NPD, Atomic Ampli-Firebox

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p90foolp90fool Frets: 11924
Due to the pressing need to reduce the weight and size of gear I need to fit in my car I've decided to try going digital again. My Katana tribulations are well documented on here so I've stepped up in quality amp-sim wise to an Atomic pedal. 

Verdict? Well it seems sort of ok. It's hard to tell until my neighbours go out and needless to say it sounded like arse straight out of the box, but I've managed to get a fair approximation side-by-side with my real amps. 

I do need a chance to turn it up to gig volume (through a pair of JBL Eon Ones) to fine tune it properly, but it sounds amp-like enough for gigging I think.

It still has that weird kind of digital "hollowness" when you back off the guitar volume though - something I've had with every digital simulator I've ever tried and have never heard in any analogue bit of kit ever. 

These Atomic sims are widely held to be right up there with the best so I'm glad I didn't spend big money. Ultimately, though we have moved on a bit it's still a box of fizzy fuzzes with optimistic vintage amp labels, just like these things always have been. 

It works, but only after detailed computer editing and possibly some extra IR downloads, and has the inevitable TINY sweet spot on the EQ controls. 

Watch his space. I'll give it a good go for a few gigs and will doubtless either fall in love with its portability and passable sound, or flog it off cheap and buy a bigger car.
:)
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 11924
    Ok, I'm another couple of hours further in after a bit more editing and have just realised I just spent over an hour just playing guitar and thoroughly enjoying it - something I never achieved with the Katana even after three months. 

    I seem to have got to a point on the Dumble model where it responds very much like a real amp, and I just got lost in the music there for a while. 

    If it responds the same way at gig volume I'm going to be very happy indeed. :)
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  • mr-macmr-mac Frets: 198
    You first impression was how I've felt about most modellers after months of trying till the GSP and did same as you.  Depending on what speakers your playing through the gsp always sounded nicer direct to pa with LPF on so may be worth trying that with amplifire as well
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  • soma1975soma1975 Frets: 904
    Nice to hear someone echo and reinforce my thoughts whenever I play through modelling gear. As in most things there is a difference between 'good' and 'good enough'. I think even the best modelling solutions are now approaching the 'good enough' phase. One day I'm sure they'll be 'good'. 

    Like with filmmaking - Basically it wasn't until digital stopped trying to pretend it was film that the art and craft of digital image acquisition developed into something special. Once we stop chasing the sounds of the 50s and 60s modelling will have a much easier time of it.  
    My Trade Feedback Thread is here

    Been uploading old tracks I recorded ages ago and hopefully some new noodles here.
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  • shuikitshuikit Frets: 161
    I've been quite curious about the Amplifirebox for the past couple weeks, been wondering about sticking at the end of my pedalboard so would be interested in knowing how it responds to drive pedals.
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  • TTBZTTBZ Frets: 922
    edited June 2018
    Interested to hear your thoughts when you get it to gig volume, seems like it's a positive first (well, second) impression from you I'm looking at modellers with the impending sale of my amp, I mostly play at home now so a valve amp doesn't really make sense any more. I've always found digital a bit disappointing though but the Amplifire box has intrigued me as it can just be set as an amp channel (with boost) rather than a million different presets - that's good to know it's responsive as I've always been a single channel player. Do you reckon through monitors or headphones it's better than the Katana as a practice amp then?

    I've read that they take drive and fuzz pedals well, too.

    Have you tried IRs yet? I find they always improve the sound of a modeller over the stock cabs.
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  • NelsonPNelsonP Frets: 1048
    Try mbritts presets. They were created with p90s for the amplifire (not sure if they are 100% compatible with amplifire box).

    Some good stuff here too...
    https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/patch-settings-for-amplifire-box.1870600/
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  • BranshenBranshen Frets: 1039
    Oooooh. Very interested in this. Thinking about selling a number of things to fund one. How are the fender cleans on it? Are they realistic?
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 1483
    @p90fool Good luck with it. I'll be interested to read your thoughts after you've had some more time with it.

    BTW, have you ever tried an AMP1? I'm a fan (and owner), as some here will know. It might suit your needs in a live amp, and (reverb apart) is 100% analogue. I think the clean and vintage channels sound great with single coils and riding the volume knob should work well. The classic and modern channels sound fizzy at domestic volumes but much better at band practice levels (although I don't use them because I don't like those sounds in my playing). 
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  • NelsonPNelsonP Frets: 1048
    Branshen said:
    Oooooh. Very interested in this. Thinking about selling a number of things to fund one. How are the fender cleans on it? Are they realistic?
    I have the Amplifire, rather than the AFB. But they are pretty good....

