Always consult the official Owners Manuals and Guides first.
Content is currently being reviewed to make sure you have the most complete and up-to-date information

Difference between revisions of "Amp and Cab modeling for beginners"

From Fractal Audio Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
(220 intermediate revisions by the same user not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
[[image:Axe-Fx XL+ 300.png|link=]]
+
__TOC__
 +
=Preamps and power amps=
  
=Virtual preamps=
+
[[image:Amp block.PNG|400px]]
* The Axe-Fx II is a guitar preamp. It models [http://wiki.fractalaudio.com/axefx2/index.php?title=Amp:_all_models more than hundred real amps] such as heads, combos and racked preamps. You can also use its many other effects, use it to reamp a dry signal, create tone matches of real amps and recordings, create impulse responses, use it for mastering, etc.
 
  
=Virtual power amps=
+
Most traditional guitar amplifiers consist of a preamp and a power amp. The preamp is responsible for tone and gain, the power amp makes things loud and may add some distortion and character of its own to the sound.
* The Axe-Fx II has built-in power amp simulation which means that you can listen to the sounds of the modeled amps through headphones and neutral amplifiers, and connect the Axe-Fx II to a mixer or record it without needing a separate power amp. You can switch off power amp simulation in [[Hardware menu: Global]].
 
  
=Using a real power amp=
+
Fractal Audio's amp modelers model both: they provide "virtual" guitar preamps and power amps, combined in Amplifier models. [[Amplifier models list|Many heads, combos and racked preamps have been modeled]]
* To amplify the Axe-Fx II through a speaker, you need a [[Power amp and speaker cabinet | power amp]]. Either a standalone tube power amp designed for guitar, a head or combo (through its effects loop), or a so-called neutral power amp. You can also use studio monitors and monitor wedges with built-in amplifiers (aka "active" or "powered" monitors).
 
  
=Playing through a guitar speaker=
+
The processors also provide [[Effects list|many other effects]]. And depending on the processor, they can "[[Computer audio and reamping|reamp]]" a recorded dry signal, create [[Tone_Match_block|Tone Matches]] of real amps and recordings, [[IR_Capture|capture Impulse Responses]], and more.
* You can use the Axe-Fx II with a traditional guitar speaker, in combination with a power amp. This will give you the familiar [[Audio topics|amp-in-the-room]] tone. It does limit the possibilities of the Axe-Fx II, because any sound you will create will go through that speaker and therefore will be colored by it.
 
  
=Using FRFR amplification=
+
[[Amp_block|More about the Amp block...]]
* You can opt for [[FRFR amplification, direct to FOH]] sound reproduction. This requires a FRFR speaker and an external or built-in neutral (power) amp. Studio monitors are FRFR, as well as some wedges / cabs.<BR>
 
  
=Cabinet modeling and IRs=
+
=Traditional guitar speaker or Full Range Flat Response (FRFR)=
* A FRFR setup requires [[Cabinet_modeling| speaker cabinet modeling]]. This means that the sound of a virtual speaker cabinet is added. The Axe-Fx comes with many built-in [[Cab: all models|cabinet models]]. It also allows loading additional cabs, known as [[Impulse Responses (IRs)]] or user cabs.
 
  
=Listening through FRFR amplification=
+
[[image:h_cabs.png|link=]]
* It's very important to realize that when you're using [[Audio_topics| FRFR]] with cabinet modeling, you'll be listening to the sound of a mic'd speaker, as opposed to an amp-in-the-room. A cab model always represents the tone of a speaker that as captured using one or more microphones, mostly positioned very close to the speaker. That's totally different from listening to a guitar speaker at some distance. FRFR has more lows, more highs and has the coloring of the used microphone baked in. It takes a while to get accustomed to FRFR tone, but it's the tone the audience hears, through the FOH system or when listening to recorded music. [[FRFR amplification, direct to FOH | More information]].
 
