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Why do I like Drive + Amp more than Amp drive?

unix-guy

Legend!
So, in regards to the Boost within the Amp block, that is an option but other than saving grid space and CPU, that is essentially the same as sticking a drive block in front of the amp.

Also, I should mention that I'm not playing super high gain stuff... If you stuck Eric Johnson and Robben Ford in a blender with a dash of Satriani and a twist of Holdsworth, it might be about right. Over the years I've worked my gain levels down a lot because it lets the guitar speak more, IMO.
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
I think there can be a bit of an ingrained mental block of sorts, where one simply never considered running multiple amp heads all dialed in differently, walking over and tweaking before a lead etc, so we tend to think you 'have' to step on a pedal if you want a volume boost, more gain/drive etc

With the channels on the III, I've actually dialed in 4 versions of the same amp, just tweaked a little different, a little hotter, little mid boost etc.

Stuff that never would of occurred to me in most of my years of playing. You step on a pedal, you roll the volume pot on your guitar up a little, the board raises your fader a little, but I never touched the amp.

Now I can have all this variantion at my feet, and it’s just the amp block. BUT, I still think when I want a little boost etc that I should add a drive pedal, becasue it’s where my brain goes.

I have to stop and think that I could also tweak input trim, amp boost, etc etc, and/or add a drive pedal.

Again, drive pedal can be a cool option, but there are so many things you can do in the Axe it’s hard to remember them all and actually test them out, as such, I think we fall back to what we know.

Or go crazy, with 4 amp channels and 4 drive block channels, that is what, 16 different combination, and then if you add in a second amp block, stacked drives, you’ve got insane amounts of things to try. Roll back the amp and kick in a drive, hotter amp and a boost, hotter amp alone, drive alone......

Don’t even get me started on dual amps running together, expression pedal blend etc lol
 

unix-guy

Legend!
I think there can be a bit of an ingrained mental block of sorts, where one simply never considered running multiple amp heads all dialed in differently, walking over and tweaking before a lead etc, so we tend to think you 'have' to step on a pedal if you want a volume boost, more gain/drive etc

With the channels on the III, I've actually dialed in 4 versions of the same amp, just tweaked a little different, a little hotter, little mid boost etc.

Stuff that never would of occurred to me in most of my years of playing. You step on a pedal, you roll the volume pot on your guitar up a little, the board raises your fader a little, but I never touched the amp.

Now I can have all this variantion at my feet, and it’s just the amp block. BUT, I still think when I want a little boost etc that I should add a drive pedal, becasue it’s where my brain goes.

I have to stop and think that I could also tweak input trim, amp boost, etc etc, and/or add a drive pedal.

Again, drive pedal can be a cool option, but there are so many things you can do in the Axe it’s hard to remember them all and actually test them out, as such, I think we fall back to what we know.

Or go crazy, with 4 amp channels and 4 drive block channels, that is what, 16 different combination, and then if you add in a second amp block, stacked drives, you’ve got insane amounts of things to try. Roll back the amp and kick in a drive, hotter amp and a boost, hotter amp alone, drive alone......

Don’t even get me started on dual amps running together, expression pedal blend etc lol
Trust me, this isn't a mental block. ;)

I've tried dialing in amps without a drive pedal in front and I just don't get tones that I like... I'm totally fine using multiple Channels and/or multiple amp blocks.

I'm going to play around with using a Filter block or PEQ to do some pre-EQ testing and see if that helps.

I will probably also try using some the clean boost drive types with a more distorted amp, too.
 

ccroyalsenders

Fractal Fanatic
I'll give those a shot. I've never bonded with any of the Mesa models except the Lonestar clean. Maybe I should pull up the Austin Buddy examples for those... It might be that I just don't know how to dial them in.
Mesas are notoriously difficult to dial. But they yield gorgeous results when you get them right. The models in the Axe-Fx are no different.
@FractalAudio's presets in the factories and @austinbuddy's pack are great starting and ending points.
 

austinbuddy

Fractal Fanatic
Different strokes for different folks... me, I prefer dialing in the amp with the best sound possible.

I only use a drive to make it a little thicker (overdrive) or push mids a little... just an extra push over the clifff...

A lot of drives really are, practically speaking, merely trying to help the player who is playing live in a situation where they cannot crank the amp up LOUD (where it needs to be to get the real sound you want) by artificially adding distortion and break up to a cleaner sound. (Exceptions for the tube screamer for metal trick to tighten up bass and get more Djent pick attack with a gate.)

The real sound usually beats the pedal-driven sound - and the beauty of the Axe-Fx is you can get a true dimed Plexi guitar sound and a club volume that in real life with real Plexi dimed would get you thrown out of the club!
 
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ccroyalsenders

Fractal Fanatic
Different strokes for different folks... me, I prefer dialing in the amp with the best sound possible.

I only use a drive to make it a little thicker (overdrive) or push mids a little... just an extra push over the clifff...

