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Amp simulator vs “the real thing” argument

Discussion in 'Axe-Fx III Reviews' started by AJ 83, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. AJ 83

    AJ 83
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    I keep seeing online arguments about amp simulators like the Axe FX III that I just bought vs “the real thing”. I have come to the conclusion that in my opinion this is argument is a total waste of time and completely irrelevant for me.

    I have been playing guitar for about 15 years now, and I have never enjoyed playing my guitar more than I have since I purchased the axe fix III about a month ago. It feels great, it sounds great, and with the axe fx and my Ernie Ball majesty I have yet to find a to a tone that I can’t dial in quickly and that sounds and feels amazing.

    I bought the FX III to take advantage of the effects for my Mesa JP2C, which is an amazing amp in my opinion. But since buying the FX III I have stopped playing my Mesa all together and I am just playing out of the FX III.

    When you are excited to practice scales and modes because of how you sound and how it feels, you know you have found guitar amp gold.

    I grade guitars and amps by how much I enjoy playing them and that is based on how they sound and feel. And based on that criteria, the Axe FX III is a complete winner.

    Amazing job Fractal!!!

    If you are questioning whether or not to buy an FX III, don’t. It is so much fun and sounds so great that I cannot give it a higher recommendation. If you want to enjoy playing guitar buy one, now.

    Now if You could just release the FX 12 pedalboard I will be in guitar heaven.

    I’m going to go enjoy playing my guitar some more!

    Aaron
     
  2. lqdsnddist

    lqdsnddist
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    Real is essentially what one gets used to hearing.

    I’m play my III 99.9% of the time and it’s how I’m used to hearing my guitar tone. When I plug into some hardware amps at buddies houses, they don’t sound “real” to me, In that they don’t sound “better”. Volume can be an issue, the sound can be a bit too harsh, etc.
    I don’t play their amp and think “I need to buy this”, instead I appreciate my Axe even more.

    Now if they are used to their amp, they might not like my Axe as much, different than what they are used to.

    Bottom line is that I don’t compare my Axe tone to anything these days, it’s simply what I consider my guitar sound, and that is as real as it gets.
     
  3. ML SOUND LAB

    ML SOUND LAB
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    I think we're in a point in time where we can make these digital modelers sound just as realistic. "Is it 100% the same?" Who really cares? Honestly if even the corksniffers get quiet in blindfold comparisons, how could you play the "sounds digital card".
     
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  4. lqdsnddist

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    I think we will get to the point where a majority of guitar players won’t have any experience with what the real amps even sounded like.

    I mean, I’ve never played any real Dumble style amps, on emulations, so how can I say it sounds right or not? In time, I think even stuff like real old bassman, tweeds etc are going to become increasingly rare, to the point that most younger players won’t ever have known playing one, and as a result, the reference to the original will become a bit lost, with the emulation becoming reality.

    When you look at those most critical of modeling, it’s generally older and long time players who are used to a certain thing, as well as those with a big investment in certain technology.

    Case in point, a guy who buys a $1000 vintage McCoy Wah isn’t going to want to say a $150 repo sounds the same, becasue they have a lot invested, emotionally and financially, in that original having a certain magic.

    My Wah on the other hand was a $200 Teese RMC, and while it sounded great, so does the Axe models, to which I gladly traded the pedals for virtual and haven’t looked back once. My frame of reference didn’t have any emotional associations, it was just what worked and what was practical.

    Someone starting music today, can very well never know a tube amp, or a real piano, etc, using only emulations, sample playback keyboards etc, and not miss, nor have any idea, what if anything they are missing.
     
  5. symphx

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    OP, what is your setup if I may ask, ie frfr what speakers etc.
     
  6. BBN

    BBN
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    This sums it all up.

    Been playing my Axe forever now. I plugged into a Marshall JVM (I think) head the other day, and felt awkward as hell. It didn't sound right to me. I was just too used to what I hear out of my Axe. If I spent time with the JVM I probably would then love that instead.

    The next gen of guitar players are going to be looking at people dragging out tube amps the same way we look at people using cassette players.
     
  7. AJ 83

    AJ 83
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    I don’t know if this question was for me or not so I’ll reply just in case it is. I have my Axe Fx Running through a Furman M-8DX power conditioner and then out to two QSC K12 speakers. My guitar is an Ernie Ball Music Man BFR John Petrucci Majesty (which is amazing by the way). The guitar runs into an Ernie Ball volume pedal and then into a John Petrucci Cry Baby Wah and then into input #1 of the Axe FX. That’s it. Not too complicated.
     
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  8. Rick

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    I love the "real" arguments. The Axe FX makes sound, and I hear it, therefore it is real. The question is do you like the sound. I do.

