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Does it really sound like a cranked tube amp?

jw3571

Inspired
I'm strictly a basement player but today I finally got to crank out a tube amp. Couldn't believe how much better it sounded than how i've been playing it at quieter volumes. Obviously I can't play with it cranked very often for sake of my family and my hearing, lol. Does the axe fx really sound liked a crank tube amp when used with frfr at a lower bedroom volume?
 

Rick

Fractal Fanatic
The nice part of the Axe FX is that you can crank the Master on any amp, and control the overall output volume separately or by the speaker cabinet you're using. Now, I think everyone would admit there is nothing quite like standing in front of a roaring 4x12 or two. You'll never get that feeling at bedroom volume... But the sound of it is right there.

In a word, yes.
 

jyflorida

Experienced
What Rick said. It IS the cranked-tube-amp tone but not at police-summoning levels, unless you want it that way! ;)
 

SJB

Inspired
The answer to this question seems to depend in part on what you are looking for - but I can tell you this... I have used all manner of tube amps since 1976. And I mean lots of brands and models. I got my Axe and a decent FRFR set of powered speakers about a year ago.... and I haven't warmed up a tube since. The Axe provides the best and most versatile tone I have ever had. I sold my JCM DSL 2000 (yup, I SOLD my Marshall). And I'm seriously getting ready to let go of some boutique amps. Just don't need em, just don't play em.... and don't want to carry them anymore.
 

addedc

Experienced
Yes, especially since about a year ago (I think it was Quantum), you can get the Axe to sound pretty much exactly like a tube amp (there is still a very slight, butt-hair of difference, but not enough to override the versatility of the Axe). That said, there are a LOT of settings in the Axe and if you don't know what you are doing, it's easy to make it sound muffled, muddy or boomy, too. With each firmware release, it gets easier and easier to get great tones.
 

mr_fender

Fractal Fanatic
The answer to this question seems to depend in part on what you are looking for - but I can tell you this... I have used all manner of tube amps since 1976. And I mean lots of brands and models. I got my Axe and a decent FRFR set of powered speakers about a year ago.... and I haven't warmed up a tube since. The Axe provides the best and most versatile tone I have ever had. I sold my JCM DSL 2000 (yup, I SOLD my Marshall). And I'm seriously getting ready to let go of some boutique amps. Just don't need em, just don't play em.... and don't want to carry them anymore.
This. Many tube amps are now collecting dust thanks to this magic black box, including mine.
 

laughyouraxeoff

Experienced
If you have a good speaker setup then yes it does sound like it. The great part is you can get that sound even at lower volumes, just remember having good speaker setup is going to be key here.
 

SteveW

Inspired
I play through a real Mesa Traditional 4 x 12 cab. It does what it does with the Axe, exactly the same way as it did with the Mesa DR head I had, except at low volumes, where the Mesa head couldn't do what the Axe FX can!

I can play at almost sub-audible volumes with the Axe, and it sounds as good as it does at much louder volumes!
 

5150

Inspired
...Does the axe fx really sound liked a crank tube amp when used with frfr at a lower bedroom volume?
No, not necessarily. You have to put more context around the question, and if I understand what you're really asking, the answer is "no."

Running the Axe-Fx through an FRFR system, or studio monitors, at bedroom volumes will not deliver the same experience as cranking a tube amp to ear-splitting levels in the same room.

This, in my opinion, is a common source of confusion among those new to both the Axe-Fx, as well as those new to the idea of hearing and playing a mic'd and processed guitar amp that is located in a separate room from the player.

This however, is not unique to the Axe-Fx, nor is the Axe an issue here. The physics of the situation is just different. That same cranked amp heard under a mic and through monitors in a control room will sound just as different compared to standing right next to it with the speaker moving tons of air, interacting with the body of the guitar.

The Axe into an FRFR speaker, using the correct IR and turned up loud will get very close to the same sound as a very loud tube amp and cab. The Axe into a power amp (with cab modeling off) running into a real guitar cab will be even closer, and in my opinion is indistinguishable from the tube amp in this scenario.

But at bedroom levels? No, it will not sound exactly the same as cranking up that tube amp. This doesn't mean it won't or can't sound great -- I get awesome and inspiring tones at low levels all the time, but there is quite a difference between the two experiences you describe. It's good to be aware of it, if you haven't spent a lot of time cranking amps or recording cranked amps.
 

R.D.

Power User
Does the Axe-Fx really sound liked a crank tube amp when used with FRFR at a lower bedroom volume?
Yes, but with a caveat !

Keeping in mind that 99% of the IRs we use are close mic'ed ( like it would be in the studio ) ....

The Axe-Fx sounds TOTALLY like a cranked tube amp ..., that is mic'ed in the studio and fed back to you through monitor speakers ....

If you're cool hearing your amp that way, then you'll love it ! If you've never been in a studio and recorded that way, it might take some getting used too ....
 
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RDH

Fractal Fanatic
Yes, It sounds and feels like a cranked tube amp. The difference will come in where volume is concerned in the room.(the cab in the room feel) If you isolate your tube amp and record it I doubt you could tell a difference. If you Run the AXFX through the same power amp and cab I doubt you could tell a difference (in the room). Blind test of course Placebo is real.
The argument comes into play when compared at differing volumes.
 

musicman0001

Inspired
I have always played with Tube Amp & Cabinet and when I started AXE FX I realized very shortly after that the sound of a Tube Amp with Real Cabinet has WAY DIFFERENT behavior then through headphones or a monitor in comparison to using real cabinet(s) due to several reasons:

1. FRFR with AXE FX is similar to the following setup: AMP - CAB - MIC - FOH/FRFR speakers.
So it's NEVER the same as In The Room Cabinet Feel & Sound
2. Low Volume at home VERSUS big venue High Volume is also not the same due to Fletcher Munson (bass, highs, mid frequencies)
http://ehomerecordingstudio.com/fletcher-munson-curve/
3. Low volume has impact on sound too as it will have less effect from sound reflections.
At High Volume the returning sound has impact resonation & feedback of the guitar, pickup & strings.
4. IR's (cabinet & microphones used) have a very big impact on the signal (tone) path.
That would be the same as having a specific microphone and a specific location at the speaker from a specific real cabinet

But the answer would be:

YES, the AXE FX can definitely sound like a cranked up Real Tube Amp

As long as you COMPARE it in the correct way with the COMPLETE CHAIN of how sound is produced or reproduced.

- FRFR needs to be compared to AMP - Cab - Mic(s)- Mic(s) positiion - same output

- Real Cab sounds needs to be compare with processing the output through the same Real Cab (excluding cab modeling & mics)
 

Jimmytwotimes

Experienced
Never compare tones at different volumes. Compare to an Axe through a power amp at cranked tube amp volumes and you'll be surprised how similar both sound when you're deaf.
yes ! also why you should always create your tones at gig volume - different volumes sound different !
 

nicolasrivera

Fractal Fanatic
I'm strictly a basement player but today I finally got to crank out a tube amp. Couldn't believe how much better it sounded than how i've been playing it at quieter volumes. Obviously I can't play with it cranked very often for sake of my family and my hearing, lol. Does the axe fx really sound liked a crank tube amp when used with frfr at a lower bedroom volume?
What you heard in your space is a lot of physics working togheter, the way your ears capture that sound is very different to what you would hear if you mic'ked up that amp and use headphones. The Axe FX sounds the way an amp is captured with mics.

If you want to hear the Axe FX like you heard your real amp, you would have to gey a good FRFR, a clean poweramp and crank it like you did the real tube amp.

The Axe Fx sounds just like a real amp crancked but with mics out of the box.
 
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