Help me choose my next bit of gear - pedals?

I’m on the lookout for my next bit of guitar gear and need a bit of help figuring what that should be. I’m guilty of buying the wrong stuff too often and then having to buy again. I did that with my mic stand, bought a useless one first (vertical desk stand, couldn’t get it close enough to me when playing) and had to replace that soon after.

Hoping to make the right choices here so I don’t buy something I won’t use. And stuff that will last rather than be replaced in 6-12 months.

So, what do I have so far:

  • Guitars: 1 electric (Squier) and 1 acoustic (Maton with pickup) guitar - don’t need a new guitar though, happy with these ones for now
  • Fender Mustang LT25 modelling amp. But I hardly ever use it, I usually play either on my acoustic by itself or electric hooked up to my PC with headphones. The LT25 sounds fine, but using it is very fiddly - way more fiddly than just using something like Amplitube because you have to go down into menus to adjust basic stuff like gain, EQ, etc.
  • Scarlett 2i2 and Amplitube(free) on PC, I like to record.

Things I’ve thought of:

  • A looper
  • A pedal to control Amplitube like the Stomp I/O. Then I could use the virtual pedals in Amplitube (including looper), but it’s also locked into the IK ecosystem. Doesn’t do anything by itself. I have an iPhone but not an iPad so it would be hooked up to pc. Seems pretty expensive just so I can have pedals for amplitube as well.
  • A multifx / modelling pedal like a Line6 Pod or similar. 2i2 is only 2 inputs though, so I don’t think I could record vocals + dry + effect guitar… but does that matter?
  • Other more basic pedals, maybe the multi-effects stuff is too annoying complicated?
  • Or am I better off getting something else, like changing my amp and using that hooked up to the PC as line out.

Seems everything has big pros and cons. Not straightforward.

I’m fortunate enough to have a few vouchers burning a hole in my pocket to contribute towards it - so budget is around 400-500 US$ (around $600 Aussie dollarbucks). Could stretch for the right thing, and certainly don’t need to spend all of that.

If you are playing on PC you should be able to loop on that , dont know Amplitube much but I use Bias FX2 myself and that has a looper built in, hard to use without a pedal though. Afik you can use midi foot switches with both

I play via pc and headphones and like the flexibility of bias fx2 and its big range of sounds plus ease of downloading other peoples patches.

At some point I’d be looking for a smaller practice amp with similar abilities (the spark 40 is the obvious one…)

Be warned, it doesn’t have the range or flexibility of the PC app, by a long way.

Cheers,

Keith

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A compatible midi footswitch sounds like great idea.

The Xsonic Airstep looks like a pretty good option.

Cheers,

Keith

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Really? I was assuming it was basically the same :confused:

@RobDickinson Amplitube is pretty similar to BIAS FX. Easy to use and lots of features.

@Majik The Xsonic Airstep looks interesting, I hadn’t come across that one in my research. Looks well supported. I will read up about it.

I had found the Line6 FBV Express MarkII, apparently it can work as a USB MIDI interface on PC, which is wired and has an expression pedal, but from what I read on forums people seem to have a few dramas with getting it to work properly on PC. Not clear if that would be a good option or a dud.

If you are not using an amp I see no need for you to buy lots of fx pedals.
If you are not using your amp because you do not get on with it then perhaps do consider switching it out for a more simple affair.
And then if you want to go the pedal route a multi-fx would fit the bill.
Multi fx pedals can give you headphone out, D/I out to computer, on top of going in to an amp.
I am a little out of date with the newest incarnations of multi fx, there have been so many upgrades and so many models in the last few years it is difficult to keep up.

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I believe the effects themselves are the same, but not all of the FX on the PC version have been ported to the Spark.

For example, Bias FX2 offers (depending on version) up to 100 amp models. The Spark, including bass and acoustic models, has 33.

Bias FX2 has up to 122 different effects, the Spark has 43 (and no spring reverb, which is an odd omission)

On the Spark you also have a fixed pedal order with no option to change the order or number of pedals within it. That order is fixed to:

Compressor → Drive → Amp → Modulation/EQ → Delay → Reverb

That’s pretty fine for most circumstances, but you cannot have, for instance, a tremolo and a vibrato at the same time, or stack multiple drive pedals. And you certainly cannot have parallel chains. Bias FX2 patches will not work on the Spark.

Probably the biggest problem for me is that EQ uses up the modulation slot. The Spark is renowned for benefiting from some EQing, but doing so means you can’t then use a modulation effect.

These limitations, compared to the PC version, may not be a problem for you. But I thought it was important to make it clear.

Cheers,

Keith

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Thanks Keith that’s all very interesting, is there a better small modeling practice amp?

Or am I better looking at a separate modeling /pedal and amp?

Or just get an amp/speaker on the pc but I’m worried about potential lag

“Better” is in the eye of the beholder. It really depends what you are after.

I would say all modelling amps will have many more restrictions than a PC based app.

For instance, IMO Katana is a better option than the Spark for many because it’s simply a real amp, and not just a practice amp: you can use it for band rehearsals, and even gigging, as well as home practice. It also has a lot more flexibility in many ways than the Spark and, to my ears, sounds better. It doesn’t have as many amp models (IMO a good thing), and doesn’t try to sound like specific amps (also IMO a good thing) but you do get a huge amount of flexibility combining the onboard drive pedals with the amp settings it provides.

BUT it still won’t have anywhere near the flexibility of routing, nor the number of effect options that a PC based modelling system has.

