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Problems with my new AXE-FX III: It does not sound good?

SteveW

Inspired
I've been expecting this purchase since many years ago but finally I got my AXE-FX III. The problem is that I am really struggling with making it sound as I was expecting and I'm frustrated.

I'm just using my headphones for playing (Sony WH1000XM3 with cable). They are not full-range headphones but I'm used to practice with them with other devices and I'm hearing many youtube videos with AXE-FX III recordings with the same headphones that does not sound at all like the sound I have . I'll purchase in the future studio monitors and probably other headphones though.

I've been reading the manual and I've been searching other users in the forum with similar issues but I don't get anything. I've reset all the settings even if it is new, the Power Amp Modeling is ON , the Cabinet Modeling is ACTIVE and I've checked my guitars are not clipping. I've tried different factory presets but there's always something there that I do not like and I see a huge difference with other recordings. I really don't know how to describe the sounds, one thing I'm noticing is that the pick attacks sound very plasticky. I've tried with different picks, playing softly and with my fingers, and of course if I use the neck pickups the sound is rounder and smoother, but it is generally there.


I'm not sure if it is just me, that I've been without playing a lot of time for an injury, or that my guitars are not the best for the sound I'm expecting. I have two guitars, an Ibanez RG3550MZ which maybe doesn't have the most versatile sound and an Epiphone Sheraton II for playing jazz. As an example, I was trying to get a sound for playing Eric Johnson, so I downloaded the preset made by the user Camilo Velandia and I've recorded with the Chorus scene just a phrase with both guitars in different pickups. But I really don't listen the same sounds it can be heard in his video (



Can somebody help me to find out if there's something wrong with my Axe? I really don't know if I'm just crazy, deaf and/or I need to purchase other guitars for liking the sound.

Thank you!

Edit: I'm trying to put a link with my mp3 recording but it does not allow me, where should I upload it? In the meantime I've attached a .zip. I'm comparing the sound with the 1:37 on the video I put.
It's going to sound like crap through those headphones... I have them... They're not made for this type of application. You really need to consider a set of FRFR's
 

spikey

Experienced
My experince> If you want to isolate your vocals (without feedback) while recording in a room while listening to the tracks, headphones are great. Otherwise, I use FRFR's for the Axe-FX. As always YMMV.
 

Purplestrats

Inspired
I use Audio Technica ath-m50x headphones, Adam A7X monitors, and Yamaha DZR 10 PA speakers. All my patches sound very very similar through all three. Of course the experience of each is a little different due to distances and room reflections. Fatigue sets in quicker with the headphones, but blasting through the PA at gig volume gives me ear fatigue too, so I figure the temptation to turn up the volume too high with headphones is the reason I tire my ears quickly with them. The ROOM parameter around 48-49% at stock settings seems to really help give more of a feeling of space when using headphones, it's one of my favorite things in the III.
 

Blix

Inspired
Well the OP has disappeared, I guess we'll never know without the evidence of a recording. To all the people blaming the headphones, why would everyone else's preset recordings sound good to him but not his? Doesn't make sense. The XM3's are not great for monitoring but they're not total crap either. They're $300 headphones. I still think it's the old preset he downloaded/his guitar.
Agreed. I downloaded the preset and tried it with an Ibanez, did not sound good at all.
 

Amorphic

New Member
Reset the system parameters. I did this yesterday and it totally transformed the sound of my unit. I had been dissatisfied with the sound for a while now and the reset fixed all the issues I was having (excessive noise, input meter issues, terrible sounding presets).

Also, proper headphones are a must if you're going the headphone route. I have Beyer dt880 pros and they do the job. Good monitors are also worth their weight in gold.
 

daviavid

New Member
the preset was designed for a guitar with three single coils. your guitar has two humbuckers and a single in the middle? do the humbuckers split in positions 2 and 4? it's not going to sound right in positions 1 and 5. very difficult to tell what's going on, your clip was too short and you didn't play anything on the lead scene at all.
Yes, it has. Perhaps that makes a big role. Thing is that the scene I was using does not match at all with the moment where it is also used in the video I put, in the minute 1:37 there's a small lick where it can be listened the big difference. I'll try to record more things when I will have time.

As an Axe user since 2011, I completely understand the struggle with headphones. I have pretty much been on the lifelong tone struggle bus anyway, regardless of gear - but in a decade I can honestly say I have never dialed in a tone that I even found passable monitoring through headphones. I always considered it a "me" issue rather than an Axe issue. Even tried a few different headphones with no luck.

Other users can certainly give you more useful guidance on how to get what you are looking for. For my part, I would definitely recommend getting some decent monitor speakers as it is a distinctly different animal than headphones - IMHO.

Here I am digging on internet to search the best studio monitors. Yeah, I've been always unsatisfied with the sounds I get with my rigs so probably my "me" issue has a role on this too, but I still see something maybe more objective on some of this, even if most probably is not the Axe not working properly or something like that.

I think the main factor is that physics is physics - a 1 inch speaker half an inch from your ear is going to be perceived differently than a 6 or 12 inch speaker 6 feet away from the listener in a room.

