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Dialing up V7... Simple, Fast, Effective - Some Thoughts

Scott Peterson

Global Moderator
Moderator
I have always approached major firmware updates with a 'strip it down and start over' method. V7 is NO different; but it really through me for a loop. It's so good from the drop that I had to not do anything I was doing essentially. It's greatly, IMHO, simplified the entire process.

So I ran through most all my normal bag of tricks - NF/FF, Speaker Resonance, etc - and it sounded... no better (and often worse) IMHO than stock. Hmmm.

I ended up just using an old standby - mixing a classic formula of mic's. Stereo cab block, both IR's panned center. No Motor Drive, no Room, no Air; everything else at default. Using Red Wire IR's, which I own, I went to a speaker that suits the particular amp and used a SM57 at 0" on Cap Edge and the other is a R121 at 0" Cap.

For amps that the SM57 doesn't do justice with (IMHO, namely the Fender and other clean amp types) then swapping out the SM57 for a EV RE20 mic is a really nice combination with the stalwart R121.

Doing *just* this; setting the Drive/MV balance per amp and then further just minor (and quick) B/M/T/P to taste yields exceptional results. You can then use Dynamics page to quickly adjust the feel of the amp (specifically I use the Supply Sag (up for 'give') and Transformer Match (down for 'open') to taste to customize.

I'm not touching the Speaker Resonance page at all. I'm not mixing NF/FF IR's at all.

That's essentially it. I'm finding everything fast, easy, and simple.

IMHO, YMMV.
 

CodePoet

Power User
And the FF made so much sense to get the...dare I say..."in the room" sound.

Since I agree that v7 requires a rethink & rework approach, do you have a different "type" of sound now (forgetting the fact that its better with v7) than before with the NF/FF approach? i.e. Have you moved on from looking for the NF/FF sound to more of an immediate close-mic'ed sound now or do you find it's just a great sound in its own right and it-is-what-it-is?

As always, thanks for sharing your experience with us.
 

Gamedojo

Power User
This is basically where I'm at as well. But I don't touch any of the dynamic parameters. They force an artificial sound into the patch that I don't like. My recommendation is folks leave that alone...

Scott, One recommendation would be to give the 0" CapEdge Off Axis SM57 a try. I've been using the R121 and SM57 combo in all my patches post v7 and have recently found the Off Axis SM57 to work a bit better in the blend.

... I'll have to give that EV mic a try. (Redwirez has SO many mic's I can't try them all!) ... currently I use the U67 instead of an SM57 in my mix when it comes to clean tones. I'm curious how the EV compares.
 

Scott Peterson

Global Moderator
Moderator
Does this mean you have ditched our favourite new friend, speaker resonance Scott? Damn, this unit is moving too quick lol.

Yes, though it's still a valid learning method to discover what you like and what you can do with this box. I personally don't feel it's necessary to my goals at this point.

And the FF made so much sense to get the...dare I say..."in the room" sound.

Since I agree that v7 requires a rethink & rework approach, do you have a different "type" of sound now (forgetting the fact that its better with v7) than before with the NF/FF approach? i.e. Have you moved on from looking for the NF/FF sound to more of an immediate close-mic'ed sound now or do you find it's just a great sound in its own right and it-is-what-it-is?

As always, thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Exactly - V7 just reset my experience running with a immediate close-mic'd sound. I find it preferable.

This is basically where I'm at as well. But I don't touch any of the dynamic parameters. They force an artificial sound into the patch that I don't like. My recommendation is folks leave that alone...

Scott, One recommendation would be to give the 0" CapEdge Off Axis SM57 a try. I've been using the R121 and SM57 combo in all my patches post v7 and have recently found the Off Axis SM57 to work a bit better in the blend.

... I'll have to give that EV mic a try. (Redwirez has SO many mic's I can't try them all!) ... currently I use the U67 instead of an SM57 in my mix when it comes to clean tones. I'm curious how the EV compares.

I have extensively worked with all the mic positions to arrive at what I like; and a SM57 off-axis is indeed counted in that. I preferred it on axis in every case.


Red Wire's were often too muddy in the past; that is essentially alleviated completely now IMHO post V7.

Trust me guys, I'm surprised as anyone else that this is where I ended up. I really did not expect it; and it took a lot of soul searching to 'walk away' from what I've been doing for a long time to strip it down and trust my ears.

