Amp Modeling Tech.

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Amp Modeling Tech. A comparison between the top 3 selling Amp modeling systems The Johnson J-Station , The Line 6 POD2 , and The Behringer V-amp 2

The home project studio is replacing the large production houses almost as quickly as the These days, the basement recording engineers are rivaling the professional big wigs independent record label is replacing the major labels. The one thing the big guys have over the project studios is the assortment of amps to choose from, and the space. These processors are handy for not only recording ( itís easier to run them direct than micing an amp ) but for live as well or just practicing whit out disturbing the neighbors, they all take up about as much space as a drum machine and can easily be transported around.

The Features

J-Station: 24 bit, 24 Amp models ( including Bass amps, and acoustic guitar}, 18 speaker cab models, S/PDIF digital output.

Line 6 POD: 24 bit, 16 amp models (expandable to 32 with software) 16 effects

Behringer V-Amp 2: 24 bit, 32 amp models, 15 speaker cab models, 3 band EQ, duel foot switch, carrying bag.

Upgrade and online support

All 3 models have easy to find online support, all 3 have sites you can go to for free upgrades and patches. The POD due to it being the first and one of the more popular amp modeling units has a lot more you can download from there site, and they also have Artist patches, so you can down load or just adjust your POD to the settings your favorite guitarist use. The POD and J-Station have software for PC and MAC included with the original purchase, the POD comes with Emagic SoundDriver software, and the J-Station comes with J-edit Pro by Cakewalk ( and yes they are compatible with XP ), the V-Amp does not come with any software but you can hook it and the other two up to you PC via MIDI and down load away.

Foot Controllers

You can control all three via foot controllers, the V-amp comes with itís own foot controller ( two button up/down switch) but it you wanted to get more fancy with it you could easily control all 3 with a MIDI foot controller. The POD also has it own line of controllers, and in such made it so you almost have to get that controller. The J-station has it own line of foot controllers as well but un like the POD they use the common ľ inch connection unlike the POD who uses a ďtelephone Jack thingyĒ. My suggestion is if you are going to use a pedal with any of the possessors go for the MIDI you have a variety and a larger price range.

Construction and reliability

Again all 3 have a lot of the same features, all the knobs are set up like a regular amp, gain, treble, mid, bass, high, volume ,reverb ,effects volume and a master volume. All 3 have LED displayís and are very similar on how they read. On the Vamp and POD there set up is almost identical, a knob on one side for amps and a knob on the other side saying what effects, the J-station is a little different with a little screen and knob that illuminates the amp model you are using and the effects are accessed pushing a button and the effect lights up. The V amp differs from the other two because itís made of plastic, and itís the shape of a guitar body ( thatís what Iím told ) also there are LED lights that light up around each knob and tell you what setting you are at ( kinda cool, kinda cheesy). The POD and J-station are a nice durable metal thatís great for travel and beating people with J/K, the POD Ďs nice red kidney shape appearance, does resemble the V-ampís Blue ďblobĒ look in my opinion the look of the V-amp and POD are very similar, unlike the J-station with amore conservative black box look.

Misolanious Proís and conís

The V amp : itís plastic, it has to be un-plugged to turn off ( no on/off switch), a lot of presets, more effects and models than either the J-station or POD.

The POD: the most widely used ,and has more down loads than the other 2, the amp models are great except in my opinion the clean tones are not all that great.

The J-Station: Easy to use, great clean tones, the acoustic settings are crap in my opinion and the Bass amp models are good too. Decent effects a little tweaking and you can get a good sound.

Final thoughts and Prices

All 3 are good investments, it all matters on how much you have to spend and what you personally like. My advice is to go to your local music store plug into all 3 and see which one works best for you. I have all 3 and I can say I use em all, I wonít say one is better than the other they all have there unique qualities and down sides.

Johnson J-station 149.99 US

Behringer V-Amp2 130.00 US

Line 6 POD2 249.00 us

For more info on all 3 check out there different web sites and also Musicians friend has demos on there site for the POD

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User-submitted comments

Apr 21, 2004 10:51 am
a few thoughts
Probably the biggest selling point of the V-amp is the "cheezy" LED's, actually. Think about it; when you call up a patch on the J-Station or the Pod, the knobs don't move, so you have no way of telling where everything's set. On the V-amp, the knobs don't move either, but the LED's light up to indicate where everything's set. When you start saving and editing patches, this becomes a huge bonus.

I'm an occasional J-Station user, so I can comment on that in a bit more depth. Overall, the sounds are moer "organic" than anything I've heard originating from a POD (haven't played with or heard much by a V-amp yet), especially in the highs. On the other hand, in stock form, the J-Station is WAY too bass-heavy. swapping cabs for the 1x12 models will salvage anything that isn't already using one; for the rest, some outboard EQ gear or some tweaking on the computer is mandatory if you're going to be using these in a mix (they sound fine on their own, but...) On the other hand, the clean tones are incredibly lush- the Bassman model needs to be played to be believed, and the tweed, after an EQ tweak, is pretty sweet as well- but none of them get very bright. I found that in order to get a really sharp, funky clean tone for chord stabs, the best result i got was doubling a track with cab emulation on with another with cab emulation off; not ideal, but it gave an interesting texture in it's own right, especially when panned apart.

Also, in-between gain sounds were pretty tough to nail; most of the clean patches didn't really break up, while a lot of the high gain ones didn't like to clean up. This was less true of singlecoils, and I was able to get some great dark-yet-bluesy sounds out of my strat driving the Recto through a 1x12 with the gain pretty low and compression mostly off. However, this is an area where real tube amps have still yet to be matched with modelers; an amp on the edge of breakup is a VERY tough entity to program.

All this is moot, as Johnson is no longer producing amplifiers, but if you ever get the chance to grab a second-hand, it's a great recording tool. I primarily use my TSL's suprisingly good emulated out now when i need to record silently, but every once in a while i'll still grab the J-station for a particular sound.


-blackface, recto, and "hot rod" (mark-I) models
-ambient effects, particularly the "volume swell" patch

-waaaay too bass-heavy as it is
-lack of good intermediate gain sounds


Bongo 38
Jun 18, 2004 03:32 am

V-Amp 2 "does" have an editor quite similar to SoundDiver. It can be downloaded for free at the Behringer web site

May 19, 2009 12:01 pm
well it's been a few years now ,SEVEN!
Now My V_amp died in 2003 and that was all kinds of suck. Behringer isn't getting any more of my business ( due to more than one product crapping out) . My J-Station , still kikin and still has killer sound, great high gain . I have a PODxt and that works great as well. both are two gear perchases that were well worth the$$$.

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