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Need tone help into FX loop-in on combo amp


I think the next step I need to make is checking all my cables and other possible issues not related to the AX8. I just really think it’s something internal in the AX8 since the combo amps sound great on their own. It’s almost like the AX8 is sending some extra gain on distorted settings because in clean settings I’ve tried with four cable method or direct into the loop return on the combo amps sounds good. It’s really weird. I’ll definitely let you know how some of my other test come out to hopefully troubleshoot.
Hmm, I hope for you that it's not a hardware issue.

Just a thought:
if you say "extra gain", maybe just try to change levels on Out2?
First try would be the knob setting, and you can also set a Pad in the I/O menu.

Toby Moore

New here
Alright, I have tested cables, amps, different settings of levels, almost everything you can imagine.

And without going into everything on trying to use the AX8 as the 'amp' sim with Power amp and cab off in Global (which includes mild improvements from messing with the preamp tone locations, triode adjustments, inverting phase on I/O in and out, etc...) straight into the FX return of combo amp.... I went back for a test on 4CM. And yes the tone with this method was still shrill.

Here's how screwy this is. Thru my JSX212 combo, IF I just use the AX8 for effects in the loop (just delay, reverb, etc...) with the guitar plugged direct to the JSX212, the tone is fine using the crunch/gain from the JSX. But when I hooked up the 4CM, even without using ANY blocks before the FXLOOP out, the tone totally loses its punch and therefore sounds brittle/shrill again. This absolutely sucks.
Thankfully, I went a totally different direction and tried the AX8 straight into a solid state monitor amp and them into a passive monitor and worked out some nice tones.

It just astounds me that a 10 yr old Zoom pedal (although it was the top of their line) sounds 10 times better direct into the FX return on all of my amps and I can't get a tone thats even close with the AX8. Just for reference, I get great sounds out of the AX8 into a PA or interface. It just seems that when the cab block and power amp are off, its brittle shrill crap.

Toby Moore

New here

To all who helped with ideas on this, maybe the finished results will help someone else down the road. After trying every advice on here and then some more, I finally reached out to Mark at Fractal and he said simply adjust the EQ in the Amp block (not a separate EQ block), stacking a lot more bass of 63, 125 and 250 and droping some 8k. In addition, although I flattened out the high res on the speaker page, I left the low res boosted at 115hz. A couple other tweaks here, including leaving the Power Amp ON in Global, and I dialed in a nice tone direct to the FX Loop return on my little Blackstar HT5R.

I guess I'm just surprised that boosting the bass on the AX8 did fill in the tone and override the high shrill. Here is the final preset..



Toby, have you achieved an acceptable tone using your JSX or Blackstar 60watt? I wouldn't think that the 5watt amp will get loud enough for the patch to translate. I've got a HT5R and it's an awesome bedroom amp. It's like a Marshall with a tubescreamer built into it but also has some chime on the high and like a VOX or Mesa. It's a tone I've been trying to dial on on my AX8 preset.

Also, are you running 4CM on the HT5R?

I'm full of questions because I've yet to play with my band so I'm prepared to try going FRFR but my fall back is running it into my DSL40's FX return. Not gonna bother with 4CM on the first attempt. Too much gain staging to worry about. Hopefully my DXR10 will keep up and cut through.

Toby Moore

New here
Hey Bman. I'm going direct into the FX loop return. Not 4CM. I have not tried this yet into the JSX212 or Blackstar Soloist 60. Odds are, just from knowing the tone of both, I may not need as much boost of lows in the JSX212 since its has alot of thump already (I'm running JJ 6L6's in there). But the current preset should be good for the Soloist 60 since it has a higher pitch sound already.

About the HT5R.... one of the absolute best things about that amp is the incredible natural tone thru the Emulated Output. I've actually gigged quite a few times using just the HT5R Em Out into a PA and the tone was great!


Cool. FYI, I found success using the AX8 JVMJSX preset as my pre-amp. It was the first one I tried. I had both amp and cab sim's off. I figured it's pre-amp section was closest to the DSL40's so it would match with the power amp section well too. I plan to try a few more. I don't really have a use for the HT5R now that I've got the AX8. It'll probably go up on Reverb.com soon. That amp is hit or miss. I've heard some really crappy ones at music stores. Maybe it's break-in or something. Good luck and keep us posted.

Toby Moore

New here
Thanks for the tip on the preset. I actually can't say I've even seen that one in there! I use mostly the Freidman, Atomica or AC20 sims.
I did quickly try the preset I posted with the Soloist 60 and it was OK but I'll probably need to cut little more on the high end and possible add a bit of lows.... but it wasn't bad as-is.
Toby, I think I saw above that you said at one point you were just using the AX8 for its effects. How did it work for this? I have an FX8 and I'm thinking about swapping it for on AX8. However alot of the time I would only be using the AX8 for its effects and not using the amp modeling at all.
My thinking is why not just get the AX8 for $100 more if it can do all the FX8 can do and more. However if it doesn't work good in the loop for effects this would be a deal breaker for me .


Toby Moore

New here
Hey Tim, I’m sure most others here would agree, the AX8 is incredible!

To answer your first question, I tried using is the effects with 4 cable method and also just going in and out of the combo amps loop but there was nothing special. Now that I have the AX8 amp sims locked in a good tone, it’s awesome into the return of the combo amps.

As far as things with the FX8, I don’t believe you guys don’t have cab or amp simulations and that’s where the AX8 really shines. I love using it into a PA system direct or through my computers interface and just playing through some stereo monitors in my music room. The Variety of amp tones are better than anything I have ever heard .

I sent some AX8 music samples to a good friend of mine who is in a popular progressive metal band in Europe and he also has a studio and has done recording and mixing for bands like DragonForce. Even he was astonished when he heard the quality of some of the simulations which were raw with no post processing.
I haven't used mine in 4 cable for a while and when I did it was effects only. I set out 2 to +12db, (see manual P78), and also put the output 2 level control full on, can't remember where out 1 level was set, probably to taste. It worked very well with a boogie combo.
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