What blows my mind - and I hesitate to mention it because it is the type of thing that always seems to rub people the wrong way - is that people will post recordings that are direct from the Axe III with no post processing, and the recordings sound great through my headphones AND my monitors. Seems like sorcery to me, but I assume some people just have a much better ear for dialing things in than I do.
Exactly :/

Since forever it’s impossible to me to play guitar through headphones, and even more with modelers . The high gains sound very aggressive, your ears feel tired very quickly... in clean sounds it’s nice but in dist😟 , my new high gain presets sounds synthetic with my headphone (shure srh840) . I don’t think that the headphone himself is bad, when I listen to music with it it’s very nice . And when I play the same presets with real studio monitors its “good”. Maybe we hear too much the details with headphones don’t know
It is true that with headphones everything sounds different, but I'm always using the same headphones for listening music and the recordings without post processing of some people with the Axe FX III sound really amazing. I don't know, perhaps we just have a problem a that's it haha

Not sure what's going on with the zip file... I couldn't expand it.

My suggestion would be play with the IR cabs. With real physical gear, changing speakers often makes more of a difference than changing amps or guitars. I experience the same with modelers: the cab model selected makes a HUGE difference on whether I like the amp model.
It's all in the IR.
+1 on cab IR. Can make a world of difference.

I have been down the IR rabbit hole for so long, the rabbits have accepted me as one of their own.
I guess this weekend I'll have to really experiment with this! Thank you.

Make sure you level properly, get them in the red.
I've tried different levels, with 27% on Input 1 I still hit mildly the red in the highest intensity. But no matter what number I set I still don't see a difference in the sound quality.
As others have said, I suspect your headphones have a lot to do with your issues. I tried a few different pairs recommended on here, but even after tweaking, they just sounded bad. No other term for it. I knew it wasn't the Axe FX as it sounded amazing through my monitors.
Anyway, I took one last roll of the dice and got some Sennheiser HD600's. The difference is nothing short of incredible and my presets are pretty much the same as through my monitors, especially with the Cygnus beta. No tweaking required.
Appart of the studio monitors, for sure I'll think about purchasing better headphones to it because it is true that I was very interested and being able to play without making noise
In the past, similar experiences have made.
Against normal music and the reproduction of a guitar sound, there are more differences, claims to the output system speaker or headphones when you suspect. Super expensive hi-fi speakers blades tired matt and grow. Only with an EQ the frequency response can be adjusted so that the sound picture is right again. So bass out and more heights. Smaller boxes with significantly less bass foundation sound better as big hi-fi boxes
I put the graphicsQ in front of the output to the hi-fi speakers out2
And the Setup Out 1 EQ for the output via headphones.
Under Github Autoeq, there are eQ correction values for almost all headphones that can be used in the Ax.
I'll give it a try this weekend too. Thanks!
Maybe with these EQ values even better.

Listen to the difference.
I'll try it too this weekend. Thank you!


Thank you all, I'll keep reading and take notes of all of you.
 
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maschoff

Experienced
Yes, it has. Perhaps that makes a big role. Thing is that the scene I was using does not match at all with the moment where it is also used in the video I put, in the minute 1:37 there's a small lick where it can be listened the big difference. I'll try to record more things when I will have time.



Here I am digging on internet to search the best studio monitors. Yeah, I've been always unsatisfied with the sounds I get with my rigs so probably my "me" issue has a role on this too, but I still see something maybe more objective on some of this, even if most probably is not the Axe not working properly or something like that.


Exactly :/


It is true that with headphones everything sounds different, but I'm always using the same headphones for listening music and the recordings without post processing of some people with the Axe FX III sound really amazing. I don't know, perhaps we just have a problem a that's it haha




I guess this weekend I'll have to really experiment with this! Thank you.


I've tried different levels, with 27% on Input 1 I still hit mildly the red in the highest intensity. But no matter what number I set I still don't see a difference in the sound quality.

Appart of the studio monitors, for sure I'll think about purchasing better headphones to it because it is true that I was very interested and being able to play without making noise

I'll give it a try this weekend too. Thanks!

I'll try it too this weekend. Thank you!


Thank you all, I'll keep reading and take notes of all of you.
No, not on input. I'd leave that at 50% for now. I'm talking about the output LEVEL knob in the amp block. Set your levels so that they are slightly in the red.

To see levels, push LAYOUT knob > ZOOM knob > PAGE >> button

You will see all your levels at each block of the preset and the OUT1L+R and OUT2L+R

Which ever output you are using should be set so the levels in the OUT#L+R are slightly in the red. Do this with the output LEVEL knob in the amp block. If your levels are set too low, the sound will sound distant and grainy and lack definition.

