Fractal Axe-Fx Amplification Thread

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by joemesser, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. joemesser

    joemesser Member

    Messages:
    1,669
    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Location:
    The Great NorthWet
    Hey everybody, I'd like to start a discussion specifically about how people are amplifying their Axe-Fx's. That Monster thread is too much!

    I'm on the Ultra waiting list, and I've been thinking about how to amplify the thing once it gets here. I'm leaning towards getting a QSC monitor, but I've also mulled over the tube power amp/guitar cab route. I'd love to hear from people who have done one, the other, and especially both routes. Hopefully some of you can compare/contrast the various approaches.

    I'm not looking to start a competition over the "best" way or anything, just would love to hear your experiences, good and bad, on both sides of the equation.

    THANKS!
     
  2. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,839
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    North Myrtle Beach, SC
    Well, I'm just about to put my standard in the emporium and I am beside myself in despair... that being said, I'm using it for direct recording to disk and also playing it through a SS power amp and a nice 2x12. I find with the power amp sims on and the cab sims off I can still hear the qualities of each amp type pretty clearly (vox vs. marshall vs. fender vs. etc...) I also LOVE the feeling and "presence" of 2 - 12" speakers pushing air. Yes, guitar speakers are no where near flat response, but there is a reason a great amp matched with a great cab/speaker has stood the test of time.
    BUT -- I still don't feel like I'm hearing the best the AxeFX has to offer. For me to really get the absolute best sonic experience from the unit I think I need FRFR. When I compare the AxeFX -> ss power amp -> 2x12 to my kick ass 1x12 tube amp (a very versatile one at that with both a Fender BF vibe AND a Voxy vibe AND a blend) the Axe can get very, very close (and that's with flat global EQ). But, something is missing in the mid range and the high end "brilliance". I firmly believe a nice FRFR setup would remedy that in a heartbeat.
    What's the +1 to the scenario above? Well, not only would I be able to mirror my current tube amp, I'd have TONS of other amp/cab options available AND amazing quality FX.
    Why am I thinking of selling then? Money. The AxeFX + ~$800 FRFR... or sell it and reclaim ~$1300. Sucks BIGTIME!
    --- EDIT: I think I just talked myself out of selling ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  3. joemesser

    joemesser Member

    Messages:
    1,669
    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Location:
    The Great NorthWet
    Thanks!

    I still don't get why you're selling...? Why not save up enough for the FRFR and then have a great classic analog tube rig AND a great digital new age thing too. That's my plan. Then you have many, many options. It seems a very cool way to get the wet/dry rig thing done, for instance.
     
  4. GreatGreen

    GreatGreen Member

    Messages:
    147
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    I'm planning on using a VHT poweramp with mine. Can't decide on a 2/50/2 with KT77's or a 2/90/2 though.

    Either way, I'm still a guitar player, and I'm not *totally* ready to abandon tubes just yet, so no FRFR for me right now.
     
  5. tonecrazy

    tonecrazy Supporting Member

    Messages:
    117
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    The FRFR is the way to go. You won't believe it untill you hear it / try it. Also there is some global eq that will need to be done. Took me about an hour to dial it in but when I did, I just could not get my jaw off the ground.
     
  6. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,857
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Michigan
    I started with a Randall RT2 power amp and my cabs (Tone Tools 112, 212 and an old Carvin 412). No one on earth could have convinced me that any FRFR setup could match that.

    Ran into a situation where I had to do some gigs, big gigs, with IEM's only. No onstage amps or offstage amps. Worked with the box to find those tones; was frustrating at first because there is so much to learn and understand. Was using my Mackie 624 studio monitors. After 2 weeks of exclusive work with the direct presets, I did the gig. The tone was killer; the reference CD I heard of the show was some of the best tones I'd ever heard from any of my rigs.

    Explored FRFR options to see how far I could go with it and started with the JBL PRX series. It was impressively loud, brutally so. But at volume over longer gigs, it was killing my ears. Very prominent upper mids that just fatigued my hearing.

    Took a flyer on the QSC HPR122i and was floored by what I was hearing. Did direct A/B against the JBL and some Carvin powered monitors that someone wanted me to demo for them. The QSC really nailed it and I went exclusively FRFR. I've done 60+ shows now running direct to FOH with either IEM"s or the QSC and could not be more pleased. I've worked with other players using Marshall 100 watt amps into Marshall 412's, Mesa IIC+ (I think that's the model), Matchless SC30 and Fender Twins and Deluxes. The Axe-FX rig with the QSC can hang with any of them.

