 

Typical Amp, Cab, Mic Frequency Response Curves.
Although I developed these tests a few years ago with a Line6 Vetta  - the basic characteristic "EQ Curve" of most popular Amps, Cabs, and Mics are documented here - to get you in the ball park. I think anyone trying to get a decent guitar tone will be better equipped if they understand the Frequency response differences / relationships between:

Amp Heads:  a Fender Twin, and a Marshall JCM-800, or a Peavey 5150.

Speaker Cabs:  A Celestion Vintage 30, Jenson C10Q, or a JBL D130

Mics: Shure SM-57, Seinheisser 421, Neumann U-47 - (both On Axis and Off Axis!)

Its not off topic to refer to these EQ plots when trying to emulate these sounds with a VG-99 - I view each of the companies (Line6, Roland, Digitech, Axsys) as leapfrogging each other  - its more a function of "who's got the faster DSP and highest bit depth this year?

More important knowledge is here:

Learn to Program Roland/Boss Processors 

Common hurdle Electric guitarists face when using VG/GR gear

Traditional Guitar Amps loaded with Electric Guitar speakers are the wrong tool for the job for faithful reproduction of Synthesizers or Modeled Acoustic Instruments

Play your MP3 Player into  an Electric Guitar Amp and listen - you will notice a "lack of high end", other midrange peaks, and possibly distortion audio issues when using a Speaker cab designed for Electric Guitar  - its not going to faithfully reproduce your GR-55 sounds - and might lead down a road of pain, should you spend months tweaking EQ Boosts and cuts to make your DSP Amp Modeling / Profiling patches sound good in yet another Guitar Amp, then you expose yourself to high risk of loosing gigs.  One day you may find yourself in a situation as opening act using only a GR-55, but must use a strange borrowed Full Range  / Flat Response (FRFR) active powered stage monitor or forced to use a DI box straight into the House PA  - with a screechy high EQ boost in the FOH PA mix  -  you might wonder why nobody re-hires your band.

I'm just informing the facts of that a Guitar Amp with Celestion V30 Speaker has issues - not saying anything is "wrong", just know it has limitations, with its -15dB rolloff on the low end and -30dB drop above 7.5kHz -  - your Audiophile friends would shudder!

If you expect to hear perfect Pianos and Orchestral sounds, you wont. - This will negatively impact your overall GR-55 experience.

Look here for recommended Full Range  / Flat Response (FRFR) amplifiers

VGuitar Forums > Other Related Gear > Amplifiers
You want your live tone to match the same sound you hear using good Headphones directly connected to the GR-55/VG-99.

I use Sony MDR-7506 ( or the superior Audio-Technica ATH-M50) headphones, and I can dial in great Acoustic guitar sounds from the GR-55 or VG-99.
Bottom line its "garbage in = garbage out" - if you have bad sound in your Headphones  - then no external amp is going to make it sound better.       

Human hearing range is 20-20Khz frequency response.

The best amplification systems will have flat response 20-20kHz freq. response speakers and lots of headroom(= watts!) , to support the VG/GR Synths.

A good test for any amp is bring your  iPod and play back some of your favorite pre-recorded music you know  well - and see how that translates on the AMP under review.

If you only do electric guitar modeling then a system with 80-8kHz frequency response works, but Acoustic guitars , Synths , BAss,work best with flat 20-20kHz  frequency response.

Old school "pre 1980s" Bass rigs had 30-8kHz range, modern bass rigs with HF Horn tweeters extend this range to 20kHz 
For any DSP guitar modeler with a DAC (Digital to Analog Convertor) on its final output  - (KPA, POD, VG, Digitech RP,GSP,Zoom G series,etc) ) you need massive headroom to fully hear the intended tones, and keep up with the other guitar player playing a real tube amp. Using a DSP Amp modeler into a tube amp, will restrict and compress / distort the available range of tones, and guitar speakers have that limited 80-8kHz Range.

Using a solid state power amp with low wattage (under 50 watts) will typically clip and distort early and have significant problems recreating the punch of a tube amp , but there are exceptions (see below)

The numbers on paper seem incomprehensible, but it can take a 500-1000 watt amp driving flat response speakers to match the "punch" of a 30 watt Tube Guitar Amp.

Most folks go for the all in one self powered PA speakers available today

Many "FRFR" (Full Range / Flat Response)  amps can sound very bad with Modeled guitar, with demonstrable over sensitivity in the high frequencies to distort  - rather like the sound of "rice crispies" with constant sputtering with every note played on the guitar.
Roland AC-33, AC-60, Crate Limo,  suffer these HF distortions when used as an amplifier for GR-55 /VG-99 and played loud. Mostly its the low wattage internal power amplifier that is "clipping" and making these bad distortions.