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  • jhumberjhumber Frets: 56
    NelsonP said:
    Try mbritts presets. They were created with p90s for the amplifire (not sure if they are 100% compatible with amplifire box).

    Yes, I can confirm they are compatible - although the file extensions are different between the MBritt presets and the firebox-saved ones, I loaded them on this weekend without any problems. A nice benefit is that the IR gets loaded on with the preset. As with his Kemper profiles, I really like the 3rd Power ones, and his Princeton presets.
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  • drwiddlydrwiddly Frets: 702
    I have an AA3 bought used from a forum member here. It had the MBritt patches already loaded but I was a bit underwhelmed by them tbh.
    A few months ago, I loaded a few favourite IR's onto the AA3 and tried swapping them onto a few of the MBritt Plexi patches just to see the differences. I found a couple of Ownhammer Bogner cab IR's sounded amazing with the Plexi patches.
    I have backed up the MBritt patches so could revert to the originals but I don't think I will!  ;)
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  • NelsonPNelsonP Frets: 1048
    drwiddly said:no
    I have an AA3 bought used from a forum member here. It had the MBritt patches already loaded but I was a bit underwhelmed by them tbh.
    A few months ago, I loaded a few favourite IR's onto the AA3 and tried swapping them onto a few of the MBritt Plexi patches just to see the differences. I found a couple of Ownhammer Bogner cab IR's sounded amazing with the Plexi patches.
    I have backed up the MBritt patches so could revert to the originals but I don't think I will!  ;)
    What pickups were you using? I had a similar experience with humbuckers, but they seem to work better with p90s.
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  • drwiddlydrwiddly Frets: 702
    I generally use humbuckers, so you may be right on that one. Unfortunately, I don't have a P90 equipped guitar to try it atm.
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  • NelsonPNelsonP Frets: 1048
    edited June 2018
    I like the singtall warm Marshall IR that comes bundled with the free singtall superpack on the atomic site.

    I've downloaded the celestion ones too. But the factory IRs are pretty good. I stopped spending money on IRs and presets pretty quickly.

    All I really need is a good clean (deluxe), crunch (watt mcco's clean to dirty cornford from the atomic forum) and dirty (modified hot brit) plus a lead boost. And I'm very happy with the tones I'm getting, even compared to my mesa and jcm800 4 x 12.
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 11924
    Lots of food for thought here guys, much appreciated. 
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  • drwiddlydrwiddly Frets: 702
    NelsonP said:
    I like the singtall warm Marshall IR that comes bundled with the free singtall superpack on the atomic site.

    I've downloaded the celestion ones too. But the factory IRs are pretty good. I stopped spending money on IRs and presets pretty quickly.

    All I really need is a good clean (deluxe), crunch (watt mcco's clean to dirty cornford from the atomic forum) and dirty (modified hot brit) plus a lead boost. And I'm very happy with the tones I'm getting, even compared to my mesa and jcm800 4 x 12.
    Yes, the Singtall IR is a good 'un. I bought a couple of Celestion packs when they were on offer over Easter and I have a load of freebies that I've downloaded over the past few years. It's a bit of a rabbit hole tbh and I really don't need any more than I have already.
    I always prefer to make my own presets and having owned a couple of Rocktron processors, a GSP1101, Axe Ultra, Axe II and a Kemper as well as the AA3, I'm fairly comfortable with getting the sounds I want out of digital gear.
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 11924
    Well that didn't last long, today the left footswitch stopped working. It's flashing red as if it's in A/B mode, but pressing it or holding it down makes no difference. It won't switch channels or bypass the unit, despite a firmware update.

    I was intending to use it for it's first gig on Saturday, but I guess it's going to have to go back. I am REALLY pissed off, I spent another 700 quid on PA gear on the same day to make going direct easier, now I'll have to bring amps again.
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  • Try some contact / switch cleaner. I had 2 switches go bad on 2 different Atomic Amplifire 12 boards. Both switches would work intermittently then both failed all together. The first board was replaced by Andertons under warranty. I thought it was a bit weird that the 2nd board also went bad with the same issue.

    I raised the issue on the Atomic forum and another guy had had a similar experience. He suggested trying switch cleaner on the defective switch. I tried it and it fixed the issue with the 2nd board. So it might be worth a try?
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  • NelsonPNelsonP Frets: 1048
    edited June 2018
    p90fool said:
    Well that didn't last long, today the left footswitch stopped working. It's flashing red as if it's in A/B mode, but pressing it or holding it down makes no difference. It won't switch channels or bypass the unit, despite a firmware update.

