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Dimed Real Plexi VS Dimed Simulation [Q8.01]

Slammin Mofo

Inspired
I've tried Kemper, Helix, S-Gear and countless other simulators and, so far, Fractal came closest to the real thing. It's not a huge difference and the amp simulations already produce very usable tones, so at this point it's more of a hope than a critique...
 

Slammin Mofo

Inspired
I've posted about this before. In the real amps you can hear a percussive impact, more rasp and more thump (what's being called 'chirp' here). I don't know how to dial that in. The closest I've come is with dialing dynamic presence way up, dynamic depth up a bit and sometimes pick attack.

Here's a plexi clip I did (using a semihollow).

The original has much more percussive bounce.
Yes, I can hear the difference clearly. Your own plexi clip does sound good, however, as you pointed out, it still lacks that liveliness/bounce.

I see that the clip is already a year old.. have you had any luck with the newest Firmware?

Man, people must think we're crazy for caring about details such as bounce and chirp :D
 

sheky

Experienced
Yes Mofo, I think I can hear some improvement over the last few firmwares but I still don't know how to get there.

Here's another intro clip, done in 8.01.

Couldn't get that close tone-wise b/c I'm not really good at this kind of thing. You can def hear the pronounced percussive attack in the real clip.
 
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sheky

Experienced
For me, this whole issue got started a few years ago when I tried to dial in the outro Satriani's Champagne? You can hear it starting at 5:03


I don't know if this is a plexi, I would guess a strat through a bassman but it's 100% an amp through an IR and has that explosive attack. Tone is the fingers, but I don't think it accounts for all of it.
 

greiswig

Power User
Sheky,

I'm no expert, but the main differences I hear are that your clip may have more gain dialed in, and/or less palm muting on those first few licks, and the Rush track seems to have more mids and low mids.

Yes Mofo, I think I can hear some improvement over the last few firmwares but I still don't know how to get there.

Here's another intro clip, done in 8.01.

Couldn't get that close tone-wise b/c I'm not really good at this kind of thing. You can def hear the pronounced percussive attack in the real clip.
 

VegaBaby

Fractal Fanatic
. Can you hear that top end squish once he digs in?
II know exactly what you mean. it's like a little explosion going off when digging in. the Axe has become real close with recent updates, but there's still a little more roughness and for lack of better term "impoliteness" in real Plexis. very subtle though.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
What you are hearing is output transformer high frequency resonance. Old Plexis didn't do this because they had good transformers. New transformers are crappy and resonate at the cutoff frequency because they are underdamped. This causes a raspy, fizzy texture to the distortion. The transformer resonance is adjustable but the parameter isn't exposed to the user. When you turn it up you get that same squishy rasp that you are hearing. For the Plexis I have the damping set to flat with no resonance because that's how our vintage Plexis measure. Our 50W is a little underdamped but people complain about raspy high frequencies so I erred on the safe side.
 

Thomas Larsson

Experienced
Are you refering to the comparison clip where both amps can be heard in the same clip or are you just talking about the two individual clips that I posted at the very top?

Here's my third attempt:

https://instaud.io/VSV

I increased dynamic presence and crunch quite a bit, as well as motor drive, speaker drive, harmonics and I put a tilt EQ in front of the Plexi simulation. I basically did everything to accentuate and enhance the top end, even to the point of exaggeration, just to let that top end shine through. The clip was also matched to the Mojave EQ response with Ozone.

I still don't hear it. The top end response is just not the same. You can hear it in this clip, too:


Every cranked Marshall Plexi has that distinct sizzling top end that I just can't get no matter how much I play around with the advanced settings. We can argue that there are minor differences between each manufacturer, but at the end of the day, those are still just Plexis. It should be possible, even without advanced parameters, to get a similar response from one of the many Plexi models inside the Axe FX II...

Have you ever dialed in a Plexi tone with the Axe that had that elusive top end, Thomas?
I haven´t heard your new experiments yet but the IR can make a huge difference. Or maybe you are recording through a real speaker.?
 

Slammin Mofo

Inspired
For me, this whole issue got started a few years ago when I tried to dial in the outro Satriani's Champagne? You can hear it starting at 5:03


I don't know if this is a plexi, I would guess a strat through a bassman but it's 100% an amp through an IR and has that explosive attack. Tone is the fingers, but I don't think it accounts for all of it.
I also think that it has to be some old Fender amp, but then again, the Plexi is a direct derivative of the Bassman, so we can't rule out the Plexi, either. How do you know that he used an IR? Has he already changed to digital recording at that point in time?

