Over the past few weeks I’ve radically changed my guitar rig, replacing my pedals / pedalboard and amplifier with a Fractal Audio AxeFX system. The preamp / processor is the new AxeFX II XL, which handles all of the amp and cabinet modeling, along with signal routing and effects. I’m using the dedicated Fractal Audio MFC-101 Mk III control pedal, which connects to the AxeFX using a standard XLR cable. The AxeFX also has an editing software system called Axe-Edit, which makes the creation and management of patches quite easy. The system is powerful enough to recreate a myriad of amp and effect models, and in the process of creating my patches for BowieVision and the Dudley Manlove Quartet, I am already sold on how powerful it is.
For the power amp section I am using a Carvin DCM2000LX. This is a Class D amp, weighing 10 pounds, and provides 350 watts into 8 ohms. That’s plenty of oomph for my multi-instrument rig. It also has its own software-based management tool called X-Drive, allowing management of EQ response curves, crossover points, and delay tuning.
For speakers I am using a pair of Euphonic VL110 full-range cabinets. This allows me to run my rig in stereo onstage, and send my signal to front of house via the connections on the back of the AxeFX. This means there are no microphones involved in my rig anymore; in fact, the AxeFX models the mic and its placement as part of the overall patch, so that variable is removed from the stage. It’s also interesting to be using a FRFR (Full Range Flat Response) speaker system; essentially this is my on-stage guitar monitor, and it differs substantially from conventional guitar amps, which have a limited frequency response plus a “personality” in terms of tonal signature. The Euphonic cabs are designed to be high-fidelity neutral monitors.
My new setup is amazing. The clarity and transparency is akin to a studio recording experience. I’m really looking forward to our first shows with this system, especially the upcoming BowieVision performance at the Triple Door. That will be a great opportunity to fully exercise the capabilities of the full rig.
In upcoming posts I’ll show the full physical setup of the system, along with the rack and flight cases. It’s compact and very powerful.