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Hating my Axe FX, any last words before I sell?

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bgrizzmayne

Inspired
I've posted like 5 threads on how I've struggled with my Axe FX II. Have gotten some sort of helpful responses, but not very many applied to basic rock/blues tones- most were lead/metal/sustain stuff.

The Problem
The Axe FX II is so easy to make sound bad, it's unreal. I started my journey with FRFR, which was harsh, cold, and lacked life.

I plug my strat into my bogner blue, into my Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue. I put every knob at noon; the Bogner Blue and the Fender. Normal channel, volume around 4.
Everything sounds good. Highs are there but not too brittle. Lows are crisp and not in the realm of clipping. Feel is dynamic.

I plug into the Axe FX II
Strat into Deluxe Reverb model. Using GT1000FX and Matrix NL212. No cab sims.
Highs are brittle and harsh. Lacks body/bass. I increase bass, and low end gets flubby. I push the Deluxe Reverb with a zen drive (because the BB preamp and every other drive pedal sound awful. My real BB preamp into my Deluxe Reverb is transparent and full. My Axe's BB turns my tone into gainy mush, no transparency.

Start ABing, and getting close to my Bogner tone through my DRRI. I tweaked about 1000 knobs- the low and high speaker resonance, in addition to the main treble/mid/bass on the amp. I tweak the hi/lo cut on the pedal, but there's still some sort of mid frequency that sounds awful- like its masking the definition of a notes. A blanket over the amp sound, almost. I try dialing it out with the mid knob in the Zen Drive.

My fifth attempt, setting up my entire rig to AB against the Axe Rig I've invested MORE money in and I get absolutely crap tones.

I'm sick of this 'magical black box'. I plug into my JCM800 -> 4x12 and have a pretty basic time dialing in some usable tones. I load up a JCM800 into my Matrix rig w/ Axe FX and the same story as above....I have to tweak 5,000,000 knobs to make it not sound bad. The real JCM800 sounds good at almost every basic setting.

Everyone who ever thought this box was plug and play couldn't be further from the truth. I thought I'd achieve versatility and consistency, but both are moot when the tones themselves are painfully difficult to dial in.

I've always been a tweaker, because everything on my rig always sounded good. I've never had to tweak so much to avoid terrible tones. Any last words why I shouldn't sell this thing? It's not for lack of trying. I've had it for almost a year, have gigged it 4 times (all miserable failures) and am about ready to give up. I always justified, 'well, what if i have this', and would buy more stuff, like the poweramp + cab, etc. Now that I've got everything any axe head could ever want, none of it sounds good.

Any last words why I shouldn't sell this thing?
 

Sixstring

Axe-Master
Maybe it's just not for you? Not everyone can like the Axe and your not the first. It sounds to me like you have all the tools to A/B and dial in the Axe to get it to sound like the tube counter parts. Is there anyone you know or live close to that might be able to help you out? for me that would be my last ditch effort before I sold it off.
 

bgrizzmayne

Inspired
I play very actively in Kansas City and don't know any other musicians using an Axe FX II....never seen anyone use one around here. I AB'd pretty cleverly- scene 1 was my Axe chain into a disengaged volume block. Scene 2 was the signal into an FX loop block and volume block set to -80 db. I bet there's an easier way to do it, but I was able to use the Axe's looper and step on the MFC 101 to switch between the amps
 

micklisa

Member
Don't sell......

I suggest you do NOT sell the unit. Given the depth of this thing and the expansive variations in tones due to personal equipment attached, it's simply a matter of getting it set up correctly for your gear and then dialing in the best tones per your ears. If you are struggling, you likely would benefit from someone to help you get set up properly and get you started on your journey. (the list of professional artists using the Axe-Fx is testimony that it can/does produce incredible tones). Best of luck in your decision, as that is ultimately yours and yours alone.


I've posted like 5 threads on how I've struggled with my Axe FX II. Have gotten some sort of helpful responses, but not very many applied to basic rock/blues tones- most were lead/metal/sustain stuff.

The Problem
The Axe FX II is so easy to make sound bad, it's unreal. I started my journey with FRFR, which was harsh, cold, and lacked life.

I plug my strat into my bogner blue, into my Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue. I put every knob at noon; the Bogner Blue and the Fender. Normal channel, volume around 4.
Everything sounds good. Highs are there but not too brittle. Lows are crisp and not in the realm of clipping. Feel is dynamic.

I plug into the Axe FX II
Strat into Deluxe Reverb model. Using GT1000FX and Matrix NL212. No cab sims.
Highs are brittle and harsh. Lacks body/bass. I increase bass, and low end gets flubby. I push the Deluxe Reverb with a zen drive (because the BB preamp and every other drive pedal sound awful. My real BB preamp into my Deluxe Reverb is transparent and full. My Axe's BB turns my tone into gainy mush, no transparency.

Start ABing, and getting close to my Bogner tone through my DRRI. I tweaked about 1000 knobs- the low and high speaker resonance, in addition to the main treble/mid/bass on the amp. I tweak the hi/lo cut on the pedal, but there's still some sort of mid frequency that sounds awful- like its masking the definition of a notes. A blanket over the amp sound, almost. I try dialing it out with the mid knob in the Zen Drive.

