Axe_FX II Rigs, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Digital Modelling.

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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 14230
    edited September 2014
    @Drew_fx - why not get the R&R SOLO that's kicking around in the classifieds, and just run into its effects return? Lightweight (~6kg) 50W mono valve amp in a 1U rack enclosure. Job jobbed.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • Drew_TNBDDrew_TNBD Frets: 22400
    Mainly money tbh. It's a bit tight right now!
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  • If you wannabe my live rig..
    Drew_fx said:
    You [a]re a bellend.
    Switching sounds ain't easy

    The gap makes rage a trend.


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  • @Drew_FX, did you say money's to tight to mention?

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  • DeijavooDeijavoo Frets: 3115
    @Drew_fx - why not get the R&R SOLO that's kicking around in the classifieds, and just run into its effects return? Lightweight (~6kg) 50W mono valve amp in a 1U rack enclosure. Job jobbed.
    Did that not sell ages ago? Sounded pretty good to these ears.
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  • New Sainsbury's bag for life day!

    image

    I've had the Axe FX a while actually.  I was keeping it quiet to use the full G66 returns window to see if it would work out for me before doing a NAD post.

    I was going to do a guess the NAD post with a room mic on the cab, but Drew forgot I'd told him that I was going to do this and started talking about me owning the Axe in another thread.  :))

    I still think I'll do some in the room recordings at some point anyway.  I think most people are now aware that the direct tones these things are capable of are really top notch, but a lot of people are (rightly) concerned about how they work through a cab.  With my own experiences so far I'd say it isn't quite plug and play to get a good sound at band volume.  

    My brief tips and thoughts:

    - Bright cap.  This is on by default if the amp has one, and reacts to the drive and master amp block controls on the Axe.  However, if you're using a power amp the 'real' master volume for the setup is on your power amp.  So essentially the link between actual master and the bright cap is broken.  This was one of the first things I overlooked - my first attempt at using the Axe loud resulted in quite bright, and unbalanced results until I cut a lot of highs.  Since then I've had the bright cap switched off for my loud patches and have got ballpark much faster.

    - Speaker tab.  This seems key for use with a SS power amp and real guitar cab.  From what I understand (and I might be oversimplifying) a valve poweramp reacts 'properly' with speakers and the cab, whereas an SS poweramp doesn't really react the same way.  You basically have to tell the Axe power amp sim where the low frequency speaker resonance is, what amount to use, and what Q width to use.  I personally find the default settings (which are chosen to fit the intended cab) a bit off.  At the time of writing I'm using (on my Recto1 Orange Normal patch) Freq 90hz, amount 4.4 and Q 1.7.  Default amount is 5 and default Q is 2 (narrower) - this seems to give a weird OTT flub on my Recto patch which isn't really punchy in the right way.  Reducing and widening the effect seems to make it more natural - but I want to test again in more rooms to make sure it isn't just exciting room response.

    - Default Res/Pres values.  These are all over the shop.  Some of the amps that sound thin just need the resonance turned up.  Ditto the amps that sound too dark/bright.  But I guess these are dialled in for the default cab/IR and I'm using a different one in most cases.

    - Switching options are awesome... On my volume treadle I'm rocking back to reduce volume, add in a pre-EQ (to make the rolled back sound a bit clearer), a post EQ to control the amount the volume drops, and add in delay - rock forward and I'm back to full gain and no delay.  It is awesome, and reduces a lot of my changes to just the volume treadle.  You can draw in the response of each parameter - so if you want a fast change or a slow one you can do that.

    I can't find any photos showing slopes but this is what the screen looks like (I just change the source to my expression pedal).  You can start the slope either way - so full up as on, or full up as off, or you can even do full up either side and off in the middle etc.

    image

    - I'm using the HD500x as both my footswitch and my backup.  The only issue is the top 4 buttons (my scene controllers) do not light up - so I have to be sure I've pressed the right button.  I think I can live with this so far.  Also I don't have access to a tuner on the floor, but this isn't a major issue right now.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 7524
    edited September 2014
    - Not all amps will sound great through your actual cab.  But this is to be expected as the same is true with real amps/cabs.  So far I'm sticking with what I know, and my patch uses Recto1 Orange Normal, based on earlier Rectifiers.  I've also tried Recto2 which is based on 3 channel Rectifiers and while it is good I don't find it works quite as well for me.  I've got a patch sort of dialled in with 5153 Red but I don't find it cleans up as well as the Recto.  As a gain channel it is pretty sweet though, maybe I'll experiment with options to improve it at a later date, I imagine creative use of EQs and modifiers could get a suitable result.