It’s also a lot, physically, larger and you may not want that.

If you feel you really need that sort of flexibility, but in hardware, I would suggest you look at hardware modelling units like the Line 6 Helix, Pod or the Boss GX100, etc. with a more simple amp or PA-type system.

It’s also worth considering that many modelling systems (amps and multifx) also have a built-in USB audio interface, so you can connect them direct to the PC and use them in conjunction with Amplitube or Bias FX2 if you need something more complex, or if you simply need something that you cannot achieve on the hardware unit.

In your position, I would start with getting some cheap monitors on the PC and seeing how that goes. If you are happy with the latency, then problem solved. Monitors are always useful if you plan to do any recording and mixing in the future.

You can always upgrade them to something better in the future. And you can always get a hardware amp or multifx system as well in the future.

Cheers,

Keith

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Hi @Richard_close2u, I’m mainly not using the amp because I don’t need to, or it’s less convenient than the PC. I play on headphones a lot, on the PC I can do Justin’s lessons at the same time. The Mustang has a headphone option but it doesn’t sound as good as it’s speaker.

So it’s mainly a convenience thing - I may as well just plug into the PC because it’s more flexible.

Do you use a multifx?

Long time ago I had a fender pro 185, 2x12 combo amp, way too loud, I did like the sound overall (I’ve an old multi effects pedal still, and a crybaby wah etc).

But perhaps a pair of active monitors would be the way to go, I wont be playing in a band or likely jamming with others now, and if I ever got that far I’d end up with a 1x12 valve amp or some description I think

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It’s a difficult question to answer as it all depends what you are aiming to do longer term?

I understand the convenience of the PC solution you have but it’s only suitable in that specific circumstance and anchors you to the PC. If you only ever want to play on your own and never see yourself playing anywhere else then I guess you’ve got a good solution. If someone asked you to jam or play it would be good to have experience of proper standalone guitar gear whether thats having your amp setup with some patches you like or a multifx pedal that you can plug into a PA or amp/cab.

I don’t know what the options are on the LT25 for creating patches but I guess it supports them and is like any modelling amp (does it not come with some PC software to create patches as well?). I’d invest some time in it. It might be fiddly but at least it’s a portable solution and to be honest whether it’s an amp or multifx they use the same principles. Yes some amps/multifx have much better interfaces and are less fiddly but it’s the same approach. Once you’ve got half a dozen standard patches setup on your LT25 you’d probably not have to fiddle again…plug in, select your patch and away you go.

If you went down the Multifx route it’s still all the same main players Line 6, Boss, Zoom, Headrush plus newer ones out of China like moeer, ampero etc. There are lots but the likes of Line 6, Boss, Zoom are well established and will have different models and different price points. At the top end there are the likes of Kemper etc… but most of us mortals wonts go there. The more expensive ones - in general - do sounds a lot lot better than the cheaper ones, are better supported (something that is important in terms of new firmware, new fx etc) and have more options, amps and fx.

Zoom, Boss, Line 6 have all released new versions of their pedals in last 24 months with significantly better interfaces on the device (some touchscreen). It makes it a breeze to setup pedal chains and adjust parameters. They all also support a multitude of output options (including headphone out).

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The LT25 is pretty basic for a modelling amp, it’s fenders budget option. So it does have PC software to configure the 50 built in saved configs, but you can’t import/export configs or share them aside from through screenshots of settings. Their higher end stuff has that.

Right now I’m just playing at home but will jam and maybe one day will perform. Who knows about the last one.

I think I read in another post you have a Line6 Pod @Rossco01, how do you find that?

The PodGo is excellent. The interface is very easy to use and pretty easy to dial in good sounds. If you’ve never used FX pedals before either physical or in a multifx there is always a learning curve to understand them…on top of that with a multifx you need to get your head around presets and how to create them. For once the “out of the box” presets on the Pod GO actually sound quite good but a lot of people make the mistake of not building their own from the AMP up. That is the way to get the sound you want.

The PodGo benefits from using the same engine and most of FX/AMP models from the much more expensive and more feature reach HELIX series by Line 6 (think £1600 as opposed to £400). The sound is identical BUT there are limitations not that I find them restrictive. Perfectly adequate for the vast majority of people. You can hear what mine sounds like on most of the recent Virtual JG OM we’ve done. Boss have also done a similar thing recently although I’m not so keen on the interface they went with.

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How about adding a tuning pedal to your list of early purchases? I just bought the Boss TU-3, have been using a snark and tired of changing batteries.

Some great info there @Rossco01. I’m starting to think along the lines of sorting out the amp situation before investing too deep into the PC. The Mustang LT25 doesn’t have line out but does have USB. I’ve used it to configure but not to record. I’ll have to try that out to figure if I should stick with this amp or not. That would help determine the upgrade I think.

Wish I’d been able to get a Katana when I bought my electric last year. There were none in stock here back then.

I’ve ruled out app specific hardware for now like the Stomp. Too deep in one direction.

Good idea, I have a USB rechargeable headstock tuner that works great right now so I think I’m sorted there for the time being :grinning:

I no longer have any sort of amp for electric guitar. That said, I haven’t picked up an electric in many moons.
I do have this setup which can and does work fine without an amp:

Zoom G3 Multi-fx
Small mixer
Powered monitor speakers

Optional extras:
Digitech Trio+ for looper / bass & drums backing
Scarlett Solo interface
Laptop

No amp! :flushed: just kidding - really interesting to see what others use. Thanks @Richard_close2u