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Deciding to Stick With Axe or Go Back to Tubes?


I'm a basement only player. I've been thru a lot of amps. I started with a Fender Mustang that I didn't care for at all. Went to H&K, then Tiny Terror, then went to a JCM1 which I liked but I didn't like how it didn't have a clean channel. I always ran into the problem that 1 watt was still really loud for a basement. I then went to a Marshall SL5 that I still have, It solved the clean channel problem, It's a great amp but still too loud.
I then went to the Axe FX which I really like but it still just feels like it's missing something. The biggest difference is when I hit a G chord for example on the SL5, it just sounds fantastic. Nice low end rumble but very clear. I can't get that sound on the Axe for some reason. It sounds little flubbier even with using the eq to take out the bass, and it definitely doesn't have the clear sound where you hear each string in a chord. I'm using Presonnus FRFR monitors

What are some suggestions with trying to get the axe fx to sound clearer with chords and db levels around 85?


Your problem is no doubt your listening to a guitar amp, I'm assuming through a cabinet, verses the Axe running through desktop monitor speakers, which are designed to only sound good in a small sweet spot in front of them

Hook the Axe up to a larger speaker monitor with proper dispersion like an Atomic CLR or Friedman ASM12 and the Axe will sound every bit as good as those amps. Actually it will sound even better, because you can simulate the tone of a fully cranked amp, but keep the volume reasonable, which you can't really do with your real amps.

Not knocking those amps either, I've played/owned a couple of them personally, but they aren't exactly the pinnacle of tube amp tone. Axe with something like a Carol Ann or Friedman model will have way more body, articulation and "tube tone" than any of those low watt amps you've used.


I too find low volume through studio monitors to be a little dull and muddy, and just adjusting the 'normal' amp controls (BMT/Presence/Gain/MV/Depth) doesn't quite address it. I find adjusting the EQ in the Amp Block as follows (with slight variation dependant on Amp model) clears up most of the mud, is clear, yet still keeps a nice warm valve tone

250Hz -2.0dB
2000Hz + 1.0dB
4000Hz + 0.4db

Start with these and adjust to taste

Alex EShadow

I've been a bit on that journey myself. I found myself to be fully satisfied by having the AxeFx going into a low wattage, transparent tube power amp (Fryette Power Station) into a 4x12 cab. Now I have that amp feel when playing in the room, AND in my opinion better tone from my cab + SM57 than I ever had when using impulses.

DISCLAIMER: This is just my anecdotal experience, and I figured it could be useful to you. YMMV. I'm not trying to start the holy wars of real cabs vs impulses, dispute how FRFR/flat the Power Station really is , or say that the AxeFx is bad in any way.

I've yet to convince myself to buy an actual amp head to evaluate wether I'll keep using the AxeFx or if I'm missing something out in comparison to a tube amp. Seems to me the AxeFx really shines here and I would see barely any improvement, if at all.

Please keep in mind that I'm someone who is completely anal about tone, and only ever plays in a recording capacity. I'm sure playing in the room or live you wouldn't notice any difference between an impulse and a real cab+mic, or between the AxeFx and the emulated amp head. When recording though, the way the tone responds to EQ is different, and some weird artifacts become more obvious once you stack layer upon layer of guitars recorded with an impulse response.

I find my current setup to be the best of both worlds, still a lot of flexibility to choose whatever amp head I want in the AxeFx, and the power to change microphone placement, type and cab as I see fit in the real world.
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