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Who still uses a few pedals in front of your Axe Fx?

zygoat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,099
I've been using the Axe for a little over a year now and pedals still come and go. Not necessarily because the Axe can't do what the pedal does, but I just like pedals I guess.

I've come to the following conclusions so far: after intense tweaking with delay, filter, and para EQ blocks, I prefer the Axe to most delay pedals, and I've had my share. I was still never able to nail Analog delay (specifically how the repeats degrade), but for recording, the analog delay pedals got too muddy and lacked definition for me. Personal preference and opinion really.

I still lust after fuzz pedals occasionally. The problem is, some sound great in front, others not so much. I think an actual Big Muff or Big Muff clone sound much better than the modeled one and do well in front of the Axe. What about other overdrives/fuzzes? Yesterday I decided to get on the waiting list for a Skreddy Screw Driver (again). As much as I love the Axe Fx I think the drive blocks could use some work. They are gold for using the common "drive on zero, tone to taste, level at 10" for boosting high gain amp models. No difference from lots of great TS-variants that I've owned (again, quite a few booteek and mass produced). But using a drive pedal as a main sound, again I feel like I need the real thing. The Screw Driver is unique enough to put out in front IMO.

I think the Axe Fx crushes everything out there modulation wise. However, I'm thinking about getting a Fulltone Mini Deja Vibe again, and then painstakingly compare it to the vibe in the Axe. I'm a big vibe user so it's important to me.

Just random thoughts. What do you think?
 

iaresee

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,838
I do. I use fuzz pedals. There are no models in the (Standard, at least) Axe-Fx that touch what some of my custom fuzz pedals do.

Like this: http://bit.ly/8wQy6l

Or this: http://bit.ly/4PNPUk

But for vibe and phasing I love what the Axe-Fx does. It's only missing fuzz variants I like (not that it's missing fuzz, just that fuzz is like wine with a billion different varieties).

And I just did some beta testing from empress, so that got put in front and in the loop of the Axe-Fx. :D
 

Dennis E.

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
255
I still use 3 pedals in front of my Standard.

First is the Mirage compressor. I leave it on all the time. It just beefs up everything and adds a bit of sustain.

Then I have a Tim and a Screwdriver. I use the Tim to add some gain to my Vox/Tweed/Marshall patches. This is nice for some solo parts, or if I need to just add some body and girth to my sound.

The Screwdriver sounds best to me in front of my Marshall patches ... although I do use it in front of some of the EL84 amp sims, too. It offers a great solo voice that's big and bold.

I just like the way these pedals interact with the Axe-FX. They respond similarly to how they work in front of my tube amps, and I like that.

I don't use the Tim/Screwdriver in front of any of the 6L6-based amp sims. They don't sound good to me there. And I typically only use 6L6-based patches for clean sounds.

I still use several of the Axe drives in my patches, but I tend to use them for special voicings. I'm sure I could tweak the Axe to get the drives to cop my pedal sounds, but the pedals actually help me to simplify my setup. I spend less time tweaking drives, and more time tweaking the amp/cab/delay parameters.

But to be honest, my use of pedals is probably mostly driven by inertia. It's what I've been doing for years, and it's familiar.

Have fun,
Dennis E.
 

Luke

Senior Member
Messages
11,895
Why not place pedals in the loop since you can put the loop anywhere in the signal chain?

If I wanted to use several pedals I would incorporate Rocktron Patchmate as well to choose what is in/out of signal chain as well.
 

hippietim

Member
Messages
6,738
I use a Korg Pitchblack tuner, Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster, switchless Crybaby and a Fulltone DejaVibe in front of my Axe-FX.
 

Gasp100

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
24,094
I've tried a Timmy as an "almost always on" pedal in front of the AxeFX and it sounds great. But, I could probably approximate that with a drive or boost block already in the AxeFX or with some detailed PEQ.
 

Luke

Senior Member
Messages
11,895
That doesn't mean anything about "line level" or "instrument level", though...

DS
I understand the -10db vs +4 db issue, my experience is sans DI, balanced is +4 and unbalanced is -10. So the Axe-Fx being labeled unbalanced would suggest to me -10db.
 

iaresee

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,838
Ian, you beta tested the Fuzz God 2? That pedal kicks some serious ass, I think.
Err...empress made a "Fuzz God 1"? That's news to me! Nope, not a fuzz from empress. Wait until their NAMM announcements. They've got cool things in the works.
 

iaresee

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,838
Why not place pedals in the loop since you can put the loop anywhere in the signal chain?
I'm lazy? Nah...I don't because I don't take pedals with me. The playing out bands are all Axe-Fx. Since it's only pedals at home I just run them wherever is convenient and that's straight into the front for now.

