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Author Topic: Frackel Guitar Preamp/Processor  (Read 14181 times)

Bob Leonard

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Re: Frackel Guitar Preamp/Processor
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2015, 03:24:56 pm »

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Andrew Broughton

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Re: Fractal Axe-Fx Guitar Preamp/Processor
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2015, 03:44:45 pm »

It's kinda like starting an argument about records vs CDs. Which is better cannot be resolved, but we can agree that they sound different and each will choose what works for them.
There's as many different tools for guitar players as there are guitars and players. Each has their pros and cons.
As someone who has mixed many bands that use the Axe-FX, I can say that they can sound incredible. I also know that most guitar players don't take to them right away, and need an expert to help them dial in their tones. It can do so much, that the controls are endless as are the sounds, but so is the complexity. The same way that a person that's only used an analog mixer would need help working a digital mixer, a guitar player that uses regular amps will need help and/or time if they are to use an Axe-FX to it's fullest potential.

Many guitar players have embraced the flexibility and convenience of these modellers. Don't lump the Axe-FX in with other company's amp emulators, this is something special.

Some artists using the Axe-FX
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Steve M Smith

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Re: Frackel Guitar Preamp/Processor
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2015, 04:12:50 pm »

Your preaching to the choir. I understand your enthusiasm, and I wish you well with your modeler, but after more than 50 years of playing guitar, and working with or listening to, modelers and amplifiers in the hands of professionals, including myself, you'll not be able to bullshit me into believing even the best modeling amplifier can replicate the sound and feel of the real amp. No way can the complexity of the tone or touch of a good amplifier be "replicated" through a modeler, and I say this with conviction and with experience through actual use.

Whilst I agree with all of that, I have recently been using one of the Fender Mustang modelling amps and they are very good.  Much better than I was expecting.

Not as good as the amps they are modelling but still very good.  And much better than the Line 6 Flextone I bought ten years ago (and half the weight!).


Steve.
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Bob Leonard

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Re: Frackel Guitar Preamp/Processor
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2015, 04:13:47 pm »

Andy,
I agree that the Fractal units are indeed something special. You should know that I worked with one for about 2 weeks. I had no problem working through the settings, and I agree that the sound was outstanding in every way. Quality is high and the units are built very well. My problem was that as compared to my trusted Fenders, Mesa's and other amps there was something missing. The list of endorsements is eye opening and includes a couple of people I have worked with in the past. However, I won't say there is any bullshit here, but just keep in mind it would be a surprise if any of those folks have thrown away their trusted setup in favor of using the Fractal 100% of the time. Good stuff yes, but like everything else it has it's place. Hell, maybe if I had stayed with it I would an easier choice sizing my amp for the gig. I have way too many options to choose from. One last thing. No one has ever cloned a perfect duplicate of the grey Ross compressor.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Frackel Guitar Preamp/Processor
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2015, 04:38:33 pm »

Modeling amps have been around for probably 2 decades or so...I recall seeing the first line 6 proto at a trade show in Frankfurt back last century when I was still working in the industry. Modeling as a technology has been around even longer than that, in our business first pursued for more accurate keyboard voices.

Even if someone could model a perfect stradavari it still isn't the real deal, and never will be. Modeling amps are very useful for session players who can't carry a half dozen guitar amps with them, for live use their flexibility and portability have merit too.

Don't worry Bob nobody is taking your stash of classic amps away, and they won't drop in value overnight because somebody thinks a modeling amp is more real.

Technology is to be embraced where it makes sense and ignored where it doesn't. As processors get cheaper and more powerful technologies based on them should get cheaper and better too.

JR 

[edit] it's not that we can't model a ross compressor (?), there is nothing magical about one (IMO) but not enough people care? [/edit}
« Last Edit: August 23, 2015, 04:40:41 pm by John Roberts {JR} »
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Andrew Broughton

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Re: Frackel Guitar Preamp/Processor
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2015, 07:47:09 pm »

The list of endorsements is eye opening and includes a couple of people I have worked with in the past. However, I won't say there is any bullshit here, but just keep in mind it would be a surprise if any of those folks have thrown away their trusted setup in favor of using the Fractal 100% of the time.
Some use the Axe-FX as a full modeler, including the Amp/Cab emulation, others use it as a programmable FX box into their favourite guitar amp, and even more (who won't tell you, but I know for certain) use the Amp/Cab emulation, but because of endorsement deals, still have their amps and cabs on stage, unused, just for show.
I don't know that any of these endorsers are not able to get what they want out of the Axe-FX alone, but sometimes there's just no need to go through that effort to recreate their favourite sound if they've already got that with an amp and cab that someone else sets up for them and maintains...
If you do know any of them, reach out and I'm sure they'll tell you.
A perfect example of what can be done with the Axe-FX is what Alex Lifeson is doing. He has recreated all his acoustic guitar sounds with the Axe-FX so he can play them on his piezo-equipped electric. He also can recreate his venerable guitar pedal effects and all the different amps he used throughout his years without having to have dozens of amps and pedals on stage.

The best scenarios for the Axe-FX are when you need to recreate a whole lot of amps and fx and it's not feasible to carry those all around with you.
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Bob Leonard

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Re: Frackel Guitar Preamp/Processor
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2015, 07:52:00 pm »

Modeling amps have been around for probably 2 decades or so...I recall seeing the first line 6 proto at a trade show in Frankfurt back last century when I was still working in the industry. Modeling as a technology has been around even longer than that, in our business first pursued for more accurate keyboard voices.

