Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #126875  by drdead
 Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:57 am
Thanks Vic! Will need to get that dialed in, won't need it for our gig tonight. Going to gig at the pour house in raleigh tonight with the axe fx for the first time. I plan on using the qsc for my monitor, front of house sound and then other output directly to the board/PA. A little nervous since this is the first time, any tips?
 #126903  by drdead
 Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:52 pm
Had my first gig with axe fx 2 last night. Thought it went well, still haven't heard tapes so can't say how it came out, but was happy with what i heard. The only problem was the axe fx unit kept falling off the frfr speaker. every time i turned around it was on the ground :? . Is there a rack unit or cabinet of some sort that could house the frfr with the axe fx in one unit. Thanks again for all the tips, really made a difference!
 #126909  by playingdead
 Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:27 am
drdead wrote: The only problem was the axe fx unit kept falling off the frfr speaker. every time i turned around it was on the ground :? .
:shock: :shock: :shock:

Holy crap, man! For my stage setup, I run a pair of QSC K12s ... one is on the ground in front of me like a vocal wedge, which is mostly where I hear my guitar coming from. The second sits on a crate vertically, and is pointed toward the front of house, like my guitar cabinet used to be. I would never put anything on top of there because it's definitely vibrating when it's turned up loud.

I use a small On-Stage tilting rack stand to house a four-space rack with the AxeFX, power conditioner and a rack Korg tuner (which I never use). You want a tilting stand because the LCD screen on the AxeFX is difficult to read at certain angles under the stage lighting. Like so:

 #126913  by jester536
 Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:11 am
I've got just the AxeFx in a case and I use this guitar stand
Hope the link works...It folds up very small and gives you a good tilt. I put my QSC right in front of that setup and I take up a very small amount of real estate. Which is good because we play some pretty small stages
 #128292  by James-T
 Wed May 22, 2013 5:00 pm
Ok this has really got my curiosity peeked, so much I can see more money spent on the horizon. I've heard lots of samples about how a modern era jerry axe sounds through the FX but what about the vintage sounds. Has anybody got samples of some cool 70's tone, Mesa mark iii tones and early wolf and alligator tones?

Just so I'm clear, if one was to take the plunge does this purchase render one's vintage tube amps and collection of JBL 's obsolete? And what does the total rig look like in signal path? Guitar to controller to AXE FX to power amp to monitors? I'm particularly interested in knowing what needs to be purchased in addition to the modeler and controller. Could I use my existing JBL D120 2x12 cab?

Dweezel came to town in the fall and he sounded great. I must admit I was a bit disappointed in not seeing any amp gear on stage to lust after but his tones were great. And correct me if I'm wrong, he uses the AXE FX as an amp and plugs in additional hard wired pedals and effects. A hybrid setup if you will.

I think lugging my gear up to Whistler last weekend and pulling my back before the gig could be the turning point for me.

Any help and suggestions, thoughts and samples will help. Just don't tell my wife.


 #128296  by playingdead
 Wed May 22, 2013 6:55 pm
The new AxeFX II can pretty much do any sound on the planet, I think ... they just upgraded the firmware and Cliff basically redid everything. It sounds killer now, even better than it did before. Very responsive to touch.

I am still running the 09 Ultra onstage, though, my tone is so consistent that I have not bothered to dial it in on the new one although I have been playing with some of the new amp simulations in my home studio. There are great Twin, Deluxe Reverb, Vibrolux, Bassman and Princetons to choose from for starters. And it has always done a killer job with the Boogie amps.

To get the most out of it, you run it direct to the board, with a full-range monitor in front of you like a vocal wedge -- I use QSC K12 speakers. That way you can take advantage of all the detailed cabinet and mic modeling that's in there -- including some D-120s. My own models of my Hard Truckers cabinets with E-120s and K-110s work well, too.

You can defeat the power amp and cabinet modeling run it into a separate power amp and speakers but you are really limiting yourself by doing that.

My chain is guitar -> AxeFX -> QSC K12 (and straight to the board). I use a Ground Control Pro to control the effects. My guitar sounds the same every gig, every venue. It really allows you to just concentrate on what you are playing, not worrying about how it sounds on stage or adjusting your knobs to compensate for bright rooms, dead rooms, tight stages, etc.

(Last time I saw Dweezil's setup he had a pair of AxeFXs and was going direct. He dialed in all of Frank's vintage gear on the AxeFX.)

It doesn't make anything obsolete. Sometimes it's nice to just plug into a real tube amp -- I have a Vibrolux and I also just ordered a PRS Custom 50 Two Channel head for the shop, they are great amps for the money. But if you want limitless options for amps, speakers, effects and everything else in two rack spaces, take the plunge. Set it up right next to your current amp and dial it in.
 #128342  by James-T
 Thu May 23, 2013 6:19 pm
Thanks Vic,

So what i am hearing is all one needs is the GSC K12, a controller and the Fractal unit and it's off to the races. At 1000 watts I'm guessing the K12 is like having a twin beside you on stage.

There is an FX Ultra that just came up locally on CL (today) for $1600. I'm thinking this is about half of what the FX is landed to my door with freight and taxes new. What would the pitfalls be of going used on an older unit?

