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"lost notes" in chord voicings on Axe II

3Dhuman

Inspired
Another thing to be aware of... if you remove so much of the guitars body (the mids) then the only way to get any clarity is to start cranking the Treble and Presence. Again, this can sound OK (sort of) at low levels, but at any sort of volume or in a mix it becomes painful and fatiguing to the ears... which then leads to more problems in being able to discern good tone from bad.

I think what happens is, people want that big crushing tone and end up purchasing amps with way too much power for the types of situations they mainly play in. A 100 watt Duel Rectifier is obscenely LOUD! Even a 15 watt Fender Blues Jr. will rattle my living room walls... and that's not even cranked. Because you can never crank a 100 watter at home (or even in most studios)... you're forced to play it at low volumes where the "smiley face" EQ is the only way to get a somewhat "crushing" tone. Then, your ears get used to this tone as being very "metal"... and when you hear a more mid-rangey tone, it sounds weird and strange. Turn down your Presence... while it does give "bite" and is somewhat essential for metal guitar, it becomes very fatiguing at high volume and is best used sparingly. Let the cymbals handle the high end of the audio spectrum.

I played your patch with my Gibson Explorer and these are the things I noticed.
 

symphx

Fractal Fanatic
For what its worth the OP has literally toured with Dream Theater, written and recorded 5 albums critically acclaimed throughout the world, and worked with well known producers/engineers, he knows his stuff;that is not to say he knows squat about how to program the axe 2; however, he knows how to have things sit in a mix, records with 2 guitarists, keyboards, bass and drums, very complex progressive, he def. knows lead from rhythm tones. Im just sayin...he aint no bedroom player like myself.
 

clarky

Axe-Master
not trying to teach granny to suck eggs or anything like that.... just my observations...

this is really unusual because the A string is usually the loudest and needs getting under control - by screwing the pup's 5th pole-piece in a touch..

the prob I hear from the clip is a lack of mids and a lot of low end boost which is mushing up the tone..
couple of things that may help..
use two different amps and cabs in two independent chains [pan one left and the other right]
this way you'll get away with less gain and not need to pump up the low end so much [it'll be there by virtue of the two amp/cab working together]
this therefore means that you can let more mids through..

the prob with trying to recreate the tone of your heroes is that you are listening to your rig 'raw'..
and you are comparing that with multi-tracked, mixed and mastered recordings..
and given your [OP] track record I imagine you to be aware of this but I'll sling it in anyhow for the benefit of those that are less experienced..

the guitar parts you often hear will be an amalgam of 2 [minimum] or more [often 3 or 4] guitar tracks in unison..
these tracks are then blended together in an aux track, compressed [by a rack mounting unit with a price tag that looks like a phone number], maximised, re-EQ'd and seriously cleaned up with either automation or gating..
you will therefore never absolutely recreate that recorded tone in a workable sense through your rig..

if I were you I'd go for a dual mono amp config and concentrate on a tone that has everything you need in terms of gain and EQ..
but be sure that the tone can function well with respect to your needs in a live situation [a little less gain, a little more mids and less boost on the very very low end]..
you should find that when you play along with the song you should sit in the mix better with a little more definition..
maybe backing of a touch on the cab block's drive could tighten up the tone too - possibly??
 

3Dhuman

Inspired
You're right, symphx, I totally made an assumption... apologies to the OP. When I played through the patch, it had those hallmark qualities of "low volume/bedroom/headphone" tone... and yes, real world touring and playing through big rigs probably won't translate directly to the AXE.

No offense, OP?
 

jdolll

Inspired
For what its worth the OP has literally toured with Dream Theater, written and recorded 5 albums critically acclaimed throughout the world, and worked with well known producers/engineers, he knows his stuff;that is not to say he knows squat about how to program the axe 2; however, he knows how to have things sit in a mix, records with 2 guitarists, keyboards, bass and drums, very complex progressive, he def. knows lead from rhythm tones. Im just sayin...he aint no bedroom player like myself.
With all respect possible to you and the OP, this is not a question that someone who understands the way guitar frequencies work would ask. Doing all that stuff does not mean you have a solid understanding of sound and mixing, engineers and producers, and guitar techs can make a lot up for players.
 

nvandyk

Member
What I am hearing based on the clips and playing with the patch is that the overtones of the low notes are being compressed with and drowning out the notes above. That points to the drive and master being a bit too high. I found that when I pulled down the master and drive quite a bit, I got back some clarity. Maybe a better solution, as someone else has suggested, is that you could put a slight highpass eq in front of the amp to turn down the bass and then put a make up eq behind the amp and restore the bass. That probably won't change the fundamentals of the patch as much as the drive and master settings.
Thank you for a helpful and thoughtful response. I think your diagnosis is correct. The Triaxis, as some may know, has two separate gains plus a master -- the master on my Triaxis is set at 3.5 so I reiterate, I am not a "crank everything to 11" guy.

