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How I replaced my tube amp with the Axe-Fx (also about the Palmer Macht)

Hey there!

I just wanted to share my experience after three weeks of usage of the AXE-FX II MK2 unit.

Before I bought it, I was using a Laney IRT head through a real 2x12 or 4x12 cab during rehearsals (loaded with G12H Creambacks). But then, bringing all the gear to a show and having always a risk of a tube breaking because it's cold outside and warm inside was just too high. Also there were just too many cables, as well as the fact of switching the amp channels and effects in the loop (sometimes I had to hit two switches at once to achieve that). Not to mention an OD in front of the amp ...

So I ended up searching for a modern solution. Kemper, Helix and Axe-FX were in the game. I sorted out the Kemper very fast, because it's just a snapshot of a sound. If one needs to dial in more highs or lows, or mids, or whatever, ... it does not behave like the amp and is limited. Then I've tried the Helix, because it's easier to get in Europe, than the AXE-II. Well ... it's a nice unit, has a big screen and is easy to dial in, BUT, there was something missing. The character of the amp models and the overall tone. I was experimenting a lot with different models and just couldn't get that high gain sound out of it. I've tried everything! Filters, EQ's, amp block parameters. Neither the Helix through a solid state amp to a guitar cab, nor the sound to FoH was good enough. Just like without a soul ...

Then I found a few fractals available on ebay and bough one. After that, I immediately returned the Helix and just loved the sound. The direct recording, the cab sims (I especially like the RedWirez stuff, it's more like a cab! I'm not using the MIC models at all..) and the amp models! Then I've tried the fractal through a solid state amp (the Palmer Macht 402) and a real cab that I've already mentioned. And it sounded good, but not THAT good! But then I found Leon Todd! The speaker Drive, speaker compression and especially the low resonance frequency changed the feel completely. It just pushed harder and harder with every little tune that I did. And finally, I had a sound that you could not tell apart from a real tube amp. It is just a different tube amp (I've used the Herbie CH3), but it sounded huge! The Palmer has to be pushed a bit, so I found out, that dialing the volume past 12 o'clock gave it the "push" and "feel" of a real amp. Then I just played a little with the output 2 volume on the AXE-II and the volume of the Palmer to get to the loudness of the band.

Now I'm really happy. I get the amazing experience that only a real amp can deliver to us, guitar players, but then, at live shows, I'll switch my preset to the live preset using cab sims and the audience can enjoy a great sound. And I can live with the sound through a monitor or in ear during live shows. I'll have my fun with it during rehearsals!

Enjoy and thx to all the people at Fractal, who are even now delivering new updates to the AXE-II units!

__
Milan
 

Muad'zin

Power User
Now I'm really happy. I get the amazing experience that only a real amp can deliver to us, guitar players, but then, at live shows, I'll switch my preset to the live preset using cab sims and the audience can enjoy a great sound. And I can live with the sound through a monitor or in ear during live shows. I'll have my fun with it during rehearsals!
I like that practical way of thinking. So many people here obsess about wanting to have the perfect live sound from their monitor or in ear as well.
 

WyattPost

Member
I appreciate this post. I feel like a lot of people would miss these important things when using SS Power amp and cab. I'm glad you're enjoying your sound!
 

madselhoff

Member
Welcome to the family ... I am also new to the fractal-fun (coming from 120w 5150 amp, and Kemper for the last 6-7 years) and I can tell you that the Kemper always made me miss my 5150 somehow, but that is gone after I got my Axe Fx 😉... Oh and I dont miss all the cables on stage!!! Fractal is an advanced piece of gear, made so we can do what we love the most.. play music and enjoy doing it without having to worry to much about outside factors!!!
 
Thx for the positive comments.

Btw. here the most important settings:
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When using a real cab, I set the speaker drive parameter to 0, but experiment with compression param of the amp block. Depending on the cab, it has a nice effect of taming some of the high end (or giving you some back if needed)

Also, I'm using the method mentioned in the fractal wiki to set the low res frequency calculated from the speaker characteristics. My G12H-75 has a resonance frequency of 75Hz, so I just used the synth block and found out, that it is strongest around 79-80Hz in the cab. Experimenting with the Q value and resonance is also something you want to try out.

Also, I'm applying a parametric eq for low and high cut at the end of the chain, but I'm setting the high cut higher (around 9k) just to leave some room. The Palmer has a nice bass/treble control, so I'l just use that to get the high end down if needed. The filter is set to "blocking" in the PEQ of the fractal. A good idea is to set the PEQ separately for cleans and distortion.

And that's about it. Start with the volume around 1 o'clock on the palmer, then dial in the fractal. Maybe adjust bass/treble and apply the "rumble filter" on the palmer if needed. I'm happy with the result :)
 
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