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polara last won the day on April 10

polara had the most liked content!

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About polara

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    Veteran HFCer

Previous Fields

  • guitars
    It varies, but my '94 Hamer Studio goldtop is staying.
  • amps
    Just a Mesa Boogie combo
  • fx
    Some Mad Professor boxes, mostly.

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  • Interests
    My wife and daughter. Music. Cycling.

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  1. polara

    I'm trying out a Fractal AX8

    I guess if I don't know what I'm getting into live, I'll bring one of our QSC powered speakers, since I'm dialing my Fractal for those. Generally I know the sound systems where we'll play, and I'm getting pretty comfortable with the no-amp feel already. I really like the idea of just walking into a club with a synth, iPad, Fractal, and a guitar, then going 100% direct. Clean stage, fast setup, balanced sound, and no ringing ears.
  2. I must confess I'm not really up on ARS, despite living here. Didn't J.E. Garnett leave the Swimming Pool Qs to play with ARS? I only know this 'cos I played with Anne Boston after she left the Qs. I do remember as a kid hearing "Spooky" on the radio all the time and thinking the guitars were rippin'. Oh, odd pairings. My old band (we sounded like Let's Active mostly) once opened for The Descendents.
  3. polara

    Hamer vs Gibson QC

    As mentioned, Hameritis was not that unusual but pizza day less usual. Seen a flame maple top that was wavy...the wood itself was wavy, not sanded smooth. I had a Blitz bass with a neck that had both a twist and a hump. I borrowed HHBs Sunburst and it wouldn't stay in tune for either of us and he's a hell of a player, not a hack like me. I still think the Sustainblock vibrato was a bad idea: I've had Kahler, Floyd, 6-screw Strat, 2-post Strat and Bigsby over the years, but that Hamer unit was the only one I couldn't keep in tune. I've only owned two Gibsons and they were both okay overall, but not as nice as the average Hamer. I've picked them up - even at a Gibson showcase at the Rock Hall of Fame - and found some that I was surprised got shipped out. Mostly setup issues, but some bad finishes and cheap-looking or -feeling hardware, or lifeless sounds.
  4. polara

    I'm trying out a Fractal AX8

    ONE WEEK UPDATE Issue: Not happy with crunch to high-gain because pedal models sound coarse into a clean amp model. Solution: Start with a patch I got off the AxeChange by a Fractal Forum regular who sells presets and and is well-respected. Picked his apart and learned about drive blocks. For hi-gain, stacked their model of the Suhr Riot at low gain on top of the crunchy Matchless DC-30 I was using. Issue: Noticable lag - sound dropped out - switching between scenes, even though I was not switching amp models. Solution: Go into the global settings and set the switches to only do one thing - switchon and off - instead of switching X/Y variants as well as on and off. Also be sure that scenes spill over when switching (like delays keep trailing off). Issue: Kind of dead sounding overall. Solution: Add a little reverb as the final block, which is something I never do with a real amp. Issue: Figuring how to work around perceived EQ at different volumes (Fletcher Munson curve). Solution: Don't go too crazy - cut only the highest and lowest frequencies (below 80 Hz and above 7.5kHz) - but EQ everything to be pretty mid-rangey, and use less drive than sounds good at low volume. The default settings for amps, cabs, and effects are usable, and the AX8 doesn't suffer from the "stock presets are extreme designed to show off what it can do" syndrome I'd expected. I hadn't worked most of this out for the Saturday gig, so was pretty frustrated with the sound, but I'm getting pretty darned close. I think if I were running this into a 1-12 cabinet behind me (like I do with a normal amp) at my usual volume, I might not realize I wasn't using pedals and tubes. It's still weird to get my sound through the wedges, but I do like how easy it is to get the overall mix perfect at rehearsal. The programming is far from intuitive, and the demos of the Helix and Headrush make those units look superior in that regard. However, after I got the basic setup done on the computer, I'm finding I can really fly through the tweaks on the hardware unit itself, so fast it's not an issue. These sounds are better than my memory of the early Line 6 and Yamaha DG Stomp stuff. There's never a solution right for everyone, but I think this is a perfectly valid solution for many people.
  5. polara