And yes, I agree with the "tone is in the fingers" sentiment, but I somehow can't imagine Larry Carlton getting a Dumble-esque tone out of an Engl Savage.

On a different note: I've heard your songs on lonely tone (can't remember exactly what the site's called) and I remember you having a very keen sense of melodies and unique chord progressions, unfortunately, I couldn't find any of your songs on your soundcloud profile. Would you mind re-uploading them there?
 

Slammin Mofo

Inspired
I haven´t heard your new experiments yet but the IR can make a huge difference. Or maybe you are recording through a real speaker.?
No, the IR remained the same for both clips, the only thing that changed in this recording chain was the amp itself. You can read about my exact recording setup in the Code box of the opening post.
 

sheky

Experienced
I also think that it has to be some old Fender amp, but then again, the Plexi is a direct derivative of the Bassman, so we can't rule out the Plexi, either. How do you know that he used an IR? Has he already changed to digital recording at that point in time?

And yes, I agree with the "tone is in the fingers" sentiment, but I somehow can't imagine Larry Carlton getting a Dumble-esque tone out of an Engl Savage.

On a different note: I've heard your songs on lonely tone (can't remember exactly what the site's called) and I remember you having a very keen sense of melodies and unique chord progressions, unfortunately, I couldn't find any of your songs on your soundcloud profile. Would you mind re-uploading them there?
That's very kind of you. The soundcloud link in my signature should have all the songs (https://soundcloud.com/stevenschechter)

Chapagne? is on the album "engines of creation" which was entirely recorded through real amps into a Palmer simulator. I love the tone on that outro.
 

Slammin Mofo

Inspired
What you are hearing is output transformer high frequency resonance. Old Plexis didn't do this because they had good transformers. New transformers are crappy and resonate at the cutoff frequency because they are underdamped. This causes a raspy, fizzy texture to the distortion. The transformer resonance is adjustable but the parameter isn't exposed to the user. When you turn it up you get that same squishy rasp that you are hearing. For the Plexis I have the damping set to flat with no resonance because that's how our vintage Plexis measure. Our 50W is a little underdamped but people complain about raspy high frequencies so I erred on the safe side.
Ah, so that's why I instinctively chose the 1959 SLP Jump out of all the different variations. It's probably the newest Plexi that we have in the Axe FX II, no?

Still, I'm somewhat astonished by this finding. I've played two old Plexis and while they had a bit less bite than my Mojave, they still had that top end squish going on. I know it's just anecdotal evidence, but still.

I also found three different Superlead clips that demonstrate the same behavior. All three clips feature a Superlead amp:

https://instaud.io/VWM

The first clip is actually Steve Steven's favorite Marshall metal panel Superlead from '71. I think he mentioned it on a thread on HRI a couple of years ago. He destroyed that amp right after finishing that song. Even though he's using heavy delays and a lot of reverb, one can still hear the squish in the top end.

The second clip is from a youtube video that I posted earlier today. It's a '69 metal panel Superlead. Again, the squish is very notiecable.

And the last clip is from a guy named Johann Segeborn. He plays a '67 Marshall Plexi Superlead. The squish is a bit less noticeable here, nevertheless, it can still be heard.

I understand that many people prefer smooth Marshall tones, but some of us like it raw. Would it be possible to include the OT HF resonance control? Or maybe it would be easier to just include an underdamped Plexi that should be raspy by that output transformer rule, e.g. the 1959 SLP model (after all, it's a reissue with newer OT)?

Out of personal interest: Why can't modern transformer manufacturers, even the high end ones such as Mercury Magnetics, produce transformers that rival the Dagnalls and Drakes?
 

Slammin Mofo

Inspired
That's very kind of you. The soundcloud link in my signature should have all the songs (https://soundcloud.com/stevenschechter)

Chapagne? is on the album "engines of creation" which was entirely recorded through real amps into a Palmer simulator. I love the tone on that outro.
Oh, you have two different soundcloud accounts. I assumed you only had the one where you had the Rush clips. Anyway, thanks for sharing your songs!

Wow, didn't know that Satriani chose the digital route that long ago. Have you tried using Palmer IRs that a guy posted a couple of years back on this forum? I liked those Palmer IRs very much. They all had a very distinct, mid-focused tone...
 

