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Is the Axe-Fx good for bass?

Discussion in 'Bass & Other Instruments' started by sc_gamecock, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. vangrieg

    vangrieg
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    Yeah, but getting the midrange right is easy - you can tweak your presets in a mix.

    The lows is where it gets tricky.
     
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  2. jimfist

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    No two ways around it, having at your disposal a powerful full range (PA) system, in a reasonably good sounding room, cranked up pretty loud, is a great way to get a sense of what the low end is doing. If you can play your bass to that with a "music minus-bass" mix being piped through that system, then that's even better.
     
  3. Bodde

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    I think most bass players like to keep their setup relatively simple and want an instant good sound. Bringing the Axe fx to the gig makes it somewhat more complicated. Doesn't mean it can't sound good but the results are less predicable than with an amp. If you are using a lot of effects though the Axe fx might be your best choice.
     
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  4. jimfist

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    Exactly, and I couldn't agree with you more WRT the AxeFxII being a top choice for bassists who rely heavily on lots of special effects.

    An example of the frustration with the AxeFxII is that there has NEVER (to my knowledge, and I'm happy to stand corrected) been a single STOCK preset (out of the 300+ provided) dedicated for bass. It sends a pretty clear message to bassists when the manufacturer of a product includes "bass" amp models + cabs, but has not offered at least a handful of serviceable presets showcasing them...for the entire LIFE SPAN of the AxeFx (Standard, Ultra, II, II+, or the AX8) product line (10 years?).

    I'll grant you that for many new users, stock presets are a crap shoot as to whether they work or not, but at least they provide some sort of starting point, and demonstrate that someone actually has taken the time to care enough about the bass amp/cab/fx to provide a preset. Is it really that difficult do call up the SVBass, one of the cabs, and then a handful of common bass effects to be switched in and out (comp, drive, chorus, pitch shift chorus, octave, small room/ambience, etc.)? And because it is bass guitar, split/parallel path routing and wet/dry blending can be the key to get to the next level. Many bassists simply don't understand the techniques and are obviously not being supplied with a road map from FAS. Thankfully, you have guys like @SeeD doing the leg work for FAS, worthy of much praise, but still not "officially" embraced by FAS to the point any user-created presets (some really good ones!) are considered for inclusion as a STOCK preset.

    I do recall @Admin M@ describing a few cases where top pros in the industry thought the AxeFx was stellar for bass, but then offered no further guidance as to exactly the manner these professionals implemented the AxeFx. I understand that there may be some confidentiality involved, but bassists who have been looking for "next level" tones (and struggling to get there) would be very appreciative to have a bit more insight as to what made it stellar for bass in their opinion. Or perhaps it is so simple-stupid that it would come across as embarrassingly condescending. We don't really know because there's never been an engaged conversation or "bass tone showcase" from Fractal itself to demonstrate how THEY feel the AxeFx is best used for 100% modeled bass tones.

    Other than that, I have no opinions. LOL. ;-)
     
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  5. Shigeo

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    listen to Periphery.
     
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  6. jimfist

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    Yes, and that's great for that style of music. But what if that type of bass tone isn't appropriate for, let's say, early 1970s era Grand Funk or Led Zeppelin? A lot of time is spent dedicating amp/cab digital modeling to iconic vintage tones that were prominent decades ago. True enough, a lot of bass recordings were tracked using DI methods, but not all, and there are some great vintage amp/cab combos missing from the Fractal lineup.

    Now, if you're all about complex signal routing, parallel splitting, crossovers, multi-band compression, high gain overdriven bass with drop-tuning, then sure, the AxeFx is great for that. No question. How about we make the AxeFx shine for simple amp/preamp ---> cab sim IR tones, for whatever vintage well-known amp/cab combination you like? Right now, 3 basic flavors: SVT, Mesa 400 (matching bass cab IR?), Orange (matching bass cab IR?), plus the FAS bass. If a bassist wants anything else in a preamp, you have to home brew an existing amp, and for cab IRs go to a 3rd party.

