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"lost notes" in chord voicings on Axe II

javajunkie

Moderator
Moderator
It just occurred to me that another thing could help with clarity in this situation. I haven't tried, but adding a little air parameter in the cab block might give the OP some of the clarity he is looking for.
 
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AdamCook

Power User
This is a real problem and I think it has less to do with EQ settings than it does with the actual signal processing of the modeler. However, I'm open to any and all solutions including a low-end rolloff or a parametric EQ to dampen the lower note -- though I think these is a pretty crummy solutions that I'd only use as a last resort because it's not that the low note is too LOUD, it's that there's no clarity in the different notes. Plus rolling off the low-end in a mix is quite a common thing to do to make room for the bass, but I've never seen it used to change the clarity of a chord voicing.
Rolling off the low end is not a crummy solution. It is the ONLY solution that will get you the results you want if you're not willing to sacrifice gain.

The reason you have a lack of clarity and mud is because you have too much bass and a shitload of distortion. Specifically, you have too much bass BEFORE the distortion stage. You can reduce this using Low Cut in the amplifier block. Around 100hz is a good starting point when jamming solo but in a mix I usually like it up higher around 150-200hz. It will vary depending on amp type. The HBE defaults at 500hz.

You can always add the "V" EQ shape back AFTER the distortion with the graphic EQ in the amp bock if you like that bass heavy scooped type of sound. However, you need to remove bass BEFORE the distortion in order to achieve the sort of "tight" and "clear" high-gain tone that you are going for.
 

barhrecords

Axe-Master
I am a little confused by the amp block low cut in regards to adding low end back in post.

I always thought the low cut was a blocking filter and post eq could not add back what is gone in the first place? I routinely use high pass filters when mixing and I treated the amp block low cut the same.

Richard
 

javajunkie

Moderator
Moderator
Rolling off the low end is not a crummy solution. It is the ONLY solution that will get you the results you want if you're not willing to sacrifice gain.

The reason you have a lack of clarity and mud is because you have too much bass and a shitload of distortion. Specifically, you have too much bass BEFORE the distortion stage. You can reduce this using Low Cut in the amplifier block. Around 100hz is a good starting point when jamming solo but in a mix I usually like it up higher around 150-200hz. It will vary depending on amp type. The HBE defaults at 500hz.

You can always add the "V" EQ shape back AFTER the distortion with the graphic EQ in the amp bock if you like that bass heavy scooped type of sound. However, you need to remove bass BEFORE the distortion in order to achieve the sort of "tight" and "clear" high-gain tone that you are going for.

This a very good point.
 

drtone2

New Member
Not sure if this was mentioned before, but I frequently use a dual amp setup to retain clarity from high gain amp presets: one clean amp in parallel with another amp setup for high gain and distortion.

As an example, I have used a Marshall JTM-45 amp that has a slightly breaking up almost clean tone in parallel with a Marshall JCM 800 cranked. Mix each amps output level to taste. When plucking notes for some appregiated chords, the JTM provides the clarity and I hear all the notes. And when I bang out some power chords, the JCM800 crunch comes through. Try to tweak the amp levels using each amps output level control. I also run the two amps into a pair of different cabs, but then I merge the cab outputs by almost centering both cabs.

For the JTM-45 amp I use a cabinet / speaker that does not have the mids scooped out. The JCM 800 ususally goes into a cab with Celestion V30 speakers which have a mid-scooped tone.

If you have a song where at times you need clarity and other times more gain, just make two presets as I described above, one with the clean amps output level higher than the high gain amp and vice-versa. Then switch between the two presets. Or use one preset and assign a controll pedal to allow real time control of each amps output level.

Hope this helps.
 

AdamCook

Power User
I am a little confused by the amp block low cut in regards to adding low end back in post.

I always thought the low cut was a blocking filter and post eq could not add back what is gone in the first place? I routinely use high pass filters when mixing and I treated the amp block low cut the same.

Richard
The low-cut in the amp block is a blocking filter before the non-linearity (distortion) is applied in the amplifier. Once the distortion is applied to the signal the frequency content has changed. So the post-amp EQ is working on a different signal than the pre-amp EQ.
 

barhrecords

Axe-Master
The low-cut in the amp block is a blocking filter before the non-linearity (distortion) is applied in the amplifier. Once the distortion is applied to the signal the frequency content has changed. So the post-amp EQ is working on a different signal than the pre-amp EQ.
Duh thanks :)

I had it in my head that the amplifier block distortion could add upper harmonics but not add anything below the fundamental input frequencies.

