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How to achieve usable distortion?


I hate to ask this, but I'm tired of twisting knobs and setting settings only to get lost in
a cacophony of irritating noise and static. I need distortion to put my mind at rest.
MY setup has been discussed in another thread, and all I can add is that everything seems
to be hooked up properly. I can edit and hear changes.

I've used a stratocaster and a Les Paul Custom in the setup. My amp is a Splawn Quickrod
running on half-power through a Splawn 4X12 cab with two small blocks and two Redcoats for
speakers. I have a Zoom G5 effects pedal running between Left Output 1 and the amp's return.
I have a second combo amp hooked into the FX's right output 1.

I know I shouldn't use cab blocks in my presets, but most times I do simply because it sounds
fuller than when I use the Splawn speakers. The Spawn cabinet sounded fine before I bought
my Axe FX II, so I don't think my cabinet is a problem.

I've read much on these forums about turning up gain, using Master Volume, etc., etc. in order to achieve good distortion.
I've tried many different combinations of amps and distortion effects. Nothing seems to get me the distortion
tones that I've heard from other rigs here. So my question is simple: what else can I try? I say all this
with the understanding that my G5 effects pedal is bypassed through all of this.

A word about my G5. I include the G5 in my rig because it has many good effects that don't use distortion. Once
I switch on a distortion effect in the G5, the static goes through the roof and I have to turn the gain down
to near zero, which renders the effect pretty useless. So, I defeated there, too.

Sorry for this noob question, but pride goes out the window here. Many thanks for any help leading me by
my nose to where I must go.


isn't the input of the G5 designed so that you plug the guitar straight into it? the output of the axe is line level, so you'll be overloading that input like crazy

i would simplify

ditch the G5 and the other combo
run one output of the axe into the return of the splawn
turn cab modelling off
experiment with power amp modelling. if you're playing quietly, you might want to leave it on
pull up a splawn model in the axe, so you know where you're at and dial in real world settings
adjust the global eq on out 1 until you hear a sound you like
then try introducing the other combo
ask for help in replicating your G5 fx presets in the axe, so you can leave it out of the game altogether

just my 2c


static shouldn't happen.

try the axe directly to your splawn, take out the g5 (you're probably overloading it), at least for testing.


Fractal Fanatic
i don't understand why there would be a Zoom pedal in the same rig with a Splawn and an Axe Fx....talk about weakest links. The Axe can do everything that thing could ever dream of doing and way better. Don't even think about it, ditch it...


Ok. The G5 is out. The G5 has always been problematic for me because of the static issues. The user manual includes
instructions for hooking it up to a combo amp, but doesn't say anything about connecting it to an amp head with an fx loop.
For combo amp, you hook the left mono output of the G5 into the front input of your combo amp, and the guitar hooks
into the G5's input.

When I bought my Splawn amp, things changed. I called Splawn's owner down in Dallas, N.C. (not too far from me) for instructions,
and he told me how to connect the G5 to the Splawn's FX loop. The Splawn is my first amp head.

The combo amp is out of the loop, although I will say it has caused no problems in my 4cm setup. But it's out as per your
instruction, Simeon.
Left Output 1 of the Axe is connected to the Splawn amp's Return.
I've set Global Cabinet Modelling to Bypass. Correct me if I'm wrong on that.
My amp model is set to Splawn Quickrod-1st, which I think is an OD channel.
I set The 8-band GEQ to flat middle.
Testing: It sounds good, something like that mild distortion in your Violin preset. I can't
do anything loud right as the old lady's napping. But things look promising.
Thanks pals. Really appreciate your help. You know, I've been a bit in denial about things, simply because
I insisted on including Cab modelling so I could get my money's worth out of a very expensive
piece of equipment. But it looks now that I might have to rethink things.

Thanks again Chris and Simeon. I'll keep working and nagging. Much to learn. As for the manual, I might as
well be reading Chinese for all I understand of it. But, of course, that's not Fractal's fault but mine. Adieu.


jlynnb1, I understand where you're coming from, but I paid $300 for that darn G5! Maybe I can
ebay it. I dunno. Thanks for the input, friend.


Fractal Fanatic
i understand wanting to use the cab modeling simply for the sake of getting all you can out of a piece of gear like the Axe, but if you've got a cab you like, there's no shame in using it. The Axe is worth more than what you we paid simply for the modeling and fx alone.


Fractal Fanatic
I can't do anything loud right as the old lady's napping. But things look promising.
.....You know, I've been a bit in denial about things, simply because
I insisted on including Cab modelling so I could get my money's worth out of a very expensive
piece of equipment.
Well you can also set up presets for use with headphones or quiet FRFR work on studio monitors and have power amp and cab modelling on .... you'll get your moneys worth and your missus can keep on sleeping in peace too ;)

Fabio KTG

Fractal Fanatic
Yeah, ditching the G5 is a no brainer. Vastly inferior in all respects. I would do exactly what Simeon suggested. Use the effects return in the back of the amp and turn cab modelling off. I do this with my Uberschall rig, when I'm playing big gigs. It kicks ass.

lol, G5.... WTF were you thinking?! :)


All right, all right! Anybody wanna buy a G5 cheap? $200--special price for Fabio ($150 anybody else). Grab it quick before it goes up on ebay! :eagerness:
JK, Fabio.
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Self-Admitted Software Thief
No cab blocks no power amp models. Doubling up always sounds unnatural. People always say it sounds better but that's crazy double filtering is a dark muddy mess so then comes overcompensating in the highs.

Turn them off. Plug Into splawn loop return, dial in to be as close as you can with a/b or tone match.

Use global to turn off the power amp but leave the sag parameter at its default to take advantage of the preamp supply sag.


Fractal Fanatic
I hate to say this, but I think the Zoom 2-stone sounds better to my that the one on my II. I was awaiting that model with bated breath, but in my setup it sounds nasal and pinched, and is not usable without a lotta tewaking. Not that I'm running out to buy a zoom or anything though... :lol


I'll give it a try molten. Shame to waste all the equipment.

funny, I don't mind agreeing with you on that. Before I bought the G5, I had a
Zoom G2.9tt, which I liked a lot. But it died, came back to life, and then died
again on me. One of these days, I'm going to open it up and change the tubes
to see if that's the problem (I hope). Never really liked the G5 that much.

Anybody know what klon model is?

I'm still waiting for the weekend, when my wife's at work so I can crank up this altered
setup to see if I can get some usable distortion. If there's anybody out there doing
something other than upping volume and gain to get distortion, I would really
appreciate hearing about it. Be nice community effort.
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Fractal Fanatic
any one want an ART sge, or a bunch of rack mounted behringer stuff? oh wait, I tossed em all in a dumpster last year, seriously.


Fractal Fanatic
wait no, I think I recycled them properly ;) so as to protect the environment china is destroying...


Fractal Fanatic
To be fair, that's actually not even accurate.
New study ranks countries on environmental impact -- ScienceDaily

Sorry to disturb your reality, bro.

Brazil and the US are ranked higher than China.

If we only take carbon dioxide, then yes, China is ranked higher than the US. However, US is still second place, creating more carbon emission than the complete european union!

If we compare the carbon emission per capita from China and US (which imho matters a lot more than the absolute), the US generates 2.3 times more carbon dioxide per capita than china with a whopping 16.400 tons of C02 per capita.

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