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#1 Biggest User Error

Pinkycramps

Experienced
Always been kind of curious as to a useful or at least common "order of operations" with an amp.
What is the first knob you turn to start dialing in a tone?

For me, the MV (on amps that have it) would be it. I usually try to get volume in the ballpark, and go for the basic tone with this knob. I find it easier on real amps, because this knob really has a real world effect (the amp gets loud fast) and then the tone starts to show up.

While its mostly like that with the Axe, there are so many other variables that affect real volume (like, the volume of your actual SS power amp or powered monitor, the output level, the amp output level on the amp block... on and on... it can confuse the picture a little. As a result, I am guessing that I generally rely on the default too much and don't search this enough. Cliff's advise on how to listen for it to stop getting louder applies, and is great advice. I must admit I have not been doing that, and am curious to go back and check my presets for this.

I'd like to repeat the question asked earlier though about the default settings? How are those arrived at, and how close should those be to the sweet spot of these amps? I realize input gain (from the pickups, to drive blocks, and preamp settings) will dramatically affect this... but assuming just an amp-cab preset on defaults with stock Strat single coils, I'd think you would be very close right? or no?
 

Sidivan

Fractal Fanatic
Thank you Cliff! I always feel like I have my master volume too high, but it just sounds better cranked up. My MV is at like... 2 o'clock on all my patches. Real amps drive me crazy because there's always that ledge where it's either too quiet or too loud. The Axe Fx doesn't have that point, which is totally awesome.
 

Rex

Legend!
What is the first knob you turn to start dialing in a tone?

For me, the MV (on amps that have it) would be it. I usually try to get volume in the ballpark, and go for the basic tone with this knob. I find it easier on real amps, because this knob really has a real world effect (the amp gets loud fast) and then the tone starts to show up.

While its mostly like that with the Axe, there are so many other variables that affect real volume (like, the volume of your actual SS power amp or powered monitor, the output level, the amp output level on the amp block... on and on... it can confuse the picture a little.
It actually simplifies the picture because, with the Axe, you only have to use Master Volume to make it sound and feel good; you don't have to worry about how loud it is. You set the level after you've crafted the tone you want, and leave MV alone.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
Thank you Cliff! I always feel like I have my master volume too high, but it just sounds better cranked up. My MV is at like... 2 o'clock on all my patches. Real amps drive me crazy because there's always that ledge where it's either too quiet or too loud. The Axe Fx doesn't have that point, which is totally awesome.

That's about where I set it. The whole reason I don't match the MV taper is exactly because of that "ledge" problem with real amps.
 

mnemonic

Experienced
So now I'm curious, you guys with real life Rectos, how does the master compare to the Axe FX master? The Recto2 Red is pretty much the main amp I use, and I think I set the master around 2, or 2.5 (Can't remember, don't have it in front of me).

Just curious where that lies on the real deal.
 

AlbertA

Fractal Fanatic
And ... Boom!
After reading this every forum member runs off to set MV at 2 o'clock in every preset. :)

Ha! so true!

god_damn_right_breaking_bad.gif
 

Stratoblaster

Fractal Fanatic
Master Volume: The Most Overlooked Amp Knob Despite Its Literally Being Called "Master"...so much more than just a "volume" knob.

Yea, definitely...while it does increase the volume it can also be called "Power Amp Drive" which suggests distortion, etc.

The whole reason I don't match the MV taper is exactly because of that "ledge" problem with real amps.

....love that improvement over a real amp; some are so touchy with MV adjustments.

This is a good read for the Drive/Gain stages:

http://forum.fractalaudio.com/tech-notes/95018-understanding-all-different-gain-controls.html

Master Volume:
The Master Volume (MV) controls how much signal level is sent to the power amp. Many vintage amps have no MV control and the power amp runs "wide open". Modern amps often get their distortion from the preamp and the Master Volume then allows the user to control the volume of the amp.

The Master Volume in the Axe-Fx II, as well as on real amps, is probably the singular most powerful control in the amp block. As the Master Volume is increased the virtual power amp begins to distort. The virtual power amp also begins to sag and all sorts of beautiful magic occurs. The tone becomes more focused, the dynamic response changes, the note attack is accentuated, etc.

The key to crafting the ultimate tone involves understanding these various controls and learning how to balance them.
 

chris

Legend!
my peeve lately is I vs me.

Tina and me looked at the llama <--- wrong! you wouldn't say "Me looked at the llama."

Tina gave french fries to Jake and I <--- wrong! you wouldn't say "Tina gave fries to I."
 

rsf1977_again

Power User
well, I'll be... more master made everything more punchy and thicker in a good way, haha. I guess this Cliff guy knows a couple things ;)
 

Pinkycramps

Experienced
Well, I got to messing around with a few patches that I was unhappy with last night right after rehearsal. I had a few patches I had made that were pretty heavy on drive (using the HBE model) that I wasn't done with and didn't like very much. When I tried them with my band playing, I was thin and a little buried. (typical right...) When I built the patches, I over compensated with EQ trying to guess what would cut in the mix. I took out too much of the low end, and I had too much drive going on.

I went back and checked the master vol, and they were actually quite low, around 4.5 (numerically, not clock.) I dialed the gain back about a good 1/4 turn, (to very low actually) and juiced the MV up... things got louder (which immediately told me it was set too low to start with) and then leveled off. I went just a little farther, and man... did that preset ever come to life. It simply roared! All the low and low mid came back, along with a much more pleasing distortion than it had before. Now, the patch is very good. I ended up with settings just north of 2 o'clock, maybe approaching the 3:00 range. I did this last night before I read the 2:00 comment by Cliff, so it just goes to show you...

I realized I was making the mistake that Cliff wrote about. Exactly what he wrote about actually. The sound got ballsy with one knob up (MV), one knob down (Drive). AMP setting 101, but somehow I had overlooked it or just done it wrong on these presets.

This one tip alone can go a long way to help solve much of what is talked about it the multiple threads about being lost in the live mix. It just seems to help bring out the frequencies that you want the most. You can't get there with EQ alone. MV makes the tone more "full."

A great piece of info Cliff. Thanks.
 

CodeStation

Inspired
For me Master Volume pretty high on the IIC+ model with the speaker drive in the Cab block set at around 6 or so... I can't stop playing, it's frickin heaven. I have a real Mark V sitting right here, and yeah it'll do that too, but it has to be soo freaking loud. With the Axe I can get that at night and nobody even knows. Practice, playing is improving :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D
 

metal190

Experienced
One of the biggest selling points for me with the axe fx. I was at my wits end having to redial patches every time I turned the volume up or down. There was no good / transparent way to just get more volume without a lot more color. I love that in the axe you can get the color out of the master volume knob just like a real amp, but you can also get colorless volume changes other ways.
 
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