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

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axel

Power User
Not my decision to make of course, but I would suggest just setting it aside for a while. Play through your amps and forget about it, then re-visit it with a fresh perspective. I've gotten fed up with gear and sold it, and then later regretted it, sometimes re-purchasing the same gear. I also live in KC, but do not gig with my Axe Fx, as a matter of fact I'm currently taking some time off from mine and playing through my amps. A month from now, I'll be back with the Axe Fx, and the amps will be taking a back seat. You're right, amps are so much easier, because you only have so many knobs to twist (sometimes that can be a good thing), but the Axe Fx is an incredible tool. I'd be glad to at least listen to what you're hearing and see if I could provide any usefull feedback, but it sounds like you already know what you want. I've found that with modelers, you may have to use everything at your disposal to get "the" tone you're after, a single amp model alone won't always get you there. Try blending two amp models to get the tone(s) you're after if one isn't cutting it for you...
 
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Well hang on here. How much troubleshooting have you done? Have you tried it through other speakers? Is your Matrix stuff working properly to begin with? Even if you don't like the amp sims, do you like the sound of the effects when you plug the Axe directly into your real amps? Have you compared your Axe Fx to someone else's? Have you tried recording direct?

Do you like the tones other people are getting with the Axe? Because if you do, then it's just a matter of figuring out what they're doing differently than from what you're doing. And that's a simple fix!
 

Severed

Fractal Fanatic
My guess is the Axe FX II (amp and cab sims) and FRFR is not for you. You obviously are not happy with it. If you like the effects though, I'd say keep it and use it as a dedicated FX unit, as many many people do.
 

api4u

Experienced
I say sell it, if it doesn't work for you.

There is a bit of a learning curve, and it can take a bit of geeky-ness and tech-head to get what you might be after; if that's not you, then don't kill yourself. On the other hand, if you're willing to put in the time, and hang with it, I can't imagine you can get much better tone, with current technology. Plus, AFX always stays on the cutting edge, so you're not in danger of falling behind, if you can hang.

But .... if it doesn't work for you, it's a bit of an investment, that may be better used elsewhere. Music's music, and it's not the end of the world, unless you make it so. Find something that works for you; at least try a few things out, and maybe you'll be right back to this - who knows? If nothing else, hang onto it for a bit, and try everything out, and see if it gives you any good ideas where to head to next....... Back when the L6 and BOSS multieffects first came out, I tried them out, and got lots of ideas on what I was drawn to - things that I may never have tried, had I not had those effects boxes. From there I bought LOTS of amps and pedals, and spent LOTS of money. Not that I regret that, but I probably only stuck with one for every ten things i bought. Back then you could usually resell for about what you paid for things; not so much any more, I'm afraid.

I kept a few amps and still have a sweet pedalboard, and a few extra pedals, but mostly, and I do mean MOSTLY, I just play the AFX, now - it does about everything I need, and I get tone compliments nearly every show.

You don't owe it to anyone here to keep it; if you leave, we'll miss you for 10 or 11 years, but after that you'll soon be forgotten, and we'll get over missing you. If you decided to hang with it, and just complain about it, you might not be received with open arms, so that might not work for you or us. If you stuck it out, and were able to work out your tone, that would be really cool - love to have you on board, and to hear what worked for you.
 
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pima1234

Fractal Fanatic
Best suggestion? Don't play tube amps for a while.

I haven't touched one in many months (approaching one year, actually, IIRC). Sold all my cabs and am only holding on to 2 vintage tube amps at the moment (which I really should just sell). I've made a point to just not play anything other than the Axe FX.

There is a difference between amp in the room and playing through the Axe. I agree that there will always be something really unique and satisfying about the real thing. Nothing wrong with that. I miss all the amps I've had over the years. (I don't miss the maintenance and clutter though.)

But, I'm really, really happy with the Axe (it just gets better with each FW release, IMO), and so for me, it completely useable and convincing. (And, much cheaper and easier to manage than a room full of amps, cabs, pedals, cables, etc.)

I was going to go to Omaha this past weekend for a gear fest, mainly so that other guys could try the Axe FX, but I had to stay home. I'm actually kind of glad. They're all tube amp guys. Some of them would probably like the Axe, others would most likely try to convince me to go back to tube amps (no!). But of course, I would have also played through their amps.

