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I wanted to hate the Ax8

Discussion in 'AX8 Discussion' started by K Paul, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. K Paul

    K Paul
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    I am a bona-fide tube amp snob, having had probably close to one hundred amps pass through my hands and having wrangled my current population down to about 20. I gave modeling a go with the Line6 PodXT Pro through a Mackie SRM 450 back in the day and quickly shut that whole idea down. When the Ax8 price came down in December I jumped on it, figuring it would be good for late night noodling that wouldn't wake the child or annoy the wife. Main amps I use for shows nowadays are RedPlate Magica, Two-Rock Akoya or Jet Signature, and Balthazar Audio Systems FN50, current band plays Celtic Rock from trad to punk treatments, requiring anything from cleans to bluesy overdrive to high-gain. Acoustic is through the biggest Fishman Loudbox (whatever that model number is).

    So, after about one month I would say I don't hate the Ax8. What it lacks in depth it makes up for in breadth. I find high gain is a more forgiving implementation in general - the more your sound is like a square wave, the less the subtle harmonics seem to matter. People are fooling themselves if they think the clean sounds on an Ax8 are near the sublime depths and heights of a dialed-in tube amp, and certainly if you are a audio-taper treble bleed volume knob player who uses minimal effects, the clean-to-mean response is somewhat of a weak spot (although some of the Trainwreck models come close).

    Stage clutter-wise, this is a winner though. I mentioned two amps, plus minimal pedalboard (tuner, fuzz, wah, trem, phase) and I would anticipate a much smaller footprint should I bring the Ax8 out (monitor and Ax8) since I could play the acoustic and electric through same rig. Haven't done this yet because live playing is the only time I get to crank the shit out of a premium tube amp and why would I want to stop doing that? Well, I suppose one of these days I will bring it out and we will see.

    I will tell you the biggest impact is likely to be financial. Compulsive amp buyers who continually tweak their tone and are promiscuous about brands can shell out thousands of dollars everytime the GAS takes hold, and it is a hell of a lot cheaper to get twitchy about a library of IR's!
     
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  2. yek

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    The thing is that the in-the-room sound of your amps inherently is different from the mic'd sound of the AX8.

    When I run the AX8 or Axe-Fx through a power amp, pref. my Fryette Power Station (neutral tube power amp), and a traditional cabinet, it holds up with all them tube amps.
     
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  3. bjjp2

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    You're entitled to your opinion of course, but it's a little condescending to say other people are "fooling themselves." I play both AX8 (through Matrix amp and cab) and highly regarded tube amps side by side.I currently have a Two Rock, vintage Fender Bassman, Carr Rambler, Allen Accomplice, Quinn, Metropolous Metroplex, Dr. Z Prescription, all in the same room with the AX8. I am not "fooling myself."
     
  4. K Paul

    K Paul
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    [/QUOTE][/QUOTE]

    I might try that, I have the Fryette PS2. But that would defeat the purpose of keeping my footprint small as I would then be hauling at least a cabinet and I think the ones I have would color the acoustic sound.
     
  5. K Paul

    K Paul
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    not trying to be condescending, bjjp2. I think it is understood that all opinions are subjective and YMMV and we all have different ears. Just my dos centavos.
     
  6. K Paul

    K Paul
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    even announced that I am a "Tube snob". That is letting you know up front that I can be insufferable.
     
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  7. hbucker

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    I agree with the above. The apples to apples comparison would be AX8 through a PA speaker. Then the amp of your choice mic'd up and playing through the same PA.

    A real amp in the room vs AX8 will always reveal noticeable differences since the AX8 wasn't really designed to achieve the same results as standing directly in front of a traditional amp. With the right speaker and tweaking it can come fairly close though.

    BTW, I'm a tube guy, knob-turner too. I don't make apologies for either tubes or the AX8. Both have their place.
     
  8. jlynnb1

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    yeah, don't compare mic'd tone from a pa speaker or monitors to cab tone, it's nowhere near the same. the Axe through a power amp and cab is indiscernible from analog amps.
     
