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Tutorial: Dialing Up My Reverb with the Fractal Audio Axe-FX II

Scott Peterson

Global Moderator
Moderator
Excellent! Curious if that entire patch is available on Axexchange?
It is not, but I can do a version of it that I will share. The problem is that I use so many modifiers to change things on the fly with expression pedals that it gets a bit complicated trying to simplify them for general sharing.
 

CodePoet

Power User
Awesome video Scott - thanks for sharing your techniques.

You may cover this in a later video, but...when I see routing like the beginning of your patch I have a question. Your chorus/flanger/etc. up front are parallel-routed so you're getting direct signal along with the chorus/flanger/etc. as opposed to a traditional pedalboard/serial-route setup. Is this done for space on the grid or is it a sound/taste preference? Do you compensate by adjusting their mix % or anything similar? Just wondering. Thanks!
 

yek

Moderator
Moderator
Awesome video Scott - thanks for sharing your techniques.

You may cover this in a later video, but...when I see routing like the beginning of your patch I have a question. Your chorus/flanger/etc. up front are parallel-routed so you're getting direct signal along with the chorus/flanger/etc. as opposed to a traditional pedalboard/serial-route setup. Is this done for space on the grid or is it a sound/taste preference? Do you compensate by adjusting their mix % or anything similar? Just wondering. Thanks!
I'm curious about the Trem and Wah in parallel, because normally these are 100% wet effects.
 

Scott Peterson

Global Moderator
Moderator
Awesome video Scott - thanks for sharing your techniques.

You may cover this in a later video, but...when I see routing like the beginning of your patch I have a question. Your chorus/flanger/etc. up front are parallel-routed so you're getting direct signal along with the chorus/flanger/etc. as opposed to a traditional pedalboard/serial-route setup. Is this done for space on the grid or is it a sound/taste preference? Do you compensate by adjusting their mix % or anything similar? Just wondering. Thanks!
Long story short - parallel vs. serial. (*Note, yes I will do a video on it from my perspective/opinion/experience sooner than later).

Serial means you use the mix control to control how much wet (effect) vs. dry (raw guitar/amp tone). Sometimes you need to adjust the level of a given effect so there is no volume difference between turning the effect on/off. Sometimes there is no mix parameter available in the effect block (ie. wah). Sometimes you want more or less of this or that. If you've ever used/considered/studied a 'wet/dry/wet' sort of setup (running a raw amp tone and then a supplementing/complimentary rig with 100% effects simultaneously) then the parallel routing starts to make sense somewhat. With parallel routing you can route different effects to not interact with each other (I personally do not want my flanger and chorus to ever 'feed one another' for instance). Parallel routing allows for all these things to happen.

Quite often, when you record, you'll record the dry uneffected guitar-amp-cab tone. No effects. Then, afterwords, you'll *add* the effects. When you do that, you 'flip' the effects to 100% effect, zero dry tone because you are just adding effect to the dry signal only. So you use the LEVEL of the 100% wet (effected signal) aka MIX to add the effect. That way, you retain the clarity and 'in-your-face' of your raw tone but only add what you want effect wise. When you do that, your raw tone never gets lower in output than your effected tones and you retain that clarity.

I'll skip all the math involved; frankly I don't understand all the science. There is a real physical science difference between parallel vs. serial even from within the Axe-FX. I do understand - and trust - my ears. The results might work for you, they might not work for you (if you don't set the effects mix window parameters correctly), and in the end it might make ZERO difference to you either way.

All that said, I have to also say this: none of it might matter to *you*; no matter how greatly it matters to me.

I will add the (obvious or not so obvious) that because we are 100% in the digital realm, a lot of the end result is the same in the serial vs. parallel discussion in the end. My preference and persistence using parallel routing has a lot to do with my own experience, and I came up in the 80's when W/D/W was the ultimate in what the big rig monster players were all doing and I wanted to do it too. But I didn't have the money, the roadies, or the stage space to pull it off. In the Axe-FX? I can go to town and fulfill my fantasies of rigs with refrigerator sized racks, blinking lights, crazy routing and massive rig back-lines that would take a full semi-truck to cart and a team of roadies to set up and tear down. ;)

All that said, I find parallel routing to be one way - just one way - to take advantage of the flexibility and power offered from within the Axe-FX's paradigm to customize and create tones that one would be very hard pressed to recreate in the analog world, if not physically impossible. If you can grasp the basics of it - route in parallel to the guitar/amp signal, set MIX to 100%, EFFECTS BYPASS to anything but "Thru" and use the LEVEL control to add ONLY what you want from that effect to the overall signal - then it's easy enough to try and experiment with: nothing blows up, no one gets electrocuted, no one burns their fingers on soldering irons and you don't cause a blackout in your neighborhood if you 'wire it wrong'. ;)

It works for how I think, it works for how I want the box to sound and act. I do not feel it is 100% necessary for everyone to do or use. I strongly favor it personally; but that's my personal preference and not a general rule at all.
 

Scott Peterson

Global Moderator
Moderator
I'm curious about the Trem and Wah in parallel, because normally these are 100% wet effects.
I had never considered parallel routing for those traditionally serial effects myself until an artist I was working with programming his tones for a tour needed those effects for his acoustic guitar.

Both of those effects do NOT have a mix parameter. He had issues with how much those two particular effects were overwhelming the tone of his acoustic preset. It struck me that I could utilize parallel routing to essentially 'mix' the level/amount of those effects to his dry tone.

I tried it, it worked and I 'stole' it, tried it for myself on all my presets (even electric guitar too) after I returned home and dug the results.