The subtle EQ suggestions are likely good ones and I will definitely try them out. I can of course crank up the mids (I'll respond to the people that suggested same seprately) but that rather defeats the purpose of having the tone I want.
 

shemihazazel

Fractal Fanatic
Change your strings. I'm always surprised how much of a difference that makes, and I try to change them every couple of weeks for that very reason.
 

chris

Legend!
make sure you develop tones with your ears and not your eyes. if you just look at the axe dials and change them to what they "should be" sometimes you won't get the result you want.
 
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nvandyk

Member
I've done very little recording and certainly don't claim to be an expert of any sort, but... here is your problem: guitar is a mid-range instrument. Scooping out mids as you've done may sound good at low-ish volumes on it's own, but gets completely swallowed up the moment you add other instruments or start playing loud. You NEED mids. They are the bulk of any good guitar tone. They are what allow you to "cut through the mix." This gets compounded with distortion (which you should also back down on if you want any sort of clarity). The Red channel on any Rectifier has so much available gain, there is no need to have it so far up (this goes for the Master as well). If you used these settings on a real Rectifier it would be completely un-listenable... as well as ear-splitting loud. Also, what works as a lead tone, will not usually sound good when your chugging away on the low E (or D, or C, as the case may be).

Less gain - more "chunk"
More mids - more "slice"
I appreciate what seems like a genuine effort to help and take no offense. For the sake of setting the record straight, though, the "real settings" are John Petrucci's actual settings from his Triaxis -- MINUS a bit of the emphasis on "dynamic voice" which is itself a EQ shaper that scoops mids out. To wit, LESS scooped than his Awake tone. I assure you they are quite listenable. The Triaxis, as you probably know, has two gains (gain and drive) plus a master volume. The master on my rig is set at 3.5. I could put the master on the Axe at 3.5, it doesn't fix this problem. The producer with whom I last worked actually turned up both the dynamic voice (increasing the scoop of the middle) AND the master volume from my basic tone before tracking. He's done over 500 records in many genres, but does a lot of work with metal bands.

Also, this is a rhythm tone, not a lead tone.

FWIW, I understand and agree with those that apply less gain. You will note I don't have a drive pedal, didn't dial up the input trim, and have the gain at 7 which is after all not 10, my friends.

I seem to be getting a little closer...sacrificing a lot of beef for the sake of clarity but that's what multi-tracking is for, I suppose.
 

nvandyk

Member
not trying to teach granny to suck eggs or anything like that.... just my observations...

this is really unusual because the A string is usually the loudest and needs getting under control - by screwing the pup's 5th pole-piece in a touch..

the prob I hear from the clip is a lack of mids and a lot of low end boost which is mushing up the tone..
I am coming to believe it is the latter more than the former although the low end isn't particularly boosted (in fact I roll it off subtly in the EQ, but obviously not enough).

couple of things that may help..
use two different amps and cabs in two independent chains [pan one left and the other right]
this way you'll get away with less gain and not need to pump up the low end so much [it'll be there by virtue of the two amp/cab working together]
this therefore means that you can let more mids through..
I want to track mono, otherwise I would try this.

the prob with trying to recreate the tone of your heroes is that you are listening to your rig 'raw'..
and you are comparing that with multi-tracked, mixed and mastered recordings..
and given your [OP] track record I imagine you to be aware of this but I'll sling it in anyhow for the benefit of those that are less experienced..

the guitar parts you often hear will be an amalgam of 2 [minimum] or more [often 3 or 4] guitar tracks in unison..
these tracks are then blended together in an aux track, compressed [by a rack mounting unit with a price tag that looks like a phone number], maximised, re-EQ'd and seriously cleaned up with either automation or gating..
you will therefore never absolutely recreate that recorded tone in a workable sense through your rig..
For the benefit of the less experienced, I will concur with much of this but I will also point out that it is a myth that your tone needs to sound bad in order for it to sit properly in a mix. Good tone is good tone, as recorded. I've worked with five producers and not one of them has suggested to start with anything less than a great fundamental guitar tone that sounds great on its own as it is being tracked. It will of course be impacted by multi-tracking, and will further changed both directly (by rolling off lows to make room for the bass, for example) and indirectly (by the presence of other frequencies as well as the production artifacts you reference) by what happens during the mix.

if I were you I'd go for a dual mono amp config and concentrate on a tone that has everything you need in terms of gain and EQ..
but be sure that the tone can function well with respect to your needs in a live situation [a little less gain, a little more mids and less boost on the very very low end]..
you should find that when you play along with the song you should sit in the mix better with a little more definition..
maybe backing of a touch on the cab block's drive could tighten up the tone too - possibly??
Have tried this latter suggestion and it probably doesn't hurt to do so. It makes the tone a bit tinnier to my ears but this is something that will be fixed in the mix (rather in contravention of my previous paragraph, but I'm being a pragmatist at this point)!
 

javajunkie

Moderator
Moderator
To be clear, I wasn't implying crank your mids, just add some more.

Cab change will be the most significant thing you can do, along with lowering the master. Again lf res parameters can really help keep beef but get out of the way of that A. If you res freq is covering the A, it could be the majority of you problem.