    I will not 'go back' except for fun. This is how I roll now, no regrets and not missing a thing.

    My opinions and experiences, YMMV.
     
  7. Audioholic

    Audioholic Member

    Messages:
    2,526
    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Location:
    NC
    Tried with a power amp and also direct with QSC montitors. Depending on your style, I still think an amp and guitar speakers are the way to go. FRFR was great for somethings, and easy to get a good tone to the foh, but it fell short on some tones, such as heavy riffage, sounded fake, and QSC's are very heavy.

    Easier and probally cheaper to get a stereo 2x12 guitar cab, to run in stereo.


    either way you will have to eq and set up your patches. If I were to dedicate my rig to the axe, I would probally go SS, lighter and cheaper, and I don't often get to push my tube power amp enough to really get the benifits of a tube power amp.

    I keep my axe in my studio rack though for direct recording, my live rig still is dedicated to randall MTS and egnater mods
     
  8. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,280
    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    While power tube distortion is desirable when plugging directly into a guitar amp I'm not sure it would be when used with the Axe FX.

    I use the effects return from my Rivera Knucklehead Reverb 100 (6L6s) and go into a 4x12 with two EV SROs and 2 V30s. It sounds great.

    The difference that I heard between the Rivera and SS amps was body. It just sounded fuller and more solid through the tubes.

    I have little doubt that going FRFR with the right system is the way to go in order to get the most out of the AXE FX, but for now I'm using what I have.
     
  9. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

    Messages:
    18,699
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Malibu
    My 2 cents...
    I got it in my set up with a few different routing options.
    The easiest is the Axe into a VHT power amp. Got my presets tweaked for power amp as well as going di into FOH.
    I'm starting to use IEMs this week, so for me the idea of dragging around QSCs is of no big interest. Since I already have to deal with my monitors I rather have a guitar cab.
    I understand why folks dig it seeing that I get DI tones that kill. But for some stuff i like to rely on a specific speaker/mic combination.
     
  10. jzgtrguy

    jzgtrguy Member

    Messages:
    6,087
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    I'm using a QSC HPR122i and it is the best rig I've ever owned. Simple to use works great at any volume though a little heavy.

    Rumor has it he is coming out with a FRFR combo. I needed an amp when I got my Ultra but a light weight FRFR combo would be way cool.

    He should have his MIDI Controller pedal out soon too.
     
  11. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,839
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    North Myrtle Beach, SC
    --- EDIT: I think I just talked myself out of selling ;)

    For me in my situation, I can't justify having a fairly expensive tube amp and the AxeFX as well. I'll probably sell the tube amp (after some more time with it trying to "clone" it). I'm not sure about wet/dry rig setups but you might be able to pull that off completely within the AxeFX - you know you can run dual amp setups, right? (ie. 2 signal paths, say a Boogie-esque amp on one side and a Vox-esque on the other).
     
  12. guitarmook

    guitarmook Member

    Messages:
    2,317
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Location:
    Austin, TX y'all
    I've been gigging pretty regularly, just going direct to the PA, and putting some guitar in the monitor wedge. No amp/cabinet, or even FRFR for me. It took a 'little' getting used-to, but maybe a show or two at most.

    In the studio, it's set-up in the control room, direct to the board, and through the monitors.
     
  13. Blueser

    Blueser Member

    Messages:
    6,677
    Joined:
    May 21, 2002
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    For me, the Axe-FX is a great unit, and it is complementary to my current tube gear and pedal board, and not a complete replacement (although it could be if I wanted it to).

    I use my Axe-FX in a number of ways.....

    -Out to a Carvin DCM150 SS power amp in stereo, and out to two Tone Tubby 2x12 speaker cabinets.

    -Out to a pair of QSC HPR122i's in stereo through my board in my home studio. These monitors also serve as my PA for when I host jams, and provide amplification for vocals, keys and bass as well as guitar through the Axe-FX.

