For those of you here who are familiar with the way I record and perform live, you know that I'm a real amp guy. If I'm tracking at home, I have a mic in front of a tube amp. If I have a gig I'm lugging an amp up on the stage. That's just how I roll. My experience with digital amp modeling is not necessarily zero, though it is quite limited given its widespread prevalence. Ten years ago there was a period when I used BOSS COSM quite extensively for recording. There was also a time when I was using the built in amp simulator in Logic. Neither of these could ever be mistaken for a real tube amp, and I used them at the time out of either necessity or convenience. I completely missed the Line 6, POD thing. But that's about the extent of my use of digital modeling, other than the rare occasion when I briefly plugged into something like a Roland Blues Cube at a friend's house. The entire evolution and continuing advancement of digital amp modeling over the last decade and a half has gone on in "secret" from me. Yesterday I went to a friend's house who had recently bought the newest Fractal Audio Axe-Fx III, in a rack, with some other add ons. He's one of those, "The man who buys quality cries only once," type of guys, so he went all in. He fired the rig up and proceeded to scroll through some presets while I played the guitar. At first I was unimpressed, as there were too many effects for me to clearly hear and judge the sound of the amp and he was choosing a lot of the high gain options. I imagine a lot of guys who get this thing use everything in the signal chain because they can, it's simply irresistible. I then saw on the screen something that looked like "JTM45" and I told him to pick that one and take off all of the effects, no reverb, nothing but the raw amp. I really was astonished as I played a couple chords. I mean, I know the sound of that circuit, because I use a very similar amp as my main rig for both recording and live performance. I use that amp like it's an intimately familiar instrument. The Axe-Fx III was making that sound, exactly. The body and fullness, the depth, the complex harmonic content were all there. I asked him to put the master on 7 or 8 and then began playing some lead. It grabbed the notes, it sung, it sustained, it sagged, it had that Class A lively and expressive feel to it. When I rolled the volume knob back on the guitar it cleaned up exactly as my amp does. When I dug in with the pick harder it broke up ever so sweetly, gently, and musically. I could not believe what I was hearing. I then told him to engage the TS-808 overdrive model that was in the signal chain. It sounded just like a real tube screamer with the JRC4558 chip does in front of my real amp. I tried a 50 watt Plexi, VH Jump type setting, and Fender Champ thing as well and was equally amazed. Now listen, I'm not saying I'm going to run out and buy this thing and sell my amps. And I haven't even ever tried the main competition, the Kemper. It has got me thinking however. What incredible tools to have at one's disposal. Perhaps I've come in at the right time as well, after the technology has had a decade and a half of maturation. So yeah, the title of the thread says it all. Exhilarating because of the thought of the possibilities. But also unsettling . . . because of the thought of the possibilities. I want technology to be transparent and invisible so I can be freed up to be creative. As an artist simplicity and self-imposed limitation are principles that have helped keep me focused. Getting bogged down in what I've heard referred to as "option paralysis" would not be good for me. I can see where it would require discipline if I owned something like this. I was reading on one forum where a guy wrote that he had 10,000 Kemper profiles downloaded, which seems completely insane to me. I'm reminded of a quote by Schopenhauer in which he says something to the affect that people buy books imagining that they're buying the time to read them all, when we all know that simply isn't the case.