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Lesser audio quality using Axe FX II (MK I) with Neumann KH 120A?

xeonblade

New Member
Hello guys, I have a first version of Axe FX II (not MKII) which I have issues with when I try to use it with Neumann KH 120A monitors.
Just to check all the possible red flags:
  • I am using cab simulations
  • using Poweramp simulation, similar as with headphone setup
  • connected high quality SHIELDED, BALANCED XLR Vovox 2m cable into Axe FX output 1
  • using Strandberg Boden 7 with Fishman Fluence Modern pickups
  • my output EQ on out1 and out2 is set flat, all on 0
  • monitors placed on quality stands - Ultimate MS-90/36B
  • my Axe has the latest Ares 2 firmware
  • tried using friends Ibanez RG7321 and my Harley Benton Dullahan
  • tried the monitors in 3 different shaped and sized rooms
  • input level on Axe is set correctly, just tickling red sometimes when playing hard
I usually play Metallica/Dream Theater with either IIC++, SLO100 or 5153 50W blue sim and I've tested out bunchloads of different IRs from OH, ML and free ones and I'm having same simptoms with all of them - my Neumanns sound like pair of cheap desktop speakers or a low end practice amp with 8" speaker, there is very little low end definition (not just the subs but whole <200hz area), the feeling is almost nonexistent in sense that there is no that pumping sensation when chugging lower strings.

I thought that maybe Neumanns are just crap or my acoustics are too bad for it to work because even when playing music through Axe FX, using it as interface, it seems that the sound is very congested and not at all how I feel a pair of 1000e monitors should sound. They do have 5,5" woofer and I thought maybe that was the main issue, but I've seen stories of people having great results and praising both them and other 5-7" monitors.

I've decided to see if maybe the Axe FX is the issue so I connected:
* One monitor to Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd gen (left out) using Klotz shielded balanced TRS/XLR male cable
  • Second monitor to Axe FX Out 1 (Balanced XLR left) using Vovox shielded balanced XLR male/XLR female cable
  • Connected both devices to Macbook Pro via USB and played music via Spotify, switching the Focusrite and Axe to hear the differences
  • Using the same setup I opened Reaper with ML SoundLab Amped Roots plugin with ML IRs and played Strandberg throught it

Conclusions were that playing music and guitar through reaper with amped roots sim gave me more realistic guitar sound with fuller low end, lot less congested mids (300-1000Hz), monitors started sounding usable for listening and mixing using Focusrite as the audio interface.
To make sure it's not just difference in cable manufacturers, even though both cables I used were high end ones I connected one monitor to balanced out1 left and other monitors to unbalanced out 1 left and compared the sounds using both Axe FX models and Amped Roots amp sim via Reaper and conclusion was once again that outputs on Axe FX just sound congested undefined and weak in the low end.

Am I having a faulty unit here?
Or is that how Axe FX deals with its output maybe some kind of optimization so the outputs sound good with 12" FRFRs?

I am left confused because I've spent around 1500e combined on monitors, cables and stands just to have my Axe sound like 200e practice amp. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE how it sounds using my headphones, I can get great tones from so many amps, all sound crystal clear, punchy, there is a lot of distinction between different IRs and amps. I've tried playing through patches I made on headphones, making patches from scratch, but on Neumanns it just doesn't sound right.

Here is my history of gear used with Axe FX:
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80ohm headphones - currently my favorite way of using Axe via Headphone out, getting the best feeling and sounds
  • Alto TS210 - sold because the low end/low mid boom was uncontrollable
  • Orange PPC112 (v30) with Seymour Duncan PowerStage 170 - sounds full and rounded but too boxy at the same time, around 350-400Hz but that's the Orange signature sound for 1x12, I've heard it in PPC112 IR also.
  • Harley Benton 2x12 vertical (v30) with Seymour Duncan PowerStage 170 - I have a feeling that it has some odd phase cancellation between the speakers due to slanted design since it just sounds too odd in low mids and lows, there is no punch whatsoever

I am thinking possibly as a last resort to try and get Dynacord AXM 12A (which is said to be pretty much equal to Atomic CLR which isn't in stock, ever) but if Axe is going to make the output sound bad then I feel like I would just waste another 1000e trying to chase usable tone.

