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Axe-Fx III with Synergy preamp modules and MIDI

Felicidade1

New here
Dear all,

I have searched for information on incorporating Synergy preamps with AFX III but could not find any that could answer my questions. I am in the process on ordering a Syn-2 with two modules. I have very happy with quite a few amp models in the AFX III so far but I just hope to add a bit of analog flavour to the rig.

(1) I would like to know if anyone is using this setup and what are your views, and if there are any issues that I should be aware of?

(2) I am thinking of inserting the Synergy into the 'effects loop' of the AFX III, between the AFX Compressor/Drive blocks, and the Amp (with tube pre for power amp simulation) and Cab block. What is the best way to connect the two units? Using the AFX Output block to the Syn-2 'Instrument In', then from Syn-2's 'To Amp' output into AFX Input Block?

(3) In order to change channels on the Synergy Syn-2 using FC-12, I have to make use of an additional MIDI Block for each AFX preset?

I have tried reading the manual but some additional help from seasoned AFX users, especially those who's using Synergy stuff, will be much appreciated.
 

rickboot

Forum Addict
I don't run this setup but I used to own an Egnater M4 rack and Mod50 head with modules with a VHT tube power amp. Personally, I feel the modular approach is limited. Full amp heads get their magic the power section and its interaction with the preamp. Unfortunately, I could rarely crank it enough to add the needed power amp magic. :) Regardless, having a single tube power amp isn't the same as a complete SLO 100, Marshall Plexi, etc. I am not sure how well the Axe-FX III Tube Pre will work. The Tube Pre model is a simple preamp for warming up inputs and not a full model of an amp head power section.

If you proceed, I'd follow the 4 Cable Method described in the Axe-FX III manual. Then use the Scene MIDI block to switch or disable the Synergy preamps.

https://www.fractalaudio.com/downloads/manuals/axe-fx-3/Axe-Fx-III-Owners-Manual.pdf
 

Callan

Inspired
I'm not sure if the Syn-2 is stereo or mono, but I did add an external pedal to my AX3 and found the volume was -3. To fix this, I changed my input (input 4 in my case) to mono and it was back to normal.
Output should also be on full (I used Output 4 and it stays at 100%).
Little things to keep in mind when you do your build.
 

Felicidade1

New here
The power amp issue is what makes me sat on the fence all these time since finding out about Synergy a year ago. I hope that with the modules, the preamp will do most of the work (tone-shaping, character). Frankly, I have been playing around with the AFX3 trying to get a good edge of breakup tone but have not been having much luck (I am still new to the unit so it could be user error).

I just hope that the Synergy modules will help me in achieving that. Combining with the effects of AFX3, I think it will be great.
 

Felicidade1

New here
I'm not sure if the Syn-2 is stereo or mono, but I did add an external pedal to my AX3 and found the volume was -3. To fix this, I changed my input (input 4 in my case) to mono and it was back to normal.
Output should also be on full (I used Output 4 and it stays at 100%).
Little things to keep in mind when you do your build.
That's very good to know. Thanks for the tip!
 

muudrock

Veteran
Dear all,

I have searched for information on incorporating Synergy preamps with AFX III but could not find any that could answer my questions. I am in the process on ordering a Syn-2 with two modules. I have very happy with quite a few amp models in the AFX III so far but I just hope to add a bit of analog flavour to the rig.

(1) I would like to know if anyone is using this setup and what are your views, and if there are any issues that I should be aware of?

(2) I am thinking of inserting the Synergy into the 'effects loop' of the AFX III, between the AFX Compressor/Drive blocks, and the Amp (with tube pre for power amp simulation) and Cab block. What is the best way to connect the two units? Using the AFX Output block to the Syn-2 'Instrument In', then from Syn-2's 'To Amp' output into AFX Input Block?

(3) In order to change channels on the Synergy Syn-2 using FC-12, I have to make use of an additional MIDI Block for each AFX preset?

I have tried reading the manual but some additional help from seasoned AFX users, especially those who's using Synergy stuff, will be much appreciated.
I would recommend plugging in to the SYN 2 first.
1) Connect your guitar to the INPUT of the SYN-2.
2) Connect cable from "TO AMP IN" on the rear of the SYN-2 to the INPUT of your AXE III.
3) Connect cable from "FROM AMP FX SEND" to the OUT of the output your going to use for you loop ( Out 2,3 or 4)
4)Connect cable from "TO AMP FX RETURN" to the IN of the loop your going to use for your loop (IN 2,3 or 4)
5)Insert the appropriate INPUT AND OUTPUT (2,3 or 4) blocks in your signal chain where you want them the, IE. in 2 before AMP block, OUT 2 after AMP block. Set up the Tube Pre model for power amp sim by turning the Sag control to 0.

You can use midi out of the AXE to control the Syn 2 channel changes and AMP block channels to control the Axe amp model per scene.
 

mistermikev

Inspired
all the talk about loosing interaction between poweramp and preamp... I've often wondered: isn't that what we would have been doing when running a chain of effects in the send/return of an amp? granted the axe fx sounds great and there's really no need for external gear... but that's never stopped me before!

