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Awesome through headphones - unbearable through studio monitors - need guidance/help!

MrPond

Inspired
Hey folks!

I'm a fractal guy since last december and REALLY digging the whole unit.
I put months in tweaking a couple of presets and in general i'm super happy about the tone through my cab (PPC 4212) through a power amp (PS170) and also through my headphones (DT 770 pro): Crisp, tight low end, mid-rangy and "close".

What i can't figure out is how different everything sounds through my studio monitors (Yamaha HS8).
It does not make a difference if i play through the USB connection or hooked up with out 1 XLR to my interface.
If i have to describe it: Muffled, boomy, "distanced" and just like any other 'let's take a look what we have already installed" VST guitar plugin.

The thing is: I really like the sound of the HS8! I like listen to music with them, checking mixes, ... yeah, i really like them! Except with the FM3.
This topic came to mind again after listening to some new IR samples of York Audio: My setup does not sound like this in a million years - like, this "direct in your face" aggressive kind of sound. It's like listening to another instrument.
BUT - if i play through my headphones to it (FM3 as an interface and everything through it) my rhythm tone is super fine and definitely in the same ballpark!

Any ideas what i can do? If i'm being honest - i'm a bit lost.
I think my presets are not the problem because all factory presets are sounding the same to me (no punch, fizzly, boomy, distanced ...).

So long!
Niklas
 

mistermikev

Inspired
This may be from left field and perhaps not relevant... but I'll say it anyway.

I've read that the speakers that sort of put yamaha on the map afa studio monitors were supposedly not flat at all. In fact, i've heard that they were sort of harsh (never heard a pair), but the idea was that if a mix could sound good on them... it would sound amazing elsewhere.

With that in mind... I would think it would be worth a shot to setup a new preset dialing it in for the hs8... then go back and listen to it on headphones and through the gtr pwr amp/speakers.

If I'm not mistaken... the hs8 has been known to over emphasize the bass a little.
 

Intoodeep1113

Inspired
Any chance you are getting issues with room acoustics? maybe it sounds OK in a mix where you are expecting extra bass, but in a guitar only patch things sound weird? Maybe try different speaker and listening positions?
 
Yeah, either the headphones aren't terribly accurate, or the monitors, or both. That it sounds good on one bodes well! With monitors we are listening to the room. Any other devices to test with?
 

Edrod

Experienced
As others have mentioned, what are your room acoustics. I have the hs8's myself. Have you tried stepping further back/forward from your monitors.

They have more low end and if there's nothing to trap the bass, you may hear muddiness or boominess.

Also, are you using the fm3 as your audio interface? I run mine through my focusrite. To be honest, i don't like how my mixes sound when I'm playing them through the fm3 as my interface.
 

TheloniusJ

Inspired
I've had a very similar experience. I do all my tone dialing using a pair of Sony MDR-7506s and when I've switched to monitors (both some Mackie monitors at the rehearsal studio and my Headrush 108s at home), the tone was much more different than what I got with the headphones. It has taken quite a bit of additional tweaking to get it sounding like I wanted. For me it is more of the highs and mid-highs (and a little of the lower mids).
 

MrPond

Inspired
Thanks for taking the time, guys! I'll try to address all questions :)

- @rockstarjazzcat @Intoodeep1113 The main thing is: I like the sound of the HS8 in general - like, i play the York audio samples and think: This sounds huge!
So, i don't think that the HS8 are the problem or my room because, everything else sounds quite good to me!

- @Rex Overdriving the inputs: I don't think so ... out 1 is not clipping, out 1 +4 or -10 does not make a difference, ... and again: It does not make a difference if i hook up my FM3 directly to the monitors or through an interface ...

- @Edrod Stepping back from the monitors: Yes, that's a good point but again - if i play other samples, songs or clips, it does sound fine ...

- @TheloniusJ Difference between headphones and studio monitors: And do you optimize your tone to sound good on your monitors or headphones? ... I'm kind of a 'real cab' player and try to prioritize the cab sound first ...

- @mistermikev That's the thing: I can't dial on anything close to - for example - the York IR sample. Not one factory preset sounds like this and also not one preset made by me. Miiiiiles away.

