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"lost notes" in chord voicings on Axe II

nvandyk

Member
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?)
Yep.

, a Recto Red is being used (as Triaxis Lead 2 Red? Was unaware that John used that, especially for rhythm)?
I think he plays Mark Vs now. He was playing Mark IIIs before that and/or a Triaxis (same circuitry for Lead 2 red, which was the rhythm tone).

Then, if a Mark series were to be emulated, wouldn't a Mark emulation + tonestack pre choice be more appropriate?
Beats me. I simply assumed that the red channel on a rectified boogie would be recto red. :)

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?
The Triaxis has a "dynamic voice" setting which is itself a gentle scoop of the EQ. It's reasonably prominent in John's settings, and further confirmed in any number of videos you can see where he discusses tone, although where using the Mark V he uses the EQ on the head itself. I attempted to replicate this with the PEQ, though it is less a scoop in my settings and more gently ducking the mids and rolling off the low end a hair. Nothing extreme.

John scoops his tone a hell of a lot more than I did in that preset. See the EQ at 2:40 in this clip, for example.

John Petrucci -- Mark V -- Settings and Tone Tips (Part 2) - YouTube

Re: this video, I can't help but noticing his settings which are really pretty close to what I started this thread off with, except for more mids in his tone which he then dramatically removes in the EQ. I feel vindicated. But it's a pyrrhic victory because all I want is good tone. I don't need to be right. Although it feels better than being accused of being a moron. :)

Anyhow, enough of my martyr syndrome...continuing...

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).
This may all be true. That said, I know neither Petrucci nor Loomis track with pedals.

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.
Yes, that's for sure. Particularly complex given the synergistic relationship between the Triaxis and the boogie power amp which has several settings which I attempted to replicate with amp voicings (modern, for example), saturation (the 1/2 drive feature on the Simul 2:90), etc.
 

AdamCook

Power User
John scoops his tone a hell of a lot more than I did in that preset. See the EQ at 2:40 in this clip, for example.

John Petrucci -- Mark V -- Settings and Tone Tips (Part 2) - YouTube

Re: this video, I can't help but noticing his settings which are really pretty close to what I started this thread off with, except for more mids in his tone which he then dramatically removes in the EQ. I feel vindicated. But it's a pyrrhic victory because all I want is good tone. I don't need to be right. Although it feels better than being accused of being a moron. :)
First off, I don't think you're a moron and don't want you to feel like I'm accusing you of being one. So please don't read the rest of this post assuming my tone is condescending :).

But let's clarify a few things...

The Mark series amps are a much more mid-heavy amp than the Mesa Recto Red used in your patch. So JP adding that "smiley face" EQ is not comparing apples to apples when you add the same EQ curve to a Mesa Recto Red. They are two different amps.

Also, you had the mids in your amp set down to 1, a para-EQ with a mid-scoop of 6dB at 1khz, and finally you mic'd the cab with a D112 which is a super bass heavy mic. It also has a peak around 4khz to accentuate the kick drum beater. Check out the curve here:


So between your amp selection and settings, post-amp para-EQ block, and this mic selection you've effectively done 3 "scoops". There's hardly anything left in your tone around 1khz area which is a critical region.

I made modifications to your patch and was in the process of recording a demo comparison but I didn't finish before I had to come in to the office this morning to do "real" work ;). So I'll upload that tonight with the patch file and you can let me know if you think it is better or not.
 

AdamCook

Power User
This may all be true. That said, I know neither Petrucci nor Loomis track with pedals.
One last point...

I've seen lots of interviews with Loomis where he mentions using a Tube Screamer into a Dual Rectifier for the precise reasons that nikki and I have mentioned - lower the bass BEFORE the gain stages and boost it after. Here's an interview where he confirms using that setup on both Dead Heart in a Dead World and Enemies of Reality (which I think we can all agree have some monstrously awesome heavy tones) Metal-Rules.com: Nevermore Interview with Jeff Loomis
 

simeon

Axe-Master
yeah, i was gonna say earlier on that using recto red is not the right amp choice if you're trying to get a sound like the triaxis lead 2 red channel. better to start with the usa lead 2 and add in the "mesa" peq fx block inbetween the amp and cab. the triaxis lead 2 red was one of my favourite channels for certain things and i've tried to replicate this in the ultra. use a blocking peq before the amp to remove freqs below 80 hz (or a drive like the tubescreamer), keep the bass on the amp low and then add in the amount of thump you want from the peq inbetween the amp and cab. works pretty well. i listened to the clips and i'm not surprised that notes are "missing"...because there's nothing there to reproduce those notes...it's all been taken out.
 

