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Old 05-01-2014, 08:15 PM   #1
Works0fheart
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Gear question for Mike

Hey man, I know you'd been using the AXE FX for a bit. What amp sims and what not do you use in it? You've got pretty much my favorite guitar tone and I've been trying to get as close to that clarity as possible but with the AXE FX it's actually a bit overwhelming trying to do so. Any advice, or do you maybe have a preset I could try out?
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Old 05-02-2014, 03:15 AM   #2
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Re: Gear question for Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by Works0fheart View Post
Hey man, I know you'd been using the AXE FX for a bit. What amp sims and what not do you use in it? You've got pretty much my favorite guitar tone and I've been trying to get as close to that clarity as possible but with the AXE FX it's actually a bit overwhelming trying to do so. Any advice, or do you maybe have a preset I could try out?
Yo dude!
When recording Servile (late 2007) I was using an Axe-FX 1 with firmware version 4.05. The presets became irrelevant after a couple firmware updates, let alone when I made the switch to an Axe-FX 2 when it came out.

From memory, the rhythm preset blocks were:
-->Graphic EQ 10 band--->Drive block--->Amp--->Graphic EQ 10 band--->Cab

The graphic eq up front was to remove a small amount of low end from the signal before the amp. Which is a trick used by many to achieve a tighter bass response. I don't recall exactly what the settings were, but it was just a couple db drop on the lowest 2 or 3 frequencies. This is why many people love Tubescreamer pedals. They are designed to cut the low end, as well as boost the signal and/or add distortion.

The Drive block I used was called Tube distortion, which was removed in a later firmware version. I don't know what it was replaced with, but the TS808 model is a great as well. Most people with Axe-FX's do not use any distortion with a Drive block. Instead they leave the drive set to 0, or very low, and instead boost the output level to max, or near max. What this does is turn the pedal into a clean boost. Making the amp sim distort more. It also has the benefit of cutting a bit of the low end before the amp input to tighten the lows.

Note: The latest several firmware updates for the Axe-FX 2 are such a significant improvement, most people no longer need to use an EQ block up front to cut lows, since there is now a cut option in the amp section. Also, it is easier to achieve a tighter high gain tone now with most amp models, and many people that previously used TS808 or similar drive pedals in their preset, are now getting the same results with just the amp block by using a combination of the cut option, as well as the boost option (clean boost 20db+).

The amp model which was a Solo100 (Soldano SLO 100) is a classic, bad ass amp. I actually used a pretty flat EQ for the settings, with the bass/mids/treble all pretty close to 12 o'clock.

The GEQ after the amp I used to boost those 2-3 low end frequencies I cut before the amp in the first GEQ block in the preset. I basically did the exact opposite settings in the post amp GEQ.

The cabinet I used was a blend of 2 cabs. One of the Recto v30 cabs (which was removed/replaced a long time ago) and a T75 cab. I don't remember which cab it was. For mic sims in the cab block I used one mic that was removed/replaced long ago, I don't even remember what it was called. The other I THINK was an R121. The other settings I didn't really mess with much.

Things to consider....
The preset I used was nothing very special. It did not sound great by itself with 1 guitar. It was "designed" to sound good with another guitar track panned to the other side, and in a mix with all the other instruments. And honestly, it was a very difficult preset to tame. Even though it did not have too much distortion, it was very touchy and required me to be very precise in my playing or I would get a lot of string noise and flaws would just jump out.

Anyways, my advice is to have a drum track or two ready to go, and work on getting your sound in context with a mix. Also, I hope you have an Axe-FX 2, because with the latest firmware updates, as it is infinitely easier now to get a good tight high gain tone with many different amps now. The newer cab models are much better now too. Which makes a huge difference.

Some of the amps I love now are the 5153 red, TripTik modern, Angel Severe (Engl Savage), FAS Modern 1/2, FAS Brootalz, and actually most of the older high gain amps which I never liked are now totally useable. And of course I still like the SLO100. Though I'm certain I could get a better than Servile tone with other amp models now. If I record something again, I wouldn't be adverse to blending 2 amps this time.

