My Fractal Axe-FX III + FC6 Thread

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Jarick, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    I bought them used, so no worries. Fractal stuff is double boxed so everything looks great on the inside.

    Mine is arriving today and I definitely need to buy a short XLR cable. I got rid of my mic cables last year in a purge.

    FC12 for me is overkill, and if I can recoup a few hundred that would help. I kind of overspent to get this and need to pay it off quickly because my wife and I are doing the Dave Ramsey thing. I got a nice deal on a used FC6 that should arrive today.

    Thanks Leon! Remember the comment on your kitchen sink video a couple weeks ago about selling my Kemper to fund the III? Yep that was me and yep it pushed me over the edge!

    I've been watching your FC6 video to see what it can do and am excited to dive into it.

    I figured it out...I had reset the settings, patches, and cabs from the unit as I was setting it up. The patches were still in the memory of the device but weren't showing up in Axe Edit. When I rebooted the device, the factory patches were gone. So I downloaded and reinstalled them from the Fractal site, rebooted and refreshed, and now everything's working (I hope).

    The cab block is essentially an IR mixer, which is a little different from just an IR loader.

    In the old Fractal units, the factory cabs were a collection of IR's. Most of them were blended or mixed to suit Cliff's tastes. And you could run a stereo cab and pan both to center to have a mixed IR, but if you raised or lowered the level of one or the other, the overall volume would raise or lower. This makes extra work when trying to blend two IR's.

    In the new unit, you can have up to four IR's, and when you raise or lower the volume of any of them, it normalizes the overall volume. This is AWESOME, because it helps to quickly make adjustments. If I blend a 57 and a 121 and it's too bright, I just lower the 57 volume a bit and my overall patch volume doesn't change but it gets thicker.

    Helix kind of can do this with the panning feature, but it's going to be twice as loud in the middle vs either of the sides. That's why I don't really like that workflow and why I wish Helix would have a true IR mixer (I've written about this before) with panning capabilities.

    The other thing that's different is that the new factory cabs are typically a collection of mics for a certain cab that you can blend yourself rather than pre-mixed. There's no distance parameter but the impulses themselves are (IMO) much better sounding than the Helix factory versions. I'd rather have a few well-placed mics that I can blend myself vs having 20 mediocre sounding mics or 50 different mixes of the same cab.

    And that's something I am looking forward to with the Axe 3 vs other devices...I can blend up to four mics together, so I can have a 57 and a 121 and a little room mic (maybe even stereo room mics?). In the old world I would load Ownhammer impulses which were pre-mixed (OH1, OH1F, OH1-M+, etc) and then scroll through hoping I find the right blend. Now, I can mix the few mics until it sounds ideal, keeping fewer on the device.
     
  2. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    FC6 arrived today but I'm waiting on an XLR cable before I can hook them up.

    Got another hour or two in today. I hooked my Mackie Onyx Blackjack interface back up because the Axe didn't work like I hoped as an audio interface. The levels coming in from the Mac were low compared to the Axe, I didn't have a mix control, didn't have a separate headphone control, didn't have a monitor level control, and that meant my monitors were popping when turning the Axe on and off. Too much hassle, so back to the Mackie for now.

    I spent a bit of time loading a few (maybe a dozen) impulses and comparing a bit against the factory ones. They all sounded pretty good. Then I decided to try a couple different factory impulses and found an awesome combo of two slightly different cabs, one with a 57 and the other with a 121, both vintage Greenback Marshalls. The tonality filled out a bit and it was just great so no more messing around.

    That's kind of what I'm finding very early on...the sound is so good you don't feel the need to keep tweaking so you just move on and play. I experienced this when I moved from Helix to AX8, to a degree when I got the Kemper (with the right profiles), and now early on with the Axe 3. The better it sounds out of the gate, the less you seem to get pulled down the rabbit hole of tweaking.

    After that I decided to jam along to some Alice in Chains. The Friedman HBE 2018 model I used sounded pretty good, but I added a boost in the amp block to kick the mids a bit and mellow the presence a little so it sounded and felt awesome. Then I decided to sit down and learn the solo properly, which was fun. Spent more time on that than tweaking which is always a good sign.

    Tomorrow I've got meetings for eight hours at work then going to see the Gin Blossoms, so likely no playing until Thursday.
     
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  3. fretworn

    fretworn Member

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    Congrats man! Welcome to the club. Club Jacket and rockers on their way.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
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  4. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Member

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    Yeah, I've come to the conclusion that combination musical instrument/audio interface systems are of very little use except for reamping and for the seriously budget constricted.

    The musical instrument is rightfully designed to be useful as an instrument, so interface controls are never going to be sufficiently accessible -- and if they are, then I'll be complaining that the musical instrument is too cluttered and annoyng to work with as an instrument...goldilocks syndrome.
     
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  5. cliffc8488

    cliffc8488 Member

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    The distance of each IR is adjustable on the Align page. There's a graph that shows each active IR on a time axis.
     
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  6. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    You are correct! I was going off memory from the AX8. There's actually a lot more stuff going on in the Axe III including room settings, air, all kinds of stuff.

    You've done a killer job with this unit! It's a beast to unpack but I'm really enjoying it so far.

    The channels are incredibly useful, even if just for "what if..." A/B testing of something else.

