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You guys will be proud! Gigged my Axe and had good results : )

bgrizzmayne

Inspired
You guys will be proud! Gigged my Axe and had good results. Edit...kind of

Hey guys!

As many of us know, I've had a hard time with my Axe FX II. I first bought it with a Matrix Q12a, and struggled with the FRFR switch. I then saved money and bought the MFC + expression pedals- wanted the axe to function just like my Musicomlab controlled pedalboard. Still wasn't working for me in live situations, so I bought a poweramp & cab (matrix NL212 & GT1000FX). STILL had trouble with it- couldn't get it to sound as full as my deluxe reverb with pedalboard. Well, my Deluxe Reverb died at a gig last Saturday.

I had been bringing my Axe FX to gigs as a backup solution, because I'd recently sold off my Fender Twin that I used to lug around as a backup. Not ideal, but my thought was that I could plug the Axe to the board, and run a Twin model with a cab block. Then I could just plug my pedalboard into the axe, then be good to go! So I did all this during this outdoor easy listening gig. It worked, but I was running this tiny 4' roland cube monitor just for vocal monitoring (didn't bring my in-ear rig) Since I no longer had a cabinet behind me, the cube was the only way I could hear my guitar tone, but it just couldn't seem to handle the volume/frequencies of the Axe. I tried listening out front and didn't hear the same breakup, but it was hard not getting an accurate representation of my tone (either in my monitor, or behind me). Anyways, I finished the last hour set back on my deluxe reverb- it was being temperamental and fortunately worked, because the Axe didn't sound good in that solution (not really the axe's fault, but it's tough to run it if I don't have a big monitor).

Had a gig later that night with a country band- decided i needed to use my axe fx. but I decided I'd plug my pedalboard into the axe fx, run a twin or deluxe style model, and just mic up my NL212. on my pedalboard, all my patches were ready to go, and I could just focus on the amp component of the Axe. That night, the room was terrible, but by our 3rd hour and me constantly going back to my laptop between songs, I finally got something that was workable. What REALLY made the axe sound much better in my rig was Yek's PEQ trick. I put a PEQ after the amp block (no cab block, since I was using my NL212) and immediately the thing sat better. I just blocked high and low, maybe at 100 hz and 10k or so. Also maybe some minor cuts in the global EQ of the Axe.

Last night, I gigged the Axe at the same venue I first did. My results were MUCH better. Running a Fender twin model with the bright switch on, but controlling some of the highs and lows via the PEQ and Global EQ worked well. A lot of my tones were pretty much just as chunky, but cleaner and clearer.

Maybe this hybrid solution is the way to go for me for a while. I still have to lug my 70 lb pedaltrain pro around, but it's a very flexible rig, and allows me to just focus on amp tones, while boosting and using effects that I'm completely comfortable with- ones that I've dialed in over the last couple years. I'd love to run a midi cable back to the Axe from my Musicomlab, and be able to send it scene changes. I could easily AB between amps, or use scene controllers to adjust the gain of my amps, and still control it with my mostly analog pedalboard. Or, I'd love to figure out a way to run my time based stuff in the loop of my axe FX, and be able to sub in axe effects via scenes.

Anyways, just thought I'd pass along that I finally figured out a cool solution! Perhaps I'll go through and AB my pedals and recreate them with the axe, so I don't have to lug my big pedalboard to gigs. Thanks to everyone's help, and anyone having problems- try throwing a PEQ in the mix and blocking highs and lows. I myself didn't boost my midrange much- I have a Koko boost and hit that when I want a part to stand out. I plan on moving forward going direct to FOH with a cab block once I find one that sounds close enough to my Matrix, and then I won't have to set up a mic or mic stand. Thanks again guys! I'll keep you all updated with questions and additional thoughts as I delve into the Axe more, but I'm over the first hurdle where I at least have it sounding pretty good to gig with it and focus on playing. Cheers!

Ben
 
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bgrizzmayne

Inspired
The celebration was short lived, unfortunately. Tone sound good in that particular room, but the last three gigs haven't been as satisfactory.

