What do you "tweak" on your Axe Fx?

RayRay

Member
Messages
2,505
I'm reluctant to post this because all threads seem to be going to **** lately.

I've had my Ultra for three months. I can honestly say I do very little advanced tweaking. The tones out of the box are killer! On an amp block, I've dialed in volume, gain, bass, mids, treble. That's it. On a cab block, I tried a couple of 4x12s and a couple of different mics.

That's about it, other than adding effects and adjusting those to taste. Really, it's no more tweaking than I'd do on a analog effects/ tube amp situation.

Some people think the Axe requires so much tweaking, but I've found that to be the exact opposite. It's cool that I *can* but I just don't need to.

And for the record, I'm using the the front of the Axe more than I'm using the editor these days.

So.... what are you tweaking on your Axe Fx?
 

jdolll

Member
Messages
1,082
I don't do a ton of deep tweaking but some of the poweramp eq options, bias, etc, can be very useful in shaping the sound, I've also found placing a peq between your amp and cab book to be very useful. Also the multiband compressor is very useful for mimicking speaker compression that the stock cabs and redwirez IR's don't get fully to my liking. I've spent about as much time using IR mix for the redwirez cabs as I have actually tweaking the amp. It doesn't take long to tweak after figuring out what exactly all the deep editing knobs did and how they interact. But honestly if you're happy with the sounds your getting now I wouldn't start second guessing yourself just cause others do the 'advanced tweaking.' try it out but if it doesn't make much improvement for you I'd say don't worry about it, a lot can be accomplished trough the deep editing but it kills the fun for some.
 
Messages
7,905
I've never used the editor to create a single patch in over 2.5 years if owning my axe-fx.

As for "tweaking" - it's pretty much non-existent for me. With a little understanding of how the real-life amps should be set up, I just start from there and initially have all tone knobs at noon. I can have a really good sounding dry patch set up in less than 3 minutes.

Occasionally I will use the low cut setting in the advanced tab to tune out some low end if the bass control on the amp block isn't getting what I want.

Since day one I realized that cabs were the biggest tone-shaping option for me and didn't even mess with the patch eq at the end of the channel. I just spun the dial until I landed on a good combination that spoke to me. Over time I settled on a handful of solid cabs that pair well with the amps I use and these are the ones I dial up right away now.

With effects I have favorites that run throughout all my patches. I love delay and trem and use the pitch shift effect as a pseudo chorus effect a la Dann Huff. These I just import from other patches that already have them.
 

Scott Peterson

TGP Co-Founder and Administrator
Staff member
Messages
37,798
I know what I want before I start. I don't sit and try to figure out by trial and error, unless I am just having fun exploring. I don't think that was your question in the OP.

I decided early on that I would approach my presets like a specific rig template. My routing was the first thing I considered. I use certain effects and like them in specific places. I use them tweaked for different amp tones, so took that as my main variance. Before I set up an amp tone, I bypass everything - reverb included.

With every effect bypassed, I choose the amp and cab. Drop them in the template and first set up the cab. I know what speakers I like and what mic's I prefer on them. I dial it and then move to the amp block.

Each amp works differently, just like real life. I need to understand the relationship between the master volume and the preamp drive before I start. I ball park them (Master volume appropriate, then bring up drive to taste). EQ appropriately to the amp - ie. you don't approach a Marshall JCM800 like you would a Vox AC-30TB. Set to taste.

Done.

Now choose one effect at a time and dial it appropriate to the amp tone I am after.

I average about 3 minutes per amp I approach in the Axe-FX working this way. I have a basic starting point for most effects and simply dial a few parameters appropriate to the given amp tone.

Counter to the ill advised 'assumption' about the Axe-FX, I do not spend time at all 'tweaking'. I really spend about 5 minutes tops dialing the entire chain from soup to nuts and then rarely if ever touch it again. The only times I've totally redialed from scratch is when new firmware updates make it essential to do so.

