Over the weekend I spent some time trying different pedals at the store, albeit mostly Boss. None of the pedals floated my boat more than my cheap little $25 Behringer TM300 pedal. And as I have a bit of time, I thought I'd start a conversation.
What I've learned from my experience is that as cool and wonderful as tube amps are, I think some modeling amps get a bad reputation and are thought of as second class amps, possibly unjustly. From first hand experience I can tell you that modeling amps are not created equal. The store was pushing the Fender Mustang series, which left me cold.
I've now got three amps: A Line 6 Spider II 75/12. A Roland Cube 40XL and a Fender Blues Jr SE NOS. I first bought the Line 6 because it was in mint condition and REALLY cheap (lets just say as cheap as the Mustang I). I think of all the amps I've tried this one has the steepest learning curve for sculpting one's sound. As I was stuck in the learning curve mode I got the bug to buy the Roland. It is a great little amp and much more straight forward than the Line 6. I ignored my Line 6 for some time afterward. Lastly I found a deal on a nearly new BJNOS that I got because I offered a shockingly low price and they accepted. Now, as a disclaimer, in my apartment I cannot crank them up.
I will admit that the distorted settings are a little more difficult to dial in, especially at lowered volumes and can seem a bit overprocessed if not careful. But unless just playing blues, the BJNOS does need some sort of pedal distortion, especially at low volumes. So I bought a Behringer TM "Tube Amp Modeler" because if was cheap and can even use it in my modeling amps (in clean setting). In many cases I think it is better than their on board distortion effects.
But as I look as what I want to achieve with my BJNOS, need a distortion pedal (or several?), a flanger, chorus, delay, tuner, maybe a volume/wah. My Roland has all of those things built in as does my Line 6. In fact, for $40 I got a Line 6 FBV Express that gives me 4 channels, tuner, volume AND wah!
Were I a gigging professional I could see having a big tube amp and all those pedals. They are really cool. But so much of that stuff is built into my modeling amps already. Once you get your gear dialed in, can you really hear THAT much difference? I also have a Behringer A/B switcher so I can plug into two amps and select them on the fly. It seems that the more I work with it, the more I am impressed with my Line 6! I'm sure it's loud enough to cover many gigs, should I ever have the opportunity.
I think it will be interesting to do a "face off" of my TM300 vs "the usual" pedals. I'm just so curious as to how good a $25 pedal can really be in the shadow of those expensive boutique pedals. I will have to come up with a suitable cheap recording setup to share any of this stuff. Suggestions?
Looking forward to hearing what you guys have to say.
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