I really hope this helps. I know this may not be as specific in settings as you may have liked. But I have a few reasons for not giving out my specific settings or presets.

1. Not that the tone on Servile was anything spectacular, or very unique, but I'd prefer to not hear another album with the same guitar tone. I worked very hard to make it sound the way it sounded, and I've probably had 200+ requests for the exact preset over the last few years.

2. What I dial in is not always going to sound good with another person's guitar, or playing style, or sound good in a mix with different drums, etc.

3. One of the only times I gave out the preset several years ago, pretty much convinced me to never do it again. Another poster from this board sent me a message saying basically "hey dude, I just got an Axe-FX and if you could just go ahead and send me that preset you used on Servile that would be great". Of course this request came across as very douchey and had a sense of entitlement to it that instantly turned me off. I instead gave him a lot of advice and pointed him in all the right directions. Which was a huge waste of time.

He then came back a week later, having been too lazy to spend the time using my advice to make a preset he liked, he messaged me several more times begging for the preset claiming he was defeated by the unit and needed my help as he was getting ready to record. I gave in and sent him the preset. I didn't even get a thank you, or anything like that. Just a reply a couple days later telling me the preset sounded like shit and he used it as a foundation for making his own preset, to which he posted a sound clip of, which sounded like absolute ass. And of course I got zero credit for helping or creating the original preset he butchered. Which was probably a good thing, but still.

So I said fuckit, I've been burned a few times online with helping people, and even though I'm always happy to help people as best as I can when asked, it benefits me in no way to give out specific presets or settings. On the other hand, I think leading people in the right direction with more generalized tips for preset creation is more beneficial to everyone. Hopefully the other person learns more about what the unit is capable of and how to achieve certain results, and hopefully I won't have to hear another record with the same exact guitar tone as Servile.

Anyways, good luck with it and feel free to ask if you have any other questions.
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:38 PM   #3
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Re: Gear question for Mike

Ah. It seems like have of the bands I like the tone of put those GEQ's to good use. I always have such a hard time setting one up though since I'm just used to the basic 3-knob eq. I hadn't tried running it with a boost however, but as you mentioned, the amps now have the boost and cut features, which I normally keep on. I tried tossing the TS808 out front of the amp I was using to mimic the setup I was using for a while (5150 with a ts808 out front) but it just sounded kind of off to me on the AXE FX.

That's an interesting concept you mentioned though about leaving the drive set to 0 so I'm definitely going to have to give that a try. I often have a hard time getting my cleans to be as clear as I like them to be without being too twangy and still maintaining some warmth so that may be a solution for me I hope.

But yeah, what you're mentioning is what sounds ideal to me. I got a little carried away trying to make a preset and I've still got a lot to learn about setting the thing up but here's what I came up with.

http://axechange.fractalaudio.com/de...hp?preset=2333

I really dig that very tight and punchy low end sound. I think I could probably bare to dial back the gain a little bit but I tried just using the compressor and noise gate to help with that. I'm probably not getting as close as I would like to with the preset but I really like to hear picking nuances and a lot of articulation and clarity, and like I said, your tone is pretty much as close to that as it gets. For awhile I thought it might just be the recording of the album like you'd mentioned but I'd heard enough of your live stuff here and there to know that your playing really has a big impact on the tone you get, which really should go without saying, but I think there's a drastic difference from the early material to servile.

Also, I've never tried one of those Soldano amps. Always heard good things but I've never seen a real one in person and I'm not sure if I've tried the one on the MKII yet.

I'd also read somewhere a while back that you do that thing with the fairly flat EQ and when I tried it out it pretty much changed the way I went about setting up my amps (the EQ's close to 12 bit).

I had tried a few of the Recto cab blocks as well but just couldn't get a good feel for them (un-mic'd) but I don't think I went through a enough of the mic's and placement distance, etc. That bit with the mic'ing distance and some of that extra stuff tends to ward me off a bit lol.

Another thing I think I may have done wrong is the bit you mention about how the preset was only meant to sound good with two guitars. I think I built a lot of my preset around trying to sound as strong as what you had on there without taking that into account.