A lot of drives really are, practically speaking, merely trying to help the player who is playing live in a situation where they cannot crank the amp up LOUD where it needs to be to get the real sound you want by artificially adding distortion and break up to a cleaner sound. (Exceptions for the tube screamer for metal trick to tighten up bass and get more Djent pick attack with a gate.)

The real sound usually beats the pedal-driven sound - and the beauty of the Axe-Fx is you can get a true dimed Plexi guitar sound and a club volume that in real life with real
Plexi dimed would get you thrown out of the club!
All of this.
 

stratos

Inspired
I was using the drives, now using an amp (Glenn's EVH Brown Preset), and using the guitar pot to clean it up.
I use a volume pedal also to increase the preset output, so I can really get it clean with the pot. rolled back.
Preference for sure. You can really get some extreme tonal changes using certain drives. Using an AX8, so CPU economy had me taking the drive out of my gig presets.
 

muudrock

Veteran
I've found I like both...depending on what I'm trying to achieve. I grew up on a clean Fender amp with drive pedals up front and later, a 50 watt Marshall with a boost. They are very different scenarios to me...tonality and feel. Pedals into clean(ish) amps always felt a little less punchy, and more round--especially on the higher strings.The Marshall on the other hand always felt a little stiffer and punchier with a lot more upper mids. All that being said, both set ups have their pro's and cons. Of course the beauty of the Axe Fx is you can have it any way you want it, whenever you want it.
 
The new Graphic EQ inside the Drive Block is amazing. It can reshape the tone in interesting ways.

What I do, quite often, is to use the Mix Control of the Drive Block, to blend it with the clean guitar
Using an EQ before gain stages was my secret sauce back in the day.
 

shatteredsquare

Forum Addict
because drive+amp makes u into an amp designer, u r adding gain stage and filtering to an existing design. put it all in the same box and call it new, sell it for $3,000. plus most amps only have one gain knob, adding drive gives you 2 gain controls, like on a Triaxis or Mark amp, you can build your own custom gain circuit.
 

NaturalScience

Inspired
I generally prefer drive + amp too, but not so much for the tone of the drive pedal. It's more about being able to stack multiple gains in front of an amp and have it respond well through the whole range. In my case, it depends on the amp type, combined with some of the (old) limitations of being in the Axe FX ecosystem for so long. I have always run CPU-heavy presets and usually do my best to avoid changing Amp channels in the middle of a song to avoid the gap.

As a result I have gravitated towards amps that respond really well to running clean with different gains stacked in front of them. For years I ran the Hiwatt models very clean with a null filter for clean boost and a drive pedal. You can go from very clean, to crunchy, to lead without having to change anything on the amp. Since high gain amps don't usually respond the way I like without resorting to multiple channel setups, I avoided them on the Axe FX 2.

I do find myself branching out on the Axe FX 3 though. I have a Mark 2 preset that I'm starting to really like, and I'm a big fan of the Tucana after playing real one. Both of these are using channel switching and I'm coming around to the idea of using the amp gain more prominently. The faster channel switching on the Axe FX 3 combined with the more flexible amp block boost offers up possibilities that I haven't fully exploited yet.
 

HarrySound

Veteran
I was using a drive pedal since 2016 when I got my axe fx II but recently in the last few weeks started just using the amps distortion and using the boost switch in some situations or the input gain trim to add more gain when needed. I find it sounds much more natural and meaty. Using a drive pedal often produces these overtones in the distortion that kinda sit around in the sonic space. They do add great feel and do well at pushing the amp but the actual tone is better without. This is all in a high gain situation of course.
 

Optimus Stein

New here
I'll often drift between the two extremes for months or years at a time. It was that way when I played real amps and it's continued since I switched to Fractal in 2012. Last spring I was all about the Mesa IIc and the CA Tucana w/ no pedals. Now I'm mostly into ODS-100 Clean w/ an FAS Boost to overdrive it.

When I played amps it was easy for my friends to tell what I was up to. If I brought the Marshalls or Mesas I usually used amp distortion. If I brought Fenders/Clones then the pedal board was larger. Now that I'm in the box, I don't know that anyone notices anything beyond my incredible tone.
 

reclavea

Forum Addict
Btw....can you clarify

As in the real world

Are you saying you are getting the fat response you are after in the higher strings in the Axe FX using the drives into amps? Hence ....you prefer this over amp drive in the Axe?

I'm not sure that your question was answered as to why this is so in the virtual world.....or if it is even so in the virtual world?
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Btw....can you clarify

As in the real world

Are you saying you are getting the fat response you are after in the higher strings in the Axe FX using the drives into amps? Hence ....you prefer this over amp drive in the Axe?

I'm not sure that your question was answered as to why this is so in the virtual world.....or if it is even so in the virtual world?
Yes, I am talking about in the Axe Fx.

I prefer Drive block + Amp block (clean) more than Amp block (dirty).

I find the Amp drive only tends to be more thin on the high strings.
 
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