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The sound engineer and the Axe FX

Shenks

Experienced
Last night me and the band were headline spot for a motorbike rally gig in the beautiful Lake District just outside of Silverdale (England for those across the pond and elsewhere)...

Usual story, arrive, go meet the sound engineer and discuss everything, and as soon as I mention I will be providing a DI from the AXE FX his words were 'that is awesome - I had my first experience of a Fractal Audio product last night so I know what to expect'.

2 hour set went amazingly quickly, beautiful tone FOH with the sound engineer telling me afterwards that he left the EQ flat. I had my trusty Q12 as my monitor so I knew the tones were pretty much dialled in but he did suggest raising the low pass threshold by a little bit in the CAB block.

A great gig in a large marquee that went down really well with the audience who were up for complete participation and fun. They wanted us to keep on playing but noise limitation agreements meant we had to finish at 11pm.

Afterwards I had other musicians complementing me and asking where my amp was hiding and was it a Marshall or a Fender or a <insert other amp name here>... a few confused expressions when I mentioned the Axe FX, but probably just as many remarking that they had heard of them but never actually heard them.

In summary, if you get a sound engineer who has the knowledge and you have your Axe FX dialled in, there is no reason for your tone to be anything less than stellar. Another win for Axe FX
 

Muad'zin

Power User
Yeah, its great when these guys know what to do with an Axe. Or any other modeler for that matter. Unfortunately there are also sound engineers who are utterly clueless when it comes to an Axe. Or any other form of direct input from the guitar other then miking up an amp.
 

Eliju

Experienced
I haven't had a soundly yet who seemed to have heard of the axe or perhaps they've all been rather indifferent. I did have one guy cal me a rookie for asking him if i could send a stereo feed, but that guy was an asshole who was full of himself. I told him even though it was an XLR it's a line level signal, which I tell everyone just in case and so they can pad the input properly, and he said something like "I did sound for the pope, I think I can handle you guys." Unfortunately I didn't blow out a channel on his board, but he did make us sound pretty good.
 

Hubi

Experienced
Great livestory! Did you use several amps or just one amp/one cab?

I think it´s hard to dial in if there´s another Guitar and different keyboards.
 

Muad'zin

Power User
I haven't had a soundly yet who seemed to have heard of the axe or perhaps they've all been rather indifferent. I did have one guy cal me a rookie for asking him if i could send a stereo feed, but that guy was an ******* who was full of himself. I told him even though it was an XLR it's a line level signal, which I tell everyone just in case and so they can pad the input properly, and he said something like "I did sound for the pope, I think I can handle you guys." Unfortunately I didn't blow out a channel on his board, but he did make us sound pretty good.
Infinitely better to always tell and run the risk of annoying the a.s.s.hole soundguy, then not tell them and run the risk of causing confusion. Because then he will be even more annoyed.

That's why they invented technical riders. And why writing a good technical rider is an artform. Never assume that some things are common knowledge. Because then you'll be guaranteed to run into that thing as a problem. Murphy loves things like that. Write in your tech rider that you use an Axe FX, that it is a digital modeler, that it has line level outputs, the number of outputs that you provide, if you need DI boxes or XLR cables, that you don't need or bring a cab, or that you will, and whatever else you need. Write as if you're explaining to a 12 year old, in fact let a 12 year old read it to see if they can understand. Think of it as the technical equivalent of a legal disclaimer, but in clear language. Sound guys like to know up front what they can expect. So keep your tech rider up to date. Its the last minute surprises that tend to make sound guys extremely cranky. Oh, and bring an up to date copy of your tech rider along, some venues have extremely poor internal communications, so your carefully mailed up to date tech rider may not have made it to the sound guy.
 

ianx

Experienced
Last night me and the band were headline spot for a motorbike rally gig in the beautiful Lake District just outside of Silverdale (England for those across the pond and elsewhere)...

Usual story, arrive, go meet the sound engineer and discuss everything, and as soon as I mention I will be providing a DI from the AXE FX his words were 'that is awesome - I had my first experience of a Fractal Audio product last night so I know what to expect'.

2 hour set went amazingly quickly, beautiful tone FOH with the sound engineer telling me afterwards that he left the EQ flat. I had my trusty Q12 as my monitor so I knew the tones were pretty much dialled in but he did suggest raising the low pass threshold by a little bit in the CAB block.

A great gig in a large marquee that went down really well with the audience who were up for complete participation and fun. They wanted us to keep on playing but noise limitation agreements meant we had to finish at 11pm.

Afterwards I had other musicians complementing me and asking where my amp was hiding and was it a Marshall or a Fender or a <insert other amp name here>... a few confused expressions when I mentioned the Axe FX, but probably just as many remarking that they had heard of them but never actually heard them.