Richard
 

billmeedog

Inspired
ear-tweaking vs. eye-tweaking AND the Producer's-role(s)...

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).



I want to track mono, otherwise I would try this.



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.



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)!
Hi nvandyk,

I like your riffs. You seem to know what you want from your tone, and that's a good thing.

You mentioned that five (5) producers you worked with wanted you to have a great (to YOUR ears) starting/tracking-tone, and that (in YOUR opinion) "it is a myth that a stand-alone guitar-sound has to sound bad in order for it to sit well in a mix." To some extent, I agree with you. However, I would qualify my agreement to state: "A stand-alone guitar-sound MAY or MAY NOT sound good (while solo'd) in order for it to sit perfectly in a mix, and that would depend on many factors." The two biggest contributing factors in whether an isolated/solo'd guitar COULD sound good by itself AND sound great in the context of a mix would be:

1.) Genre-of-music being played/recorded/mixed.
2.) The cumulative combinational-effect of all other program-material on the two-mix's guitar(s) in question!


I believe the OP (and most of the FAS-forum readers here) are very well aware of these aforementioned two points.

However, allow me to add something regarding one of the most important (and underrated) responsibilities of a good producer. Assuming that there has already been a good amount of pre-production, and the songs' arrangements/parts are pretty well rehearsed (but NOT over-rehearsed to the point of being stale - LOL!) and the band is prepared, THEN the producer needs to:

1.) Get the BEST performances he/she can from the band/musicians!

Once that all happens, it'll be in the hands of the Mixing-Engineer (along with direction from the Producer) and ultimately the Mastering Engineer (again perhaps with guidance/suggestions from the Producer.) *I'm NOT even gonna get into promotion and/or marketing for this discussion - LOL!

In the name of "Get the BEST performances he/she can from the band/musicians," one way a producer can assure that a guitar-player plays his/her best is to MAKE SURE THEY (in this case nvandyk) LOVE THEIR OWN SOUND! Even if that sound is NOT the exact tone the Producer thinks will properly blend/sit with the rest of the program-material, they (Mixing-Engineer and Producer) can tweak it a bit during mixdown, especially if it's just a matter of "subtractive/additive-EQ solutions, gating or compression" Sure, if the gain was way off the mark, then there isn't much to be done in fixing the processed-track (of course, there should ALWAYS be an "extra parallel-split safety dry/re-amp track" getting recorded which can be processed and blended with the tracking-tone OR re-constructed from scratch!) My point is simply that if a Producer knows he can work with a guitar-sound in a mixdown - even if it's NOT ideal to the Producer's ears - IMO, the Producer would (and SHOULD) be more interested in having the guitarist psyched about their OWN tone, so that they can be in their happy place to yield excellent PERFORMANCES, which is what it's ALL ABOUT!!!

P.S. To the OP, in an attempt to replicate your Mesa Tri-Axis, perhaps just use your ears to pirate that sound, as it's possible that the scale of various parameters on the Axe-FX II just won't "LOOK" like the control-settings (I.E: "smiley-faced" EQ's etc.) You have pro-skills, chops, creativity, and ears. My guess is you could NAIL a great tone if you stopped looking at what the settings "looked" like and just tweaked with your ears (as some other poster had suggested...sorry, I forget who...maybe chrisallen1988 or clarky?)

Best of luck man, and great playing BTW!

Bill
 

nvandyk

Member
Rolling off the low end is not a crummy solution. It is the ONLY solution that will get you the results you want if you're not willing to sacrifice gain.

The reason you have a lack of clarity and mud is because you have too much bass and a shitload of distortion. Specifically, you have too much bass BEFORE the distortion stage. You can reduce this using Low Cut in the amplifier block. Around 100hz is a good starting point when jamming solo but in a mix I usually like it up higher around 150-200hz. It will vary depending on amp type. The HBE defaults at 500hz.

You can always add the "V" EQ shape back AFTER the distortion with the graphic EQ in the amp bock if you like that bass heavy scooped type of sound. However, you need to remove bass BEFORE the distortion in order to achieve the sort of "tight" and "clear" high-gain tone that you are going for.
Thanks...I think. :)

A couple of points:

- I should not have used the word "crummy" solution with respect to simply turning down the bass. I was more or less referring to a situation where one would need to use a parametric EQ like a notch filter to make a particular note quieter. This would have been, I think most would agree, a rather tortured solution to the problem. Sounds like it won't require that; simply turning down the bass is obviously not that big a deal.

