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Any cab users with advice?

GodOfThunder

New Member
Hi all.

I've been struggling lately. The Axe is great, obviously, but when I plug in to my JCM 800 head with the same cab and guitar, it sounds much more full and lively. And it seems most on here are managing to get everything they want from their Axe. I've gone back and forth from love to like to love to like. I was wondering if I may be doing something wrong in my process somewhere.

I go from my Axe III to a KSR PA-50 and set the speaker settings to resistive load (which sounds dull for some reason) and then out to my cab. The one I use most is an EVM loaded 4x12 but I have another with Celestions for some typical speaker breakup.

Is there something else I should be changing in the settings? I know amp in the room through a traditional cab may not be the road to go for everyone, but it's how I like to play and I have so many cabs and stuff from pre-Axe days that I enjoy. Does anyone else who does it this way have any advice?

Thanks all
 

ScotHessler

Inspired
I can't seem to find a user's guide for the KSR PA-50, but my 1st thought is what is the resistive load setting doing? Is it acting as a loadbox?
 

RoshRoslin

Experienced
If you use a power amp, just set an EQ block (graphic works great) before the output (I use output 3). Make sure it's fully clockwise on the axeFX for unity gain and then set the power amp volume to whatever volume you need.

In the EQ block, you can set the eq to be whatever you need to match how you like your real amp to sound with the cabinet. I find I add a little bit of low end to get more thump out of the cabinet when using a gt1000fx power amp
 

jamongrande

Inspired
I go through moments where I’m not entirely enamored but the Axe after playing one of my tube amps (Rambler and 40s Supro are all I have now). But then I realize that there are a) things I don’t necessarily like about the real amps but can’t adjust and b) find ways of getting those missing qualities in the Axe with some editing.
As far as axe settings go, even with a power amp and 2x12 cab I still utilize cab resonance and will often find some settings get me the low-mids fullness I want. Everyone here has their preferences and advice, but I would just try out different settings to see if you can get closer. I also put an EQ at the end of the chain to tweak overall eq in a preset when in my practice space, leaving the global eq available for tweaking for the room.
 
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JoKeR III

Power User
The Axe III/FM3 creates a guitar sound, like a recorded guitar tone, which is what I hear through my studio monitors. Same type of guitar sound that I hear when listening to music. I'm not going to stop listening to music because it doesn't sound like a 'band-in-the-room'.

Understanding and accepting the difference between the Axe III sound and the amp/cab tone was a big step in me falling in love with the AX8, then the Axe III and FM3. It was a process but coming from years of tube amps and pedals, I have not really touched any of my amps in over 3 years.
 

Matt007

Inspired
I’ve been completely neurotic around this as well. I think a lot of it comes down to sheer volume and some power amps need to be pushed a harder that you’d think to get to a similar volume level as a real amp.

My current setup is to set the power amp about 3/4 of the way up (loud!) and then dial back the Out1 or Out2 knob to control the overall volume.

I’ve also gotten decent results using the effects return of a real amp. I go back and forth on whether I like to disable power amp modeling (usually) or not (sometimes).
 

laxu

Power User
I occasionally run my FM3 into the Fryette Power Station 100. For all intents and purposes the KSR poweramp should perform the same job.

Try the different speaker impedance curves on the Axe-Fx 3. I found that while resistive load setting works well, at lower volume I preferred using a speaker impedance curve that matched my cab best to my ears. For me it was the JTM45 4x10 curve because I have a 4x10 with 10" Greenbacks.

If you want to compare to the JCM800, make sure you use the same cab for comparison (maybe in stereo mode so 2x12 for each amp) and use a decibel meter or phone app to determine you have the same volume. At least to my ears my FM3 vs my tube amps sound very similar through the Fryette.

Start with a simple IN -> Amp -> OUT block and go from there. Try different combinations of more output level from Axe-Fx 3 vs more from the poweramp.
 

Halvor

New Member
This might just be me hearing things, but I'm noticing things sounding off through a cab if I feed the power amp either a too hot or too low signal.

If the signal is too hot it seems to compress and distort, and too low it seems to thin out. I'm experiencing this with a Seymour Duncan Powerstage 170, which is class D.

That aside, I find that the subtle(!) differences between where the Axe is at versus a good traditional tube amplifier becomes more noticeable at practice levels, where it's just loud enough to be heard over a drummer. In my experience, the JCM 800 only begin to sound pleasureable at this level. I have trouble hearing these differences once there are more band members playing, though.
 

maxdown

Fractal Fanatic
I’ve been completely neurotic around this as well. I think a lot of it comes down to sheer volume and some power amps need to be pushed a harder that you’d think to get to a similar volume level as a real amp.

My current setup is to set the power amp about 3/4 of the way up (loud!) and then dial back the Out1 or Out2 knob to control the overall volume.

I’ve also gotten decent results using the effects return of a real amp. I go back and forth on whether I like to disable power amp modeling (usually) or not (sometimes).
Yep - I find that the tip for the Matrix GT1000 for one comes alive when you have the inputs turned up to 3/4 open (even though technically the power amp is actually always 100% 'open' and the vols on the front only attenuate the input signal)

When using the FX return of a real amp do you notice differences when doing the same thing (turning the amp's master volume up or down and adjusting Out 1/2/3 on the Fractal)?
 