And yeah, it can take some real time to get used to the sound and feel, and even to dial in sounds you're completely happy with. The Fletcher-Munson curve plays a major role. More so than with real amps, in my experience. FRFR can also be frustrating, because it's not the same as the real thing. Of course, we're seeing big developments in that area too (IRs and playback systems).

So, either modeling (profiling too) is for you, or it's not. It's not worth it if you're too frustrated.

I didn't stick with it the first time around (and regretting that...).
 

Scott Peterson

Global Moderator
Moderator
Share a preset with me via email and let me see/hear what you are doing. Share your rig setup and what your influences are. Share a clip (if you could) of what it sounds like for you; and a clip of the rigs you do like if you could.

I'll try to help you by working that preset and sending it back to you. Quite often that 'jumpstarts' guys and gets them rolling.

It's not about tweaking it to make it sound bad; and there's no reason at all to be tweaking it to keep it from sounding bad. That's a red flag that you are over thinking it. The best sounding presets I have are actually VERY simple with nothing to do in them; I make them look complicated because I need each thing in the routing to DO something specific... strip it back to what I actually use 99% of the time and it's an amp, a cab and a slight bit of reverb and a hint of delay. That's it. It's sometimes more about the methods people use in their approach it than anything else.

Long story short - if you reach out to me via PM or email, I can try to help you. Might not work for you at all; but it might be worth a shot if it did work out.
 
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?

Why sell it? It is and isn't plug and play. I can plug any sort of guitar into any of the presets and get something pleasant. I can run a washburn with blackout metal bridge(absurd output), volume cranked on guitar and plug into a delux reverb and sound good. Is it the sound I want? Not exactly but i'm a tweakhead. I could run a telecaster into an engl energyball and play death metal. It won't sound exactly how I want but its usable. Thats just pluggin random guitar into random preset with random amp model.

I would recommend keeping the axe FXII. I thought IT was very insanely priced when I got it back in august. The more I've got better at making presets and dialing tone any way I want I almost feel like it's the most valuable piece of gear you can have. Just based on the amp modeling alone if you were to only run mono through an amp block and out into real speakers it would be worth it. I mean theres over 100 quality amps that sound like and behave almost exactly like the real amp. Sometimes I think they sound better. And the best part if you only used it for a preamp, when you go high gain like with a 6505 model it has everything great about the amp but without the drawbacks. The Peavey is huge, heavy, gets really hot and has an absurd amount of noise no matter what gates and noise suppression I tried on the real amp. The fractal model of it is just as tight and agressive, even gritty but the big difference is if you set your input gate right there isn't much bad noise. It's still gritty and and nasty but the notes are so clear compared with the real amp and with a bit of compression you can have your guitar sounding like a laser beam.

Then there are all the effects, and limitless routing possibilities. Add in an expression pedal and you can vary the input gain in your amp with your foot. Or use the asdr tracker and you can have an amp play low gain when you pick lightly and when you pick harder the gain can increase. The possibilities are limitless.

I would recommend reading all the tip lists on the wiki and really sitting down with your guitar, your manual and learn all the features and workings of how mimic works and how to get where you want with axe-fx.


Most important thing to worry about when you are plugging in and dialing in a tone is gain structuring. The axe can produce alot of gain and too much in the wrong points of the signal chain can give you noise artifacts. Also remember when adjusting your sound, little adjustments can make a huge difference. Don't go hog wild and turn a bunch of knobs to extreme points. Understand what tone you are seeking and then figure out how to get their either on your own or by asking the community. AXE FXII is quite overwhelming if you don't have some idea of what you want because there are so many options. When I got it I sat for hours and hours just twisting knobs because of how many parameters there are. Learn how different parameters on different and the same blocks interact with each other and how minute changes in one block can have very audible effects on your tone. If I were you I would stay away from all of the poweramp settings and the bias and things like that because those can really make you sound horrible if you don't understand how the "simulated circuitry" in the amp works and what those nobs do to the electrical signal

Last point to make, get FW 14 at least. Use cab simulation. Ultrares is simply an amazing step up from some of the older cabinet models. Even if you play through guitar speakers and not flat response it can still give your tone a big boost. My band has axe running stereo into to 4x12s and stereo into the PA. We are getting some amazing tones. I highly reccomend the cab simulation because it will give your guitar more of a sense of space, and some balls, especially when practicing in a small room. If you get cab pack three they even have some studio and stage mixed cab IRS that were made using multiple mics. If you use one of those mixes or something similar in cab lab it gives you the natural reverb of a high quality studio room where the impulse response was recorded.