I will at times just blow everything back to default and start from scratch (using the above method) and *poof* done in under 3-5 minutes.

There are amps I try to dial that I am not personally familiar with from experience in the analog realm. If I can find out beforehand the relationship of the master to the preamp drive and understand the basic EQ layout to that amp type (ie. Matchless, the presence control = the "Cut" on the amp) then I can dial up what I need in minutes.

One thing to note specific to my approach on the Axe-FX is that you can then dig in deeper to create new and more original hybrids of specific amps given the range and depth of controls if there is something I am seeking. I call that 'mad amp scientist' mode and I do it when it is needed or just for fun.

I know 'tweaking' is a bad word around here, but sometimes it's just fun. When you are not fighting to workaround something missing, or 'off' in your tones... it's just pushing the boundaries past what 'is' into what 'can' be.
 
Messages
1,685
Very little tweaking here. I approach much like a real amp speaker rig. Choose the right amp and cab for the job at hand. Dial in gain and EQ and we are off.
Any further EQ fine tuning gets done during rehersals with the band. The PEQ after the amp block is a must in my book. The Axe is the simplest gear i've ever had the pleasure to work with.
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,954
Hey Scott -

I'm writing to thank you for the thoughtful and useful response you've posted here. It's very useful, real world advice.

I bought an Axe-FX a couple years back. Scott was very helpful to me in pointing out how to find the Axe-Fx Wiki site, and in pointing out how pre-sets are constructed w/in the Axe-Fx.

Though I eventually decided to sell my Axe-Fx, I thought and still think it's an excellent tool. If I was doing more recording work I'd have kept it for sure, and I'll probably get an Ultra one day.

Scott's a huge help to me and other users who are less familiar w/ the Axe-Fx as to starting from pre-sets and tweaking them, or starting and building patches from scratch.

Thanks Scott, for your time and expertise.

Thanks, Dana O
 

GAD

Wubbalubbadubdub
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,802
Once you get the hang of the Axe-FX menu and/or Axe-Edit software, it's pretty easy to get what you want IMO, provided you have an idea of what you're looking for.

Say you want a TS808 into a JTM45 with a 2x12 cab. Cake. You can tweak what you would tweak with the real deal. Sure you can tweak a bunch of stuff you wouldn't normally be able to, but I rarely touch any of that stuff. Don't see the need.

Probably where I've spent the most time just dorking around is with cab sims. I've toyed with getting the Redwirez stuff just because there's such a big difference between the stock sims.

I play cover tunes. I'm usually trying to recreate a well known recorded tone. I usually research what was used on the album and build a chain (or alter an existing one) based on that. I can do it all from the front panel, but it's easier with axe-edit. Once I get it where I like it, I never touch it again.
 

Scott Peterson

TGP Co-Founder and Administrator
Staff member
Messages
37,798
Dana, thanks for those kind words. That was really nice of you to say. So many guys have helped me so much, honestly just trying to pay it forward.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I use Axe-Edit almost exclusively now to dial in stuff when I do dial in stuff; I'd say 9:1 ratio. It's just faster and easier to see everything on a few pages with a few clicks.
 

zentman

Member
Messages
1,497
Not much. I actually think as good as the models have gotten, you could remove most of that stuff and nobody would care.

Might make room for things we would like, like the Line 6 octo verb and what not.
 

felken

Member
Messages
850
I don't spend much time on the advanced parameters for the amps, I don't see much need generally.

I really like the ability to place an eq before the amp to cut lows and then place an eq between the amp and cab to bring the lows back up. This is really useful for driven fender tones and others which can get flubby in the bass otherwise.

The things that can eat up time for me if I let it are choosing cabs and mics, moreso since I have the redwirz cabs. I think as time goes forward I will become more familiar with them and they will take much less time.

