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Why do downloaded user presets sound different on my set-up?

Erik Hammero

Making the power amp (Matrix) work harder than it did at first when the master on it was low, as I wrote in the my post.
But dont let this her into an argument about what my experience was or was not.
That wont bring anything new to the table. If you mean that my experience was wrong, thats ok with me. I actually dont care.


Making the power amp (Matrix) work harder than it did at first when the master on it was low, as I wrote in the my post.
But dont let this her into an argument about what my experience was or was not.
That wont bring anything new to the table. If you mean that my experience was wrong, thats ok with me. I actually dont care.
Forget about it. Have a good day.

Danny Danzi

Power User
What I've found is that there's a lot of work involved in learning how to really benefit from all the possibilities of the AxeFX. Disclaimer: I'm totally not there yet.

Facts I totally agree with:
1) Many variables outside the axefx (technique -> guitar -> rest of setup) mean you're not going to be getting the same input to even have a chance of getting the same output with the same settings

Helpful advice I totally agree with
1) Use a preset as a starting point.
2) You stand a much better chance of this starting point being good if it's a simple preset, as " preset overengineering" will tend to address very specific issues with a particular setup, rather than add general qualities.

I'd add my own at this point:
3) Spend a lot of time just using the inbuilt presets. There's so much in there already, and they're the natural showcase for it's capabilities. Once you're comfortable with those 200 odd presets, you'll have a decent idea of a starting point. Which brings me to...

4) I really wish that there were good guides for how to dial in a tone. Ideally a video, by someone who explains their thought making process well. Maybe they're out there, just not well publicized. I've seen one or two videos where (insert wizard of axe here) just dials things up, says "oh this doesn't sound right, I'll add X here" and bam! fixed! For example, when describing a component to the sound you don't like, raise the eq gain there, make it sound truly terrrible, and that way we all know what part of the tone you don't like. But going back to point three, the reason wizard of axe dials in tones so quickly is that he is very familiar with the unit, and I think presets have helped me a lot to become familiar. Especially when the preset is named after a song that I know.

Facts I agree with...totally agree on all counts with yours. Having been creating custom presets for people quite frequently, it's amazing how different their DI sounds from some of mine when I play through the presets I've created for them. This is why I never ventured into the preset pack business. 6 times out of 10, you risk failure because created presets don't work for everyone.

That said, I've had the same issues with real amps sounding great for others and sounding like ass for me. However, I find that modelers are a little more unforgiving in how things differentiate. I had a discussion with a forum member 2 weeks ago about how we totally fail using a strat with some of the amps. They just don't sound good without extensive tweaking for some single coil guitars...but totally sound like God Himself has played a few chords when you use humbuckers.

Helpful advice I agree with: All of yours. Having guys like yek share entire preset libraries when I first joined here, totally confused me on how to use this thing. LMAO! After I started to get the hang of it though, everything made sense. Presets are great routing teachers and no one should ever just discard them. Some tones are awesome. Case in point, the presets in my AX8 stock are so good for me, I could do an entire album with little to no tweaks. Some sounds aren't good for me, but the majority kill in a great way. You can sometimes even learn tone tactics with presets. Sure, always go on your own when you can...but learning from presets taught me how to use this beast which further helped me to create my own. And now I custom create for others. I also agree with you "add my own point".

You wish there were guides: I've been asked and have thought about this a million times. I definitely could whip up a series of videos doing exactly that. Here's the problem with it. Tone is, and always will be, subjective. I can play a tone for you that gives me wood....you may listen to it and throw up. I've heard many tones on here that guys were excited about that I just couldn't enjoy. Loaded with bass, loaded with high end...too mid-range congested etc. But who am I to say a word? If a sound sounds good...it is good really. Sometimes we as listeners (or in my case being a studio engineer/song writer etc) we tend to listen to things in our own image when in fact, we should not.

That would be like looking at a Rembrandt and saying "dude, what gives with that ugly red? You should have used burgundy you dope!" It was HIS art...HIS creation, ya know? I think we often get so wrapped up in this stuff, we miss the art over what WE feel sounds good. It's like the album your friends told you to go buy because it was great. You get it...and it sucks! Or, you buy an album and tell them how great it is, they get it and it sucks. Music, tone, mixes, hell...even life and what is right or wrong (unless the law is broken of course) is all subjective.

It's better when we enjoy something for what it is instead of what we THINK it should be, ya know? Now, blatantly obvious stuff...sure, that's worth commenting on for sure. But even there....art is art. One man's happiness is just that. :) But getting back to the whole "how to" thing.....I think the biggest thing that would be helpful is basic tone identification. Many guys seriously don't know what constitutes a good tone. I teach recording classes here a few times per month. One of my classes for my students is all about sound identity.

What sounds you should keep and continue to work on....what sounds you should scrap and re-record etc. When too much low end should be high passed, when too much mids used for warmth form mid-range congestion and when highs are too razor sharp. When gain is too high....all this stuff is super important when working with tone. Again, even this could be subjective. But...there are some guidelines of course.

One thing I do disagree with is...rooms being a part of the problem. I sincerely disagree with this and will explain why. Take guys like Randy Rhoads or Eddie Van Halen. Heck, name anyone you want. Do you think they created their tone masterpieces in acoustically tuned rooms with bass traps and pricey monitors? Eddie used garbage gear. Pieces of crap....cut up guitars, amps that were messed with, his whole rig on the street probably cost about $1000 counting the guitar and the bomb casing. My point is...we can't get too wrapped up in hype. Tone comes from the fingers first and foremost. We all have a tone fingerprint. Ever hear the story of Eddie and Nugent playing on tour? Ted plugged into Ed's rig and still sounded like Ted...Ed plugged into Ted's rig and still sounded like Ed.

So forget having a tuned room or super pricey monitors. You're a guitar player, not a studio engineer. It's not needed and is bad advice. If you are going to be a recording guy, by all means do it. For a hobby player? No way! Now that said, good guitar monitors or good studio monitors are important. But you can make other things work.

Notice I say "good." That means don't go to Radio Shack or some cheap electronics place and think you're going to get good results. But then again...who knows? ;) You definitely want something truthful that has a good name in the industry. I have several sets of monitors here ranging from Genelec, Adam, Event, Tascam, Tannoy, Yamaha and even Logitech....which sound great! I need them...this is how I make my living. If I was a hobbyist...I'd have way less and probably something generic.

But that said, all I need for my tone here is a real 25 watt Greenback cab or two, and a decent sent of monitors. I love my Adam A7's and do the majority of my sound sculpting using them. I also use the Logitech's as a consumer monitor. I've created tones on them as well. Not great because of them being a bit more "colorful" with the sub etc. But, after correcting them (and all my other monitors) using IK Multimedia ARC software, I can use any set of monitors I own. Huge game changer for me.

If you do one thing to your monitors...correct them for "flat response". This way, what you hear is what you hear. This to me is more important than having a completely tuned room. I've mixed in some real shit holes when I've had to. Major studio's over-booking sending me and the band into their storage area. If the monitors weren't tuned, I'd be toast. The room can play a role, but lack of monitor tuning is even worse. At close range, you're not allowing the room to play into it as much as you might think. ;) But again...we're looking at this from a guitarist that is a hobby player, not a guy wanting to be a recording guy.

So anyway, that's my take on it. Very subjective topic really, but some cool stuff to think about from everyone. :)
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