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Cab preamp differences

pauliusmm

Fractal Fanatic
Maybe im deaf, but i cannot hear a difference between these preamps if the drive is set low. The only differences i hear is when i overdrive them and then they all sound nasty, so maybe im missing some point here. Please tell me what is it that you like about these preamps, and why use them instead of other eqs?
Are you enjoying the overdriven preamp sounds? To my ears these overdriven preamps sounds like a digital clipping and that is what i usually try to avoid.
No negativity here, just it seems im doing something wrong, because all others seem to be very excited about these preamps.
By the way im working on a clean preset if that makes any difference.
 

svl

Power User
For me they just add an "analogy" warmth and clarity to my presets. Hooked on the 50u at the moment, most of what I play is low to mid gain stuff, with some clean funk whack thrown in for good measure. :)
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
Probably not something you would use for clean sounds. A common technique for rock music is to push the pres, console, tape, etc. to varying degrees to get compression and "sparkle". The trick is getting just the right amount. Too much and it sounds raspy and nasty.
 

Horganovski

Inspired
I'm finding a little goes a long way with them. Drive at 1 or 2 gives a nice spongy compression and appealing edge to clean tones (I like blusey rather than pristine cleans), very nice on bass guitar too for taming the dynamic range a little.
 

pauliusmm

Fractal Fanatic
I'm finding a little goes a long way with them. Drive at 1 or 2 gives a nice spongy compression and appealing edge to clean tones (I like blusey rather than pristine cleans), very nice on bass guitar too for taming the dynamic range a little.
How about sag? Are you leaving it at zero?
 

ianx

Experienced
I thought the same thing, the difference is subtle. Try toggling from a preamp to none and you'll hear a difference. To my ears, the tube pre seems to have the most compression. I got a great scooped tone with the modern, just backed the mids down slightly. After going through all of the pres I decided on the 50us.
 

api4u

Experienced
I noted the most apparent improvement when going to "High Quality". I'm mostly using the settings that Scott Peterson recommended, except, so far, I've mostly left the EQ settings zero'ed out. I've bumped the bass EQ up to 1.0 on a couple of presets, but mostly zeroed. This does take a CPU hit, though, so be aware of that, if your presets are close to the edge (above 92 or 93%)

http://forum.fractalaudio.com/axe-fx-ii-discussion/93382-my-quick-guide-where-start-fw-v-17-a.html

It's not a glaring, jarring, effect, like a 100% fuzz, or anything, it's more of a sparkly, smoothing, rubbery-ish, affected stereo-ish sort of thing. It's more of a feel. You don't notice it quite so much until you turn it off, then you want it back on, sort of thing. Hard to describe.

It's pretty noticeable to me, but I'm in a bedroom studio, with pretty decent speakers; it might not be so apparent at gigging volume with the full band behind. I haven't gigged since it came out, so I can't speak for that, yet. I DO like it, though, for what I've done so far. I've added it into all my main patches.
 
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Poparad

Experienced
I haven't had a chance to try it out on my electric guitar presets yet, but for acoustic it's really nice. Basically it's a form of compression or harmonic saturation. For acoustic, it nicely tames the transients without being very 'compressed' sounding.
 

pauliusmm

Fractal Fanatic
I haven't had a chance to try it out on my electric guitar presets yet, but for acoustic it's really nice. Basically it's a form of compression or harmonic saturation. For acoustic, it nicely tames the transients without being very 'compressed' sounding.
What IR are you using for acoustic stuff?
 

solo-act

Fractal Fanatic
Pauliusmm - Bring up deluxe verb or vibrato lux or similar, set at default, select a low powered pickup if you have one, and/or roll back your guitar volume to 9 or so.

Dial the amp to be clean and not breaking up. Do some strum/attack with full chords and note if the amp feels "stiff" and if the dynamics are "hard." In other words, listen to how large the dynamic range is and how little compression there is. With EQs at noon, start with the preamp drive and saturation at 8 o'clock and bring them up until that clean gets softer/chewier. Remove and add it several times, note the differences and adjust each to taste.

This is the first use I've found for the preamp -- to compress an amp running clean in a way that's fast, easy and musical. This is observable even in economy mode. The typical "fatter" "saturated" observations apply based on how much drive/sat you're adding, but out the gate I'm already using it as a tool for taming cleans and fitting into dynamics of a mix without them feeling dead in your hands.
 

aziz

Power User
I don't have golden ears, but the vintage seems to have a slight high cut, and harmonics going on in the low mid area, vs. modern is flat, with something going on in the upper range. Tube seems to soften attack slightly. Distortion starts to happen at lower frequencies on tape 35 vs. tape 70. I'd too love someone to explain these, just a bit will do, we'll try to figure out the rest with ears. ;)
 
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Gamedojo

Power User
The effect is meant to be subtle IMO. We are not talking about a huge impact on tone, but in a guitar recording fit into a mix, the stight "edge" added by the preamp overdrive combined with a subtle compression makes for a more tight sounding recording.

Pay attention to the attack of the guitar on the two recordings. it has a much more impactful sound IMO. Its true the non-preamp is a bit smoother sounding, but in a full recording, smooth isn't what you always want. Smooth seems to set the recording back a bit, but the preamp pushes it forward.

Preamp:

NO Preamp:

Again...subtle stuff, but these are the small bits that add up to make a full recording special like it is.

Keep in mind, this is also the FIRST iteration of this feature in the axe-fx. I'd most likely assume Cliff will continue to ponder the concept and tweak and update as the FW move forward.
 

javajunkie

Moderator
Moderator
Personally, I think about it as a saturation/exciter effect. Something to add a touch of added harmonics or just saturate the sound.
 

Poparad

Experienced
After trying out the transformer model, I'm really liking the bipolar one. Seems very balanced while preserving the attack.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
 

Tubehead

Inspired
I found the Exciter adds some sparkle. Modern also seems to add some magic! I used rather low settings for gain and drive.
 

Gytaxor

Inspired
I think you all are right. :)

really I would concur that it is more of a feel thing. I also found out, that I can use the eq to add bass, which I could not do before to sound boomy, I am always dialing the bass out/down. But the preamp adds the right bass for guitar. Also the highs seem not to be as harsh and unpleasant at high volumes.

but as everybody said, it is more of a feel thing and rather subtle, but something you get used to very quickly and think there is no difference. Until it is gone, then you feel (here we go again:D) that something´s missing.
 

Jbmetal

Inspired
Is there any reference for what each preamp is modeled after? Or is it just an idealized kind-of-thing?
 

mr_fender

Fractal Fanatic
The point is to recreate the analog warmth, compression, and even distortion you get from running hot signals into various types of consoles. At low drive and saturation settings, you are getting very little compression and coloration, so they will all sound very similar. You have to push the level higher with the drive and saturation controls to really hear the differences between the various modes. They all compress and distort in unique ways and at different levels.
 
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