javajunkie

Moderator
Moderator
yeah, i was gonna say earlier on that using recto red is not the right amp choice if you're trying to get a sound like the triaxis lead 2 red channel. better to start with the usa lead 2 and add in the "mesa" peq fx block inbetween the amp and cab. the triaxis lead 2 red was one of my favourite channels for certain things and i've tried to replicate this in the ultra. use a blocking peq before the amp to remove freqs below 80 hz (or a drive like the tubescreamer), keep the bass on the amp low and then add in the amount of thump you want from the peq inbetween the amp and cab. works pretty well. i listened to the clips and i'm not surprised that notes are "missing"...because there's nothing there to reproduce those notes...it's all been taken out.
I believe the low cut parameter on the amp block is a blocking EQ. It is done at the input to the amp sim.
 

simeon

Axe-Master
I believe the low cut parameter on the amp block is a blocking EQ. It is done at the input to the amp sim.
yeah, you're right, but it never seems to work so effectively for me. dunno what the Q value is on it... just habit i suppose....i always use the peq...it's just my method... not right or wrong. there's always about 5 ways to do the same thing in the axe anyway! :)
 

nvandyk

Member
First off, I don't think you're a moron and don't want you to feel like I'm accusing you of being one. So please don't read the rest of this post assuming my tone is condescending :).
Much appreciated. I take constructive criticism well and have thick skin. I'm also aware I am doing something wrong or I wouldn't be here in the first place, right? :)

But let's clarify a few things...

The Mark series amps are a much more mid-heavy amp than the Mesa Recto Red used in your patch.
This is an EXTREMELY helpful piece of information. Looks like I should probably, as others have suggested, start with the USA Lead 1 or 2 to get the red channels, their names not withstanding, presuming this is the third channel that JP, in that video, asserts he uses for both lead and rhythm. This corresponds to the fact that his primary lead in the "old days" with Lead 2 Red on Triaxis, obviously with different settings.

So first order of business is using a different amp. Check.

So JP adding that "smiley face" EQ is not comparing apples to apples when you add the same EQ curve to a Mesa Recto Red. They are two different amps.

Also, you had the mids in your amp set down to 1, a para-EQ with a mid-scoop of 6dB at 1khz, and finally you mic'd the cab with a D112 which is a super bass heavy mic. It also has a peak around 4khz to accentuate the kick drum beater. Check out the curve here:


So between your amp selection and settings, post-amp para-EQ block, and this mic selection you've effectively done 3 "scoops". There's hardly anything left in your tone around 1khz area which is a critical region.
Understood. At the risk of repeating myself the SM57 does not make a difference to this problem (although in fairness it does make things brighter so I would end up taking out some highs were I to be doing something beyond just A/Bing the thing).

I made modifications to your patch and was in the process of recording a demo comparison but I didn't finish before I had to come in to the office this morning to do "real" work ;). So I'll upload that tonight with the patch file and you can let me know if you think it is better or not.
Thanks!

Here's a comparison I quickly recorded, FYI.


Meanwhile, I'm off to try to rework it using USA Lead!
 

nvandyk

Member
One last point...

I've seen lots of interviews with Loomis where he mentions using a Tube Screamer into a Dual Rectifier for the precise reasons that nikki and I have mentioned - lower the bass BEFORE the gain stages and boost it after. Here's an interview where he confirms using that setup on both Dead Heart in a Dead World and Enemies of Reality (which I think we can all agree have some monstrously awesome heavy tones) Metal-Rules.com: Nevermore Interview with Jeff Loomis
I agree he uses it live all the time.

I can only repeat the following conversation:

Me to producer: "Should the gain really be that high? Seems like it will muddy it up." (note irony given this thread)

Producer: "Yes, it should be that high. Trust me. We want that high gain sound like Jeff's" (referring to his solo record and three Nevermore records which this producer did).

Me: "Doesn't he use a Tube Screamer and get gain from that, though?"

Producer: "He tracks directly into boogie, no pedals."

Probably means Jeff uses the Tube Screamer with Sneap, but he didn't use it for Zero Order Phrase, unless the producer was just lying to me.
 
