• 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?

ScotHessler

Inspired
You think so? I just bought them recently :(
Your monitors should be fine for this part of learning curve. Take some of your favorite music, play it through your speakers. Does it sound like you think it should? If it does you're fine. I have no experience with the HS5's but never had trouble getting good sounds out of 5" speakers.

A 5" speaker won't have the bass of a larger one, but for now that isn't really important. You should be able build tones that sound very similar to what you find coming out of those very same speakers when you play recorded music through them. Once you learn how to do that you can compensate for different playback systems.
 

RevDrucifer

Power User
I’m using HS-5’s with zero problems. However, I do have a sub as well. (It’s a random Yamaha sub from an entertainment system, strictly there to get some bass presence).

While I’m on the III and not a II, I also had about a week of “Man, is this really it?“ until I found IR’s that really worked for me. IR’s and your hi/lo-pass filters go a LONG way.

I’m also doing mainly metal/hard rock. This advice is given to a lot of people regularly, but watch some of Leon Todd’s videos on dialing in tones. I’m not sure if he did any for the II, but you can get the same general info/tips he’s given about the III and apply them to your II.

Really spend some time searching for some IR’s you love. Even if it’s just one, for now. Devin Townsend will even say “Find one IR and use it for everything.” (Source- the recent interview with Larry Mitchell). You’ll spend a lot less time EQ’ing and messing with knobs.

On the really hi-gain stuff I put a PEQ after the cab block and cut a lot around 4500K. There’s some nastiness around there that create this really annoying standing frequency. Also you can chop everything off under 80K on the low side (not that the HS-5’s will allow you to hear it anyway, but it’ll clean up some of the bottom end).

Stick with just an amp and a cab for now. Pick one amp you really dig and scour through all your IR’s until you find the one you love.

What’s your previous experience with the real, physical versions of a Dual Rec and a 5150? I notice a lot of people who have never actually played through them, especially regarding Mesa’s, generally have a harder time dialing them in because they’re going off what they think they should feel and sound like, not what they actually produce for sound. Mesa’s are tricky to dial in in their real world counterparts, same goes for in the AxeFX. You’ll find better tones in unexpected areas (like turning the bass all the way down and using the graphic EQ to shape it and give it the balls).

Once you hit the right IR, you’re going to say “Oh! Damn! OK! Now I get it!”. Look into finding a cheap sub to use with the HS-5’s. I don’t know what/if you have a mixer, but I run the outs of my III into 2 channels on a shitty mixer and have the sub hooked up to the mixer via the headphone out jack. If I didn’t have that sub, I might find myself in the same position you’re in as the HS-5’s don’t put out jackshit for bass. Even in the guitar-sense, where you don’t really want a ton of bass frequencies on your tone. There’s just an added 3D feeling you get with certain cabs that won’t be produced with those speakers on their own and I’ve found that’s where a lot of the ”Damn, this thing sounds amazing” comes from.
 

RifferMcDuck

Inspired
I’m using HS-5’s with zero problems. However, I do have a sub as well. (It’s a random Yamaha sub from an entertainment system, strictly there to get some bass presence).

While I’m on the III and not a II, I also had about a week of “Man, is this really it?“ until I found IR’s that really worked for me. IR’s and your hi/lo-pass filters go a LONG way.

I’m also doing mainly metal/hard rock. This advice is given to a lot of people regularly, but watch some of Leon Todd’s videos on dialing in tones. I’m not sure if he did any for the II, but you can get the same general info/tips he’s given about the III and apply them to your II.

Really spend some time searching for some IR’s you love. Even if it’s just one, for now. Devin Townsend will even say “Find one IR and use it for everything.” (Source- the recent interview with Larry Mitchell). You’ll spend a lot less time EQ’ing and messing with knobs.

On the really hi-gain stuff I put a PEQ after the cab block and cut a lot around 4500K. There’s some nastiness around there that create this really annoying standing frequency. Also you can chop everything off under 80K on the low side (not that the HS-5’s will allow you to hear it anyway, but it’ll clean up some of the bottom end).

Stick with just an amp and a cab for now. Pick one amp you really dig and scour through all your IR’s until you find the one you love.

What’s your previous experience with the real, physical versions of a Dual Rec and a 5150? I notice a lot of people who have never actually played through them, especially regarding Mesa’s, generally have a harder time dialing them in because they’re going off what they think they should feel and sound like, not what they actually produce for sound. Mesa’s are tricky to dial in in their real world counterparts, same goes for in the AxeFX. You’ll find better tones in unexpected areas (like turning the bass all the way down and using the graphic EQ to shape it and give it the balls).