Matt007

Inspired
Yep - I find that the tip for the Matrix GT1000 for one comes alive when you have the inputs turned up to 3/4 open (even though technically the power amp is actually always 100% 'open' and the vols on the front only attenuate the input signal)

When using the FX return of a real amp do you notice differences when doing the same thing (turning the amp's master volume up or down and adjusting Out 1/2/3 on the Fractal)?
The real amps I use all default to full volume when tapping into the Effects Return only. There is no way to adjust volume on the real amp and you have to use the Output knobs of the Fractal unit. This clearly helps achieve a cooking power amp section, similar to what you like on the Matrix.
 

neale dunham

Inspired
If i have interpreted the OP requests correctly, a lot depends on what you would like the Axe 3 to achieve?

In my experimentation days when i first got my axe, i thought it sounded awful compared to my real world amps.
I complained to anybody that would listen that the Axe was no where near as good as the real thing!

Then i removed the Power amp and Cabinet options from the Axe and compared only the pre-amps to the real world amps i already owned. I Quickly discovered that by using just the pre amp section of the axe and playing it through the fx sends of the amps i had, how close to the mark the unit actually is.
So then i thought, why does it still not sound like the real thing when i use a generic power amp and a fairly neutral speaker like the Ev12m?

That's because, unless you have the exact equipment you are used to hearing the sound of. It simply wont. If you like the sound of your Jcm800 through Celestion speakers then i would suggest purchasing the Marshall EL34 power amp. Then try the Axe with Jcm800 setting and i guarantee you will be instantly a lot happier with your tone.

However, playing multiple pre-amp models through a fairly neutral PA such as a Fryette Ps2 such as i use, only gets you so close.

Vintage Marshall amp topology relies heavily on power amp distortion, as you probably already know. Using a neutral power amp will only get you in the ball park. In my experience, it will not "nail the tone" unless you use similar equipment to the sound source you are trying to emulate in the first instance. If you use the axe fx through a huge pa at a concert hall this is obviously possible as everything gets done in the box. But, as soon as you bring Real world speakers into the mix everything changes big time. How the amp reacts to the speakers for a start and what job the speakers are brought in to do.

If you are trying to emulate a Marshall Tone for example then use a Marshall power amp. Having said that, it severely limits the other 250+ models you have at your disposal and seems pointless, as you may aswell bring the real deal. Right?

So to wrap up, If you want multiple tones from your unit, Either accept that in the real world, the tone is only accurate at the pre-amp stage. the rest of your signal chain. will have a drastic effect on the overall tone.

Introducing a SS power only muddies the water further in my opinion, because in a side by side test between my PS2 and my Matrix GT800 the PS2 completely smokes the Matrix in terms of a realistic valve tone.

The Ps2 sounds like a real valve amp to my ears and the Matrix just doesn't Although that said, The Matrix does work well for other applications and genres such as metal etc.

I hope that helps in some way.
 
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Mark IV

Member
Old thread @GodOfThunder but figured I'd chime in as I was searching for other people using the KSR PA-50. Are you still using it now? I saw you had listed it for sale at one point on here. I found setting the speaker imp. curve to resistive load sounded dull as well. I went with the 2x12 Recto curve since I'm using a real Mesa 2x12 and it now sounds phenomenal. I completely sealed the deal by setting the XFormer Matching and Speaker Impedance to roughly around 0.8 as well. I know that not choosing resistive load seems to go against what is suggested when using a tube power amp in a flat setting, but I just can't roll with the resistive mode at all. I'd rather go with my ears than what is technically "correct" I guess.
 

OrganicZed

Experienced
Old thread @GodOfThunder but figured I'd chime in as I was searching for other people using the KSR PA-50. Are you still using it now? I saw you had listed it for sale at one point on here. I found setting the speaker imp. curve to resistive load sounded dull as well. I went with the 2x12 Recto curve since I'm using a real Mesa 2x12 and it now sounds phenomenal. I completely sealed the deal by setting the XFormer Matching and Speaker Impedance to roughly around 0.8 as well. I know that not choosing resistive load seems to go against what is suggested when using a tube power amp in a flat setting, but I just can't roll with the resistive mode at all. I'd rather go with my ears than what is technically "correct" I guess.

Whatever sounds good is correct. Convention is just a starting point.
 

Bruce Sokolovic

Experienced
A head and a 4x12 is a very different sound than a head and a 4x12 miced up coming out of monitors. To get the fractal to sound like your amp, the closest will be use an actual amp and cab to do it.
the way to prove the models are accurate is load down your head and put it thru the same IR and A/B with the model. The models for the most part are dead balls on.
using amps in different applications will definitely sound different. Match the application.
 

Mark IV

Member
A head and a 4x12 is a very different sound than a head and a 4x12 miced up coming out of monitors. To get the fractal to sound like your amp, the closest will be use an actual amp and cab to do it.
the way to prove the models are accurate is load down your head and put it thru the same IR and A/B with the model. The models for the most part are dead balls on.
using amps in different applications will definitely sound different. Match the application.
The OP is not having that issue. His situation was not getting the same results from a real amp/cab vs the Fractal into a neutral tube power amp (into that same cab) - My guess is that it had to do with the speaker impedance curve.
 
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