    The question of whether it sounds like a particular amp is a little slippery too. I've played other blackface Super Reverbs, and they were just as real as mine, but they didn't sound exactly the same. That's been my experience with most tube amps. They all sound a little different. So it's no surprise at all to me that my Axe FX model of a 64 Super sounds a little different from my actual 64 Super. What's important is that it sounds good.

    +1 to the OP. If you're digging it, then it's as real as you need!
     
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  9. pauly

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    I am consistently amazed by the reality of the amp and speaker simulations. Eg; I dial up a bassman and it sounds EXACTLY like my old bassman... There was no modeller That I tried before the fractal that imitates real amps so well. The closest is the Kemper, which is restricted to modelling single amplifier configurations (IE; the treble control on a Kemper doesn't model the real amps treble control) - It does this well, however the reality of the AFX III, along with it's beautiful effects just makes me smile every time.
    Thanks
    Pauly
     
  10. henryrobinett

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    I stepped away from an argument on gearslutz. Some guy insisted that people who use sims like Fractal and Kemper are beginners to mid-level players.
     
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  11. lqdsnddist

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    Yeah those kind of threads are always pretty frustrating. Guy who has $40k worth of vintage tube gear, and plays in Madison Square Man Cave, judges the likes of Def Leopard, Metallica, Journey etc, who are playing sold out arenas, on the basis of professionalism.
     
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  12. AJ 83

    AJ 83
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    Does OP mean “original poster”?
     
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  13. unix-guy

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    Yes, or sometimes "Original Post" (the first post in a thread) based on the context it is used.
     
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  14. James Nash

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    I agree! Have been using my III at gigs for 6 weeks now, and after the first few shows, I've done literally zero onstage tweaking... just set it up and focused on the music, which I think is the ultimate goal with any gear. I've owned tube amps that were plug-and-play, and others that I was constantly messing with. Even with all the options, the Axe is turning into a plug-and-play piece of gear for me.

    Another thing to consider in the "does it sound exactly like..." debate: is the comparison even remotely practical ?

    For instance, if your favorite patch is a 100 watt Marshall through a pair of 4x12s -- even if you can afford that rig, are you really going to haul it around to gigs, and can you turn it up where it sounds good in the venues where you play ? I'm finding myself dialing in rigs on the III that simply wouldn't be practical to replicate with "real" gear, so any comparison would be more about bragging rights than any real-life gear choice.
     
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  15. MikeyB59

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    I love real amps and still have a bunch. What I most love about the Axe III (and ll and Ultra and Ax 8) is that I can get great sounds regardless of volume. With cleanish amp and pedals it’s always a balance of exigency. If I can be as loud as I want, I can get clean headroom, responsiveness and great touch sensitive lead tones. Rarely was that the case and I almost always skewed slightly one way or the other (better driven or clean) sounds by amp and pedal choices. Now it’s just not an issue. Of course I like it better loudish, and there’s more dynamic interaction at volume, it sounds and responds well at any volume including into headphones.
     
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  16. BBN

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    That is it, in a nutshell.

    To use the argument that it is 'not real', is just someone being stubborn, and that's all there is to it.
    Maybe YOU don't like the sound, and maybe it doesn't sound exactly like YOUR tube amp....or maybe I see it as your tube amp doesn't sound like MY Axe FX.

    I recently saw a friend's band and they were awful. Worst guitar tone I've heard in years. And with two guitarists using 100 watt heads and 4x12 cabs, with nasty fuzzy ear piercing tone....the stage was god-awful loud, and the entire mix just sounded like a disaster.
    Days after the gig, we were talking about improving his equipment (both guitar rig and PA...and this was him asking for advice). I suggested going to a modeler, and got the response - "no, we much prefer the authentic tube amp sound".
    When someone clearly just does not know what they're talking about, you just nod and say 'ok'. You can't fix stubborn.
     
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  17. Matt_B_77

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    If you get a tone that inspires you to play what's in your head then that's about as real as it gets.

    People will like what they like and sometimes they get stuck in a box of their own creation.
     
  18. ML SOUND LAB

    ML SOUND LAB
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    I'm currently editing a video that could possibly put a stop to this debate. Honestly it's like digital cameras vs "paper photo cameras". When DSLRs first came out there was a backlash of people going back to the old "paper photo cameras" for that "mojo" but it's very rare to see any of those these days used by professionals. You see them more often in the hands of hipsters and people who didn't live at the time when they were "the norm".

    Both take a picture but a DSLR is much more handy because you can do so much to the photo digitally. Do you consider a paper photo a real photo vs a digital image? No. How is that different from modelers vs tube amps?
     
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  19. FractalAudio

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    That's it, I'm going full retro. Here's my new "PC":


    [​IMG]
     
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  20. hippietim

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    That's odd, I never thought you'd be a laptop guy.
     
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