And yeah, I tried a few of those amps you mentioned. I really liked the FAS Brootalz but not on it's own, as you may have noticed by my preset. Still though, there's enough good amps in that thing that I'll probably keep swapping around for months before/if I settle on anything.

Anyways, I appreciate you taking the time to reply to this Mike, it means a lot. It's nice to be able to talk to someone in death metal who actually takes their tone somewhat serious. I notice that a lot of dm guitarists tend to just use whatever and not really think about it too much. That's all good and fine, but I still prefer that very tight sound. I'm sorry to hear about your experiences with douche bags you'd tried to help out. It was probably just Ron Sword and he decided to get even with you by printing shirts lol.

Take it easy man, hope all is well for you. It would be nice to hear some new music out of you. I don't care if it's polka, just something. You've got too much talent to not use it, and I'm going to keep hounding you about it lol.
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Old 05-07-2014, 01:27 AM   #4
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Re: Gear question for Mike

Hey man,
Sorry to leave you hangin. I've been waiting to get a chance to try out that preset you posted and then reply. Soon.
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:36 AM   #5
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Re: Gear question for Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by Works0fheart View Post
Ah. It seems like have of the bands I like the tone of put those GEQ's to good use. I always have such a hard time setting one up though since I'm just used to the basic 3-knob eq. I hadn't tried running it with a boost however, but as you mentioned, the amps now have the boost and cut features, which I normally keep on. I tried tossing the TS808 out front of the amp I was using to mimic the setup I was using for a while (5150 with a ts808 out front) but it just sounded kind of off to me on the AXE FX.

That's an interesting concept you mentioned though about leaving the drive set to 0 so I'm definitely going to have to give that a try. I often have a hard time getting my cleans to be as clear as I like them to be without being too twangy and still maintaining some warmth so that may be a solution for me I hope.

But yeah, what you're mentioning is what sounds ideal to me. I got a little carried away trying to make a preset and I've still got a lot to learn about setting the thing up but here's what I came up with.

http://axechange.fractalaudio.com/de...hp?preset=2333

I really dig that very tight and punchy low end sound. I think I could probably bare to dial back the gain a little bit but I tried just using the compressor and noise gate to help with that. I'm probably not getting as close as I would like to with the preset but I really like to hear picking nuances and a lot of articulation and clarity, and like I said, your tone is pretty much as close to that as it gets. For awhile I thought it might just be the recording of the album like you'd mentioned but I'd heard enough of your live stuff here and there to know that your playing really has a big impact on the tone you get, which really should go without saying, but I think there's a drastic difference from the early material to servile.

Also, I've never tried one of those Soldano amps. Always heard good things but I've never seen a real one in person and I'm not sure if I've tried the one on the MKII yet.

I'd also read somewhere a while back that you do that thing with the fairly flat EQ and when I tried it out it pretty much changed the way I went about setting up my amps (the EQ's close to 12 bit).

I had tried a few of the Recto cab blocks as well but just couldn't get a good feel for them (un-mic'd) but I don't think I went through a enough of the mic's and placement distance, etc. That bit with the mic'ing distance and some of that extra stuff tends to ward me off a bit lol.

Another thing I think I may have done wrong is the bit you mention about how the preset was only meant to sound good with two guitars. I think I built a lot of my preset around trying to sound as strong as what you had on there without taking that into account.

And yeah, I tried a few of those amps you mentioned. I really liked the FAS Brootalz but not on it's own, as you may have noticed by my preset. Still though, there's enough good amps in that thing that I'll probably keep swapping around for months before/if I settle on anything.

Anyways, I appreciate you taking the time to reply to this Mike, it means a lot. It's nice to be able to talk to someone in death metal who actually takes their tone somewhat serious. I notice that a lot of dm guitarists tend to just use whatever and not really think about it too much. That's all good and fine, but I still prefer that very tight sound. I'm sorry to hear about your experiences with douche bags you'd tried to help out. It was probably just Ron Sword and he decided to get even with you by printing shirts lol.