IMO the matrix cab really doesn't sound good. What I've been getting is a really thin, mid heavy tone. I'm rolling off lows and highs with both a peq block and the global EQ, maybe I'm slamming down on two many frequencies.

I know this sounds brash, but my tones are either boomy, honey, or harsh. There's a lot of clarity, but no real body or fullness. A lot of times I think it sounds good, but in a band mix context, I find later a thinness or honk.

As I mentioned, I honestly wonder if the NL212 just isn't that good of a cabinet, haha. I don't have another cabinet, but maybe a friend could let me borrow one
 

bgrizzmayne

Inspired
I'm just running my pedals into the axe at the moment. I know the axe may react differently to pedals than a real tube amp, but I'm just not even in the ballpark with a proper tone fitting into the mix. The lows and highs are out of control, so I slammed down on them, and now I have ended up with something thin and mid heavy. But, the lows were out of control, as were the highs. IDK anymore, miss plug and play haha. Now during every show, it's plug and try 20 things to see if one made a difference
 

Variable

Inspired
I'm just running my pedals into the axe at the moment. I know the axe may react differently to pedals than a real tube amp, but I'm just not even in the ballpark with a proper tone fitting into the mix. The lows and highs are out of control, so I slammed down on them, and now I have ended up with something thin and mid heavy. But, the lows were out of control, as were the highs. IDK anymore, miss plug and play haha. Now during every show, it's plug and try 20 things to see if one made a difference

You mention that the lows and highs are out of control in a band context. I'm wondering, are you tweaking you patches at gig level? That sounds exactly like Fletcher Munson at work. Patches tweaked at lower levels will have inflated bass and highs at gig levels. This especially seems evident since it was good in one room and not in the others as the perceived volume level will be different depending on the acoustics of each room. Tube amps tend to be less prone to FM in my experience since they get more midrange as you crank the power section, whereas the Axe FX will emphasize whatever you've set in your patch. It may even be helpful to crank the patch Master Volume / Volume to the point where you're happy with the level of drive, and then use the power amp to make up the difference (you are, in effect, simulating what it would be like to simply crank a tube amp).

You could also crank the power amp and then use the Twin / Deluxe model volumes as though you were actually cranking a tube amp. That would increase the "tube" properties of the amp model in a more linear fashion as the decibels increase.

Rather than PEQing them out, I would also try boosting the midrange within the amp block itself, and tame the presence, treble, and bass. All of this at gig volumes, of course. And remember that while each amp model is MICICed and will have accurate tone controls, the Master Volumes and Gain knob settings may not match exactly depending on the number range of the knobs on the actual amp. Use your ears! :)

Finally, unfortunately the Axe FX is not going to solve an acoustically nasty room. Anyway, just some thoughts, hopefully they give you some ideas to try :)
 

bgrizzmayne

Inspired
Yeah, again I've cranked my patches but I gig often So I really don't get much of a chance to set up my axe rig at home. the only reason I'm using it right now is because my deluxe is getting fixed haha

My axe rig has always had this nasally quality to it I've never been able to get rid of. It's so much bassier and brighter than my deluxe, that when I tame those frequencies, I'm guessing all that's left is midrange.

The frustrating thing is when I plug my board into a twin model, I find myself just subtracting stuff, which is so unlike how iWork with tube amps. I plug in and immediately go, holy crap that's bright, or holy crap that's bassy when the EQ controls are all just at noon. Idk, I still wonder if it's my matrix gear haha. Trying to find a friend with a cab I can borrow, no longer have my recto 2x12

I think the room that it sounded good in was a little darker than most. The bright miss made it cut through and I didn't notice the lack of body. As I move forward, that scenario doesn't work for most other rooms, and I rarely play in rooms that dark.
 
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funny_polymath

Fractal Fanatic
I hate to agree that you should buy yet more gear - but the CLR is all that many posters, Scott Peterson and Cobbler first and foremost, said it was. It exceeds every other FRFR solution I've tried - and I've been FRFR since the Ultra first came out. I've tried Mackies, QSC's, Matrix, custom cabs. guitar cabs, a Hafler amp, all kinds of stuff. CLR was a clear JUMP up in the experience of 'the real'.
 
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