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The Axe and Guitar Volume Controls

jw3571

Inspired
One of the biggest differences i've found with the Axe III and a tube amp is the way the amp reacts to adjusting the volume knob on the guitar. On a tube amp it's really easy to back the volume off and really clean up the sound, one the Axe III it doesn't seem to work the same. Any tips for that work better? I usually use Marshall type of amps with a Les Paul.
 

Rex

Legend!
One of the biggest differences i've found with the Axe III and a tube amp is the way the amp reacts to adjusting the volume knob on the guitar. On a tube amp it's really easy to back the volume off and really clean up the sound, one the Axe III it doesn't seem to work the same. Any tips for that work better? I usually use Marshall type of amps with a Les Paul.
The Axe responds wonderfully to the guitar’s volume knob. If that’s not working for you, you’re using too much gain.
 

JiveTurkey

Inspired
The Axe responds wonderfully to the guitar’s volume knob. If that’s not working for you, you’re using too much gain.
There was a thread elsewhere with a user comparing recordings of a bunch of platforms. Volume knob rolloff was one sub-facet and I made a mental note to pay attention the Axe in this regard the next time I fired it up. I gotta say; I am not sure on authenticity (as it's been way too long since I have plugged into a "real amp"). The Axe rolloff was just great when I tried it. Cleaned up beautifully imo.
 

Adman103

Experienced
To be honest with you, I've always found my AxeII and now the III to do really well with cleaning up with the volume knob. I agree, turn the gain down a little- on real amps, high volumes can give the impressions of more gain than there actually is, and when you go to something like the Axe III, it's tempting to use more gain than you would on the real thing. Certain models do more of this than others do, of course... try out a Trainwreck Express- it should clean right up with volume knob adjustments.
Also, maybe check out this helpful tip from the man himself:https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/clean-to-mean-w-the-volume-knob.144394/
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
One of the biggest differences i've found with the Axe III and a tube amp is the way the amp reacts to adjusting the volume knob on the guitar. On a tube amp it's really easy to back the volume off and really clean up the sound, one the Axe III it doesn't seem to work the same. Any tips for that work better? I usually use Marshall type of amps with a Les Paul.
The amps clean up exactly like their analog counterparts.

This is a common complaint with modelers because people use more gain because they listen at lower volumes. With a real amp the volume is loud which provides acoustic reinforcement to the guitar which enhances sustain. At lower volumes this is missing so people increase the gain.
 

rnjscooter

Experienced
One of the biggest differences i've found with the Axe III and a tube amp is the way the amp reacts to adjusting the volume knob on the guitar. On a tube amp it's really easy to back the volume off and really clean up the sound, one the Axe III it doesn't seem to work the same. Any tips for that work better? I usually use Marshall type of amps with a Les Paul.
Make sure the Sat drive is not on. mine is on for big tones and off for roll of tones
 

chris

Legend!
rolling off the guitar volume works great at the loud gig levels because there's still "volume" happening. at bedroom levels, you aren't enveloped in sound, so the sensation isn't the same.

not all amp types roll off nicely either. turn up loud like you would with an amp, choose an amp model that cleans up to begin with, and it works great. i do it all the time.
 

Sharka

Experienced
One of the biggest differences i've found with the Axe III and a tube amp is the way the amp reacts to adjusting the volume knob on the guitar. On a tube amp it's really easy to back the volume off and really clean up the sound, one the Axe III it doesn't seem to work the same. Any tips for that work better? I usually use Marshall type of amps with a Les Paul.

I'm also a Les Paul/Marshall guy, however, I beg to differ. I feel this was addressed many firmwares ago on the II with the Quantum firmware. If anything, I think it rolls-off even better with the III Ares firmware.

Maybe you need to see if the gate threshold is interfering or some other parameter...? I would experiment with some of the stock presets for reference. Just a thought.... hope that helps.
 

chris

Legend!
Maybe you need to see if the gate threshold is interfering
great point. many people set input gates on digital devices so there's "no noise." but we don't do that on an amp typically. a harsh gate will make everything instantly "less dynamic" and i wonder if that's what happens to all those reviewers who say the feel isn't there. if you're comparing it to a real amp, you gotta set it up the same way.
 

xarkon

Inspired
The amps clean up exactly like their analog counterparts.

This is a common complaint with modelers because people use more gain because they listen at lower volumes. With a real amp the volume is loud which provides acoustic reinforcement to the guitar which enhances sustain. At lower volumes this is missing so people increase the gain.
I'd vote for this to be in the Tech Notes section, perhaps under a broader FAQ to answer the endless question:

"WAAAAH! Why doesn't the Doomzday/BluesKatz/RockGodz model sound like my real amp?"

