If i don't like the helix, will i also dislike the Atomic Amplifire?

Discussion in 'Discussion' started by N'wah, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. Madmax

    Madmax Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2016
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    I don't see why not. So far I've only tried a HX Stomp preamp model into the AA power amp model and IR, but lately I've been thinking about trying out the scenario you mention.

    I believe you can defeat the power amp emulation in the AA on individual presets as per the latest firmware - haven't tried it yet myself - which you would probably (although not necessarily) want to do.
  2. camber

    camber Member

    May 8, 2019
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    great share
  3. generic22

    generic22 New Member

    Jun 8, 2018
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    I have both AA3 and HX Stomp. Here are my thoughts:

    AA advantages:
    - Amp knobs: The quick access to amp knobs is very handy for making quick adjustments.
    - All effect blocks are available on AA: HX has a limit of 6 blocks. That being said, I didn't find the limit of 6 being a problem for me. I could still make any sound I want on HX even on presets that tax heavy on DSP like octave up&down pitch shift with infinite delay/reverb ambient sound. Just need to think and playaround a bit to make efficient use of each effects.
    - Dedicated XLR output jacks: My rig is simple: guitar >> AA or HX Stomp >> soundboard. Not having to worry about DI or adapter cable is a plus but then it's usually taken care of for me.

    HX advantages:
    - Smaller form factor: this is huge for me. AA is still too big to fit into my gigbag. HX Stomp fits without a problem.
    - Quantity & Quality of FXs: The sheer volume of FXs in HX is a win. To my ears, they sound much better as well. I have experience in designing&building analog effects units ranging from good ol' germanium fuzzes to 4xMN3005 analog tap tempo delay. AA does fall short in this category against HX, again, to my ears.
    - Stereo Loop SEND: At times I plug-in Strymon Big Sky in the loop. On some patches, I use stereo delays 1/4 note on left and dotted 1/8 on the right. With AA, when using the series loop after delay, the stereo signal is summed up as mono rendering the whole stereo delay useless (and no, parallel loop doens't sound right for my use). HX has stereo SEND. No need to compromise on my delay settings.
    - Editing software: It's much easier to use and seamless with the physical unit. Saves are instant. Moving the presets around is instant. Basically no waiting.
    - USB audio interface: I could record both direct & effected signals simultaneously via USB. It's too good to be true but it is. This is a huge bonus.
    - Built in looper: I did not know HX has looper in it until I was playing around with the software. Another big bonus.

    Tonally, they both sounds great in their own right. It took me about 3-4 days to get the sound I wanted with both units. Once I got familiar with the sounds and dial it in to sound good with my setup, both units sound very good to me.

    I understand the popular sentiment is that AA has better feel in amp modeling. To me, it all depends on how I dial it to sound best with my guitar. Also, I dial-in separate presets for mono use and stereo use. I think this plays a part getting the amp-in-the-room feel. If I make thick wall of stereo sound at home and go mono at the venue, it's not going to sound like what I've heard at home via studio monitors or headphones. So if I know that I'm plugging in as mono signal, I make sure to have a preset dialed to sound good in mono.

    All that said, I'm going with HX Stomp purely because of it's size. I had a good run with AA3 but the fact that it doesn't want to fit in my gigbag is a big factor as I would like to keep things simple and mobile.

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