SIM/Modeler + Amp - Does it matter at that point?

Haven’t seen this talked about…at least in a way that answers the question the way I pose it:
Let’s say you have a really good modeler pedal or a multi effect with really good cab sims (like the Quad Cortex, HX, Zoom B2Four or what what have you), does it really matter what amp you’re using at that point?

Like I’ve been lusting after an Ampeg PF-50 (because all the songs/styles I like to play were likely recorded on a B-15), but my pedal has one hell of a B-15 sim in it. To my ear, it sounds as close as the PF-50 does. So why should I get a PF-50 and cab at that point? I could likely get a really nice and clean combo amp for far less that would have the wattage I would need if I ever decide to try performing.

Right now I’m using a Rumble 40 Eq’d flat and am handling the “amp” settings in the pedal to swap sounds around. If I got a PF-50 and decided I wanted to use an SVT sim for a bit, would the PF-50 color it to the point that the sim wouldn’t sound much like an SVT? In other words, would I be locked into the B-15 sound if I got a PF-50 no matter how good my sim pedal is?


I’d say “yes and no” :wink:

If you are using a good modeller and want to exploit the models properly then you’d either go directly into a DAW for recording, or directly to a PA/FOH for live gigs, or into a smaller PA for rehearsals. Then, you don’t need an amp.
If there is no PA and/or no monitor system for hearing yourself, then you obviously need an amp, but then it should likely be a very “transparent” amp (and cab) - think Bergantino, Trickfish, Genzler, …

One other thing to consider: models for amps are often “just” snapshots (i.e., amp with clean settings, amp with overdriven settings etc) and you often can’t tweak the sound of a given model very much. However, there are more and more AI-based modelers out there (“neural amp sims”) that allow for much more tweaking while maintaining the basic characteristics of, say, a B-15. Then, it comes down to whether you have the necessary processing power in your pedal.


This is why you want send and return in a amp. Go directly into the return with your effects pedal so you bypass the preamp of the amp. You only use the poweramp to amplify your sound.


In my opinion, unless you are focused on live - no. In fact unless you are playing live I honestly feel there’s little point to owning an amp at all these days. Monitors plus amp/cab sims sound great and are much easier to work with for recording, and you can get some pretty beefy monitor/PA’s for not a lot of money.

I haven’t owned a bass amp for four years now.

Live is another story. Amps are still a viable path there, though personally I would still go modeled plus PA - but then again I would need to as I have other instruments to worry about.

Other folks are all about amps - and more power to them. There’s no single right answer here. But the fact is these days you get in to amps because you want to, not because you need to.


couldn’t agree more :v::grin:

If you use a transparent amp like the ones @joergkutter said, and also like a Markbass because it would be kinda weird not to say the name of this popular brand, the amp is not so much important. And that’s the right kind of amp to choose if you want to run a modeler in front of it. It’s a very legit and modern approach. The amp is used like a FRFR (Full Range, Flat Response).

The opposite case is a very colored amp like an Ampeg B15 or SVT, or a Gallien Krueger RB for exemple. Those amps will shine by their own, without a modeler, exactly because the modelers replicate the tones of those amps.


Yeah. There is no single right path here. I’ve chosen the amp-free path but if you want to be in to amps there’s still a really viable path there.

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First, +1 to all the good “yes and no” answers up there!
Can’t get enough of “it depends”!!

@joergkutter and @terb said all the most important stuff.

Live is a very different animal and I have seen some horrific fails of sounds (pedals / models / tone choices) that worked great in a small, quiet practice room just absolutely suck in a larger, louder environment.
If the model works and sounds good and you can test it through a PA or a loud speaker, then you’re good to go.

If it is missing something, you might want to take some time to find that PF-50 to try out. There can be something in the amp/cab magic that works out better.

*disclaimer - this from the guy that is willing to sacrifice his back and body to lug around an Ampeg SVT head to rehearsals.


That’s the part that kills me. Closest one that I can find is a 7 hour plane trip away…and there is no way in the blue hell that my wife would let me take a weekend flight just to try an amp.

What @Paul said was intriguing, however, as I never thought of using the fx loop stuff in that way. Could be a best of both worlds situation.