I have a Fender TM DR that I really like for most the stuff I play but have decided I would like to make an addition to give me a wider variety of tones. I don’t think I’m a pedal person, I’ve a few but I think they are expensive & inconvenient for someone that only plays at home.
The the obvious solutions are the Katana or Guitar Rig 6 (currently at half price). I’ve already got the Scarlett 2i2 (1st gen) so would need a monitor for Guitar Rig (I don’t like wearing head phones).
Guitar Rig seems the best choice. The monitor would take-up less space than the Katana and I expect Guitar Rig to be more versatile. But I very rarely see people saying they use Guitar Rig at home whilst lots use Katana, why is that when GR6 seems perfect for home use?
What are people’s thoughts and is there anything else I should consider?
Well, ultimately it’s up to you and your preferences. Personally, I would go with the Katana, pretty much no question. I just prefer playing through an amp. I find it more satisfying, and of course you can carry an amp somewhere if you want to.
I think the choice between a PC based amp modelling system and a real amp depends a lot of your expected use.
If you are the sort of person that always has their PC on and uses it for everything, then you may get on with Guitar Rig (or ToneLib, or Bias Amp, or S-Gear, or one of the many other PC based systems).
All of these systems will offer far greater tonal variety and options than any real amp, modelling or otherwise (including practice amps offered by companies like Positive Grid which are very limited compared to the PC version).
However, they are also tied to the PC, and limited by your PC speaker system, unless you want to use them with headphones all the time. They also suffer from more latency than real amps. Whether this is noticeable for you or not is a personal thing. And a big question should be: how much versatility do you want, as that comes at a price.
Note that many of these software apps have trial versions, which are worth having a play with to see how you get on.
Personally I prefer not being shackled to a PC. I do have a PC app (ToneLib, which is very good), but I find I prefer using a real amp. I also find that having too many options is a bit of a waste of time, as you can spend hours just auditioning and playing with different tones. YMMV.
That’s a good shout. There’s lots of options here including the Helix, the Boss GX100, and the Zoom devices which should give you.more than enough options.
I’ve not used the mini but, given their track record of overhyping with the Spark 40, I wouldn’t recommend.
From what I see it’s a more portable version of the Spark 40, with a smaller speaker and cabinet and fewer physical controls. This means it’s not going to sound as good as the Spark 40.
My personal view, having owned both the Spark 40 and the Katana, is the Katana is the better amp for most people, unless space is a constraint. It sounds better and is more versatile.
I really like the TM for most stuff I play but every few months I try a new song and the amp doesn’t make the tone: Come as you are I need Chorus, Dakota I need Flanger, Top Gun Theme I now need compression and then sometimes “you need a Marshall” for that sound… Just seems a really expensive option to keep buying pedals & they end-up taking-up a lot of floor space that I don’t really have. I think I’d prefer amp over PC for simplicity (I could make the space of it), the worry is I find another tone I can’t get from an amp. If a multi-fx unit could give me everything I might ever need (which is probably just recreating popular blues & rock songs) and it could make my TM DR sound close enough to the real deal then that sounds a great option, but they do look expensive (~£700?)
I recently went through a similar thought process and ended up going the amp route after spending a lot of time with PC apps. Ended up with a Fender Mustang GTX 50. And I’m one of those people who’s PC is always on. Some info on the process here: Help me choose my next bit of gear - pedals?
If you go the PC route, don’t just get Guitar Rig. I found Amplitube WAY better than guitar rig. I’ve heard Neural DSP is awesome as well but haven’t tried it.
Whichever option you choose, check the field. Check out other amps, eg Yamaha and Fender options too.
Going to sound like an ad for Fender, but on my GTX50 when doing some guns n roses I searched “Slash” in the phone app, and in a few clicks I was playing around with about 10 different slash tones on the amp. Pretty cool.
What you want there is a fully customisable signal chain, my LT25 did not have that but GTX does. I assume Boss Katanas do but haven’t checked. PC apps will vary (amplitube does).
And yes MultiFX are expensive and you still need something to make sound (an “amp” if not a guitar amp) which is why modeling amps are popular I think
Katana isnt a true modeling setup I think, it has 5-6 amp settings and a bunch of boss pedals simulated, probably easier to get going from what I’ve heard but nothing like the tweakability of the fender setup.
Downside to the fender is some amps take a lot of its processing so your more limited with how many pedals you can add etc, not had an issue yet I think its an excellent too. sounds great too
The Katana doesn’t try to pretend to be other amps, so it’s not a “modelling amp” in that way.
It does come with a bunch of other pedal emulations other than just the Boss ones, though, including the Proco RAT and a decent Marshall Guvner option which, when used as a drive into a clean amp setting, does a pretty good job of getting a classic Marshall tone.
But a lot of those will also be available on a mid-priced FX pedal.
So it seems a modelling amp or an FX unit is likely the best solution. I’m thinking of the two the FX unit into the TM is the best approach. Not sure there would be any reason to buy a modelling amp when an FX unit seems to give me the modelling capability I need and the TM can produce the sound?
Seems odd you can get a good FX unit for the price of a pedal or two. Is this just because pedals are analogue similar to the digital/value amp thing?
I think it’s because the majority of the manufacturing cost for many pedals is in the case, power, etc. Frankly the electronics in many analogue pedals (especially gain pedals) is not complex or expensive.
On the other hand, consumer pricing is often set based on “market value” and often has little to do with the actual costs of production.
If you have the Fender TMDR, why would you need another amp with a speaker?
Why not use the Guitar Rig 6 or something like a positive grid Riff, bias 2 software on your phone or pad (or computer) and run it into the fender as just a speaker? It must have something for sound in.
Another option if space is limited, would be the Boss Katana Head. It has a small profile (like the Spark 40 for example), has a decent small speaker, quite good for home and practice, all the Katana options and if you want you could play it through the Fender.
The Katana Air could be appealing as well.
Yamaha also has a similar offering, what is it, the TH30 or something?
I think you already have a good bunch of responses and I didn’t know about multi fx units .
However, just want to say that I’m a user of AmpliTube, and actually I don’t have any Amp. And I don’t use AmpliTube on my computer either. I use it from my phone which is very convenient for portability. I live far from my home town and when I go for a visit, I can bring my whole practice setup without extra weight. Nevertheless, I think it is more or less the same with a multi effect pedal. Doesn’t it? Never tried one before, so I can’t tell