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User Comments, Recommendations, Pros and Cons

Thanks to all here for the insights and links. A lot to digest, so I'll be digging into this over the next week or so.

[...]

In any case, there was nothing anywhere about saving blocks in a library, what the library is or how it functions. It guided me to creating scenes within a preset. So the concept of swapping out entire block setups (which I'd call a "rig") eluded me. In fact, in retrospect, I think it never occurred to me because I the blocks guide is all about digging into the INDIVIDUAL blocks, not about saving them as groups... in other words, I read all that thinking in terms of the nitty gritty, which I largely glossed over because it's self evident. It didn't approach blocks as potentially being the basis of an organizational system. So this thread has opened up that option, which I think will resolve the main thrust of my goal here.

[...]
Glad to hear that most of the impetus for starting the thread is on the way to resolution and/or workaround! I'll let others address the additional insights. Cheers, Daniel
 

JoKeR III

Power User
Basically, due to these "poor" navigational issues, I've completely given up on trying to edit on the unit itself and use the software exclusively. But I imagine this will be a serious problem when I go to play a live show and find myself needing to tweak something on the unit!!!
The Performance Pages could be at least part of a solution. There are two of them, Global and Per Preset, that are accessed from the front panel of the Axe III using the Page buttons. Each page has 10 parameter slots that are assigned using Axe-Edit III.

For Global, I've assigned the Amp controls; BMT, Input Drive, Level and Bright Switch, then Reverb 1; Time and Mix, Delay 1; Feedback and Mix. In the Per Preset Performance Page I have Reverb 2; Time and Mix, Drive block; Gain, *Tone and Bass. I leave the remaining 5 blank to allow adding parameters specific to the tone/sound I need from a preset.

* - Some Drive models have Bass and Treble, others just have Tone. The Tone parameter adjusts the Treble in the B+T models.

I have created a Preset Template that has parameters assigned to both the Global and Per Preset Performance Pages. Using a Template saves time by having parameters already assigned for blocks I typically use in every preset.
 

Admin M@

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
Nice review. Thank you for the many compliments.

PS: I owned and enjoyed at least one book with your name on it!

The ideal solution, from a user standpoint would be to make the tweaks on each scene independent.
At that point, you're basically talking about seamless preset changes. There are reasons this isn't the way it works, and among them is cost; such a unit would be prohibitively more expensive. Technology will march on, however, so I keep this in my mind not as a "maybe someday", but as a "definitely someday" feature.

At the same time, recognize that there are many, including top pros, who expressly don't want full scene independence: you don't have to be from the Bradshaw rig generation to appreciate the big rig/loop switcher concept, though I see that this isn't your thing.

Ian's point about about using four channels per preset is a good one, and what I would have suggested. This might be worthy of a note under "additional topics" in the manuals -- basically a giant appendix. Speaking of the manuals. I again appreciate your compliment. It's a challenge to find and walk the line between those who want more vs. less in that area. Thankfully, this forum fills the gaps nicely, providing answers for those whose questions aren't covered in enough detail as well as those who feel overwhelmed.

PPS: If you haven't explored it, the new CHANNEL LIBRARY feature in Axe-Edit is a new tool that makes it easier to transfer channels between blocks in different presets.
 

toneseeker911

Inspired
The fact that scenes only control the on / off state and not the individual parameters stumped me the first time I used a fractal device. Once you get used to it though, it really doesn't stand in the way.
If I need an effect with slightly tweaked parameters, I just copy current channel of the effect to the next available channel (there is a drop down for this), and then edit it. There is absolutely no need to recreate anything from scratch, most things can be copied and pasted through menus.
I also have a template preset, which has most of the goodies I need. I then just copy / paste specific effects or amps from my other presets to re-create any scene that I want from elsewhere. There are some effects that are used almost the same throughout (like a GEQ to my monitors), that I setup as global blocks. Then I just need to change it once and all my presets are updated.
 

pauly

Fractal Fanatic
Hi Troy,

Just in case you haven't realised, you do not need to restrict yourself to four channels (at least not for amps and effects that can have more than one block).
You can add (say) 2 amp blocks to a preset, and enable one at a time, so (for example) Amp block A could use channels A to D in Scenes 1 to 4, then (in scene 5) you could disable amp block A, and enable amp block B, and then use channels A to D in amp block B in scenes 5 to 8. It's harder to explain that to do! :)

Hope you're enjoying the unit

Thanks
Pauly

Thanks to all here for the insights and links. A lot to digest, so I'll be digging into this over the next week or so.

