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Axe-Fx Live Tips

AXEFX LIVE TIPS

My thing is about working the AXEFX live. We all know how amazing and perfect it is for recording or home systems. But I often get people asking me for help with their AXEFX ‘Live sound’ because it sounds too ‘Processed’ or ‘HIFI’.

I have been through many incarnations of using the AXEFX. From using it just as an FX unit to a 4 cable method to just a pre-amp into power amps and quads or 2x12s. Now it’s exclusively into FRFR monitors. It has been my ‘system’ for many years. And I’m here to stay. I have found my sound, but as my playing and style morphs and changes, now, so can my tone.

I don’t play heavy-ish, low tuned or 7 string style music.

My favorite players are people like Mike Landau, who get the best out of their guitar tone with Strats and Fender amps. Although I have always loved Marshall, H&K with quad boxes and 2x12 open backs, coming from the session world, I go for versatility. I want everything, and I want it at my feet. Although I play a lot of covers, I don’t play them note for note. In fact, most of the gigs I do are improvised rock. I have much freedom in what I play and this determines how I go about creating a sound.

So, I need a system that allows me to get a ‘Metal’ and ‘Jazz’ sound….with everything in between.

Here are some tips I have discovered while using my AXEFX. I have the 2, XL+, AX8 and 3. These concept work for all of them.

I use ATOMIC CLR’s but have tried just about everything else. The CLR works the best, by far, for me.

1. Stand the FRFR up like an amp. Don't have it facing you. Rarely when I played through amps would I face the amp at my ears. In fact, I hated that sound and always faced the box away from me. The singers in the band loved it too as it wasn’t facing them.

2. Use a HI CUT & LOW CUT filter on the monitor.

3. On the CLR, use the BL setting. (Sub OFF)

4. If there is no FILTER CUT on your FRFR monitor, use the AXEFX GLOBAL EQ and take out all of 31 and 63htz. (you don’t need to do this with a CLR)

5. Use cab #95 Supremo 2x12. It is by far the most balanced and sounds like a real amp. I also like the DELUXE TWEED and the EURO RED MODERN. These 2 amps cross a very versatile spectrum of tones.

Reasoning,

Quad boxs and combos all emanate lots of bottom end because of the box and the air moving in and around the cabinet. Imagine what a speaker sounds like without an enclosure. So the resonance of the box's bottom end can be felt everywhere on stage. Remember bass travels through everything. Think the DJ neighbors upstairs......5 floors up!

So, an FRFR will have it's own bottom end resonance. All of CAB IRs are meant to emulate all that bottom end for recording purposes. They sound amazing when used in a direct recording. But they have been recorded with multiple mics to capture all that bottom end. They even sound good at low levels through an FRFR. But as soon as you turn up and hit the stage, all the bottom end of, say, a quad IR, plus the ability to extend that bottom end in the FRFR will cloud your tone.

The top end will be sorted out with the IR. You shouldn't have to edit the top end. (you know that sound of an early FX unit with ‘AMP SIMULATION’. Buzzy and fuzzy). The AXEFX has sorted all that out. But you have to remember some simple ‘REAL AMP ‘ concepts.

Remember, PA monitors are meant to reproduce the full range of a kik drum, bass guitar, keyboards, vocals etc.

Yet a guitar amps spectrum is not that wide.

It is important to remember, the AXEFX system is an AMP. And works best when treated like one.

If of course you are playing heavy, low tuned or 7-string music, then that may not require any bass cut. In fact it may be the desired tone.

But in a local club gig, or anything that is not ultra-heavy, I want my rig to sound like a real amp. A REAL GOOD ONE too!

This is why i use cab #95 Supremo 2x12.

It is the most balanced and has a perfect mid range.

Now, here's a great tip, I've recently discovered and stated using.

Remember those 2 EQ sliders on the global EQ, 31 and 63htz?