As always, YMMV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

swass

Power User
That's one thing I found as well with the revamping of the preamp in the amp block. (K.I.S.S.) With this revamping of the preamp it really has improved the whole dynamics/feel thing in the hands immensely. As I've commented before,

"not that it was bad to begin with", but what Cliff has done here is nothing short of amazing with no hype other than the sheer conviction I feel when I play. The whole aspect of the, "how it feels in the hands thing" has always been

something that I struggled to an extent with. Moreso with the Ultra. But no more. I'll say it again that IMO this is crossing the threshold of a major dynamic improvement here. Never have I felt a total amalgamation of machine, guitar

and hands with digital gear before... until now.
 

Muzick

Experienced
This is good to know Scott. I think a "start over and trust your ears post" is always a good reminder.

I've been playing around with the speaker page a lot... using NF and FF cabs. I was latching onto V6.02's success with these parameters and refused to accept starting over. I have to keep reminding myself that's it's OK! lol

--Brandon
 

Tone Seeker

Power User
When I installed V7 I had decided to start fresh with the default amp and speaker settings. Indeed, I too preferred what I was hearing but the RedWirez R121 Cap 2" IR I had settled on was still missing something. I ended up going to a JM FF mix which improved things but something was still "off". I look forward to checking out the IR mic mixes that have been suggested.

Terry.
 

groovenut

Power User
It totally makes sense to do the "clean slate" treatment after a firmware update. Cliff obviously listens to what we say and see's the things we are doing to get "better" sounds out of the AxeFx. It makes logical sense that he would incorporate those things if he were in agreement with them. That said I find myself using the factory settings in the speaker resonance page on most of my patches as well. I do like the FF mix approach too.
 

jsletner

Experienced
Scott,

I too have come to similar conclusions. I now find that I really don’t have to do much of anything except dial Gain, Bass, Mid and Treble to taste. I realize that some folks aren’t using FRFR systems and may require more tweaking to make it work with their system. Also FRFR systems vary a bit and some of them may require more tweaking. For me it’s become plug and play.

Regarding Gamedojo’s (who I respect, because he has "nailed" some of my favorite sounds, "Voodoo Child") comments regarding the dynamics page, my opinion is changing. Although I generally don’t do much with it and I am satisfied with the defaults I am beginning to form a different mental paradigm regarding what the AxeFx can do. I’m starting to think that what we might have considered “artificial” sounding in the past may now be mentally re-classified as simply different and in many cases better than the tube amps we so love and have spent much time emulating.

Although Fractal has worked hard and quite successfully at recreating the tube amp sound, although opinions vary, in my opinion the sound in now better. You can now improve on the sound of your favorite tube amp IMO.

Of course for a lot of us sounding better means sounding/feeling different than our beloved favorite amp and since our favorite amp is already perfect then any difference is a downgrade. If you feel that your tube amp is beyond improvement then the best the AxeFx can do is become a perfect copy of it. Why bother just keep and use your amp. But if you’re willing to consider that maybe your amp can be improved upon then I believe the AxeFx is currently the best way to do it.

Consider this statement: my (insert amp name) is almost perfect but I wish it had more or less (insert sound/feel property). There’s a good chance that this is something the AxeFx can do without changing physical cabinets, loudspeakers, transformers, etc. Also the AxeFx has parameters like “Dynamics” which may be artificial in that there is no counterpart in a real tube amp (I’m just guessing here) and so that sound might be considered “artificial”, but I say that “artificial” might just be an improvement on the limitations of an actual tube amp.

I think we have been so focused on nailing the sound of various amps for so long that's its difficult to believe that anything different is better.

Someday we may be saying that tube amps sound good but are kind of “artificial” sounding compared to the AxeFx. I know that "artificial" is just a word but I believe the labels we put on things greatly affect our perception and hence the value we assign to that object or property, especially something so subjective as sound. This reminds me of Cesar Milan "Dog Whisper" if anybody has seen his program he has proven time and time again that we can choose to feel differently.

By the way I just came from a band practice last night where my sound was better than it has ever been by quite a large margin IMO. I have a collection of tube amps (including a 74 Marshall, 64 Super Reverb, Lonestar and Badger), but my AxeFx/FRFR rig blew them away last night.

Apologies if I rambled, but the AxeFx v7 has just taken me to a new level that I’ve never experienced before.

Hats off to Cliff and the Fractal team.

