• We would like to remind our members that this is a privately owned, run and supported forum. You are here at the invitation and discretion of the owners. As such, rules and standards of conduct will be applied that help keep this forum functioning as the owners desire. These include, but are not limited to, removing content and even access to the forum.

    Please give yourself a refresher on the forum rules you agreed to follow when you signed up.

Is something wrong with my Axe-Fx II or me?

RifferMcDuck

Inspired
Hey everyone!

I recently bought a used Axe-Fx II hoping for some release from 8 years or so of battling with cheap digital amp sims.
However, I'm frustrated, as mine doesn't sound at all different from the usual amp sims you can download for free online. In every video I've seen of it in action, it sounds beautiful and almost indistinguishable from real tube amps, and I don't understand why mine is so vastly different. I only watch tutorial videos of people using stock amps/cabs with stock IRs and no EQ, and still mine sounds nowhere near as full bodied and realistic as theirs, no matter the combo. The best way I can describe it is that it's no different in sound from a free digital amp sim - it's hollow, weak, and has very little dynamics, especially in regard to distortion. Of course I can tweak my butt off and get "usable" tones, but I shouldn't have to work this hard to make it stand apart enough to justify the price.

My chain:
LTD H1001 with EMGs -> Axe-Fx II -> Yamaha HS5 monitors

So far I've troubleshooted by:
-Ensured the power amp & cab modeling is on
-Moved my pickups both up and down, replaced battery
-Swapped cables
-Reset system parameters/reinstalled firmware
-Tried a different guitar
-Ensured my input signal is "tickling the red"

I apologize for being frustrated, as there's no way to return it if I'm unhappy with it. But any help on how to improve my experience would be wonderful. Maybe I'm just an awful guitar player?



EDIT 2: False alarm, issue still persists. I'm about to throw this thing into the garbage.
 
Last edited:

don_joe

Experienced
Try to download a few presets and see if some are working for you. If you have more success, analyze how they are built.
 

RifferMcDuck

Inspired


I uploaded a couple quick riffs using the stock settings for the Recto1 Red amp, followed by the PVH 6160+ LD if that helps tell whether it's supposed to sound this way with basic "everything at noon" stock settings - even though I obviously would normally make adjustments from there. Both use the stock 4x12 Recto 160 cab.
 
Last edited:

ScotHessler

Inspired
OK, so the louder I play those clips, the better they sound. They don't sound particularly far off from a stock setting to my ears. For me the stock presets work best LOUD. I pretty much always tweak stock presets since I only use them at lower volumes noodling around at home.
 

RifferMcDuck

Inspired
OK, so the louder I play those clips, the better they sound. They don't sound particularly far off from a stock setting to my ears. For me the stock presets work best LOUD. I pretty much always tweak stock presets since I only use them at lower volumes noodling around at home.

So does the output volume of the axe itself affect the quality of a tone? I understand that being the case for the amp's master volume, but the general output level too?
 

ScotHessler

Inspired
In general the stock presets are built to work at/near gig volumes. If you're playing at a loud speaking volume they will seem pretty flat. Crank your listening volume up 95 decibels and they open up quite a bit.

And yes, volume affects how we hear things. A preset that sounds spot on at 100 decibels will most likely sound like garbage down at 75.
 

ScotHessler

Inspired
Hmmm. Well, I would start with we all hear things differently, and have different expectations. As a test take one of the 5150 variants, set bass/middle/treble all to 6, get your listening volume up above 85db, adjust gain to taste, don't set the master volume over say 6 for this test, and then go thru the IR's one at a time. You don't have to spend a lot of time with each one, but flipping through there should some that get you close to what you're looking for. There's an enormous amount of EQ'ing that goes on with just changing the IR.

There's nothing in your signal chain that screams out "sub-par", so you should be able to get decent sounds.

Not knowing your experience/expectations with modeling it's hard to give really detailed advice. Generally speaking, unless you bought it from someone you know, who's tone you like, the 1st piece of advice is "read the manual front to back", the 2nd is "do a system reset" to clear out anything weird the previous owner may have done, and 3rd "download and install the factory presets" to put at a common baseline.
 

RifferMcDuck

Inspired
Hmmm. Well, I would start with we all hear things differently, and have different expectations. As a test take one of the 5150 variants, set bass/middle/treble all to 6, get your listening volume up above 85db, adjust gain to taste, don't set the master volume over say 6 for this test, and then go thru the IR's one at a time. You don't have to spend a lot of time with each one, but flipping through there should some that get you close to what you're looking for. There's an enormous amount of EQ'ing that goes on with just changing the IR.

