Why I fear buying an A12

Discussion in 'Discussion' started by dheran, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. dheran

    dheran Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2017
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    61
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Hi all. I´m a happy owner of an AFB. Not too much time with it yet, but so far so good. Great standalone tool for rehearsals and not tonally complex gigs. Also great as a part of a pedalboard, for more complex gigs.

    Now, I´m considering an A12 because I also need a “presets” rig. In one of my bands, I need lots of tones in the same songs (long instrumental tunes), and sometimes I have to do it in the middle of a solo, so I need to do radical changes with just one click. That´s why I need presets. No other option here. Tap dancing not allowed.

    Moreover, in this band I also play acoustic guitar, so I want my new unit to be able to manage 2 guitars. Both will be plug in it (input and fx loop return), and presets will handle the effects of each guitar.

    To get this done, I´ve got a Zoom G5n, which I use with the electric guitar, and a Logidy EPSi, which I use with the acoustic guitar (with acoustic IRs from 3Sigma).

    Well… Don´t get me wrong… I´m quite happy with my rig. Don´t be fooled by the “cheapness” of the Zoom G5n. It IS fantastic. It sounds really awesome. Amp models are impressive, the cabs are IRs, the thing is really well built, its size and weight is good for a 8-switch+exp unit (better than most of competition unit), effects are also good, the screens let you know the presets before you stomp them, it sounds good from the beginning, quite easy to dial in good sounds, etc. And the EPSi is fantastic too. It´s the fastest IR loader in the market, stereo, small and lightweight. It makes my budget/average acoustic sound like a good one.

    But, now this band is getting more “pro”. We are now getting big gigs, even out of Spain (our country). So I think I can improve some aspects of my rig.

    I don´t think the sound could be improved too much. Honestly… Of course the AFB sounds very very good, but the G5n does too, and the difference, in this case, will not be too big because this band need more of processed sounds than “acurate amplifier sounds” than it should be in classic rock, for instance. Even at “amplifier sounds”, I feel happy with its sound. Don´t need much more. Even though, A12 would be an upgrade, in sound and feeling. But this is not the big selling point. Let´s see:

    One possible upgrade: stomp switches. I need at least 5 presets, and the G5n only manages 4 without needing to scroll banks. I can live with it, but sometimes I make a mistake scrolling and choose a wrong preset. So, if this could be addressed, it would be good. A12 is more than enough at this point… there are lots of switches. Good.

    Other possible improvement: size and weight. I´m travelling to other countries, and the flights are a nightmare for carrying gear. G5n is reasonably small and light. I mean… is smaller and lighter than, say, Line6 MFX or any other MFX unit (with enough switches) except the A12. Well… another point for the A12. Good. Maybe this is the only reason why I don´t like Helix. I can´t carry it in a cabin suitcase in the flights.

    Other improvement: the built-in pedal in the G5n has a big fail… which is not being able to handle GLOBAL volume. From patch to patch, the volume resets and that´s a real PITA. This is a must for me, so I am needing to put an extra volume pedal to go on. A12 doesn´t have built-in pedal… for me, that´s good, so I can plug and exp pedal or use a volume pedal. Good.

    The final improvement: one unit to rule them all (guitars, of course). It would be great to handle both guitars carrying only one device. The A12 has a loop, so you can plug the acoustic to the return, prepare a preset with the acoustic IR and apply effects (comp, reverb, EQ… whatever). Great, isn´t it? Well… yes and NO.

    There is a wise owner of an A12, and member of this forum (Andy), who has stated several times here that his acoustic presets in the A12 lack the possibility of BLENDING the acoustic IR with the dry signal of his guitar. He thinks this improves greatly the sound of the IR (as it seems to happen with the Fishman Aura system, which sounds much better blending the image IR and the piezo signal at about 50/50). A12 does not have a blending control in the cab block. A simple parameter would be enough, it seems quite easy to add to the Amplifire and editor. So, to get this really good, Atomic should be adding this. Helix has this feature. This is one of my FEARS (more than that, it´s an important detail that probably will keep me from buying the unit), since I´m planning to check what Andy says about blending and getting better acoustic sound (still can´t do it because my acoustic is being setup by my luthier).

    This FEAR becomes slightly reinforced because of the fact that Atomic seems not to be updating firmwares… more than a year, isn´t it? Atomic guys, if you are reading, please, review the wishlist and give us a little attention. I think we are happy with your boxes, but really isn´t that hard to make us even happier. And I absolutely believe that you´ll sell more units if people see you releasing updates frequently.