  
=Being heard in the mix=
+
An amp, whether real or virtual, needs a speaker to sound good. And amplification is required to make modeling loud. Usually this means using either a traditional guitar cab with a power amp, or a so-called FRFR monitor.
* Important in general, but especially when playing through FRFR amplification: the [[Audio_topics |Fletcher-Munson curve]]. This is the scientific name for the fact that human ears perceive sound at low volume levels differently than at higher levels. At low volume level people often turn up treble and bass. The Loudness switch on older home stereo systems does just that. At higher volume levels those controls need to be turned down again because, in a live environment, tones with too much treble and bass are prone to get lost in the mix (the guitar will compete with cymbals and bass guitar and will loose). Even turning up the volume level often won't help. Remember that the guitar is a "mid frequency" instrument. So: always dial in your live guitar tones at gig level.
 
  
=Solving clipping=
+
* '''Traditional guitar cab and power amp'''
* [[Axe-Fx II connections and levels|Setting levels]]: be aware that input clipping is something totally different than output clipping.
 
* It's okay for the LED to "tickle" the red. If it happens all the time, decrease Input Level in [[Hardware_menu: I/O]]. Be aware in this is not a real input level control, the control controls the signal-to-noise ratio only and does NOT affect signal level or gain or tone (except at the lowest and highest settings).
 
* The output clipping LED light indicates that the signal level in the effects chain is too hot. Adjusting Input Level does NOT solve this. Decrease the level somewhere in the chain, preferably using Level in the Amp block.
 
  
=Creating and editing sounds=
+
A traditional guitar speaker will give you the familiar and fairly easy to set up "amp/cab in the room tone". This does limit possibilities, because any sound you will create will be colored by the character of the guitar speaker. When using a traditional cabinet, the preset doesn't need to contain a Cabinet model. If it does, disable it or disable [[Cab_block|Cabinet Modeling]] in the processor's setup menu.
* Read the [http://www.fractalaudio.com/manuals-and-docs.php Owner's Manual] for editing instructions. It includes a 60-Second Edit Guide and an overview of shortcuts.
 
  
=Axe-Fx II software=
+
To feed the guitar speaker, a hardware power amp is required.
* [http://www.fractalaudio.com/p-axe-edit-software.php Axe-Edit] — load and save presets from/to disk, edit sounds, rearrange presets and user cabs.
 
* [http://www.fractalaudio.com/fractal-bot.php Fractal-Bot] — backup or restore your Axe-Fx II, load and save presets and user cabs, upgrade the firmware.
 
* [http://www.fractalaudio.com/cab-lab-packs.php Cab-Lab] — mix IRs, convert IRs, create an IR of your guitar cabinet (IR Capture).
 
  
=AX8=
+
This can be a guitar-oriented power amp, head or combo, which will add it own coloring to the sound and decreases the possible tonal variations. This usually sounds best with Power Amp Modeling disabled in the processor's setup menus.
* The contents of this page also apply to the AX8.
 
  
=Questions or issues?=
+
More popular is a so-called "neutral" power amp, which neutrally amplifies the incoming signal into the guitar cabinet. This relies on the virtual power amp, so keep Power Amp Modeling enabled in the setup menu.
* [http://www.fractalaudio.com/manuals-and-docs.php Read the Owner's Manual].
 
* [http://forum.fractalaudio.com/ Visit the forum.]
 
* And of course: explore the wiki!
 
