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Re: The best sounding digital recording desktop processor?

9/3/2003 1:04 PM
Major Pain Re: The best sounding digital recording desktop processor?
Thanks for the responces guys. I kinda been out from the forum as I had nasel surgery a while back and found that getting my nose worked on is a real pain :(  
Well Im gonna give the J-station a try as I tried a POD the other day and it sounded pretty good but too expensive. It was $250.00 at GC.  
I didnt get a chance to try the V-amp but I did play through a BOSS ME-50 that sounded awesome and it was kinda expensive as well.  
I wouldn't mind trying one of Yamaha boxes but I'll wait till I find one in a pawn shop and snag it if its cheap enough.  
Thanks again all  
M.P. 8^/
9/11/2003 11:32 PM

Picked me up a DG Stomp cheap too. The hi-gains get kinda noisy, but the effects are pretty good. I've taken to running my SansAmp into it, then using it for effects if I want hi-gain and effects. Clean sounds good with rotary, the compression is non-obtrusive, and the reverbs and delays are good. I especially like the tape delay.  
have fun!  
9/11/2003 7:18 PM
Impressions of POD vs. V-Amp vs. J-Station (long)
Hi all. Just had a chance to test the Johnson J-station, Behringer V-Amp 2, and POD 2.0 in depth for about an hour each. These were all the latest versions. I tested them using headphones and either a PRS Custom or homemade LP clone. I did not try recording with them, or running them into a guitar amp or PA. Also, I loaded the librarian programs for each unit on a PC during the evaluation; this saved an incredible amount of time because of quickly being able to change patches and try different features. Here are my impressions.  
Johnson J-station: This unit was the cheapest, under $100 on closeout. It was easy to use and worked fairly well.  
Sound: All sims did not sound bright enough, it would be necessary to place an EQ on the output to brighten it up a bit. Did not seem to do the lightly overdriven tube amp sound very well. All distorted tones sounded a bit buzzy and one-dimensional. Overall, the V-Amp and POD were orders of magnitude better in terms of tone.  
Plusses: Very nice selection of effects, more than the V-amp or POD. Can place effects either before or after the simulations. Has several bass amp and bass cab simulations, which would be nice for recording. Cheapest price. SPDIF digital out. Seems fairly rugged, with metal case.  
Negatives: No presence control on any amp sims (extremely bad; what good is a Marshall without a presence control?) Some of the amp sims did not have a suitable gain range; i.e. it is impossible to have a lightly overdriven Marshall tone as the sim had too much gain even when gain was at 0. Not as great a variety of amp sims as the others. Output jacks are not balanced. Not convinced that it will be supported very well in the future (although Johnson claims it will be). Is Digitech, who supposedly owns Johnson now, going to ditch the J-station for the Genesis line?  
Overall, I really tried hard to like the J-station because of the price, but it was so far outclassed sound-wise by the V-amp and POD, it was no contest.  
Behringer V-Amp: Sells for around $140.  
Sound: Very nice, has good clean sounds and the best heavy crunch sounds of the bunch. Good range of gain settings on the sims, and has a nice bright tone where needed. The unit has a very lively feel; I lost track of time when testing it, which is a good thing. Responds very well to dynamics and adjustments of guitar volume. Reverbs are nice. Does the slightly overdriven tube amp sound very nicely, not quite as good as the POD though. Some sounds have a slight edginess to them, maybe running through a tube DI would help? Good selection of amps and cabinets.  
Plusses: Has LED's around each control that show the setting for each preset. When a control is moved, the LED's then move to correspond to the setting. Has a stereo line input with a level control, to insert a CD player for practicing. Main outputs are balanced TRS. Has a global 3 band EQ for better matching the output to a guitar amp input. Comes with a two button footswitch and a soft case (very nice!!). The customer support seems to be very good, with downloads and upgrades easily available. Editor-librarian works very well and is easy to use.  
Negatives: You have to plug the power supply into the V-amp first, then into 120VAC; if not you could damage the unit or lose your presets. What's up with that?? No power switch either. Plastic case doesn't look very sturdy. Jacks are not mounted to outside of case. Power supply jack looks and feels fragile (mini-DIN), and is a non-standard supply with two outputs. Knobs feel a little fragile.  
Overall: Feels the cheapest of the bunch, but is by far the best value. Sounds very close or better than the POD, and smokes the J-station.  
POD 2.0: Sells for around $250.  
Sound: Sounds the best on medium-gain stuff, but is slightly outclassed by the V-amp on high gain tones. Very good cab selection. Has less of the high end grit on some sims, sounds smoother overall.  
Plusses: Rugged solid construction, built like a brick. Main outputs are balanced TRS.  
Negatives: Costs too much. No line input. Editor-librarian was hard to set up and use (the installation instructions on the internet actually tell you to expect errors!) Seemed harder to use than the others. No way to tell pot locations when presets are called up.  
Overall, I am not surprised at how well Line 6 has done with this unit, as it does sound very nice. The V-amp and J-station appear to be obvious clones of the POD concept. But Line 6 may want to consider lowering the price to compete with the others. I got a strange impression between the V-amp and the POD: the POD sounds like an accurate image of what the ideal amp would sound like, while the V-amp sounds like the actual amp (with some of the imperfections still there). The POD sounds more "perfect" than the V-amp. You may or may not like this quality.  
Finally, I bought the V-Amp, as the Line 6 did not seem to be worth the extra money, and the line input was needed for practicing. But Behringer should fix the power supply issue and the cheap feel of the unit; if they did Line 6 would be in real trouble.  
9/11/2003 8:18 PM
Major Pian
Thanks so much for those test results. The V-amp was one that I didn't get much time to try out like I would have liked to.  
Your summery of the J-Station was right on the money and that is what made me send it back to MF.  
The Korg Pandora box is supposed to be good but I haven't tried it yet. I have seen Steve Vai endorsing these so thta tells me it might be a good device.  
Pod is overly expensive. I played thru a Line 6 spider that sounded neat but just wasn't like playing thru my bassman or Marshall amps.  
Seems there has to be an box out there that can nail real amp tones into a stereo headset for private jaming.  
M.P. 8^/
9/11/2003 8:37 PM

Hi MKB -  
While I haven't tried the J-station, I have played both the POD and V-amp 2 and I chose the V-amp. Your post said it all IMHO. I thought the POD sounded too sterile on most settings to the point that I couldn't even get into playing. I tried the first POD and their rackmount - I think "Pro" version. Neither version did anything for me. After several hours each.  
I keep my V-amp on the counter where my Tascam 788 is parked and a Boss 770 Drum Machine. If I'm just practicing I'll use the line in's on the V-amp 2 and not bother turning on the 788. I like that feature for practicing.  
I find little fault with the case as I'm real gentle with my equipment whereas I'm seen some people just sling their stuff around without a care. The power connector to the V-amp is no doubt a fragile feature but since mine doesn't get moved around much then it's not a problem. Also, I have the wall wart plugged into a power strip with surge protection and an of/off switch so that's fine by me.  
I think for late night practicing/getting ideas to tape (or digital) the V-amp is a pretty good piece for the money. Paid over $600 for an ART SGX2000 Express a few years ago and although it has many more features, the V-amp is my first choice for regular use and it sounds darn good next to the Express.  
If I'm playing live, which I rarely do lately,I'd use a real amp (tube in most cases). But I sure can have tons of fun with the V-amp - like the rest of them, you gotta tweak to taste, lots of presets need to be toned down some for my tastes. That's where the editor feature comes in handy. Great tool, plastic or not.  

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