Take it easy man, hope all is well for you. It would be nice to hear some new music out of you. I don't care if it's polka, just something. You've got too much talent to not use it, and I'm going to keep hounding you about it lol.
Hey dude,
I'm sorry for taking so long to reply. I finally got around to checking out that patch you made. It sounded really good, BUT:

First thing I noticed was that it was clipping to the output pretty bad. I had to turn down the level on both amps quite a bit. Didn't really dig around the patch to find out what was causing it. Anyways, the patch sort of went right with what I mentioned previously. It sounds like it was designed to sound really good when just playing by yourself. And that it does. But in context with any music it just doesn't stand out and is too bass heavy.

Ok so I then started to tweak the patch to something I think would be more usable in context with music, and keeping in mind also that there would be another guitar track as well. Things I changed instantly were:

1. Turned off the enhancer block.
I love this block for certain things. Clean patches, or sometimes with heavier patches just for playing along with other music. But with 2 guitar tracks in a death metal context, it's not needed.

2. Turned off the 2 compressor blocks feeding each amp.
Yes it added some distortion and sounded pretty cool, but a high gain amp is already compressing the signal a lot. You can achieve the same results in other ways without losing the dynamics you were losing with those compressors.

3. On the amp blocks, lowered the bass a bit, turned on the "Cut" button (which cuts low end in the amp), turned down the depth a little, boosted the mids treble and presence a little. I didn't really do any fine-tuning tweaking, just turned the dials quickly to what sounded "better" to me. Nothing too drastic in settings changes.

4. Turned down the reverb mix from 20% to 10% (I think)

5. Changed the Drive block settings. Turned drive to 0 and level to max.
Then I also turned down the gain from 7 to 5 (I believe) on the amp blocks.

6. Changed mic to sm57 on cab 1 block. Again, I didn't really do much fine tweaking, or even go through all the mics to test.

Also, probably my first question I had when seeing the patch was the tone match block. What did you tone match that to? It sounds good mixed with the other amp block.

I think it's fine to use 2 amp blocks/rows. But when you start over, start as simply as possible, and get that as close as possible to what you want. Start with just drive block (bypassed at first), amp block, cab block, and reverb (just enough to give it some breathing room). If you can't get enough saturation/distortion from just the amp, then add a ts808 drive, with the settings mentioned previously. With the cab block, again, get as close as possible with just one speaker type. And just like with the amp block, add another type if you need to.

I can tweak that patch a bit more and send it back to you. But keep in mind I'm using different monitors in a different room with a different guitar and pickups, etc. So it might not sound the same to you. Or if you have another updated (hopefully simpler) patch for me to check out and possibly tweak a bit, that's fine too.
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Old 02-25-2015, 11:33 PM   #6
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Re: Gear question for Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by M.Gilbert View Post
Hey dude,
I'm sorry for taking so long to reply. I finally got around to checking out that patch you made. It sounded really good, BUT:

First thing I noticed was that it was clipping to the output pretty bad. I had to turn down the level on both amps quite a bit. Didn't really dig around the patch to find out what was causing it. Anyways, the patch sort of went right with what I mentioned previously. It sounds like it was designed to sound really good when just playing by yourself. And that it does. But in context with any music it just doesn't stand out and is too bass heavy.

Ok so I then started to tweak the patch to something I think would be more usable in context with music, and keeping in mind also that there would be another guitar track as well. Things I changed instantly were:

1. Turned off the enhancer block.
I love this block for certain things. Clean patches, or sometimes with heavier patches just for playing along with other music. But with 2 guitar tracks in a death metal context, it's not needed.

2. Turned off the 2 compressor blocks feeding each amp.
Yes it added some distortion and sounded pretty cool, but a high gain amp is already compressing the signal a lot. You can achieve the same results in other ways without losing the dynamics you were losing with those compressors.

3. On the amp blocks, lowered the bass a bit, turned on the "Cut" button (which cuts low end in the amp), turned down the depth a little, boosted the mids treble and presence a little. I didn't really do any fine-tuning tweaking, just turned the dials quickly to what sounded "better" to me. Nothing too drastic in settings changes.

4. Turned down the reverb mix from 20% to 10% (I think)

5. Changed the Drive block settings. Turned drive to 0 and level to max.
Then I also turned down the gain from 7 to 5 (I believe) on the amp blocks.