Even if someone could model a perfect stradavari it still isn't the real deal, and never will be. Modeling amps are very useful for session players who can't carry a half dozen guitar amps with them, for live use their flexibility and portability have merit too.

Don't worry Bob nobody is taking your stash of classic amps away, and they won't drop in value overnight because somebody thinks a modeling amp is more real.

Technology is to be embraced where it makes sense and ignored where it doesn't. As processors get cheaper and more powerful technologies based on them should get cheaper and better too.

JR 

[edit] it's not that we can't model a ross compressor (?), there is nothing magical about one (IMO) but not enough people care? [/edit}

I've embraced modeling for other instruments whole heartedly since conception, much like embrace certain transistorized amplifier. Some times it works, sometimes it doesn't. What modeling does do without question, and does very well is replicate effects (except a Ross compressor). Another nice feature of modeling is the ability to replicate the clean sound of an amplifier.

The Ross compressor, for all of it's simplicity, has been cloned by many, many manufacturers. However, for one reason or another nobody get's it quite right. Perhaps it's the old bit bucket chip combined with old clown fish caps. Who knows, but I own a pair of them and selling them on Ebay for $350-500 would be a walk in the park. What I do know is that they don't change your tone, alter the feel, or change the sound of your guitar/amp in any way other than provide sustain when used properly. So, in the end people will use what's best for them and if they get good sound I'm all for it.
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BOSTON STRONG........
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Bob Leonard

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Re: Frackel Guitar Preamp/Processor
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2015, 08:02:00 pm »

Some use the Axe-FX as a full modeler, including the Amp/Cab emulation, others use it as a programmable FX box into their favourite guitar amp, and even more (who won't tell you, but I know for certain) use the Amp/Cab emulation, but because of endorsement deals, still have their amps and cabs on stage, unused, just for show.
I don't know that any of these endorsers are not able to get what they want out of the Axe-FX alone, but sometimes there's just no need to go through that effort to recreate their favourite sound if they've already got that with an amp and cab that someone else sets up for them and maintains...
If you do know any of them, reach out and I'm sure they'll tell you.
A perfect example of what can be done with the Axe-FX is what Alex Lifeson is doing. He has recreated all his acoustic guitar sounds with the Axe-FX so he can play them on his piezo-equipped electric. He also can recreate his venerable guitar pedal effects and all the different amps he used throughout his years without having to have dozens of amps and pedals on stage.

The best scenarios for the Axe-FX are when you need to recreate a whole lot of amps and fx and it's not feasible to carry those all around with you.

I agree Andy, especially with acoustic emulation, one of the reasons I was very eager to try the box to begin with. I ended up buying a pair of Fishman Aura pedals. They work just fine and remove all but the tiniest bit of piezo quack. Great box for $300, and a great DI as well. I don't know of many if any "A" level players who don't process their electric acoustic in one way or another, or add some type of system to supplement or replace the piezo under the bridge. Me, I don't play a lot of acoustic so my Epiphone is just fine in that respect. My side man? He's a horse of a different color. He plays Martin D-28s and Gibson J-45s, and only the best system will do for him. But, it's his money, his guitars, and his sound. How can I complain about that.
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BOSTON STRONG........
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Frackel Guitar Preamp/Processor
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2015, 08:34:14 pm »



The Ross compressor, for all of it's simplicity, has been cloned by many, many manufacturers. However, for one reason or another nobody get's it quite right. Perhaps it's the old bit bucket chip combined with old clown fish caps. Who knows, but I own a pair of them and selling them on Ebay for $350-500 would be a walk in the park. What I do know is that they don't change your tone, alter the feel, or change the sound of your guitar/amp in any way other than provide sustain when used properly. So, in the end people will use what's best for them and if they get good sound I'm all for it.
OK you made me look... I found a schematic of the "Ross Compressor" and found nothing remarkable...  No bucket (?) chips (bucket brigade delay?), and I don't know what a clown fish cap is (please don't tell me).

From input it is a simple emitter follower with relatively high input impedance (470k). Good for lead guitar pick-ups. 

The gain element is relatively common ca3080 OTA (operational transconductance amp). While common this is a somewhat premium approach for a guitar compressor that more typically use a cheap JFET shunt design.   

The important thing about dynamics is the side chain. The Ross uses full wave rectification for faster reliable attack from either polarity signal. It is generally very fast attack (as fast as a transistor can discharge a 10uF cap) with a slower fixed release time.

The 3080 OTA is cleaner than a JFET shunt, but not as clean as a VCA. In that application the side chain manipulations will be more audible than than the OTA distortion, which isn't 0%, probably a few tenths percent THD.   

I don't see anything that couldn't be modeled with a little effort.

JR 

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Jay Marr

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Re: Frackel Guitar Preamp/Processor
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2015, 11:01:59 pm »

Andrew,
All exactly the same points I would have made.  Interesting comment about some artists still using amps because of their endorsements.  I actually got a famous artist to admit that to me at namm this year.   :)


Bob,
You seem to be backing away from your original 'tone was suck' comment, so that's good to see.  As you have your pics of your vintage gear, I have a few of those same amps (and quite a few more) over 30 vintage guitars.  I love my tube amps as well...in my rehearsal studio.  But on the road, a 2 space rack can cover anything I've ever needed.  It you haven't already, explore the axe fx tone matching feature.  Can make piezo sound like a nicely mic'd acoustic.

I'm in no way trying to promote digital is better.....but back to the original post....the axe fx is an outstanding modeler, and sounds amazing in the right hands.

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Re: Frackel Guitar Preamp/Processor
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2015, 11:01:59 pm »


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