These are full power amp heads, not just preamps. I’ll go ahead and answer here and feel free to move this to a more appropriate thread. There’s some overlap since the TH tone section is available in preamp form without the power stage.
They both have the identical IcePower module, but the Tone Hammer is rated at 350 and the DG is rated at 500. Go figure. So, the digital stage is top notch studio quality in both.
This DG has effects send/return while the TH requires you to step up a power level higher in the range to get a send/return.
Both have DI.
Annoyingly, the front panel Mute pushbutton on the DG is upstream of the FX Return, so it doesn’t work if you have pedals in the loop. I like using that button when I’m re-patching stuff around.
The DG has the Vintage Microtubes and the B3K pedals built-in, so those speak for themselves and provide a huge range of adjustment. The overdrive section also has that vintage/modern kind of filter knob which is brighter or mellower, very similar to the tone knob on a P-bass. The amp has fewer knobs than the discrete pedals do, but I don’t think they oversimplified anything that I’m having a problem with.
It’s possible to get gritty and breakup sounds out of the TH, but it’s not an isolated section with off/on switch like the DG. The TH knobs are interactive with each other and change the quality of the distortion. The DG applies distortion to whatever tone is on the input of the amp and all its tone control (other than the vintage/modern knob) are downstream of the distortion.
This is where I can’t say anything meaningful to anyone else. Either the knobs fit to your rig and your playing style and tone choice or they are missing something. They do different things.
Low - DG says 80Hz, TH says 40Hz but it’s super useful. Maybe the DG rolls off at 80 and the TH is centered on 40. I haven’t really checked that close, but they both do what I want this way.
Mid - DG has two mid knobs, each with a frequency choice (250/500 and 1.5k/3k). TH has one midband that is fully sweepable to any mid frequency.
Hi - DG says 5k. TH says 4k.
The TH also has a “Drive” knob that doesn’t apply overdrive; it’s frowny face EQ and eventually boosts the mids. That eventually has the effect of pushing more mids into distortion if “Gain” is up. The knobs on the TH take getting used to. The manual doesn’t explain them, so it takes reading forum threads to figure them out unless you are more patient than me. Clean tone on the TH is with Gain and Drive all the way down. There’s a huge range of Gain where it seems it does almost nothing. Maybe I need to try running hotter or adding a clean boost to get that knob into a better operating range.
Overall, I really like them both. The TH sounds better with the Ibanez 5-string on the GK15 than the DG to me. I can get either one to sound super with the Fender P on the 410.
I’m not trying to cut through a mix or fit to the music on stage. I’m making sounds at home that I want to get lost in and completely enjoy. So, if there’s something in the tone I want to fix, I’m always frustrated by the fixed EQ points. For this reason alone, the sweepable mid is lovely for me. If I were buying again I’d buy the next level up of the TH to have the FX loop. I’d forget the DG because the overdrive section inside is too much of a VCR/TV combo for me. The DG is good for a compact integrated rig that’s more cost effective than buying the amp and pedals separately. It’s too bad they rip you another $100 for the footswitch though.
Of course they never make what I actually want.
I’d like a clean block power stage with no knobs, just an input and a speaker connector.
I’d like a seperate preamp, not in pedal form, in piggyback form over the powerblock that is the tone/drive/gain section from the Tonehammer 350 with the addition of a 2nd fully sweepable mid control. I’d also like the Bandwidth knob to be added to the two mid controls.
Figuring out what all these tailored knobs on music equipment do and then trying to get them to do what I want drives me absolutely bonkers (contour, presence, mojo, bark, growl, drive, gain, boost, bump, thump, rump. etc.). I’m sure for most people on stage these are nice, easy tools that get the job done, are easy to understand and fast to grab. For me in my shed trying to get rid of that one resonant frequency that’s bugging me without destroying the rest of my tone, they are all blunt hammers. Just give me a compressor with Attack/Release/Threshold/Ratio/Soft and I’ll make that one compressor do whatever I want. Just give me a 4-band fully parametric EQ with a shelf filter on the top and HP filter on the bottom and I’ll never need to buy another piece of tone gear again.
They all sound great. They all suck at flexibility. If I ever gig I’ll give you a completely different answer because I’ll probably find out that one of them is the superstar knob. Unfortunately, it only works if gain is set at 3 and drive is set at 7 and you push the mid freq select button 3 times first.