On my list to master are controlling parameters via envelopes etc...
 

mtmartin71

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,240
I've got my system down. I use Redwirez with the SM57 off axis at about 2-3" depending on cab type...I can't remember if I've still got the R121 mixed in anymore. I think I got rid of it. On axis, the SM57 was a little too harsh for me as I like a warmer sound. Mostly I'm using 4x12s with some Vox cabs in there too. For bass heavy amps, I use a dynamic filter in front to help tighten excess bass content. On other amps where the low frequency is at or around 120hz , I don't use the dynamic filter in front of the amp. I like the dynamic filter because it clamps down only when needed so that I'm not always clamping the low frequency. I found that trick on the Wiki. The other thing I use is a PEQ after the cab to block excess highs and lows for going FRFR. I don't use either filter or PEQ if running to my atomic block and to a Marshall 1960AV. Other than that, I just dial up the amps. No advanced parameter tweaks for me.

And yes, Scott P has been a tremendous help to me on a number of items and I appreciate the time and effort he spends sharing some of his stuff. While I don't follow as close as I once did, he certainly saved me some time by reading a number of his posts.
 

Yek

Member
Messages
1,502
And yes, Scott P has been a tremendous help to me on a number of items and I appreciate the time and effort he spends sharing some of his stuff. While I don't follow as close as I once did, he certainly saved me some time by reading a number of his posts.

+100. I learned a lot from Scott!


Now light up the fireplace and put on Sinatra's "My way" because here are some memories...

When I bought the Axe-Fx in 2009, firmware was still at 8.x, IIRC. The Fractal forum was full of messages dealing with the advanced parameters etc. for the *best* tones.

And I had my share of frustration with the Axe.
One area was "Why is there so much treble and bass in my sound". I've learned to understand it. Although when I try put it into words, Jay Mitchell will chime it and correct me, he he. ;-) So let's say I just know how to deal with it.
And the other problem area was the "flubby" distorted bass notes. So I learned the importance of the Master Volume and Drive controls. The primary controls for getting a tone right IMHO.

In less than a year's time much has changed. It's not that the tones have become much better - they were already great - but it's become so much easier to get great results.

I stick to a couple of cabs (Red Wirez, could also just as well use stock ones) and one mic type (SM57 CapEdge 1). In the amp sims I only touch these controls: Master, Drive, 3-band EQ (these often stay at default), Bright switch, Presence, and Level. Plus occasionally the Low Cut parameter. That's it for "live" amp tones.

I'm keeping things simple. No PEQs. No dynamic filter. No Multiband Compressor. I stopped auditing loads of IRs (cabs). For basic amp tones I stick to one preferred routing / grid and a library of effects with my favorite settings.

I use the Global EQ to keep extreme highs and lows under control (I use FR monitoring). If I didn't, I'd have to adjust the amp sims, use a PEQ or use a darker cab sim.

I edit on the Axe itself, except for bulk adjustments. It'll take me more than Scott's 3-5 minutes but I get the results I want. Some amp sims are more difficult than others. The new Shiva? A breeze. Plexi or a good AC30? Takes some work.
 
Last edited:

Bakachan

Member
Messages
342
Or there are some people, like me, who can't stop themselves to try to turn this knob here to see what it can do... hey, looks nice, but it needs a little this maybe... oh no, some that... yeah better...

It's not that it needs to be tweaked, it's just the "what if..."
 

Jay Mitchell

Member
Messages
5,817
I got my Standard three years ago on firmware Rev. 3.18. I've made use of all of the advanced parameters at one time or another. I won't use the word "tweak," because in the TGP mindset that connotes endlessly messing around with things you don't understand. When I make a change to a parameter, advanced or basic, I have an idea of the change it will produce, and I know what I'm looking for when I make the change. My "tweaking" consumes far less time than my practicing.

All of the advanced parameters correspond to design variables that an amp designer should consider, and they all have predictable effects on the sound and feel of the amp block.