Just out of curiosity do you play with a twin and E120 modeled with your jerry axe? And how does a paf style guitar like your PRS sound through the same modeling? Is it like vintage Gibosn jerry or still modern tiger jerry in tone. Sort of a dumb question but I'm curious to how the modeling program reacts to different guitars and electronics.


 #128345  by barefootdave
 Thu May 23, 2013 9:25 pm
I think I paid $2200 for my AxeFX-2 brand new. It is literally twice the unit the Ultra is. That said, the Ultra may be all you need; I felt it was worth a few hundred dollars more to get the better unit new with a warranty. I am very glad I did. Have not gotten the Fractal foot controller; based on Vic's advice that it wasn't necessary, I found a new Behringer 1010 on ebay for about $100.

Every guitar I have played though it so far sounds fantastic: Les Paul, Tele, Strat, PRS, Warmoth Tiger, and Moriarty Wolf. In addition to my Jerry presets, I have worked recently on a very satisfying Gilmour tone and the last couple of weeks has been spent refining a Jimmy Page setting. The Les Paul still sounds awesome through the Jerry presets as well.

Not a single regret on buying this puppy.
 #128355  by playingdead
 Fri May 24, 2013 9:14 am
K12 can be stupid loud, for sure ... I use two :shock:

The AxeFX 2 is $2299 ... while the Ultra is great -- and I still gig with it regularly -- the II is worth the upgrade, some pretty good leaps and bounds with it. There's a 14-day trial, I think, too.

My Garcia preset is based on a Twin model and my E-120 cab with some pretty serious tweaking to the amp model and an EQ curve to dial it in. Honestly, there are so many possibilities with it that you would be better off building a fresh one for PAFs, you can definitely get to that vintage Garcia LP or SG tone. It's really no different than plugging a Tiger and an LP into an analog Jerry rig ... it's very sensitive to the guitar you are using.

The PRS's I have here sound really good through the Mesa amps, and they are awesome through the Trainwrecks, too.
 #128358  by James-T
 Fri May 24, 2013 12:38 pm
Hey Dave and Vic many thanks for the advice. The ultra is down to 1400 and being in Canada I'll be dinged 5% harmonized sales tax when the unit crosses the border plus probally duty, so the outlay is a bit more than 2250. It's a tough call. Given I've been lusting after a deluxe reverb, which was my very first amp back in 1978 and I foolishly sold it when I was in grad school (and not playing much back then) makes me think the FX Ii is the way to go. Plus there is a red stripe Mesa Mark Iii on CL locally and that's another amp I'd kill for, particularly after hearing how well your PRSs sound with a Mesa. I was truly inspired on that one until I researched it's weight!

I hear the fractal controller is like 2x the price of a GCX controller. What are the advantages?

Another really dumb question. When you sample your D120 cab or grab a Garcia sample are you modeling just the amp and cab sound or actually modeling the guitar's electronics at that point in the sample chain? This I am really curious about.

Vic, have you received your private stock PRS yet? I'm finally starting to bond with my PRS CU 22. Not quite there yet on the tone but getting closer. I ripped out the electronics on my Torero and now have a Dragon Ii at the bridge and a dual sound at the neck with a Waldo buffer and it's a home run. The El cheapo Korean axe rocks and I feel good about supporting those poor south Koreans. The wonders on CNC construction.


 #128367  by jkstraw
 Fri May 24, 2013 10:28 pm
Hey James-t,

Fellow Canadian axefx user here. Sorry I have been a little late to the thread. A couple things to consider:

1. You may want to check out the new Atomic CLR - they are getting great reviews - if you prefer the QSC k12 approach the mad rush for CLRs are making plenty of them avaiable at reasonable prices. (No experience here but I am on the list)

2. MFC controller is simple plug and play compared to other controllers - 1 ethernet and you are done. (I have one and love it)

3. If going the axefx route I'd go for the axefx II - my gut is sensing even it is going to be replaced in the next 12-18 months. Just more flexibility with scenes, A/B settings, etc. not to mention just better sound (IR resolution is better, modeling method has changed for the better, etc)

Best of luck man.
 #129132  by James-T
 Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:13 am
So I dove head first into this. Luck would have it an ultra came on Craigslist Thursday at the sAme time my twin's power tubes died and after pricing the full FX 2 delivered to BC (4k) including controller, shipping and taxes, I manged to spend almost a third and it came with a controller, not a gcx but at least something. It's got 12 banks of 8 switches, lineded up in a single row. Not sure of the brand, but it interfaces so at least I've got something. It seems the guy never really used the Ultra so it's pretty low hours which was my main concern about going used. I heard from a guy a fractal they are starting to see them come in for service.

So after hours of tedious reading that ate into my guitar playing addiction I still haven't figured out how to just edit and create simple effects like chorus, or delay that can be turned on and off on the controller over a single amp setting without creating a full patch. I know the capability is in the somewhere. As you can see I'm old school in my thinking.

Also can I add in new FX 2 amp models into its hard drive? I notice fractal has a cool looking amp package on thier website.

