The Fractal Thread

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  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 1483
    I suspect two possibilities- the input gain for the unit is set higher than you need so the signal is close to clipping - have a look in the i/o section of the utility menus,   or it could not related to what you are plugging into and volume levels - it lets you have a loud amp tone with quieter volume which can make thing feel compressed - even more so if you’re not using an free set up with tons of headroom 
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  • peteripeteri Frets: 591
    Have you checked the speaker compression setting in the amp? I much prefer many of the Marshall models with that at zero
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  • Thanks John and peteri. I padded the input by 12dB for the Les Paul. It was tickling the red more than a bit, while my Strat wasn't really going near the red on 0dB (another weird thing—I'm surprised the difference in output between those guitars is so dramatic. The Les Paul pickups are PAF types). I haven't tried adjusting any deep settings in the amps though, that's worth a look.

    And John, I'm sure you're right that at volume things won't feel so squashed. But still, if you watch the Pete Thorn video of 16 guitarists with a Plexi you can hear how clean they really are. The Fractal Plexi patches I've tried are way dirtier than that.

    I can't figure out why I'm getting so much more gain than I'd expect, but I guess I can just keep turning down the input trim. Maybe I am too attached to the idea that the knob settings should correspond to those on the original amps, instead of trusting my ears. 
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  • peteri said:
    Have you checked the speaker compression setting in the amp? I much prefer many of the Marshall models with that at zero
    I set this to 0 on pretty much every patch.

    Ditto check your input.

    Otherwise just set by ear and not eye, I’ve found the models I like are fairly close to what I’d expect but I’ve never owned an old Marshall so honestly don’t know how close they are.
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  • Anyone come from Helix to AX8? Or the other way? What made you switch and which do you prefer?

    Anyone gone from Axe FX to Helix/AX8? Thoughts?
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  • FarleyUKFarleyUK Frets: 325
    9.04 is out now, and it sounds even better IMO...!

    Anyone come from Helix to AX8? Or the other way? What made you switch and which do you prefer?

    Anyone gone from Axe FX to Helix/AX8? Thoughts?
    Yep, came to AX8 from Helix, and IMO (and many others, it seems) the feel of the AX8 is light-years ahead of the Helix. I could never get a sounds I was happy with with the Helix, and I felt I was always missing something - turns out it was the responsiveness of the models. The AX8 is superb, and I certainly wouldn't change back.

    Plus, the amount of amp tweaking you can do is insane.
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  • peteripeteri Frets: 591
    Same for me - here's the details: http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/114002/my-ax8-vs-helix-lt-journey/p1

    Completely agree, AX8 was very easy compared to dialling in the Helix - and the sounds are amazing 
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 629
    edited January 26
    I am very happy with the sound quality of my FX8 unit, and I am also happy with my Kemper amp, but in a moment of madness I may impulsively get hold of an AX8 or a Helix, so I will keep on watching this thread with interest
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  • simonksimonk Frets: 1059
    edited January 26
    Anyone come from Helix to AX8? Or the other way? What made you switch and which do you prefer?

    Anyone gone from Axe FX to Helix/AX8? Thoughts?
    I had Helix and an AX8 at the same time, and I’ve just sold the AX8. I bought the AX8, already owning the Helix, expecting it to be a step change better in sound quality. And it just wasn’t in my experience. Both units can be made to sound excellent, or dreadful... 
    They’re both great bits of kit! The Helix won out for me with how it sounds, its versatility and how easy it is to use.

    I should add that I still have my trusty FX8, although its future may not be that secure with HXfx on the horizon.
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  • Thanks all. Some interesting thoughts there, especially from @simonk , always intrigues me how a few say that it's light years ahead and then someone, out of the blue, says the opposite.

    Must admit, I'm toying with the idea of downgrading/downsizing from the rack down to the AX8. I don't think the Helix will tick my boxes. Unless the tones have got better since I used it, I don't think I could give up the responsiveness and feel of the Fractal models.
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 629
    edited January 26
    Thanks all. Some interesting thoughts there, especially from @simonk , always intrigues me how a few say that it's light years ahead and then someone, out of the blue, says the opposite.

    Must admit, I'm toying with the idea of downgrading/downsizing from the rack down to the AX8. I don't think the Helix will tick my boxes. Unless the tones have got better since I used it, I don't think I could give up the responsiveness and feel of the Fractal models.
    Responsiveness and feel is why I like my Kemper amp. I have used Helix Native and it is not as satisfying in that respect. I would say it is closer, but slightly ahead of Amplitube and other amp sims, although I did enjoy using it for trying out new ideas on my laptop. It was very convenient, and definitely a useful tool for me. It's a great time to be in the digital game.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1545
    Different people hear different things.
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 629
    edited January 26
    How about a Ampli-Firebox plus HXFX? Some people seem to be getting excited about the potential of this combo.
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  • I like both for different things.

    I prefer the guitar amps in the Fractal. 

    I prefer the bass pedals and amps in the Helix.

