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Amp and Cab modeling for beginners

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Revision as of 14:28, 1 April 2014 by Yek (talk | contribs)
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Virtual preamp

  • The Axe-Fx is a guitar preamp. It models more than hundred real amps such as heads, combos and racked preamps. You can also use the Axe-Fx for effects only, for mastering etc.

Virtual power amp

  • It has built-in power amp simulation as well, which means that you can listen to the tone of the modeled amps through headphones, and don't need a separate power amp to connect the Axe-Fx to a mixer or record it.

Real power amp

  • To amplify the Axe-Fx through a speaker, you do need an physical power amp. This can be a standalone tube power amp designed for guitar, or 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 ("active", "powered"). Depending on the amplification device you engage or disable the Axe-Fx's power amp simulation.


  • The speaker you use is very important for the tone.
    You can use the Axe-Fx with a traditional guitar speaker, in combination with a power amp. This will give you the familiar amp-in-the-room tone. It does limit the possibilities of the Axe-Fx, because any sound will go through that speaker en therefore is colored by it.
    You can also opt for FRFR (full-range flat respons) 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. A FRFR setup requires power amp simulation and cabinet simulation to be engaged. Cabinet simulation means that the sound of a virtual speaker cabinet is added to the tone of the modeled amp. The Axe-Fx comes with many built-in cabinet models and also allows loading external cab models, known as IRs (Impulse Responses).

FRFR amplification

  • It's very important to realize that when you're using FRFR with cabinet simulation, you'll be listening to the sound of a mic'd speaker, as opposed to an amp-in-the-room. A modeled cab always represents the tone of a speaker that as captured using a microphone, mostly very close to the speaker. That's 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 too through the FOH system and when listening to recorded music.

Have fun!