Regarding reading the manuals: First I did read the manual cover to cover first, then I read it a second time with the unit in hand, testing out stuff. I also went over the blocks guide and read through all of Yek's Guide to the amp models. Still, those resources failed to teach me what I'm looking to accomplish. I mean, it's one thing to learn the functions of the unit... it's another to design a work flow based on that which accomplishes my goals and organizational needs. And this is made even more difficult by the fact that the unit is so flexible.

In any case, there was nothing anywhere about saving blocks in a library, what the library is or how it functions. It guided me to creating scenes within a preset. So the concept of swapping out entire block setups (which I'd call a "rig") eluded me. In fact, in retrospect, I think it never occurred to me because I the blocks guide is all about digging into the INDIVIDUAL blocks, not about saving them as groups... in other words, I read all that thinking in terms of the nitty gritty, which I largely glossed over because it's self evident. It didn't approach blocks as potentially being the basis of an organizational system. So this thread has opened up that option, which I think will resolve the main thrust of my goal here.

BTW, perhaps a manual for the software could be developed? At least for me, it's far from intuitive. I'm not getting the library aspect at all because it's not starting with a library; there is no example to begin with.
[UPDATE: I googled 'how to use Axe Edit' and found a manual... it isn't on the fractalaudio.com page of downloads however ???? Just an oversight I suppose, or am I blind?]

I very much like the idea of starting with CHANNELS and then building scenes from those (and limiting each preset to 4 scenes based on 4 channels) as a work method for my goals. Then I won't be stepping on my other scenes (independence). Then, maybe for each of those scenes I could set up a dry version and a wet version, knowing they are just two variations of the same thing. That is something I can understand, and I find that useful at times to bounce between wet and dry.

Certainly writing manuals is itself an art, and overall I'd say these are pretty well done, especially considering the complexity and flexibility of the unit. Still a few fairly big holes though IMO.

When I first got the III, I also gave some feedback suggestions immediately about the interface itself. And I'm wondering what all of you here think of these. Namely:

1)

2)

3)


Basically, due to these "poor" navigational issues, I've completely given up on trying to edit on the unit itself and use the software exclusively. But I imagine this will be a serious problem when I go to play a live show and find myself needing to tweak something on the unit!!!

Thoughts?

Troy
 

Dave Merrill

Fractal Fanatic
Hi Troy,

Just in case you haven't realised, you do not need to restrict yourself to four channels (at least not for amps and effects that can have more than one block).
You can add (say) 2 amp blocks to a preset, and enable one at a time, so (for example) Amp block A could use channels A to D in Scenes 1 to 4, then (in scene 5) you could disable amp block A, and enable amp block B, and then use channels A to D in amp block B in scenes 5 to 8. It's harder to explain that to do! :)

Hope you're enjoying the unit

Thanks
Pauly
As mentioned above :)
 

horror

Inspired
How can I tweak the settings of one scene WITHOUT affecting the others? Only by swapping in a the same amp (into A, B, C, or D) in the new scene and configuring it from scratch! A lot of "back and forth" then, to check each setting... huge pain in the butt and very inefficient.
Hey Troy, I definitely do remember speed mechanics from back in the day and happy to hear a part 2 is on the way. Reading your post above, one tip that may help with this particular comment is copying channels within a block. I do this a lot. Dial the amp in the way you want on channel A then use the menu near the channel selector in axe edit software to copy current channel to channel B (or C or D). Go to new scene, set to channel B and tweak away. No need to start from scratch.

Apologies if this was already stated or I misinterpreted your comment. Enjoy!
 

Dave Merrill

Fractal Fanatic
Hey Troy, I definitely do remember speed mechanics from back in the day and happy to hear a part 2 is on the way. Reading your post above, one tip that may help with this particular comment is copying channels within a block. I do this a lot. Dial the amp in the way you want on channel A then use the menu near the channel selector in axe edit software to copy current channel to channel B (or C or D). Go to new scene, set to channel B and tweak away. No need to start from scratch.

Apologies if this was already stated or I misinterpreted your comment. Enjoy!
You can copy a channel to another channel of the same block on the front panel too.
 

Budda

Fractal Fanatic
I think points 1 and 2 are a bit of a common thread among some users (consistency is key, no argument here haha). 3) i havent thought much about, as I only ever use the A knob for tuner mute (home player only, for the time being).
 

troystetina

New Member
Actually, when the unit and software can support saving that many parameters, and loading presets with them in timely fashion, channels become an unnecessary level of abstraction, leading to questions just like the one in this thread.

