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Axe-fx vs Tube Amps... my first experience.

RDeraz

Veteran
mortega76 said:
First up was the Carvin TS100... my Axe-fx (with my current distortion setting and output 1 maxed)
DAMN SON!how hard were you hitting the front end of that amp? :shock: :lol:
 

mortega76

Fractal Fanatic
DieSchmalle: Well, the problem with the "'muffled" sound being too much mids should have been null since I A/B'd the two power amps using the same patch side by side within the same cab (Marshall 1960 stereo cab) and at equal volumes. The tone was clearly different...

Arcangel: Heck yeah bro... I too am a gear n00b but Matt really opened my ears to what I've been missing... and it's gonna cost me! :lol:

RDeraz: Without the Axe-fx being dime'd the sound was just too low... and on top of that I was using the Recto (the one right before the Red, can't remember the name) and the only thing I adjusted was the gain (set to 4.50) and the master set to around 7.02 (darn decimals, I would really like it if I could at least reach the .00's, .25's, .50's, and .75's in all the settings for the OCD in me :D) I can set the QSC GX5 at noon or usually at 3 o'clock and have way more than enough volume. If the Carvin is any indication of what a 50 watt power amp sounds like then I definitely know the Atomic Power Block, Fryette 2/50/2, or the Mesa 2:50 (or whatever it's called) would not have enough juice for me... I really would like to see a 100 watts per channel stereo rack-mount power amp from Atomic... that clean power would definitely kill!!!!!
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
A tube power amp does NOT have a flat frequency response. It will accentuate the bass and treble. The correct way to compare the two rigs is to turn off the power amp modeling when using the tube amp and turn it on when using the SS amp. I do this all the time and I can dial in the Axe-Fx through a solid-state amp to sound just like it does through a tube power amp. In fact the setup you used with the stereo cabinet is exactly how I compare the Axe-Fx to an actual amp. I put the amp being modeled into one side of a stereo 4x12 and the Axe-Fx through a SS power amp into the other side. I then use an A/B switch to select between the two. I use this as a final verification of the model's accuracy.

Master at 7.02 on the Recto model is WAY too high and will sound muddy. You should be around 3-4, maybe less. This is most likely the source of your lack of "juicy goodness" or "25%" nonsense.

My guess is you simply aren't adjusting the Axe-Fx properly. You're probably setting the Master too high and then trying to compensate with treble and presence and are ending up with a sonic mess.
 

DieSchmalle

Inspired
mortega76 said:
DieSchmalle: Well, the problem with the "'muffled" sound being too much mids should have been null since I A/B'd the two power amps using the same patch side by side within the same cab (Marshall 1960 stereo cab) and at equal volumes. The tone was clearly different...
I didn't say that your patch is dialed in wrong. I just tried to lead you the way to get your tube power amp sound out of your ss poweramp.
 

mortega76

Fractal Fanatic
Thanks for chiming in Cliff...

My problem is that if I have the Master set too low it doesn't have enough low end grit... part of my overall problem is the practice room has something in the walls that seems to absorb a lot of the sound... especially in the low end department... I heard it the very first time we practiced there. But when I get on stage I have to turn down the volume if not, heads are getting blown off...

The Carvin definitely had the highs but severely lacked the lows (at least in the practice room). A/B'ing the two showed the power of the QSC but it also showed the high filter roll-off sound (that I never realized was happening) and the Carvin showed the sparkle of the Axe-fx but it also showed the lack of power to properly amplify the overall sound (especially the low end).

If I'm not mistaken the Carvin is supposed to be similar (in theory) to the Atomic Power Block in that it just gives you clean power... but as you said, when I cranked it (only because I had to just to get loud... but still not loud enough) it definitely has that "tube brake up" when cranked. When I tried the Fryette we did turn off the power amp sims... the Fryette's coloration was there even at low volumes.

Out of curiosity... what SS power amp are you using?
 

biggness

Forum Addict
Really anything past 3.5 for the master volume on the Recto sims is uncalled for, IMO. You can do what you want, but in experience 2.8ish is the sweet spot on these, for me. Think about it, even in real life, these amps never even reach noon much less 2 o'clock. haha If you need more low end grit, try using an eq and boost some lows, or use the depth knob. Really though, you can do what you want, I'm just tryin to help you out and save some money. :D
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
The reason you're hearing the highs rolled off is because the Master is too high. As you increase the Master the highs get muffled. 7.02 for the Recto Master is ridiculous and will sound like crap.
 

mortega76

Fractal Fanatic
Wow... I clearly remember you stating that the Master should be set to around 9.00 for the amp sim to come to life... is that no longer your recommendation? Also, when I have the master from 6.00 to 7.50 I always lower the gain, usually between 1.00 and (usually) max around 5.00 (depending on the amp sim)... the Master rarely sounds like "crap" whenever I put it to around 7.00... it does cut the highs and bring out the thick lows. Usually when I lower the master below 5.00 it always sound thin and frail... Very strange that I'm getting different results than you guys.