Often this can also be due to overloading the receiving preamp on the powered speaker. Watch for any "clip" LEDS to be flashing on the powered speaker, and lower the Master Output level on the GR-55 / VG-99.

I would refer any GR-55 / VG-99 user to review the list of recommended  Flat Response /  Full Range  amplification system in the Amplification Systems area of the forum.

All Amplification Systems on this list below are known to be able to be played very loud with no distortion or weird High Frequency breakup anomalies.

For small portability flat response and stereo for low volume rehearsals,  Polk HitMaster (100 watts - but feels like a 10 watt tube amp) (Im looking for a 2nd one!)

TC Helicon FX150

Roland Cube Street EX

For loud gigs with minimal transport grab and go- I use the clean "JC-120" channel or MP3 input on a Roland Cube 80XL. Sometimes bring two for stereo. Reasonably flat and decent sounding despite a single 12" speaker.

When i have more transport room I have a Traynor K4  - many of us use these, but its larger and heavier which plays a factor as I get older.

Back in 1998 I used to use a pair of JBL EON 15P, but I wore them out by 2004 ( woofers need replacement)

Ive had good luck with a pair of cheap Behringer B212A (now discontinued and replaced by B212D)

and I have a pair of EV ELX112P which I use for band PA with a separate mix board ( Yamaha 01V or Phonic Helix 18 (the phonic has 16 channel firewire to a macbook for gig recordings )
Direct from VG-99 Sub XLR Output or GR-55 1/4" Output, I found the Behringer B212A's worked better because the ELX112P really needs a hot signal (from a mix board) to get the SPL up

I would also add these Full Range Flat Response (FRFR) systems to the list.

Alto TS110A

Alto TS112A

( or the similar Alesis Alpha 112

Alto SXM112a


Yamaha DXR

More "mostly good" info here


If you all are looking for powered speakers to use with the VG-99 (or anything, for that matter) I strongly suggest you take a listen to the KV2 EX series!  I've been using them for PA mains and monitors for everything from classical music to hardcore dance music and they are the only speakers I have ever used that sound this warm and punchy an solid and, and, and...and I can barely say enough good about them.

KV2 is a bit of a less known brand in the states, but I really suggest a/b testing them against any other little pole mounted speakers and you will see what I mean.  It's not just me, I've shown these to at least 5 venues and systems owners here in the pac nw and they ended up buying some.

For guitar I'd suggest a pair of the EX10's.  I haven't yet used the TINY ex 6's but they might work without a a sub is required. The EX12's are stunning and amazingly loud.



I'm playing my VG99 through a pair of berhinger keyboard amps with 180 watts and a 12 and a tweeter.  They kick butt and are so cheap they are almost disposable if they should break.  I also discovered that my tech 21 power engine works beautifully with the VG99 and has a wonderful tweeter-less tone, not to mention it is really light and easy to carry.  Using it on one side with the keyboard amp on the other is the hot setup for me right now.  One open back cab and one closed.

Charles Beatty

So - I got the VG-99, PDS-10, and FC-300.  Right now I'm running mono through a Tech 21 Power Engine 60.  The electric stuff sounds excellent.  However, my acoustic patches sound good - but not great. 

I want to run a stereo rig.  I'm thinking about an acoustic guitar amp to run alongside the Tech 21.  Maybe a Roland or Crate.  Or should I get a keyboard amp?

BTW - my style is roots rock - twang, blues, country, rock n roll.



I run a power engine in stereo with a keyboard amp and love it.  I enjoy the tonal differences of playing two different amps and speaker cab combinations at the same time.

Steve Dee

You might try an SWR Strawberry Blond acoustic amp for the VG-99 acoustic sounds. I used it with a Brian Moore with the piezo's plugged directly into the SWB, and it sounded great. I have not tried it with the VG-99 (yet).
Steve - San Diego

Charles Beatty

I made a deal with a local guy for a Fender Acoutisonic SFX.  It's the tall 80x80 one from a few years ago, when they first brought them out.  I'm picking it up Sunday.  I'll post a review.

Charles Beatty

Well - I picked up the Fender Acoustisonic SFX yesterday.  It sounded fine with my Fishman equipped Acoustic-Electric at moderate volume. 

However, the VG-99 did not sound good.  It seems that the Fender couldn't handle the input from the VG-99.  I had to turn the gain down to less than one to get anything usable.  Then the volume was insufficient with the amp master all the way up to ten.  I tried various global output settings on the VG-99 (line/phones, combo amp, etc.)


FWIW - I had similar experience with the Fender Acoustisonic SFX = not enough headroom - too easy to distort, not loud enough, muddy.

I understand Groove Tubes licensed the SFX technology and still manufactures cabinets using this scheme.
As a stereo cab,  It may function better than the fender version when coupled with a better stereo amplifier.