Here are some examples of the advanced parameters I use most frequently:

1. Damp (negative feedback) - this defaults to zero in the Class A and related sims. Increasing it from zero cleans up the sound at lower levels and sharpens the transition to power section overdrive. If you push it too far, you get a really nasty-sounding overdrive that occurs abruptly as you cross the threshold between linear and nonlinear operation.

2. Sag (power supply impedance) - think of it as clean compression. It affects feel as much as - perhaps more than - sound, and I use it primarily for that purpose.

3. Lo Cut frequency (input highpass) - I use this one in almost all of my presets, and I always increase it from the default value. This is the most effective way to get rid of farty bass while retaining the basic tonality of an amp sim. If the sound is too thin after cleaning up the bass, just select a cab sim with more bass. Simple and effective.

4. Tone stack parameters (type, center frequency, location) - incredibly powerful tone-shaping tools. For example, my go-to clean preset uses the Class A (Vox AC30) sim with a Plexi tone stack placed in the "post" position. If a sim sounds too muddy or low-middy, I just find the tone stack center frequency that lets me dial it out.

5. Lo and Hi Freq Resonance (power transformer configuration) - I use mostly the Hi to fine-tune the amount of "glassiness" in the sound.

I use other advanced parameters, but I find the above the most useful and effective in getting the amp sounds (and feels) I want. I would not have kept my Axe-Fx without those parameters.
 
Last edited:

mwc2112

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,716
I'm pretty much in the same camp as Scott. At first it took a bit of time, but after a fairly short duration, 3-5 mins tweaking amps models is about what it takes.

Lots of people say 'I don't want to tweak 30 parameters every time I want to set a tone'. Well... you don't have to, that's why they are called 'advanced' parameters (for fine tuning) and not 'required - turn these knobs or your tone sucks' parameters. Once you work on it for a while (and it doesn't take as long as people think to get to this point), you pretty much know what you are looking for and how to get it.

For example, and to (partially) answer the OP's question, I generally use Marshall-based sims (particularly the Plexis, Brown, and Marsha amps). For these I always know the master volume is cranked or maybe backed off a bit for the Marshas. The Sag is way up, damp up a bit, depth down, presence around noonish. The Bass is cut but the Mid and Treble are way up. Hi-cut around 7kHz, Low-cut around 100-120. Drive is really the only thing that is significantly changed. For these sims, I would be surprised if it took me more then a minute to set up.
 

JWDubois

Member
Messages
8,162
With any of my old modelers, tweaking was a dirty word, because for me it meant a fruitless waste of time trying to beat a square peg into a round hole. With the Axe, tweaking allows me to pretty much nail the sounds I'm looking for, or quickly make the day to day adjustments I have to make to compensate for my variable ears.

Once the amp, cab and mic are selected, I set the gain and master volume to set the basic response. Master volume is an incredibly powerful parameter on the Axe. The entire character of the amp can change with the MV setting.

I find I don't need to mess with sag and damp much, sometimes I add a little bass with deep.

In the advanced page, I sometimes mess with the warmth, thump, bright cap, low and high cut, tonestack center, HF resonance, and speaker res. All these tweaks are used either to tame/enhance the high/low end, or to slightly move the tonal center. I'm not talking about huge changes, but enough to get the model from "already good" to "just the way I want it".

Like others have said already, you have to know what you want in advance and know what controls to use to achieve it. I did need some experimentation to hear what some of the advanced parameters did, but now that I know what they do, it's easy to do the fine tuning I like.

Like any modeler, the Axe had a few stock models that don't really suit my playing style. With my old modelers, that was the end of the story, they were just unusable. With the Axe and a few tweaks, I can make any of them work. And a few of the ones I really hated at first have become some of my favorites after a few tweaks.

One thing I don't have to tweak is eq. I might just be lucky with my rig, but I don't need any eq other than the amp block tone controls. Using the right cab and mic are the real key to avoiding eq for me.

JWW
 

mtmartin71

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,240
+100. I learned a lot from Scott!


