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Axe FX II - Help!?

Josh Lachapelle

New Student
Nov 11, 2019
38
5
So after realizing I can't afford multiple thousands of dollars on a good Amp/Cab setup, I figured an Axe FX second hand would be a good idea. I've had it for a couple days and I just can't get a solid tone from it. Everything I try lacks clarity and has a muddy sound to it.

Anyone have any advice? Should I just go with a physical amp instead? I'm losing my mind haha

Josh
 

Ed Seith

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    You just need to learn how to use it. It's a lot to take in. Try examining the built-in tones and see how they do some stuff. Go to Axechange and download some presets that interest you - there's a ton of shit there, but there's some good stuff too. If all else fails, send me a DM and I'll shoot you some of my presets so you can at least see what I did and build your own from there. Also, I have videos that might be worth watching. They were from the release of Syn's cab packs, but I covered a decent amount of ground for AxeFX beginners. Plus, Syn showed up for the live chat, too.


     

    Hiroshi Nakauye

    Free Bird Player
    Nov 11, 2019
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    Not to treat you like an idiot but just so we can cover our bases. did you set your input gain? And what are you using to amplify it? If you are plugging it into a guitar amp you want to patch it in through the effects loop and disable the cab sim. Dont plug it into the front end Or you are doubling up on amp and cabs.
     
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    Josh Lachapelle

    New Student
    Nov 11, 2019
    38
    5
    Not to treat you like an idiot but just so we can cover our bases. did you set your input gain? And what are you using to amplify it? If you are plugging it into a guitar amp you want to patch it in through the effects loop and disable the cab sim. Dont plug it into the front end Or you are doubling up on amp and cabs.
    I left the input gain at default which was dead middle. I'm using headphones and/or running it into my DAW. So I know it isn't just the headphones. I've tried other headphones and other (crappy) speakers like phone speakers and laptop speakers (I need to go buy some Studio Monitors yet). Sounds muddy to me no matter what I do. I've gotten sort of close to a sound I want, but it's still off and I can't get it right.
     

    Josh Lachapelle

    New Student
    Nov 11, 2019
    38
    5
    You just need to learn how to use it. It's a lot to take in. Try examining the built-in tones and see how they do some stuff. Go to Axechange and download some presets that interest you - there's a ton of shit there, but there's some good stuff too. If all else fails, send me a DM and I'll shoot you some of my presets so you can at least see what I did and build your own from there. Also, I have videos that might be worth watching. They were from the release of Syn's cab packs, but I covered a decent amount of ground for AxeFX beginners. Plus, Syn showed up for the live chat, too.


    Thanks for the vids, I'll check them out! Right now I found a decent tone running through a 5150 preset. Problem is, if presets were made on different firmwares, then it'll mess with the tone. Also the fact that someone making a preset is usually specific to their gear. Their guitar, pickups, etc.. Might not work as well with another setup. That said, I've tried different Cabs and some sound alright, but I still can't get what I'm looking for. I've played around with the Amp settings and if I turn the Highs, Mids, or Brightness up, it just gets scratchy instead of adding any sort of clairty. Keep in mind, I'm not cranking them either. I like my Mids around 5 or 5.5 to cut through a mix. My Lows and Highs depend on the Amp. I've had Amps that I had my Highs at like 7 and my Bass around 6, and other amps where they're lower like both around 5.5. I tried rolling my Lows back to around 4 to see if that'd help, but then I lost some of my chunk, so I put it back to around 5ish, just over maybe. My Gain on the Amp itself I usually would have around 4 or 5 on a real amp, but the Amps on the Axe FX have been really weird. Some amps I've had to crank the Gain to like 7-8, while others sounded fine around 4-5. I tried cutting some lows around 240ish, but that didn't really help me with clarity. I'll be honest, I'm still learning about properly EQing something (in the sense of an 5 or 8 band EQ, I'm VERY familiar with dialing in Lows, Mids, and Highs on an Amp, just not familiar with using an actual EQ for cuts and boosts).

    All that said, I'm at the point where I don't know if I just haven't learnt enough about the Axe FX (which I'm sure I've barely began to scratch the surface, but I would think I would know enough to get a lot closer to a tone I'm looking for), or if maybe my ear just doesn't like the sound of a Guitar Sim. Maybe I'm too used to a physical amp that pushes air. But hearing the tones so many other people get from their Axe FX, I'm convinced I'm just doing something wrong haha There's a lot of Guitarist YouTubers I recently found out that use Axe FX's (examples: FamilyJules, Cole Rolland, etc..) and they get insane tones. Then of course touring artists like Syn, John Petrucci, etc..
     

    Jacques

    Campfire Attention Holder
  • Nov 29, 2019
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    I left the input gain at default which was dead middle. I'm using headphones and/or running it into my DAW. So I know it isn't just the headphones. I've tried other headphones and other (crappy) speakers like phone speakers and laptop speakers (I need to go buy some Studio Monitors yet). Sounds muddy to me no matter what I do. I've gotten sort of close to a sound I want, but it's still off and I can't get it right.

