Sorry to revive an old post. I may eat my own words yet. I've been experimenting with the 4CM - four cable method and using my blues deluxe as the power and pre map and using the Ultra as a tone shaper - and I'm still using some cab and map sims in places.
I did a buch of A/B ing and have concluded in my own mind that the Ultra is just too compressed for my style of playing through a FRFR monitor....and I have a K12. Did a rehearsal in the city with that K12 yesterday and reminded myself how pure digital just sin't cutting it. I'm finding the notes are just note "blooming" like they should - and although its like splitting hairs - that's the rub with the Fractal. Digital just sounds a bit to compressed for me in the band context. The more I play the more picky I'm getting!
But I have to say, that el cheapo Blues Deluxe sure sounds great with the Ultra out in front pushing it. Nothing like the sizzle of L6L's to inspire your playing.
I've been doing a lot of recording lately and also reminded myself that there is nothing wrong with putting a mic in front of your amp. I've been getting better recordings that way than direct with the Ultra to my recorder.
Does the SMS have an effects loop? That would be the natural upgrade from the Blues Deluxe. Unfortunately, my newest amp, a 73 Vibrolux is totally old school and just doesn't bond with the Ultra, but for shows over 2 hours I think I will go with two amps - the Vibrolux as the main and a Ultra/ Blues Deluxe setup for certain signature patches. I carry the Blues Deluxe with me to every show anyways as a back up. Might as well use it!
I think the ultimate setup would be an SMS being pushed by the fractal with a really good power amp into a 2x12 HT cab for amp A and my Vibrolux as amp B with a 1x12 matching cab sitting on top of the 2x12 cab.
So there you have it. using the Ultra FX but mic'ing it. Who would have ever thought.