There's nothing in your signal chain that screams out "sub-par", so you should be able to get decent sounds.

Not knowing your experience/expectations with modeling it's hard to give really detailed advice. Generally speaking, unless you bought it from someone you know, who's tone you like, the 1st piece of advice is "read the manual front to back", the 2nd is "do a system reset" to clear out anything weird the previous owner may have done, and 3rd "download and install the factory presets" to put at a common baseline.

Thank you so much for your help! This seems like a great community.

I am quite experienced in modeling, and understand how it works. I'm going to do another system reset, as well as reinstall the factory presets again and see if that helps. I've been working my way through the manual little by little, but hopefully I'll learn something that helps.

I'm most curious about your comment regarding the volume level. I'm wondering if I should switch to Axe -> interface monitoring with a higher output level from the Axe and see if that makes a difference. Perhaps others' I'm hearing are recording at much higher output levels.
 

ScotHessler

Inspired
When it comes to recording I am a poor resource, I don't do much of it. With that said you shouldn't need anything between the Axe and your speakers if you're just playing.

For purely anecdotal reference my bedroom signal chain is guitar--Axe--mixer--speakers (I've used JBL 305's, Equator D5's, Presonus E8's) and have been able to get sounds I'm perfectly happy with down to fairly quiet levels, but when I'm building out a new preset I am generally 88-90db in the room (taken with a phone sound meter app, so I might be even louder). I know when I turn the volume down the preset will lose clarity and oomph.

The mixer is just there to let me play music through the speakers too.
 

RifferMcDuck

Inspired
That is really good to know! I'm going to get back at it tomorrow and do some work at higher volume levels, I'm sure it'll make a huge difference.

Thanks again for your help with this!
 

Whistler

Inspired
To the OP, I was in your very same position when I first got my axe XL and it took awhile for me to find out why everything sounded thin and tinny. Basically it took a lot of trial and error on my part but since I’ve found my personal “sweet spot “ settings, I’m blown away every time I switch it on. I spent many hours hoovering up free presets and cab IR’s.

I use Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones and Focal Alpha 80’s monitors.

Here's a preset bundle with my main cab block included. Load it up and save the cab block into the library. if your not sure how to do this i'll also send the block on its own (ending .blk). Just so you know X is for my headphones and Y is for my monitors..

See how this goes and if this is the sort of sound your after, then I'll send my main presets over but you'll have to change the cab blocks on all these next ones to either factory cabs, my cab block or your own favorites..

I do love the stereo effects on the axefx so make sure you try scenes 1-5
Let me know how you get on...…….

Attachments
 

Tonedeaf

Experienced
To the OP, I was in your very same position when I first got my axe XL and it took awhile for me to find out why everything sounded thin and tinny. Basically it took a lot of trial and error on my part but since I’ve found my personal “sweet spot “ settings, I’m blown away every time I switch it on. I spent many hours hoovering up free presets and cab IR’s.

I use Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones and Focal Alpha 80’s monitors.

Here's a preset bundle with my main cab block included. Load it up and save the cab block into the library. if your not sure how to do this i'll also send the block on its own (ending .blk). Just so you know X is for my headphones and Y is for my monitors..

See how this goes and if this is the sort of sound your after, then I'll send my main presets over but you'll have to change the cab blocks on all these next ones to either factory cabs, my cab block or your own favorites..

I do love the stereo effects on the axefx so make sure you try scenes 1-5
Let me know how you get on...…….

Attachments
When I got my used Mark II I had the the same thin/tinny thing along with a horrible piezo quack like sound even after upgrading to Ares and the new presets. My magic bullet was on Page 2 of the Cab Block (on the unit) turning the HICUT FREQ which is normally set at 20000 Hz all the way down to 200 Hz and starting from there to where you like it. This is supposed to turn your sound to mud, but it made mine sound normal. BTW Whistler, I hope you like your P7's as much as I do.
 

RifferMcDuck

Inspired
Whoa, I didn't expect this to get any more responses, but you guys are awesome.
I don't know how to "tag" people in my response...

Whistler - thanks so much for the presets! I'll try them out today and let you know how they sound.

fisioaura & jlynnb1 - I'm going to do everything I can at the high volume now, that's definitely something I should've considered.

Tonedeaf - I'm definitely going to try this!

Overall it's good to know that everyone's sounds a bit different and it needs to be tinkered with to find what works for your setup.
 
Top Bottom