    I've been doing alot of research myself lately with the different equipment you can run to take full advantage of the Fractal Axe-Fx preamp. One topic I found being mentioned over and over among different articles is your speaker type. @Ed Seith touches on this quite a bit too with his awesome videos but judging off what you mentioned it sounds like you need an FRFR speaker, are the speakers you mentioned of that nature?
     
    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    Josh Lachapelle

    New Student
    Nov 11, 2019
    38
    5
    I've been doing alot of research myself lately with the different equipment you can run to take full advantage of the Fractal Axe-Fx preamp. One topic I found being mentioned over and over among different articles is your speaker type. @Ed Seith touches on this quite a bit too with his awesome videos but judging off what you mentioned it sounds like you need an FRFR speaker, are the speakers you mentioned of that nature?
    Yeah, I've heard a lot about FRFR speakers, but I've only recently learnt about them. They're full range flat response, so I wonder if you could get that out of Studio Monitors like the Yamaha HS series. Or if you need an actual floor monitor or what exactly. But right now no, I don't have anything that would be considered FRFR. The headphones I'm using I find have a very slight scoop to the mids (Audio Technica M50X). They're great headphones, but probably not what you'd want to mix on, which is why I got to get some flat Studio Monitors yet. Great headphones to stop sound bleeding and to check subtle details in a mix, though!

    The main reason I got an Axe FX, was cause I couldn't decide on an Amp. I had tried the Marshall DSL40CR which is a killer amp which an amazing tone, but it wasn't tight enough for my main tone. I was considering a Peavey 6505 since they're not too expensive. But the EVH 5150s were pretty killer when I tried them in store, just a bit too expensive for me haha I figured the Axe FX could give me the sound of many different amps, great cleans, great distortion, etc.. My primary use for now is recording. I haven't been able to track good distorted guitar tones cause I haven't had a good enough sounding amp. I've been recording my Acoustic music for now, but I want to record my heavier originals as well. Plus maybe more covers for YouTube. I also love that I could do a Jam stream over on Twitch with the Axe FX and be quiet as a mouse if I use headphones to monitor my sound haha
     
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    Ed Seith

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    Josh, when you got the AxeFX, did you do a hard reset of it to clear out all the old owner's settings? If not, try doing that, or at least check the global settings for a global EQ that might be causing or contributing to your issues.

    I do not believe the problem to be that your ears don't like sim tones or need to feel pushed air.

    It took me months to get a tone I was really happy with, discovering along the way that I'm a lot pickier than I thought I was. I still tweak little bits almost weekly. Just this week, I cut .25 on the treble of my rhythm amp.
     

    Josh Lachapelle

    New Student
    Nov 11, 2019
    38
    5
    Josh, when you got the AxeFX, did you do a hard reset of it to clear out all the old owner's settings? If not, try doing that, or at least check the global settings for a global EQ that might be causing or contributing to your issues.

    I do not believe the problem to be that your ears don't like sim tones or need to feel pushed air.

    It took me months to get a tone I was really happy with, discovering along the way that I'm a lot pickier than I thought I was. I still tweak little bits almost weekly. Just this week, I cut .25 on the treble of my rhythm amp.
    I was going to hard reset, but I ended up just going into the Global Settings and resetting the Global EQ. He did have them all moved around. I reset it all to default. But I'm still having issues.

    I spent another hour this morning trying to tweak things and I just don't get it. I'm using the 5150 and it sounds almost too distorted with the gain at 4. There isn't enough chug, but if I bring the Lows up it gets even more muddy. I'm beyond confused at this point haha
     
    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    Ed Seith

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    Try getting your amp tone without that Tube Screamer in front of it. This amp doesn't need it.
    Also, flip off the bright switch and bring the Presence down to get rid of the sizzle.

    If the bottom end is too boomy or flubby, go into the GEQ section on the amp side, choose the 8 band Var Q, and dump 63Hz down to -12. Guitars aren't allowed to use those frequencies in a good mix, anyway, and if you build your tone with that dialed out, you'll be happier in the long run.
     
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    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    Josh Lachapelle

    New Student
    Nov 11, 2019
    38
    5
    Try getting your amp tone without that Tube Screamer in front of it. This amp doesn't need it.
    Also, flip off the bright switch and bring the Presence down to get rid of the sizzle.

    If the bottom end is too boomy or flubby, go into the GEQ section on the amp side, choose the 8 band Var Q, and dump 63Hz down to -12. Guitars aren't allowed to use those frequencies in a good mix, anyway, and if you build your tone with that dialed out, you'll be happier in the long run.
    Just tried those suggestions. Without Tube Screamer it feels dry. Tone is both still muddy and scratchy. There's no smoothness to the tone.
     

    Ed Seith

    Supreme Galactic Overlord
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    PS: The different firmwares don't affect it enough. If something was build in Quantum 6.x, or even the old 9.x for example, it will still work and probably sound slightly better on Aries 2.x (which is what you should be on - the latest and last ever, most likely). Nothing a MINOR tweak couldn't fix, anyway.
     
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