    The meters are great too! I can actually see what's happening, not just for inputs and outputs, but compression gain reduction is really useful.
     
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  7. WBellman

    WBellman Supporting Member

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    All the time we were chatting back and forth during your Kemper 'phase', and I never even picked up on the fact that you are a seriously sick individual. Base on what I know of you, I'll assume you're fully aware of this fact. :)

    Did he have to turn in his jacket the first 2 times he 'left' the Fractal club? :D
     
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  8. yeky83

    yeky83 Member

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    Does this help?
    https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/low-or-no-usb-computer-input.145133/
     
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  9. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    Lol this is like my college “experimentation” phase!

    I wanted the Axe 3 originally but decided to try the Kemper in between because I wanted to try everything else. There’s lot of good and it’s awesome that it’s still a top end solution 8 years after release.

    Ultimately it came down to control over the tonality. Profiles include cab sim and there’s limited ability to adjusted after the fact. I found that I tended to like a shared tonality across profiles which would normally be the same impulse in a modeler. I struggled to get the right gain structure and feel with the right tonality. So I wanted to get back to a modeler vs profiler.
     
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  10. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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  11. mistermikev

    mistermikev Member

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    I heard there would be jackets? got mine this last monday evening... in the last 48 hours I have played guitar pretty much non-stop while not at work. inspiring to say the least. there are things I like and things that are 'ah, ok'. overall I'm floored by how great it is in so many different areas. the headroom/fidelity is on another level... so much so that I'm now about to embark on a noise elimination exercise. long story short... thrilled and just wanted to share.
     
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  12. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    Isn't that a weird sensation? I've had pretty much every modeler and I definitely feel like the headroom is higher than others. It also seems bright overall, maybe that's the fidelity. That's easy enough to control though and may just be an adjustment.
     
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  13. mistermikev

    mistermikev Member

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    I've had several myself. sm experience w the highs. my guess is the axe handles a very wide freq range by compare because (on certain presets) I'm hearing some lows I've not heard before too. Not tossing out all my tube amps... but I can def see why some folks do!
     
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  14. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    I'm finding, at least early on, I have to do less "cleaning" or "fixing" of the tone via EQ and IR. I think it's related.
     
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  15. bigfoamfinger

    bigfoamfinger Supporting Member

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    FC6 vs FC12 (my personal context):

    I started with the FC6 and really liked it. When I play with my band I use Scenes exclusively. Being the singer, I can't be tap dancing around to hit pedals. I have time for 1 stomp, which makes Scenes so useful to me. I only use 3-5 Scenes per song and I thought the 6 buttons of the FC6 would be plenty, and by all accounts it probably is.

    The reason I decided to sell the FC6 and keep the FC12 wasn't related to my band needs at all, but rather a desire to mimic a traditional pedal board when jamming/writing/ etc. I wanted to recreate what it was like when I had a huge analog board, so when I am writing I have access to a huge variety of effects (and a looper) for immediate access. Helps keep the creativity flowing. I know I probably could have used Hold functions on the FC6, but what the hell, having 12 switches is more fun.
     
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  16. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    XLR cable came in yesterday. Hoping to test out the footswitches tonight.
     
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  17. WBellman

    WBellman Supporting Member

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    More buttons/knobs/switches is more fun indeed!

    Let me guess, you're a fan of Boogies?
     
  18. metropolis_4

    metropolis_4 Member

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    I've noticed that too. I'm finding myself doing really minimal tweaking so far. I've had several occasions where I end up with all the amp controls straight up at 5.0 and don't need to touch a thing!


    For me, I'm not finding the brightness. If anything, I'm finding it to be slightly darker, but not in a muddy way. In a very good and detailed way. I'm gonna hate myself for saying this... but it sounds warmer to me and deeper/more 3D than most other digital processors I've used.

    Please forgive me for using those terms... :hide
     
  19. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    I typically like to have 3-4 scenes that I can access at any time from the switches, maybe a boost/lead toggle switch, access to the looper, and a tap tempo/tuner switch.

    So right now I'm kind of thinking:

    (bottom row L to R)
    1: Tap = clean / Hold = clean + chorus
    2: Tap = crunch / Hold = crunch + fuzz?
    3: Tap = high gain / Hold = high gain + detune

    (top row L to R)
    1: Tap = lead boost
    2: Tap = access tuner page (still have to figure this out)
    3: Tap = tempo / Hold = tuner
     
  20. mistermikev

    mistermikev Member

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    hehe, I hear you there. Last night I was up late... building presets... I've found that it helps me a lot to get familiar with a device to go thru and setup a simple preset for every amp with the year and actual amp name, and organize them by brand. then I can play thru and see what the raw amp sounds like - unaltered. Altho I have had to adjust the level on 1 of 20 so far... I was surprised at how great these presets are turning out. Just input... amp... reverb (gotta have reverb!)... cabinet... out. Not 'masterpieces' or anything... but i'm getting a feel for my favorites while learning the ins and outs of axe fx, while having a lot of fun! Today I'm researching what was the first year for a number of the models that don't list a year... then researching what cabinet/speaker they used. as such, learning about some less common amps and some interesting sotries (hello carmeron atomica!)
    I'm gonna get my money's worth in the first month of owning this thing!
     
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