  
[[category:Axe-Fx]]
+
[[Connections and levels|More information...]]
 +
 
 +
* '''FRFR'''
 +
 
 +
Alternatively, you can opt for FRFR sound reproduction and amplification: Full Range Flat Response. This requires a FRFR speaker and an external or built-in neutral power amp. Studio monitors are FRFR by nature, as well as some monitor wedges and cabs, high-quality PA-systems, and headphones.
 +
 
 +
FRFR systems and direct recording require [[Cab_block|Cabinet Modeling]] because the signal doesn't go through a traditional guitar cab. Fractal Audio's amp modelers have [[Cabinet models list|many built-in cabinet models]]. They also allow loading additional cabs from disk, known as [[Impulse_responses_(IR)|Impulse Responses (IRs)]].
 +
 
 +
Important: when using an FRFR sound system with cabinet modeling, you're listening to the sound of a miked speaker. That's a different tone than that of a guitar speaker cabinet. A virtual cab (almost always) represents the sound of a speaker that was captured using one or more microphones placed very close to the speaker (referred to as "nearfield" or "close-miking"). The sound of a guitar speaker at a certain distance is referred to as "far-field". Because of the close proximity of the recording mic to the speaker, the FRFR sound has more highs and lows, and has the characteristics of the microphone baked in. It can take a while to get accustomed to the FRFR sound, but realize it's the same tone you hear at a concert or when listening to recorded music.
 +
 
 +
[[Connections and levels|More information...]]
 +
 
 +
=Cutting through the mix=
 +
 
 +
Lots of players who start using a modeler and take it to rehearsals and gigs, using FRFR amplification, find it difficult to make the sound of the guitar cut through the mix. Even turning up volume doesn't always help. This is caused by two things:
 +
 
 +
* [[Connections_and_levels#Close-miking|close-miked sound]]
 +
* [[Connections_and_levels#Fletcher-Munson|Fletcher-Munson curve]]
 +
 
 +
=Input and output clipping=
 +
 
 +
[[image:Iii-meter-bridge.jpg|link=|300px]]
 +
 
 +
Clipping means that a signal exceeds the limits. While analog clipping may sometimes be desirable, digital clipping is always nasty and something that you'll want to avoid.
 +
 
 +
Clipping can occur at various stages.
 +
 
 +
* '''Input clipping'''
 +
 
 +
Input clipping means that the incoming signal is too hot.
 +
 
 +
It's okay for the Input LED to "tickle" the red. If it happens all the time, adjust Input Level / Input Pad in the setup menu. This control is NOT a gain control! It controls the signal-to-noise ratio and does NOT affect signal level, amp gain or tone.
 +
 
 +
* '''Output clipping'''
 +
 
 +
The Output LED indicates that the signal level in the effects chain is too hot for the digital-to-analog converter at the end. Adjusting the Input Level will not solve this. Decrease the digital level somewhere in the chain, preferably using Level in the Amp block, or in the Output block.
 +
 
 +
[[Connections and levels|More about levels...]]
 +
 
 +
=Parameter paralysis=
 +
 
 +
The sheer number of parameters and possibilities with amplifier and cabinet modeling can easily dazzle and confuse. It's handy to fall back on a reference tone.
 +
 
 +
The Band-Commander (clean tone) and Friedman BE (dirty tone) amp models, both at completely default settings, provide great baseline tones. Combine with cab model Legacy 103 at default settings. Listen with headphones or through studio monitors.
 +
 
 +
=Tutorials=
 +
 
 +
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlFyLhwRJj0 Cooper Carter's Introduction to the Axe-Fx III, part 1]
 +
 
 +
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpwxNiOt6pQ Cooper Carter's Introduction to the Axe-Fx III, part 2]
 +
 
 +
[[category:Axe-Fx2]]
 +
[[category:FM3]]
 +
[[category:Axe-Fx3]]
 +
[[category:AX8]]
 +
[[category:Sounds]]

Revision as of 09:21, 20 November 2019

Preamps and power amps

Amp block.PNG

Most traditional guitar amplifiers consist of a preamp and a power amp. The preamp is responsible for tone and gain, the power amp makes things loud and may add some distortion and character of its own to the sound.

Fractal Audio's amp modelers model both: they provide "virtual" guitar preamps and power amps, combined in Amplifier models. Many heads, combos and racked preamps have been modeled

The processors also provide many other effects. And depending on the processor, they can "reamp" a recorded dry signal, create Tone Matches of real amps and recordings, capture Impulse Responses, and more.

