• We would like to remind our members that this is a privately owned, run and supported forum. You are here at the invitation and discretion of the owners. As such, rules and standards of conduct will be applied that help keep this forum functioning as the owners desire. These include, but are not limited to, removing content and even access to the forum.

    Please give yourself a refresher on the forum rules you agreed to follow when you signed up.

Accurate low-end in Mesa Boogie Mark IIC+, Mark V, JP-2C

The low-end tightness of the Mesa Boogie Mark series is particularly tough to model/capture. This thread is about how to get the low-end right in the Axe Fx 3.

Let's start with ML Sound Lab's attempt in 2018 to model the Mark V. In the following clip, a real Mark V with tight bottom-end is played first, and followed by the Axe FX 3 with loose bottom end:*


In contrast, the Choptones Mark IIC+ captures (which don't use an amp block) get closer to the real thing:

Now compare the above samples with the following video of John Petrucci testing a real Mark V:25:

See also this example of John Petrucci discussing his "chug chug" sound through two real JP-2Cs (in stereo):

To me, the real amps' low-end chugs sound significantly better than the model and capture.

So, questions for you all:

1. Has anyone tried the Choptones IIC+ or JP-2C captures with Cygnus? Despite not relying on the amp block, are the Choptones captures better with Cygnus?

2. Is there another preset vendor that has convincingly pulled off the Mark-series "chug"?

3. Is there just no replacement for the real thing when it comes to Mark-series chugging?

* The above ML Sound Labs recording was sourced from this thread: https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/axe-fx-iii-sounds-just-like-my-mesa-boogie-mark-v.143067/ - Note that the ML Sound Labs gentleman announced that he initially misrepresented which clip was the real amp in order to overcome confirmation bias. The important point, ultimately, is that the first clip was the real amp and the second clip was the Axe Fx 3.
 
Last edited:

japri

Member
Hmm.... never try it... but
Mark IV on chugnus is realistic AF. because I have a mark IV.
Mesa boogie low end is very depended on the 5 band EQ especially 80hz. try reduce the bass knob settings and boost the eq instead.

hope it helps.
 

unscarred

Experienced
Hmm.... never try it... but
Mark IV on chugnus is realistic AF. because I have a mark IV.
Mesa boogie low end is very depended on the 5 band EQ especially 80hz. try reduce the bass knob settings and boost the eq instead.

hope it helps.
Yup! love the Mark IV too! Sounds great with the Petrucci cab as well!
 

cardinal

Inspired
I think the AFX GEQ is hard to figure out. I had a Mark III and the AFXIII at the same time and could get the non-GEQ settings to where I couldn't tell them apart in recordings through the same cab.

But once the Mark III GEQ was engaged, I couldn't figure out how to set the AFX GEQ to get the same thing.

I never did really figure it out but got close enough not to worry about it any more. But I do sometimes think about buying the Mesa GEQ pedal to run in the AFX loop for this purpose.
 

Joe Bfstplk

Axe-Master
I think the AFX GEQ is hard to figure out. I had a Mark III and the AFXIII at the same time and could get the non-GEQ settings to where I couldn't tell them apart in recordings through the same cab.

But once the Mark III GEQ was engaged, I couldn't figure out how to set the AFX GEQ to get the same thing.

I never did really figure it out but got close enough not to worry about it any more. But I do sometimes think about buying the Mesa GEQ pedal to run in the AFX loop for this purpose.
IIRC, the taper of the GEQ sliders is more linear in the Fractal model than IRL, so you have to tweak the GEQ settings a little to account for that.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
IIRC, the taper of the GEQ sliders is more linear in the Fractal model than IRL, so you have to tweak the GEQ settings a little to account for that.
Yes, the tapers in the Axe-Fx are linear-in-dB. In the real amp they are quite nonlinear. For example, if we assume the sliders in the real amp go from -12 to +12, and we set a slider to +6 the corresponding position on the Axe-Fx might be only +3 dB.
 

cardinal

Inspired
Knowing one is linear and the other not isn't super helpful though. How do the decibels measure up relative to the lines on the real Mark GEQ?
 

