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First gig with the Axe, and it sounded terrible

bgrizzmayne

Inspired
Decided to bust out my new axe fx II rig in a full band setting last night. Rig consists of guitar into axe, out 1 to foh, out 2 to my personal matrix Q12a. Using a TRS cable from out 2 into the q12a

I prepared a few presets of a few different amp sims. They didn't sound amazing, but sounded decent enough when I cranked my q12a up in my basement. But apparently my ears were off, because I've never sounded that bad.

One was a buttery amp sim, and it sounded unbelievably shrill. My leads sounded full enough at home. but boosting the buttery amp sim with a ts808 and a null filter sounded awful. So thin! Had a hard time doing my job because my tone was so bad.

I also had a Pete thorn sl68 preset that sounded terrible too! Harsh, no clarity, just sounded bad.

Because everything was so harsh, I rolled off some Highs in the global EQ, but the axe still sounded thin and digital. Checking my ins and outs, I'm tickling the red, and may output is similar to my input level.

I know these things take time to learn, but I was hoping it'd be a lot more plug and play. Load an ac30, boost with a TS and it's feel like an amp, but that's NOT the case. Anyone have any advice? Just bummed because I spent so much money, more money than any gear I've ever bought, and it soundeds way worse than anything I've used
 
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yek

Moderator
Moderator
This is something which happens to a lot of new users of modelers (to me too).
A lot of things happening.

1. You're now listening to an emulated mic'd tone, not 'amp in the room'.
2. You're now listening to a full range tone.
3. You've dialed in your tone at home volume. The Fletcher Munson 'rule' says that at higher volume highs and lows will be emphasized, competing with cymbals and bass, making the guitar disappear in the mix.

You know what's beautiful? It can be dealt with.
 
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bgrizzmayne

Inspired
For sure. I dialed in my Q12a at high volume in my basement, though. I'm also kind of baffled why presets that I download from someone like Pete thorn sound terrible cranked up. Idk I know there's more I need to learn but I'd love some pointers. A lot of the patches I've built sound thinner than presets, but the presets and some amp models like even the Friedman BE sound bassy and digital, not like a real amp
 

Semih Yanyali

Power User
Had the same experiences, first gigs with axe as amp after my mesa triaxis, 2:90 rig wasnt really good.
As yek mentioned, dial in your sound gig level or close to gig level. If u can dial as u rehearse with your band.
I use fender vibroverb and ac30 as main amps in axe. When i play at home hi cut at ac 30 is somewhere around 2-3 and vibroverbs bright switch is on...but when i change to gig levels hi cut on ac goes way higher, i turn off bright by vibroverb and turn on the cut button off bass. Othervise too much highs and too much low end. I have almost the same setup as u. Gt1000fx and 2 q12. Give it time, unfortunately its not plug and play as u figured but dont give up, it pays off :)
 
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Semih Yanyali

Power User
Other peoples presets never work for me. Different guitar, different tastes, different rooms, monitors and someone playing good, or having a good studio/stage tone doenst mean they know how to dial in axe...

For sure. I dialed in my Q12a at high volume in my basement, though. I'm also kind of baffled why presets that I download from someone like Pete thorn sound terrible cranked up. Idk I know there's more I need to learn but I'd love some pointers. A lot of the patches I've built sound thinner than presets, but the presets and some amp models like even the Friedman BE sound bassy and digital, not like a real amp
 

toolfanem

Power User
For sure. I dialed in my Q12a at high volume in my basement, though. I'm also kind of baffled why presets that I download from someone like Pete thorn sound terrible cranked up. Idk I know there's more I need to learn but I'd love some pointers. A lot of the patches I've built sound thinner than presets, but the presets and some amp models like even the Friedman BE sound bassy and digital, not like a real amp

Not exactly sure what 'digital' sounds like, but its all in there man. Think about approaching your presets from an engineers perspective (since that's basically what is happening whether you like it or not). With cab IRs you are dealing with having a microphone in the mix which GREATLY alters the way an amp 'should' sound. I would personally start with trying different cab IRs. They are one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, influence on your sound. Get in the ball park with right IR, and then tweak amp, eq, comp, etc. settings.

