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Axe-Fx III vs The real deal tube amp

musicianof1

Inspired
Care to elaborate on this any? Is it amp modeling related? I am leaning towards no, since it's not an upgrade to 13.xx firmware.

I am guessing he is referring to the tweaks he has done to power amp modeling. They released it in the FM3 already and I have to say it is noticeable. I put my FM3 into pro tools using an IR plug in for cabs and put my Marshall Plexi Hand Wired loaded down with a Suhr RL into pro tools with a IR plug in and compared the 2 side by side and it is craaaazy close. Just about dead on- I feel like individual notes bloom more, chords sit in the recordings a bit better, and the sound of the amps just sound a bit more alive. It’s not like everything has changed, yet somehow it has. Hard to explain.
 

spagthorpe

Experienced
I am guessing he is referring to the tweaks he has done to power amp modeling. They released it in the FM3 already and I have to say it is noticeable. I put my FM3 into pro tools using an IR plug in for cabs and put my Marshall Plexi Hand Wired loaded down with a Suhr RL into pro tools with a IR plug in and compared the 2 side by side and it is craaaazy close. Just about dead on- I feel like individual notes bloom more, chords sit in the recordings a bit better, and the sound of the amps just sound a bit more alive. It’s not like everything has changed, yet somehow it has. Hard to explain.

I believe that if it is an amp modeling change, it would be a 13.00 release, and not a 12.09 release.
 

mr_fender

Fractal Fanatic
The upcoming 12.09 addresses some (or all) of this.

 

mr_fender

Fractal Fanatic
Lucky 13! Too bad firmware Friday doesn't fall on the 13th until November. That would have been too perfect.
 

rossipedia

Inspired
I am guessing he is referring to the tweaks he has done to power amp modeling. They released it in the FM3 already and I have to say it is noticeable. I put my FM3 into pro tools using an IR plug in for cabs and put my Marshall Plexi Hand Wired loaded down with a Suhr RL into pro tools with a IR plug in and compared the 2 side by side and it is craaaazy close. Just about dead on- I feel like individual notes bloom more, chords sit in the recordings a bit better, and the sound of the amps just sound a bit more alive. It’s not like everything has changed, yet somehow it has. Hard to explain.

I knew there was something different between my FXIII and my FM3. Recently I've been much preferring playing through my FM3, and felt that my FXIII in comparison felt just a bit too... idunno... "sterile"? It bummed me out because the FXIII was twice the price as my FM3, with more horsepower, so it should sound better, right?

Suuuuuper looking forward to 13.00/12.09 (whichever version it is)
 

Gregmang

Fractal Fanatic
Interesting comments about FM3.

From the most recent FM3 fw this was part of the release notes -

“• Improved power tube modeling yields smoother overdrive especially for semi-clean and edge-of-distortion tones.”


i wonder of that’s what people with FM3’s are commenting about ?

Either way I’m stoked for whatever is coming !
 

musicianof1

Inspired
Interesting comments about FM3.

From the most recent FM3 fw this was part of the release notes -

“• Improved power tube modeling yields smoother overdrive especially for semi-clean and edge-of-distortion tones.”


i wonder of that’s what people with FM3’s are commenting about ?

Either way I’m stoked for whatever is coming !

Yes, that it was I’m referring to with FM3.
 

PBGas

Inspired
Thanks for the info, very helpful. Are you saying use the Axe III through a guitar cab? I tried that once, with the power amp, don't recall what it was called, that supposedly, was for doing this kind of set up. Sounded worse than the Axe III through the XiTones.If you are suggesting I run the Axe III through a guitar cabinet...what power amp do you like?

Here is something to try. It may or may not work for you but it is what i did to compare the pure profile on the Axe III preamp to the real amp. While not scientific, it made me realize that it works well and sounds great. It was one reason I sold one of my amps because it was just too close to make a distinction.

Run the out of your Axe III with the cab sim and poweramp sim off into the return jack of your Mesa. Run the same sim as your actual amp. I’ve done this with my BE-50 and my JP-2C. I was surprised as to how close it actually was.

I like the Axe III through an FRFR but when I’m playing live, I really like my amp into a cabinet. Since I have gotten this unit, I have never ceased to be amazed as to some of the fine tuning they have put in to it to make it sound better and add more features. Truly a great company that cares about their products and customer service.
 

Genome

Inspired
FWIW I could never really find a solid state power amp that sounded as good or had the immediacy of a tube power amp. I think a lot of that real amp feel is down to the power section.

The FX Return idea above is a good one. I tried it with my Mark V once, and it still had the “real feel” with the Axe FX preamp simulation, remarkably so. I could never quite get there with my Matrix GT1000FX.
 

karmar

Inspired
I already said, as far as recording goes, I'm happy with and prefer the Axe III. What I'm not happy with 100% yet is the sound of the Axe III through FRFRs in a room.