Does anyone have any idea what's going on?
 
Last edited:

AlGrenadine

Axe-Master
Vendor
A quick test : fo you get more bass and treble, sort of "higher quality" sound when turning up smoothing in cab block?
 

xeonblade

New Member
Sorry, what do you mean by Smoothing? I've just checked the Axe Edit and there is no setting in cab block that resembles 'smoothing', do you mean High Cut? Because I usually run high cut from 7000 to 8000hz. But I don't think it's a high cut problem since as demonstrated I get a fuller sound if I use my Focusrite Scarlett with vst and a problematic 'lo fi' sound when I do the same with Axe FX, using it as an interface.
 

AlGrenadine

Axe-Master
Vendor
Sorry, what do you mean by Smoothing? I've just checked the Axe Edit and there is no setting in cab block that resembles 'smoothing', do you mean High Cut? Because I usually run high cut from 7000 to 8000hz. But I don't think it's a high cut problem since as demonstrated I get a fuller sound if I use my Focusrite Scarlett with vst and a problematic 'lo fi' sound when I do the same with Axe FX, using it as an interface.
I don't remember how it's named in the axefx 2 but it's there
It's a parameter which smooths the frequency response curve of the cab
 

chris

Legend!
check the Global Out 1 EQ in the Global menu from the front panel - make sure nothing is boosted or cut there. but if headphones sound good, this may already be flat/correct.

if you can, turn Copy Out 1 to Out 2 in the I/O Audio menu, and use Out 2 to the monitors if it takes 1/4" cables. just trying to rule out an issue with the physical Out 1.

hard to say what it could be without being there.
 

AlGrenadine

Axe-Master
Vendor
Sorry, what do you mean by Smoothing? I've just checked the Axe Edit and there is no setting in cab block that resembles 'smoothing', do you mean High Cut? Because I usually run high cut from 7000 to 8000hz. But I don't think it's a high cut problem since as demonstrated I get a fuller sound if I use my Focusrite Scarlett with vst and a problematic 'lo fi' sound when I do the same with Axe FX, using it as an interface.
It's called dephase on gen2
 

xeonblade

New Member
check the Global Out 1 EQ in the Global menu from the front panel - make sure nothing is boosted or cut there. but if headphones sound good, this may already be flat/correct.

if you can, turn Copy Out 1 to Out 2 in the I/O Audio menu, and use Out 2 to the monitors if it takes 1/4" cables. just trying to rule out an issue with the physical Out 1.

hard to say what it could be without being there.
Monitors don't take TRS cables but using copy out 1 to out 2 and plugging in balanced TRS/XLR cable in it (in unbalanced out 2) produces the same audio quality.
What is odd is that the sound is amazing on 150e headphones but monitors just don't cut it.

It's called dephase on gen2
I will try to check out dephase tomorrow. Thank you
 

chris

Legend!
Monitors don't take TRS cables but using copy out 1 to out 2 and plugging in balanced TRS/XLR cable in it (in unbalanced out 2) produces the same audio quality.
What is odd is that the sound is amazing on 150e headphones but monitors just don't cut it.
ok that rules out Out 1 specifically, most likely. do check that Global EQ in the Global menu.

i can't tell if you recorded, then played back to see if the sound was the same. depending on how loud your monitors are while you play, the acoustic sound of the guitar itself has been known to throw off the perceived sound of the Axe. just trying to think of some things.
 

xeonblade

New Member
ok that rules out Out 1 specifically, most likely. do check that Global EQ in the Global menu.

i can't tell if you recorded, then played back to see if the sound was the same. depending on how loud your monitors are while you play, the acoustic sound of the guitar itself has been known to throw off the perceived sound of the Axe. just trying to think of some things.

As I wrote in my first post, both Global EQ 1 and 2 are set completely flat. That was one of the first things I've checked.
I didn't record my findings as this was very apparent that Focusrite (left out) and Axe (balanced left out 1) sound different, both when playing pre-recorded guitar tracks in reaper and when actually playing guitar through it, Axe sounding weak and empty on low end.

