what tone is the AXE best suited for?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by mentoneman, Dec 26, 2009.


  1. mentoneman

    mentoneman Guest

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    i can get a bunch of tones out of it but i haven't found one tone it does better than some great amps i've owned.

    have any axe owners here found that they were able to not only get close to their favorite amp(s) tone and feel, but actually improve on it?
     
  2. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    IMHO, YMMV. Yes, I have.

    I posted this on another thread on another board about using parametric EQ (PEQ) on your cab inside the Axe-FX:

    I'd also add that what you are discussing 'missing' is simply some PEQ after your cab or some custom IR more to your taste.

    As a matter of philosophy, see the Axe-FX as a toolbox and not as a 'amp modeler' to get your mindset right. That marketing speak has folks pulling their hair out trying to replicate analog rigs using the same exact settings, etc.. The Axe-FX is a different beast; it has a massive array of tools to use to shape your tones and it is not 'wrong' or complicated to simply drop a PEQ in after your cab and modify it to taste. Try it in your DAW; just take your recorded tone and use a PEQ in your DAW to shape it to your preferences and goals; then drop inside your Axe-FX and replicate that curve with the PEQ in there after the cab. You'll be amazed. It's almost like chiseling out the perfect tone 'sculpture' with chisels instead of just using hammers.

    Trying to help.
     
  3. claudel

    claudel Member

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    What Scott said...


    The Axe-FX lets me get the tones of the voices in my head if I have the skill and patience to dial them in, at a volume level that won't knock small birds out of the sky.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  4. mentoneman

    mentoneman Guest

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    i appreciate your POV

    i have one general re-occuring problem with my axe and that is when i program at home, i am really pleased with the results, and then when i take it out live, primarily the top end comes across as thin and harsher than the tone at home.
    what i do at home is:

    left side= mackie studio monitor
    right side = tech 21 power engine(60 watts/12 inch celestion) and pull a balanced out from that into a M Audio BX5 studio monitor, so i have tweeters on both sides of the stereo rig, and the tech 21 provides a 12 inch punch

    and then live, i sub the left mackie side of the rig in lieu of a EAW LA-2A house floor monitor being fed from the axe XLR out to the PA directly, and mic the tech 21/BX5.

    this allows me to have a stage speaker setup that the soundman can't mute, and still provide a direct side to FOH which returns to me via floor wedge to give me stereo sound on stage.

    i suspect the DI to the console's mic input is the hash culprit, even if the channel pad is activated, so i have the FOH high pass and roll off the top end to decrease noise and hash, and i end up tweaking some highs out on the axe as well.

    i'd like more power and richness in the top end without the sizzle
     
  5. jchan

    jchan Member

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    Some of the clean tones that I thought sounded very good were:

    1) Fender Blackface with 2x12 Blackface cab.
    2) Vox with 2x12 Blues

    Also, as Scott mentioned, I think a PEQ at the end of the block made a big difference for me. I would set it up with a rather sharp rolloff after 5K. Through a FRFR it made it sound much more like an amp and cab IMO.

    From the clips I have heard online, the redwire IRs seem to have a dramatic impact also.
     
  6. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    Here's a very important principle: tweak with your actual stage rig whenever possible. Elimination of all nonessential variables is crucial to tonal success, regardless of your amplification/processing.

    You can't mic a multiway speaker. Therein lies much suffering. I suggest you stop that right away, as it will never work.

    There are two viable ways to use two-channel (nominally, but not truly, "stereo") presets live and still have unchallenged control over your stage rig:

    1. Send one channel to your stage rig and the other to FOH.

    2. Use a two-channel stage rig (with identical left and right speakers) and use Output 2 to send a mix to FOH. If FOH is not a stereo system (i.e., if your L and R channels will be mixed in the console), send only a single channel to FOH. Otherwise much suffering, cursing, and gnashing of teeth will occur.

    Distortion due to clipping, once added, will remain forever in your signal. No amount of filtering will remove it. The only solution to clipping is to identify the source of the problem and fix it.