More about the Amp block...

Traditional guitar speaker or Full Range Flat Response (FRFR)

H cabs.png

An amp, whether real or virtual, needs a speaker to sound good. And amplification is required to make modeling loud. Usually this means using either a traditional guitar cab with a power amp, or a so-called FRFR monitor.

  • Traditional guitar cab and power amp

A traditional guitar speaker will give you the familiar and fairly easy to set up "amp/cab in the room tone". This does limit possibilities, because any sound you will create will be colored by the character of the guitar speaker. When using a traditional cabinet, the preset doesn't need to contain a Cabinet model. If it does, disable it or disable Cabinet Modeling in the processor's setup menu.

To feed the guitar speaker, a hardware power amp is required.

This can be a guitar-oriented power amp, head or combo, which will add it own coloring to the sound and decreases the possible tonal variations. This usually sounds best with Power Amp Modeling disabled in the processor's setup menus.

More popular is a so-called "neutral" power amp, which neutrally amplifies the incoming signal into the guitar cabinet. This relies on the virtual power amp, so keep Power Amp Modeling enabled in the setup menu.

More information...

  • FRFR

Alternatively, you can opt for FRFR sound reproduction and amplification: Full Range Flat Response. This requires a FRFR speaker and an external or built-in neutral power amp. Studio monitors are FRFR by nature, as well as some monitor wedges and cabs, high-quality PA-systems, and headphones.

FRFR systems and direct recording require Cabinet Modeling because the signal doesn't go through a traditional guitar cab. Fractal Audio's amp modelers have many built-in cabinet models. They also allow loading additional cabs from disk, known as Impulse Responses (IRs).

Important: when using an FRFR sound system with cabinet modeling, you're listening to the sound of a miked speaker. That's a different tone than that of a guitar speaker cabinet. A virtual cab (almost always) represents the sound of a speaker that was captured using one or more microphones placed very close to the speaker (referred to as "nearfield" or "close-miking"). The sound of a guitar speaker at a certain distance is referred to as "far-field". Because of the close proximity of the recording mic to the speaker, the FRFR sound has more highs and lows, and has the characteristics of the microphone baked in. It can take a while to get accustomed to the FRFR sound, but realize it's the same tone you hear at a concert or when listening to recorded music.

More information...

Cutting through the mix

Lots of players who start using a modeler and take it to rehearsals and gigs, using FRFR amplification, find it difficult to make the sound of the guitar cut through the mix. Even turning up volume doesn't always help. This is caused by two things:

Input and output clipping

Iii-meter-bridge.jpg

Clipping means that a signal exceeds the limits. While analog clipping may sometimes be desirable, digital clipping is always nasty and something that you'll want to avoid.

Clipping can occur at various stages.

  • Input clipping

Input clipping means that the incoming signal is too hot.

It's okay for the Input LED to "tickle" the red. If it happens all the time, adjust Input Level / Input Pad in the setup menu. This control is NOT a gain control! It controls the signal-to-noise ratio and does NOT affect signal level, amp gain or tone.

  • Output clipping

The Output LED indicates that the signal level in the effects chain is too hot for the digital-to-analog converter at the end. Adjusting the Input Level will not solve this. Decrease the digital level somewhere in the chain, preferably using Level in the Amp block, or in the Output block.

More about levels...

Parameter paralysis

The sheer number of parameters and possibilities with amplifier and cabinet modeling can easily dazzle and confuse. It's handy to fall back on a reference tone.

The Band-Commander (clean tone) and Friedman BE (dirty tone) amp models, both at completely default settings, provide great baseline tones. Combine with cab model Legacy 103 at default settings. Listen with headphones or through studio monitors.

Tutorials

Cooper Carter's Introduction to the Axe-Fx III, part 1

Cooper Carter's Introduction to the Axe-Fx III, part 2