Atomic AmpliFIRE: Round 2, this time with feeling

So, I bought the Atomic AmpliFIRE right when it came out last year. I was underwhelmed; not because I thought it sounded awful, but because I felt it didn’t sound any better than much cheaper alternatives. So, as I often do, I returned it. Then, I heard clip after clip that was just the AmpliFIRE that sounded amazing. I wondered if I had made a mistake, and been too hasty in my returning it.

Then firmware 2.2 came out, and it sounded even better. Then I come to realize that the headphones I bought specifically for the AmpliFIRE were in fact, utter crap (despite their good reputation), and that I did something foolish when I had bought it: I auditioned a piece of audio gear through just one means of amplification. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

So, with word of firmware 3.0 coming out soon, and including my personal holy grail of guitar tone (a MESA/Boogie Mark IV model), I decided to get on the waiting list, and pull the trigger on a second one. This time, you see, I wouldn’t use the damn headphones I did before. I’d use my trusty Audio-Technica ATH-M50x’s.

I was not disappointed. The models that had been there from the start were good; nothing really changed there, except they sounded FAR better with better cans. But the Mark IV model is what really pushed me over the edge, as did the (new for firmware 2) Friedman BE and HBE models. The latter is just the sound of hair metal. I friggin’ love it!

I am already keeping it this go around, based strictly on how good it sounds through the AT cans. However, as I learned, I should try it out through more amplification means. So I’ll be trying it through a solid state power amp, into monitors, a powered PA speaker, as well as the return of my tube amps.

Hats off to Atomic for making such a fantastic, reasonably priced modeler that truly hangs with the big guys when it comes to sound quality.

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