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Ibanez - VA3 virtual amp

VA3 virtual amp. $369. Guitar amp simulator. 12 amp settings. 24 memory locations. 3-band eq. Stereo delay [after all distortion, I hope]. Digital reverb. Tuner.

Ibanez MultiFX page: VA3 -- "Would you like to be able to stash 12 guitar amplifiers in your guitar case? The VA3 Virtual Amp features 12 different preset amp types-from clean combo and acoustic guitar amp to thrash stack-that you can modify any way you like. Throw in 3-band EQ, stereo delay, panning, chorus, flanging, and digital reverb and 24 programmable patches at a price that's about the same as a budget combo, and you'll swear that the VA3 is a virtual"

[that's how their HTML source-file text ends]

Company email address: ibanez.questions at juno.com

One guy is selling a mint-condition VA3 to upgrade his PC recording gear to raise needed cash.
The price: $150. Original packing and all documentation.

The VA3 is a floorboard effects unit that delivers digital delay, chorus, reverb, and amp simulation. The *coolest* thing it provides is stereo amp simulation. It has built-in presets for:

Vox AC-30
Fender twin
Roland Jazz chorus
Peavey 5150
"Grunge" amp sounds

You can also modify any of the existing presets to create your own sounds.

This unit is very well suited for recording directly into a 4track or computer audio sequencer. Just plug it in direcly for great guitar tone! It sounds good with an amp as well. I've been using it as the 'preamp/effects' unit for my Musicman 65 watt/1-12 amp for some time now.

user comments at Harmony Central

Mostly very positive comments.

Submitted at: 23:00, 1/17/97 Price Paid: US $260 I've tried every single "AMP SIMULATOR" I could possibly get my hands on in the under $500 category and this one beats them all without question. For recording, you can't do any better. Again, this is a very limited scope for this product. Most guitarists already have an amp and would not need this if they like their sound. I've tried teh ZOOM 3030, 1010, 505, Digitech RP-10 RP-5, ART SGE ECC, Morely JD-10, All the cheap Sans Amp products. The IBANEZ wins hands down- no contest. DO NOT BUY THIS UNLESS YOU ARE RECORDING. This unit saves the pain of miking an amp and sounds great ONLY for that putpose and nothing else. If you want a great live unit, this is the wrong place to look.


In my opinion, its great for direct recording if you dig Tube screamer and light overdrive type sounds, but I personally thought it close to useless for getting massive death metal type sounds. I just couldnt seem to get a good massive palm- muted chugging sound out of it. My SansAmp GT-2 to me sounds much warmer sounding, gives better, glassier, blues tones and gives excellent heavy/death metal tones direct to tape. The Ibanez though does have some very nifty features like its digital doubler, chorus, flanger, delay and very nice reverb which all sound very nice. The digital doubler is very handy when you want stereo guitar tracks but don't want to record to different guitar tracks manually (where your riffs have to be played exactly the same each time). It also has very nice noise reduction which cuts noise off very smoothly. But like I said, as guitar tone is highly subjective I highly recommend you listen to this thing before you buy it. I messed with eq and distortion/amp settings for days (and I'm still messing with it) and while I've gotten some nice direct to tape sounds I cant get massive cranial crushing, super rich sucked mid death metal tones that I'm after. One trick hower that you can do is to run your favorite distortion pedal into it and then adjust your cab sim/eq settings until you get a cool direct sound. Oh...also the VA3 doesn't sound too hot going into an amp unless you really mess around with its eq/cab sim settings along with your amp's eq settings. Also, contrary to what the previous reviewer said, SansAmp does make a programable rackmount version of their amp sim. Anyways...yeah for the price I paid for it used I can't complain too much. Good for getting Tube screamer sounds on tape but thats about it in my opinion. I like the direct clean sounds on my Zoom 3030 and on my Digitech RP-1 much better.

I might buy it again just to use it for extra tone variety for direct recording and for its reverbs,delays,doubler,ect... but for getting real heavy hardcore death metal distortion or real warm glassy SRV tones on tape, I would recommend the SansAmp GT-2 as a better option. The Hughes & Kettner Red Box is also an excellent cab sim as well. I often run the GT-2 into the Red Box to warm up the direct sound even further. They work very well together.