I think the problem is not with the FXIII but rather with your FRFR set up. IMHO those solid state power amps all introduce their own imprint on your sound - I have tried so many (8 variations???) and they all fall short for me. Even though the FXIII is providing a perfect signal (as we know since recording direct is perfect!), your SS power amp is introducing its response to your FXIII tone. I have gotten around this problem for live by using a Mesa Boogie 2:50 tube power amp and a real speaker cabinet - a combination that sounds absolutely fantastic - and now that I have a FM3 it is all portable! Like you, I was hoping to get rid of tubes altogether, but I have reconciled myself with the fact that those SS poweramps will never sound like a real amp... unless.... UNLESS... Cliff could turn his genius towards creating a digital power amp that would work with the FXIII to give the same response as a tube power amp with a 100 watt output - but I think he already has his hands full or else he would have already done this....
 

electronpirate

Moderator
Moderator
I think the problem is not with the FXIII but rather with your FRFR set up. IMHO those solid state power amps all introduce their own imprint on your sound - I have tried so many (8 variations???) and they all fall short for me. Even though the FXIII is providing a perfect signal (as we know since recording direct is perfect!), your SS power amp is introducing its response to your FXIII tone. I have gotten around this problem for live by using a Mesa Boogie 2:50 tube power amp and a real speaker cabinet - a combination that sounds absolutely fantastic - and now that I have a FM3 it is all portable! Like you, I was hoping to get rid of tubes altogether, but I have reconciled myself with the fact that those SS poweramps will never sound like a real amp... unless.... UNLESS... Cliff could turn his genius towards creating a digital power amp that would work with the FXIII to give the same response as a tube power amp with a 100 watt output - but I think he already has his hands full or else he would have already done this....

This.

And the last part: There was speculation before the AX8 came out that there would be an 'all in one' unit. Perhaps a combo or head with an FAS Class A design. Perhaps both.
 

skydog

Inspired
Maybe others already answered. I have lots of guitars, and many more vintage tube amps. Been playing a few more years. The Axe FX III, through a beautiful QSC power amp, and then old vintage cabs and speakers, sounds perfect.

But much, much more important: what Cliff Chase wrote...
 

RoketRdr

Inspired
Maybe others already answered. I have lots of guitars, and many more vintage tube amps. Been playing a few more years. The Axe FX III, through a beautiful QSC power amp, and then old vintage cabs and speakers, sounds perfect.

But much, much more important: what Cliff Chase wrote...

Yep what he said. I’ve used QSC and Peavey power amps and finally determined to ditch my tube amps. Also, I know of two well known touring/recording artists that use the Matrix amps and swear by them tone wise versus tube.
 

GreatGreen

Power User
Isn't the entire point of an SS poweramp to be 100% flat and transparent?

I've never tried a solid state poweramp with the Axe-Fx, but if the Axe-Fx can output the same signal as a tube amp, complete with accounting for the right impedance curves and everything, why wouldn't a solid state poweramp that amplifies EXACTLY what the Axe-Fx outputs into a guitar cab be the absolute best way to simulate a real amp in the room?


Also, to answer the OP's questions, I'll echo that a guitar amp through FRFR studio monitors (even a real tube amp mic'd up in the next room) is NEVER going to sound like a guitar cab in the room. Guitar cabs and studio monitors are too fundamentally different to translate to each other. You won't be able to accurately compare modeling to the real thing until you listen to them both through the same physical speaker setup, whether that is a pair of studio monitors, PA speakers, or guitar cab. That variable has to be the same for both setups.
 
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RoketRdr

Inspired
Isn't the entire point of an SS poweramp to be 100% flat and transparent?

I've never tried a solid state poweramp with the Axe-Fx, but if the Axe-Fx can output the same signal as a tube amp, complete with accounting for the right impedance curves and everything, why wouldn't a solid state poweramp that amplifies EXACTLY what the Axe-Fx outputs into a guitar cab be the absolute best way to simulate a real amp in the room?

Yessir you are correct. I myself still have yet to understand why folks want to spend over $2000 for the the Axe and then completely bypass the amp/cab sims and just use it as an effects processor into a tube amp. When properly tweaked I can’t tell the difference between my Axe through a QSC or Peavey power amp vs my old tube amps. And the consistency night after night is unbeatable. Easy set up and dial in over and over again. I’m never going back to tube amps.
 

Budda

Power User
Yessir you are correct. I myself still have yet to understand why folks want to spend over $2000 for the the Axe and then completely bypass the amp/cab sims and just use it as an effects processor into a tube amp. When properly tweaked I can’t tell the difference between my Axe through a QSC or Peavey power amp vs my old tube amps. And the consistency night after night is unbeatable. Easy set up and dial in over and over again. I’m never going back to tube amps.

They just arent ready to let go yet. That's their perogative.

It's why I said "how to no longer use tube amps: dont use them". It really is that simple.
 

GreatGreen

Power User
Yessir you are correct. I myself still have yet to understand why folks want to spend over $2000 for the the Axe and then completely bypass the amp/cab sims and just use it as an effects processor into a tube amp. When properly tweaked I can’t tell the difference between my Axe through a QSC or Peavey power amp vs my old tube amps. And the consistency night after night is unbeatable. Easy set up and dial in over and over again. I’m never going back to tube amps.

I mean I can understand wanting to use the Axe-Fx and its models as a preamp into a tube amp if you're a particularly high gain player who relies on preamp tube distortion for everything, but even then... why? You're not really getting the benefit of power tubes anyway. Also, a real tube poweramp at regular gig-friendly volumes would basically render stuff like plexis, AC-30s, and a lot of blackface amps at their sweet spots inaccessible to you.

It just seems like using a tube poweramp with an Axe-Fx would add so much weight, reliability, and inconsistency issues to the rig for the benefit of... severely limiting your tonal options? Doesn't really add up to me.
 
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