Crate Powerblock?

But for these prices - Id look at the self contained Stereo Keyboard Amp offerings from Motion Sound, Yorkville, or even a Roland AC-90 

There are many good reports of using the VG-99 feeding a 20 year old Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus Stereo FX Return.


I run into either a second VGA7 on a clean setting or for smaller stuff a Genz Benz Shenandoah Stereo 60.  Better still is to run it direct to the mixer.  Some of the streo effects are much better that way too.
Stay Tuned!


I use a stereo keyboard amp from Motion Sound. It is the KP200 which has a angled front to spread the stereo field. Each side has a 10" and a horn. 100 watts per side. Works well with all patches. The acoustics are awesome as well as the model elect guitars through amp models. Got mine through


I'm using a Soundcraft GigRac head through a stereo 2x12 cabinet. The acoustics and electrics sound great to me. It is my personal feeling that the VG99 sounds fantastic through anything. Its tonal capabilities are really in the hands and ears of the programmer and not necessarily the hardware.


I have and strongly recommend the JBL EON G2s.  Cheap, light, indestructible, and sound terrific!  Get 'em used for a song.

I had a Roland KB350 which I sold because the tweeter was harsh.  It was also large and heavy.  The bass was great however.


Brent Flash

I have some of the 15 G2 EONs and they work pretty good. A little bright but nothing that you can't EQ out.


I use the 10 because it is light, and I don't need the volume.

My one criticism of the 10's is that loud deep bass notes cause "chuffing" noises from the woofer port.  I think you'll find problem is common among all ported speaker designs, and is only a problem if you play lots of bass LOUD



Acoustisonic comments (really!?)  I have the older upright one too and it works quite well.  I also use a mixer and Alesis MK2 powered monitors. (they often don't hold up well with heavy bass). Today I acoustisonic TOO.  And ran all 3. The Acoustisonic worked very well.  (maybe its the patch?) I was playing clear strat tones and acoustic tones.  My settings were LOW gain - about 4 - Low primary vol (About 3)  I run the VG-99 to a little mixer (with laptop and MM6 in mixer) then from that mixer to primary mixer to monitors.  From that mixers headphone out to the Acoustasonic.  The Volume was quite strong. (even turned way down) But then I'm in my home studio (not at a gig or large open room).

I also have a Mesa Lonestar special  (5 15 and 30w switchable) If I'm gonna do Rock/metal patches I'd prolly run it clean instead.  I had worried that I might blow the speak in the Fender if I wasn't running a clean patch.

Ron, GR, MI
Strats (John Mayer & AmDlx Ash) Fretlight
Gibson LP cust
Tayor T5 Koa, Solidbody walnut custom
Alesis DM5, MM6 synth
Line6 UX8, Mesa LonestarSP, Fender Acoustasonic
MicroCube, Fender Champ 600, BR-600, DP-02CF PortaStudio
HarmonyMan, VocalistLive4, CuBase, SECURITY SYSTEM ;-)


Anyway, I was thinking of getting something different to amplify my VG-99.

I want something in a stereo combo format, with full range speakers.

So far I am considering the following -

  Picking up a used VGA-7,  a Roland AC-60 or 90, or stereo Keyboard amp.

Has anybody had experiences pro or con with any of these used with the VG-99.
Or, please suggest something you think is better.



Traynor K4

has a stereo tube preamp and footswitchable lead boost

bob e

I know the Roland KC series will work extremely well.  I've been using a Motion-Sound amp for 6/7 years and highly recommend their amps to all synth guitarists and keyboard players.  I added their 15" sub to the KP200-S which is great but easily left behind for smaller or less intense applications.  Since I went to their site for you I see they now have a 500 watt version of my amp.  That is the one!!!!!  Buy mine and I'll buy a new big one?   



I also use a Traynor k4.

Pricier than roland but its a monster. 300 watts triamped, 5 speakers, switchable tube, numerous channels. Tough unit. Vg99 sounds amazing through it, I can imitate just about any guitar rig with the 99 doing modeling as its a full range unit.

My albums done with modeling/guitar synth at

JTV69/59P/Godin LGXT/Multiac ACS/Variax 700 AC
Traynor k4


Thanks for the suggestions so far.  Looks like the Traynor K4 is a possility for me.

Has anyone tried a Roland SA-300?  Any opinions? 


Just to add fuel to the fire - Love my Traynor K4 - heck I'd love 2 for better stereo separation!


Well, it is decided.

I picked up a used SA-300, at a fraction of the cost new.
Based on my experience with the Cube 30 monitors, I figured this would
probably be similar except bigger and louder.  I hope it works out.

I probably would have gotten a K4 soon had this opportunity not came up.

Thanks for your help.


Give us a report on the SA300 - I never saw one for sale anywhere