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Do you need different sets of presets for studio and live work?


Power User
I used to think that if I dialed in a preset on my “flat” studio monitors, or “flat” headphones, that sounded great on recordings, that it would sound great on my “flat” FRFR Powered PA speakers. It seems this is not always the case.

In the last few months I created a lot of new presets that sounded great on my studio monitors. I tried them on my FRFR powered PA speakers and they all sound bad, with too much bass, and not enough midrange, or highs. I created the presets with the volume fairly loud, but not too loud.

I tried them on JBL, EV, and QSC powered PA speakers. All supposedly “flat” speakers. All sounded different from each other, and none sounded like the Yamaha HS-8 studio monitors set “flat”. The presets sounded different on different brands of headphones also.

I’d went through literally every 4x12 cab in the Axe FXIII and various cab packs and chosen the cabs that worked the best for recording. Live most of the cabs I had chosen had too much bass, and not enough mids. So I guess I’ll need to choose all new cabs that work with the powered PA speakers for live work.

So how do you guys get around this? I suppose one way would be to use the same speakers for studio monitors as you do for live. Say use QSC powered PA speakers for both your studio monitors and to play your Axe FXIII through live.

I guess you need to dial in your live presets at gig volume using the exact speakers you are going to be using live.

Is the only real solution to dial in different sets of presets for studio and live work?

I bought an Axe FXII when it first came out, then an Axe FXIIXL+, then an Axe FXIII, but even after all this time there is always new things I learn about it, many times thanks to other members on the forum.

Any tips, suggestions, or solutions?


Power User
What Mr fender said. Your studio presets were probably dialed in at a much lower volume than you are probably running your frfr at. Which will naturally cause you to run the bass higher than you would at live volumes. It can also cause your high end to sound nasty at higher volumes as well. Live presets need to be dialed in a live volume levels, same as you would a tube amp


Power User
Thanks guys! That sounds right.

The studio monitors are 120W and the FRFR are 1000W each, so even though I dialed in the presets at a moderately loud volume on the studio monitors that's no where near as loud as the powered PA speakers at stage volume.
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Absolutely agree with what’s been said already.

For myself, I don’t often play through the same PA from show to show.
I use my AXE III direct every time. I dial in my presets at decent volume...That’s the best I can do.
Our 2nd guitarist is using an AX8, so the same applies to him.

One way our band deals with this has been to get an X32 rack and run our own in-ears. This way WE get consistent sound night after night regardless of the venue or the PA and we send a split to the FOH of each channel and I don’t change my sound for FOH. Then, the FOH can mix however “they” want to for the venue (which hopefully they are familiar with).

2 things are important here:

First, it’s best to have a FOH engineer that you bring or use regularly. He/she can then “adjust” the FOH Gtr sound for the PA and the room. Regardless of the venue or PA, “YOUR” engineer knows what YOU want to sound like and can EQ in the system. Honestly, there is usually not too much EQ needed.
If you want to adjust something, I saw Andy Wood use a good trick, adding a Parametric EQ block that simply blocks at a pre-determined frequency, say 4500 HZ. That will temper any harsh high end.

Second, in terms of recording, I find that when recording I need a bit less gain than I do live, yet usually the EQ stays the same. In a recorded (or live) mix I don’t want to step into the other frequency bandwidths of other instruments. Especially since we have 2 guitar players.

Hope this helps!!!!
Best of luck
Fletcher Munson is a real consideration of course, yet when using different PA in different venues each show, the best I have been able do is bring OUR sound engineer and have him/her EQ our guitars in the FOH mix.
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Fractal Fanatic
FM is real, but IMO is of limited significance compared to the huge variation in tone imposed by "PA" speakers and/or a tech's delusion of what great tone is (especially when slapping HP and LP filters on before even listening to the tone; BARBARISM). Either one will almost certainly destroy the glorious tones I so painstaking created on my quality studio monitors. The only plausible course of action for me is to develop the most positive relationship with the FOH/monitor crew as possible, and adjust the post-Axe signal chain to minimize the degradation by eliminating HP/LP filters, radical eq fiascos, superfluous fx, etc. It's an uphill and never-ending struggle.
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I've been pondering this myself lately. I've been a mostly "bedroom" player for 18 years of guitar playing and just recently started rehearsing with a band. My favorite amp is Recto 2 Red Modern which doesn't seem to work well with a live band unless you crank the mids and master volume. I know the Red channels have no negative feedback so I imagine that makes it harder to hear stuff when cranked? Maybe I'll try one of the FAS Modern amps with the band and see how that works.


When you are dialing in a home, can you still hear your guitar strings ?
If so yes, you need to get it louder.

Also set your presets in the context of a mix, using a track or something similar.

It can help to record this and play it back, making sure the guitar volume is correctly for the mix.
You may end up with something that sounds thin in isolation and that's ok, if your goal is for live band use.

Experiment some more though, it won't take you long to get it sounding good.


Another factor here is your guitar actually sounds different live. I recently was messing around with mixing a multitrack recording we did at my church. One of the parts I played didn't turn out that great so I toyed with the idea of re-tracking it. (I didn't end up using the re-track in the end because it didn't feel honest but I tried it out. )

Anyways, using the exact same guitar, patch, settings, etc. the two sounded very different. The live one was a lot brighter and livelier. Having real volume in the room will interact with your guitar and make it sound different. The gain enhancer does a pretty good job simulating this and I was able to get something ballpark close to the live tone by messing around with the settings on the gain enhancer.

David Houck

... a global Filter block ...

That's been in the back of my mind for a while. I too would like to use the same presets I create for recordings to play the same songs in a live setting. (As I'm working on solo material, I don't have to worry about how my tone sits in a mix; and since I would only be playing very small rooms, there probably won't be too much of a volume difference.) Since I'm just playing at home for the foreseeable future, I haven't tried to set it up; but was wondering if you could use the performance screen to make quick adjustments to a global filter block during sound check and be good to go.


Power User
For those of you using in ears live, do you dial in your presets on the in ears; with headphones, or through your studio monitors?

I'm dialing in some presets at the moment using headphones and it seems easier than dialing them in with my studio monitors (which I usually do). I can hear every nuance and I don't have to worry about sitting in the sweet spot between the speakers and not moving closer or further away while I am dialing in the presets.


Fractal Fanatic
Live presets require much more work, in my opinion, because they won't subsequently be worked on during mixing.


Also, in my experience at least, recording guitars is about trying to create something unique for the particular song or part being recorded in the moment. In that context the more information you can leave in the more the mixer has to work with. Live it's about getting the guitar to play its role as part of the team and that involves leaving space for the other instruments.

Cooper Carter

Fractal Fanatic
For those of you using in ears live, do you dial in your presets on the in ears; with headphones, or through your studio monitors?

I'm dialing in some presets at the moment using headphones and it seems easier than dialing them in with my studio monitors (which I usually do). I can hear every nuance and I don't have to worry about sitting in the sweet spot between the speakers and not moving closer or further away while I am dialing in the presets.

Wear your in-ears while dialing and dial to that sound, but have your monitors cooking at a nice rockin level to get a natural resonance loop going between speaker and guitar.

Check your tone every so often on the monitors, but if it sounds good to you in your ears, you'll play a better show. Let FOH take it where they want in the venue.


Power User
Thanks for the tips guys!

I just found a web site that has frequency response charts for different brands of headphones. I wanted to see what the frequency response was for the Beyer DT-770 Pro 250 ohm, and DT-990 Pro 250 ohm headphones. Here's a link if you want to check out frequency response for your headphones. Is there is a web site that does the same for studio monitors?


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