• 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.

Looking for Pedal-Platform Amp Model Suggestions

Dr. Dipwad

I'm making some changes to my rig. Right now, I'm experimenting with using various outboard pedals (and only those!) to create preamp distortion in my sounds. (I have several; not just simple overdrives and boosts, but more complex "amp in a box" pedals, too...and I have access to a Triaxis, although it isn't mine.)

Now, in each Preset I create, I like to have some clean/low-grit sounds, and other high-gain sounds.

Making the clean and low-grit sounds is easy enough. (For those, I use either a Vox or a Fender Blackface Amp Block, set quite clean, into a 2x12 Cab Block, and if I want some grit, I add in one of those outboard pedals.)

BUT, making the high-gain stuff in this way is confusing me.

For that, I'm using some higher-distortion outboard pedals (or the Triaxis) to get the preamp distortion, and I'm going into an Amp block, and then into a 4x12 Cab Block. But I can't figure out which Amp models to try! (There are so many!)

I thought I could get the right result by using the clean channel of a high-gain amp (e.g. the PVH 6160+ Clean), and by providing the right kind of preamp distortion from my pedals, and using the right cab, I'd get basically the same result as the Crunch channel would have given.

But it seems that the Clean channel of a high-gain amp is NOT the same as "the Crunch channel with the preamp distortion taken away." The Clean channel has its own preamp circuitry in there, which provides some other coloration.

If the Amp block could have the PREAMP section disabled, and use only the POWER amp, that'd work. But that option isn't available: In the Axe FX III (and II) the Amp block models both the PREAMP section and the POWER section of a tube amp. For various reasons, Fractal doesn't make these separable. (See here.)

I'd like you guys to recommend some Amp models to me, to help me fill 3 needs:
#1: A clean amp model which closely approximates the power section of a gritty Marshall (think Angus Young);
#2: A clean amp model which closely approximates the power section of a PVH Crunch (going for the sound of the song "5150");
#3: A clean amp model which closely approximates the power section of Petrucci's rig (going for "Innocence Faded" or "Erotomania").

I think if I can get the power amp response right, then I can use either the Triaxis, the other pedals, or combinations of them (plus an EQ block right before the Amp block) to give me the right Preamp distortion.

Any suggestions?

..."screw the pedals and go back to using the crunch channel Amp Models." I know that works. But I'm trying to do this in a new way, to learn new things. I have my reasons.

I see where the manual says, "If you only need power amp modeling, for example when using an external pre-amp through the Axe-Fx, use the Tube Pre model." Well, okay...but when I try that, I don't get quite the feel I expected. And it leaves me wondering: Which power amp modeling is the Tube Pre giving me? Is it giving me the power amp section of a Marshall? A Vox? A Triple Rectifier? Something like a Mesa 2:Ninety?

Thanks for any clarity you guys can provide.


Fractal Fanatic
A great pedal platform amp is the hiwatt, I don't know if it will work for high gain though and its power amp has its own unique character, it probably won't resemble any of those.. but worth a shot imho
  • Like
Reactions: ESW


Fractal Fanatic
Normal? Brilliant? Jumpered? (I'll get around to trying all three, I guess, if time permits; but I just want to know which one you meant.)
Jumpered so you can mix normal and brilliant, the other two models are kinda redundant.

Btw, you might also try changing tonestack type cuz its own is not the easiest to dial in (try one of the fenders for example).
And it also needs to be pushed A LOT to make it breakup, it's probably the amp with the most headroom inside the axe fx.

Dr. Dipwad

Huh. OK, interesting suggestion @DLC86!

Do you feel like that'd yield more of a Marhsall-y kind of response? Or would you expect more 5150/metal-ish behavior from that?


Fractal Fanatic
It can definitely resemble a marshall if you put, for example, a bb preamp in front of it, but as I said its power amp has its own character which isn't the same as any other amp.

I had a real one (the 50 watt version) and it has really big and heavy transformers which make it almost an "hi-fi" amp. If you try to push a real one into distortion there's a good chance you'd become deaf

Dr. Dipwad

Good to know. Thanks, @DLC86.

Anybody else have any good ideas or suggestions to give me the right power-amp response for pedal-based high-gain tones?


Power User
Jcm800's are a great real life clean pedal platform. That was the basis of my rig the last 5 years. Give one a whirl and see what you think. May work for the high gain stuff too.


I make a lot of pedal demos for Youtube, etc. My platform of choice for the last three years at least is the Axe-FX III. My amp models of choice are Shiver Clean, JM45 Normal (or Jump) or HIPOWER Jump. With the Input Drive set at around 3 or less on any of those I've got a very friendly pedal platform. HIWATT is very linear sounding (great for fuzzes and muffs, etc - which is probably why David Gilmour loves them); JTM45 is more mids friendly but you'll want to keep that Input Drive down low and watch the Bass (I wind it down to 2 or so); Shiver is a mixture of both and very warm. It's all in the Treble control for that one. Headroom is important for the drive pedals and these three have the right amount for me. Cleaner amps like the CAE Clean or JP Green are great too, but there's something about those older circuits that does it for me.
Top Bottom