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An update from a newb

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The Axe FX III sounds better than expected though a couple of ELAC debut speakers. Some things are just right while others sound a bit detached. That might be resolved when I switch to some Yamaha HS8’s or decent headphones. It might also be due to me needing to tune in my own tones rather than relying on FAS presets and Austin Buddy’s Naked tones. Don’t get me wrong... it does so many things right. But as a guy that bases his signature tone on a singular Celestion speaker... the creamback 75 and certain types of tubes and how they breakup and at a given level... how realistic is it that I would love everything this unit puts out?

The Yamaha THR100HD gives me authentic tones that I like much more easily.

My point is that just like “normal tube amps and speakers” our fingers and expectations probably have a sweet zone and that zone will not be honored for all players in different zones on all amps or presets. It may get close but...

You’ll need to fully know what you need and want in order to get it. I hope this is a learning curve and not just another list of excuses as to why this unit can not deliver.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it and it’s very close but I am quite particular. Fault me for that and I think you have missed what it is supposed to deliver. I am not dogging this unit but really trying to dig in as to what things it really nails and what just gets close in proximity.

It may be that I know what combination of components I prefer after 30 years that I just need to suck it up and create that exact combination by programming the unit from scratch. I think that is fair enough considering i’ve had to do that with real hardware previously.

Kind of like a Kemper versus FAS discussion.

This point is a self-revelation more than a dig on the Axe FX III.
 
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The Axe FX III sounds better than expected though a couple of ELAC debut speakers. Some things are just right while others sound a bit detached. That might be resolved when I switch to some Yamaha HS8’s or decent headphones. It might also be due to me needing to tune in my own tones rather than relying on FAS presets and Austin Buddy’s Naked tones. Don’t get me wrong... it does so many things right. But as a guy that bases his signature tone on a singular Celestion speaker... the creamback 75 and certain types of tubes and how they breakup and at a given level... how realistic is it that I would love everything this unit puts out?

The Yamaha THR100HD gives me authentic tones that I like much more easily.

My point is that just like “normal tube amps and speakers” our fingers and expectations probably have a sweet zone and that zone will not be honored for all players in different zones on all amps or presets. It may get close but...

You’ll need to fully know what you need and want in order to get it. I hope this is a learning curve and not just another list of excuses as to why this unit can not deliver.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it and it’s very close but I am quite particular. Fault me for that and I think you have missed what it is supposed to deliver. I am not dogging this unit but really trying to dig in as to what things it really nails and what just gets close in proximity.

It may be that I know what combination of components I prefer after 30 years that I just need to suck it up and create that exact combination by programming the unit from scratch. I think that is fair enough considering i’ve had to do that with real hardware previously.

Kind of like a Kemper versus FAS discussion.

This point is a self-revelation more than a dig on the Axe FX III.
Based on the Axe FX III and Austin Buddy presets versus the Yamaha THR100HD...
THe Yamaha is the truer amp. It delivers in spades on it’s five voices. Each easily nail some really classic sounds and it’s hard to make them sound bad. The Axe FX also excels at creating some classic sounds but some feel a bit more disconnected for me. That may be due to it’s more extensive programamability and that I need to tweak it to my satisfaction. Nonetheless, it is notable that one is an organic plug and play while another is requiring a deeper dive. I know which I prefer. Again, this may be due to my choice of venue for playback. I hear a lot of right things with the Axe FX IiI. I also hear somethings I miss and likely need to learn how to program for rather than just expect it to deliver out of the box. This discrepancy likely is a result of the differences in design approach.
I think one is designed to sound excellent no matter what and the other is designed to sound excellent across many tones when programmed correctly.

I like and appreciate both.
 
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Although it may be my playback system which I am still tweaking, it’s not the tone. The tone is spot on. It’s the immediacy of the feel and interaction between fingers and amp feel.

A $700 dollar solid state amp from Yamaha kicks it’s butt. Might be just programming but that begs the question of why was it not programmed thusly. The difference might be that the Yamaha is playing through guitar speakers while the Axe FX is not but then one might ask why that should be an issue for a unit designed to shine under any circumstance. Maybe it just me.

One sounds like a real tube amp and the other sounds like a recording of decent but less than optimal quality.

Disconnected.
 
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unix-guy

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Is the Yamaha being played through a guitar speaker cabinet?

If so, you are comparing apples and oranges.

