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It's been awhile, bass frens

selta

Power User
Well, I've not been around here for quite awhile. I can't say for certain, but, I think it's been about a year, or more, since I logged in.
My trusty Fractal gear has been getting used a lot over pandemic, but, when it comes to bass, I can't not reach for a Helix instead.

Now, I want to couch that with I "only" have an AX8 and an Axe-Fx II Mk II. So, I'm obviously dated in the hardware I'm using.

I would like some input on the current state of affairs for bass players in Fractal land. I'm also gearing up for the 2021 Bass Convention, so, it's prudent I make sure I have the latest information at hand, as modelers are always a hot topic!

I've read a few threads, especially @dr bonkers 's recent thread, https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/dr-bonkers-guide-to-using-fractal-axe-fx-3-for-bass.172532/.

From reading that thread, and skimming the forum as a whole, it's truly feeling like bass is still... just not on the radar? I'm sincerely hoping this isn't the case and I'm just missing some big, or even moderate, features or amps/pedals (IRs are a different story and I'm not including those in this reading, simply "what's in the box").

So, bass frens, tell me -- what is life like with the latest Fractal gear? Is it blow-me-away good with bass specifics included now? Is it still shoe-horning things by using unconventional things in awkward ways to get where a bass player wants? Something between the two?

I'm not sure I can spring to upgrade the latest and greatest Fractal gear, but, I'm wanting to know how things are here :)
 

dr bonkers

Fractal Fanatic
Vendor
A few of my cabs are in the new Axe-FX 3 and FM3 units.

All the effects are more tunable to bass usage in the Fractal than they ever were in the Helix (unless you wanted to be limited to just the 5 or 6 bass specific fx in the Helix).

With my tricks in that thread you linked above, more of the guitar amps are quite usable for bass in the Fractal.

I sold off the Helix about a year ago, because, while I could use some guitar amps for bass in that unit, again I could not tune them as well because the parameters are just not exposed to the user. I played the latest Helix firmware on a friend's unit and I did not experience seller's remorse.

So the Fractal may be a kluge for bass players in some respects, but I found the Helix more of a bass kluge in many more respects, other than just naming some more things for bass.
 

RevDrucifer

Power User
While it's certainly not as stocked up on bass-related gear as much as it is guitar, I haven't found myself missing anything yet. My main bass tone is SVT-based and that's in there, plus a Porta-Bass and the Boogie 400, between those three and different IR's, I can cover pretty much all the clean-bass ground. For distorted stuff I've been mixing guitar amps in and thanks to Dr. Bonkers, found that the Triple Crest is a KILLER bass amp in it's own right.

While I do want more bass amps in the AxeFX, I'm not sure how much more ground can be covered. That said, I tend to rely on the bass itself more to get the fundamental tones, more than I do with a guitar for some reason. Probably because my recent experiences trying to make a 5-string Warwick sound good and just realizing how much a well built bass can go a long way. This Warwick is a cheaper one (with the nice bridge) but man...anything past the A note on the low E string and it's just a mess of sub frequencies....

Anywho, I'm runnin' my mouth.

I suppose it'd be cool to have some new bass amps in the III, if only to show me what else is out there for tones, but for the time being, I'm not thinking at any point, "Damnit, I can't get the bass tone I want.".
 

jimfist

Fractal Fanatic
@selta
as you can see from the responses, not much has changed around here WRT a push for more bass stuff, or general bass interest.
Fractal is lucky to have @dr bonkers and scant few others to carry the torch for bassists. Though limited in number, his (dr b) work providing IRs for the Atomic Bass Box is spot on. I really enjoy using that box.

I am terribly curious by nature, but haven't been able to justify pulling the trigger on the AFXIII or FM3, just to try out a few new items that have been added over the last couple years. Perhaps at your 2021 Bass Convention will help shed some light as to whether you think there have been some leaps-and-bounds improvements for bassists. You and I have generally been on the same page as to how that sonically would manifest itself in application.
 

selta

Power User
@selta
as you can see from the responses, not much has changed around here WRT a push for more bass stuff, or general bass interest.
Fractal is lucky to have @dr bonkers and scant few others to carry the torch for bassists. Though limited in number, his (dr b) work providing IRs for the Atomic Bass Box is spot on. I really enjoy using that box.

I am terribly curious by nature, but haven't been able to justify pulling the trigger on the AFXIII or FM3, just to try out a few new items that have been added over the last couple years. Perhaps at your 2021 Bass Convention will help shed some light as to whether you think there have been some leaps-and-bounds improvements for bassists. You and I have generally been on the same page as to how that sonically would manifest itself in application.
Yeah. I want either an FM3 or an AFIII, but, I honestly can't justify either at this point, without there being a lot more bass-focused additions. Not going to drop thousands on it for what appears to be very little (plus, if I want the IRs, I can load those in my AX8 or AFIImkII).

And yes, to bulk reply to the others -- I do know that these can be coaxed into doing a lot. I like to think I was at one point one of the main people figuring out how to get from A to B with such limited options (jimfist, SeeD, and someone else I forget were also in there). I'm quite comfortable spending the long time it takes to suss out something in my head.
With that said, getting from A to B is just simpler, quicker, and with results that, when it comes down to it, are frankly damn good enough. In a mix for recording, the Helix is 100% more than fine. In a live setting, even more so. The benefit of the Helix is in ease and quickness of dialing something in. I'm not nearly as well versed with the Helix as I am with my Fractal products, but I'm able to get from Blank Slate to What I Hear In My Head in just a few minutes at most, not many minutes to hours of tweaking (yes, using the same IR in both units).

