My existing live performance setup is very good. I use a combination of great instruments, boutique pedals, a central multi-effect unit and a fabulous tube amp. I’ve been very satisfied with the tone and versatility of my rig, but it has some factors that make it challenging:
- No presets for my boutique pedals. The only device in my system with any notion of “remembering” an effect setting is my Line6 M9. It does a great job of being the central nervous system of my pedalboard. Nothing else of my board has a preset mechanism, so making significant changes on the fly is limited.
- No computer-based editor for anything. I would love to have an editor / librarian system for my effects and preset management. Back when I had the Line6 Pod Pro, I used its GUI software on my laptop to manage presets. I sure miss that!
- Size and weight. My system is just about as small as I can make it, given my current requirements.
I have been considering the possibility of going to a fully modeled system, based around a central effect / amp modeling unit such as the Line6 Pod Pro HD X or the Fractal Audio Axe FXII. This would feed into a full-range flat response amplified speaker that would replace my tube amp. This type of setup would certainly address the issues I’ve outlined above, and it also gives me a single highly flexible system for guitar, bass and Warr guitar.
The challenge in this type of setup is selecting the appropriate modeler and foot controller, then completely recreating all of my tones. I have used Line6 equipment for over a decade and their newest lineup of gear is impressive; I’d say they have the front runner position based on my historic level of satisfaction with the company and their products. I have read a lot of testimonials from Axe FXII users and I’m impressed by what I’ve heard, but at 4x the price I’m uncertain of the value proposition. The next step in my investigation will involve some A/B testing. Stay tuned for details…