Well, if you want to emulate a little more bottom end, like what a real cabinet does on stage, then just ad some of those frequencies to the flat, unedited GLOBAL EQ. (you wont get this same result by just adding more BASS in the amp block. This is a different thing and may muddy up your tone…..You know, that squashy sound on the low strings).

I tried adding 1db to each, and it was ok but maybe just a bit too much for what i wanted. So i split the difference and only added .50 of a db on both of those frequencies. You definitely don’t need much.

It worked an absolute treat. (remember I’m on the CLRs).

Gave a little more body to my already awesome sound, and I could feel it on and around the stage.

I recently did a gig with 10 other guitarists. We did 2 songs each. They all had amps….and most of them sounded amazing on stage. But with one 57 on each amp, not necessarily in the sweet spot (that’s a lucky-dip either way you look at it), out the front, some amps sounded bright with little body. However, with my AX8, I was told by many in the audience, that my sound was the best out the front. I had my CLR on stage, but I could ‘feel’ my sound out the front.

Remember, you can use the ECHO OUTPUT 1 TO OUTPUT 2 selection in settings. This allows you to output your sound through both outputs. Giving the sound guy a steady volume whilst allowing you to turn up or down without affecting the FOH. I use this every time I'm through the PA. That way you can edit the global EQ, if you must, for your onstage sound whilst leaving your FOH sound unedited.

Its an amazing transformation going from real amps into the digital world. It can be a challenge. But once you are on the path and settled in, there's no reason to go back.

Dinosaurs will always bag you out about not using a ‘Real Amp’. But they listen with their eyes….all the while complaining that they can’t sell their CDs and wishing more people would go out and support live music….theirs in particular. They will bag you out for using an Ibanez JEM live and then ask you what the STRAT was on that recording you did. Answer; an IBANEZ JEM.

This is the NEW world. We are here, and have been for a while. It’s an amazing world too, and I’m never going back!

The AXEFX “is” a real amp. But it is also much, much more.

I now find playing through a real amp, way too limiting.

In fact, I always have. I used to always want a live rig with a Fender, Marshall and Vox amp (this just for starters).

I'm not now, never have been, or ever wanted to be a 'one sound' guy.

The AXEFX has enabled me to find my 'tone'. It has helped me to create my own style. I'm still working towards that, but i am finding it and i don't think I've ever had such a great sound.

The AXEFX is not just a heavy metal rig. In fact it’s far from it. There is so much to discover in it, that it amazes me for the price. It still cracks me up that pedal guys buy a reverb pedal for $800 to do what an AXEFX can do a zillion times over.

If you are struggling with your ‘Live’ tone, contact me and I’ll see if I can help. In fact, I know I can. It’s an easy fix.

Cheers
Peter

PETER NORTHCOTE GUITAR P/L
peter@peternorthcote.com
www.peternorthcote.com

#AXEFX #FRACTALAUDIO #INDEPENDENTMUSIC
 

JPE

Member
Hi Peter,
Thankx for the interesting article.
I too have some difficulty cutting through the band mix (drums, bas, keyboard, pedal steel, acoustic and me on electric guitar). We play at local clubs, just the backline with no PA. I use a 1x12 TTcab, if possible stereo 2x 1x12TTcab.
I adjusted, in the amp section, the ec settings (5band: 80: -1.15, 240: -.5, 750: 2.4, 2200: 4.8 and 6600: 1.0). This helps a bit.
You're into Mike Landau, I'm into Michael Thompson sound: not so much different. I too have to cover from hard rock to ambient styles.

My question to you:
Do you use the F095 2x12 Supremo Mix cab for all your sounds: clean and distorted?
What do you mean bu the Global EQ? Do you put a Grafic EQ block in all your presets?
Ans the do you use the 10 band Var Q with 31: .5 an 63 on .5?

Are tehre any other tricks besides cranking up the volume?

Thankx
 

Tazz

New Member
AXEFX LIVE TIPS

My thing is about working the AXEFX live. We all know how amazing and perfect it is for recording or home systems. But I often get people asking me for help with their AXEFX ‘Live sound’ because it sounds too ‘Processed’ or ‘HIFI’.

