Stick with the Axe Fx or Go Back to Tubes?

Discussion in 'Amp Modeling' started by jw3571, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. jw3571

    jw3571 Senior Member

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    I posted this in the amp forum but also wanted to put it on the modeling forum to see if anyone had suggestions to make the axe sound more tube like with the open clear sound of the chords. I'm using Presonus FRFR monitors.

    I'm a basement only player. I've been thru a lot of amps. I started with a Fender Mustang that I didn't care for at all. Went to H&K, then Tiny Terror, then went to a JCM1 which I liked but I didn't like how it didn't have a clean channel. I always ran into the problem that 1 watt was still really loud for a basement. I then went to a Marshall SL5 that I still have, It solved the clean channel problem, It's a great amp but still too loud.
    I then went to the Axe FX which I really like but it still just feels like it's missing something. The biggest difference is when I hit a G chord for example on the SL5, it just sounds fantastic. Nice lowe end rumble but very clear. I can't get that sound on the Axe for some reason. It sounds little flubbier even with using the eq to take out the bass, and it definitely doesn't have the clear sound where you hear each string in a chord.

    If I go back to tubes I'd need to get some pedals. Do people think i'd be better to stick with the SL5 with a few pedals or go with something like a Fender amp that takes pedals better? I'm going to purchase an attenuator and and see how that goes, i've never used on before.



    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Well, that is certainly not the experience I have had. Here is the example I use when asked about this.

    https://app.box.com/s/914cd94sdrpzf2zqmglkq71tr65kuapo

    There is no reason other then your cabinet as to why you can't get what you want with a AXE FX. They are more capable then most realize.

    That said, go back to tubes. Then you can see whats what with your satisfaction.
     
  3. hbucker

    hbucker Senior Member

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    Have you messed around with the cab block, low and high cut on the Fractal? That can focus the sound a little more realistically and get rid of some extra frequencies that don't really sound as good. It works different for different amps/cabs, but I've been using a starting point of low at 80 and the high at 8000, then adjusting from there.

    You mentioned the eq, but what other controls/deep controls have you messed with? There is no amp/cab combo in the Fractal that sounds good to you?? I must say that surprises me a bit. I've been very suspicious of digital through the years, and have found many that I don't like, but several that really impress me.

    Have you tried going to the fractal forum and asking those folks? They tend to be helpful and are rarely snarky.

    My opinion, based only on what you've said and my one month's experience with my AX8 is that you should be able to find some amps, cabs, and settings in the Fractal that work for you - for sure at low volumes where real tube amps tend to struggle the most.

    There is always the rout of a real guitar cab and a power amp.

    I do understand the attraction to tube amps, and have not yet sold my soul to digital. So it's no skin off my nose if you leave it behind. But the needs you describe - low volume basement playing - seem like they are custom made for digital. If you leave digital, I would recommend a good clean amp with a variety of pedals.

    good luck
     
  4. drew365

    drew365 Senior Member

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    So many variables. You're not saying what amp model or cab your using in the Axe, or what size your Presonus speakers are. Just being FRFR, doesn't necessarily mean they will deliver the bass the same as a guitar speaker that is probably much larger. I would start with the amp model as the main suspect.
    There are so many tones available in an Axe or Kemper or Helix, that's it's hard to fully understand when someone says they can't get a good sound out of one. I think you're opening up a can of worms just to see what's in there.
    All of this is coming from a Helix user who will be gigging Friday with my Blues Cube Artist. So I'm not just a modeling snob, I like amps.
     
  5. Sean D

    Sean D Junior Member

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    I use the Presonus Eris E5s for my recording and I play my AX8 through them when I am learning new songs or rehearsing with YouTube. I really enjoy the Eris E5s as a studio monitor, but find them incredibly lacking when playing my AX8 through them. Two main reasons for this.... 1) Studio Monitors (not just Presonus) are nearfield and have a very small dispersion and sweet spot. Being off axis from the monitors will change the sound significantly and it is nearly impossible to be playing a guitar and remain in a nearfield monitor's sweet spot. 2) Speaker size. 5 or even 8 inch speakers are just too small and do not move enough air, even at low volumes, to sound good as a guitar "amp".

    I recommend getting a powered PA speaker Alto makes speakers with 10" drivers for $250 and 12" drivers for $300. Of course you can spend more for better equipment, but as you seemed to be convinced to abandon modeling, these speakers are relatively inexpensive and can be sold on craigslist for a minimal loss if you decide to upgrade or exceed a return window. The further benefit to these speakers is you can take them out of your basement if you ever have the need to jam with buddies.

    Good luck with your search.
     
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  6. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Above hasn't been my experience with my Axe FX II. I had the lack of low end 'rumble', with my Kemper only when I ran it into 5" monitors. The speaker just wasn't capable of representing that.

    I CERTAINLY don't have a low end issue Axe FX to Matrix amp to Xitone 2x12 or Atomic CLR 1x12.

    And String Separation, WAS a problem with some guitars on some tube amps, but since going digital, ahs really been the opposite.

    If the OP could clarify size of Presonus monitors, and what presets he's using, that might help.