Once you hit the right IR, you’re going to say “Oh! Damn! OK! Now I get it!”. Look into finding a cheap sub to use with the HS-5’s. I don’t know what/if you have a mixer, but I run the outs of my III into 2 channels on a shitty mixer and have the sub hooked up to the mixer via the headphone out jack. If I didn’t have that sub, I might find myself in the same position you’re in as the HS-5’s don’t put out jackshit for bass. Even in the guitar-sense, where you don’t really want a ton of bass frequencies on your tone. There’s just an added 3D feeling you get with certain cabs that won’t be produced with those speakers on their own and I’ve found that’s where a lot of the ”Damn, this thing sounds amazing” comes from.

Thank you so much for this write up.

Leon's tutorials are what originally made me feel something was very off, or that I was struggling with simply playing my Axe at all. At this very moment I'm following along to some videos of his, and mine still sounds exactly like a free amp sim compared to his simple 12 o'clock setting amp & cab examples through his AX8 - which shouldn't have exponentially better sounding tone than my Fx II. I've tried every stock IR provided, in addition to a handful of additional OwnHammer, Redwire and Celestion IRs I have saved up from my amp sim days. So far it's all horrible quality, free-amp-sim sounding compared to every single other example from someone else I've heard, no matter how basic their settings are. I should be able to at least emulate the simplest of setups before moving on to my usual LP/HP and 1-4k region cuts, or the other 100 tweaking combinations I could make, but I can't even get anywhere near these guys' beginners tutorial examples.

There's also a youtuber named Ola Englund that has basic "let's start with this single amp & cab" tutorials for the Axe as well, but his tone sounds even more realistic compared to mine than Leon's does, so I generally avoid even trying to follow along to his so I don't lose further hope.

Some other responses in here have said it's about my monitor volume levels, which would normally make sense since guitar almost always sounds better loud, but it's not like I'm listening to other people's tones at 100db but my own at church volumes.

And for reference, my previous real amp chain was LTD H1001 - Maxon OD808 - Peavey 6505+ - Mesa 4 x 12.
 

Hubi

Experienced
It depends to which sound you compare your Axe Sound. If you are used to hear a guitar speaker/original cab - everything will sound to direct, less dynamic and thin with the axe at the beginning.
So you have to realize that you hear an amp through a miced speaker. Don´t use the factory presets in the axe II. Create you´re own preset -start with amp-cab-reverb - done. The more you increase the volume of your monitor, you will have decrease the hicut level in the cabblock - for an loud, realistic sound around 5000 - 7500 hz. Cut the lows at 85hz to tidy the bass frequences. The output level of the axe main won´t change your sound, but the level of your monitors!

The cab block - IR´s are a very big part of your Axe - sound, only using factory cabs won´t let you reach the best sound.
Use IR´s with mics you know and start with these IR´s (SM 57 for example).

How is the your sound with headphones?
 

RifferMcDuck

Inspired
It depends to which sound you compare your Axe Sound. If you are used to hear a guitar speaker/original cab - everything will sound to direct, less dynamic and thin with the axe at the beginning.
So you have to realize that you hear an amp through a miced speaker. Don´t use the factory presets in the axe II. Create you´re own preset -start with amp-cab-reverb - done. The more you increase the volume of your monitor, you will have decrease the hicut level in the cabblock - for an loud, realistic sound around 5000 - 7500 hz. Cut the lows at 85hz to tidy the bass frequences. The output level of the axe main won´t change your sound, but the level of your monitors!

The cab block - IR´s are a very big part of your Axe - sound, only using factory cabs won´t let you reach the best sound.
Use IR´s with mics you know and start with these IR´s (SM 57 for example).

How is the your sound with headphones?

How do I record with the Axe then? I'm trying to figure out why my tone is so unrealistic compared to others I'm hearing in their basic "amp & cab" tutorials like Leon Todd and Ola Englund, who are recording direct from their Axe with no EQ. I understand that cranking my monitors will make it sound better in my bedroom, but I'm having difficulty understanding how that translates into the way I'm hearing other's direct recorded tones using simple amp & cab setups with no EQ.