Price Paid: US $270

This is a very well sounding amp simulator at an affordable price. It is built into a compact floorunit with 4 pedals and you also get a few effects all have stereo capabilities. It also has a three band graphic eq, noise suppressor and a tuner which tracks fairly good. The power supply is external. No external loop jacks are included. This is more or less a plug and play unit since there are not many parameters to modify and the included presets covers most of the sounds possible to produce from this unit. I have tried to tweak the parameters to find new even better sounds but Ibanex have done a very good job when they designed the presets.

However if you want to tweak it is very easy. Each effect has 3 parameters and there are 3 knobs to tweak with. Like most other Ibanez units there are no extreme features in this box. Not even the parameters have extreme levels so how much you ever twist the knobs you will never find any really bad sounds.

Sound Quality: 10 For this price I think the sound is unbeatable. I havent heard the Sansamp and it might be as good as the VA3 but the Sansamp has on the other hand no effects at all and no programmability.

For me the Amp simulations sounds really great. I am using it with a Fender Strat Lone Star direct into the mixer and compared to the Boss GT-5/GX-700 (including COSM technology) the VA3 gives almost as good sound. Maybe better in some cases. With the Boss I really tried to get this hardrock sound of the 70'ies but I couldn't get it`. In the VA3 it was just there in a preset. For some reason I just couldn't resist strumming the first chords of "Smoke on the water" and believe me or not. It really reminded me of the intro on Deep Purple's "Made in Japan" version of that song. This thing really made me want to play old tunes by Deep Purple, AC/DC, Van Halen or Steve Ray Vaughn Lynard Skynard and Hank Williams. It even made me play some speed metal which never even tried before but the patch was there so I had to try and it sounded great. What I miss is Hank Marvin.

I don't really know if it sounds like the real thing but the review in the musicmagazine said, I quote "This thing doesn't sound like a Vox AC30 or Fender Twin. It IS a Vox AC30 and a Fender Twin ".

Compared to the Boss GT-5/GX-700, the Boss of course gives lots of more effects and much more modification possibilities. If you want a real personal sound the VA3 is not for you.

The Amps thats supposed to be simulated are Fender Twin, Marshall JMP900, different Marshall stacks, Vox AC30, and some other I don't remember. All have a different sound ranging from Blues, country hardrock, grunge to speed and deathmetal. It is though a little bit difficult to get good clean sounds since the eq is a little weak. With only 3 bands and only +-7dB it doesn't change the sound very much.

Another thing I found amazing was that the distorion was very clear even compared to the GT-5. I can do sixstring distorted chords and it doesn't sound bad. It is also very easy to play. Maybe this is b ecause I prefer to play with very little noisesuppression with the VA3. It does produce noise, even with the clean sounds but the noise doesn't increase so much when you increase the gain on the dist as it does on the GT-5. If you don't like noise at all you will find the VA3 noisy but I like the noise from this unit. If you ever have tried a Zoom 9030 the VA3 is rather similar when it comes to noise.

I haven't tried the VA3 through a guitar amp but with a real amp present why would you need an ampsimulator? [for post-virtual-amp time-based effects -- Michael ] Even Ibanez states in the manual that to obtain the best sound it should be connected directly into the mixer. However it should be possible to use with a guitar amp since there is a parameter affecting all patches where you can select the output filtering to be matched to line or a combo or a stack.

I first bought a Boss GT-5 instead. After a couple of weeks a came to my senses and changed the $750 GT-5 to a VA3. Not because the GT-5 sounded bad but because the VA3 suitet my purpose better. The price is much lower, the size makes it fit into your gigbag, the weight can't be more than 2 pounds than the GT-5 and the VA3 sounds almost as good and sometimes even better. With the GT-5 I always ended up tweaking parameters forever when what I actually want to do is play and this thing also makes me a feel as a better guitarplayer. For homestudio recording the VA3 is perfect.

Before buying it I tried lots of other units. The Digitech RP-6, Zoom 3030, Boss ME-8 and Korg AX30G is in the same pricerange, are all floorunit but has lots of more effects but the ampsound where not at all as good as in the VA3 with the Korg as a clear second. The Digi- tech Valve State has tons of more effects, is double the price and has real nice dynamics when you're playing but I felt the sound had more life in the VA3. The Boss GX700/GT5 is very similar in the sound which is no wonder since they are supposed to emulate almost the same type of amplifiers. The price is double or triple the price of a VA3 and they are also much larger and heavier but has also a much, much better eq-section. You also get tons of stereoeffects which I prefer to have in a separete unit in the effectloop on the mixer. Other units I would have liked to try is the Sansamp and a Hughes & Kettner unit I forgot the name of including a Red Box. They are supposed to give a real good sound lined and are cheaper and smaller like stompboxes. I have also heard that the manuals for these are really good giving advise for parametersettings. These 2 units are however not programmable and have no effects at all included.