    Other things could be desired from the unit… a global graphic EQ (with 10 bands, for instance) which could be activated/deactivated with a stomp (very useful to implement Fletcher Munson curves, so you can dial in your sound at home volume and then, go to the gig/rehearsal and, with a simple stomp click, compensate the high volume differences in human hearing sensibility… so your tone don´t inexpectedly suck). Helix allows you to do that. Another example, what people say about bad reverb of Amplifire (honestly, in the AFB the reverb is not bad to my taste, but I´m less than an expert in that matter).

    I think Helix is much more complete, and they are in the same price range. So I also think A12 is a bit pricey in comparison. And we still don´t know if Atomic is letting its product fade away, and that´s a REAL FEAR for me. We all would love to see this people more active in the updates, wouldn´t we?

    Please, don´t hate me for this huge post… Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
    Andy likes this.
  2. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Atomic amp tones sound wayyyyyyyyyy better to me across the board. At least up till the last Helix FW. I would not buy an Atomic product based on the idea of constant stream of updates. Just hasn't been the case. If you need functionality it doesn't have RIGHT NOW; look elsewhere.
     
    dheran and Elric like this.
  3. dheran

    dheran Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2017
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    61
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Yes maybe you´re right. Actually, products are what they are, and they can´t be continuously updated. But yes, maybe my funcionality needs are not fully compatible with the AA12. But it´s very very close to it... so I think it´s worth commenting it here. As we can see in the wishlist, little upgradable details can make a big improvement in the product.

    Also, I expect to make an A/B comparison of the AFB and the Helix (when I had time to meet a friend who owns one). I don´t think there´ll be a world of a difference. I suppose both are great sounding products.
     
  4. Andrei

    Andrei Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2017
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Judging by the current climate, Amplifire is pretty much abandonware (more than 1 year since the last beta firmware) at this point. Considering the small price difference between Helix LT and AA12 and the huge feature bonus you get with the Helix, I would recommend you buy that instead.
     
    GreatDane likes this.
  5. dheran

    dheran Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2017
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    61
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Thanks for your opinions, mates!
     
  6. Wyatt McConnell

    Wyatt McConnell Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2017
    Messages:
    478
    Likes Received:
    288
    Trophy Points:
    63
    It's not about Helix getting more updates, it's about two very different product design philosophies. Atomic products are small, compact and straightforward electric guitar rigs. You can make them do things beyond that sometimes, but then you're in a world that's kind of like trying to use a LINUX machine as your main audio workstation. For what you're proposing, Helix is just the better solution. Snapshots, a huge screen and/or scribble strips to keep track of complex switching assignments, ability to route your acoustic patches to different outputs than your electric outputs if desired, etc., Etc.,. It's not about which one is better in this instance, it's that one product is designed to do what you want to do where the other is designed to do something different but might be capable of being rigged up to do what you want.
     
    JiveTurkey and dheran like this.
  7. dheran

    dheran Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2017
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    61
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I was considering also giving some "preset power" to the AFB by mating it with a Boss MS-3. It´ll also be a ridicuously small and lighweight rig, with presets and lots of switching assignments and effects, and perfect for travelling. But again... this setup alone wouldn´t allow me to do the acoustic IR blending. So, yes... right now the only device capable of making all that things is Helix. So I´ll have to wait, because its size keeps me from buying it. I´ll stick with my rig for now... unless Atomic releases an update... ;-)
     
  8. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    28
    THIS APPLE I BOUGHT DOESN'T TASTE LIKE AN ORANGE :mad:









    ...I may have thought initially that they would both be apples but they are, in fact, not both apples. Despite my expectations; reality has proven otherwise.
     
    Wyatt McConnell likes this.
  9. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    28
    In fairness to atomic; these "needs" are evolving as the gear is. The thought of being able to do it wasn't there before, because it couldn't be done. Now that it can be done with other gear; it's easy to expect other pieces in the same category to have those same functionalities when they just don't. Ugh and all that.
     
    dheran likes this.
  10. Wyatt McConnell

    Wyatt McConnell Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2017
    Messages:
    478
    Likes Received:
    288
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Helix guys are doing the same thing - DigiTech comes out with the freqout pedal and folks say "hey, Line 6, add this to the Helix please". We are all, of course, chasing the smallest/lightest box possible that holds every piece of gear we need and all the functionality we need for the lowest price. There are thousands of us and a dozen or so modelers, so, yeah - we have to make compromises. Fractal goes for the "throw EVERYTHING in the box with the goal being a user not needing anything but the box" and it costs an arm-and-a-leg. Helix goes for "throw a whole lot of stuff in the box and then design the box to interface with every other piece of gear any user might throw at it" it costs less, but in my opinion is excessively bulky/heavy. Atomic goes for streamlined functionality with sacrifices they think a lot of users will be willing to make for some cost/size savings.
     