Now light up the fireplace and put on Sinatra's "My way" because here are some memories...

When I bought the Axe-Fx in 2009, firmware was still at 8.x, IIRC. The Fractal forum was full of messages dealing with the advanced parameters etc. for the *best* tones.

And I had my share of frustration with the Axe.
One area was "Why is there so much treble and bass in my sound". I've learned to understand it. Although when I try put it into words, Jay Mitchell will chime it and correct me, he he. ;-) So let's say I just know how to deal with it.
And the other problem area was the "flubby" distorted bass notes. So I learned the importance of the Master Volume and Drive controls. The primary controls for getting a tone right IMHO.

In less than a year's time much has changed. It's not that the tones have become much better - they were already great - but it's become so much easier to get great results.

I stick to a couple of cabs (Red Wirez, could also just as well use stock ones) and one mic type (SM57 CapEdge 1). In the amp sims I only touch these controls: Master, Drive, 3-band EQ (these often stay at default), Bright switch, Presence, and Level. Plus occasionally the Low Cut parameter. That's it for "live" amp tones.

I'm keeping things simple. No PEQs. No dynamic filter. No Multiband Compressor. I stopped auditing loads of IRs (cabs). For basic amp tones I stick to one preferred routing / grid and a library of effects with my favorite settings.

I use the Global EQ to keep extreme highs and lows under control (I use FR monitoring). If I didn't, I'd have to adjust the amp sims, use a PEQ or use a darker cab sim.

I edit on the Axe itself, except for bulk adjustments. It'll take me more than Scott's 3-5 minutes but I get the results I want. Some amp sims are more difficult than others. The new Shiva? A breeze. Plexi or a good AC30? Takes some work.

This is interesting on how you handle the extreme highs and lows of FRFR. Do you dial that graphic EQ in by ear then? Was this just a preference to keep the sim "whole" and focus more at the point of attack for your chosen amplification? The only thing for me is I do use the XLR outs for either FRFR or to my Atomic Mono Block which wouldn't need the EQ. I think I may have to stick with my method within my patches.
 

hippietim

Member
Messages
6,855
Jay - great post. That was the best explanation I've seen of those parameters and what to do with the results.

As for my own "tweaking", I'm eternally lazy when it comes to tweaking tones. My four core tones are unchanged from about 18 months ago when I was on 7.0 firmware. I upgraded to 9.0 a while ago and had to adjust a couple patches due to some level changes.

I know I can get better tones out of the Axe-FX than I'm currently using. In fact, I have. However, the ones I've got have been level balanced with the band, gig tested for blending into the mix and cutting through as appropriate, and used with a variety of guitars.

I'm planning on revamping my rig in the coming week or so to switch to the Fractal MFC pedalboard and move to the 10.0 firmware.

My approach to dialing in tones is exactly what I've always done with a traditional rig: plug the guitar straight in and adjust the amp settings until I get what I want. I never even place effects in the signal chain until I'm satisfied with the fundamental tone. When I'm dialing in amp tones I spend a lot of time going between amp and cab settings making very few changes at a time so I can understand the impact of each change as I go. Cab sims are definitely a huge part of dialing in a tone for me and I love that I don't have compromise on having a variety of cabinet choices like I would in a traditional rig - let's face it, no guitar cab is ideal for all flavors of clean, dirty, chunky, crunchy, etc.

My favorite advanced tweak on the Axe-FX has got to be changing the preamp section. Until you've tried it, there is no way to realize just how kick ass it is to have the ability to try a CAE 3+ SE preamp into a blackface power section. Features like this are what makes the Axe-FX unique and allows you to achieve tones that truly are your own. The Axe-FX removes a lot of limitations of traditional gear as well as other modelers.

Nothing bad can come of you experimenting with the options available to you. There really is no downside. The upside potential is huge. At the same time, you really don't have to do anything particularly fancy at all to dial in fantastic tones using basic settings.
 




Trending Topics

Top Bottom