ISP Technologies THETA PRO DSP

  • I don't know.
    Honestly, I see people complain that it won't load IRs...who cares, if it sounds like this direct I wouldn't feel the need for IRs. Rather, it looks like the routing is fixed, and in general the interface is like 30 years old. I was eyeing an Helix as a complementary controller/multieffect for the KPA for the exact reason, that is, the amazing interface...now I don't know. What we heard so far about the Helix doesn't sound even close, if you ask me.

  • It's hard to say something about new gear, if you haven't played it by yourself.


    On the video I like the distorted sounds, but the clean sounds are not my taste at all. Very "Hi-Fi" with a lot of compression and effects, the clean sounds are very "Rockmanish". I prefer the warm clean tone of old Fender and Vox-amps.

  • Sounds great but seriously... I hate demos where the voice is remarkably low in volume and the guitar sounds immensely loud by comparison and I have to constantly adjust the volume so a.) I can hear what he's talking about and b.) the loud guitar won't blow my ears away.
    I mean, c'mon!!! Do a proper demo!!

  • On the ISP website we can read:


    ''THETA PRO™ the ultimate DSP processor with the tone and sound quality surpassing any digital guitar processer available.''


    Well, considering the existence of the Kemper and the Axe FX, the less we can say is that they are very confident in their product!

  • It could be just me, but the sounds in that video don't make me want to have it, really. I think it sounds like a VST plugin and it sounds 80's, but that could be the guy playing. Not my cup of tea at all.


    I agree it sounds SO 80s, I am definitely not gonna question that it's not your cup of tea, but saying that it sounds like a VST...well, by all means, shows which VST because I'd get it in a heartbeat.


    On the ISP website we can read:


    ''THETA PRO™ the ultimate DSP processor with the tone and sound quality surpassing any digital guitar processer available.''


    Well, considering the existence of the Kemper and the Axe FX, the less we can say is that they are very confident in their product!


    Bold statements indeed, and also not very substantiated with arguments, but I give him that the direct sound is impressive. I never got something like that from my Kemper, which I love through real cabinet, but just does not do for me direct. It might be just the cab emulation then, but still I think it slays.


    I've known the owner of ISP for 30+ yrs. He told me about this new processor about 2 months ago. I'm hoping to stop by his offices and give this a try on my next day off. I'll report my feelings on it compared to KPA as soon as I can.


    Please do let us know! There is some "physical" quality to this clip with respect to most clips I hear, that just makes me feel like I have the freaking cab next to me :D

  • I honestly think that purely sound-wise, Native's Guitar Rig can rival almost anything on the market; even the Kemper. It doesn't feel as genuine, which is why my Kemper is still on my desk and why it'll probably stay here for a long time to come, but in a recording and with a skilled hand (which I don't consider to be myself, btw), I don't think Guitar Rig would do worse than an Axe FX or a Kemper.


    Now on the other hand, I don't feel like purely based on what you hear, you'd believe it's an amplifier. Of course I can't do a blindfold test, because it's already spoiled, but it just sounds digital to me in a way the Kemper (and in a lesser degree the Axe FX) doesn't. I don't think I'd think it was an actual amp in a blindfold test, which is something I look for in a good modeller.

  • I honestly think that purely sound-wise, Native's Guitar Rig can rival almost anything on the market; even the Kemper. It doesn't feel as genuine, which is why my Kemper is still on my desk and why it'll probably stay here for a long time to come, but in a recording and with a skilled hand (which I don't consider to be myself, btw), I don't think Guitar Rig would do worse than an Axe FX or a Kemper.


    Well, right, those are (some more, some less) powerful tools but it's really the hand that uses them, that makes the difference. But if we abstract away from that, I think a guy with a minimum of experience in tweaking this things has better chances of getting a better tone from a KPA than from Guitar Rig. I just find that the KPA has wider sweet spots than other digital solutions.



    Now on the other hand, I don't feel like purely based on what you hear, you'd believe it's an amplifier. Of course I can't do a blindfold test, because it's already spoiled, but it just sounds digital to me in a way the Kemper (and in a lesser degree the Axe FX) doesn't. I don't think I'd think it was an actual amp in a blindfold test, which is something I look for in a good modeller.


    I think you're drawn to say that "that sounds fake" by the amount of polishing in the presets he's showing. Pure 80s style, indeed :D but listen rather to the less polished parts: e.g., rhythm at 2:12, listen to the low end, DAT PUNCH, it is fantastic if you ask me. Or at 5:15, the "jazzy but not too much" cleans, those are warm, thick, and yet super intelligible and not the least bit mushy or dull.

  • The hand surely matters. However, it's always your ear that defines how good your tone really is. This thing could be fantastic with hands-on experience, but this video just doesn't do it for me. It's not like the Kemper video's I saw the first that made me believe I could actually get rid of an amplifier and my entire pedalboard and still be satisfied.


    The rhythm sound on 2:12 is quite nice, not my style of tone, but it does the thing well. The 5:15 cleans could be reproduced with any modeller, I think. It's the stereo imaging that does a lot for that tone as well. :P


    But hey, to each its own. This thing probably won't be for me, but then again, Fender guitars aren't my thing either. It's good that there are options out there and that you have the choice. It's not the 50's anymore, luckily for us.

  • We came to discussing the Theta Pro DSP in the Axe8 thread, so rather than hijack that, and to give some spotlight to this great unit, I'll continue here.


    I agree the sounds in that Ethan Brosh video are so eighties, and I love it for that. I must have listened to that demo 20 times now. I really don't feel I need it or want the clutter, but I may end up buying one next time there's a 20% sale (like every 6 weeks, hah).


    Since it came up it's only a preamp with FX and cab sim, I was wondering what they have it connected to. Someone from the company responds in the comments:


    Hi Gino, thanks for your comment! This is Buck from ISP Technologies and you are correct, we recorded this from the output of a mixer to a CD recorder and then synchronized the CD audio track with the video. The THETA PRO was connected from the direct outputs (XLR) of the THETA PRO to microphone XLR inputs on the mixer so this is what our direct outputs with our speaker sims sound like..

  • On the topic of this product being undermarketed, and being up against some unusually fierce competition, I think one way this unit could still do well is by having large banks of really superb sounding presets, by genre, to appeal to guys who want just great sound right out of the box. Like someone else said recently on this forum, there should be a full-time job called "preset creator" because it's almost the norm that these units ship with bad presets. It's like they put so much time in the technology, that by the time they get that finished, they're exhausted and just want to ship it out the door ASAP. Now the field is getting pretty flat in terms of technology, but there will always be people who just want to scroll through presets, and just want 10-20 great sounds. ISP may have the 1980s covered already (and it's enough to interest me), but if they could pull this off for a couple other genres/eras, it may still do well in a sleeper kind of way.

  • I agree, GASbag.


    I haven't watched that video in a while (I too watched it plenty of times), but I seem to remember Ethan's mentioning that he'd travelled to the factory in order to create custom / factory presets for the unit. As he scrolled through presets, he kept saying things like, "this one I've been working on", and "this one still needs a little work".


    I can't help but wonder what the factories sound like, if indeed what we heard on the video were Ethan's presets (in progress) only...