    I owned an Axe FX2 before the AX8 or Helix were announced and don’t see a reason to downsize. But I did buy the Helix Native plug-in for recording bass.
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 2693
    I loaned a Helix for a few months to see if it could be a viable alternative to my Axe-FX..
    I wholeheartedly wanted it to be a success and tried very hard..
    but I could it couldn't do what I needed it to do..
    for me right now there is no substitute for the Axe-FX
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • Yeah, I’m fairly sure the Helix won’t do what I want, even with the latest FW update. But the AX8 might, and that’s what’s turning my head. It’d be a simpler, smaller setup and would allow me to still achieve my sounds. Ultimately though, I’m still undecided :-/
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  • Jonathanthomas83Jonathanthomas83 Frets: 597
    edited January 28
    Looking at this page: https://wiki.fractalaudio.com/axefx2/index.php?title=Comparing_Fractal_Audio_devices

    The only thing I use in the Axe FX that the AX8 doesn't have is 'Motor Drive'. But hasn't the motor drive parameter changed recently, to something else? Wonder if the AX8 has the new one instead? Not sure it's a deal breaker yet anyway, but that parameter does do things to the sound (in a good way)...but £1000 worth of good things? I'm not so sure! haha.

    Oh and the odd dual reverb is nice too, but I don't do that often. Dual delay is a must, but AX8 has that covered.
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  • peteripeteri Frets: 591
    Not sure on motor drive, I think that’s changed names now to Speaker drive or compression, both of which the AX has
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  • peteri said:
    Not sure on motor drive, I think that’s changed names now to Speaker drive or compression, both of which the AX has
    That’s what I thought, thank you @peteri!
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1545
    9.03 introduced speaker compression in the Amp block. It simulates the effect on the amp of the speaker coil heating up and increasing its resistance. You can set how much effect, and the release time.

    9.04 made a change to valve hardness which, to my ears, also affects the attack.

    Like many modelling improvements these both clean up aspects of the sound. I’m a low gain player. As a result of these two changes I’m now running with more gain, and still getting a clear sound.
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  • FarleyUKFarleyUK Frets: 325
    So what does everyone think of 9.04?
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  • I'm still loving 9.02! For the first 8 months or so, I was updating as soon as they released beta, but nowadays, I'm not even updating the official release. I'll probably pay for that later down the line, but am in no rush unless there's a good reason. The DMM model was absolutely worth the upgrade, what a superb approximation that algorithm is.
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  • peteripeteri Frets: 591

    I like 9.04, my test tone is the AC/DC Plexi sort of sound - where you have breakup and compression but can still hear everything.

    9.03-9.04 sounds slightly more open and in a way polished to me, I liked it.

    For most presets I keep Speaker Comp at 0, but like it for the SRV thing. CF hardness I normally leave at 0.5 but for some amps it does feel better at 0.75.

    (the new default).

    To be honest the differences now are so small we're way into cork sniffing now, most people apart from the player couldn't tell a difference, and even the player would likely fail a blind test

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  • FarleyUKFarleyUK Frets: 325
    I'd heard that for British Speakers, the suggested Speaker Comp was 6 - which I'd been setting it at (I use OwnHammer IRs, of the Greenbacks and v30's). However, I've also seen that a lot of people set it much lower - I've now settled on 4 I think....
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  • CabicularCabicular Frets: 2122
    peteri said:

    I like 9.04, my test tone is the AC/DC Plexi sort of sound - where you have breakup and compression but can still hear everything.

    9.03-9.04 sounds slightly more open and in a way polished to me, I liked it.

    For most presets I keep Speaker Comp at 0, but like it for the SRV thing. CF hardness I normally leave at 0.5 but for some amps it does feel better at 0.75.

    (the new default).

    To be honest the differences now are so small we're way into cork sniffing now, most people apart from the player couldn't tell a difference, and even the player would likely fail a blind test

    I've got to say I agree, I didn't really notice any difference at all.
    Haven't had a play with speaker compression yet. It doesn't sound like the kind of thing I should have to worry about.
    I'm starting to think I might not be the target market here!

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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6629
    edited January 29
    I just switch speaker comp off.  In fact I personally would prefer it to default to off, but once you've switched it off it stays off on that patch even if you change the amp model IIRC.

    I thought 9.04 was a very small change.  I don't feel particularly strongly about it either way, to me it seemed like the low end got a tiny bit fatter on some of my high gain patches.  I've seen a post from Cliff saying the compression to low and high end has changed to be less compressed.

    FWIW Leon Todd has done a comparison video.


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  • FarleyUKFarleyUK Frets: 325
    I've FINALLY got the Yamaha MD-UT01 connector (after PMT messed up my order and I had to wait a month for the correct item) to use FracPad with the AX8.... and after having dismissed FracPad as way overpriced and buggy as hell, I have to say it's pretty awesome!

    Just discovered the performance mode, which lets you load a setlist in, program songs in and assign them to scenes and patches - so you just tap the song, and it loads automatically on the AX8. Pretty cool!
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1545
    peteri said:

    To be honest the differences now are so small we're way into cork sniffing now, 


    I thought 9.04 was a very small change. 
    There was a point where I didn’t hear any difference between firmware releases. Then suddenly one of them leapt out at me, whilst other people were saying they didn’t notice much difference. It was then that I realised that different people notice different aspects of the sound. 

    9.03 brought a significant difference in some of the sounds which I use, particularly at gig volume. 9.04 less so, but still noticeable.
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  • My guess is 9.04 might be the final Axe FX 2 firmware, unless there are bugs in it.  I posted a new thread - Axe 3 just got announced.

    http://thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/123778/axe-fx-3#latest
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1545
    It does explain why Cliff went quiet. I wondered whether he’d got a life.

    I’m not sure that 9.04 will be the last update. There will be a lead time on the new model, and Cliff might need something to do while he’s waiting.
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