Also, what SS power amp are you using Cliff?
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
You clearly remembered wrong. I said something to the effect "for old, non-MV amps like Fenders and Plexis you typically want to run the Master at 9 or higher". For modern, high-gain, MV amps you typically want the Master below 5. I've stated this numerous times.

Try the Master at 3ish. Turn the drive up and increase the Bass or Depth to get the desired low end. Juicy goodness will ensue.

I use an old Carvin F1200 power amp.
 

paulmapp8306

Fractal Fanatic
FractalAudio said:
I put the amp being modeled into one side of a stereo 4x12 and the Axe-Fx through a SS power amp into the other side. I then use an A/B switch to select between the two. I use this as a final verification of the model's accuracy.
.
Which SS Power amp would that be cliff :mrgreen:

Im sure we'd all like the same one - that way we'd all have the same reference sounds as you !
 

ang

Inspired
ever since the power amp sim upgrades i too have been using lower master volumes (5150 and mesas) around 3-5
i remember seeing machinehead's 5150 rig and was surprised to see he set his master to 3.5
 

Jay Mitchell

Fractal Fanatic
paulmapp8306 said:
Which SS Power amp would that be cliff
It really doesn't matter. As long as you are not driving an ss power amp into clipping or self-limiting, it will make no audible contribution of its own. I know how much superstitious resistance there is to this fact among guitar players, but it is a fact nonetheless. There is a huge difference between guitar-specific tube power amps - which intentionally create coloration - and general-purpose ss ones, which are specifically engineered - quite successfuly these days - to be free of all coloration.
 

Jay Mitchell

Fractal Fanatic
ang said:
ever since the power amp sim upgrades i too have been using lower master volumes
I noticed beginning with 9.0 that I needed to reduce MV settings substantially. Even when the sim represents a non-MV amp, I have reduced the setting quite a bit from where it was pre-9.0.
 

Jay Mitchell

Fractal Fanatic
paulmapp8306 said:
however I a/b'd

Art SLA-1 bridged
Alesis RA300
QSC GX3
Lab Gruppen fp2200
Crown (cant remember the model)

Along with 2 valve power amps. While I prefered the valve power amps - which may well be due to there non linearity, ALL the SS amps sounded different.
This is an offhand description of a comparison that can only be done reliably under extremely well-controlled conditions.

To what lengths did you go to match loudness levels among the different amps when you compared them? Unless you're within less than 1dB, you will perceive a tonal difference. Most people will describe the louder amp as "more present," "brighter," etc., even when listening to the same amp at slightly different levels. Stereo salesmen have known this trick for decades: when giving you a demo, they will bump the volume of the speaker/amp/whatever they would prefer you buy (i.e., the one for which they will get the highest commission). Works like a charm, and the unsuspecting buyer never knows he's been had....

At the end of the day it doesnt matter is an amp is linear or not
As you present it in the form of a broad, absolute generalization, this could not be more incorrect. If you're relying on the Axe-Fx to produce the desired nonlinearities, then you want no additional contribution from the power amp. If you feel the Axe-Fx can't provide all those on its own, you may choose to use a tube power amp to add its own nonlinearities and colorations. If I found that necessary, the primary reason I own an Axe-Fx would cease to exist.
 

Brick_top

Forum Addict
I allways think about that when I read guys saying that if they used an Axe-fx it would have to be with a tube power amp.
 

paulmapp8306

Fractal Fanatic
Jay Mitchell said:
paulmapp8306 said:
however I a/b'd

Art SLA-1 bridged
Alesis RA300
QSC GX3
Lab Gruppen fp2200
Crown (cant remember the model)

Along with 2 valve power amps. While I prefered the valve power amps - which may well be due to there non linearity, ALL the SS amps sounded different.
This is an offhand description of a comparison that can only be done reliably under extremely well-controlled conditions.

To what lengths did you go to match loudness levels among the different amps when you compared them? Unless you're within less than 1dB, you will perceive a tonal difference. Most people will describe the louder amp as "more present," "brighter," etc., even when listening to the same amp at slightly different levels. Stereo salesmen have known this trick for decades: when giving you a demo, they will bump the volume of the speaker/amp/whatever they would prefer you buy (i.e., the one for which they will get the highest commission). Works like a charm, and the unsuspecting buyer never knows he's been had....