Oh yeah, and I managed to avoid divorce on this purchase. Disaster narrowly averted, as the song goes. It's all good! and I found some used power tubes, so until my knowledge gets up to speed my main rig is still HT cab w 73 twin. Does anybody still use pedals with thier Axe FX?
 #129175  by playingdead
 Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:55 pm
James-T wrote:So after hours of tedious reading that ate into my guitar playing addiction I still haven't figured out how to just edit and create simple effects like chorus, or delay that can be turned on and off on the controller over a single amp setting without creating a full patch. I know the capability is in the somewhere. As you can see I'm old school in my thinking.
If you create a basic amp and speaker patch that you like, you can then add effects blocks to it -- chorus, overdrive, delay, etc. -- and then turn those on and off using a MIDI controller. You program the MIDI controller to send the proper CC (control change) number to the AxeFX that will bypass or activate the effect. Let's say, for example, CC 40 is the control number to bypass the Delay 1 block. If you add a delay block to your patch, and leave it bypassed, when you step on the controller, it will turn the delay on, or off. 41 can be a drive block, 42 can be a phaser, 43 can be a tap tempo etc. etc. etc. Somewhere in the manual it will list what those defaults are, you just have to program them into your controller pedal. Don't ask me how, it's been too long since I messed with mine. I just know that stepping on the 4th button on my Ground Control Pro will turn the overdrive on or off on any patch I have on. :shock:

Once you have a certain delay or chorus or whatever block that exists on one patch, you can import it into other patches. That's in the manual, too.
James-T wrote:Also can I add in new FX 2 amp models into its hard drive? I notice fractal has a cool looking amp package on thier website.
You cannot. AxeFX 2 models, presets, impulse response files, etc., only work on the AxeFX 2. It doesn't actually have a hard drive in it, it's a chip.
 #129179  by James-T
 Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:30 pm
Hi Vic,

Thanks, very clear. Makes lots of sense. So each patch is a rig and within each patch you can toggle effects. I was reading in my own simplistic mind that each patch was a sound, not a rig.

I'm totally stoked.

I think the controller I have should work just fine.......once I figure it all out.

Can you use axe fx edit with the Ultra? I'm assuming you can.

Or should I just work the front panel of the unit?

I'm really digging my analog rig. Just played last night in Roberst Creek, hippie central of the Sunshine Coast and my rig performed perfectly, I just got my twin back from servicing and the power tubes were balanced for the first time. It as awesome. What is the best cab to replicate my two D120f's?


 #129405  by James-T
 Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:59 pm
More on the adventures of an axe fx owner. I've had the ultra for about 5 days. The first few days I just looked at it and read. Partly intimidated, but actually waited to get a pair of studio monitors of which I picked up a used pair on CL for half thier new price.

To my delight I found a link on the Internet to download the axe edit software and it looks like I picked the bug free version. It worked like a charm and I never had to deal with the onboard edit controls which look to be a pain in the ass, and who can really work off of a 2" screen anyways.

I'm now in shear panic about making the right rig choices, but will most likely go with a pair of qsc 10s or a single 12. It seems the real leap this thing has made is into the world of sterio, so a pair makes sense for when the pa speakers look questionable, or we play without a big pa system, which is occasionally the case, and of course having the sterio option for rehearsal and jams, of which there are a lot in my community having a pair of speakers seems like a great option.

The 10's seem to be a great size for lugging about and I will see the 12's in the flesh.

My other option is to utilize the effects loop on my amp. From all my research it seems like you are doomed if you do, doomed if you don't. Some say you need the higher frequencies of the FRFR setup to hear the nuances of the fx effects like reverb, while others say the FRFR setup introduces too much high end stuff that chicks hate. Reminds me of what Wier sounded like in Portland in the fall.

We will see. Any comments are encouraged.

I've got totally hooked on dialing in patches and have about 8 presets which I'm tweaking or building on or tearing apart. I've learned a lot about delays in the last few days, which seems to where where's the axe fx really shines.

I'm skeptical that the axe fx will match the in the room sound of my 73 twin with two d120f's but I think it will do other things much better. If my sole purpose was to recreate Jerry's 72 tone for in the room feeling its the wrong unit, but I think it will get me 10 different jerry tones with my own twist on them, along with tones I just can't get right now, namely Gilmore, Clapton and Srv tones based on marshall, Hyatt, or other fender models, like the tweed deluxe.

I'm still having a hard time with the ir's and figuring out the closet thing to a jbl, any any help on a good ir to patch in would be appreciated.

I was reading that Vic places a reverb block that bypasses the cab block and when I did this with a 50 percent mix I get part of the no cab sound and part of the ir of whatever cab I've picked. It actually reminds me of my d120s which are supposedly very transparent. Anyone else with experience on this blending option. I think it's still to high frequency oriented for my tastes.

Finally my unit came with a cheesy x11 controller, which turns out to be a great bulletproof unit, and was plug and play. Super simple. The bad news it it can't send or receive cc's so I can only call up,patches and not control effects on thier own. With some creative thinking and the conclusion that I will gig with a few of my vintage boss pedals in front of the unit, I think it's a great stop gap. Seems like the fractal controller is the way to go in the long run.
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