    -As the wet side of a W/D rig. I use a Hot Plate's line out (no attenuation) from either my Komet 60 or Carr Imperial into the Axe-FX, and into the Carvin DCM150 then out to a Tone Tubby 2x12 cabinet (or two). The amp side is dry, out to a 1x12 TT cabinet (or one of the TT 2x12 cabinets if I don't run the wet side in stereo).

    Of all of these configs, I prefer the first one if I am just using the Axe-FX for my amp sounds and effects, as I think the unit sounds incredible into a power amp and out to a guitar cabinet. I have not been able to capture that same magic out of the FRFR setup, but I also haven't had it as long as some of the other Axe-FX users here.

    I use the second config if I am hosting a jam, and we are doing covers of tunes and not just Blues improv, as it is easy to dial up very convincing OD and distortion tones that sound authentic to the amps that the originals played.

    I used the third configuration most. Yes....Tubes still rule the roost for me at this point. The main reason, is that I have not been able to get clean tones out of the Axe-FX that compete with either the Komet or Imperial clean tones. I use OD/distortion pedals (mostly Klon, Ethos, BB Preamp, Direct Drive) into either of those amps which then feeds both the wet/dry sides of the configuration that I detailed above. I get all of my time and modulation based effects from the Axe-FX when running the W/D rig. By far, the best quality effects I have heard anywhere. I do not care for the drive effects from the Axe-FX, but I love all of the other stuff. The only other analog effect that I use is a wah pedal in front of my OD pedals. All the rest of the effects come from the Axe-FX.

    I have identical presets for tones I want that are tweaked for each of the configs I use (power amp/guitar cab rig, or the FRFR rig) because I use different options such as power amp and cab simulation for some, but not others. I am waiting on the MIDI controller so that I can change the effects in and out of the chain, much like my pedalboard for OD and wah tones.

    For me it doesn't have to be one or the other. I think there is a lot of flexibility in the setup I have, and I love all of the gear for what it does best. It's also nice to know that I can just grab my 4U rack loaded with my Axe-FX, Carvin DCM150, and Furman power conditioner, along with a 1x12 TT speaker cabinet (loaded with an EVM 12L) and have a nice grab and go setup if need be without taking all of the amps/cabs and pedals, and still have a blast playing along with great tone.

    I know this is long winded, but I have never been happier with my tone or setup! I am truly inspired to play more!

    Enjoy,
    B
     
  14. Unabender

    Unabender Member

    Messages:
    686
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    Finland, Kuopio
    Hmmm... AXE-FX is a basically an effects unit, right? I mean, it does not have a power amp?

    Why are you posting to the amp forum?

    And why is it "Axe-Fx Amplification Thread" since it's not actually amplification?

    Yeah, I'm a little drunk.
     
  15. dayn

    dayn Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,803
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
  16. MrJacko03

    MrJacko03 Member

    Messages:
    466
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    I tried mine with Marshall 8008 and Engl 840/50. The Engl was superior to the Marshall in every aspect.....
     
  17. Blueser

    Blueser Member

    Messages:
    6,677
    Joined:
    May 21, 2002
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Uhhh....Perhaps you should sober up a bit and do some homework on the topic. If you read the original post, the requestor is looking for options for amplifying the Axe-Fx, and since it also has amplification modeling as a feature, it absolutely appropriate to discuss in the amp forum.

    :stir
     
  18. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

    Messages:
    36,857
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Michigan
    Friends don't let friends post drunk.

    Hand over your keyboard. :jo
     
  19. joemesser

    joemesser Member

    Messages:
    1,669
    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Location:
    The Great NorthWet
    Awesome you guys, thanks a TON for all the in depth info. Much appreciated, that helped a lot!!! Well, I'm leaning back towards the tube power amp>guitar cab route, which was my original inclination. Then I can instantly run in stereo out to my 2 guitar cabs. I'm not doing any gigs right now so the PA thing is not part what I'm dealing with at this time. I can get some FRFR action goin' on down the road if needed. Like Blueser, I'm not looking to either/or, but to have a wide palette. Between my pedal/tube rig and the AXE, I should be pretty satisfied methinks.

    BTW, the ULTRA waiting list is down to 10 days. Just so's you knows.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2008
  20. joemesser

    joemesser Member

    Messages:
    1,669
    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Location:
    The Great NorthWet
    I hear you bro...... I don't know if I could justify having both.....but I'm going to anyway!!! :dude
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2008

Share This Page