- Please understand, as a starting point, rather than beginning with a preset, I started from scratch and I made the assumption (now seemingly foolish) that the Axe modeling corresponded extremely closely to the actual settings on the modeled amp. I started with settings that work just fine in the "real world" including the EQ, bass, gain, etc. I understand now that they do not necessarily correspond one-to-one, and I understand why, and I appreciate that it was explained and that the explanation was thorough. If it makes me a moron for assuming the modeled amps tied very closely to the modeler, then I'm a moron. I think, however, I can be excused for making this assumption. I don't profess to be an electrical engineer -- but then one shouldn't need to be one to get good tone.

- Following from this, I certainly don't hold it against Fractal that a 4 on the dial on the front of an amp is really a 2 or a 5 once modeled. But with respect, I'm not an imbecile who has never used an amp before, and a gain of 7 without a drive pedal is not "a shitload" of distortion in the real world for that amp. I argued with my producer on our last record about keeping the gain there versus dialing it up (to be clear: I was in favor of keeping it where it was), and this producer has worked extensively with at least one well known artist that is featured in Fractal promotional materials for his use of the Axe, for crying out loud! As for the bass, I want to say the bass in my original preset was on 4 -- hardly overpowering on an objective basis -- but I could be mistaken. Anyhow, I take responsibility for trusting my eyes rather than my ears, as one person put it. That person is correct. These numbers are subjective...it doesn't matter that it's a "7" or a "4" since it is simply "too much" independent of what a "7" or "4" means in real life.

- if the D is stepping on the other notes, seems like I need to start rolling off things considerably higher than what you're talking about, like around 300...or even higher for an E. No? I've done this before in mixes to make room for the bass, but never to eliminate the guitar from stepping on its own frequencies...so I maintain this is not a familiar problem for me, at least.

- I want to give a particular thanks to Sean from Fractal who has been quite helpful and constructive, even when pointing out some pretty big changes that need to be made.
 

nvandyk

Member
Hey Bill! Thanks very much for an extremely thoughtful, kind, and thought-provoking post!!!

Hi nvandyk,

I like your riffs. You seem to know what you want from your tone, and that's a good thing.
Thanks for the kind words about the riffs. I confess to feeling on my heels from minute one in this thread so it's nice to hear that just maybe I'm not a complete douchebag. :)

You mentioned that five (5) producers you worked with wanted you to have a great (to YOUR ears) starting/tracking-tone, and that (in YOUR opinion) "it is a myth that a stand-alone guitar-sound has to sound bad in order for it to sit well in a mix." To some extent, I agree with you. However, I would qualify my agreement to state: "A stand-alone guitar-sound MAY or MAY NOT sound good (while solo'd) in order for it to sit perfectly in a mix, and that would depend on many factors."
Before continuing, I agree with you. The sound will be changed before it sits well in the mix -- I'm only contending that in my limited experience at least, you don't start with a sound that has no low end (for example) simply because you know there will be a bass there at some point. You get the sound you want, and then EQ the low end as needed to make room for the bass later.

The two biggest contributing factors in whether an isolated/solo'd guitar COULD sound good by itself AND sound great in the context of a mix would be:

1.) Genre-of-music being played/recorded/mixed.
2.) The cumulative combinational-effect of all other program-material on the two-mix's guitar(s) in question!


I believe the OP (and most of the FAS-forum readers here) are very well aware of these aforementioned two points.
I concur, and also concur with your very well-made point about the role of the producer being to get great performances, and in the sensitivity of guitarists to their tone. I have worked in the world of re-amping for the last three CDs I have done so I've been more about having confidence that the producer, at the end of the day, will work with me to get something that works. I've never been 100% satisfied -- nobody is, I supposed, but let's say I've never been 90% satisfied, haha! -- and that's part of what inspired me to get the Axe. No need to reamp, get the tone you want, subject to the changes that occur during the mix but you're starting with great material.

P.S. To the OP, in an attempt to replicate your Mesa Tri-Axis, perhaps just use your ears to pirate that sound, as it's possible that the scale of various parameters on the Axe-FX II just won't "LOOK" like the control-settings (I.E: "smiley-faced" EQ's etc.)
I think you, and the other poster on this topic, are absolutely right.

You have pro-skills, chops, creativity, and ears. My guess is you could NAIL a great tone if you stopped looking at what the settings "looked" like and just tweaked with your ears (as some other poster had suggested...sorry, I forget who...maybe chrisallen1988 or clarky?)
I don't know about any of that, least of all the ability to NAIL anything at this point, but I certainly appreciate the compliment! :)

Thanks, Bill!
 

javajunkie

Moderator
Moderator
Your welcome. Just to be clear I do not work for Fractal. Just a moderator on the forum. Just from experience I doubt you'll have to take up to 300. I think Adam's guideline of 150-200 is reasonable. remember your not trying to get rid of the D but stop the masking of the A.


