I got my MOD Duo a few days ago and had not so much time for testing... but I'd like to share my first impressions.
I'm a semi-professional guitar player, mainly playing 80s/90s Heavy Metal and Thrash Metal. During the last 28 years I used * a lot * of equipment: small and cheap transistor combos, average hybrid amps, high quality tube amps (Marshall, Soldano, Engl, Peavey, Mesa Boogie, ...), digital amp simulations (POD HD, Zoom, ...) and countless effects devices of all kinds.
Currently I use a Kemper Amp, which is the reference regarding my tests of the MOD Duo - and a really tough competition.
Except the Kemper Amp I use the following equipmet for the comparison:
- Peavey Wolfgang with Doug Aldrich Bridge humbucker
- Matrix GT1000FX power amp
- two Engl 2x12" cabinets, each with one Celestion Classic Lead 80 and one Celestion Vintage 30
- high quality cables (Sommer Spirit XXL)
- high quality plugs (Neutrik)
The Kemper Amp reference profile was a "Soldano SLO100" made by "SinMix", a quite high gain profile I use as my general rhythm sound. The sound is similar to rhythm guitar sounds of the bands "Overkill" or "Exodus": very much gain, but always with a well defined "punch" and a slight portion of the clean signal.
For the MOD Duo I kept the signal chain simple: guitar -> input 1 -> noise gate plugin -> guitarix amp simulation plugin (cab sim off) -> noise gate plugin -> output 1 -> power amp -> cabs
As the Kemper sounds totally awesome my goal is to get almost the same sound from the MOD Duo.
First I set up the input gain settings: the Doug Aldrich humbucker has a very high output, I had to set "Low" and "-9 dB", so the input LED only very seldom turns red.
Then tried to find a basic guitarix amp simulation that came closest to the Kemper reference: finally I chose the "SOL 100", "Peavey" might have been another good option.
Finding the gain settings took a long time (more than 30 minutes), with almost maximum for "pregain", about 70% "distortion" and about 50% "drive" it's not perfect, but it's ok now and on the right way.
For the equalizer I startet with a neutral setting (bass, mids and treble 50%, presence 0%). The default presence settings seem to be fine, so I didn't change them. The hights were a little bit sharp, I fixed this by reducing treble a bit. More problems I had with the mids and the low frequencies: there seems to be a "peak" in the upper mids somewhere between 2 and 5 kHz that hurts my ears. With the mids settings I was not able to fix this, when I lowered the settings until these frequencies were ok, something else was missing. For the low frequencies I missed "that punch", even when turning bass up to maximum.
The next days I will set up a measurement microphone with an analyzer and find out the problem frequencies. I think most frequency problems might be solved by using an parametric equalizer plugin after guitarix.
If I reach at least 90% of the sound quality of the Kemper I'll be pleased... I think this needs a lot of tweaking, but can be done with the MOD Duo.
My next steps after finding the "basic and perfect rhythm sound" will be creating a solo and some special effects sound (all based on the rhythm sound).
Then I will try to find a good speaker cabinet simulation, so I can use one output of the MOD Duo for the power amp and guitar cabinet, the other output for sending the signal to the mixer/FOH.
At last I will try to set up MIDI to use a standard MIDI footswich (e.g. BOSS FC-50) and an MIDI expression pedal to switch between the sounds and to control a wha pedal simulation.