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1:1 - Let`s talk A/B testing actual Amps to their Axe-Fx II Counterparts

BigD1977

Power User
Our ears are more sensitive to frequency response than anything else. This is basic human physiology. Our ears are primarily FFT analyzers and understand frequency response more than any other auditory metric. I read all kinds of theories from guitar players on what they think they are hearing and yet what they really are hearing is simply a frequency response difference.
It's also worth noting that not only are the ears more sensitive in the midrange area but that very few people are immune to the placebo effect. The art of objectively listening is something that most people think they have, but is so mood/viewpoint dependent that those who can remove themselves emotionally from a listening analysis can only do this for a very short period of time.

Of course, this is IMHO, but I hope to do some research to back it up at some stage........ as in, before I die. :D
 

RDH

Fractal Fanatic
It's also worth noting that not only are the ears more sensitive in the midrange area but that very few people are immune to the placebo effect. The art of objectively listening is something that most people think they have, but is so mood/viewpoint dependent that those who can remove themselves emotionally from a listening analysis can only do this for a very short period of time.

Of course, this is IMHO, but I hope to do some research to back it up at some stage........ as in, before I die. :D
I agree!!
 

RDH

Fractal Fanatic
So do you , jones over the first love you ever had , or move on and enjoy the rest of what life has in store for you?? Just enjoy the extreme world of options we have with the Ax Fx and stop this obsession with cloning crap!!! It isn't a tube amp !! It's far better !! I for one did the comparison thing and wound up selling every tube amp I had!! The Ax Fx has satisfied my tone cravings far more in the long run than any amps I have owned!! ( No offense intended)
 

BigD1977

Power User
This is not a new argument.

This reminds me of the same issue 20+ and more years ago. Only then, the comparison was rack to power vs head/combo. There was always something lost with a tube rack preamp to tube power amp combo vs a single head, or even better a combo amp. There was never an explanation to be had, but having separate units always lost some feel. Heads always had more whomp.
There is something to be had from this.

I would view it as something to be forgotten about and gotten used to. The ears will adjust and this current separation of 'amp vs. not amp' will fade with time.

After all, if we didn't have this evolution of electronics and perception we would all currently be playing using clean tones.
 

Jeff B

Inspired
if your tubes look like this, then your amp is "ready 2 explode" :lol :lol
Ahh.. the beauty of tubes.

I realize that this debate will continue on for a long time, but for me it's about having to embrace the best that the digital realm can offer, but I'm not fooling myself by thinking that the AFX can recreate what tubes do. Heat, electrons flowing, etc... it's like trying to simulate flowing water in a digital way. It just can't be done to 100% accuracy, IMO. There will always be a difference, rather slight, from what is REAL and what is simulated.

Either way... I love the glow of those tubes! :)
 

PacoCasanovas

Fractal Fanatic
It just can't be done to 100% accuracy, IMO. There will always be a difference, rather slight, from what is REAL and what is simulated.
I'm pretty happy there will be no shorten screen voltage on my axefx caused of bad tube behavior! So I'm glad there is a always a difference...... :lol
 

mferrand

Inspired
To All,

I am fortunate to have a number of original tube amps that I can compare directly with the Axe Fx. I would recommend using a looper with prerecorded guitar on it.


Looper -> A/B/Y Switch -> Axe Fx with CLR CabinetOR Tube Amp and Speaker


A couple of things that I have noticed.....

Levels are key. Spend the time to match the levels between A and B very closely
Put the speakers as close together as possible
Have another person do the switching (like a blind test)

Most differences that I've found are subtle tweaks in the Bass/Mid/treble/Gain. I usually try and change these on the tube amp to match the Axe Fx as they are more visual. In my experience, I have found that the matches are very, very close.

Cheers, Mike
 

Morphosis

Fractal Fanatic
Well, some may say I´m stupid and it`s wasting time doing all that comparisons - all because of the reason i thought a tube amp will do a trick (primaly to the "feel" issue) i can`t get out of the Axe with Solid State amplification ...

I will let you know: It was NOT wasting time! I learned much and experiences growth ...

Today I´ve done the tonematch with the Koch to get a better basis to compare the all Tube-Amp vs. the Axe with Solid State Amplification (Matrix & White Label Rocktronic or what it is..). Used the AC30 TB, did Cliff`s suggested changes on the SPKR page and matched the Amp into the Axe while it`s PowerAmp was loaded to the Guitar Cabinet.

A/B Comparison: Really Close... but something .... now with the more knowledge of the SPKR page and Cliffs statement

I read all kinds of theories from guitar players on what they think they are hearing and yet what they really are hearing is simply a frequency response difference.
In mind i just increase the Lo Res, also a bit the Hi res ... on the SPKR page....

AND I WAS THERE! BETTER: The Axe with the Matrix sounds now a bit more alive, juicer to me as the Koch Amp with it`s tube PowerAmp!

DAMN COOL!
Iam now more than happy, totally flashed and more than satisfied with the result! So again: It was me - i was wrong, but with Cliff`s helping hands i got it! Incredible cool!

So what gave this thread to me?
- Cliff was right! Damn right!
- Big learning curve, that a view on the SPKR page and some changes there could do the trick, if something "feels" not right!
- Because of Damping factor issues a Tube amplifier is not the best solution, when the target is most accuracy translation of the Amp-Sim when amplifying. Solid State is the way to go! Nothing is missed, if you know how to ... (SPKR page !)
- I am totally flashed and more than happy making the experience that the Axe+SS Amp sounds now BETTER than my real Amp connected to the same real Guitar Cabinet.