Adam however does and is an extremely knowledgeably individual and a great player.
 

clarky

Axe-Master
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.
haaaa.. I'm not suggesting to start with a bad tone.. more hinting that a tone that sits well in a mix is often not quite the one you'd first aim for when playing in isolation..
generally I'd dial in the tone I like to start with, and when I'm auditioning that tone being played in the mix [when re-amping] I'd start to make corrections...
in my case, my own ears will head for a tone with too little top and too much gain.. and when I hear it vanish in the mix I can then more clearly spot my mistakes..

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)!
aaahhh .. I've found this too on occasion.. my solution was to use two tones that are quite different..
it seemed to me that it was the differences between them that made things work..
 

barhrecords

Axe-Master
Good points in this thread all around!

As a guitar player *and* a mix engineer, it is kind of wearing two hats...

It's not typical as a player to have your rig dialed in verbatim like the final track in the mix would be if soloed.

When I'm tracking I like a cue mix that has more lows and is hot enough so I can hear the pick articulation of the part.

But when I mix guitars, the final track(s) are most likely very different in regards to EQ and compression / limiting.

Richard
 

nikki-k

Experienced
I am only trying to understand, based upon the information thus far..

In the patch, which is supposed to be emulating a John Petrucci Triaxis patch (no?), a Recto Red is being used (as Triaxis Lead 2 Red? Was unaware that John used that, especially for rhythm)? Then, if a Mark series were to be emulated, wouldn't a Mark emulation + tonestack pre choice be more appropriate? Also, I noticed that the GEQ in the Amp Block is being used, plus a PEQ Block is utilized between the Amp and Cab Blocks; what is the reasoning behind this please?

Lowering low end prior to the preamp is classic. The Mark series is brilliant with its inherent (cap)ability for this, and many guitarists will utilize a pedal of some sort in front to achieve this (from EVH with an EQ pedal, to Jake E Lee with a distortion pedal set so as to boost a little while pulling some lows). A classic method is the inverted-V EQ pedal up front (though typically not a V, but more of a.. flattened, upside down U).

I can see trying to emulate the Triaxis as being a rough go, just as I feel that the JMP-1 (or any other strict preamp gear) could be rough to translate patches from-to. Without separate preamp and power amp Blocks (and power amp models!), it becomes a journey of.. "getting close." IMO.
 

clarky

Axe-Master
a couple of things have occurred to me that may be worth thinking over:

thing 1: EQ.. this is a relative thing so essentially what matters is not only where one specific control is set, but also where it's set in relation to the others..
however.. the tonal effects of this will be very different if we're looking at amp EQ settings [which will affect gain] vs those in a GEQ / PEQ [post amp block which will have no effect on gain]

thing 2: amp distortion / gain tonality.. there are a few different ways to go about skinning this particular cat..
- a high gain value with a lower input-trim
- a lower gain value with a higher input-trim
- in the amp block your EQ settings with higher values rather than lower ones will impact the amount of gain
- the master volume setting also has an impact on the tonality of the gain / distortion being generated

personally I've not explored all of the permutations, but at least in theory, just like with a real amp I'd imagine that various combinations of the above all working together and impacting each other could mean the difference between a hi-gain tone being smooth or creamy [great for solos] and edgy / biting [great for riffing] even though the overall amount of 'apparent distortion' on the tone is at what you'd perceive to be a similar level.. maybe??
so I guess finding the tone that's fit for purpose is a bit like balancing scales but in four dimensions
 
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javajunkie

Moderator
Moderator
Okay I actually had a chance to play through this patch and could immediately get better note separation by doing several tings.
Turn drive down to 5-6, turned master down to 4-5. turned level up -6db. turned off saturation, turned voicing to neutral, turned speaker drive to 0
Turned damp to 0 (where it belongs on this particular model). That changes presence to hi cut. So set what was a presence of 7 to a hi cut of 2.
Turn up depth a hair for more girth. turned lo cut 120hz. took transformer match down to .8. took the low res Q up to 3.5.

I played with putting a mid res peak at 440hz, q of 2.5, 2.5 db boost - kind of liked it.

I changed the mic in the cab block to re16 dyn.


All that seemed to help a lot

You could also mess with mixing in some of the SLM V30 cab. The a seems to cut through better on that, but it really alters the tone. so maybe a mix between that and the recto V30(oh) you are using now.
 
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