Maybe tweak your patches at live levels instead of using patches tweaked on headphones ?
Do you mean at gigging levels? Because I can't do that in my apartment and I'm confused as to how would that solve the fact that even when playing regular audio the axe fx sounds worse, muffled in mids and weak in low end. I tried making a few patches from scratch with the monitors at levels I usually play at and I never managed to make it sound right.


Are there some 'secret' internal settings in Axe that could somehow influence this, something that's not accessible from the front panel? Maybe resetting the firmware would resolve it if that is the case?
 
Last edited:

lauke-lux

Fractal Fanatic
As I wrote in my first post, both Global EQ 1 and 2 are set completely flat. That was one of the first things I've checked.
I didn't record my findings as this was very apparent that Focusrite (left out) and Axe (balanced left out 1) sound different, both when playing pre-recorded guitar tracks in reaper and when actually playing guitar through it, Axe sounding weak and empty on low end.


Do you mean at gigging levels? Because I can't do that in my apartment and I'm confused as to how would that solve the fact that even when playing regular audio the axe fx sounds worse, muffled in mids and weak in low end. I tried making a few patches from scratch with the monitors at levels I usually play at and I never managed to make it sound right.


Are there some 'secret' internal settings in Axe that could somehow influence this, something that's not accessible from the front panel? Maybe resetting the firmware would resolve it if that is the case?
If you want your Axe Fx to sound right at gigging or rehearsal levels, you will have to tweak it at gigging levels, there is no other solution whatever be the FRFR monitors you use. The facts you describe sound related to this. But it is possible your monitors do colour the sound so you can always try to change your monitors with CLR's IMHO the best on the market available for a high but still acceptable price level.

Regarding your acoustic guitar, you should never ever use any guitar cab nor amplifier in your patch but just an acoustic IR. There are some good sounding patches available on axechange. I'd strongly recommend to use a soundhole dampener and eventually phase inverse your signal somewhere in the chain.
 

lauke-lux

Fractal Fanatic
If you play audio through your Axe Fx, is it from USB in or otherwise ? If you play your audio by axe through a guitar amp and cab on the grid it will surely sound muffled and horrible. You will set this in the I/O menu "AUDIO" submenu direct from the frontpanel UI. Regarding the material you deploy I'm convinced you're not making this error, but shit happens to everybody from time to time...
 

xeonblade

New Member
If you want your Axe Fx to sound right at gigging or rehearsal levels, you will have to tweak it at gigging levels, there is no other solution whatever be the FRFR monitors you use. The facts you describe sound related to this. But it is possible your monitors do colour the sound so you can always try to change your monitors with CLR's IMHO the best on the market available for a high but still acceptable price level.

Regarding your acoustic guitar, you should never ever use any guitar cab nor amplifier in your patch but just an acoustic IR. There are some good sounding patches available on axechange. I'd strongly recommend to use a soundhole dampener and eventually phase inverse your signal somewhere in the chain.

Maybe you misunderstood, or I phrased something wrong, I do not gig, or play at gigging volumes. I am talking about bedroom volumes.
I just want my monitors to sound proper at bedroom volumes, using the Axe FX outputs.

I never mentioned acoustic guitar at all, I don't own or play one. I'm not sure where does that come from.

If you play audio through your Axe Fx, is it from USB in or otherwise ? If you play your audio by axe through a guitar amp and cab on the grid it will surely sound muffled and horrible. You will set this in the I/O menu "AUDIO" submenu direct from the frontpanel UI. Regarding the material you deploy I'm convinced you're not making this error, but shit happens to everybody from time to time...

When I play audio through Axe Fx I do it via USB, I select Axe Fx as my output audio device in MacBook Pro, so the chain would be MBP => USB => Axe FX => XLR/XLR balanced out 1 => Neumann KH120 A, no blocks are used as my input in I/O isn't set to USB, it's set to Analog 1 (front). So no audio should be going through the grid.
 