6. Changed mic to sm57 on cab 1 block. Again, I didn't really do much fine tweaking, or even go through all the mics to test.

Also, probably my first question I had when seeing the patch was the tone match block. What did you tone match that to? It sounds good mixed with the other amp block.

I think it's fine to use 2 amp blocks/rows. But when you start over, start as simply as possible, and get that as close as possible to what you want. Start with just drive block (bypassed at first), amp block, cab block, and reverb (just enough to give it some breathing room). If you can't get enough saturation/distortion from just the amp, then add a ts808 drive, with the settings mentioned previously. With the cab block, again, get as close as possible with just one speaker type. And just like with the amp block, add another type if you need to.

I can tweak that patch a bit more and send it back to you. But keep in mind I'm using different monitors in a different room with a different guitar and pickups, etc. So it might not sound the same to you. Or if you have another updated (hopefully simpler) patch for me to check out and possibly tweak a bit, that's fine too.
Yeah, so sorry for taking even longer to reply lol. I don't get on here much anymore.

Here's my new(est) patch:
http://axechange.fractalaudio.com/de...hp?preset=3100

It's probably still bad, but yeah.

To this day, I'm still trying to work out good patches. I've got some that sound decent, and then a new firmware will come out and it pretty much changes how they sound a lot of the time so I start from scratch.

Recently though, I'd been having trouble getting a decent mix out of the patches I'd been using to record and it had been pretty frustrating for a while. I came onto the board here to see if there had been any sort of news and realized that you'd replied so I actually took the time to build a patch based around some of the things you'd mentioned.

1. Yeah, I agree, I can definitely live without the enhancer block. I'm honestly not sure why I had it there to begin with really.

2. Noted, took out the compressors, don't miss them one bit so far.

3. I think my new patch still sounds a little bassy, but not nearly as much as before, and there doesn't appear to be anymore output clipping thank god (that's been all sorts of a pain in the ass with recording). I tried turning on the "Cut" function on one and/or both of the amps I was running there and it sounded really tinny, but some of the other stuff I altered helped with the bass levels a bit.

4. Yeah, the reverb lowered helps quite a bit as well. Clipping was my biggest issue there for a bit.

5. I decided to keep following your advice with the TS808 block drive on 0 and level at max and I like the sound of it quite a bit.

6. For a bit there I was running 2 cabs per amp, mainly just because I could and I thought it would give me some type of unique sound. Instead, it just ended up being too many things to have to deal with in terms of mics and cabinet models so I just went with a 1960 cab for each amp and an sm57 for each as well.

About the tone matched bit that was in there; I used to have a 6505+ and before I sold it I decided to tone match it just because I really liked the sound of it, just not the versatility, and there was no point in having both that and the AXE-FX. I actually decided to take that tone match and try it with a few different amp blocks and the Modern sounded pretty good so I went with that, but I also decided to run another 6505 alongside it at lower volume just for a little more depth.

I dialed back the volume pretty far on both amps (3 or so I think) and the gain is at an even 5, which is more than enough really. I'm not sure why I had so much before.

The pickup in the guitar I was using for this was a passive EMG-HZ, so it's nothing too hot, at least compared to other high gain pickups. The other guitar I was using before in the other patch had some bareknuckles in it so again, I'm not sure why I had so much gain running on those amps. Hindsight I guess lol. My monitors are just some generic little M-Audio BX5's, but I honestly don't even use those in building the patch because they're so bassy on their own. Instead I have a pair beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones that I use primarily, that way I can get as close as I can to a full range, flat response setup for recording at least.

Anyways, I really appreciate you taking the time to go through that patch for me and give me some advice, again. It seems like I'm going to be fiddling with patches on this thing forever pretty much lol.

Thanks again though, Mike. I'm hoping that you're still working on music at least a little bit, but I know how that goes sometimes. I haven't had much free time since I last talked to you on here either because of college and work, but that's life I guess. Still, you know most of us on this board will keep pestering you about music lol. Hell, maybe you'll decide to start giving guitar lessons or something and I can throw some money at you.

Take care.
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