The Axe Fx IS a simulation of a tube amp through a mic'd speaker into a mic preamp. That is not the same as hearing a guitar speaker in the room with you... Especially comparing a 1x12 or 2x12 cab with a couple 6-8" reference monitors.
 

Miseria

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You are right. The Axe FX sound nothing like a guitar speaker In the room compared with monitors.
I expected it world.
This is why I set up my presets to be used two ways.

Output 1 goes to my (crappy and soon to be replaced) studio monitors. Output 3 goes to my solid state power amp and then into a 2x12 cab. Into a real cab it really does feel like I have a ton of awesome heads that I can use (some I like better than others ofc). Then when I want the genuine amp feel all I have to do is switch outputs.

What I've discovered over a few months of playing (started with AX8 and now on AX III) is that I'm totally getting hooked on trying to use IRs to sculpt sound (and playing with stereo effects is crazy fun). Thinking of getting a passive FRFR wedge next and put that in place of the 2x12 to see how it goes.
 

maxdown

Fractal Fanatic
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^ This .... you can try it using the AxeFX output to the FX return of your THR and it's speaker cab - just set up a simple input block - drive block - amp block - reverb block - output block preset on the AxeFX to copy the normal signal processing path of the THR

As a complete comparison you could also try using the THR in it's DI only mode via a sound device to your studio monitors

If you desire that cab in the room sound then you've little choice but to use a neutral power amp and traditional cab same as the THR is doing

I've heard some good things about the THR100 (I actually use a little THR10 for quiet arrangement band rehearsals myself) - but the Fractal has it all plus much much more including bucket loads of integrated FX to tap into
 
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^ This .... you can try it using the AxeFX output to the FX return of your THR and it's speaker cab - just set up a simple input block - drive block - amp block - reverb block - output block preset on the AxeFX to copy the normal signal processing path of the THR

As a complete comparison you could also try using the THR in it's DI only mode via a sound device to your studio monitors

If you desire that cab in the room sound then you've little choice but to use a neutral power amp and traditional cab same as the THR is doing

I've heard some good things about the THR100 (I actually use a little THR10 for quiet arrangement band rehearsals myself) - but the Fractal has it all plus much much more including bucket loads of integrated FX to tap into
The THR 100HD is amazing especially in stereo with two different amps.

I am working with Fractal support to find out how to rectify this.
 
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The THR 100HD is amazing especially in stereo with two different amps.

I am working with Fractal support to find out how to rectify this.
While waiting to hear back from Fractal support I switched from using the ELAC Debut 6 speakers to the Staus CB-1 headphones and noticed an immediate significant improvement.

https://thestatusaudio.com/products/cb1?

My thoughts are that the ELAC speakers, not being true studio monitors, have too much high end and that makes things harsher which might lead to the feeling of being disconnected from what you play. These headphones are purported to be rather neutral and I tend to agreee. At 30% off for giving an e-mail address they are a great deal.

The next test will be to hook up the Yamaha HS8’s and see where that takes me.
 
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it will if you plug it into a guitar speaker in the room, though.
Thanks Chris. What I am hoping for is that sort of tone direct. I want to run the Axe straight in to a multitrack recorder.
The issue may have been my playback system. I am still experimenting.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
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Thanks Chris. What I am hoping for is that sort of tone direct. I want to run the Axe straight in to a multitrack recorder.
The issue may have been my playback system. I am still experimenting.
You aren't going to get that tone going direct... It's impossible, even with a "real" rig.

When you hear a guitar speaker cabinet your ears are distant and hearing the room and the effect of being "distant" plus various artifacts of the room you are in.

When you record a guitar speaker cabinet your "ears" are the mic(s) up very close (close micing) with very little of the room. The proximity of the mic colors the sound. The mic itself colors the sound. The mic preamp colors the sound. This is what the Axe Fx is modeling...

These are very different sounds.

The good news is that most likely you are ultimately chasing the recorded tones of your heroes... And guess what? The latter is what ALL of them did when recording. :)

As soon as you can wrap your head around that, I think your mind will be changed.

This has been discussed ad nauseum in the Fractal forums since time immemorial. Search the forum for "amp in the room" (which should really be called "cab in the room" because the amp isn't the issue).
 

iaresee

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I am working with Fractal support to find out how to rectify this.
Rectify what, exactly?

