1 JBGretschGuy 1 week ago I've been playing for a while in a second band - one who has wholly embraced technology - IEMs mixable using an app on your phone, ampless on stage, etc. I was the stick in the mud, using my amp, but isolating it so that it didn't pollute the FOH. However, we have been getting gigs in the city of Chicago that aren't conducive to loading and unloading lots of equipment. In fact, I kind of prefer to take the El train to the gigs, with just what I can carry on my person. Now, I tried the Vox Valvetronix amps in the early 2000s. They were innovative and mostly sounded good. Mostly. But I ended up back in the tube amp realm, where I stayed for almost 20 years - and don't intend to leave. BUT. Since I bought a Line 6 Helix to use with the new band, I thought a good exercise, to relax the learning curve, would be to see how closely I could clone my tube amp and pedalboard gigging rig into it. After all my amp has seen a few thousand gigs now, and the Geoge Ls patch cables on my pedal board are failing. Also, one bar I play at has crappy power, which makes my amp sound bad and my Boss pedals don't switch reliably. Also, most bars are complaining about volume these days, no matter how quiet you try to be. We are in the age of acoustic solos and duos around here. But I digress. So I created a signal path and digitized all of my stuff and got it all sounding good. Real good, in fact. I joked with the members of my own trio about going that route, and they laughed at the joke, knowing what a hard-core old school person I am. As Saturday came around, I thought I might turn the joke on them. But it ended up being on myself, too. I used an Alto powered PA cabinet (full-range, flat response is what you want as a modeling monitor) as an "amp", and the Helix modeled my Tuner/Compressor/Wah/Blues Driver/SD-1/Klon/Chorus/SpaceEcho/Dotted Eighth Delay/Reverb/Sonic Stomp/Fender amp rig. The things I noticed right away - I could hear my "amp" better than normal, even though I wasn't as loud as normal (small venue with finicky owners). That made it easier to sing. Also, I could capture the tones I needed at the more controlled volume - even high gain tones. My virtual pedals stacked nicer than their real counterparts. Editing amp and pedal settings on the fly was a breeze. You can even do it with your feet. Although not much more compact than my "real" rig, I feel like it would be more consistent, reliable, and flexible. I will be giving it a second date, and might even male it a "thing".It feels dirty - but, at this stage in my gigging career, I'm not trying to martyr myself for the sake of absolute purity and authenticity. Technology has given us these gifts. There's no reason to cling to a rotary dial telephone when an iPhone makes life so much easier. My buddy - a Helix "power user" - has a separate preset for every song he plays, with different "snapshots" for Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Solo, etc. In his cover band, he always sounds EXACTLY like the record, which is really cool in that way. When he makes out his setlist, he sets up the flow in his Helix to match. He even emailed some of his patches so that I could dissect and learn from them. Last night, I set up virtual rigs for my acoustic guitars and bass guitar. They sound fantastic though the Alto TS-312 with its 2,000 watts of headroom. Forgive me, Father John Ambrose Fleming, for I have sinned.