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Another AxeFxII Video at Tone Merchants-Mike Young

holdenhinkle

Inspired
Amazing playing and beautiful tones. Thanks for sharing!

Re Eric Johnson:
He made the switch from analog recording gear to digital. I imagine he'll be doing the same with his rig someday too.
 

vinnieRice

Inspired
this sounds great... but does it really sound that much different to what can be achieved on the ultra?
With a decent valve amp you can change the tone in different ways just with your picking and fingering. Also, in a really good valve amp the note blooms out of the initial attack as all sorts of non-linear factors come into play. I can clearly hear that with Axe FXII which takes it way beyond anything else. This is an expensive professional tool now and some of the subtleties may be lost unless you know what to listen for. I suspect the difference will become blindingly obvious when one experiences the interaction first-hand.
 

holdenhinkle

Inspired
Can I ask how these patches were set up? I always used my Ultra FRFR. Was the power amp and cab sims turned off on these patches? The sounds in that clip were beautiful.
 

youngmic

Inspired
Thanks for all the kind words guys. I only played through/tweaked the II for 60 - 90 minutes - not enough time to develop the ability to do a really thorough and detailed review, but definitely enough time to determine that there is indeed a significant improvement in several areas. I played through the Bassman, Vox, Twin, Dumble, and Friedman models using the Blue, 4x12 25W, and 4x12 Basketweave IR's. I don't have the technical terminology or amp design experience to describe precisely what has improved but they have all definitely improved in terms of tonality, feel, harmonic richness, and responsiveness.

In my experience as a player, I've used (and still own) a Boogie Mark IIB, an Egnater TOL 100 (pre-rocktron), and a Matchless HC-30. I enjoyed all of these amps. None of them require a great deal of tweaking. There's really not much you can tweak, relatively speaking. You plug in, twist a couple of knobs to take the edge off what you don't like and try to add in what you do. Then you play. All of the models on the II respond similarly. I enjoyed that.

The Dumble and the Vox models have very significantly improved over those in the Ultra. I don't know the right term, but on the Ultra, there is an undesirable distortion that occurs when you have the master volume too high on these models (this may be what some have identified as "flubby" bass, but it's more as it affects the high frequencies as well - is it power amp transient response?). On the Ultra, it seems to occur suddenly and almost chaotically (again, searching for words here...). On the II, it was much more controlled and pleasant.

The quick edit knobs are very handy. You have 5 knobs to work with and they automatically assign to 5 successive parameters in the interface as you move the value knob assignment. So in many of the screens, you can tweak all five parameters using just the knobs. In the screens where parameters are displayed as a list, the 5 assigned move with the value knob assignment.

I did not spend time with effects or explore the new X/Y functionality. Basically, I was looking to get a feel for how the models and IR's responded and sounded through my FRFR solution. I liked what I experienced and heard.

How much of an improvement is it over the Ultra? Enough for me to get one. I haven't decided whether I'm going to keep the Ultra after getting the II or not, but will definitely not sell it before. I'm not sure I'll ever go back to tube amps.

Bottom line, you do have to play through one to understand and experience the differences. (I believe that for most of us, language fails to convey these things and terms used mean different things to different people.) When I listen to the video, I believe I can hear a difference and an improvement (these are tones I use regularly on the Ultra), but I have not done a comparison. It is purely by memory. Once I have both, I'll definitely be doing some A/B comparisons. But I can confidently say that there is a difference in how the II responds to tweaking and playing.

Frankly, I had kind of decided to wait a bit on the II and see what happens. After playing through it yesterday, I'm now very eager to get one and am feeling that familiar obsessive impatience again. :)

Mike
 
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youngmic

Inspired
With a decent valve amp you can change the tone in different ways just with your picking and fingering. Also, in a really good valve amp the note blooms out of the initial attack as all sorts of non-linear factors come into play. I can clearly hear that with Axe FXII which takes it way beyond anything else. This is an expensive professional tool now and some of the subtleties may be lost unless you know what to listen for. I suspect the difference will become blindingly obvious when one experiences the interaction first-hand.
Agree. Rolling off the volume, changing pick attack, changing the position of your pick - all result in very useable, noticeable, and enjoyable variances. Not sure how to describe it, but there is a sweetness that significantly improves expressiveness and the singing quality of bends and single notes.
 