Again, I am not talking about making a bunch of huge changes, but quite a few small ones (other than changing cabs, which is a big change).

You also may want to try the FAS custom models or some of the other rectos. Many were derived from the triaxis.
 
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chris

Legend!
i guess one could argue most people use snare mic's for cabs as well ;) the mic is not the problem.
well a snare drum is more in the same frequency spectrum of a guitar than a kick drum is. maybe it's not the problem, but if the mic accentuates low frequencies, and the problem could be a build up low frequencies... a+b=27!
 

BK-Amps

Inspired
I think one of the toughest things to acclimate to on the Axe is not to dial it in as you remember from other preamps. Having owned practically every high end preamp ever made (Triaxis included) I assumed I could put the dials where I liked them and it would sound the same... Just not the case...

Whether it's how Cliff modelled the taper on the pots or if he had to assume idealized interstage attenuation and frequency response (by reading schematics not measuring values) the amps modelled don't always "dial" in like your experience recalls. Once I understood that, I was able to cop my 3+SE tone with my old ultra, and the real deal went to eBay. -I'm certain Cliff "measured" values when he could..

I didn't have much trouble getting (what I consider) Petrucci's signature DR tone (think Lines in the Sand) by taking the Orange Recto and the Bogner V30 cab model and little else. So close your eyes and dial in with your ears. In this case (dialing to a number), your memory will fail you!



Thank you for a helpful and thoughtful response. I think your diagnosis is correct. The Triaxis, as some may know, has two separate gains plus a master -- the master on my Triaxis is set at 3.5 so I reiterate, I am not a "crank everything to 11" guy.

The subtle EQ suggestions are likely good ones and I will definitely try them out. I can of course crank up the mids (I'll respond to the people that suggested same seprately) but that rather defeats the purpose of having the tone I want.
 
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FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
I think one of the toughest things to acclimate to on the Axe is not to dial it in as you remember from other preamps. Having owned practically every high end preamp ever made (Triaxis included) I assumed I could put the dials where I liked them and it would sound the same... Just not the case...

Whether it's how Cliff modelled the taper on the pots or if he had to assume idealized interstage attenuation and frequency response (by reading schematics not measuring values) the amps modelled don't always "dial" in like your experience recalls. Once I understood that, I was able to cop my 3+SE tone with my old ultra, and the real deal went to eBay. -I'm certain Cliff "measured" values when he could..

I didn't have much trouble getting (what I consider) Petrucci's signature DR tone (think Lines in the Sand) by taking the Orange Recto and the Bogner V30 cab model and little else. So close your eyes and dial in with your ears. In this case (dialing to a number), your memory will fail you!
The modeling uses idealized pot tapers. Most, if not all, amps use "consumer" log taper pots. These pots can deviate radically from the ideal taper since they are actually just two linear-taper pots in a single package. True log-taper pots cost too much for consumer gear.

Furthermore, manufacturers often change tapers mid-production due to part availability or design changes. The tapers in the models are based on the tapers in the actual reference amps.

The controls do work the same as the actual amps but there may not always be a one-to-one correspondence due to the aforementioned variables.
 

axel

Power User
This post is full of BS.....(Brilliant Stuff). I've read the entire post and learned alot. I would contribute, using my vast knowlege of recording, but it would be easily identified as BS (the other kind).
 
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BK-Amps

Inspired
+1

Note the Triaxis doesn't even use pots in the gain and tone section. They use a pair of LDR's and trick them into behaving like pots by varying the current through them. Of course they patented it (like every other amp idea that was common knowledge 50 years ago)...



The modeling uses idealized pot tapers. Most, if not all, amps use "consumer" log taper pots. These pots can deviate radically from the ideal taper since they are actually just two linear-taper pots in a single package. True log-taper pots cost too much for consumer gear.

Furthermore, manufacturers often change tapers mid-production due to part availability or design changes. The tapers in the models are based on the tapers in the actual reference amps.

The controls do work the same as the actual amps but there may not always be a one-to-one correspondence due to the aforementioned variables.
 

symphx

Fractal Fanatic
To be clear, I wasn't implying crank your mids, just add some more.

Cab change will be the most significant thing you can do, along with lowering the master. Again lf res parameters can really help keep beef but get out of the way of that A. If you res freq is covering the A, it could be the majority of you problem.

Again, I am not talking about making a bunch of huge changes, but quite a few small ones (other than changing cabs, which is a big change).

You also may want to try the FAS custom models or some of the other rectos. Many were derived from the triaxis.
Could you elaborate on res parameters for my info. in the amp block? or in a gate? etc. thanks
 

Webb

Power User
For what its worth the OP has literally toured with Dream Theater, written and recorded 5 albums critically acclaimed throughout the world, and worked with well known producers/engineers, he knows his stuff;that is not to say he knows squat about how to program the axe 2; however, he knows how to have things sit in a mix, records with 2 guitarists, keyboards, bass and drums, very complex progressive, he def. knows lead from rhythm tones. Im just sayin...he aint no bedroom player like myself.
What band is the OP in?
 
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