Factory presets have never been my thing either. BUT, after searching for years trying to find a modeller that actually sounds good and FEELS good, the Axe is the cats tits :)
 

Severed

Fractal Fanatic
It can be challenging and I'm sure this is the last thing you want to hear when feeling bummed, but as Yek has said, as many of us have no problem, it can most likely be just the way in which you dialed it in. A scooped awesome "solo" sound on its own sounds great but once you get together with a real drum set and perhaps a bass player that also just goes with what he likes and doesn't dial it in for the mix to help you fit only making your available frequencies less and less, your problem is only compounded.

Not saying this is your issue, but it sounds like it.
 

bgrizzmayne

Inspired
Yeah I hear ya. But I was surprised at how bad it sounded. Sometimes others presets aren't my taste, but I could tweak them to make them feel usable. The axe so far had the potential to sound much worse than I could ever make my amp sound. Hopefully has the potential to sound much better

Also, making changes on the fly is nearly impossible, so there's that. My band never rehearses, but yeah I have been dialing in at gig volume shooting the Q12a right to my face. Idk, I'm at a loss as to what to tackle first. Everything just sounded so shrill, I was bewildered because I had spent so long dialing in different types of sounds to test at the gig, and that all had this brittle high end, digital tone signature
 

yek

Moderator
Moderator
For sure. I dialed in my Q12a at high volume in my basement, though. I'm also kind of baffled why presets that I download from someone like Pete thorn sound terrible cranked up. Idk I know there's more I need to learn but I'd love some pointers. A lot of the patches I've built sound thinner than presets, but the presets and some amp models like even the Friedman BE sound bassy and digital, not like a real amp

Pete Thorn tonematched his amps in the studio. It's a studio tone which doesn't necessarily translates well to a stage tone.
I love these when playing @home, but they would be much too bright for me to use on stage through a FR monitor.
 

bgrizzmayne

Inspired
It can be challenging and I'm sure this is the last thing you want to hear when feeling bummed, but as Yek has said, as many of us have no problem, it can most likely be just the way in which you dialed it in. A scooped awesome "solo" sound on its own sounds great but once you get together with a real drum set and perhaps a bass player that also just goes with what he likes and doesn't dial it in for the mix to help you fit only making your available frequencies less and less, your problem is only compounded.

Not saying this is your issue, but it sounds like it.

My issue is kind of the opposite. I hate that scooped sound, because I was afraid to be lost in the mix with too much gain and lack of mids. But I ended up being way too thin and shrill. I guess I can try different IRs but it's not like I did anything weird...I ised an ac30 with a 2x12 blue and didn't do anything weird with the EQ. maybe FRFR and the axe isn't for me. I've got like two more days to return my axe so I better decide quick, ha
 

layre

Member
I would definitely start auditioning different IRs to see what works for you in a live setting. I personally found the new Ownhammer IRs that have the "live" designation in the name work well for me. I also recall Pete's patches and IR were more of a studio sound and possibly not tweaked for a live environment (someone please correct me if I am mistaken). So you may need to tame the highs and lows on his patch for gig volume.
 

ConnorGilks

Experienced
Same thing happened to me. Best thing to do is actually play it through a real PA and tweak it. Spend an hour doing this and you'll see how things translate to a live scenario. Yek pretty much said it all, you need to learn not only how your tones sound at loud volumes, but you need to tweak these things while you're playing live with your band or else it'll all sound like garbage and/or get completely lost in the mix when fighting with so many other instruments for sonic territory.
 

NMG

Experienced
is it ok to play music at high vol through monitors at home and build/tweek presets whilst playing over the top?

I will quite often create a lead preset, but then play over a backing track and my guitar sounds clean! this is because those high gain distortion elements are being lost in the mix

Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2
 

yek

Moderator
Moderator
My issue is kind of the opposite. I hate that scooped sound, because I was afraid to be lost in the mix with too much gain and lack of mids. But I ended up being way too thin and shrill. I guess I can try different IRs but it's not like I did anything weird...I ised an ac30 with a 2x12 blue and didn't do anything weird with the EQ. maybe FRFR and the axe isn't for me. I've got like two more days to return my axe so I better decide quick, ha

A very simple method to start and get used to the "new" tone, is blocking lows and highs. You won't like when playing at home, but it helps your tone in the mix when playing with your band. Best to do this with a PEQ (block lows at 150 and highs at 6000). Or go to the Global EQ, turn down 31 and 63 Hz all the way, and 125 Hz somewhat, and 16kHz all the way, and 8kHz somewhat.
 

bgrizzmayne

Inspired
That's what I did, and it's really the only option for me as my band plays out all the time, so we never rehearse. Learning how to tweak on the fly is definitely something I need to learn- what are you guys tweaking on the fly in the live setting? Just EQ for a patch?