    dheran likes this.
  11. NelsonP

    NelsonP Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2017
    Messages:
    450
    Likes Received:
    215
    Trophy Points:
    43
    JiveTurkey likes this.
  12. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    28
  13. lespauled

    lespauled Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2017
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    NYC, USA
    Since you already have an EPSI, another thing you might want to check out is the Eleven Rack (11R), currently at around $350 at Sweetwater. The 11R with the EPSI is essentially the HeadRush. Food for thought.
     
    dheran likes this.
  14. Wickedmao

    Wickedmao Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2017
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    13
    As a proud AA12 owner I can tell tell you my honest opinion about pros and cons of it.

    Pros:
    Small, portable, flies with you as hand baggage (checked personally), you can load IR, PC editor super easy, doesn't have wah-volume pedal, you can set it to globally mono or stereo from the editor, you can assign IR to XLR or Jack or both, edit buttons in any way you want, has essential and very "plug and play" approach on editing, support (Jace) always answers to your posts or emails and helps you.

    Cons:
    No updates since december 2016 and no news about, some blocks (for example noise gate) are fixed and you can't move them around, you can't double blocks (for examples, you want 2 gates? not possible), doesn't have harmonizers, pitch or tune block, some blocks has too many parameters or options, it's not easy to "navigate" presets, you can't assign a switch to be the Tuner switch, very small dispaly so editing from the board itself is not easy.

    In "defense" of the cons I can only say I hope some of them will be "fixed", the community already suggested many improvements.
    Do I think the community needs (or deserve) some updates? Yes
    Does it bothers me they are not coming? Honestly no, because the AA12 sounds awesome already, it does anything I need in a very small unit, but yes, I do think it can become even better than it already is.

    This is how it sounds live, I am the one on the left and my guitar is panned to left, sound comes from the PA:


    Cheers from Italy.
     
    Andy and dheran like this.
  15. dheran

    dheran Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2017
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    61
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Thanks for te tip, mate. But... I think that is far from my target. I mean, I wish to reduce complexity, size and weight, while I like the sound of my rig. With an 11R hardware, I´ll have 5.5 kg (2 kg heavier than the G5n), and I´ll also need a floor unit to control it (they are not cheap nor specially light, by the way). Plus... some rack frame... man, that´s just what I don´t want to do. Also, I´d need to send 2 cables to the EPSi, in order to have both channels processing a different IR (because I´m not going to go down and change the current IR each time I change the guitar). Moreover... I don´t think that I could blend the IR. I feel that the time of the 11R is over. You can more or less find workarounds with an IR loader paired to it, but you´ll keep on adding gadgets to the rig.

    Anyway, again, thanks for the tip. All of them are welcome!
     
  16. dheran

    dheran Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2017
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    61
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Great brief, wicked! Yeah... I totally agree your comments. Grazie mille! And really nice playing and sound, man!
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  17. Wickedmao

    Wickedmao Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2017
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    13
    Sound is the AA12 only direct in the PA, no amp.
    I use US Clean for cleans and 5150 for Rhythms. Both of them goes through Rosen Digital Mesa Rectifier cab IR.
    On Rhythms I also have a Digitech Drop ON, placed in the AA12 Loop.

    Glad to be helpfull mate ;)
     
    dheran likes this.
  18. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    28
    So does it do it if you don't move the expression pedal while booting? Seems like the solution would be to not move the pedal during the boot procedure. I am not sure when I would ever actually do that anyway. At least until the issue got looked at which we both know will be um...yeah.
     
  19. Andrei

    Andrei Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2017
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Of course, I am always careful to not touch the pedal while booting up but this happens even if the wah pedal moves 1 unit ( ie: if the guitar cable moves it just a little bit ), and you will never know it until you start playing.

    Anyways, I don't want to hijack this thread, but just wanted to say that the conclusion of that conversation was that Jace will pass the message to the dev team ... and never heard anything about it ever again.
     
    JiveTurkey likes this.
  20. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ahh that does suck! I ended up using an external wah with the AA3 as I just got tired of weird cabling and calibration, implementation via the editor and pedal sweeps.
     

Share This Page

Share