My fifth attempt, setting up my entire rig to AB against the Axe Rig I've invested MORE money in and I get absolutely crap tones.

I'm sick of this 'magical black box'. I plug into my JCM800 -> 4x12 and have a pretty basic time dialing in some usable tones. I load up a JCM800 into my Matrix rig w/ Axe FX and the same story as above....I have to tweak 5,000,000 knobs to make it not sound bad. The real JCM800 sounds good at almost every basic setting.

Everyone who ever thought this box was plug and play couldn't be further from the truth. I thought I'd achieve versatility and consistency, but both are moot when the tones themselves are painfully difficult to dial in.

I've always been a tweaker, because everything on my rig always sounded good. I've never had to tweak so much to avoid terrible tones. Any last words why I shouldn't sell this thing? It's not for lack of trying. I've had it for almost a year, have gigged it 4 times (all miserable failures) and am about ready to give up. I always justified, 'well, what if i have this', and would buy more stuff, like the poweramp + cab, etc. Now that I've got everything any axe head could ever want, none of it sounds good.

Any last words why I shouldn't sell this thing?
 

Thomas-Hawk

Power User
I play very actively in Kansas City and don't know any other musicians using an Axe FX II....never seen anyone use one around here. I AB'd pretty cleverly- scene 1 was my Axe chain into a disengaged volume block. Scene 2 was the signal into an FX loop block and volume block set to -80 db. I bet there's an easier way to do it, but I was able to use the Axe's looper and step on the MFC 101 to switch between the amps

Hey man,

I live in Kansas City, but I don't gig with my Axe II/Matrix rig. But I'd be willing to try to help you out if we could work out a place/time. Just PM me, and we'll go from there.
 

symphx

Fractal Fanatic
Larry Mitchell. Is a pro blues rock player. Many videos. Etc Grammy winner. I can't believe u wouldn't find his tones as great as he must? Or many others.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Cainer

Experienced
I play blues and love the Axe, and play in a hard rock band as well. I get compliments on my tone all the time - I wish I could tell you what the issue is with your setup! I can imagine it's super frustrating to hear everyone loving it and not getting the results yourself. Have you tried other people's patches? What guitar(s) do you use?
 

chris

Legend!
i say sell it. if it's not working for you it's not working. there are tons of ways to use it and i've used the axe exclusively for over 5 years now. it works for me completely.

music is meant to enjoy. if you've tried that many things with it and you don't get the benefit of it that you do with a regular amp, then why torture yourself?

curious to what you want the axe for, instead of other gear? what would it do for you if it did sound good? maybe that benefit is actually greater and we should instead work on specific things to make it sound right to you.

but if you can just use a regular amp and feel great and make music, i'd say do that instead :) i know a bunch of people here that have bought and sold it... only to return to it again and find success.

good luck!
 

Poparad

Experienced
Sounds like it's not the Axe that you're disliking, but whatever you're amplifying it through. I've tried mine through a variety of speakers, and in some cases it's frustrating to get a tone that's not terrible, but in other cases, every note I play sounds golden.
 

Gamedojo

Power User
JCM800 sounds alright with a strat to me:

Jcm 800 nearly stock settings

Jcm800 with a tubescreamer in front:



.... curious, have you ever listened to your JCM800 recorded? Could you post them as a tonal reference to what your ears want to hear?

I usually can find pretty great mix ready tones with most amps in the axe fx pretty fast. Sure, not all are my cup of tea, and some amps sound downright bad.. but I'd first blame the amp circuit before the axefx.



And for good measure, a deluxe reverb:
 
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Cagey

Experienced
There are a few famous artists who use the thing purely for its special effects - Steve Vai and Alex Lifeson come to mind. Put it in the effects loop(s) of whatever amp they think suits them, and get rid of 16-20 spaces of rack gear previously used to get the best reverb/delay/flange/etc.

I can understand why someone might not like the amp section - it's a different paradigm. But, having a lotta high-quality SFX that can be infinitely rearranged in one easily controlled box is always a Good Thing. For that reason alone, I'd hang on to the thing. Makes your (or your tech's) life easier.
 

Semih Yanyali

Power User
I have the same setup and did a/b it couple of times to fenders or vox...it sounded different than the real amp, just cos of the fact i had a different cab (nl12)...

But dude i have been recording, producing and playing live for a while and to me it sounds like smth is wrong with your patches, gt1000fx or nl12...

Find some one in your area using the same setup and double check all before you sell...i cant imagine things being more simple than this for a (serious) guitar player...

For a basic home player, yes you are right its no way plug and play thing. though it got so much easier to get good results.
 

whaledge

New Member
I understand your frustrations somewhat. I tried quit a few amp/speaker setups before I found the one that worked great for me. I do use the cab IRs but play thru passive FR that works well for vocal monitoring (EV 12") and then added a powered subwoofer to blend in the lows-WOW my Brother liked it so much, he cloned my setup for his Axe FX II also! The amp you have is perfect for this as I only like a D class amp for the subs!
 

ElectricPhase

Power User
Sell it. You say you're A/B comparing with something that does exactly what you want. Your ears. Your fingers. Your tone. Life is too short.

(* My experience for has been the exact opposite, and I wouldn't trade my Axe-FX for any half dozen amps in existence.)
 
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