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Is it just me, or are the FAS amps a bit better suited to FRFR..?

Georgy

Inspired
Caught up with a friend yesterday, and essentially did the old A/B/C test by comparing a 100w valve power amp + 2x12 cab against a Matrix GT1500 + 2x12FRFR (custom made one) and a pair of Matrix CFR12s. He used his AX-ii, I used my AX8. Both were very complimentary in sound; different but similar'ish. We used the same amp sims so that way the A/B comparison tests were as accurate and as fair as they could be.

We are both generally gain-to-hi gain players, so we went through the usual list of amps that deliver good sustain and hi-gain and so forth. We did the Friedmans, the Dizzy's, Cameron's, EVH/PVH, Euro's etc etc, however, in FRFR mode, the actual amps that came alive the most were some of the FAS amps.. Woah! The roar, the deliverance of sound, the articulation sounded pharken good!

Apologies for the long-winded build up.. maybe this is a question for the actual admin guys.. is there some secret sorcery to the FAS amps?! Were they meant to sound better in FRFR mode? Don't get me wrong, they sound pretty bloody good with a valve power amp too. This might all sound like a silly question, but let me tell you, having A/B'd a lot of gear yesterday, it was the FAS amps that ended up winning.. And we used stock cabs, nothing more.

Thoughts?
Reasons?
Explanations?

Please don't tell me it was the room, or the way we were playing, or string gauge, or we had a good sleep etc; I understand these may have some influence and so forth, but I'm more curious to know more about the FAS amps and what they are all about...
 

Rex

Legend!
The FAS amps are Cliff's take on idealized versions of those amps. In other words, The FAS Class A is designed to be a better class A amp. It's no surprise that they came alive. The FAS models are pretty wicked.

As far as being designed to work better with FRFR. I think you're jumping the gun a bit. You compared a bunch of IRs to one real cabinet that may or may not have been the best choice for the amps you chose or the way you had them dialed.

With FRFR, it's good practice to flip through the IRs until you find one that works best with your tone. To make a fair comparison, you'd have to try a bunch of real cabs until you found the "right" one.
 
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Georgy

Inspired
The FAS amps are Cliff's take on idealized versions of those amps. In other words, The FAS Class A is designed to be a better class A amp. It's no surprise that they came alive. The FAS models are pretty wicked.

As far as being designed to work better with FRFR. I think you're jumping the gun a bit. You compared a bunch of IRs to one real cabinet that may or may not have been the best choice the amps you chose or the way you had them dialed.

With FRFR, it's good practice to flip through the IRs until you find one that works best with your tone. To make a fair comparison, you'd have to try a bunch of real cabs until you found the "right" one.


Good, solid answer Rex, thanks mate
 
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aziz

Power User
I didn't like my results with a Marshall rack power amp, but with a SS-amp, they roar. Also like Rex said, the cab makes or breaks the tone. I've used open 2x12 that was utterly perfect for Voxy tones, and just as bad for everything else, and a Marshall 4x12 which is a Marshall 4x12, no more, no less. FRFR is the definite answer for versatility.
 

artzeal

Experienced
Guitar cabinets have a noticeable focus to the projection: like a spotlight if you will, where FRFR is like a floodlight.
IMO, FRFR can't and will never sound exactly like a cabinet because of the wider and more even dispersion of sound from FRFR. This is also evident in the difference in the way reflections behave in the room. Try it: If you stand in front of your real amp & guitar cabinet, and dial in a tone to exactly match with IR and FRFR: if you step 10ft to the side of the cabinet, it will sound noticeably different, whereas FRFR will sound pretty much the same. *

I've gotten as good, sometimes better results than tube amps, into guitar cabinets with the AX8 and an SS Power amp. It's easy to adjust the FAS power amp modeling response to optimize the amp's interaction with the specific guitar speakers in use - beyond what is possible with a tube amp. For example; with V30s (not my favorite), its possible to adjust the resonance peak so it isn't over the top. Its not something that simple (or complex) EQ can address. IME, the AX8 is ideal for real cabinets.

AX8 to an open backed 2x12 with a couple of Celestion A-types is versatile enough and nice at volume levels that work with unamplified instruments like acoustic piano and horns. It fills the space in a nice 3D way. (Tube amp is be too loud at required gain settings for optimal tone) But, if it might get loud, or everything has to miced, FRFR or direct to PA is preferred - particularly for a consistent sound for the audience.

But how many amps sound great through any one speaker? (how many amps do you need?) In my view, if you use one speaker cabinet, that limits amp selections and what those amps can do - to settings that sound good with that cabinet. For many players, that's no big deal, its been done that way for decades. But if Greenbacks are essential to your Marshall tone, getting the tone of a Deluxe through Jensens isn't going to be spot on - if that matters. FRFR allows not just more precise tone matching, but infinitely more colors. But whose to say the more limited palette of one cabinet is a problem?: The simplicity can be really refreshing.

I enjoy both an apple of a real cabinet, or the oranges of IR/FRFR, but it's a PITA to expect them work together, and I don't. One at a time. If I had to pick only one, though: FRFR.

*Addendum: There's also the influence of mic character and close placement aspect of the IR capture which sounds very different from amp in the room. An open back cabinet sounds different from closed back with the same speakers. A cab on the stage has more bass than one a foot up. So many variables: Lucky me: I have no need to try to make things that are different sound exactly alike.
 
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speedloader

Inspired
From my experience with a real cab, the FAS brootalz destroys any high gain amp. It's a bit too compressed for my taste though, but if you feed it with a perfectly balanced signal, it will provide a perfectly balanced distortion. The modern comes close, a bit less compressed but the low end is less crushing. Either way, I decrease the dynamic presence a bit to tame the hiss. And the key is to keep the treble around 3.5-4.0 then play with the presence to make them shine just right.
 
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