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Still struggling with the Axe FX II

Josh Lachapelle

Full Member
Nov 11, 2019
38
5
So I posted a few weeks ago about struggling with getting a good recording tone out of the Axe FX II. I'm still struggling, but have made progress. I'll attach a video that has audio only of a cover I'm working on. It'll be my guitars only.

There's 2 guitars. One panned 35 Left, one 35 Right. Left is using a JCM800 Sim with Syn's Hellwin IR (SM57 A), Right Guitar is using same Cab but EVH5150 Sim. Both have a tube screamer sim, Drive at 0, Level at 10. Amp settings are slightly different but roughly the same. Lows, Mids, Highs are all around 5 to 5.5, with Trebs being slightly highest and Lows slightly lowest ONLY because any other way I found it sounded muddy (which makes no sense to me...but yeah haha). I realized after the fact that my gain on the JCM800 was at 6 (I usually have it at 4), but strangely I find the EVH5150 guitar sounds the most "scratchy" and it's gain is sitting at 4. I'm using an Epiphone SG with a Seymour Duncan 59 in the Neck and Invader in the Bridge (weird combo, I know). It is worth noting I DO have the brightness switch turned on as well for both amps, which is probably not helping. But again, with it off, I found the tones sounded dull. Not an issue I'd have with a physical amp. I'd rather use the Axe FX for versatility which is why I bought one.

In the clip I'm attaching, I've EQ'd the guitars, both are pretty similar. I'm cutting everything below 100hz, and a pretty hard cut of everything above 5-6K. I also notched -7db at 4K and at 2K. Both of those spots I found had their own annoying, whistling sort of sound. I felt notching made it a little smoother.

So, at this point I'm stumped and insanely frustrated. Hope someone out there can enlighten me haha Thanks in advance for taking the time :)

Josh \m/


EDIT: Here's another clip of the guitars in the full Mix using a backing track that's had the guitars removed.
 
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Josh Lachapelle

Full Member
Nov 11, 2019
38
5
Maybe try lowering your pickups a bit away from the strings. If they are too close they can make weird noises.
Oh true, eh!? This is how far my pickup is currently. Too high you think?
 

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Hiroshi Nakauye

Full Member
Nov 11, 2019
43
30
Hard to say just by looking at it. the invader is a high output pickup so the magnetic field is strong. I would try quarter turns while playing and listening. Just dont unscrew it too much or the pickup will drop into the cavity.
 
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Josh Lachapelle

Full Member
Nov 11, 2019
38
5
Hard to say just by looking at it. the invader is a high output pickup so the magnetic field is strong. I would try quarter turns while playing and listening. Just dont unscrew it too much or the pickup will drop into the cavity.
Alright, I'll give that a go! Thanks for the tip!
 

Josh Lachapelle

Full Member
Nov 11, 2019
38
5
Sounded good to me too. Try adding a bass or drum track along with it and see if you still notice what your hearing. All I could really hear was a faint picking noise.
Yeah?? Doesn't seem too trebley or like screechy to your ears? Maybe I'm just going crazy having spent so much time trying to fine tune haha
 

Steven Bellah

Active Member
Nov 11, 2019
103
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Fort Worth Tx
Yeah?? Doesn't seem too trebley or like screechy to your ears? Maybe I'm just going crazy having spent so much time trying to fine tune haha

Somedays things just sound weird. That mix sounds pretty fucking great to me though. I can hear both guitars pretty well.

Personally I don't have a super discerning ear for the details like some do. Trying to learn how to tweak my own tone between live sound and recording sound. I've noticed a trick is to record your separate guitar parts more than once. Layer them to thicken the tone up.
 
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Josh Lachapelle

Full Member
Nov 11, 2019
38
5
Somedays things just sound weird. That mix sounds pretty fucking great to me though. I can hear both guitars pretty well.

Personally I don't have a super discerning ear for the details like some do. Trying to learn how to tweak my own tone between live sound and recording sound. I've noticed a trick is to record your separate guitar parts more than once. Layer them to thicken the tone up.
Well thanks, man! Glad you like it! Maybe I'm just crazy since everyone on this thread so far doesn't seem to think it's bad haha A couple friends said it sounded good too, there's just something my ear is hearing that I'm not fully satisfied with, but maybe I'm over obsessing about it. I'm trying to learn where the line is between striving for the best and not over obsessing haha

Yeah, I would normally double track something like my Rhythms, but in the context of this mix it felt like it was too much, which I honestly rarely find a situation where double tracking sounds too much. It could also be I need a slightly drier tone for recording yet. I know typically you definitely don't want to overdo it with distortion when recording.

Tweaking live vs recording sound can be a headache that I don't know if anyone fully 100% gets right. It seems like you'll always be tweaking and working on your sound/tone haha But from a general viewpoint, like I said, it seems the main difference is you want a bit drier of a tone to record with. For leads you may want a bit more distortion for sustain and such, but especially for Rhythms if you're double tracking, you want something more dry.
 
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Ed Seith

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    To my ear, the guitars are WAY too loud in that mix, but that may have just been to try and make your point. I *think* I hear what you mean, and I might suggest trying a different mic than the SM57, or at least changing the mic for one of your two tracks. I like the Royer MD421 for a modern rock rhythm tone. I find the SM57s too brittle most of the time. If you go into your CAB settings, you can change the mic.
     
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    Josh Lachapelle

    Full Member
    Nov 11, 2019
    38
    5
    To my ear, the guitars are WAY too loud in that mix, but that may have just been to try and make your point. I *think* I hear what you mean, and I might suggest trying a different mic than the SM57, or at least changing the mic for one of your two tracks. I like the Royer MD421 for a modern rock rhythm tone. I find the SM57s too brittle most of the time. If you go into your CAB settings, you can change the mic.
    I might actually have a 58 on the JCM800 I'll have to double check. I usually do cycle through all the Mic options in the Axe FX to see what sounds best to my ear, but that may be the case. Do you think the Brightness switch being on might also be the cause?

    And yeah I probably have to lower them a bit, at the same time I want them to pop a little more than a "radio mix" since it's a guitar cover. But obviously not overkill either. I think the only person I can think of that mixes Guitar Covers well in my opinion is Cole Rolland. His guitars pop and stand out, yet they still sit in the mix to a degree.