I have a triaxis and one stereo(el84)/one mono(6l6) power amp. as mentioned you might need to adjust your global i/o levels - easy enough. I've found that with my triaxis, there are a number of presets that - if they were going directly to the power amp - they would be blasting it and that'd be great... but in the axefx those pres are comeing back in very hot. no worries... just toss a vol block after the return and trim.

I have a number of presets for my setup that may or may not work for you... I have a chain of pedals in front, then use triaxis on i/o 4, then out to power amps i/o 3/2, then I freq use the tube pre amp on a return in addition to real power amps in case I want to run w/o them, then into a cab block and on to out 1. I'm sending midi messages on these presets to change the programs on my triaxis. you may have to modify slightly as I'm guessing the syn is going to respond to just a few midi program maps, happy to help when you get there, just holla.
see those here:
https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/real-mesa-triaxis-axe-fx-iii-presets-and-sysx-for-the-mesa.153727/#post-1830098
 
I run a Syn-2 with my Axe-FX III. I think the biggest thing I enjoy about the preamp modules compared to the emulated amps are the physical knobs. Turning an encoder is just not the same experience as turning an amp knob. I appreciate having the encoder but I enjoy the regular knob that has a beginning and an end.

Turning the Sag control to 0 does not set the model to be power amp only. It actually disables poweramp sim. You want the opposite of that (power amp only) which doesn't exist. As I recall, I copied the poweramp settings from a modded marshall model to the "tube pre" model to get it close. I wish I could remember who to credit for that suggestion.

There are several tricks you can do routing this combination. The ability to separate i/o on the axe-fx III makes this a lot more flexible than the II.
 
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Felicidade1

New here
all the talk about loosing interaction between poweramp and preamp... I've often wondered: isn't that what we would have been doing when running a chain of effects in the send/return of an amp? granted the axe fx sounds great and there's really no need for external gear... but that's never stopped me before!

I have a triaxis and one stereo(el84)/one mono(6l6) power amp. as mentioned you might need to adjust your global i/o levels - easy enough. I've found that with my triaxis, there are a number of presets that - if they were going directly to the power amp - they would be blasting it and that'd be great... but in the axefx those pres are comeing back in very hot. no worries... just toss a vol block after the return and trim.

I have a number of presets for my setup that may or may not work for you... I have a chain of pedals in front, then use triaxis on i/o 4, then out to power amps i/o 3/2, then I freq use the tube pre amp on a return in addition to real power amps in case I want to run w/o them, then into a cab block and on to out 1. I'm sending midi messages on these presets to change the programs on my triaxis. you may have to modify slightly as I'm guessing the syn is going to respond to just a few midi program maps, happy to help when you get there, just holla.
see those here:
Thanking for sharing your preset. I used to have a Triaxis and a Kemper at the same time! I ended going to the Triaxis for most of my needs. Thanks for the tip regarding the return levels being too hot and using a Vol block for trimming.
 

Felicidade1

New here
I run a Syn-2 with my Axe-FX III. I think the biggest thing I enjoy about the preamp modules compared to the emulated amps are the physical knobs. Turning an encoder is just not the same experience as turning an amp knob. I appreciate having the encoder but I enjoy the regular knob that has a beginning and an end.

Turning the Sag control to 0 does not set the model to be power amp only. It actually disables poweramp sim. You want the opposite of that (power amp only) which doesn't exist. As I recall, I copied the poweramp settings from a modded marshall model to the "tube pre" model to get it close. I wish I could remember who to credit for that suggestion.

There are several tricks you can do routing this combination. The ability to separate i/o on the axe-fx III makes this a lot more flexible than the II.
The tactile nature of using knobs for tonal adjustment/sculpting is really what I like, despite the powerful adjustability of the AFX3. There are of course amp models that I really like on the AFX3 and I will have no problem using them live. But the ability of quickly adjust and set your preamp tone minutes before the gig begins is very useful.

So your advice is not to turn the Sag control to '0'? I am thinking that the "tube pre" will be transparent enough for my needs.

I also assumed that the Synergy modules are designed in a way that they are not power amp-dependent. I might be wrong.
 

mistermikev

Inspired
Thanking for sharing your preset. I used to have a Triaxis and a Kemper at the same time! I ended going to the Triaxis for most of my needs. Thanks for the tip regarding the return levels being too hot and using a Vol block for trimming.
happy to share and b part of the community. rock on.
 
So your advice is not to turn the Sag control to '0'? I am thinking that the "tube pre" will be transparent enough for my needs.

I also assumed that the Synergy modules are designed in a way that they are not power amp-dependent. I might be wrong.
Setting sag to 0 disables the poweramp sim, which isn't what you want. That would leave you with just the tube pre preamp and no poweramp.

