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Help a complete modeler greenhorn purchase an Axe-Fx III

chuckles

New Member
Hi folks. I've been on the fence for a few years now with regards to taking the plunge and buying an Axe-Fx modeler, and I'm ready to pull the trigger. The thing is...I have zero experience with digital modelers. Been playing both acoustic and electric for 45+ years now. These days, I'm doing mostly home recording but I do play small - medium sized venues and wedding gigs a few times a month. To be honest, the idea of diving into this technology seems like a DEEEP learning curve. Topics such as creating tone patches, using IR's, etc. seem like esoteric science to me.

A few questions:


(1.) Are there tutorials/guides for someone coming into all of this out of the cold?

(2.) What initial/essential Fractal Audio gear would you recommend to get started with, aside from the base Axe-Fx III unit?

Much appreciated.
 

chuckles

New Member
There is a bit of a learning curve. But there are also a lot of videos from folks like Leon Todd which give you a wealth of information to use.

I would get an FC6 to go along with the AX3.
Thanks. Is there a video repository on the fractal site, or is YouTube the best place to look for AX3 tutorials and videos?
 

R.D.

Power User
Absolutely check out Leon Todd's YouTube channel. He covers a lot of topics that will help to shorten your learning curve !

That said ..., IMHO the BIGGEST "Rubicon" that you'll need to cross is getting used to your guitar sound coming back at you through monitors. That's the "Amp in the Room" conundrum that some people run into ( search it up on the forum and you'll find thread after thread that deals with it ) ....

Again IMHO ..., the more recording experience you have the easier this is to get used to !

GOOD LUCK ..., I think you're in for a treat !
 
this setup is the steepest learning curve I have seen for ANY musical gear I have ever had. I have had the AF3 since March and getting a good handle on most of it now. That is only using it and noit really putting the patches together. Can't find enough time in my day to do that. I have bought some patches and made some very basic patches. All in all, I am glad I got it because this is the best powerhouse for my guitar I have ever had.

I am using the FC12 and a controller pedal for volume, outside of that, that is all I am using.
 

Fro68

Inspired
The AxeIiI was my first modeler also. Talk about jumping right in. I’m also using the 12 button foot switch and a EV2 pedal for volume and wha. Playing thru an Xitone cab and it sounds great!
The thing that helped me the most was buying the preset pack from Austin Buddy. I can grab any amp I want and most times I don’t even tweak the tone controls. When I do I treat it the same as a real amp. It really does sound and react as a real amp.
The second thing that really made me sell my real amp was when I started trying out different speaker ir’s. I found the best thing to make any amp in this box sound right is pairing it with a speaker IR that fits.
Lots of videos here and online that helps navigate. If I can do it, anyone can.
 

bdrepko

Power User
After you have explored the presets and want to create your own, I would suggest starting off with just a drive block, amp block, and a cab block. Get that sounding good and then add effects like reverb, delay, etc. This will keep things simple and keep you from being overwhelmed by all the tools in the box.
 

JoKeR III

Experienced
The Axe-Fx III can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. As has been alluded to, keep things simple. It's easy to get overwhelmed and overthink things with all of the options available. Look at the Axe as a virtual shop full of all of the amps and effects. Choose an amp you're familiar with, select a cab that's typical for the amp and tweak away as you would on a physical amp. Add your effects and continue tweaking them until you arrive at your desired tone.

You may go as far as taking a piece of paper and making a list or diagram of the rig you want to build and the configuration you want. Then build your rig, sticking to the blueprint you decide on. I would highly recommend using Axe-Edit III when starting out. While working on the unit itself has improved greatly due to the new user interface, Axe-Edit is much more visual and easy to navigate in my experience.

I would also recommend downloading the manual to a computer or tablet and use the search function to quickly find the subject you want within the PDF. Also bookmark the Axe-Fx Wiki, http://wiki.fractalaudio.com/axefx2/index.php?title=Category:Axe-Fx3 . The answers to most of the questions you'll have will be found there.

As you've discovered, the forum is a great resource as well. Don't be afraid to ask questions but don't take any replies personally if the question is very basic and/or found in the manual. There are plenty of guys here with the experience and expertise to help you along the way with more than "Read The Manual" replies but you will inevitably get them. One thing that does help is learning the terminology and what they mean, i.e blocks, grid, scenes, presets, channels etc.... These terms and definitions are easily found in the Wiki. There is a learning curve but if you'll take a few days at the very beginning to become familiar with the basics, it will make things a lot easier.

As far as gear; it all depends upon your needs. If you're used to a large pedalboard, the FC-12 may be the right choice for you. I used a moderate pedalboard and the FC-6 has more than met my needs. An expression pedal would be a good idea and is much more valuable than a volume pedal in my experience. A volume block can be placed anywhere in the chain and different places per preset. If you already have a volume pedal, you can use a Y-cable (dual 1/4" TS to single 1/4" TRS) to use as an expression pedal. The pot value may influence the response though.

Finally; relax, be patient and have fun. Everyone of us started exactly where you are at some point in our Fractal journey and have made it through the process with great success. Good luck and I doubt you'll regret the decision to go with the Axe-Fx III.
 

Beddez

New Member
Have a lot of amps and cabs with minor isolated space for recording. And always in need for more space/more mics/more gear.

