A GOOD-SOUNDING, WARM TUBE AMP SOUNDS
ANYTHING BUT WARM AND GOOD
ACTUALLY IT SOUNDS LIKE
A BUZZ SAW
GOOD-SOUNDING VINTAGE TUBE AMPS...
...are a myth. If you've ever heard a good-sounding, warm tube amp without a cabinet you will know that nothing sounds colder, more horrible or more like a buzz saw. In other words, it's the cabinet that makes a so-called good-sounding tube amp sound warm and good. Need an example?
First part is a real Mesa Boogie amp with with an EVM121, second part with no cabinet
THE CABINET CREATES THE TONE
Anyone who plays their own amp through someone else's cabinet for the first time will be surprised at how different it suddenly sounds. Whether it's a turn for the better or for the worse is often just a matter of taste.
The occasionally very surprising differences in the tonal colouring caused by different cabs is down to the fact that a cabinet is anything but linear in its frequency response. On the contrary, it's rather like an oversized three-dimensional graphic equaliser, whose filtering function is to reduce certain frequencies while simultaneously boosting others.
JUST LIKE IN REAL LIFE
And as the Axe-Fx is (among other things) simply an exact mirror image of these 'good-sounding' tube amps, it behaves in exactly the same way: send the signal coming out of the Amp block straight into a neutral sound reproduction system such as a pair of good headphones or a linear FRFR monitor, rather than sending it into a guitar cabinet, and you will hear something that sounds like a mixture of cheap-and-nasty transistor amp and buzz saw.
First part is the Axe-Fx II Plexi 50W with Basketwave 4x12 Green IR, second with no IR
MORE OPTIONS THAN IN REAL LIFE
To simulate the missing EQ function of the non-existent guitar cab, the Axe-Fx uses CAB IRs. IR stands for Impulse Response and the technology behind it all captures the EQ curve of the loudspeakers and cabinet. The result is not only a digital fingerprint of the complete cabinet, but also the tonal properties of the microphones and even the microphone preamps that were used. In fact even the position of the microphone during the recording of the impulse response plays a role.
HUGE - 113 CABINET SIMS
Fractal Audio has already packed 35 of these new IRs into Firmware 10, bringing the total to an amazing 113 cabinet simulations and thus providing us with a huge array of different guitar and bass cabs. You might think that with this many options to choose from there would be something for just about any musical taste and that there must be a perfect partner for every one of the over 100 amp simulations. And you'd be right, in principle at least. Especially the 35 fantastic new cab models that have been added with the recently released Firmware 10 update, recorded with four different microphone types into a benchmark Neve 1070 microphone preamp and then professionally mixed, have been very well received and highly praised throughout the Axe-Fx II community.
UNLIMITED FREEDOM FOR SOUND ENGINEERS
The unlimited freedom the Axe-Fx already provides to make exactly your own dream sound could only really be topped by the addition of the ability to create your own cab mixes; in other words to slip into the sound engineer's shoes and select one or more microphones to capture the cabinet's impulse response. This is exactly what Fractal Audio is now offering with the 'Cab Producer Pack': the ability to choose one or more microphones for one or more cabinets and to mix them yourself!
BIGGER EARS SEE BETTER
A first class impulse response is the basis for perfect sound emulation in the Axe-Fx II and therefore great emphasis was placed on capturing the specific character of each cabinet in minute detail. For this reason the idea of using the same fixed microphone position for each cabinet was soon thrown overboard. Instead, it was decided to rely on the experienced ears of producer Eric Kilburn and sound tech Rob Marchione, who painstakingly placed every single microphone by hand, listening carefully for the 'sweet spot' for each and every cabinet. The results are simply fantastic: these IRs sound so organic and powerful that you can almost 'see' the selected cab with your ears.
THE FIRST PRODUCER PACK...
...consists of 16 loudspeaker cabinets from the selection at Wellspring Sound Studio in Acton, Massachusetts, plus a few models belonging to the Fractal Audio collection – captured in over 250 impulse responses.
Every one of these cabs was recorded with four microphones (Shure SM57, Sennheiser MD421, Royer 121 and Shure KSM32) and each mic signal was sent though three specially selected microphone preamps (Neve 1070, Massenburg GLM8304 and D.W. Fearn VT-2). Those wishing to experiment will also be interested in the additional 'far field' IRs, i.e. the ones that were captured at a large distance from the cabinets. The icing on the cake is the inclusion of the extremely time-consuming multi-microphone IRs of the D.W. Fearn and the Massenburg preamps for each of the 16 cabinets.
Axe-Fx II Super Verb with 4x10 ‘67 Super Reverb 4x10" Cabinet from the Producer Pack. IRs used:
Neve Mix (Factory Mix in FW10) / Fearn Mix / Massenburg Mix / Shure KSM32 / Shure SM57 / Royer R121
Sennheiser MD421 / Shure KSM32 + Sennheiser MD421 Mix / Shure Sm57 + Royer R121 Mix
Axe-Fx II Plexi 50W High with 4x12 ‘72 Basketweave w. Greenbacks Cabinet from the Producer Pack. IRs used:
Neve Mix (Factory Mix in FW10) / Fearn Mix / Massenburg Mix / Shure KSM32 / Shure SM57 / Royer R121 / Sennheiser MD421
Farfield TC30 Shure KSM32 + Sennheiser MD421 Mix / Shure Sm57 + Royer R121 Mix
Producer-Pack Vol. 1 'Wellspring Sound' is available as
a download product in the Fractal Online Store for $19.99
Producer-Pack Vol. 2 'Mad Oak Studio' is available as
a download product in the Fractal Online Store for $19.99