    "Other" manufacturers have this list of bass amp models:

    Ampeg B15
    Ampeg SVT
    Mesa Boogie M9
    Mesa Boogie 400+ (2 channels)
    GK 800 RB
    Acoustic 360
    Sunn Coliseum 300
    Pearce BC-1 (2 channels + jumped)
    Aguilar DB751

    and cabinets:
    Ampeg B-15 1x15
    Ampeg SVT 8x10 and 4x10
    Mesa Boogie 2x15 and 6x10 Powerhouse
    Sunn Coliseum 12"
    Sunn Coliseum 18"
    Acoustic 360 18"

    I've always been surprised that Fractal didn't care to lead the way for bassists as they have for guitarists. Disappointed, actually. But now, clearly, in terms of bass amp/cab modeling, "others" have taken the lead in appealing to bassists. Pity.
     
  7. Bodde

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    Yes I feel this way too. Which 'others' are you referring too?
    Good list by the way!!
     
  8. jimfist

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    You could make an educated guess, but this is the Line 6 Helix stable of modelers, starting with the $599 US 3 button pedal HX Stomp.
     
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  9. Bodde

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    Never tried a Helix. But it has my curiosity now that I know it has so much for bass. But it in the end it all depends on the quality of the (bass) effects and the bass amp models. So I am not sure if they are up to par with the Axe fx II?
     
  10. jimfist

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    There's no argument that FAS produces great products, and for fine editing, control of effects, and signal path routing, it is unrivaled IMHO.
    I've never done a demo of the Helix products, but all reports are that the modeling and effects are worthy. Certainly for live performance I think you'd be splitting hairs over subjective "quality", so the appeal of other processors for bass is that there is more bass focus (amps & cabs).

    Heck, I've been gigging ZOOM bass processors for years and the cold hard truth is that it didn't matter whether I was gigging the AxeFxII or the ZOOM B3n to the listening audience, which includes the other musicians on stage as well as musicians in the crowd. That is to say: without the necessary need for the deep editing/routing/control capabilities of the AxeFx, for basic core sounds and "standard" effects, it didn't matter. So I saved the coin and lightened the load. Is FAS gear more capable and is it of exceptionally high quality? Yes, absolutely. But it is also true that FAS doesn't carry as many stock amp/cab/effects/preset choices for bassists....and many of us wish they would. That's all.
     
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  11. Gearnut

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    I am using the Axe FX III with my Rush cover band and it sounds amazing. The only thing I like in comparison is my Mesa MPulse 600 with the Darkglass Pedals. But I can get soooooo many more and cool sounds with the Fractal. Its all about the settings, I have found less is more. But the overall sound with almost no effect in Stereo is amazing.
     
  12. Gearnut

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    I owned a Helix and it was cool. The interface was better than the Axe FX II. But the III took care of that. I like Line 6 gear but IMHO, the Fractal is far better.
     
  13. Bodde

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    So what are your settings and which amps and cabs do you use? Curious.
     
  14. Wallygatorr1976

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    I have used FX II for few years for bass, for 6 months I am using III - still have II. Even if there is no presets for bass it is just simple to put an amp (I am using SVT's and USA bass) , put a cab (I am using lot of, I have always on my patch Ampeg 8x10 and Mesa Powerhouse), set a sound like on a real amp and the start adding modulation effects and so on...
    My basic preset utilized 95% of processor on II ( 2 amps, 2 cabs, 1 drive, 2 flangers, 1 chorus, 2 volumes, 1 wah, 1 whammy, 1 mbcomp, 1 comp, 1 octaver, 1 filter and 1 mbeq). I have recreated an improved that preset on III and it takes only 70% of processor. Of course I have that preset in 5 versions adapted to each bass I have. Final tune on spectrum analyzer to leave a space for kick and guitars and sound engineers just passing my sound 1:1 - live and in studio.
    IMO Axe is best and most versatile device for bass.
     
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  15. Gearnut

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    I use a combination of the Ampeg and Mesa Amps and cabs, with compression but split the signal into clean and dirty, using the Darkglass (Blackglass) for distortion. Running two channels (I also threw an EQ in the mix) keeps the punchlines of the clean but widens the signal by use of the dirty. I also can turn on chorus, delay, and flange using the scenes. But I think it is just the sound of the Fractal that does it for me.
     
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  16. Bodde

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    Ok thanks! Curious about your Mesa 400 settings. I never managed to get a decent bass sound out that model.

    I mostly use Tube Pre and FAS bass.
     
  17. Wallygatorr1976

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    That really depends on instrument and cab. My SR5 requires more bass and less middle than RBX JM2. The difference is major, the sound with dedicated preset is powerfull, when I change the instrument sounds bad.
     

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