Of course, when I see that question, I inevitably think:

- did you turn the #$%^ thing up? For example, I have a (few too many) Mesa Mark IVs. On the real amp, with the main MV barely cracked open (between 1-2), Rhythm 1 gain on 7, channel MV on 3-4, I'm getting 85 dB on a dedicated meter, 6 feet from the amp. When I turn up the Axe to match, it sounds the same.

- are your FRFR monitors crap? Get new ones.
 

Rex

Legend!
Also, make sure you're not using a Drive block. Many drive pedals simply refuse to clean up, even in "real life."
 

∞Fractals

Power User
One of the biggest differences i've found with the Axe III and a tube amp is the way the amp reacts to adjusting the volume knob on the guitar. On a tube amp it's really easy to back the volume off and really clean up the sound, one the Axe III it doesn't seem to work the same. Any tips for that work better? I usually use Marshall type of amps with a Les Paul.
As others have noted, I too have never had an issue with the guitar volume knob. Try a Bogner model with some volume; Mean to clean with a pinkie.
 

marshall2553

Experienced
The way it reacts to rolling your volume back is one of the things I like most about the Axe. Comparing the models to a few of the real amps that I have, the models react almost identically when set up with similar levels of gain.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
The way it reacts to rolling your volume back is one of the things I like most about the Axe. Comparing the models to a few of the real amps that I have, the models react almost identically when set up with similar levels of gain.
It's actually one of the things we test when creating models. We even go beyond that. We compare the harmonic spectrum at various input levels as well to make sure the distortion characteristics change in the same way. And you can't do this with just a sine wave, you need to test both harmonic and intermodulation products.
 

James Nash

Member
I'll echo what's been said many times: the volume knob cleanup is very true to the amps being modeled.

This was a big part of what sold me on the III -- my favorite tube amp rigs have been the ones where I get a lead sound with no pedals, then sweep through a kaleidoscope of gain levels via the guitar volume knob.

I did a gig last week where I was set up next to another guitarist (using a 65 Amps combo), and he was really interested in my rig and impressed by the tones. He asked me how many amp models I was using to get my various clean and distorted tones... the answer was: one. :)
 

James Nash

Member
A related question: I've found with tube amps (and pedals), there is an enormous variety of ways the amps break up and clean up. Some get brighter when cranked, others get darker. Some get loose and flabby, others don't. Some clean up bright and clear, while others get murky (this is all with a given guitar and value of "treble bypass" cap on the guitar volume).

I'm impressed by how this behavior is all very similar in the Axe!

But...

The inveterate tweaker in me wonders... can this be changed ? Can the Axe be tweaked to make amps "better than reality" in the way they clean up ? I saw the tip in the tech forum on using feedback compression to make an amp clean up more--very cool! And I suspect the tonal interactions at various dynamics are highly complex, so this isn't something that could easily be modeled with one knob.

But what if--for instance--we dial in a lead tone on the III that sounds great with guitar volume full up, and it already cleans up nicely, but we wish it were a little brighter with the guitar volume set low... any tips on settings to tweak that might accomplish that ?
 

James Nash

Member
"Dynamic Presence – This models output transformer leakage inductance, resulting in a brightening of the tone when the virtual power amp is pushed. When playing softly or at lower gains, the influence of this control is lessened. Note that this only affects the power amp modeling and is dependent on the degree of power amp overdrive. This control can also be set negative to cause the tone to darken when playing harder. This can help dial in the sweet spot of an amp model. As the Master is increased, an amp becomes more liquid, more compressed and easier to play. However, the highs may get overly compressed, causing the amp to sound too dark. Dynamic Presence allows you to get the desired power amp drive and feel without high frequency loss."

Whoa... this sounds great, and I hadn't discovered it yet. Will play with this for sure--thanks for the tip, Rex!
 

jw3571

Inspired
Original poster, I think i'm guilty of a few things that have been pointed. I'm doing this at bedroom volumes, I'm sure i'm using way too much gain, and I'm usually using a drive pedal. Thanks for the tips, I'll give them a try
 

James Nash

Member
With so many gain possibilities in the Axe, it's easy/tempting to dial in ridiculous amounts. Nothing wrong with that if you find a sound you like, of course. But if you want a more vintage response, you'll need to dial back the gain. Good luck!
 
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