I have been through many incarnations of using the AXEFX. From using it just as an FX unit to a 4 cable method to just a pre-amp into power amps and quads or 2x12s. Now it’s exclusively into FRFR monitors. It has been my ‘system’ for many years. And I’m here to stay. I have found my sound, but as my playing and style morphs and changes, now, so can my tone.

I don’t play heavy-ish, low tuned or 7 string style music.

My favorite players are people like Mike Landau, who get the best out of their guitar tone with Strats and Fender amps. Although I have always loved Marshall, H&K with quad boxes and 2x12 open backs, coming from the session world, I go for versatility. I want everything, and I want it at my feet. Although I play a lot of covers, I don’t play them note for note. In fact, most of the gigs I do are improvised rock. I have much freedom in what I play and this determines how I go about creating a sound.

So, I need a system that allows me to get a ‘Metal’ and ‘Jazz’ sound….with everything in between.

Here are some tips I have discovered while using my AXEFX. I have the 2, XL+, AX8 and 3. These concept work for all of them.

I use ATOMIC CLR’s but have tried just about everything else. The CLR works the best, by far, for me.

1. Stand the FRFR up like an amp. Don't have it facing you. Rarely when I played through amps would I face the amp at my ears. In fact, I hated that sound and always faced the box away from me. The singers in the band loved it too as it wasn’t facing them.

2. Use a HI CUT & LOW CUT filter on the monitor.

3. On the CLR, use the BL setting. (Sub OFF)

4. If there is no FILTER CUT on your FRFR monitor, use the AXEFX GLOBAL EQ and take out all of 31 and 63htz. (you don’t need to do this with a CLR)

5. Use cab #95 Supremo 2x12. It is by far the most balanced and sounds like a real amp. I also like the DELUXE TWEED and the EURO RED MODERN. These 2 amps cross a very versatile spectrum of tones.

Reasoning,

Quad boxs and combos all emanate lots of bottom end because of the box and the air moving in and around the cabinet. Imagine what a speaker sounds like without an enclosure. So the resonance of the box's bottom end can be felt everywhere on stage. Remember bass travels through everything. Think the DJ neighbors upstairs......5 floors up!

So, an FRFR will have it's own bottom end resonance. All of CAB IRs are meant to emulate all that bottom end for recording purposes. They sound amazing when used in a direct recording. But they have been recorded with multiple mics to capture all that bottom end. They even sound good at low levels through an FRFR. But as soon as you turn up and hit the stage, all the bottom end of, say, a quad IR, plus the ability to extend that bottom end in the FRFR will cloud your tone.

The top end will be sorted out with the IR. You shouldn't have to edit the top end. (you know that sound of an early FX unit with ‘AMP SIMULATION’. Buzzy and fuzzy). The AXEFX has sorted all that out. But you have to remember some simple ‘REAL AMP ‘ concepts.

Remember, PA monitors are meant to reproduce the full range of a kik drum, bass guitar, keyboards, vocals etc.

Yet a guitar amps spectrum is not that wide.

It is important to remember, the AXEFX system is an AMP. And works best when treated like one.

If of course you are playing heavy, low tuned or 7-string music, then that may not require any bass cut. In fact it may be the desired tone.

But in a local club gig, or anything that is not ultra-heavy, I want my rig to sound like a real amp. A REAL GOOD ONE too!

This is why i use cab #95 Supremo 2x12.

It is the most balanced and has a perfect mid range.

Now, here's a great tip, I've recently discovered and stated using.

Remember those 2 EQ sliders on the global EQ, 31 and 63htz?

Well, if you want to emulate a little more bottom end, like what a real cabinet does on stage, then just ad some of those frequencies to the flat, unedited GLOBAL EQ. (you wont get this same result by just adding more BASS in the amp block. This is a different thing and may muddy up your tone…..You know, that squashy sound on the low strings).