    - Pickups matter.  For example with the tweed amps my Les Paul (low output pickups) sounds pretty good.  However with my CU22 (high output pickups) it sounds flubby and pushed too hard.

    - Size/weight.  I'm using a Gator 3U short rack case IIRC.  It is just long enough for the Axe at the back but there isn't enough space to keep anything connected.  So far I'm leaving my XLR cable plugged in to my Matrix poweramp in, and tucking it in to the box during transport.  This makes it a little easier to setup.  

    If I had one issue it is that the Matrix is so much shorter that it is a little hard to plug things in when there is this little space in the back.  However as I'm only plugging in a speaker cable and a power lead I can do this quite easily.  I have covered all of the other sockets on the Matrix with electrical tape so that I can't get it wrong. 

    - Dialling in tones.

    There are so many options on the Axe I don't think I'll ever explore them all.  However you can get a good tone fairly quickly - if you know what you're looking for - for direct recording.  You seem to be able to get good results with the BMT gain controls, and Pres/Res when running direct, a lot of the time, plus it is worth looking at the master volume on some amps too.  IMO I don't see much point in getting bogged down with advanced parameters to begin with as there are so many other choices you might as well find a different one that is closer.

    As I've said though - I think it is more complex to dial in a tone for use with a poweramp/cab.  I actually wouldn't recommend the Axe to someone wanting that setup unless they already have experience with real amps and a good idea of what they're looking to achieve.  I'm totally unsurprised that so many people struggle.  I do not think it is plug and play with a power amp, but I do think you can get good results.  

    As good as a valve amp?  Well maybe, maybe not - the tones are good but I still think that a degree of expectation management is required.  It doesn't sound the same, at least the way I'm using it.  But it totally beats the Pod (no comparison) and it beats lower priced valve amps too IMO (e.g. Ironheart).  Personally I am really enjoying the tones I'm getting right now but I've always been pragmatic about what I need, to me the band sound matters more than my personal preferences.  Though I feel with the Axe reaching a compromise between the two is definitely possible as all the options are in there.

    If you also do a lot of home recording it makes massive sense to check one of these out.  For me, as an all in one solution this is probably the best choice on the market right now.
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  • Drew_TNBDDrew_TNBD Frets: 22400
    guitarfishbay;347903" said:
    I was going to do a guess the NAD post with a room mic on the cab, but Drew forgot I'd told him that I was going to do this and started talking about me owning the Axe in another thread.  :))
    Code for: Drew is a bellend and totally ruined my plans to con everyone on the forum with blind tests!! Twas an accident! B-)
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  • In fairness I ruined my own plans by taking so long that you forgot that I'd told you.   :))
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3077

    @guitarfishbay nice write-up...

    guys... have you tried customising some of the amps?? I tried the MV location mod on a JCM800 [which is apparently a common one] by setting it "post" rather than "pre"..

    it seriously fires up the JCM in a cool way.. if you want to get the gain right up, the lows will flub, so if you place a null-filter block before the amp to calm down the lows [via the low cut control - 700Hz] entering the amp, the lows will tighten up a treat.. the resulting tone is not a million miles from that early EVH tone [which I adore]

     

    play every note as if it were your first
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  • @Guitarfishbay, I think that you pretty much summed up a lot of why people fail with the AF2.  Another thing I noticed a few FW updates ago, when they introduced the JCM800 amp block, was that it has too much treble - which is what the 800 is like.

    I believe that people get tied up in what they think an amp and cab combo should sound like, from a studio recording, but may not know what the real thing may sound like.