Your OUT1 knob at noon will match levels sent out the AXE via USB
 

MojoBodies

Inspired
Its not the headphones.. I use the same ones for daily practice. While they aren't the best for monitoring they are light, comfortable and sound good when dialed in. I think they sound best with NC turned on. They are way more comfortable than my lobster claw clamping sennheiser pros. It does sound a lot different depending on what guitar/pickups I use. I would say that the patch he is using is not dialed in for his guitar and or headphones.
 

simeon

Axe-Master
and as someone has already said, the preset was made on an older firmware.

i think the op should take a note of the bass, middle, treble, pres and master levels and then reset the ap (select another and then go back) and dial it in again
 

ESW

Inspired
I might have to dig out my Sennheiser (HD650) and give them another listen. That was my last pair up until a couple years ago I got Blue MoFi. I remember at the time thinking the two pairs didn't sound much different, outside of the Blues being louder.

Edit: One of my primary issues with both pairs, outside of generally sounding bad, is that they seem to absurdly over-emphasize low end. I could dial in a patch in the cans that is a little boomy/muddy and through my CLRs (in FF mode) sounds like a clock radio.

I switched from the Blue MoFi to the Sennheiser a few months ago and it was a huge improvement (to me, anyway). I'm not a huge fan of closed back headphones, though.
 

MikeyB59

Power User
I was dissatisfied with headphones until I bought some Audeze phones. Also plus one on system reset and reinstall firmware.
 

sprint

Fractal Fanatic
Love the sound of my Axe through studio monitors (Axe II and III), but hate the sound of Axefx through my headphones (sounds harsh even with room added to the cab sim). I don't understand why as recorded music sounds great through my headphones. Anyway, given my experience I recommend trying studio monitors and not necessarily expensive ones.
 

giantslayer

Inspired
Any recommendations?
On a very general level, large headphones with an open back are the best for playing the Axe at home (assuming there aren’t noises in your environment that need to be blocked out).

Sennheisers (HD580, 600, 650, 660) are a solid choice in the relatively affordable range. I have an old pair of HD580s myself and they have served me well, but I’ve been feeling the itch for something a little more clear and real for the Axe.

I looked up Audeze after reading someone else’s comment on his LCD-2s... I am intrigued by this new type of headphone (planar magnetic). I just ordered their LCD-X and will post my impressions later.

I found this page from Audeze was very helpful in understanding the different models they have:
https://audeze.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360024616192-Which-LCD-headphone-is-right-for-me-

That page doesn’t mention the LCD-1. It is cheaper and lighter (made from plastic; their other ones are heavy enough to be an issue for some people). Seems a good contender in the same price range as the aforementioned Sennheisers.

Edit: the LCD-X turned out to not work with the axe FC 3. I made a separate thread if anyone is interested:
https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/audeze-lcd-x-a-little-disappointed.171377/
 
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Budda

Fractal Fanatic
I use my wife's bose headphones 99% of the time, and I have never felt the tones in the iii lacking. Ymmv.
 

RevDrucifer

Power User
I had the same initial reaction when I first got my III. I didn’t care for the factory presets until I played them with a single coil guitar, then they all made total sense to me. It also took me a good 2 months of really learning it before I was dialing in tones I loved (Which has happened with Mesa’s IRL for me as well)

As for headphones, I bought a pair of Beyerdynamic 990‘s (250 ohm) because I wanted a pair of headphones I could use for entertainment listening as well as referencing my mixes in my studio. They really come in handy for dialing out the harsher top end that can pop up in high gain presets. They aren’t FRFR as there’s a bit of a mid-dip and boost in the lows in highs, but it’s not dominating and what ends up happening if I dial in a preset using them then switch to my monitors, my ears are getting less fatigued due to the lack of shrill highs. I LOVE those headphones.
 

PBGas

Inspired
I remember when I got my III and I can’t believe I am saying this but almost 3 years ago! I had used a Kemper and Helix previously through the years but they didn’t work at all for me.

When I first plugged the unit in l, turned it on and found the first high gain patch, I was like....why did I not do this years ago with the other versions? The amount of money I would have saved on buying and selling amps would have been substantial.

I’m just sorry I didn’t use the Fractal stuff earlier.

At least now I am fully in and continue enjoying everything these units bring to the gig! Love my III and FM3.
 
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trancegodz

Power User
My Beyer DT880s sound excellent with the AF3. Very impressed.

My Beyer DT880s and DT990's both sound great with the Axe FXIII also. I tried several different headphones before I found a pair that sounded great with the Axe FXIII.

The Axe FXIII is only going to sound as good as what you are playing it through. If you have bad sounding headphones or monitors they need to be replaced.

When I am going for an Eric Johnson type of sound I use my Eric Johnson Stratocaster, or some type of Stratocaster. I can not get that exact sound using for instance an Ibanez Jem like Steve Vai uses, no matter what I do.

I have found that presets made by others never sound right to me when I try them. Unless you have the exact same guitar, pickups, and studio monitors that preset was created on, you will likely have to modify the preset for it to have any chance of it sounding the same with your gear.

I also suggest building a new preset from scratch. Your choice of IR makes all the difference. The wrong choice of IR will make it impossible to get an Eric Johnson sound.
 

riku_iki

Member
My Beyer DT880s and DT990's both sound great with the Axe FXIII also. I tried several different headphones before I found a pair that sounded great with the Axe FXIII.

Open backs, possible deal breaker for those who don't like to hear strings strumming.
 
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