Last edited:

Techboy57

Inspired
Hello guys, I have a first version of Axe FX II (not MKII) which I have issues with when I try to use it with Neumann KH 120A monitors.
Just to check all the possible red flags:
  • I am using cab simulations
  • using Poweramp simulation, similar as with headphone setup
  • connected high quality SHIELDED, BALANCED XLR Vovox 2m cable into Axe FX output 1
  • using Strandberg Boden 7 with Fishman Fluence Modern pickups
  • my output EQ on out1 and out2 is set flat, all on 0
  • monitors placed on quality stands - Ultimate MS-90/36B
  • my Axe has the latest Ares 2 firmware
  • tried using friends Ibanez RG7321 and my Harley Benton Dullahan
  • tried the monitors in 3 different shaped and sized rooms
  • input level on Axe is set correctly, just tickling red sometimes when playing hard
I usually play Metallica/Dream Theater with either IIC++, SLO100 or 5153 50W blue sim and I've tested out bunchloads of different IRs from OH, ML and free ones and I'm having same simptoms with all of them - my Neumanns sound like pair of cheap desktop speakers or a low end practice amp with 8" speaker, there is very little low end definition (not just the subs but whole <200hz area), the feeling is almost nonexistent in sense that there is no that pumping sensation when chugging lower strings.

I thought that maybe Neumanns are just crap or my acoustics are too bad for it to work because even when playing music through Axe FX, using it as interface, it seems that the sound is very congested and not at all how I feel a pair of 1000e monitors should sound. They do have 5,5" woofer and I thought maybe that was the main issue, but I've seen stories of people having great results and praising both them and other 5-7" monitors.

I've decided to see if maybe the Axe FX is the issue so I connected:
* One monitor to Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd gen (left out) using Klotz shielded balanced TRS/XLR male cable
  • Second monitor to Axe FX Out 1 (Balanced XLR left) using Vovox shielded balanced XLR male/XLR female cable
  • Connected both devices to Macbook Pro via USB and played music via Spotify, switching the Focusrite and Axe to hear the differences
  • Using the same setup I opened Reaper with ML SoundLab Amped Roots plugin with ML IRs and played Strandberg throught it

Conclusions were that playing music and guitar through reaper with amped roots sim gave me more realistic guitar sound with fuller low end, lot less congested mids (300-1000Hz), monitors started sounding usable for listening and mixing using Focusrite as the audio interface.
To make sure it's not just difference in cable manufacturers, even though both cables I used were high end ones I connected one monitor to balanced out1 left and other monitors to unbalanced out 1 left and compared the sounds using both Axe FX models and Amped Roots amp sim via Reaper and conclusion was once again that outputs on Axe FX just sound congested undefined and weak in the low end.

Am I having a faulty unit here?
Or is that how Axe FX deals with its output maybe some kind of optimization so the outputs sound good with 12" FRFRs?

I am left confused because I've spent around 1500e combined on monitors, cables and stands just to have my Axe sound like 200e practice amp. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE how it sounds using my headphones, I can get great tones from so many amps, all sound crystal clear, punchy, there is a lot of distinction between different IRs and amps. I've tried playing through patches I made on headphones, making patches from scratch, but on Neumanns it just doesn't sound right.

Here is my history of gear used with Axe FX:
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80ohm headphones - currently my favorite way of using Axe via Headphone out, getting the best feeling and sounds
  • Alto TS210 - sold because the low end/low mid boom was uncontrollable
  • Orange PPC112 (v30) with Seymour Duncan PowerStage 170 - sounds full and rounded but too boxy at the same time, around 350-400Hz but that's the Orange signature sound for 1x12, I've heard it in PPC112 IR also.
  • Harley Benton 2x12 vertical (v30) with Seymour Duncan PowerStage 170 - I have a feeling that it has some odd phase cancellation between the speakers due to slanted design since it just sounds too odd in low mids and lows, there is no punch whatsoever

I am thinking possibly as a last resort to try and get Dynacord AXM 12A (which is said to be pretty much equal to Atomic CLR which isn't in stock, ever) but if Axe is going to make the output sound bad then I feel like I would just waste another 1000e trying to chase usable tone.