I tried adding 1db to each, and it was ok but maybe just a bit too much for what i wanted. So i split the difference and only added .50 of a db on both of those frequencies. You definitely don’t need much.

It worked an absolute treat. (remember I’m on the CLRs).

Gave a little more body to my already awesome sound, and I could feel it on and around the stage.

I recently did a gig with 10 other guitarists. We did 2 songs each. They all had amps….and most of them sounded amazing on stage. But with one 57 on each amp, not necessarily in the sweet spot (that’s a lucky-dip either way you look at it), out the front, some amps sounded bright with little body. However, with my AX8, I was told by many in the audience, that my sound was the best out the front. I had my CLR on stage, but I could ‘feel’ my sound out the front.

Remember, you can use the ECHO OUTPUT 1 TO OUTPUT 2 selection in settings. This allows you to output your sound through both outputs. Giving the sound guy a steady volume whilst allowing you to turn up or down without affecting the FOH. I use this every time I'm through the PA. That way you can edit the global EQ, if you must, for your onstage sound whilst leaving your FOH sound unedited.

Its an amazing transformation going from real amps into the digital world. It can be a challenge. But once you are on the path and settled in, there's no reason to go back.

Dinosaurs will always bag you out about not using a ‘Real Amp’. But they listen with their eyes….all the while complaining that they can’t sell their CDs and wishing more people would go out and support live music….theirs in particular. They will bag you out for using an Ibanez JEM live and then ask you what the STRAT was on that recording you did. Answer; an IBANEZ JEM.

This is the NEW world. We are here, and have been for a while. It’s an amazing world too, and I’m never going back!

The AXEFX “is” a real amp. But it is also much, much more.

I now find playing through a real amp, way too limiting.

In fact, I always have. I used to always want a live rig with a Fender, Marshall and Vox amp (this just for starters).

I'm not now, never have been, or ever wanted to be a 'one sound' guy.

The AXEFX has enabled me to find my 'tone'. It has helped me to create my own style. I'm still working towards that, but i am finding it and i don't think I've ever had such a great sound.

The AXEFX is not just a heavy metal rig. In fact it’s far from it. There is so much to discover in it, that it amazes me for the price. It still cracks me up that pedal guys buy a reverb pedal for $800 to do what an AXEFX can do a zillion times over.

If you are struggling with your ‘Live’ tone, contact me and I’ll see if I can help. In fact, I know I can. It’s an easy fix.

Cheers
Peter

PETER NORTHCOTE GUITAR P/L
peter@peternorthcote.com
www.peternorthcote.com

#AXEFX #FRACTALAUDIO #INDEPENDENTMUSIC
OMG, I just came across this jem of an article. Thx Pete.. I will be hitting u up soon for some more tips!! Keep on rockin and inspiring!
 

stratos

Inspired
Good words Peter.
I have been using Fractal since the GEN.1 days. Had them all, used FRFR / RCF's and sold them.
Ended up with an AX8, love it, never going back to an amp.
I have found that when playing LIVE with the band, I would always have issue with cutting through the mix.
Dialing in a preset at home, sounded great, but never punched through like the LIVE amp.
I NOW dial back the AMP SAG to .03 or OFF, and NEGATIVE FEEDBACK dialed out, and less AMP COMP.
The AX8 now sounds and responds more like an AMP to me.
Such a simple change did what I have needed for quite some time, and have read of other's having the same issues.
I don't play heavy 7 string material either, Fender Strat, using a 212 (open back) cab (wired L/R) with a STEREO power amp.
Going for the Fender, Vox, Matchless etc.
Using an XY on the amp for clean/crunch, and a DRIVE block for added hair as needed.
If I'm laying down tracks, I would dial these back in, and save the engineer all the trouble of sculpting my rig to sit in the mix better.
 