What i don't understand: Why can sound clips or raw guitar tones sound good (Youtube, Soundcloud, ...) and all FM3 tones kind of suck through the monitors? It's super weird. The York samples for example work on both - headphone and studio monitor. So, it 'can' sound good, i guess :D
 

Thomas Obester

Inspired
Thanks for taking the time, guys! I'll try to address all questions :)

- @rockstarjazzcat @Intoodeep1113 The main thing is: I like the sound of the HS8 in general - like, i play the York audio samples and think: This sounds huge!
So, i don't think that the HS8 are the problem or my room because, everything else sounds quite good to me!

- @Rex Overdriving the inputs: I don't think so ... out 1 is not clipping, out 1 +4 or -10 does not make a difference, ... and again: It does not make a difference if i hook up my FM3 directly to the monitors or through an interface ...

- @Edrod Stepping back from the monitors: Yes, that's a good point but again - if i play other samples, songs or clips, it does sound fine ...

- @TheloniusJ Difference between headphones and studio monitors: And do you optimize your tone to sound good on your monitors or headphones? ... I'm kind of a 'real cab' player and try to prioritize the cab sound first ...

- @mistermikev That's the thing: I can't dial on anything close to - for example - the York IR sample. Not one factory preset sounds like this and also not one preset made by me. Miiiiiles away.

What i don't understand: Why can sound clips or raw guitar tones sound good (Youtube, Soundcloud, ...) and all FM3 tones kind of suck through the monitors? It's super weird. The York samples for example work on both - headphone and studio monitor. So, it 'can' sound good, i guess :D
check how hot is your input signal.

with my prs tremonti treble pickup I have input at only 15%.
anything more that than makes sound worse (more compression. mud, etc.).

also, I always use different IR when playing with headphones compared to studio monitors, for example :

headphones : York Audio as bright IR as possible, most of the time just single SM57 or SM7B (best mic IMO :)).
monitors : York Audio with extended low end (add some ribbon/condenser mics to your usual dynamic mic option).
 

pauly

Fractal Fanatic
Hi Nicklaus,
It may be impractical in your situation, but you need to create a preset using just the monitors. Try creating and tweaking one from scratch using just the monitors.
Thanks
Pauly


Hey folks!

I'm a fractal guy since last december and REALLY digging the whole unit.
I put months in tweaking a couple of presets and in general i'm super happy about the tone through my cab (PPC 4212) through a power amp (PS170) and also through my headphones (DT 770 pro): Crisp, tight low end, mid-rangy and "close".

What i can't figure out is how different everything sounds through my studio monitors (Yamaha HS8).
It does not make a difference if i play through the USB connection or hooked up with out 1 XLR to my interface.
If i have to describe it: Muffled, boomy, "distanced" and just like any other 'let's take a look what we have already installed" VST guitar plugin.

The thing is: I really like the sound of the HS8! I like listen to music with them, checking mixes, ... yeah, i really like them! Except with the FM3.
This topic came to mind again after listening to some new IR samples of York Audio: My setup does not sound like this in a million years - like, this "direct in your face" aggressive kind of sound. It's like listening to another instrument.
BUT - if i play through my headphones to it (FM3 as an interface and everything through it) my rhythm tone is super fine and definitely in the same ballpark!

Any ideas what i can do? If i'm being honest - i'm a bit lost.
I think my presets are not the problem because all factory presets are sounding the same to me (no punch, fizzly, boomy, distanced ...).

So long!
Niklas
 

Intoodeep1113

Inspired
Have you tried another guitar and input cable?
Also I think Leon Todd posted a preset and a DI track for reamping so people could troubleshoot stuff like this. I'm not sure where that is though.
 

EdgE

Power User
Try down loading Steve Stevens preset with the left and right speakers.Sounds awesome with headphones and on monitors try the atomica amp ,can be clean and brutal at the same time.I played my guitar with the SS main with a couple of the York recordings and didnt sound that much off for me?
 

Jumpback

Experienced
So weird that they sound good for listening to muse but not FM3, but both muse and FM3 sound good through DT's

I kinda had the same Issue until I got my Laney 2x12 frfr cab
 

chestnut

New Member
You could try also using your FM3 as an Audio Interface and playback e.g. the York Audio samples. Then compare to the sound to your standard audio interface and see if its different...
 

laxu

Power User
The DT series headphones have a lot of high end boost and a dip in the mids. They are in no way accurate.

