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Axe-Fx III vs The real deal tube amp

Djenter

Inspired
For the record, the afx or helix or anything else of that sort was never meant to provide the same experience of being beside a cab except maybe if you connect it to a power amp and then have the cab there. Which isn't a replacement of anything other than the preamp section of an amp (and many others) and various fx if applicable.
Most people are very misguided as to what the purpose of an amp modeling unit is. Its to simulate the recording chain of monitoring behind a glass window in a control room - an amp/cab being recorded with one or more mics fed to a preamp fed to converters fed to the daw and then listening to that through your monitors.
Even if the axe fx 3 is a perfect preamp and power amp and cab modeler, sadly many people in the industry still don't understand.
In this realm, its like binary: either you get it or you don't.

As for the level of how "high end" whatever type of gear in such a recording chain that one were to compare an axe fx 3 to, thats a debate im not getting into. But its good enough to replace my home studio signal chain because its probably better and it sure sounds better than most people trying to record their amps with mics, preamps and converting it to digital often yielding a thin, dead, and washed out sound.
 
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Governator

New Member
For proper A/B comparison betwen the miked CAB and the Axe-Fx recordings, did you use a IR capture of the same CAB and Microphone at the same position?

No, I haven't tested with that degree of scientific rigor. I'm approaching this as a prosumer. My question is simply whether the Axe FX 3 can reproduce the "forward" clarity of the above YouTube clip. I would be very impressed if anyone could achieve this, even with the new Cygnus engine. After over 2 years with the Axe Fx 3, guitars on playback through my HS8 monitors always sound "far away" -- quite unlike the above YouTube clip I'm tone-chasing.
 

Andy G

Inspired
I agree with the OP that Axe Fx 3 amp/cab tones sound "far away" and somewhat 2D when played back through FRFRs.

However, the OP also preferred the Axe Fx 3 for recording. This implies that a real amp with real mics on a real cab would sound the same or worse on playback through FRFRs -- but I disagree. Certain "real setup" recordings have an obvious quality of sounding "forward", gritty and clear. Example at 3:30 to 6:30:

I've never been able to achieve such clarity and forwardness with the Axe Fx 3 in a recording context. Is the Axe Fx 3 not quite capable (yet) of the real goods, or is it me?
There's a lot of low end missing in that clip, which might explain why it feels 'forward' and gritty. Playing around to try and get a similar tone I ended up with a Low Cut in the Cab Block at around 330Hz.

IR choice is going to be a large part of replicating that clip as well. I could get somewhere in the ballpark with Factory 2 #422 and Factory 2 #434, but I suspect you'll be able to get even closer with a bit more searching.

To my ears, there's nothing in that clip that couldn't be replicated in the Axe-FX 3. Obviously guitar and pickup choice notwithstanding.

Try the attached preset. I've got a 6dB neutral input boost as I'm playing with a fairly low-output humbucker, so depending on your guitar you might want to knock that back. It was also made with the latest beta firmware (16.00 beta 12), so it may not load if you're running an older firmware.
 

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If you are recording the amp traditionally and the Axe direct. There's the difference of recording a real amp in a great room. Find a good solid state power amp and run the Axe thru the same speakers and mics.
IRs still don't sound as good as real cabs to me.
But that should not be the case considering the emulation is of the amp and of the cab....so the recorded sounds of an axe model vs the amp+cab counterpart with the same mic should be the comparison. Not the axe going through an ss poweamp and then a cab all....just saying.
 

Smittefar

Fractal Fanatic
You cannot take the room completely out of the equation. If you really want to be nitty-gritty, you either record both using an IR, or you record both with a real cab and mic. Also, real cabs have lots of dynamic effects that Cliff tries to model with speaker distortion, speaker compliance, and speaker compression. But those need real fine tuning in order to match a real cab
 

Thomas Obester

Inspired
Try to use your AX3 with Fryette ps-2 and real cab.

I A/Bed for many weeks (thanks to covid) this configuration with all my expensive amps (Diezel Herbert MK1, Friedman JJ 100, Friedman BE-50 deluxe, Friedman BE-100 deluxe and Diezel VH2).

I got to the point where I could made my ax3 sound dead on compared to all of my real amps.

Then I got brilliant idea - I though about what I would change about every of my physical amps.
How could I made them to sound closer, to what I hear in my head as an ultimate sounding amp ?

So I tweaked for another weeks and A/Bed them again and realized, that I much prefer AX3, as now it is sounding as I WANT !

When comes to tones in my head, I just trust my ears more than anything else.

Last week, I sold my last real boutique amp, so go figure...

YMMV and IMHO and all of that...

AX3/Fryette PS-2/Friedman 4x12 cab (2x celestion alnico creams on top, 2x celestion redbacks on bottom) - BEST RIG OF MY LIFE ! 🤘

Edit: I had 2x Friedman ASM 12´s which are the closest to cab-like feel and it´s big difference compared to real friedman cab with Fryette PS-2, which I would take any day of the week.
 
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laxu

Experienced
Try to use your AX3 with Fryette ps-2 and real cab.