TSJMajesty

Fractal Fanatic
The low-end tightness of the Mesa Boogie Mark series is particularly tough to model/capture. This thread is about how to get the low-end right in the Axe Fx 3.
Is this what you're talking about? Edit: I posted before watching your YT video. YES! I have this exact same concern, and posted the same exact sound in this video here. Watching this thread.
 

TSJMajesty

Fractal Fanatic
I don't think the OP's issue (and mine also) is an EQ thing. I have twiddled quite a bit in what I feel should be THE ideal preset to capture this "chung chung" thing he's talking about, the "Petrucci Rig" preset, and I have yet to be able to get it right. You start removing bass frequencies, and the whole tone gets weak. The "flub" that comes right after the pick attack remains audible. But, it could very well be I'm just not doing it right. But it should in that preset, right off the bat, I would think. Especially if you're playing a Majesty.
 

GreatGreen

Power User
Tight bass is clean bass.

The secret of the Mark's tight low end is in the delicate balance of getting just enough low end through the preamp that doesn't distort, but not so little that the GEQ doesn't get any low frequencies to amplify. This can be a challenge, as the Mark's lead gain channel has a ton of gain and compression on tap.

Set the Bass knob as loud as you can without the bass distorting. At high gain settings, this might mean that you can only turn the bass knob up to 2, if even that high. If the bass disappears altogether you've gone too low and might need to barely nudge the Bass knob up. From there, set the GEQ as desired. Works for me.

It's also worth mentioning that the videos in the OP aren't comparing apples to apples. The speakers / IR's and room ambience are nowhere close to the same, so even if you literally took that specific Mark V25 John Petrucci is playing and plugged it into that Axe-Fx rig used in the Axe-Fx video, the two videos are still going to sound massively different. There's a lot more mids and much less high-treble in John's video, along with a lot of room reverb/ambience, while the Axe-Fx video sounds much more direct with more high treble and almost no room ambience. Those factors alone make a huge difference.
 
Last edited:

TSJMajesty

Fractal Fanatic
Tight bass is clean bass.

The secret of the Mark's tight low end is in the delicate balance of getting just enough low end through the preamp that doesn't distort, but not so little that the GEQ doesn't get any low frequencies to amplify. This can be a challenge, as the Mark's lead gain channel has a ton of gain and compression on tap.

Set the Bass knob as loud as you can without the bass distorting. At high gain settings, this might mean that you can only turn the bass knob up to 2, if even that high. If the bass disappears altogether you've gone too low and might need to barely nudge the Bass knob up. From there, set the GEQ as desired. Works for me.

It's also worth mentioning that the videos in the OP aren't comparing apples to apples. The speakers / IR's and room ambience are nowhere close to the same, so even if you literally took that specific Mark V25 John Petrucci is playing and plugged it into that Axe-Fx rig used in the Axe-Fx video, the two videos are still going to sound massively different.
Not sure I follow you about the bass. JP has said he stops turning the bass knob as soon as it starts to get flubby, which makes sense. Never heard him say anything regarding not letting it distort though. And since we're talking about getting his "chunka chunka" sound, I'd say it's relevant.
As far as not letting the bass distort, I'm not sure how this would work on the many songs of his where he is riding the low E, like during the main riff of Pull Me Under, or say, On The Backs of Angels..., that low E is certainly distorted.
 

cardinal

Inspired
I don't think the OP's issue (and mine also) is an EQ thing. I have twiddled quite a bit in what I feel should be THE ideal preset to capture this "chung chung" thing he's talking about, the "Petrucci Rig" preset, and I have yet to be able to get it right. You start removing bass frequencies, and the whole tone gets weak. The "flub" that comes right after the pick attack remains audible. But, it could very well be I'm just not doing it right. But it should in that preset, right off the bat, I would think. Especially if you're playing a Majesty.
So I've had a C+ DRG and a red stripe III, and the C+ is a bit squishy or soft on the attack. The III is more immediate and faster. The AFX C+ model has that softer pick attack. It would not match the stiff feel of the III.

I haven't really played around with the AFXIII models of the IV or JP2C other than to note that they seem unfamiliar to me (as are the real amps) so I went back to the C+ model which I'm more familiar with.
 
Top Bottom