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DejaNews query: "virtual amp" or VA3 - 36 hits

Messages 1-36 of exactly 36 matches for search "virtual amp" VA3:

        Date   Scr        Subject                     Newsgroup           Author

   1. 98/07/21 049 Help with a Ibanez VA3 Virtu alt.guitar.effects    Frank Carr     
   2. 98/09/18 039 Re: Another Sans Amp questio alt.guitar            Chris Gieseke  
   3. 98/04/01 039 Which Amp Simulator to Use ? alt.guitar            Stanley        
   4. 97/02/14 039 Re: Amp-Simulator            alt.guitar            mcnenly        
   5. 98/05/19 038 Johnson Millennium amp (mini  alt.guitar.amps       Jack A. Zucker 
   6. 98/04/01 038 Re: Which Amp Simulator to U alt.guitar            bobbis         
   7. 97/02/14 038 Re: Amp-Simulator            alt.guitar            Paul Robins    
   8. 98/04/01 037 Re: Which Amp Simulator to U alt.guitar            Brad Ryll      
   9. 97/02/14 037 Re: Amp-Simulator            alt.guitar            Pete K Turley  
  10. 98/09/28 036 Re: Direct Boxes             alt.guitar            Chris Gieseke  
  11. 98/09/28 036 Re: Direct Boxes             alt.guitar            Kamchak Tuchuk 
  12. 98/05/15 035 Re: I: Direct to the Boa#1/2 alt.guitar.effects    Chris Gieseke  
  13. 96/03/15 035 Tube Amp Emulators-Which#1/2 rec.music.makers.guit Warren Neill   
  14. 98/04/19 034 Re: Modelling Amps           alt.guitar.amps       Kamchak Tuchuk 
  15. 96/11/14 034 Re: Rvw of Power Brake, #1/2 alt.guitar.amps       Michael      
  16. 96/11/14 034 Re: Rvw of Power Brake, #1/2 alt.guitar            J.R. Elswick   
  17. 96/04/15 033 Re: Wavs of me Jamming at my alt.music.van-halen   bfowers        
  18. 96/04/14 033 Wavs of me Jamming at my Hom alt.music.van-halen   Danny Sale     
  19. 98/04/05 032 Re: Direct Guitar Recording  alt.music.4-track     Chris Gieseke  
  20. 96/02/20 032 Re: Virtual amp              alt.guitar            voodoo3        
  21. 96/02/15 032 Re: Virtual amp              alt.guitar            Greg Jones     
  22. 96/02/15 032 Re: Virtual amp              alt.guitar            Danny Sale     
  23. 96/02/10 032 Virtual amp                  alt.guitar            voodoo3        
  24. 97/10/01 031 Re: Amp Placement During Per alt.guitar.amps       rich-karl      
  25. 97/09/26 031 Re: Amp Placement During Per alt.guitar.amps       kd             
  26. 97/09/25 031 Re: Amp Placement During Per alt.guitar.amps       Scott McKnight 
  27. 97/03/28 031 Re: Multi-Effects Help...    rec.music.makers.guit Mike           
  28. 97/03/24 031 Multi-Effects Help...        rec.music.makers.guit F Yang         
  29. 97/09/23 029 Re: Amp Placement During Per alt.guitar.amps       b.r.curtis     
  30. 97/03/25 029 Re: Multi-Effects Help...    rec.music.makers.guit Rich Dudley    
  31. 97/01/22 027 Re: Line6 Axxis 212, any opi alt.guitar            Anonymous X. In
  32. 97/01/13 027 Re: Best way to record guita alt.guitar            chrisgie       
  33. 98/10/07 021 Re: Snarling Dogs True Bypas alt.guitar            Fulltone       
  34. 98/10/07 021 Re: Snarling Dogs True Bypas alt.guitar            Ron Thompson   
  35. 98/10/07 020 Re: Snarling Dogs True Bypas alt.guitar            teddy rasch    
  36. 97/02/19 014 Re: Amp-Simulator            alt.guitar            Paul Robins    

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