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Does it really sound like a cranked tube amp?

electronpirate

Moderator
Moderator
No. And yes.

I've experimented quite a bit here, and while it's the same tone (Axe II wise), you HEAR more/different things when it's cranked. A tube amp changes the louder you push the MV, the Axe does not just by increasing output level.

Again, tonally yes it will sound the same if you record it. But IMO there is NO replicating at bedroom levels a stoopid loud amp at gig volumes. The one thing you won't have is significant tonal change when turning the Axe II level down. It's all THERE, but you can't hear all of it.

IMO, YMMV, PIIHA.

R
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
The last time I powered up my hand-made Dumble clone, it smelled like burning dust.
Yup. It always amazes me at how much dust collects on the tubes in such a short time. When you first fire them up after sitting for a few months, whew...
 

marshall2553

Experienced
No. And yes.

I've experimented quite a bit here, and while it's the same tone (Axe II wise), you HEAR more/different things when it's cranked. A tube amp changes the louder you push the MV, the Axe does not just by increasing output level.

Again, tonally yes it will sound the same if you record it. But IMO there is NO replicating at bedroom levels a stoopid loud amp at gig volumes. The one thing you won't have is significant tonal change when turning the Axe II level down. It's all THERE, but you can't hear all of it.

IMO, YMMV, PIIHA.

R
This! The Fletcher-Munson effect among other things will affect both the tone from your Axe-Fx and your amp. You'll get the same tone from the Axe-Fx at lower volumes that you get from your cranked amp but your ears will perceive it differently. If I crank my AX8 up through a regular guitar cab it is just as enjoyable as playing the real amp through the same cab.
 

hochha

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?
If you like cranking that amp, get an LB-1 that FAS will be offering shortly. Im hoping it will compete favorably with the Torpedo Studio, it should do a better job with someone like Cliff and the FAS team continuing to improve their products the way they do but make no mistake the Torpedo Studio is formidable and the sounds I get from them are very satisfying. However, I think FAS will do a superior job of it.
 
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Wolfenstein98k

Power User
Yup. It always amazes me at how much dust collects on the tubes in such a short time. When you first fire them up after sitting for a few months, whew...
But... How does dust accumulate on an algorithm?

Oh wait, don't tell me Luddites are still using THOSE obsolete things... Do they travel by horse and cart too??
 

dbun

Experienced
Yes - I used to play Vox amps cranked and the Axe Fx sounds exactly the same when you compare the mic'd tone you hear back via IEMs or through FOH
 

Wolfenstein98k

Power User
Again, tonally yes it will sound the same if you record it. But IMO there is NO replicating at bedroom levels a stoopid loud amp at gig volumes. The one thing you won't have is significant tonal change when turning the Axe II level down. It's all THERE, but you can't hear all of it.

R
Hang on, so it sounds the same, but it doesn't sound the same, because volume?

I don't follow. Are you saying that running the Axe-Fx at a lower SPL (volume to be less precise) makes it sound different to an actual amp? Or are you saying that, when run in the same space at the same volume, they sound different?

If the former, I'd say that's true for the very same amp and itself run louder.
 

verde2112

New Member
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!
I can attest to this as well as I also play through a Mesa Trad 4x12 cab at bedroom levels and it sounds BETTER through my VHT 2/50/2 than my cranked JP-2C and any recto I've ever owned after having several have through this cab. It moves air with the best of them and definitely has that "amp in the room" quality. This is coming from a former 23 year tube snob FWIW!
 

jw3571

Inspired
So if the FRFR choice is that important, even for low volume is going with the HS80's not good enough? Should I go A7x's?
 

Scary

Experienced
They all sound great, but it's still apples to oranges for me. During the day when I can get some volume amps win, at night it's almost always going to be Axe-Fx II. Having it as a tool for recording and practicing at night has been extremely useful.
 

Clockwork Creep

Power User
In short:
It sounds like a tube amp, that is placed somewhere where you can't hear it, it's mic'ed, and you are monitoring it through your speakers or headphones.. It is exactly what you are hearing on professional recordings (Minus the mixing and mastering with other instruments). The axe is basically a guitar recording studio in a little box.
It does not sound like a tube amp that you are sitting right in front of.
If you want that particular experience, you will need to buy a real Cab and power it with a transparent amp, then run your Axe FX through that amp and through that cab. The only difference here will be, that the volume and tone are controlled separately, unlike real tube amps.
 
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Jason Scott

Power User
Hang on, so it sounds the same, but it doesn't sound the same, because volume?

I don't follow. Are you saying that running the Axe-Fx at a lower SPL (volume to be less precise) makes it sound different to an actual amp? Or are you saying that, when run in the same space at the same volume, they sound different?

If the former, I'd say that's true for the very same amp and itself run louder.
I think he's referring to the Fletcher-Munson Curve. The human ear hears certain frequencies (lows and highs) more prominently at high listening volumes even though in reality the overall tonal balance actually remains the same. It's a perceptual thing.
 
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Scary

Experienced
I used to equate it to an idea of weight in the tone. The sound is pretty much the same at a given volume, minus the big cab vibrating on the floor.
 
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