Either make presets separately for the studio monitors or use global EQ to flatten the frequency response of your headphones so that it does not sound so wildly different.

So for starters with the HS8, make sure you don't have global EQ settings on, make sure cab sim and poweramp sim are on. Make sure you are playing with enough volume out of the FM3.
 

TheloniusJ

Inspired
Thanks for taking the time, guys! I'll try to address all questions :)

- @rockstarjazzcat @Intoodeep1113 The main thing is: I like the sound of the HS8 in general - like, i play the York audio samples and think: This sounds huge!
So, i don't think that the HS8 are the problem or my room because, everything else sounds quite good to me!

- @Rex Overdriving the inputs: I don't think so ... out 1 is not clipping, out 1 +4 or -10 does not make a difference, ... and again: It does not make a difference if i hook up my FM3 directly to the monitors or through an interface ...

- @Edrod Stepping back from the monitors: Yes, that's a good point but again - if i play other samples, songs or clips, it does sound fine ...

- @TheloniusJ Difference between headphones and studio monitors: And do you optimize your tone to sound good on your monitors or headphones? ... I'm kind of a 'real cab' player and try to prioritize the cab sound first ...

- @mistermikev That's the thing: I can't dial on anything close to - for example - the York IR sample. Not one factory preset sounds like this and also not one preset made by me. Miiiiiles away.

What i don't understand: Why can sound clips or raw guitar tones sound good (Youtube, Soundcloud, ...) and all FM3 tones kind of suck through the monitors? It's super weird. The York samples for example work on both - headphone and studio monitor. So, it 'can' sound good, i guess :D
For my live tone, I started with my "great with headphones tone" and made additional adjustments to have it sound good on the monitors. It took me a few tweaks to get there. I was able to get close playing through my Headrush monitors and then tweaked a bit more for the Mackies we use live.

Another complication in my situation is that I play with a keyboard player so I need a tone that will come through without stepping on his sound. But I also have a few parts where I am all by myself, so the sound has to sound good by itself. It has been a learning experience for sure.

I should also mention, all of this was for my funky, jazz tone which is kind of edge of break-up, but I had similar issues with my metal tone (I still play occasionally with an 80s metal band). I dialed in a Friedman HBE tone that was tits through the headphones, but couldn't get it right in monitors (like it sounded super shitty). I ended up reworking it through my Boss Katana (100W 2x12) and got something that I'm pretty happy with. I bypassed the cab block for that one. Still getting it completely dialed, but that is where I landed for that one.
 
I always calibrate patches to the device I'm actually using when playing out. Headphones are then dialed in to match. I don't use the headphones as the primary reference point. Flat response headphones can be a good check on what's going out to the PA, but from there, usually all bets are off. (And it sounds like those headphones are not. Doesn't mean they sound "bad" though!) If trying to get a sound for recording, record and listen elsewhere?

And fwiw, if anything, I was suggesting the room might be at issue earlier. I'm not one to suggest that one needs the perfect monitors to get a fantastic sound. How many IR's are in the Fractal devices? That EQ in the out blocks is for dealing with the reality of different playback devices and situations, yes? Cheers, D

p.s. I'll be really curious to hear what was the primary culprit with your situation. There's no magic to it. You wrote, "So, i don't think that the HS8 are the problem or my room because, everything else sounds quite good to me!" "Good" and "Huge" don't address the issue of creating the patches on headphones and playing back on monitors, nor does it address the other electrical possibilities (e.g. gain and impedance) on the way from the FM3's converters to your transducers.
 
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MrPond

Inspired
Thanks, guys! I really appreciate your tipps!

Good call on the headphones EQ - they are surprisingly colouring the tone when i look at the linked EQ - super interesting stuff!
Because of that, i changed my approach and focused this time on my HS8 and ditched my main cab mix of choice and: That was a GOOD thing! I chose a quite "piercing" SM57 and a 421 and yes, it's going into the right direction! I think i need more time fine tuning the cab (especially the low end stuff), the amp shoooould be fine because it's working with my real cab :)

So i guess it always was a bad cab choice for my desired tone ...
The DI track/preset by Leon is also a good idea - when i find them, i'll give them a try :)

Niklas
 
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