Like this one:

He's using the most basic setup possible, but I can't even follow along with it since mine sounds nowhere near as realistic, as if I'm trying to follow along using a Lepou amp sim or something.
 

offrhodes

Member
Just wrote the same thing in a different thread ... check your room acoustics. It's ridiculous how many people spend a fortune on monitors and not a single thought on the room. It might be even more critical than the monitors (if it's really bad, like most rooms are before you start to take actions).

Note the "input level" indicator, that your playing volume is in the right ballpark (go to IO menu and tweak the gain so that it hits red when you play excessively hard).
You can't simply back off volume with the volume knob at the guitar - the amps need to be played at the correct volume (which, in some cases would be absurdly loud with actual tube amps - but correct that at the output). You may find that the Axe FX is more responsive across the input volume range than "cheap" digital modelers but possibly that makes it even more critical to set the correct input level.

If for some reason you want all amps to drive harder, there is a global setting ("Global / AMP GAIN") but use wisely (and don't tweak, then forget).
 

offrhodes

Member
BTW I think Youtube applies some kind of audio compression (I may be wrong). E.g. a multiband compressor at the output can make a huge difference.
 

RevDrucifer

Power User
Thank you so much for this write up.

Leon's tutorials are what originally made me feel something was very off, or that I was struggling with simply playing my Axe at all. At this very moment I'm following along to some videos of his, and mine still sounds exactly like a free amp sim compared to his simple 12 o'clock setting amp & cab examples through his AX8 - which shouldn't have exponentially better sounding tone than my Fx II. I've tried every stock IR provided, in addition to a handful of additional OwnHammer, Redwire and Celestion IRs I have saved up from my amp sim days. So far it's all horrible quality, free-amp-sim sounding compared to every single other example from someone else I've heard, no matter how basic their settings are. I should be able to at least emulate the simplest of setups before moving on to my usual LP/HP and 1-4k region cuts, or the other 100 tweaking combinations I could make, but I can't even get anywhere near these guys' beginners tutorial examples.

There's also a youtuber named Ola Englund that has basic "let's start with this single amp & cab" tutorials for the Axe as well, but his tone sounds even more realistic compared to mine than Leon's does, so I generally avoid even trying to follow along to his so I don't lose further hope.

Some other responses in here have said it's about my monitor volume levels, which would normally make sense since guitar almost always sounds better loud, but it's not like I'm listening to other people's tones at 100db but my own at church volumes.

And for reference, my previous real amp chain was LTD H1001 - Maxon OD808 - Peavey 6505+ - Mesa 4 x 12.

Damn, I wish I had a II so I could try to help more.

In general, the clips you posted sound like standard, at-noon settings and I agree, they're on the dull side. It's almost like the Axe isn't getting the full output of your guitar. For EMG's, there shouldn't be a reason it would sound like that. You've already checked the input gain, so I can't recommend that, as well as a different guitar. I dunno, brother. I think someone with a II would be more help than I would. Maybe dig around for some user presets where you can compare the sound of them through the creator's AxeFX setup with how they sound coming out of yours to rule out anything going on with your II. Outside of you posting a screenshot of your AxeEdit menu and telling you to try different settings, I can't think of anything else on my end.
 

RifferMcDuck

Inspired
Damn, I wish I had a II so I could try to help more.

In general, the clips you posted sound like standard, at-noon settings and I agree, they're on the dull side. It's almost like the Axe isn't getting the full output of your guitar. For EMG's, there shouldn't be a reason it would sound like that. You've already checked the input gain, so I can't recommend that, as well as a different guitar. I dunno, brother. I think someone with a II would be more help than I would. Maybe dig around for some user presets where you can compare the sound of them through the creator's AxeFX setup with how they sound coming out of yours to rule out anything going on with your II. Outside of you posting a screenshot of your AxeEdit menu and telling you to try different settings, I can't think of anything else on my end.

At least I'm not just taking crazy pills, I suppose. I unfortunately did try some presets, and mine sounded nothing like them. I'm not sure what to do, but I'll keep troubleshooting.

Thanks so much for your help though! I really do appreciate it
 

RifferMcDuck

Inspired
Damn, I wish I had a II so I could try to help more.

In general, the clips you posted sound like standard, at-noon settings and I agree, they're on the dull side. It's almost like the Axe isn't getting the full output of your guitar. For EMG's, there shouldn't be a reason it would sound like that. You've already checked the input gain, so I can't recommend that, as well as a different guitar. I dunno, brother. I think someone with a II would be more help than I would. Maybe dig around for some user presets where you can compare the sound of them through the creator's AxeFX setup with how they sound coming out of yours to rule out anything going on with your II. Outside of you posting a screenshot of your AxeEdit menu and telling you to try different settings, I can't think of anything else on my end.