I'll make some recordings of band stuff if you want. We play everything from atmospheric soundscapes to the most brutal of death metal in our songs and compared to using a pod hd500 or tube amp like we used to there is no comparison really. The textures, low noise, great note articulation and the ability to make whatever sound you need on a riff by riff basis is something not to be taken for granted. Will upload a sample of one of our songs and patches soon and see if it doesn't change your mind. It takes alot of hard work and dedication to get the fractal to live up to its full potential but once you reach that comfortable level, its hard to imagine going back to any other amp unless I won the lottery and was gonna blow money on buying every boutique amp out there that isn't in axe fx.


Here is a sample of a patch I made in 5 minutes. No expression pedals or anything. Its all touch sensitive. I intentionally added in some grainy background noise to make it sound more like some weird 70's c movie. It's not intended to be a song, just an example of really awesome sounds you can get out of axe fx in a relatively short time once you really master it.

https://soundcloud.com/the-grindcorps/triptik
 
Here is another great example of axe fx at work providing great tone and flexibility. These are my buddies in entrails eradicated from Australia. When they came over here they ran both guitars through one axe fx ultra and it still sounded great.
 

Bill Piersall

Experienced
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?

I would check out gamedojo's patches. His Strat tones are great, very much into clean, lower gain dynamic patches.
I'd also take Scott Peterson on his offer. He's a very knowledgable guy, and very nice too.
Hopefully you can find a workable solution. After trying these things you find it still coming up short, I'd say sell it. I agree with others saying life is too short. There are a ton of great sounding players and a ton of routes to finding your tone. Obviously if you can get the Axe working for you, there is the advantage of having a ton of great tones on tap.

Good luck!


Sent from my iPhone
 

jefferski

Fractal Fanatic
I don't remember if you said this or not...

have you tried plugging the Axe > Matrix into your 4x12? Maybe you just don't like FRFR or the NL212...
 

carloszeke

Experienced
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:

DUDE! Very cool demonstration! I really want to know how you insert those clips…tell me how to do it. (and bgrizzmayne can post something to bring us closer to his problem)
 

jlynnb1

Fractal Fanatic
it's plug and play for me. i never tweak an advanced parameter. pick an amp, find the right cab, set gain then tweak the eq. done. that simple. i play in a country/southern rock band that also does cover gigs. I go for everything from country tones to classic rock to hair bands to 90's rock back to rockabilly. it kills all of it.

i have ZERO of the problems you describe.

again, stop comparing it to your amp side by side....it will never win that battle, it isn't meant to. mic your amp up in another room and compare that tone to the axe tone....that's the right comparison.

in any case...post presets, we are all willing to help. or just stop fretting over it and move in....just doesn't work for everyone.
 

carloszeke

Experienced
Most important thing to worry about when you are plugging in and dialing in a tone is gain structuring. The axe can produce alot of gain and too much in the wrong points of the signal chain can give you noise artifacts. Also remember when adjusting your sound, little adjustments can make a huge difference.


Contrary to my first comment, Everything grindcorps says in his post is GOOD advice. How can the rest of us be so happy with the AxeFX if it is as flawed as you think? Keep going in your quest for a solution! The guys on this site (and FAS) are excellent problem solvers.
 

Roadrunner

Power User
I plug into the Axe FX II
Strat into Deluxe Reverb model. Using GT1000FX and Matrix NL212. No cab sims.

Im running same setup (Axe II > Matrix GT1000FX > NL212) but with cab sim ON! Yap, that’s right, and it sounds a blast!


Highs are brittle and harsh. Lacks body/bass.

That’s exactly the problem I had when cab sim was OFF.
 
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