Does anyone have any idea what's going on?
Post one of your patches on the forum and maybe one of
Hello guys, I have a first version of Axe FX II (not MKII) which I have issues with when I try to use it with Neumann KH 120A monitors.
Just to check all the possible red flags:
  • I am using cab simulations
  • using Poweramp simulation, similar as with headphone setup
  • connected high quality SHIELDED, BALANCED XLR Vovox 2m cable into Axe FX output 1
  • using Strandberg Boden 7 with Fishman Fluence Modern pickups
  • my output EQ on out1 and out2 is set flat, all on 0
  • monitors placed on quality stands - Ultimate MS-90/36B
  • my Axe has the latest Ares 2 firmware
  • tried using friends Ibanez RG7321 and my Harley Benton Dullahan
  • tried the monitors in 3 different shaped and sized rooms
  • input level on Axe is set correctly, just tickling red sometimes when playing hard
I usually play Metallica/Dream Theater with either IIC++, SLO100 or 5153 50W blue sim and I've tested out bunchloads of different IRs from OH, ML and free ones and I'm having same simptoms with all of them - my Neumanns sound like pair of cheap desktop speakers or a low end practice amp with 8" speaker, there is very little low end definition (not just the subs but whole <200hz area), the feeling is almost nonexistent in sense that there is no that pumping sensation when chugging lower strings.

I thought that maybe Neumanns are just crap or my acoustics are too bad for it to work because even when playing music through Axe FX, using it as interface, it seems that the sound is very congested and not at all how I feel a pair of 1000e monitors should sound. They do have 5,5" woofer and I thought maybe that was the main issue, but I've seen stories of people having great results and praising both them and other 5-7" monitors.

I've decided to see if maybe the Axe FX is the issue so I connected:
* One monitor to Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd gen (left out) using Klotz shielded balanced TRS/XLR male cable
  • Second monitor to Axe FX Out 1 (Balanced XLR left) using Vovox shielded balanced XLR male/XLR female cable
  • Connected both devices to Macbook Pro via USB and played music via Spotify, switching the Focusrite and Axe to hear the differences
  • Using the same setup I opened Reaper with ML SoundLab Amped Roots plugin with ML IRs and played Strandberg throught it

Conclusions were that playing music and guitar through reaper with amped roots sim gave me more realistic guitar sound with fuller low end, lot less congested mids (300-1000Hz), monitors started sounding usable for listening and mixing using Focusrite as the audio interface.
To make sure it's not just difference in cable manufacturers, even though both cables I used were high end ones I connected one monitor to balanced out1 left and other monitors to unbalanced out 1 left and compared the sounds using both Axe FX models and Amped Roots amp sim via Reaper and conclusion was once again that outputs on Axe FX just sound congested undefined and weak in the low end.

Am I having a faulty unit here?
Or is that how Axe FX deals with its output maybe some kind of optimization so the outputs sound good with 12" FRFRs?

I am left confused because I've spent around 1500e combined on monitors, cables and stands just to have my Axe sound like 200e practice amp. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE how it sounds using my headphones, I can get great tones from so many amps, all sound crystal clear, punchy, there is a lot of distinction between different IRs and amps. I've tried playing through patches I made on headphones, making patches from scratch, but on Neumanns it just doesn't sound right.

Here is my history of gear used with Axe FX:
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80ohm headphones - currently my favorite way of using Axe via Headphone out, getting the best feeling and sounds
  • Alto TS210 - sold because the low end/low mid boom was uncontrollable
  • Orange PPC112 (v30) with Seymour Duncan PowerStage 170 - sounds full and rounded but too boxy at the same time, around 350-400Hz but that's the Orange signature sound for 1x12, I've heard it in PPC112 IR also.
  • Harley Benton 2x12 vertical (v30) with Seymour Duncan PowerStage 170 - I have a feeling that it has some odd phase cancellation between the speakers due to slanted design since it just sounds too odd in low mids and lows, there is no punch whatsoever

I am thinking possibly as a last resort to try and get Dynacord AXM 12A (which is said to be pretty much equal to Atomic CLR which isn't in stock, ever) but if Axe is going to make the output sound bad then I feel like I would just waste another 1000e trying to chase usable tone.

Does anyone have any idea what's going on?
Please share one of your patches to see if there's something that's not kosher in the blocks,
 
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