Jozsef Kiss

Inspired
Very good article!
Concepts I Don't Understand?
Can I get an answer?
CLR ??
AMP SIMULATION ”. Buzzy and fuzzy ??
ATOMIC CLR ??
Thanks for the help.
Supremo 2x12 - very good idea. Good sound for all my settings.
AXE-FX III - Marshall EL84 20x20 - Blue Alnico 2 pieces
This is my sound system.
 

lauke-lux

Power User
The supremo cab is a very practical one, Yek already suggested it in the past. I also got fixed with the atomic CLR cab in Backline config. Didnt notice that there's a filtering there, must check that, and rather use the EQ of out 2 for the CLR cab; cut of a bit highs and lows (with Ownhammer IR's) add some mid here and there and that's about it.
 
Very good article!
Concepts I Don't Understand?
Can I get an answer?
CLR ??
AMP SIMULATION ”. Buzzy and fuzzy ??
ATOMIC CLR ??
Thanks for the help.
Supremo 2x12 - very good idea. Good sound for all my settings.
AXE-FX III - Marshall EL84 20x20 - Blue Alnico 2 pieces
This is my sound system.
It seems you are using a MARSHALL amp and a 2x12 Speaker Box.
My live tips will not work with this system.
The CLR is a FRFR powered monitor.
You might need to do some more research.

Dont put an AMP and CAB IR into a Marshall amp and Cab.
....and find a good translation app!!!!!
 
This is great advice. Missed the first time it was posted. Thanks @PETER NORTHCOTE I’ll be hitting you up separately for some tips as I’ve been struggling with live tone.
The live tone i get from the AXEFX is the best i have ever had. (at 58, thats a lot of amps). I too have struggled but a few hurdles and you're there. You gotta remember that not every amp is your cup of tea. In fact i hate the Friedmans that everyone loves.
In real life, i never liked the Twins, i still don't like the modeled version. I have found more amps i like on the 3 and i'm expanding my Cab choice.
The wonderful thing about Fractal is that it is ever expanding. I just wist they could supply Australia better.
 

Matt007

Inspired
@PETER NORTHCOTE is there any way to dial in your sound well before you get to a rehearsal or practice? Wondering if there is reference audio or sound clips available to get it in the ball park. I understand that tweaks must be made at the venue. I find that I rarely have enough time during practice to get dialed in before we need to start playing.
 
@PETER NORTHCOTE is there any way to dial in your sound well before you get to a rehearsal or practice? Wondering if there is reference audio or sound clips available to get it in the ball park. I understand that tweaks must be made at the venue. I find that I rarely have enough time during practice to get dialed in before we need to start playing.
You just have to go to a rehearsal room and PLAY LOUD.
I do it often, then it make the gig-tweak a lot easier.
I often set up multiple banks so i can choose on the fly which ones work best.
Its just time and effort really.
 

Webby

Member
Thanks for the great tips Peter.
I'm still on the Axe II and have started using the Supremo cab #95 on most if my patches. Its so balanced and natural - its really improved some of my recording tones too! Thank you from a fellow Sydney sider!
 

Warrior

Power User
Peter,
Curious if using the Supremo cab in this context is just to feed the CLR or does it go to FOH as well?
I have a certain tone that I "prefer" while in my studio and I'm wondering if that translates well to FOH. Are you suggesting to use the Supremo in all presets for live use to both CLR and FOH?
 
Peter,
Curious if using the Supremo cab in this context is just to feed the CLR or does it go to FOH as well?
I have a certain tone that I "prefer" while in my studio and I'm wondering if that translates well to FOH. Are you suggesting to use the Supremo in all presets for live use to both CLR and FOH?
YES. You have to think of the AXEFX as a real amp. No silly tricks needed. The SUPREMO is perfect for all occasions.
 

Dukehunt

Member
@PETER NORTHCOTE
I agree with a lot of points in your first post, coming from old school valve amps etc, it is a big learning curve to the digital world live on stage.
I too found that using my FRFR like a monitor was not great it sounds better sitting up like a guitar cab, the difference in sound is night and day.
BTW 58 that's not that old mate..I remember jamming with you, Lex and Ken at the old Rock music store many years ago..your still playing well mate..
 
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