    Because, I will always advise against going back to tube, because I never will. But, if it doesnt't work for you real, or imagined, it doesn't matter, cause it won't work for you as an end result.
     
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  7. jw3571

    jw3571 Senior Member

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    Original poster here, I'm using the Presonnus Sceptre 8 monitors. It's. it that I can't get good tone out of the axe. I have several presets that sound really good, mostly the fender and mesa type amps. I can get A pretty good Marshall tone, just can't get it to have the separation that my SL5 has. I've tried almost of the advanced parameters in the cab and amp block. The louder I turn it up the better it sounds but if I have to play above 90db's I might as well play the tube amp.
     
  8. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Well there is your problem right there, and it certainly is not the AXE.
     
  9. hbucker

    hbucker Senior Member

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    Have you tried the Orange (Citrus) models? I almost think those sound more Marshall than the Marshall patches... Worth a try.
     
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  10. Liam

    Liam V.I.P. Member

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    Possibly not an epic problem, but IMHO you need the driver of the FRFR Monitor to be at least the diameter of the one in the cab you are trying to emulate - if you go with smaller you will struggle to emulate the feel in the room.

    I have gone totally overkill on this, as I felt a single 15" might emulate any 4x12 I have known and loved, and it definitely can. A good 12" might have done the job just as well, but I didn't feel like buying twice.

    Never played an SL5, but I gather they have a 12" speaker and replicate a few amps I know and love. It's one of those where you probably have to spend a chunk of the price of an SL5 on monitoring to get an accurate replication, and if the SL5 is the only Marshall you ever want to replicate, modelling is not cost effective. If you want every amp you ever played or dreamt of, getting the monitoring sorted out is a pretty sound investment.

    And by the way, Cab IRs, also a very sound investment. OwnHammer have some great Marshall/Celestion tones that bring the models to life in a very realistic way.

    Liam
     
  11. KenG

    KenG Senior Member

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    How far away are you from the speakers? Those look like Studio Monitors so they'd be near field and won't likely project very far. Oops see someone's already suggested this!
     
  12. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    As has been stated ^^^^, the problem seems to be the Presonus Monitors. Haven't used them personally, but they are near field. I am willing to bet they have a fairly narrow field spread. Ergo, unless your right in that very narrow Sweet spot, both between the speakers, and distance from, your going to lose fidelity and that will affect that separation your talking about. It is one reason, I went with the JBL LSRs, was because of their wider field. Presonus kick the JBL's butt as Studio Monitors, but the JBLs are really great for this application. I still use them, specifically in a very narrow area, sitting. They also don't get that same kind of low-end rumble, by themselves. Many will say using a subwoofer with guitar is pointless, as it handles frequencies below what a guitar does. BUT, for me, at those real low volumes, it seems to provide that low-end rumble, otherwise missing.

    When I want to move, stand, get that low end rumble, more amp in a room feel, etc, I fire up the Matrix amp into the Xitone 2x12. Prior to that it was Atomic CLR 1x12. Either work in this regard. And you can still go low DBs.

    Other part is just frankly, the low volume aspect. Your going to perceive less low end and high end at lower volumes. That will affect both the areas of challenge you have, low end and high end. It's those high end frequencies that affect the ability to hear the different strings. Fletcher Munson effect.
    If your listening at low volumes, frankly you have to adjust the EQ for the perceived hearing changes (like actually boosting low and low-mids, and highs). Course, when you turn it up, it won't sound as good. Off axis to near fields, this will be even worse, as you lose frequencies. This is why an FRFR cab, with a wider field is better at low vol (if it's a good one) if you can't stay in that field OR a good pair of Headphones, with the modeler EQed.

    And a good Tube Amp pedal platform, is going to suffer because of the above at volumes at mid 80s or lower DBs (from 3-4 feet away). I went from a Fender 68 Custom DR with top o the line amp in a box pedals. Unless I started getting that amp over 94-96 DBs at that 3-4 ft distance, same issues, and some others (amp was stilted). NOW, because of it's wide field I could stand back so that the DBs at my ears were less. But, that doesn't help if your in an apartment setting, and don't want the sound to carry. Which brings us back to a good FRFR cab or Monitors but staying in the sweet spot.
     
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  13. hbucker

    hbucker Senior Member

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    In fairness to the op, I'm wondering if we are all groping at what he means when he says "tube like". I hear that a little bit like I hear "good tone" - of which there is about a million versions, and even more perceptions of what it even is.

    To the op, you're obviously not hearing the modeler produce what's in your head, or what you've come to expect from your amp. I'd be hard pressed to talk you out of ditching it, yet, there are so many ways to adjust the sound on the Fractal that it's hard to believe there isn't a sound in there, with any amp, and any cab, at any setting, that wouldn't sound acceptable to you. I can honestly say that I don't care for most of the models. But some are quite nice (after being adjusted to taste).

    If you aren't into tweaking, I can understand why you might want to go the simpler route. In that case, it's probably what you need to do.

    good luck
     
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  14. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Unless of course he is playing into a cabinet that just isn't cutting it.. Of which I do believe is the root of his problem
     
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  15. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    He also has his input set too low (see same thread in parent forum). He doesn't even turn any LEDs on. So his signal to noise ratio is all f'ed up on input imho.
     
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