Thomas-Hawk

Forum Addict
Mike, thanks for the in-depth description of the experience you had with the Axe-Fx II. This is the kind of stuff that I'm really interested in reading about. Much appreciated. :)
 

rhequiem

Inspired
Just beautiful... Those lead tones sound very Eric Johnson-ish to me, which is to say incredible. What a talented player, too. Makes me think I should be playing more, rather than obsessing over new gear ;)
 

Tonemaster

Inspired
Just beautiful... Those lead tones sound very Eric Johnson-ish to me, which is to say incredible. What a talented player, too. Makes me think I should be playing more, rather than obsessing over new gear ;)
Just curious, what amp sims and cabs where you using for the clean and lead segments of the demo. BTW, sounded GREAT!
 

youngmic

Inspired
Just curious, what amp sims and cabs where you using for the clean and lead segments of the demo. BTW, sounded GREAT!
I didn't write anything down so I might get this wrong but here goes:

1. ODS-100 Clean, 4X12 25W
2. Friedman BE, 4X12 Basketweave
3. Doubleverb, EV12L

I'm pretty sure that's right.
 
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boolean

Veteran
Mike dropped by the shop to see the AxeII and played through one of his EAW NT59 FRFR monitors. He sounded so great I asked if I could shot some video and he was gracious enough to allow us to do that. We used an Edirol R09-HR to get the audio to Logic.

He plays some really cool cleans, solo stuff and some really cool atmospheric type swells.

We hope you guys enjoy this as much as we did listening to Mike play here at the shop.

Mark


Awesome tones & great playing ….watched it twice ! :D
 

shasha

Fractal Fanatic
....Frankly, I had kind of decided to wait a bit on the II and see what happens. After playing through it yesterday, I'm now very eager to get one and am feeling that familiar obsessive impatience again. :)

Mike
As a professional internet Doctor/smartass I am/am not qualified to tell you that the feeling you are experiencing is GAS. It's probably just been a while since you felt it. :)

Oh and great write up on your impressions. I was wondering about the parameter knobs myself and it sounds like I'll like them.
 

boolean

Veteran
Nice tones but I hear that 'buzz' that I get from my home wiring.
its that really long 240V extension lead running from Melb to Tasmania that provides your state with power :lol

Seriously though, perhaps you have a ground loop ?
 

youngmic

Inspired
Hey Mike, Did you demo your EAW? If so how did it sound.
Yep. That's what you're hearing in the video. For my ears, the EAW is very neutral and very transparent. It doesn't get in the way. It has power for days and can handle anything I throw at it. It's also built like a tank. The one downside is that it's big and it's heavy...but so am I. :lol

I found a used pair at a really good price and felt like I couldn't pass them up. Would have gone for the NT29's if I'd found them first...a bit smaller and lighter, but am very happy with the NT59's.

Another strong positive attribute is their broad soundstage (not sure that's the right term). What I'm trying to say is that you don't get the feeling you're playing through a small floor monitor that's barking at you from the corner or at your feet. It's very satisfying and pretty much put my ears at ease. I'm used to my primary monitor source being a floor wedge with my 2X12 off to the side behind me. I was afraid I was going to miss that. I don't.
 
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rickgk

Veteran
its that really long 240V extension lead running from Melb to Tasmania that provides your state with power :lol

Seriously though, perhaps you have a ground loop ?
Nice one that actually made me grin.
I live less than a klm from a power junction thingey so i think that's what it might be, or dodgey wiring, nothing that an electrician has been able to figure out anyway.

It makes it really hard to do any serious recording with the axefx, strangely it does not affect the tube amps that ive owned, i just figure the axe must be more sensitive to this, i dunno. Here's hoping i don't have the same problem when i get an axe2.
 

shasha

Fractal Fanatic
Is that buzz there when you are plugged into other equipment or just from the AxeFX (I know that it'd be tough to check as there is no headphone output). Have you tried using the ground lift on the back because it really sounds like it'd be a ground loop issue if it's not effecting tube amps which wouldn't be plugged into another device directly.
 
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