And then... here we are. ;) :D
 

CodePoet

Power User
Thanks for the long response Scott. I feel bad for having you type all that out as you've covered it before and I (think) I have a good grasp on serial vs. parallel and like to use parallel routing in places as well. I was wondering more if you found that running some effects in parallel waters them down too much as opposed to running them in serial (i.e. do you get enough Flanger/Trem/Wah effect when run in parallel?), but based on your response I can see it works for you. I look forward to checking out a preset to see how the levels and mix are set.

Thanks again for the info Scott. This video is exactly the type of topic I was hoping you'd cover, where you explain your specific experiences and tips. Thank you sir!
 

yek

Moderator
Moderator
I had never considered parallel routing for those traditionally serial effects myself until an artist I was working with programming his tones for a tour needed those effects for his acoustic guitar.

Both of those effects do NOT have a mix parameter. He had issues with how much those two particular effects were overwhelming the tone of his acoustic preset. It struck me that I could utilize parallel routing to essentially 'mix' the level/amount of those effects to his dry tone.

I tried it, it worked and I 'stole' it, tried it for myself on all my presets (even electric guitar too) after I returned home and dug the results.

And then... here we are. ;) :D
Just tried this and yes, it works indeed quite well, surprisingly!

And BTW, totally agree on the advantages of parallel routing,
 

Stringmanipulator

Power User
I can't thank you enough for this video and other tips as well, it's so nice to see and get suggestions from
somebody that knows his/her way around this magic box of ours :)

I really appreciate it Scott!!
 

dank

Inspired
Scott,

I, too, want to give you credit where credit is due. The more real world tips and instruction you provide will help many of us fully exploit the features of the Axe.

I also want to give an appreciative shout out to Yek's for his contributions, as well.

Dan
 

Johan Allard

Power User
Very well done Scott. It's contributions like yours that makes owning an Axe Fx so very enjoyable. Every day it just keep sounding better. Either from updates from Cliff or from updates like these that make those updates sound better. Thanks heaps!
 

PacoCasanovas

Fractal Fanatic
@ Scott: Great video, nice tone! :encouragement:



just a little thing - you talk about the proximity frequency in the beginning, in my understanding this parameter is only activated when using the mic options...which you don't use :snowman:
 

Scott Peterson

Global Moderator
Moderator
@ Scott: Great video, nice tone! :encouragement:



just a little thing - you talk about the proximity frequency in the beginning, in my understanding this parameter is only activated when using the mic options...which you don't use :snowman:
Noted: This is less a "set this here for the mixed IR" and more a "set this here in case you use the mic modeling". I misspoke in the video; one 'test' I do (off-line) is to listen to the IR with the mic models. I don't use them when I used 'mixed' IR's but you are seeing my brain scramble for a second there. When we meet in person, that will all make sense to you. ;)

FWIW - to be clear for those that don't understand, the proximity and proximity frequency only come into play when you use one of the mic models in the Cab block. Otherwise these parameters have no effect.
 

dwmichaels

Inspired
I was with you right up until you said "and here's my template."

Fascinating stuff. It's quite amazing how subtle the differences can sound, yet be quite impacting.

Thanks for taking the time to make the video. It's the kind of stuff I never delve into, but is' great to get a glimpse of to see how folks really get into the guts of the Axe.
 

Scott Peterson

Global Moderator
Moderator
I was with you right up until you said "and here's my template."

Fascinating stuff. It's quite amazing how subtle the differences can sound, yet be quite impacting.

Thanks for taking the time to make the video. It's the kind of stuff I never delve into, but is' great to get a glimpse of to see how folks really get into the guts of the Axe.
Don't allow that to distract you; my plan (among many other topics along the way) is to keep each of these little tutorials straight ahead and focused with a hard 10 minute limit on them (which is tough for me, I like to go off on tangents...).

Next up is the delay block; I'll post that one this week. I am also working at the same time on a parallel vs. serial video to convey the concept and what each offers that I can post next week (since I'll be a bit preoccupied this weekend with Axe-Fest II and traveling from Detroit - Los Angeles and back).
 

clarky

Axe-Master
like you Scott, I like my ambients and digital fx in parallel..
I'm not always sure that I can perceive a tonal difference..
but this config seems to make most configurational sense to me
and for folk like me that get up to al sorts of XP and IA tricks, this config offers what I believe to be the greatest flexibility from a control standpoint because it's away from the dry signal path..
I like to keep the dry guitar tone path as naked as possible to allow for wider wet signal routing possibilities..
 

Rex

Legend!
like you Scott, I like my ambients and digital fx in parallel..
I'm not always sure that I can perceive a tonal difference..
'Cuz there's not a tonal difference. Those effects blocks have their own internal dry path—they're running parallel internally. :)



but this config seems to make most configurational sense to me
Bingo. When you get fancy with effects, putting those blocks in parallel gives a bit of a command-and-control advantage.
 

clarky

Axe-Master
and routing too..

imagine this...

in scene 2 [solo] my delay routes to row2 and to the output via a filter block [that does absolutely nothing - it's simply a means to switch the signal on/off] and GEQ3 [so make EQ changes and set the final level]..
bizniz as usual

in scene 4 [groovy solo], my delay routes to row3 hits a phaser, then recombines with the dry signal in GEQ4 prior to hitting the output
so in this scene, the filter mutes [blocking the signal path of the regular soling tone in scene 2], the phaser chews up the delay and boosts it's level so that when it recombines with the dry it has a greater apparent wet level.. GEQ4 provides EQ that is a little darker than GEQ3 and a lot less level [cos this tone ain't for tearing up over big riffs]

a delay in series cannot offer this kind of routing flexibility
so the solution for all of this would be modifier centric and considerably more fiddly to set up..
I chew up modifiers at a huge rate, so I need to find ways [via scenes and routing] to save the modifiers for stuff that cannot be achieved via scenes..

lil' note: I use scenes and modifiers together simultaneously
and it is mega....
 
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