Hey just FYI, I think I figured out the problem. I run active EMGs, which I naturally had up very close to the strings.
Because of that, I had to lower the instrument input to like 10-20%. So I lowered the pickups far down, bumped up the input back up to tickling red, and my tone smoothed out and suddenly had the upper-mid range dynamics that were missing.

Not sure if anyone will read this, but just in case anyone else has a similar problem!
 

symphx

Fractal Fanatic
You think so? I just bought them recently :(

agree small recording monitors to me in general are never going to sound like real amps/music. I mean to get that sorta amp in the room, guitar blasting sound. Im in a bedroom and have 2 ev live x 1000 watt monitors 1x12's and a subwoofer, I play medium loud and get great sound. When I switch to my nice equator coaxial powered monitors it just doesnt compare.
 

RifferMcDuck

Inspired
agree small recording monitors to me in general are never going to sound like real amps/music. I mean to get that sorta amp in the room, guitar blasting sound. Im in a bedroom and have 2 ev live x 1000 watt monitors 1x12's and a subwoofer, I play medium loud and get great sound. When I switch to my nice equator coaxial powered monitors it just doesnt compare.

I wish I lived somewhere where I could make that much noise! Hopefully someday. I do miss my old 6505+.

However, like I said just above your post I did find that the issue in my Axe tone was in my pickup height combined with the resulting low input level.
 

Hubi

Experienced
Hey just FYI, I think I figured out the problem. I run active EMGs, which I naturally had up very close to the strings.
Because of that, I had to lower the instrument input to like 10-20%. So I lowered the pickups far down, bumped up the input back up to tickling red, and my tone smoothed out and suddenly had the upper-mid range dynamics that were missing.

Not sure if anyone will read this, but just in case anyone else has a similar problem!
cool that you find the solution. I was shure that the Axe with Ares 2.0 Firmware is not the problem - this is almost plug and play with the right cab. Would be interesting what Cliff says to this - if there is sound difference with high output PU/ low input gain in the axe and normal output PU´s.
 

RifferMcDuck

Inspired
Well that "solution" was short lived, my tones are all still hollow and sterile.

Does anyone know if this could be an issue with my guitar? Like there's a wiring problem?

This is so depressing.
 

RifferMcDuck

Inspired
Have you already maxed out the input adjustment range behind the "IO" button, first page, leftmost "Instr In" dial?

Yeah, I maxed it out as close to full clipping as possible, and the problem persists.

It's like the "sounds at all like a real amp" button is turned off on either my Axe or my guitar. I can't emulate a single tutorial online and I'm losing my mind over it.

Is there anyone who can upload a clip of them playing a stock preset so I can compare mine to it?
 

Whistler

Inspired
As I previously mentioned, it took me a good while to achieve the sort of sound I’m happy with and that included getting rid of all the stock presets so cannot provide any recordings of those but here’s something that is either identical or extremely close (can’t remember the exact preset used) to the preset and cab file I posted earlier.

Not sure if you ever tried either but this is what I’m getting my end.

Personally I would just stick to headphones ATM just to keep an even playing field, both for this clip and also with the Axe fx. I’d be interested in your findings.

 

RifferMcDuck

Inspired
As I previously mentioned, it took me a good while to achieve the sort of sound I’m happy with and that included getting rid of all the stock presets so cannot provide any recordings of those but here’s something that is either identical or extremely close (can’t remember the exact preset used) to the preset and cab file I posted earlier.

Not sure if you ever tried either but this is what I’m getting my end.

Personally I would just stick to headphones ATM just to keep an even playing field, both for this clip and also with the Axe fx. I’d be interested in your findings.


Okay, so before I could even get to this preset to compare, I made two changes that somehow changed everything:

I reinstalled the Ares 2.0 firmware, but this was the second time I reinstalled it - it fixed nothing the first time.
I started the Axe up without plugging it into my laptop via USB to use Axe-Edit

Whatever I did, it now sounds incredible. It's like I just now got it in the mail and started it up for the first time with no issues. I've been sitting here playing with all the different amps and cabs, and they all sound incredibly realistic compared to the soulless garbage they all were before.

So it was either the firmware, or the USB connection?
 
Top Bottom