    You have got to get a clean, reliable signal chain to both your stage rig and FOH and properly deal with a two-channel signal before you stand a chance of getting a good result. Until you reach that point, the cause of your problems is in the setup, not in the Axe-Fx.
     
  7. mentoneman

    mentoneman Guest

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    thanks man...
     
  8. mentoneman

    mentoneman Guest

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    the big problem for me as i see it is that i have grown fond of the FR sound through my studio monitors/tech 21 rig, and don't have the time live to retweak all of my patches for the house system going direct,
    nor can i use the balanced XLR outs on the axe to achieve balanced FR performance with my speaker rig and simultaneously send XLR feeds to the house, unless i purchase the atomics with those XLR throughs


    thanks man
     
  9. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I really dig the Blackface and AC30 rigs (so far) within the AxeFX, especially with the Red Wirez IR's. I've had a number of AC30's (and clones/booteeks) and to get them to sound stellar both squeaky clean AND blizzard of nails (but smooth, if you know what I mean) is TOUGH, especially when you have volume constraint requirements. It's not tough using the AxeFX and good IR's.
    I could gig with my Blackface patch alone no problems; the cleans are stellar, piano notes in the bass, clear and crisp top end. I kick in the RAT and it sounds WAY better than my old Blackface Bandmaster + original ProCo Rat at volume ever did. Then work in a nice mono delay, a chorus in every once in a while. maybe a trem, another drive for heavier leads... just sweet.
    I LOVE my JTM45 edge of breakup tones with my strat; I drop a TS808 in front and it's pure Rock n Roll... the only reason I can't say it nails the amp is because I have never played one before. But I'll be using a very similar patch / probably the same cab for a new plexi patch I'm working on as well, maybe even a JCM800 as well.
    I think the Mesa tones are the best I've heard BY FAR from any modeler (RP1000, blows the 11 rack out of the water, GR4, etc...). Meaty and rich; I'm using the USA Lead 2 (for Mark IV type tones) and I really want to work on the Mark IIC+ model in there as well.
    Too many killer tones imho.
    :dunno
     
  10. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    Then it behooves you to learn, as well as you can, the tonal characteristics of the stage monitor. If you get a sound check, you should be able to do some experimentation to see what kind of adjustments are generally needed to the Axe-Fx to improve your results. I have to stress, however, that you will have exactly the same problem with a tube amp. Those members of the audience who hear you through FOH will not hear what you hear on stage.

    "Good" is relative, and getting away with something does not make it a good idea. The important fact is that mic'ing an FRFR system largely defeats the purpose in using it, which is to be able to provide a direct feed to FOH, removing all the unknowns associated with close-mic'ing. If it sounds "good" to you, that would imply that all you need to do is bring your FRFR system and mic it. Why aren't you doing that?

    AFAIK, they don't mic them. Again, doing so would defeat the entire purpose in using a two-way speaker. It's a huge challenge to engineer a crossover transition between woofer and tweeter that has no major issues in normal listening positions. It's an insurmountable challenge to attempt to mic woofer and tweeter separately, then engineer another crossover transition to combine those two signals in the FOH console. It'll never happen. One of the most important principles in getting good sound is to remove all extraneous variables, especially those which cannot be adjusted. Mic'ing a two-way system is a huge violation of those principles. A competent, conscientious sound man (if such an individual is actually ever in the employ of a performance venue) will refuse to do that.

    Then one or both of the following is true:

    1. Your home rig has too little HF response.

    2. Your floor wedge has too much HF response.

    I say again: these same issues would be present, albeit in slightly different form, with a tube amp. The problems you are experiencing are not being caused by the Axe-Fx. If they are insoluble, you will not get satisfactory results with an amp, either.
     