    @Drew_FX proved, a judicious bit of EQ (with an IR in his case) can move you a long way to getting what you need out of this little unit.
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3077
    a pair of big ol' 4x12 cabs will get you there too if you like the old-skool trouser flap vibes...
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • Well, @Clarky, you are wrong.  You can't use an AF2 without a CLR. Apparently they are the rules.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 7524
    edited September 2014
    Lol. I do want a second 2x12 but a pair of 4x12s is pushing it. We don't have storage space so I have to shift my rig at least once per week. There's plenty of kick out of the Mesa 2x12 anyway, the only issue is it is a short cab hence the two chairs! Another 2x12 will soon solve that.

    Yes Chris I think you're right. I actually feel like if I rushed in and bought this a couple of years ago when they first hit the market I'd probably be disappointed, mostly because I wouldn't know what to do with it or would expect it to do things it can't (like make my Recto 2x12 sound like an AC30 etc).
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3077
    Well, @Clarky, you are wrong.  You can't use an AF2 without a CLR. Apparently they are the rules.

    screw the rules I tells ya.. screw them all to hell <quote: Planet of the Axe>...
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • AndyJPAndyJP Frets: 111
    edited September 2014
    Any of you pro's got any tips for warming the lead tone up on this track? 


    Using the usa lead patch. Reckon I could cut glass with it ...
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  • Handsome_ChrisHandsome_Chris Frets: 3882
    edited September 2014

    Have you tried the new passive eq block that all the kids are raving about?

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  • AndyJPAndyJP Frets: 111
    edited September 2014
    Youth of today eh? Passive eq this, passive eq that. 

    Ta for the pointer. Will give it a shot..
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  • Drew_TNBDDrew_TNBD Frets: 22400
    Did some recording today for a video we're doing at work, used the Axe FX for guitar tones. Will finish off bass tones tomorrow with the Axe. Pretty darn sick.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2630
    Listening on an iPad I quite like the top end as it is. Rather than shaping the top end with EQ I'd start by boosting the lower mids in the amp block, or using a 335. What guitar was it recorded with?
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  • Drew, it sounds like it's coming together for you. Are anyway near confidence in a band setting?
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  • Drew_TNBDDrew_TNBD Frets: 22400
    Drew, it sounds like it's coming together for you. Are anyway near confidence in a band setting?
    Hmmm. I would be confident with a dedicated valve power amp, but it isn't on the cards just yet. It's good into the return of my Diezel, but if I do that... might as well just use the Diezel!

    So I'm basically giving up on that pursuit for the moment. Maybe in the future.

    I'm confident the tones are there. I'm not confident I could setup my patches in an ultra usable way... but I'm also not confident that it matters as much to me as it did in the past. I reckon I could probably get by with individual presets.
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  • Would it help if you tone matched your D-moll through an FRFR cab (which I can assist with). Pardon me for stating the obvious, you would need a flattish mic for this.
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  • Drew_TNBDDrew_TNBD Frets: 22400
    Not sure I follow boss. What would that give me? Coz I don't really have a FRFR solution either.
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  • What, I believe it would do, is produce an "un-cabbed" version of your D-moll, as opposed to D-moll and Egnater cab.

    Off course this is all cobblers if you've moved on the Valve state.
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  • Drew_TNBDDrew_TNBD Frets: 22400
    Oh yeah, the valvestate is gone. Part ex'd for a Line 6 M9!
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  • Oh. Now I feel like a chump.
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  • AndyJPAndyJP Frets: 111
    edited September 2014
    Roland said:
    Listening on an iPad I quite like the top end as it is. Rather than shaping the top end with EQ I'd start by boosting the lower mids in the amp block, or using a 335. What guitar was it recorded with?
    Roland, that one for me? 

    If so it's a Music man Luke iii HH on bridge pickup.
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3077
    Drew_fx said:
    Oh yeah, the valvestate is gone. Part ex'd for a Line 6 M9!

    that's a surprise.. I thought you quite liked the tone of the 8008
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • Drew_TNBDDrew_TNBD Frets: 22400
    Clarky said:
    Drew_fx said:
    Oh yeah, the valvestate is gone. Part ex'd for a Line 6 M9!

    that's a surprise.. I thought you quite liked the tone of the 8008
    To be honest dude, we had some great sounds when we used yours. But through a single 4x12 at the levels my band plays at, it just kinda fell apart. I was a bit gutted tbh.
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