I switched from using the ELAC Debut 6 speakers to the Staus CB-1 headphones and noticed an immediate significant improvement.
Those are tiny bookshelf speakers for a stereo. They're neither full range or flat response. I don't think you're really getting the right expereince. That being said, you also may be expecting something that isn't possible.
 

chris

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Thanks Chris. What I am hoping for is that sort of tone direct. I want to run the Axe straight in to a multitrack recorder.
The issue may have been my playback system. I am still experimenting.
but if you record a real amp, it will play back on... non-guitar cab speakers and will produce the same result.

the speakers you mention are pretty inexpensive. i wouldn't expect anything to sound stellar out of it. they are meant for canned, processed, recorded music to sound good to the average listener. that usually means hyped highs and lows. electric guitar sounds horrible with hyped highs and lows.

the axe does produce that tone direct. volume in the room and quality of speaker makes a huge difference. you can't compare 2 completely different things and expect the same result.
 

jlynnb1

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comparing apples and oranges here, and the Fractal is never, I repeat NEVER going to sound like a cab in the room unless you are running it through said cab in the room.

THe Yamaha's are cool for what they do, but don't come close in any aspect to what the Axe can give you.

and as far as being compared to a cab....if you get a legit FRFR speaker, crank it up as loud as the cab in the room you are playing through, I promise you won't miss the cab. People want to play their Axe through 5 inch speakers at conversation levels and want it to sound and feel like their cab rattling the walls....I'll never understand it.
 
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You aren't going to get that tone going direct... It's impossible, even with a "real" rig.

When you hear a guitar speaker cabinet your ears are distant and hearing the room and the effect of being "distant" plus various artifacts of the room you are in.

When you record a guitar speaker cabinet your "ears" are the mic(s) up very close (close micing) with very little of the room. The proximity of the mic colors the sound. The mic itself colors the sound. The mic preamp colors the sound. This is what the Axe Fx is modeling...

These are very different sounds.

The good news is that most likely you are ultimately chasing the recorded tones of your heroes... And guess what? The latter is what ALL of them did when recording. :)

As soon as you can wrap your head around that, I think your mind will be changed.

This has been discussed ad nauseum in the Fractal forums since time immemorial. Search the forum for "amp in the room" (which should really be called "cab in the room" because the amp isn't the issue).
Thanks very much for your input. I don’t think this is impossible though. One of the tings that Yamaha did when creating the V2 of the THR10 was to add a room mic to the close mic modeling. The results speak for themselves. I was under the impression that “room” was adjustable in the cab settings. I’m new though so I may be wrong.

My main point is that for decades it was common wisdom that digital processors could not accurately mimic tube amps. That was wrong. They certainly can. Then it was that they could not mimic cabs. With IR’s they certainly can. The list goes on.

Any missing component of the sound or tone is just a variable to be solved for. I had hoped that the Axe FX III had solved all of them. Perhaps it has and I just need to man-up and be a power user.

The bottom line is that I want a device that will give me any tone I can think of and then use it in any fashion I desire.

To say that is impossible is ceasing to dream. It certainly can be done and I would argue that we are very close or even potentially there. I currently think the difference might lie in what other tools... like speakers, headphones, recorders we use in tandem with the tone generator. I think most studio engineers might agreee.

It’s why studio monitors are critical and why mastering is a thing. If I can replace hundreds of amps with one device why can’t I replace the rest as well?
 
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comparing apples and oranges here, and the Fractal is never, I repeat NEVER going to sound like a cab in the room unless you are running it through said cab in the room.

THe Yamaha's are cool for what they do, but don't come close in any aspect to what the Axe can give you.

and as far as being compared to a cab....if you get a legit FRFR speaker, crank it up as loud as the cab in the room you are playing through, I promise you won't miss the cab. People want to play their Axe through 5 inch speakers at conversation levels and want it to sound and feel like their cab rattling the walls....I'll never understand it.
I’m not doing this at all. I am playing both at the same level.
 
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but if you record a real amp, it will play back on... non-guitar cab speakers and will produce the same result.

the speakers you mention are pretty inexpensive. i wouldn't expect anything to sound stellar out of it. they are meant for canned, processed, recorded music to sound good to the average listener. that usually means hyped highs and lows. electric guitar sounds horrible with hyped highs and lows.

the axe does produce that tone direct. volume in the room and quality of speaker makes a huge difference. you can't compare 2 completely different things and expect the same result.
My answer would be that in addition to guitar cab/speaker IR’s that Studio Monitor IR’s need to be a thing.
If a CD sounds really good on my “cheap” speakers why can’t my guitar tone generator?

I hear things like “think outside the box” while people talk in absolutes. Count me out of that loop.
 
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