Or, perhaps Scenes will be the unnecessary level of abstraction... at least as they are currently envisioned. I mean, the essence of the issue is to have the tones we want at the touch of a button, and to efficiently alter those tones and levels to make them perfect to the musical task at hand.

So it seems to me that having some method of grouping 8 (or more) sounds together, whether they are incremental versions of a similar amp setup (nice organizational system for studio use) or for live performance of the tones for a given song or set, is nice and useful.

However, scenes as they are currently utilized do way more than that... they force the sharing of settings. An ideal design would ALLOW the sharing (inheritance) of settings, but not require it.

Now I realize that channels is really what I was wanting to edit all along. But they are only accessed and programmed from within the scenes. So Axe FX is really splitting scenes and channels.

Where I got off on the wrong foot was thinking the top-down hierarchy was: Presets > Scenes > Channels. When in fact, it's really: Presets > Channels > Scenes. And BTW, this misconception -- missing the "stability" role of a channel with applies throughout a given preset block and therefore spans multiple scenes -- was at least in part due to the Axe FX manual presentation, along with general familiarity of the other brands' architectures. This business of channels being "above" scenes, yet only accessible from within them, is IMO rather confusing.

Nevertheless, utilizing the libraries are going to fix everything for me, I'm quite sure.
 

madmarcus1960

Inspired
Welcome Troy, I also have a couple of your books from last century..LOL.
Forgive me if this has been mentioned, but if your preset uses only one amp, you can make different BMT tweaks and save each as up to 4 iterations of the same amp, each on a different channel A-D. Each scene can use a different channel. You could have 2 amps with each having 2 set of BMTs tuning each. Just pick which one to use in each scene on the block for the amp.
Please correct any inaccuracies.
The unit can be and is overwhelming at times due to the raw amount of power and adjustments. Just learn something new, each time you get into the editor. There are many great video on YT that will help guide and illuminate your AXE3 journey.
 

Brucegregori

Inspired
I use scene controllers to manage this and they work fairly good. So, if I want to use a Vib Verb on scene 1 with the bright switch on (channel A amp), I can use the same channel A amp on scene 2 using scene controllers to change the bright switch to off. I use this also to adjust EQ for example to create a scooped sound on one scene and mid boost on another scene. It works good.
 

chris

Legend!
here's why Scene Copy wouldn't work:

let's say you have Preset 1 and Preset 2. each one has Input - Comp - Drive - Amp - Cab - Delay - Reverb - Ouput. the settings of every block are different on each preset. All blocks only use Channel A.

let's say you could go to Preset 2 and "copy scene." first, that's a LOT of data to copy - every parameter for every block. Edit would have to be adjusted probably substantially to keep all that data in memory.

so now you've copied the scene and it's ready to paste. you go to Preset 1 and choose "paste scene." where does all that data go? you copied Channel A in every block from Preset 2, and are using Channel A in every block on Preset 1. should it paste to Channel A? if so, you'd overwrite your original scene in Preset 1. this is further complicated if the Blocks in Preset 2 used different channels in all the blocks. would it get pasted to Input C, Drive B, Amp A, etc? what if you used Drive B and now it's overwritten?

a solution to this may be some sort of pop-up window that brings up all the blocks ready to be pasted and you choose what channel of each the data goes into. this would be a substantial addition to Edit, and might be confusing or daunting to some people. but now you're in this window and probably can't click around your current preset to find exactly what channels you have available to paste into, so you'd have to know the status of all blocks at the same time to be able to do this. make a separate window for this? another substantial change. this would probably take a lot of time even with this separate "paste to" window. it might take the same amount of time as what we can currently do: go to Preset 2, copy the Channel you want from the Amp block, go to Preset 1, manually choose the Amp channel you want to paste to, paste, save. repeat for other blocks.

now that's if all the same blocks are present between presets. what if Preset 2 had a Pitch block that isn't in Preset 1. you copy the Scene from Preset 2, then go to paste it in Preset 1... where does the Pitch block go? would it move things around to insert it? that's a huge change to be implemented. what if there isn't enough space in the current row to do that? i've seen suggestions for the Axe to automatically add Send and Return blocks to extend the chain. where does it add those exactly?

i could go on. it's common for people to know what result they want in their mind and expect the computer to be able to do it because "it's a logical and easy idea to implement; just put the new data in the Channels, Grids, etc that 'i'm not using.'" but the Axe can't possibly know what you aren't using, because only you know that. a similar wish i saw was "when i add a block, have it automatically Bypassed in the Scenes where i wouldn't use it." how on earth could a computer know that? "it's obvious i wouldn't use a Pitch block with a Distortion sound." but that's just not true.

so could Scene Copy eventually be a thing? sure. but it would take a lot of additions to the system and how it works, and probably also have to "guess" a lot of things. computers aren't really good at guessing specifics of ideas in our minds about audio, tone, and signal path though.

