Talk me into or out of an Axe Fx II for bass.

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by TedEH, Oct 15, 2021.

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  1. Giest

    Giest Redneck Rube

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    FWIW I've had an Axe FX II XL+ for guitar since about the time they came out. I hardly use it at all, it sounds ok but feels dead. Wouldn't buy again.
     
  2. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Because it's bass. Nobody cares about bass. :lol:
    I kid, mostly.

    To be fair, that's a pretty big ask. It's been a long time since I tried a real full SVT, but those things are beasts. I find that one thing the FM3 I picked up doesn't quite nail is that low-end rumbly resonance thing you get when a tube amp interacts with a speaker. Every tube amp I own is capable of this room-filling low end kind of deal that I can't describe very well, even if it's not a very bass-forward amp, and I've not figured out how to make the FM3 do the same thing, at least not easily - as a result, I find the Recto models sound a bit wimpy compared to the real deal. As far as bass goes, I was using a solid state power amp to begin with, so I was starting from a place of kind of cold and stiff to begin with. It's possible that I've just not figured out how to make the speaker-page settings do what I want yet.

    I still haven't had a chance to play the FM3 with a band yet, just 'cause band things have been going slow lately. But at-home, the FM3 has been beating out the IIP+Crown setup I had going, so I'm reasonably confident I can make it scale up to band volumes. I did crank the thing once and I found it was almost overwhelmingly bass-y compared to my starting point.

    I think I can understand that. Some amps are VERY immediate in feel, and I don't think any digital solution can emulate that. There has to be some amount of latency to do what it needs to do. Even if it's this micro amount of delay, I do find the "feel" of a lot of the amp sims are very similar by default until you start digging into what makes each model different. I can imagine that bothering some people more than others. It doesn't bug me too much.
     
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  3. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    @TedEH you messed with speaker compression/speaker drive at all?
     
  4. Giest

    Giest Redneck Rube

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    Yea I dunno if it's an almost imperceptible delay or what, can't put my finger on it. Almost like I can play harder or louder but the Axe FX doesn't reciprocate the same nuances when I do. I don't feel the same about solid state amps, I can still get that what the french call a certain...I don't know what. Feels dead to me is all, but as a tool it's still useful and I'll never say they can't sound great all the same.
     
  5. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    With the AFXIII at least, it's very easy IME to over-compress the signal, because it seems thicker and warmer, but it gives that rubbery, slow attack. This is especially with overdriven sounds, but running the input gain/master volume too high even with clean tones does it too.

    It's a bit annoying. Getting that extra bit of sub-bass that @TedEH mentions is easier to get (or get close to) with higher gain/master volume, but it also over-compresses, so I end up with rubbery attack and a blanket-over-the-speakers sound too.

    Ultimately I choose to just give up on that missing bass/sub-bass. It still sounds very good and I play it all the time and enjoy it. But it is not perfect.
     
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  6. Giest

    Giest Redneck Rube

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    Yea that sounds about spot on, probably what it is. Thanks for explaining it, maybe I'll goof around with it some more and see if anything can be done.
     
  7. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    Good luck with it.

    Fairly often, I pull out my amps and will do an hour or so of A/Bing them Vs the AFX. I'm constantly surprised by how bright, clanky, and harsh the real amps actually can be. But it's so easy to dial that out with the AFX, but then you lose the in-your-face sound and responsiveness.
     
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  8. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Not a whole ton. I mostly just found a curve / LF setting that got me closer to what I was used to, then moved on to noodling with the different models, since it was "close enough". The recto models are the only ones I've tried so far that I think are lacking as a result, so it might be worth going back to it. Marshalls and Marks aren't really all about the low end, IMO, so it's not much of a concern for the sounds I tend to land on.

    It sounds kinda counter-intuitive maybe, but I tend to think most "real amps" push sub-bass too far anyway. That's the domain of the bass, and using the bass models there's no shortage of low end.

    My original plan was to take the FM3 to a jam (for bass) and play around with the idea of turning the speaker-related settings mostly off. The setup I'm used to wasn't a tube amp to begin with, so I don't think it would sound "wrong" compared to what I'm used to. But who knows. I suspect once jams actually get going again, eventually, I'm going to end up with a "home" patch and a "band" patch that are pretty different from eachother.
     

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