One more thing. If what I'm saying is true now or will be in the future then it somewhat negates the need for a profiling system (either now or in the future when it is true) if all a profiler does is copy an amplifier and cannot offer further enhancements to the original sound. I hope I don't get flamed for this because like Rex in Toy Story "I hate confrontations"
 

Hotplate

Power User
Thanks for sharing your experiences thus far Scott. I've read some of your threads, etc. at different times since way back when you started using this gear. Well before I even remotely considered trying it. I value hearing your thoughts every time since I tend to know more about how you've evolved with it.

(preface: before I ask this question, I realize trying different cabs is paramount in addressing/changing EQ, etc.)
For anyone.. if I'm finding an amp has a bit too much low end, is using the bass control on the amp the best way to dial things down at this point? Is using low cut in the cab preferred or is there a combination of adjustments that works best? Or are we getting to the point where just turning down bass is enough? As the firm ware has evovled, I've noted all kinds of solutions or suggestions for tackling similar issues. Seems like we're gradually getting closer and closer to more plug and play...
 

Funeral

Fractal Fanatic
I hope I don't get flamed for this because like Rex in Toy Story "I hate confrontations"

Flamed for speaking the truth? Not here homie. What you said rings very true with me and many others Im sure.
I completely agree that the Axe-fx II can sound better than the amp it is modeling. I experience this all the time
with my Recto patches. Just like you said, if I could improve anything about my amp, I WOULD. The II lets me do this.
Good post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and time.
 

maschoff

Experienced
V7 cured the ice-pickyness of the Axe-Fx II which was very pronounced through my QSC K12s; the sound is much more natural now. I am very happy and impressed with V7, it has removed that rabbit hole from the equation and now I can focus on preset building.
 

sheky

Experienced
Will try this when I upgrade.

Thank you Mr. Peterson, I have found your insights to be dead on. The willingness to walk away from what you've invested so much in is a rare trait.

I'm curious as to what kind of difference the Redwirez IR's yield as opposed to the stock redwirez with a mic on this firmware
 

Scott Peterson

Global Moderator
Moderator
V7 cured the ice-pickyness of the Axe-Fx II which was very pronounced through my QSC K12s; the sound is much more natural now. I am very happy and impressed with V7, it has removed that rabbit hole from the equation and now I can focus on preset building.

I have some in-depth experience with the K12 and I'll tell you straight up... it's an issue with the specific box. V7 might have helped; but that's not really the root of the issue when it comes to hyped top end.

Will try this when I upgrade.

Thank you Mr. Peterson, I have found your insights to be dead on. The willingness to walk away from what you've invested so much in is a rare trait.

I'm curious as to what kind of difference the Redwirez IR's yield as opposed to the stock redwirez with a mic on this firmware

It's just a simpler and more focused sound than doing the same with the stock IR's. You can get the idea and flavor by doing it with the stock IR's before you get into dropping IR's into user slots though... but I've found the Red Wire IR's mixed in this manner to be more focused and work better for my ear.

JUST MY OPINION!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;) :D
 

greiswig

Power User
Scott Peterson said:
I'm not touching the Speaker Resonance page at all. I'm not mixing NF/FF IR's at all.

IMHO, YMMV.

I'm pretty used to agreeing with you, Scott. ;-). But this time, I don't know...maybe I don't have the right Redwirez cabinets or something, but I still get something out of the FF cabinets that I just can't seem to get elsewhere. Maybe I'm just being stubborn.
 

Scott Peterson

Global Moderator
Moderator
I'm pretty used to agreeing with you, Scott. ;-). But this time, I don't know...maybe I don't have the right Redwirez cabinets or something, but I still get something out of the FF cabinets that I just can't seem to get elsewhere. Maybe I'm just being stubborn.

No, you are not being stubborn.

There's no right or wrong here. I'm just sharing my own observations; that doesn't make me right or wrong either.

Strength of the box is that *you* decide what works for you - you are NOT limited to what you can do or how you can do it. To each their own; and we are all richer for that ability.
 

TheGoatLord

Experienced
With 7.0 I've completely stopped doing anything to speaker res. I've been doing just about the same thing as you Scott but messing with the Preamp comp, dynamics, and tube bias a bit as well. I turn sag up, open up the amp with the xformer match and just use the basics. It's so easy to dial in now!
 

kfliegner

Power User
Scott--If it's not too much to ask, when you have time would you be willing to share your favorite amp/IR pairings?
 

TheGoatLord

Experienced
Scott, do you have a good way to audition the Redwirez stuff? I've been thinking about trying them but with the limited number of user slots it doesn't seem worth the money to me. Are you doing the IRs in your DAW or in the axe?
 
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