Plus: I don't want to have to deal with a bigger rack. 3U is nice and compact. A shelf, plus a patchmate or a GCX, just adds and complicates things and I'm really loving the simplicity of a pure Axe-Fx rig right now.
 

Luke

Senior Member
Messages
11,895
Guilty conscience?

I'm lazy? Nah...I don't because I don't take pedals with me. The playing out bands are all Axe-Fx. Since it's only pedals at home I just run them wherever is convenient and that's straight into the front for now.

Plus: I don't want to have to deal with a bigger rack. 3U is nice and compact. A shelf, plus a patchmate or a GCX, just adds and complicates things and I'm really loving the simplicity of a pure Axe-Fx rig right now.
 

Yek

Member
Messages
1,450
I understand the -10db vs +4 db issue, my experience is sans DI, balanced is +4 and unbalanced is -10. So the Axe-Fx being labeled unbalanced would suggest to me -10db.
Nope, all rear inputs are line level = +4 dB (unbalanced).
 

mtmartin71

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,106
Nope, all rear inputs are line level = +4 dB (unbalanced).
Here's where I get confused. I too thought balanced vs. unbalanced was the same equivalent as -10db vs. +4db. In fact, I recall that I get a hotter signal to my Verve 8ma when using the Balanced XLR Output 1 vs. the Unbalanced FX Send/Output 2 which seems to support that. If that's not true, then I guess the only benefit of using the Balanced Output 1 XLRs is noise reduction over distance? This Balanced vs. Unbalanced thing confuses me...and here I thought I finally figured it out! :messedup
 

Yek

Member
Messages
1,450
Balanced:
"Unlike unbalanced audio lines there is no "signal" carried in the shield or ground connection unless there is a fault. The main benefit is that any noise that gets induced into the line will be common to both the positive and negative sides and thus canceled when it arrives at its destination, assuming the destination is balanced. Balanced lines are generally much better for long cable runs due to their ability to reject induced noises. XLR and TRS type cables are designed to transmit balanced audio from one balanced device to another. A standard 1/4-inch guitar cable is an example of an unbalanced cable."

Unbalanced:
Eh, the opposite. ;-)

Balanced cables have a +6 dB higher output than unbalanced ones! That's what's confusing and gets mixed up with smething else: the difference between line level (Pro/Studio, +4 dB) and instrument level (-10 dB, Consumer).

And there's also high impedance and low impedance ....
 

iaresee

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,838
Here's where I get confused. I too thought balanced vs. unbalanced was the same equivalent as -10db vs. +4db.
Nope. Balanced vs. unbalanced is a method for transmitting data, not a signal strength level. Balanced signals transmit two versions of the signal, out of phase, so that noise introduced along the transmission line can be canceled at the recipients end by simply phase shifting and adding the signals together. The noise is then 90 degrees out of phase so it cancels out.
 

mtmartin71

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,106
Balanced:
"Unlike unbalanced audio lines there is no "signal" carried in the shield or ground connection unless there is a fault. The main benefit is that any noise that gets induced into the line will be common to both the positive and negative sides and thus canceled when it arrives at its destination, assuming the destination is balanced. Balanced lines are generally much better for long cable runs due to their ability to reject induced noises. XLR and TRS type cables are designed to transmit balanced audio from one balanced device to another. A standard 1/4-inch guitar cable is an example of an unbalanced cable."

Unbalanced:
Eh, the opposite. ;-)

Balanced cables have a +6 dB higher output than unbalanced ones! That's what's confusing and gets mixed up with smething else: the difference between line level (Pro/Studio, +4 dB) and instrument level (-10 dB, Consumer).

And there's also high impedance and low impedance ....
Yikes! OK, so if I'm following right, unbalanced line level is +4db and balanced line level is +10db? What's interesting is that I changed up my feed to our mixing board this past weekend. Our Yamaha has Mic/Line (Balanced)/Insert on each channel. I had been going XLR out (Balanced Output1) to the mic input on the strip. The problem there is that it was REALLY hot. Gain had to come all the way off and even then I was loading up the meter at 25% of my Output 1 knob. This past weekend, I picked up a balanced XLR female to 1/4" male plug so I could go right into the line level input. That resulted in me bumping up the Output 1 to 60-65% and the channel gain on the Yamaha was up around 40%. HUGE difference but certainly more play. Top all of this off with the fact I was getting a lot of buzz but that seemed to be interference with the pickups as it changed with my guitar's direction and/or the patches (clean vs. distorted). If I had line noise, I'm guessing that would have been constant.
 




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