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nvandyk

Member
yeah, i was gonna say earlier on that using recto red is not the right amp choice if you're trying to get a sound like the triaxis lead 2 red channel. better to start with the usa lead 2 and add in the "mesa" peq fx block inbetween the amp and cab. the triaxis lead 2 red was one of my favourite channels for certain things and i've tried to replicate this in the ultra. use a blocking peq before the amp to remove freqs below 80 hz (or a drive like the tubescreamer), keep the bass on the amp low and then add in the amount of thump you want from the peq inbetween the amp and cab. works pretty well. i listened to the clips and i'm not surprised that notes are "missing"...because there's nothing there to reproduce those notes...it's all been taken out.
Thanks Simeon -- much appreciated. This is very good advice and quite helpful.
 

simeon

Axe-Master
no worries. i think your best bet may be to download some of the great petrucci patches that people have already made and have a look at them. you may be able to tweak them to your liking.

it's best to approach this with as few pre-conceptions as possible. there are many tips and tricks you can use to get the sound you want, which may not apply in the "real" world. you can still use your real world experience, but the axe fx isn't a real amp. you're not using real cabs and you're not using real mics. just because you "think" you shouldn't use a boost in front of an amp, doesn't mean you "can't" and if it gets you the sound you're after, then you've achieved your goal. for example, i often use a mid boost with shelving top and bottom in front of my mid gain amps...i wouldn't do this in the real world, but in the axe fx, it tightens up the bass, smooths out the treble and gooses the amp in a really nice way. it gets me a sound i like, so i use it. whatever works. you're not going to show the audience your layout, are you. they just hear the sound you're making! :O)
 

AdamCook

Power User
I agree he uses it live all the time.

I can only repeat the following conversation:

Me to producer: "Should the gain really be that high? Seems like it will muddy it up." (note irony given this thread)

Producer: "Yes, it should be that high. Trust me. We want that high gain sound like Jeff's" (referring to his solo record and three Nevermore records which this producer did).

Me: "Doesn't he use a Tube Screamer and get gain from that, though?"

Producer: "He tracks directly into boogie, no pedals."

Probably means Jeff uses the Tube Screamer with Sneap, but he didn't use it for Zero Order Phrase, unless the producer was just lying to me.
Probably. Sneap has mentioned the TS use on his forum as well. I have no idea about Jeff's solo album. I just know his tone kills on the Sneap produced Nevermore albums and that is the setup he used.

Also, your conversation makes reference to using TS for more gain. That's not really the purpose in this setup. It is more the EQ adjustment that the TS provides: lower bass and more mids going into the front of the amp.
 

nvandyk

Member
Probably. Sneap has mentioned the TS use on his forum as well. I have no idea about Jeff's solo album. I just know his tone kills on the Sneap produced Nevermore albums and that is the setup he used.
Sneap is a pretty remarkable producer, no doubt and Jeff's tone on those records is fantastic. His tone on DNB is nothing to sneeze at either.

Any, PROGRESS of a sort to report based on the very helpful feedback here.

Changes as follows:
- Amp block USA Lead 2
- PEQ at beginning blocking everything below 150
- Gain at 6.5. I had to bring up input trim a smidge to 1.7 because the DiMarzio's in the guitar I used to track the demo below are not that hot.
- Gentle tone settings except for the bass which is taken way down
- Petrucci's "smile" EQ from the video, more or less, albeit perhaps a bit less extreme
- Cabinet changed to Cali 4x12 with a low-end cut at 125
- SM57

This is better tone than before, certainly. I am still missing some clarity and I'm not prepared to take the gain down very much, sorry to say. But it's on the right path. If any of you kind folks that were considering tweaking want to tweak the attached tone, that's a better starting place than the other one, certainly! I hadn't really wanted to expose my ignorance and the evolution of my tone on here -- but it's too late on the ignorance part and frankly I think the "search for tone" is something that benefits the community so I'm happy to swallow some pride for the greater good here.

I've attached the new patch as well as a soundcloud clip that has five riffs. (1) This tone used to play part of Overture from DT's Scenes from a Memory, (2) a clip of the actual guitar tone that I'm going after (albeit in a mix), (3) a riff that uses a lot of the low D but without the suspended chord type stuff to demonstrate that this is not (anymore?) a flabby low end -- it is tight and well defined, and (4) the riff that started this whole mess (actually a different riff from the same song and the same style, using frets 3/5/6 on the A string this time against the low D) and lastly (5) a clip from the CD of that particularl part.

It's not as muddy as it used to be, certainly, but the notes are still kinda vanishing. I was tweaking with a second amp and that's one possible solution but remember I'm really not trying to stray to far from the tone here.

the patch:

View attachment Lead 2 Red Rhythm(3).syx

the Soundcloud clip:

 

simeon

Axe-Master
ok, gain at 6.5 that's fine for a mesa sim - where's the master volume on the amp? just as important.

i still hear more mids in the original samples than i do in your tones, but you're definitely on the right track!

i'd ditch the smiley graphic curve you have. don't just use a the standard eq - use a peq block with the "mesa" eq right after the amp, because it boosts and cuts at all the right frequencies for mesa goodness.
 

simeon

Axe-Master
Ooh...also try the U87 on the cab, or run two cabs, one with the 57 and one with the 87. Might help to add some warmth. When running two cabs in parallel both panned centre, take 6 db off the amp level to compensate.
 
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