BrickGlass

Inspired
What you are hearing is output transformer high frequency resonance. Old Plexis didn't do this because they had good transformers. New transformers are crappy and resonate at the cutoff frequency because they are underdamped. This causes a raspy, fizzy texture to the distortion. The transformer resonance is adjustable but the parameter isn't exposed to the user. When you turn it up you get that same squishy rasp that you are hearing. For the Plexis I have the damping set to flat with no resonance because that's how our vintage Plexis measure. Our 50W is a little underdamped but people complain about raspy high frequencies so I erred on the safe side.
Does the Brit 800 model have this "squishy rasp" that you mention? That seems like a good way to describe what I hear with that model in the upper registers.
 

sheky

Experienced
Have you tried using Palmer IRs that a guy posted a couple of years back on this forum? I liked those Palmer IRs very much. They all had a very distinct, mid-focused tone...
Never found a use for the palmer ir's. Always seemed to pale in comparison.
 

Thomas Larsson

Experienced
Are you refering to the comparison clip where both amps can be heard in the same clip or are you just talking about the two individual clips that I posted at the very top?

Here's my third attempt:

https://instaud.io/VSV

I increased dynamic presence and crunch quite a bit, as well as motor drive, speaker drive, harmonics and I put a tilt EQ in front of the Plexi simulation. I basically did everything to accentuate and enhance the top end, even to the point of exaggeration, just to let that top end shine through. The clip was also matched to the Mojave EQ response with Ozone.

I still don't hear it. The top end response is just not the same. You can hear it in this clip, too:


Every cranked Marshall Plexi has that distinct sizzling top end that I just can't get no matter how much I play around with the advanced settings. We can argue that there are minor differences between each manufacturer, but at the end of the day, those are still just Plexis. It should be possible, even without advanced parameters, to get a similar response from one of the many Plexi models inside the Axe FX II...

Have you ever dialed in a Plexi tone with the Axe that had that elusive top end, Thomas?
I´m not shure how close I´ve been. However I thougt that your first attempt was allready to treble enhanced in the preamp. allmost like if I wanted to fatten the preamp up a bit and get the sizzle from the right IR. If you want I could send you a copy of an IR that I´ve made from a 2-12 fender blackface-cab with G-12 65 celestions. They have that angry top end that can be helpful sometimes.

I will allso take some time to listen to your later attemps tonight with a proper pair of speakers.
 

jeppekristoffer

Power User
What you are hearing is output transformer high frequency resonance. Old Plexis didn't do this because they had good transformers. New transformers are crappy and resonate at the cutoff frequency because they are underdamped. This causes a raspy, fizzy texture to the distortion. The transformer resonance is adjustable but the parameter isn't exposed to the user. When you turn it up you get that same squishy rasp that you are hearing. For the Plexis I have the damping set to flat with no resonance because that's how our vintage Plexis measure. Our 50W is a little underdamped but people complain about raspy high frequencies so I erred on the safe side.
This, for some people annoying high chirp I've been looking for for years because I really LIKE IT!
Is it possible to make this hidden parameter user adjustable?
Please???
 

Thomas Larsson

Experienced
To eliminate most of the EQ differences, I matched the EQ with an Ozone plugin. This is the result:

https://instaud.io/VGx

It sounds very close, but there's still something in the Scorpion top end that's not there in the Fractal version. Can you hear the "squishing" that happens in the Scorpion clip? I know it's just a detail, but every real cranked Plexi clip I've heard has that squish or chirp. You can hear it in this clip, too:


Is there a way to make the Fractal Plexi top end response a bit more similar to the real world equivalents?
Now they sound closer but as you say, the attack just isn´t there in the fractalversion. It sound a little more compressed. I guess you could tweak the dynamic preamp stuff but I really don´t like to have to dive in to much in those parameters. There is probably an easier way. I know that IR´s don´t have any dynamic life but sometimes they can bring out stuff like that because of some frquenzy or phase-behaviour
 

sheky

Experienced
Now they sound closer but as you say, the attack just isn´t there in the fractalversion. It sound a little more compressed. I guess you could tweak the dynamic preamp stuff but I really don´t like to have to dive in to much in those parameters. There is probably an easier way. I know that IR´s don´t have any dynamic life but sometimes they can bring out stuff like that because of some frquenzy or phase-behaviour
I've found the IR's do make a difference but haven't had much luck with the dynamic controls outside of dyn pres and dyn depth.

Don't want to belabor the point, but happened to find this 'walk this way' isolated guitar vid and when I tried to cop it, found it had that same bounciness I didn't know how to replicate, especially what he's doing during the verses. Surprisingly difficult to play, all that fast syncopated palm-muting.
 
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