  11. mentoneman

    mentoneman Guest

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    i am familiar with these monitors
    and i've never had these many problems with my tones i tweak at home not translating to the stage before


    because going DI is not working out, ie it sounds brash to my ear..and the first time i miced the monitor it ended up sounding much more natural than the DI results

    i appreciate your principles and contributions and experience, but i've met many an engineer who sticks to the book when it comes to methodology and couldn't mix their way out of a paper bag. i've mixed live sound for over 20 years. Call me unorthodox for trying new things...i'm experimenting! if the mic says it sounds good, all the theoretical impossibilities fly out of the window.

    last time the soundman took my mic feed as a backup and the DI as the main feed to the FOH and sent that back to my floor monitor. the monitor sounded too bright and harsh on all patches, but my speaker rig sounded great. tonight i bailed on the monitor to avoid frustration and tried going mono.

    i believe you could be true about the monitor being brighter than what i am using at home, but i'm not willing to blame all of my struggles on everything BUT the axe-fx. i keep hoping the more i learn about the unit, the faster and more efficient i will be at hearing a problem and knowing the best point where to correct it within the axe.

    but if it doesn't happen in a few months i'll surrender, and admit i'm not smart and dedicated enough to own the axe as a stand alone unit and either sell it or use it just for fx, and go back to my dumb simple tube amps that have made me happy for the last 25 years!!!
     
  12. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    good but imo not "better" than any amp it models. you can change things but then its not the same amp by comparison. idk, imo i've not heard any modeler that is "better" than a tube amp. ymmv

    good comparison is samhill clips with his real CAE vs the afx CAE model. two totally different characters. that's what I find too. the axe fender model and marshall model are not as "pure" in sound as the same amps I own. something is still synthetic to me. good and I like it for home, but its not anything more than a good modeler. tube amp sound comparison? ymmv, but I still roll with a tube amp live.
     
  13. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    I've managed to essentially take what I was getting with my regular tube rigs and take out what I didn't like about those tones, essentially creating my "perfect" tones.

    The problem is, sometimes you want something that isn't perfect. I still haven't got around to doing a really nasty blues/rock tone with a tele.
     
  14. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    Then there's your answer. Whether or not it is technically defensible, if you believe it works better, then do it.

    Although I've never been interested in doing it continuously, I've got plenty of experience with hands-on mixing of live sound. Also, ca. 1986, I was Manager QC at what was at the time the largest or second-largest concert sound reinforcement company in the world. In my capacity there, I dealt with some of the perceived "heavyweights" in live sound mixing, most of whom had been mixing live sound for many years. Their practices were, for the most part, poorly-conceived and based on a lack on understanding of how to define and methodically pursue their goals. Without exception, when they were willing to cooperate with me and correct some of their bad habits, their results improved dramatically, and they (and the company's clients) recognized the improvements immediately.

    Having done something for an extended period of time has nothing to do with how well you've been doing it. In live sound, it's possible to do the same thing poorly for years and not only make a living at it, but to rise to the top of the field. I could name (but will not for obvious reasons) several specific individuals who did just this.

    The notion isn't "new," it's just mistaken.

    If "the mic says it sounds good," then why are you asking for help here?

    The answer to this should be trivially obvious: your stage rig has completely different frequency response from the monitor. If you send the same signal to the PA that you're sending to your stage rig, but it sounds different over the floor wedge, there's no other possibility. The Axe-Fx has not a thing in the world to do with this. It's the victim, not the perpetrator. You would have the same problem with a DI from a keyboard rig, for example.

    Obviously not. Mark my words: you have major response discrepancies between your stage rig and the PA. Unless and until you identify and successfully address those issues, you will continue to have the same problems. Anything you attempt with the Axe-Fx will be, at best, a Band-Aid. Once you've corrected the underlying issues, you will be able to identify what, if any, problems remain with your Axe-Fx sounds.

    When the problem lies outside the Axe-Fx, the answer to that question is "somewhere outside the Axe-Fx."
     
  15. mentoneman

    mentoneman Guest

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    I've been officially "Jay Mitchelled";)

    seriously, I know you are trying to help and defend the integrity of the axefx in the process and the axe credo of "if you can't dial in the sound you want it's your fault"

    but I've dealt with guitar rack units intimately for 15 years and consistantly get tones I am happy with.

    I'm getting decent to great sounds out of this box
    just not consistant yet...I played this morning and had the soundman add the floor monitor/di and crank it up and my sound was much better today

    you are motivating me to be more methodical so thank you!
     
