Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #131384  by James-T
 Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:28 am
Starting a new thread on the old AXE FX topic but it seems somehow appropriate. I've been experimenting with outputs on my rig. I've got a K12 newly purchased last moth thats seem three gigs so far. Which I am digging, but it's still missing that amp in the room feel. My understanding is that it's how it projects the sound that causes the different feel and not so much the power amp in it. It's a monitor after all and not a guitar cab.

So following the manual's as vice I tried the Ultra direct through my Blues Deluxe/ JBL D120 combo. The manual says to turn the bass and treble to 0 and the mid pot to 10 and your guitar amp will not colour the sound. The JBL helps as well as its designed to be very transparent or at least that is the theory on this model of speaker.

The results on clean tones were a bit harsh but on overdriven tones it's totally juiced. No need to turn off amp blocks or even speaker IR's.

So the next step was to try it through my 73 twin and JBL cab setup. The results were a notch up. Close but still no cigar.

Where I'm going with this was I was wondering what a power amp would be like with the FX rig. There has been a BGW power amp from the 70s on our local CL all summer and being a very small world it turns out it was a friend selling it who jams with us even so often. He bought two of them new in the mid 70s to power his stage wedges.

In researching this model the only decent references I came up with we're from RUKind and from the Fractal forum. It seems on the fractal forum there is some crusty old blues player who claims Fractal's own power amp is almost as good as his old BGW 250.

If you follow the Fractal forums you will also find out that Cliff the fractal inventor uses a power amp setup and not a powered monitor for his personal rig.

The results are almost night and day from the K12. The my JBL cab gives the Ultra a huge sound when paired with a really high quality power amp. The downside is the hassle, the powwr amp is one extra piece of gear, but the upside is it sounds so good on every setting Ive got dialed in with the cabs and amp sims on that I'll be using it for backline but still go direct to frontline when doing larger gigs and it sounds even better when paired with the k12 in a blended Sterio setup. It really shines on the deluxe reverb, brown face and twin reverb settings. Especially on the deluxe reverb settings.

More gear but it was an easy trade, a Namo reverb pedel and 100 bucks for a vintage studio quality power amp. It also has significantly more juice than the K12, Probally due to the massive transformers and the high db sensitivity of the JBLs.

I'm interested to hear what other folks are using with their Jerry FX rigs. In my books I've stumbled upon a pretty decent compromise between digital and analog.
 #131386  by strumminsix
 Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:16 am
James, IMO (and others too) when you go for modellers you choose your route:
A) FRFR and daisy chain to the PA without EQ'ing etc
B) into a poweramp and and guitar speaker and mic that to PA

What's your goal? Representation on stage same as FOH or maybe IEM's or quieter stage? If so go FRFR since another good thing with that is that you put your monitor in front of you! Simply sonic awesomeness with guitar amp feel? Then go B.
 #131392  by James-T
 Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:19 pm
Hey now,

I don't think I'll be putting a mic in front of my JBLs any time soon and if you follow the Fractal forums most players who go the power amp route use that as backline but still go direct to FOH from the Fractal's outputs. They just disengage the cab IRs. It would be totally defeating the technology to mic a cab plus the unit has wicked Sterio potential which can really fill out the sound of a room.

The purpose of the post is to get some first hand experience out there. I was surprised at how transparent the JBLs are but them again that's what I've read, if you want to really hear what you amp really sounds like use JBLs. They don't colour the sound as much.

There is a lot of debate on the feel of playing through a powered monitor on the net. For me playing through my JBLs with the axe fx was a breakthrough. It feels more responsive, and sounds fuller. It's like playing through a 1 12 cab versus a 2 12 cab. The 2 12 cab or a twin combo just has that extra umph.

I'll probally use my cab on stage more often than not. And may user K12 as a monitor at the same time.

When I see Furthur and other shows I like to get up close to hear the actual backline gear. It's a different experience than hearing just the PA. In my world of thinking better sound quality.
 #131448  by NorthboundRain
 Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:41 pm
When I first got my AxeFXII I ran it through a QSC K12, wasn't happy so I did a few gigs using it as an effects unit with an SMS pre, Carvin TS100 amp and Hard Trucker/Tone Tubby Cab. After a while I stopped bringing along the pre and after some studio sessions with a Axe I went back to the K12.

These days I'm loving my tone (and it's consistency from venue to venue) but there was an adjustment period learning to use the Axe K12 combo. Modeling the Twin and JBL didn't work for me but the CAE clean through a 4x12 has me pretty happy.

When I do use the JBLs I turn the speaker drive to 10 so they "cook" a little bit.

I also find that when I dial in sounds on my own they often sound anemic in the full band context. Adding some extra gain helps me stand out in the mix without sounding distorted at all.
 #138533  by James-T
 Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:24 pm
Sorry to revive an old post. I may eat my own words yet. I've been experimenting with the 4CM - four cable method and using my blues deluxe as the power and pre map and using the Ultra as a tone shaper - and I'm still using some cab and map sims in places.

I did a buch of A/B ing and have concluded in my own mind that the Ultra is just too compressed for my style of playing through a FRFR monitor....and I have a K12. Did a rehearsal in the city with that K12 yesterday and reminded myself how pure digital just sin't cutting it. I'm finding the notes are just note "blooming" like they should - and although its like splitting hairs - that's the rub with the Fractal. Digital just sounds a bit to compressed for me in the band context. The more I play the more picky I'm getting!

But I have to say, that el cheapo Blues Deluxe sure sounds great with the Ultra out in front pushing it. Nothing like the sizzle of L6L's to inspire your playing.

I've been doing a lot of recording lately and also reminded myself that there is nothing wrong with putting a mic in front of your amp. I've been getting better recordings that way than direct with the Ultra to my recorder.

Does the SMS have an effects loop? That would be the natural upgrade from the Blues Deluxe. Unfortunately, my newest amp, a 73 Vibrolux is totally old school and just doesn't bond with the Ultra, but for shows over 2 hours I think I will go with two amps - the Vibrolux as the main and a Ultra/ Blues Deluxe setup for certain signature patches. I carry the Blues Deluxe with me to every show anyways as a back up. Might as well use it!

I think the ultimate setup would be an SMS being pushed by the fractal with a really good power amp into a 2x12 HT cab for amp A and my Vibrolux as amp B with a 1x12 matching cab sitting on top of the 2x12 cab.

So there you have it. using the Ultra FX but mic'ing it. Who would have ever thought.

Peace, :smile: