Gigging with a Guitar Processor - Why I swapped to a HeadRush GigBoard.
I have recently purchased a HeadRush GigBoard. If you aren’t familiar with one of these, it is effectively a Multi-Effect and Amp simulation module. One unit that does amp and cabinet simulation and also effects. It also contains a Tuner, looper and can act as an Interface for your computer if needed. The question is why? In a world of Pedals, Tube amps and other gear, why would I be to gig without an Amp or Pedals and just a digital Guitar processor?
With the likes of Kemper, Helix and other brand making high-quality Amp Simulators the gap between Valve/Tube and Digital is getting smaller and smaller. Personally, I think in a live environment there isn’t a lot of difference (in sound) at all anymore. However, the sound isn’t the reason I went for the Amp and effect Guitar processor when gigging. The first reason is Time!
Quicker Set Up Timer!
When doing local gigs, open mic nights or weddings. Speed is king. The aim is to get in, get set up and then after the gig pack up as quick as possible! Having amps, cabs and Pedalboards to set up, power and mic can take a while. Having a Pedalboard like a Kemper or Helix means you only have a few cables and little power to set up. Going directly into the Mixer means that there isn’t any mic to set up, which in turn means soundcheck is a lot easier and faster.
You can walk into a gig with the pedalboard in your backpack, More on this next, unpack, plug in and you are ready to go. Makes everything so much easier, and when you are short on time this is a lifesaver!
Transport is easier
Transport, This is another huge reason why I am trying the gig without an amp. Transporting your entire rig (Amp, Cam, Pedalboard and Guitars) can be cumbersome and expensive. Also, transport Tube/Value amps can be risky and scary. Using a Guitar Processor like a Gigboard or Kemper means you can throw it in a rucksack with your cables and power, Guitars in their cases and you have two bags for your entire rig. Easy to carry, easy to transport.
If touring, or car-sharing it also means you won’t take up much room in the car or van. Which the drummer will be very thankful for! Just makes everything more simple when you don’t have to transport half a dozen cases and boxes. Let gear, less Stress!
Less gear to Lose or Damage!
Less Gear less stress? This is true! The biggest downside with having a lot of gear is there is more gear to lose (or stolen). In the same view, you will also have less gear to get damaged! As well said earlier, Your high end, expensive tube/valve amp will always be at risk of getting damaged when gigging or transport. Having less gear will eliminate that issue. Hopefully, more robust and hardwearing (Which we will confirm in our full review on the Headrush Gigboard).
Personally, I just like to have as small a set up as possible, Finding the middle ground between small set up and good sound. Again, Sound is something we will cover in our full review.
Why the Headrush Gigboard
So the question is why did I go for the HeadRush Gigboard. For two reason really. The first reason is the Price. The Gigboard was in that sweet spot. Around £400-£450. The likes of the Helix and Kemper go for well above £1000. Which is a huge investment!
The second reason is the ease of use. As amazing as the Kemper sounds, the learning curve is huge! Profiling Amps, setting up various other settings and personally I think the layout looks a bit, well, clunky! The great thing about the GigBoard is it has a touch screen, WYSIWYG (What you See is What you Get) layout, Drag and drop, Colour coded. A very simple interface and easy to get great sounds out of.
The Gigboard also has an effects loop so if I wanted to use any pedals or outboard gear, I still can. Which I may end up using if needed! See how the unit performs with some pedals plugged in.
It is important when you are taking tech to a gig you know it inside and out! If anything was to go wrong you need to know why. Every button and feature you need to have an understanding off. To me, the other models out there would have taken a lot longer to master. Will I invest in a Kemper in the future? 100%, but for now the HeadRush GigBoard seemed more fitting for my needs.
So, that is all the reasons we are swapping to a Guitar processor for our live gigs. As we have said, we plan to do a full review of the Headrush Gigboard. Which will be out in a few weeks and also an update on what it is like to gig with an Amp sim and Guitar processor! Do we plan to still review and use pedals? Of course!
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