As for Scenes in general, Scenes only turn blocks on and off and choose channels. that's basically it. this is why changing a parameter in Channel A of Scene 1 also changes Channel A of Scene 2 - the Scene just changes block on/off and channel, it does not have its own parameters per Scene. that would be 4 channels x 8 scenes for every block (most have 4 channels), which would be 28x (?) more memory needed for every block, for every preset (512 or 1024). that's not a trivial addition of memory.

my main preset has 6 distinct tones using Scenes and Channels. some Scenes use the same Channels among blocks, and some blocks use all 4 channels. i agree that Presets are the solution for wanting Scenes to have every parameter adjustable per Scene. just use different Presets at that point. every computer system has inherent limitations usually due to memory. yes, it'd be great if the Axe had 28*512 more memory for this. but if we had that, then we'd want more memory for something else. we get that, then we'd want more memory for something else, and on and on.
 

Harm

Experienced
Scene controllers? Can you supply a link? Much appreciated! I'd like to check into any tools that would ease these issues.

Regarding history... understood. Always a reason why things are as they are.

Regarding independent scenes being presets, not necessarily. If scenes were fully independent in all respects, yes, that's true. But I am simply suggesting that the scenes remember their own tweaks. That's not the same as presets. In this scenario, scenes could all still share the same resources (same amps, pedals, etc.), but say one scene had gain set to 6, and I could set another to 8. That allows tweakability AND backward movement to A/B sounds with greater flexibility. Is this really so much more complex as to be unworkable, technically speaking?

In any case, I suppose there is still no efficient workaround merge scenes from different presets? That is my 2nd big problem, in terms of practical application.

What would help you tremendously is a wish that has been expressed on this forum many times: being able to copy/paste multiple blocks at once. Either across presets or simply move them on the grid. It would be a tremendous timesaver. Not to mention that it is time saved on an annoying and pointless chore.
As far as you mentioning the disconnecting on scenes I think Iaresee said it well. That is why we have channels.

And on a sidenote: welcome. I do have one or 2 of your books haha. I remember someone commenting on your name once somewhere on the web. I found it hilarious so I’m sharing it here.
Someone said:”Troy Stetina?” What name is that? Better go in all the way then and call yourself “Zoltan the Deathbringer”…

I hope you find it funny too. Bo offense intended of course.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Now I realize that channels is really what I was wanting to edit all along. But they are only accessed and programmed from within the scenes. So Axe FX is really splitting scenes and channels.
Not true. Channels can be changed at any time (either from front panel, FC or midi)...

Channels exist within blocks. Blocks exist within presets.

Thus both also exist within scenes, which are really only the ON/OFF and Channel select state of blocks.
 

GlennO

Fractal Fanatic
But enough about the glowing Axe Fx can do no wrong... The one area I find very cumbersome is the way the patches/scenes work. In particular, I can't seem to get it through my head that tweaking a setting in one scene affects the settings in all the other scenes (that use the same device)... especially since those other scenes are "out of sight, out of mind." Now I certainly understand the concept here, that Fractal is trying to make it replicate a real rig. But what this really does is confine us to the LIMITATIONS of a real rig, which is unnecessary and counterproductive IMO.

There are a few things that, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, aren't perfect on the AxeFX, and the name of what is called "scenes" is, I believe, one of them. The fact is, you are the, at least, 999th person to come on the forum and express confusion about this issue. When that many people are confused, it becomes difficult to justify calling this a RTFM problem.

The term "scenes" has long been used in synthesis and digital effects to mean what you were expecting: a snapshot of all the parameters. That, along with the confusion expressed on this forum many times, is evidence that the "snapshot" interpretation of the term is the more intuitive one. Appropriating that term to mean something different is, IMHO, contributing to the confusion.
 

jlynnb1

Axe-Master
wow, this takes me back. Speed Mechanics literally shaped my formative years of playing. Countless hours locked away with your book, cassette and a metronome. Cool to sea you here, Troy. I think I may have had an instrumental CD or cassette you did as well.
 
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