Like I said, I don't really understand why an AC30 through a Blue 2x12 sounds that bad in a live setting. I guess it's a FRFR thing, so i'm not sure what the best thing to start out tweaking would be. People say IR's...I guess I can start there. but there's like 400 IR's, so it's hardly tweaking, just guess and check. I don't have my own PA to play through to tweak unfortunately. our band has one that I guess I could borrow, but we have a 90 lb rack with out mixer and poweramps in it, and I don't think I could carry that down my basement. plus we gig so often it's not very practical
 

bgrizzmayne

Inspired
A very simple method to start and get used to the "new" tone, is blocking lows and highs. You won't like when playing at home, but it helps your tone in the mix when playing with your band. Best to do this with a PEQ (block lows at 150 and highs at 6000). Or go to the Global EQ, turn down 31 and 63 Hz all the way, and 125 Hz somewhat, and 16kHz all the way, and 8kHz somewhat.


What do you mean by choking highs, as in completely cutting them out? I rolled off the highs in the global EQ as I mentioned, but I didn't roll any completely out. Certainly something I could try.

Thanks for all the responses so far by the way guys. I was playing and so appalled at my tone, I was brainstorming what I was going to say in my thread DURING the gig, ha! Terrible professionalism! But I had to try the new rig at some point...and this was one of our weaker gigs of the month. Anyways, I just appreciate this community being willing to help a new user; I'm going to read through the manual again.
 

toolfanem

Power User
What do you mean by choking highs, as in completely cutting them out? I rolled off the highs in the global EQ as I mentioned, but I didn't roll any completely out. Certainly something I could try.

Thanks for all the responses so far by the way guys. I was playing and so appalled at my tone, I was brainstorming what I was going to say in my thread DURING the gig, ha! Terrible professionalism! But I had to try the new rig at some point...and this was one of our weaker gigs of the month. Anyways, I just appreciate this community being willing to help a new user; I'm going to read through the manual again.

Hi pass and low pass filters after the cab block with help. A real guitar cab will have little going on above 5k. FRFR on the other hand has EVERYTHING going on above 5k :)
 

yek

Moderator
Moderator
What do you mean by choking highs, as in completely cutting them out? I rolled off the highs in the global EQ as I mentioned, but I didn't roll any completely out. Certainly something I could try.

Thanks for all the responses so far by the way guys. I was playing and so appalled at my tone, I was brainstorming what I was going to say in my thread DURING the gig, ha! Terrible professionalism! But I had to try the new rig at some point...and this was one of our weaker gigs of the month. Anyways, I just appreciate this community being willing to help a new user; I'm going to read through the manual again.

Theer are different types of EQ-ing. Shelving, peaking, blocking. What you want here is "blocking". That's indeed totally cutting them out.
I forgot to tell the easiest way: use lowcut and highcut in the cab block. That's the same as blocking eq. For starters set lowcut at 150 and highcut at 6k (adjust to taste between 5kHz and 7kHz). No reason to use the global eq.
 

Singtall

Experienced
Vendor
Theer are different types of EQ-ing. Shelving, peaking, blocking. What you want here is "blocking". That's indeed totally cutting them out.
I forgot to tell the easiest way: use lowcut and highcut in the cab block. That's the same as blocking eq. For starters set lowcut at 150 and highcut at 6k (adjust to taste between 5kHz and 7kHz). No reason to use the global eq.

i did exactly what Yek said, and now i love my axe-fx II.....before i tried what Yek said, i was about to sell the axe-fx II.....it was that bad to my ears, brittle.
 

muudrock

Experienced
I had a similar experience when I started gigging with the Axe live a couple years ago. Best advice I can give you is to listen to guys like Yek that have a wealth of knowledge gigging the unit. Like I said, I've been using it live for the last couple years now as my live rig. It took me a while to get it dialed in to where I liked it. Now that it is, I've got a good consistent sound every night on stage and to FOH. I use the global eq to chop extreme highs and lows out. In addition, I have a PEQ block in every preset with blocking filters at 120k and 7k, and one scene in which it is engaged in every patch. If I don't like the sound I'm hearing thru the CLR or FOH, I use that scene for the patch. Going FR from traditional stage rigs is a learning experience and it is an adjustment. I'm glad I did it, but it was a little work....the payoff was worth it!
 
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