I A/Bed for many weeks (thanks to covid) this configuration with all my expensive amps (Diezel Herbert MK1, Friedman JJ 100, Friedman BE-50 deluxe, Friedman BE-100 deluxe and Diezel VH2).

I got to the point where I could made my ax3 sound dead on compared to all of my real amps.

Then I got brilliant idea - I though about what I would change about every of my physical amps.
How could I made them to sound closer, to what I hear in my head as an ultimate sounding amp ?

So I tweaked for another weeks and A/Bed them again and realized, that I much prefer AX3, as now it is sounding as I WANT !

When comes to tones in my head, I just trust my ears more than anything else.

Last week, I sold my last real boutique amp, so go figure...

YMMV and IMHO and all of that...

AX3/Fryette PS-2/Friedman 4x12 cab (2x celestion alnico creams on top, 2x celestion redbacks on bottom) - BEST RIG OF MY LIFE ! 🤘

Edit: I had 2x Friedman ASM 12´s which are the closest to cab-like feel and it´s big difference compared to real friedman cab with Fryette PS-2, which I would take any day of the week.
This kind of setup can work really, really well. I got some stellar tones using the Line6 Helix in a similar setup. The only drawback is going to be that you are limited with cabs unless you get a bunch of different ones and a switcher. But I think most of us are fine with this compromise since most are used to playing an amp with a couple of channels through just one cab.

But it definitely sounds different from the miced amp sound of FRFR setups and is more fun to me as well.
 

Thomas Obester

Inspired
This kind of setup can work really, really well. I got some stellar tones using the Line6 Helix in a similar setup. The only drawback is going to be that you are limited with cabs unless you get a bunch of different ones and a switcher. But I think most of us are fine with this compromise since most are used to playing an amp with a couple of channels through just one cab.

But it definitely sounds different from the miced amp sound of FRFR setups and is more fun to me as well.

I tried 10 of the IMO best 4x12 cabs and settled with friedman cab.

The same thing with speakers - tried all celestion in different variatins and finally, I have a configuration, which works for every genre I need with every amp inside ax3.

couldn´t be happier and really don´t have a need to hook different cab anymore :)
 

Djenter

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.
This is not a tube emulation issue, this is more an IR issue. (And by the way the sheen has nothing to do with tubes, there are amazing solid state amps out there that have the sheen that you hear through cabs).
Try Bogren impulse responses.
Everything else out there in the IR industry sounds dead. At least to my ears.
Those should give you the depth of realism you are looking for.
The other way to do it is to just run the afx3 through a power amp (tube or solid state) then to a guitar cab.
 
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∞Fractals

Power User
For my own enjoyment I set up both FRFR traditional cabs for “reasons”. Makes panning (delays, chorus, etc.) quadraphonic quite fun.
 

Governator

New Member
IR choice is going to be a large part of replicating that clip as well. I could get somewhere in the ballpark with Factory 2 #422 and Factory 2 #434, but I suspect you'll be able to get even closer with a bit more searching.

Your clip is a little more boxy than the above YouTube clip, but with some post-cab EQ it sounds glorious. Almost exactly the tone in the YouTube video, or at least equivalent to that tone. There's grit and forwardness, and palm mutes feel like they have life!

I think you were right about the cab selection. I was previously using Factory #I 337 and 359, and a variety of other bright combinations, but something was always off. Then I put your darker cab selection into my usual preset and it worked some wonderful magic!

The lesson for me, in this case, was that your selection of darker cabs were easier to manipulate with EQ than my previous selections.

Thanks very much for your time. I've learned a lot!
 

Andy G

Inspired
Your clip is a little more boxy than the above YouTube clip, but with some post-cab EQ it sounds glorious. Almost exactly the tone in the YouTube video, or at least equivalent to that tone. There's grit and forwardness, and palm mutes feel like they have life!

I think you were right about the cab selection. I was previously using Factory #I 337 and 359, and a variety of other bright combinations, but something was always off. Then I put your darker cab selection into my usual preset and it worked some wonderful magic!

The lesson for me, in this case, was that your selection of darker cabs were easier to manipulate with EQ than my previous selections.

Thanks very much for your time. I've learned a lot!
Glad it's helped - sounds like you're on the right path!

It's funny, I thought I was selecting relatively bright IRs (or at least I skipped through a whole lot of darker IRs). But glad that whatever I picked worked for you. It's so easy to focus on the amps and forget that the IR is equally (if not more) important.
 
So I tweaked for another weeks and A/Bed them again and realized, that I much prefer AX3, as now it is sounding as I WANT !

When comes to tones in my head, I just trust my ears more than anything else.
Ultimately, this is, and should be, all that matters. I’ve had lots of amps over the years, some classics (Vox, Ampeg) and some unknowns that I loved and many modelers, including software. I always seemed to be able to get a good sound. “Authentic“ tube amp sound? Not always, but I didn’t dwell on it. I see a lot of people so focused on what things aren’t that they never stop to appreciate what is is.
 
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