In summary, if you get a sound engineer who has the knowledge and you have your Axe FX dialled in, there is no reason for your tone to be anything less than stellar. Another win for Axe FX
I would hold off on changing the low cut unless you've heard this from multiple techs. If the low end issue could have been with the system tuning.
 

edo

Power User
Like my sound engineer likes to put it, as long as the tones are dialed right, all he has to do is treat the axe as he would treat a mic'd guitar amp, that's all.
 

s0c9

Moderator
Moderator
Like my sound engineer likes to put it, as long as the tones are dialed right, all he has to do is treat the axe as he would treat a mic'd guitar amp, that's all.
That's all ANY FOH guy should need to do with dialed in tones.. Sadly.. (in my experience) many on the stage side have no idea of WHAT a dialed in tone is and where it fits in the overall mix. Garbage in, garbage out. Then there's the FOH guys who are tone deaf and can't handle XLR feeds for guitar!
 

simeon

Axe-Master
all he has to do is treat the axe as he would treat a mic'd guitar amp, that's all.
i respectfully disagree with this. mic'ed guitar cabs need eq'ing in specific ways to make them sound in any way half decent. that part of the chain is already dealt with inside the axe. the engineer needs to start with the eq flat and then compensate for any deviations from ideal imparted by the pa. if he's got a decent pa, then he would have already dealt with that to some extent with the use of graphic eq's to make it as flat as possible. if the engineer is taking the feed from a synth, then he's going to assume it's line level and that he shouldn't need to make any specific eq moves beyond corrective. start with eq flat and then gently tweak as necessary.
 

Shenks

Experienced
To answer some of the comments posted...

For the gig I kept to just two main presets based on the pack that I purchased from @Singtall . (Excellent pack by the way.) My Axe FX is currently not with me so I can't say for sure which presets they were, however I did modify them a little to also add a clean amp block in there and some other specific effects blocks such as the formant for one particular song we do.

As regards the high cut on the cab block, I originally had it set at 5750Hz but upped it to 7000Hz. Whilst it's easy for the sound engineer to cut that further as needed, it's not quite the same asking him to add something that isn't really there to begin with. Having said that, the slope was at 6dB per octave so it wasn't too severe. If circumstances dictate it, I can quickly alter it at the next venue as I am getting quite good at front panel editing.

The desk being used was a Midas M32 through an array of power amps driving (if I remember correctly) 8 subs and 8 tops. Thoroughly decent setup all round with headroom to spare for the event. In fact, I was told by one of the audience that we could be heard1.5 miles away in the local village as clear as day even though we were down in a dip/valley at the event site.
 

edo

Power User
i respectfully disagree with this. mic'ed guitar cabs need eq'ing in specific ways to make them sound in any way half decent. that part of the chain is already dealt with inside the axe. the engineer needs to start with the eq flat and then compensate for any deviations from ideal imparted by the pa. if he's got a decent pa, then he would have already dealt with that to some extent with the use of graphic eq's to make it as flat as possible. if the engineer is taking the feed from a synth, then he's going to assume it's line level and that he shouldn't need to make any specific eq moves beyond corrective. start with eq flat and then gently tweak as necessary.
Well, I have to respectfully disagree with your disagreement, because I program my axe to make it sound as close as possible to my main amp mic'd and flat, no eq. If you A/B my main axe amp model it sounds 99% identical to my mic'd amp (the way I've used it live for years before switching to the axe), so that's why my sound engineer treats it like my amp!
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Well, I have to respectfully disagree with your disagreement, because I program my axe to make it sound as close as possible to my main amp mic'd and flat, no eq. If you A/B my main axe amp model it sounds 99% identical to my mic'd amp (the way I've used it live for years before switching to the axe), so that's why my sound engineer treats it like my amp!
And if you dial them the same, that makes sense... BUT it probably means he is EQing both :)
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
I think there are too many negative stereotypes of sound engineers. We always seem to think of them as they no talent hacks, who are tone deaf, have no clue what they are doing, and because they can't be on stage, they try to ruin our set...

Well in reality, that never seems to be the experiences of myself or anyone I know. Engineers I've met always seem to really love what they are doing, and that is why they are still doing it, love of music. Plenty of better paying jobs with better hours than running sound after all. Also the ones I've met tend to also be keen musicians, who enjoy talking guitars, amps, and also the Axe-Fx. A lot of them actually do perform on stage in their own groups, and they just happened to do such a good job running sound for those shows that other bands asked them to man the boards.

Unless your really serious, how many guys really are playing out several nights a week ? More like once a month amongst the guys I know, because adult life gets in the way. But, even if you can't be on stage once a week, maybe you can run sound and still enjoy the scene on a regular basis, and all the while, helping make fellow musicians and everyone who paid the cover sound great.

Yes, bad ones are out there, but I've found they are in the minority. Makes me wonder if maybe we walk into the venue really to argue, thinking the guy is going to say we need to mic a cab, and modelers suck because someone had a Line6 POD years ago, etc etc.

Maybe the guy was actually excited to see a Fractal unit, and he was just watching the Metallica rundown last night on You Tube and wants to talk shop over a few beers, on his tab, and it could of been a great show, but we can in with attitude over how we thought he was going to act/say/do, and as a result, he thought we were the dick and did try to make us sound bad....?

Something to think about, coming from someone who's spent as much time behind a board as I have on a stage (and who enjoys every moment of it)
 
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