I don't think there is any reason to believe the synergy modules are designed to not need a power amp. They will obviously work that way but there is nothing that I know of in them that replaces the sound of the power amp. They can be workable without the poweramp sound, just like any tube preamp cab, but adding the poweramp sound is usually desirable.

Put the tube pre amp module on channel 1 or an amp block and put a friedman or whatever kind of amp you like on channel 2. Go through the power amp settings in the model and copy them from the friedman to the tube pre. That will give you something like a friedman poweramp with a pretty clean preamp. Make sure the tone stack is set to active- I think that is the default for tube pre. You don't want a passive tone stack after your Synergy module- it already has one.
 

muudrock

Veteran
The tactile nature of using knobs for tonal adjustment/sculpting is really what I like, despite the powerful adjustability of the AFX3. There are of course amp models that I really like on the AFX3 and I will have no problem using them live. But the ability of quickly adjust and set your preamp tone minutes before the gig begins is very useful.

So your advice is not to turn the Sag control to '0'? I am thinking that the "tube pre" will be transparent enough for my needs.

I also assumed that the Synergy modules are designed in a way that they are not power amp-dependent. I might be wrong.
I should have specified "Preamp Sag" not power amp sag. My bad. Per the manual: "Preamp Sag — Turning this ON causes the amp block to behave like an integrated tube head or combo amp. Turning this OFF simulates a separate preamp and power amp. "
 

Callan

Inspired
The tactile nature of using knobs for tonal adjustment/sculpting is really what I like, despite the powerful adjustability of the AFX3. There are of course amp models that I really like on the AFX3 and I will have no problem using them live. But the ability of quickly adjust and set your preamp tone minutes before the gig begins is very useful.
Have you seen the new(ish) performance screen?
Not exactly the same but very close and way more flexible,
 

Admin M@

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
I helped a customer today with this setup. We used the MIDI block to control two Synergy preamps, so each one could have a different setting for every Axe-Fx III scene.

You asked about opinions so I will share mine. All in all I am not yet sold on this rig design. When I've personally compared the Synergy preamps to their equivalents in the Axe-Fx III, I've found that I'd rather just use the models in the Axe-Fx III (then into a power amp and real guitar speakers).
 

Felicidade1

New here
I helped a customer today with this setup. We used the MIDI block to control two Synergy preamps, so each one could have a different setting for every Axe-Fx III scene.

You asked about opinions so I will share mine. All in all I am not yet sold on this rig design. When I've personally compared the Synergy preamps to their equivalents in the Axe-Fx III, I've found that I'd rather just use the models in the Axe-Fx III (then into a power amp and real guitar speakers).
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the Synergy preamps. I have placed an order for a Syn-2 and OS (Dumble) module. I could not decide on the 2nd module which I intended to be a high-gain preamp simply because the high-gain models found in the AxeFXIII are really good. Maybe the SLO (Soldano) module is slightly fuller then the AFX3 model but I can't be 100% sure.

So far the AFX3 has exceeded most of my expectations and to be frank, the amp models onboard can very well meet most of my needs. If there's anything lacking, perhaps its the 'edge of breakup' tone that I'm so used to from playing tube amps (strictly my own opinion and it could be user error at this stage since I'm a newbie). I just hope that the Synergy might help in this respect.

Hopefully it will not be a fools errand.
 

zenaxe

Fractal Fanatic
Honestly the synergy stuff strikes me as the worst of both worlds. And it is stupid expensive.

Modeling has the preamp thing nailed and the modules are necessarily limited by their form factor and interface requirements. Almost all the reviews for every module are spotty outside the the Soldano. For the crunchy amps, Voxish, Fenderish, etc the mojo is not really focused in the preamp either so trying to get that tone with a preamp compensating for your generic power amp is basically a recipe for mediocrity and certainly not going to deliver Axe level tones.

The power amp is just yet another power amp and again gets spotty reviews even from the believers. And again crazy expensive for what it is.

I absolutely cannot imagine this stuff bringing anything to the table of value for an Axe owner. The only thing you get is the “my rig’s got tubes” voice in the back of your head.
 

skracus

Inspired
I use three SYN2’s with the III as the master. The SYN2’s are all in a single loop of the Axe-Fx and I control them with CC’s via the midi block. I still run FRFR and use the Cab Block. Essentially all I did was add a bunch of weight heat and complexity to my rig. Is it better? Completely subjective. I love it but I also still use the amp models on some presets. The midi block works flawlessly and is very quick. I setup a preset to level all the preamps. They have physical knobs so it’s easy to screw up your levels if you’re not paying attention. Once I have them sounding they way I want them to and the levels set I don’t touch them. If I do I go back through the leveling process again. I haven’t bothered to compare the modules to the Axe-FX models. I got the Synergy stuff because I like gear and I like the idea of having some knobs and physical hardware. Prior to getting the Synergy stuff I was using the III by itself without any complaints. I just happen to like gear.2F81ADC3-4ABA-4452-B887-D934EB4334A2.jpeg
 
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