So, was this thread wasting time? NO! It was a eye opener to me and brings me big satisfaction! :encouragement:

Cliff: You`re DA MAN! Thank you to support me on a journey, you stated time should be better used for just playing .... ;)

I`M DONE ;)
 

guitardoc

Experienced
Markus, this is most interesting!! I have to try this out myself.

However, here comes a new problem: if the speaker adaptation in the spkr page of the amp block is of such importance, how can we have different settings for the FRFR line to FOH and direct line to matrix + guitar cab? Not possible at the moment, unless you use two amp blocks which is a bit over the top IMHO.
 

bammbamm

Experienced
Well, some may say I´m stupid and it`s wasting time doing all that comparisons - all because of the reason i thought a tube amp will do a trick (primaly to the "feel" issue) i can`t get out of the Axe with Solid State amplification ...

I will let you know: It was NOT wasting time! I learned much and experiences growth ...

Today I´ve done the tonematch with the Koch to get a better basis to compare the all Tube-Amp vs. the Axe with Solid State Amplification (Matrix & White Label Rocktronic or what it is..). Used the AC30 TB, did Cliff`s suggested changes on the SPKR page and matched the Amp into the Axe while it`s PowerAmp was loaded to the Guitar Cabinet.

A/B Comparison: Really Close... but something .... now with the more knowledge of the SPKR page and Cliffs statement



In mind i just increase the Lo Res, also a bit the Hi res ... on the SPKR page....

AND I WAS THERE! BETTER: The Axe with the Matrix sounds now a bit more alive, juicer to me as the Koch Amp with it`s tube PowerAmp!

DAMN COOL!
Iam now more than happy, totally flashed and more than satisfied with the result! So again: It was me - i was wrong, but with Cliff`s helping hands i got it! Incredible cool!

So what gave this thread to me?
- Cliff was right! Damn right!
- Big learning curve, that a view on the SPKR page and some changes there could do the trick, if something "feels" not right!
- Because of Damping factor issues a Tube amplifier is not the best solution, when the target is most accuracy translation of the Amp-Sim when amplifying. Solid State is the way to go! Nothing is missed, if you know how to ... (SPKR page !)
- I am totally flashed and more than happy making the experience that the Axe+SS Amp sounds now BETTER than my real Amp connected to the same real Guitar Cabinet.

So, was this thread wasting time? NO! It was a eye opener to me and brings me big satisfaction! :encouragement:

Cliff: You`re DA MAN! Thank you to support me on a journey, you stated time should be better used for just playing .... ;)

I`M DONE ;)
Great! Now post some clips!
 

Morphosis

Fractal Fanatic
Markus, this is most interesting!! I have to try this out myself.

However, here comes a new problem: if the speaker adaptation in the spkr page of the amp block is of such importance, how can we have different settings for the FRFR line to FOH and direct line to matrix + guitar cab? Not possible at the moment, unless you use two amp blocks which is a bit over the top IMHO.
Tweak the sound, that it correspondend good to your monitor solution - if it`s guitar Cab or FRFR. If it`s FRFR it should translate as well to FOH. If it`s a guitar cabinet and the FOH route will have a correspondending IR of that guitar cabinet (selfmade IR of that cabinet) it should be also right. If it`s a third party IR for FOH, but guitar Cabinet on the Monitor route, than the sound will differ so or so much more and you`ve to compensate with EQ tools on the FOH route... Either in the Axe-Fx path OR at the FOH console OR both ...
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
- Big learning curve, that a view on the SPKR page and some changes there could do the trick, if something "feels" not right!
Yes. That's why I put that SPKR page in there and why I've posted so many things about it. The one drawback of ALL digital amp simulators is that they simply can NOT know the impedance of the speaker. It is physically impossible. Fortunately the impedance is very predictable and with a little work one can adjust the speaker impedance parameters accordingly.
 

Morphosis

Fractal Fanatic
Yes. That's why I put that SPKR page in there and why I've posted so many things about it. The one drawback of ALL digital amp simulators is that they simply can NOT know the impedance of the speaker. It is physically impossible. Fortunately the impedance is very predictable and with a little work one can adjust the speaker impedance parameters accordingly.
All i can say: I learned that lesson on the "hard way", but know i will never forget and i am super satisfied with the result! The Axe-Fx rules! I`m very thankfully!
 

zenaxe

Fractal Fanatic
It's also worth noting that not only are the ears more sensitive in the midrange area but that very few people are immune to the placebo effect. The art of objectively listening is something that most people think they have, but is so mood/viewpoint dependent that those who can remove themselves emotionally from a listening analysis can only do this for a very short period of time.

Of course, this is IMHO, but I hope to do some research to back it up at some stage........ as in, before I die. :D
Big +1. And there is lots of research on the placebo effect confirming the above. Which is why for most academically recognized scientific research involving humans a double blind study is required and the papers are subsequently peer reviewed and blind tests involving experts in anything that qualitative, whether it be wine tasting, audiophile products, guitar gear, etc, invariably makes the experts look like idiots.

It's also why forum opinions, youtube video comments, clip postings, etc, are for the most part meaningless.

Sometimes I'll try to close my eyes when listening to A/B comparisons, etc, but even then if the person performing can see the gear, it will affect their performance, etc, so it's hardly any kind of substitute.
 
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