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  9. Ericbr1

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    I use my Ax8 through a tube power amp (either El84 or El34) or Tube head's fx returns (el34) for the past 1-2 years and still have well over 20 tube amps and preamps,etc. I have no issue at all comparing it 100% favorably with anything I own and I have world-class stuff! BUT I don't use presets, and I don't use FRFR. . Still not sure if I'd like that or not. Happy as hell my way though , and yep it didn't 'decrease any stage footprint' BUT I have way more variety possible this way and love the tones :)

    Eric

    p.s. my newest favorite clean program I made is based on a clean channel of a Cameron amp (over any Fender, Matchless,etc) . . Who wouldathunkit?
     
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  10. Tahoebrian5

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    If you've only had the AX8 for a month I guarantee you are not getting the most out of it as yet. Maybe it will never be 100% as good as your dialed in tube amp but with work it should get much closer. Or maybe it will be better if you keep working at it.
     
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  11. K Paul

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    Totally agree! What guitar player would NOT like the Ax8? Just trying to maximize figuring out where it fits in my life. Saving money on amps is probably the biggest impact thus far ... it scratches the Urge to Tweak itch.
     
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  12. Tahoebrian5

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    One of the best unforeseen side effects of owning one for me was learning about speakers, how important to the tone they are, and which ones I prefer. Would be very expensive to do this outside of the virtual world.
     
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  13. Ericbr1

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    Ha, I did it all the 'real way/hard way' first! I've bought and sold speakers and pickups and pretty much you name it since the advent of the internet. Prior to that I mainly just took road-trips and bought' . . Eric
     
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  14. vick1000

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    How you amplify the signal of the AX8 is critical to the overall tone and "feel" as well. You wouldn't think the monitoring device would have such an impact on the dynamics and "feel", but it certainly does. The best way to "feel" the difference, is with a good pair of studio monitors, the flatter the better. You can try all the PA speakers you want, but all will require such destructive alteration of the signal by EQ, to get a near flat response, that the dynamics and "feel" get altered. Tailoring the signal from the AX8 to match the PA is the problem.

    That being said, even with the best monitors in the world, the "feel" is different, because you are emulating an entire rig as it would be recorded, from guitar input to mic output. That is something tube lovers have issue with, especially with clean tones. So unless you are used to hearing your rig isolated through monitors, you probably won't like the results. But if you don't care about accurately reproducing various amps/cabs, and only want to hear "your" tones, then the AX8 is the ideal live preamp. Run it through a tube power section and a guitar cab of your choice, and everything changes.

    You soon realize where the "toob snob" in you is coming from, and it's not the preamp section of your amps. The interaction between the tranformers, tubes, and the speakers is where you get that dynamic. The AX8 does the input dynamic just as good as a tube preamp. It's the rest of the chain that requires the flattest response, and can only get you a "recorded" tone, or in other words a rig through a mic.
     
  15. K Paul

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    Agree with a lot of this. For home studio recording I use a UAD Apollo and monitor through HR 824's and NS10M's; I would say so far I like Fractal's models better than the ones on offer from UAD,despite the latter's highly touted Unison Technology modelling of the input phase. I think FAS does this better for guitar amps. My experience with the Ax8 through a FRFR began when I scored a Yamaha DXR10 floor model for $350. At band volume and above I start to hear some speaker coloration even with that, but you have to get some decibels just to hit the Fletcher-Munson sweet spot. During tracking and monitoring while recording through the UAD I think I miss this; not sure if this accounts for the differences I am hearing.
     
  16. Markstull

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    I go from my AX8 to the FOH and use In ears.

    IMHO, the AX8 sounds wayyyyy better than a miked marshall into a 4x12 with a SM57.
     
  17. vick1000

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    It should sound exactly the same if setup the same, of course you can do much more on the AX8 to "improve" the tone over a Marshall stack.

     
  18. lwknives

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    Yah, you’re technically a standing next to a guitar cab snob more than a tube snob!
     
  19. vick1000

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    I forgot to mention, you can still get great feel and tone through a flat power amp into a guitar cab with the power amp simulation. It just requires some tweaking in the power amp and speaker section to match up with the current power amp and speakers in use. Even on some patches, I like to add in a little power amp sim, even though I am using a Mesa 2:50 into a Fryette 412. Sometimes I just like that extra sag, squish, or bite that the Mesa lacks.
     
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  20. RKF

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    Nailed it.
     

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