    I was intending to use it for it's first gig on Saturday, but I guess it's going to have to go back. I am REALLY pissed off, I spent another 700 quid on PA gear on the same day to make going direct easier, now I'll have to bring amps again.
    What a pain in the arse.

    You've probably done this already, but you should send a mail to support@atomicamps.com
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 11924
    I have spoken to them, but I'm not really interested in why it's died after a week, just that it has. 

    I was demonstrating it to a friend yesterday, which is the only reason I plugged it in at all. If I hadn't then it would've died onstage this weekend. 

    The courier is picking it up this afternoon. 
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  • TTBZTTBZ Frets: 922
    Well that's put me right off! 
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 11924
    My quest for a direct-to-PA solution continues, I've just ordered a Tech 21 Flyrig, the Brit version. 

    I've flirted with Sansamp pedals in the past and find them passable rather than excellent, but reliable and predictable over a wide volume range. 

    I have found a couple of convincing Flyrig demos in a style I can relate to, so we'll see. 

    After my exeriences over the last year I'm not falling for any more digital bullshit in the foreseeable anyway! 
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  • timbuk02timbuk02 Frets: 132
    You might like the look of these if you're off the digital based stuff? It has a 12AX7 inside.
    See Shiftline just announced plans to release a new version which will support user loadable cab IR's...
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  • HeartfeltdawnHeartfeltdawn Frets: 13056
    p90fool said:
    Well that didn't last long, today the left footswitch stopped working. It's flashing red as if it's in A/B mode, but pressing it or holding it down makes no difference. It won't switch channels or bypass the unit, despite a firmware update.

    I was intending to use it for it's first gig on Saturday, but I guess it's going to have to go back. I am REALLY pissed off, I spent another 700 quid on PA gear on the same day to make going direct easier, now I'll have to bring amps again.
    I've just returned an Amplifire 3. It arrived messed up, actually accepted a firmware update, but wouldn't work properly and output nothing more than an electronic whine. Most disappointing. 
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 11924
    Well that's at least four failures among forum regulars, which might be a record as a purely anecdotal sample. 

    Anyway, the Flyrig 5 Brit turned up 20 minutes before last night's rehearsal and it was just plug and play. It sounded good immediately, and responded to guitar input exactly like an amp. In fact the other guitar player ordered himself one as soon as he got home last night. 

    It's first gig is at 6pm today. I'll have an amp on stage ready to go just in case, but it's an analogue joy after endless guesswork with software editors. 

    Interestingly, it doesn't have any of those unpleasant background frequencies that both @ICBM and I have noticed and disliked in Tech 21 gear in the past - the speaker sim seems very natural. 
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  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 2324
    Glad your sorted.   I like the amplifire but I’d be very happy with a flyrig - sounds great apart from the solo boost - if they move it to after the drive pedal or even better have a switch to choose where the boost goes and I’d use one.  
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  • TTBZTTBZ Frets: 922
    edited June 2018
    Yeah it's a shame the boost can't just be used as a post-dirt clean boost to raise the level for solos.
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 11924
    TTBZ said:
    Yeah it's a shame the boost can't just be used as a post-dirt clean boost to raise the level for solos.
    I think there are a lot of improvements and additions Tech 21 could have considered, but really you have to draw the line somewhere. 

    I guess the point is that in an emergency you could do a gig in most styles with just a guitar and the Flyrig, but as part of a more planned rig you're going to want some extra FX, a tuner, some sort of master volume control and/or boost. 

    I've just set up a pedalboard with the Flyrig, a Polytune a G10 wireless and a Zoom G3 with expression pedal. It's a very versatile setup, with dozens of FX, an XLR out and a programmable volume pedal set for 65-100%, far more useful than the usual on/off. 

    By my standards that's a big board, but it's not as big as a pair of 1x12 valve combos!
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  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 2324
    I totally get what you’re saying about building a smallish board around the flyrig and how it could get you through a gig on its own but the bass flyrig does have a tuner and a switchable pre/post boost - add those to the guitar versions and it would awesome. 
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  • vasselmeyervasselmeyer Frets: 2603
    edited June 2018
    @p90fool I thought you only just went back to your Jet City amp after your Katana diversion? What's the reason for changing again? Weight? Stage volume? Both?

    Having recently downsized my amp setup, I'm idly considering what to do about my huge effects board.
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