Got a III past year (march) - first Fractal unit (thanks Rich for the push). Done a lot of recording with the unit direct into daw; till now no live gig but I play 'live' here in in my rec-room. The unit is super tweakable-friendly and all the things I need are there.

Never looked back to my old gear.

And yup, see Leon's channel.

B.
 

bdrepko

Power User
Also, you don't have to go with IR's other than the ones provided. At least not initially. There are plenty of excellent IRs from various vendors as well as from FAS.
 

Zedhed

Inspired
If you do get the AxeFXIII, there is a great video tutorial available here:
https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/the-complete-axe-fx-iii-master-class-with-cooper-carter-available-now.139623/

It is not free but everything is covered, so perfect for a rookie!

The Axe is very intuitive, so with your experience with playing with gear for so long you'd be up & running in no time. As others have said, one can dive in as deep or as shallow as they wish and get great results.

Think too, no more lugging heavy gear around!
 

chuckles

New Member
The Cooper Carter tutorial looks absolutely fantastic! Exactly what I was looking and hoping for. I'm saddling in for the ride. Really appreciate all of the feedback, guys.
 

chuckles

New Member
Also, you don't have to go with IR's other than the ones provided. At least not initially. There are plenty of excellent IRs from various vendors as well as from FAS.
I have lots of experience chaining up pedal boards and setting up different amps & racks, but IR's are probably the single most mysterious aspect to me at this time. Lugging heavy gear around is one thing I absolutely will not miss and one of the big reasons I want to buy an AX3.
 

Daveis

Inspired
Computer with Axe-Edit to load and design presets. FC-6 or FC-12 foot controller. Binge watch Leon’s videos. Monitor speakers if used at home. Free presets from Brett Kingman and Leon.

With respect to cab IR’s... I just consider them to be virtual cabinet EQ’s. Axe III has tons of good ones built it. Leon posted some nice free ones. Leon also has a nice video of how to quickly audition many IR’s with a loop playing.
 

boyedav

Member
I thought the Austin Buddy TonePacks were very helpful. I found the tones I liked and copied some of the blocks out of them as a starting point for my own tones. I've not used the Cooper Carter tutorial, but there are lots of positive comments about it around here.

At first it may help to treat the amps and drives like their physical counterparts, and only turn the knobs that you're find on the amps/pedals themselves. You can dig deeper later, if you want.

I had an easier time dialing in the tones I really liked by using a solid state power amp into a traditional guitar cab, and then turning off the cab modeling on the Axe-III. That's just me though. I prefer (or at least am more accustomed to) amp-in-the-room.

Be patient. You may quickly find tones you love right out of the box, but don't be discouraged if you don't. They're in there.
 

pauly

Fractal Fanatic
HI Chuckles,

Good move - about time you came along!
It doesn't need to be all that complex. As long as you can use a computer ok, you should be fine.
Just install AxeEdit, and then treat all the 'blocks' as hardware. For example, you want to setup your favourite simple rig which is just your guitar plugged into a drive pedal, which plugs into an amp head, which plugs into a speaker box..... so....
Open axe edit & select an empty preset.... Remember ... treat blocks as if they are hardware... so... Put an input block (this is the guitar) first on the grid. Then put your drive block on the grid, then put your amp block somewhere, then your cab block after that.... last... put an output last on the grid (to the right)... this lets the sound out.
Then ... connect each block together (just like plugging everything in, but you aren't going to the leads case!)

So.... now you have your guitar plugged into a drive, which is connected to an amp, which connects to a speaker... You should have sound....

Now - click on the amp block... and choose an amp.... so on for the drive and cab blocks....

Ah your first preset - now there's satisfaction.
You wont look back :)

Thanks
Pauly


Hi folks. I've been on the fence for a few years now with regards to taking the plunge and buying an Axe-Fx modeler, and I'm ready to pull the trigger. The thing is...I have zero experience with digital modelers. Been playing both acoustic and electric for 45+ years now. These days, I'm doing mostly home recording but I do play small - medium sized venues and wedding gigs a few times a month. To be honest, the idea of diving into this technology seems like a DEEEP learning curve. Topics such as creating tone patches, using IR's, etc. seem like esoteric science to me.

A few questions:


(1.) Are there tutorials/guides for someone coming into all of this out of the cold?

(2.) What initial/essential Fractal Audio gear would you recommend to get started with, aside from the base Axe-Fx III unit?

Much appreciated.
 

2112

Fractal Fanatic
If you're familiar with micing an amp and recording it then digital modelling should actually feel pretty comfortable. Invest in the best monitors you can afford to pair up with the III if you want to get the most out of it.

Here's a playlist of "basics" I put together

 

Callan

Experienced
Wow! Really appreciate the feedback, guys. Looks like I have my work cut out for me. In a good way.
My 2 cents,
1/ ensure you have good->great monitoring when playing live. Either a wedge with your own send or something dedicated to you.
2/ start small and simple. Simple chain with amp cab and reverb (for example). If you go straight to mixing ir's, dual amps, lots of effects, big stereo image, etc., then it's a lot to get right. If you start with the bare basics you need, you can get happy and add the gravy on top over time.
3/ setup your patch at gig volume! Don't expect your guitar to sound the same late at night in your home studio, compared to playing with a band.

Welcome! You'll be fine, we all started where you are now.
 
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