My main question here, hence, is, how much "better for bass" is an Axe-Fx III / FM3 than Axe-Fx II mk II / AX8. It sounds like a tiny incremental bit better, but, not much at all, which, effectively answers my question. I'd love to be given examples or something to prove that otherwise, as I've long preferred Fractal products over any competitors. For many years at the Bass Convention, I did extensive demo'ing and one-on-one time with folks for Fractal products (note: never in any official capacity, as I'm not nor never have been an artist or in any way affiliated with FAS). Two years ago I was turned onto Helix's by a local bass player, and have watched the Helix absolutely dominate in the bass space. I want to see FAS have that kind of command, and, I think they easily could, given the dedication to us users.
 

jimfist

Fractal Fanatic
Well, as they say, it is what it is. The Quad Cortex is another new entry that is clearly courting bassists. Keeping my eyes on that one.
 

selta

Power User
Well, as they say, it is what it is. The Quad Cortex is another new entry that is clearly courting bassists. Keeping my eyes on that one.
I actually got to play a pre-production version of one for awhile. Not to derail my own thread too much... it was "meh" at the time, but, I want to get my hands on one now to see how they are for sure.
 

Ba55Man1ac

Member
My main question here, hence, is, how much "better for bass" is an Axe-Fx III / FM3 than Axe-Fx II mk II / AX8. It sounds like a tiny incremental bit better, but, not much at all, which, effectively answers my question. I'd love to be given examples or something to prove that otherwise, as I've long preferred Fractal products over any competitors. For many years at the Bass Convention, I did extensive demo'ing and one-on-one time with folks for Fractal products (note: never in any official capacity, as I'm not nor never have been an artist or in any way affiliated with FAS). Two years ago I was turned onto Helix's by a local bass player, and have watched the Helix absolutely dominate in the bass space. I want to see FAS have that kind of command, and, I think they easily could, given the dedication to us users.
IMHO, the biggest difference is in the feel of playing - it's a sentiment echoed by many of the geetarists here. There's a bouncy immediacy to playing bass through an Axe-Fx III that wasn't quite there in previous units. Cygnus has really taken it to the next level. BTW, my history is Ultra - AX8 - Axe-Fx III - FM3. The Axe-Fx III definitely has the edge, especially in the pitch block department, but the FM3 is improving with every FW release.
 

pauly

Fractal Fanatic
HI Selta
Welcome back!... I reckon it's been waaaay more than a year, but could be wrong.
Get yourself some money together & Get and Axe FX 3, and @austinbuddy 's bass presets. Done.
I remember when we were trying to get some bass love with the Axe FX 2 all those years ago and it never really happened. I was getting a better bass sound from a neve DI that the Axe FX - Well that has all changed in a major way. The 3 is accurate & tight, while AB''s presets are... well they are gold!

Thanks
Pauly

Well, I've not been around here for quite awhile. I can't say for certain, but, I think it's been about a year, or more, since I logged in.
My trusty Fractal gear has been getting used a lot over pandemic, but, when it comes to bass, I can't not reach for a Helix instead.

Now, I want to couch that with I "only" have an AX8 and an Axe-Fx II Mk II. So, I'm obviously dated in the hardware I'm using.

I would like some input on the current state of affairs for bass players in Fractal land. I'm also gearing up for the 2021 Bass Convention, so, it's prudent I make sure I have the latest information at hand, as modelers are always a hot topic!

I've read a few threads, especially @dr bonkers 's recent thread, https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/dr-bonkers-guide-to-using-fractal-axe-fx-3-for-bass.172532/.

From reading that thread, and skimming the forum as a whole, it's truly feeling like bass is still... just not on the radar? I'm sincerely hoping this isn't the case and I'm just missing some big, or even moderate, features or amps/pedals (IRs are a different story and I'm not including those in this reading, simply "what's in the box").

So, bass frens, tell me -- what is life like with the latest Fractal gear? Is it blow-me-away good with bass specifics included now? Is it still shoe-horning things by using unconventional things in awkward ways to get where a bass player wants? Something between the two?

I'm not sure I can spring to upgrade the latest and greatest Fractal gear, but, I'm wanting to know how things are here :)
 

Budda

Fractal Fanatic
If you're in the US, an FM3 is 1K - less to buy used. Dive in, sell it if you don't dig it.
 
Hi Selta, nice to hear (read?) you after long break. Some time ago I was very impressed with your ideas for bass with AF2, so when I switched to AF3 that knowledge only profited.

Anyway, if you are looking for bass oriented device, Fractal seems to be not the best choice, but there are some tricks... In theory there is a poor choice for bass amps, but actually you can do a lot with them, if you will think outside the box you can get some surprising results. And we have nice bass IR's and our great Doctor...

Actually I cannot imagine living without AF3 with FC-12 which is my live and studio rig. We have Helix LT in the band, I can say that it is more bass supportive that FX3 (at least at first sight) but the sound feeling is not even close to AF3. It is something that is difficult to describe with words, but response of AF3 is natural, IMO Helix seems to be too much digital especially in distorted tone mix.

Tweaking the tome in Helix and Axe takes same amount of time, AF3 gives more control and IMO it is easier to dial 5 mins tone. Of course you can tweak endlessly, for me it is quite easy to find my tone. The only con for AF3 is size and weight - together with wireless and IEM it has certain weight, but if I get old and weak I will hire a tech (nobody says playing is a cheap hobby) ;-).

You know what FX2 was, FX3 is much more now than FX2 when it has been released.

BTW. Once Virtual Capo was released I do not use a 1 tone drop bass anymore... It sounds so natural that I don't need to. That is the biggest improvement of AF3 lately, I am not sure if there is any competitor for this on the market.
 
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