  16. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    According to an earlier post of yours, you're getting sounds from the Axe-Fx that you like: "when i program at home, i am really pleased with the results," and your problem occurs when you change the environment: "and then when i take it out live, primarily the top end comes across as thin and harsher than the tone at home."

    Here's a hint: no piece of gear can tell whether it's "at home," "on stage at a gig," "in the studio," etc. When you get different results from the same processing box, set the same way, in different environments, the cause of the difference cannot possibly lie inside the box. Quite the opposite: the box is one constant among many unknown variables.

    This is not a "defense" of anything other than the laws of physics. I'm kinda weird that way, but I've never once seen those laws - proven principles, not "theories' - violated, nor have I ever seen evidence that they can be violated. I'd bet money that your circumstances are not the one exception in the known universe....

    You're welcome. For the record, I have no idea whether you will ultimately like your Axe-Fx, nor is it of any concern to me. I certainly don't like everything about mine. I do take issue with misattribution of cause to effect, however. When that happens, all efforts at a solution are doomed to failure, simply because they do not address the cause.
     
  17. Sixstring

    Sixstring Member

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    You should have known it was comming...

    When ever you hold a conversation with an alien from another planet your bound to be at a disadvantage :D
     
  18. Zer0th

    Zer0th Member

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    Jay has only recently been liberated from the Borg... and as such, retains much of his former identity's penchant for direct and efficient communication.
     
  19. mentoneman

    mentoneman Guest

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    i think jay means well originally and can be very helpful,

    but from my observations he has a penchant for redirecting to establish a hierarchal order of authority, which he must maintain top position, and demonstrates a desire to distinguish himself from the civilian, seems bent on delivering his agenda regardless of collateral damage, issues liberal portions of thinly-veiled politically correct insults, and ultimately and unfortunately confuses in the process many times, thereby defeating the original intent of the post.

    must have been a talented debate team captain and should run for office!

    fortunately i know and deal with a fine number of "jay"s in my line of work and have developed the ability to sift through 10 unsolicited facts in order to extract the one fact i find immediately helpful. and jay has been helpful to me and others and idiosyncrasies aside that's all that matters.


    so................

    anybody else find the axe totally reproduces a beloved tube amp? if so what amp? is there a particular amp it shines at sounding like?

    i find there are some mid frequencies on all the amp models I've tried that behave much differently than my tube amps.
    i've got a plexi patch and a vox patch programmed, and they actually clean up pretty nice with gtr volume, but it thins out way more than the great tube amps i've done this with.

    take a mojave amp, or a vht deliverance, or a komet, set it for dirty tones, and then roll the gtr volume off...big glassy clean twang with sparkle and warm rich bounce undeneath.
    on the axe, i like the foundational tone i put together, but when i roll off the gtr, i maintain that sparkling high freq fundamental, but it is much drier and direct sounding, and the "meat" and bubble of the tone is missing.
    that is what i describe as the tube factor which creates the sensation that the tube is loading and exploding into the speaker.
    and the axe behaves differently than a tube amp and what i want it to do in this regard.
     
  20. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    I do, and I can. I'm more inclined to assist those who help themselves, however, and I count you among that group.

    I'll leave the other stuff alone, except to say that the folks who actually know me will tell you that I know what I'm talking about and that I don't step outside my areas of expertise when I offer advice.

    I've been able to get really nice classic Marshall sounds, as well as excellent twangy and funky Fender tones. Whether they are a perfect match for a given example of one of those amps is unimportant to me. The same tube amp will change its sound as the tubes age, and two different examples of nominally-identical tube amps can sound very different.

    I've never been convinced that the tone stack simulations are particularly good models of the originals. That has never bothered me, because I modified the tone stacks in my tube amps anyway, and I'm able to do essentially the same thing in the Axe-Fx. I almost never end up with the default tone stack settings, and I mix and match tone stacks and amp models.

    I suggest you experiment with drive and MV settings, as well as possibly play around a bit with the sag parameter. You can definitely get an amp block to clean up and stay bright and full, but IME the default settings don't necessarily get you there.

    Sounds to me like you need to turn up the sag a bit.
     

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