    Vegas Trip

    The Fremont Country Club used to be a great place to see real music. I saw Failure and Local H there. Not sure they're still open... it's a very downtown Vegas vibe, not like the Strip.
  6. polara

    I'm trying out a Fractal AX8

    I get the impression they all - Kemper, Fractal, Line 6, Helix, Atomic, Boss, Digitech - are to the point that they sound fine. Just a matter of which physical format you like, which software you prefer. Honestly I got the Fractal because it was local and a good price. I'm sure I'd have the same frustrations and triumphs with any of them.
  7. Okay, I'll play. I'll just say that Wampler could have written, "Guys, I know you're half-joking with the 'gotta buy the little woman a purse' stuff, but out of respect for our sisters here who have had to endure some sexist s**t in order to play in what's historically been Boy's World, try to tone it down, or at least say that you and your boo have an agreemeont on your gear stuff? A lot of women like guitars more than shoes. Peace out."
  8. This has turned into an intergalactic flame war on TGP. I suggest mods lock it down fast here.
  9. Should be perfect weather. If yer in metro ATL, hope you can swing by. The food and art vendors and good-lookin'-people-watchin' just make it more fun. Plus I finally think I've eliminated the gremlins from the Fractal AX8, so I'll be going all digital. This should be interesting, but it worked last night in rehearsal. https://www.atlantamagazine.com/news-culture-articles/5-atlanta-events-you-wont-want-to-miss-october-10-16/ https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/04b9ab_39549a99f16d4e1780a25e80693c2758.pdf 235 West Hill Street, 30030
  10. polara

    Saw PiL Last Night

    I chose the wrong show last night. We went to the Tabernacle to see Chvrches, since they do roughly the same kind of music as us. They were fine, but we were surrounded by yobs who were shouting to each other even louder than the band. It was sold out, and we were packed in like sardines, plus the band is not that visually interesting or free to improvise, as it's three guys in black operating machines while the singer tries to keep the show energy up. I still listen to "album" now and then. My favorite Steve Vai playing.
  11. polara

    NBD: Hofner HCT 500/2 Club

    I picked up a Chinese Hofner in a store recently and it was a very nice instrument at a crazy-low price. I don't know if it's the factory, the management, or the team, but some of the Chinese factories are making astonishingly good instruments, and others are still a bit lacking. Glad that one is doing it for you... does it do the McCartney smooth thumping tone I love so much?
  12. polara

    I'm trying out a Fractal AX8

    Yup, I learned that with the old Boss. I'm okay at getting in the ballpark at home, as I've learned to dial the gain down, the mids up, and the highs down a little from what seems good in the headphones. Oh, and to add more volume that you'd think prudent to distortion sounds vs. clean. I got a preset from one of the AxeChange forum guys and used that as a start last night to do a pedalboard with clean, OD, fuzz "scenes," a boot button, and four effects on-offs up top. I'll try it at rehearsal tonight but it's the most promising yet through the home amp. He did a lot of stuff with the cabs, I noticed, and had two scenes in which the same amp had more drive and less output... cool.
  13. polara

    I'm trying out a Fractal AX8

    THANK YOU! I think I can cover all our current stuff with one preset if I plan it carefully around just four scenes and three more individual effects. It pains me that I keep hearing things about how you need to move a block here, not there, and do various tricks to get it right, though. I know it's apples to bananas, but I can plug an OCD and a Carbon Copy into a good amp and get a usable sound in about 30 seconds!
  14. polara

    I'm trying out a Fractal AX8

    I read through some forums, and one guy apparently has a patch that has the bottom four buttons as clean / crunch / gain / boost+delay (whick will bosst and delay any of the first three), and the top four just turn other individual effects on an off. Dang. The amount of effort it would take me to figure that out is mind-blowing, so since all the Fractal forum guys say "You have to check this patch out" I'll just load it and see it works for me as a default. Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.