At the end of the day it doesnt matter is an amp is linear or not
As you present it in the form of a broad, absolute generalization, this could not be more incorrect. If you're relying on the Axe-Fx to produce the desired nonlinearities, then you want no additional contribution from the power amp. If you feel the Axe-Fx can't provide all those on its own, you may choose to use a tube power amp to add its own nonlinearities and colorations. If I found that necessary, the primary reason I own an Axe-Fx would cease to exist.
Umm. I tried all amps at several different volumes actually. I get where your comming from, but the differences wernt slight, they were - in some cases - HUGH. The Aleses was fizzy - at all volume levels with all patches compared to the other amps. The Lab was by quite a way more transparent in the mids, the rest (appart from the Alesis) were very thick sounding by comparrison. I know it shouldnt make a difference - but it did.

As for the non linearity not mattering - I didnt mean that from a tech point of view, I just meant if an amp that is obviously non linear - like a valve power amp - SOUNDS better to YOU, then it is the best amp for YOU regardless of that non-linearity. This may be because you are designing bad patches, or dont know how to get real sounds from the axe. it might be because you have crap ears and dont know a good sound from a bad one. That doesnt matter either. If the combination of the Axe, your own programming skills, and ANY amp sounds the best to you - that amp is the BEST for YOU.
 
paulmapp8306 said:
Jay Mitchell said:
paulmapp8306 said:
however I a/b'd

Art SLA-1 bridged
Alesis RA300
QSC GX3
Lab Gruppen fp2200
Crown (cant remember the model)

Along with 2 valve power amps. While I prefered the valve power amps - which may well be due to there non linearity, ALL the SS amps sounded different.
This is an offhand description of a comparison that can only be done reliably under extremely well-controlled conditions.

To what lengths did you go to match loudness levels among the different amps when you compared them? Unless you're within less than 1dB, you will perceive a tonal difference. Most people will describe the louder amp as "more present," "brighter," etc., even when listening to the same amp at slightly different levels. Stereo salesmen have known this trick for decades: when giving you a demo, they will bump the volume of the speaker/amp/whatever they would prefer you buy (i.e., the one for which they will get the highest commission). Works like a charm, and the unsuspecting buyer never knows he's been had....

At the end of the day it doesnt matter is an amp is linear or not
As you present it in the form of a broad, absolute generalization, this could not be more incorrect. If you're relying on the Axe-Fx to produce the desired nonlinearities, then you want no additional contribution from the power amp. If you feel the Axe-Fx can't provide all those on its own, you may choose to use a tube power amp to add its own nonlinearities and colorations. If I found that necessary, the primary reason I own an Axe-Fx would cease to exist.
Umm. I tried all amps at several different volumes actually. I get where your comming from, but the differences wernt slight, they were - in some cases - HUGH. The Aleses was fizzy - at all volume levels with all patches compared to the other amps. The Lab was by quite a way more transparent in the mids, the rest (appart from the Alesis) were very thick sounding by comparrison. I know it shouldnt make a difference - but it did.

As for the non linearity not mattering - I didnt mean that from a tech point of view, I just meant if an amp that is obviously non linear - like a valve power amp - SOUNDS better to YOU, then it is the best amp for YOU regardless of that non-linearity. This may be because you are designing bad patches, or dont know how to get real sounds from the axe. it might be because you have crap ears and dont know a good sound from a bad one. That doesnt matter either. If the combination of the Axe, your own programming skills, and ANY amp sounds the best to you - that amp is the BEST for YOU.
IMHO the "best" thing would be to have the "blank canvas" potential of linear amplification and learn how to masterfully use the Axe-Fx.
 

VegaBaby

Fractal Fanatic
FractalAudio said:
For modern, high-gain, MV amps you typically want the Master below 5. I've stated this numerous times.
The thing is that it's a very easy mistake to make with digital units like the Axe. Master to a lot of people just seems like a knob that can be twisted to ten without taking any damage while doing so. A lot of the MV amps we're talking about here are 100watters. Go into a guitar store and crank a Rectifier up to ten and see what happens :lol: . And then put a mic infront of that airplane volume and see how that sounds !

Not sure if I remember that correctly, but the Axe is one of the few units where Master is actually like a Master and not just like a patch volume control *like on the Pod for example). Most MV amps just sound like a compressed mess at that high master settings...
 

dk_ace

Veteran
I had a triple rec. If you defeated the effects loop and turned the master to 5, you could vaporize small animals. If you actually turned the master up to 7, it would most likely vaporize you.

Keep it really low if you want the sound people associate with the real amp.

D
 
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