Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I make my Triaxis preamp sound like the Pro's I hear?
  2. Where can I find Triaxis Preset Downloads?
  3. Why doesn't the Triaxis Download Program work on my PC?
  4. Who the hell is Tony McKenzie?
  5. What is Tube Biasing?
  6. When can I see that Axe-FX review you did?
  7. Why the new website?
  8. Are you going to continue to review equipment with that 'Inside and Out' review style that you have?
  9. When will you run out of money to buy the gear you review?

How do I make my Triaxis sound like the Pro's I hear?

It's a good question with many answers! FIRSTLY - the Triaxis can be set up with many different sounds; make sure that the sounds within the unit are what you like; a simple statement, but unless you know how to change them with memory dumps, then it's twiddle time on the front controls. Unfortunately that is probably NOT the way to do things; the sounds you hear will be dependent on the other items in your rack including the amp used. So what's the answer?

Follow these steps to Nirvana sound (and I don't mean the band!) Buy the right Power amp for your sound and the best with the Triaxis is the Mesa Boogie 2:90. Most people get along fine with this overall sound, but you may not... but I guess you would. I have also tried various other amps including the massive Marshall 100/100, but that sound was more like a Marshall amp on steroids. Other amps like combo's etc. don't really hack it. Download the sound up loader from this site and install it on your computer. This program was for win 95 - some people complain that it will not work on XP - but if you set it up correctly in 95 emulation mode it probably will work ok. Setup the midi cables to the Triaxis. Now download some presets and upload them to the Triaxis. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SAVED THE OLD SETTINGS FIRST!

Now listen, listen and listen again to the sounds from the Triaxis. Find the ones you like best; there are literally hundreds to go through and all are worth the listen. I developed my own and these took 3-4 months of work to get the sounds that I think are killer; do it the easy way, download from tonymckenzie.com and choose the pro sounds you need. Use the speakers you intend to use live when evaluating the downloaded sounds, the difference can be amazing. For example, I always used two cabs of the 1x12 250 watts type closed backs; this gives me a good lead sound live, but it may well not be your sound; remember smaller cabs = less bottom end! One last thing, it's unlikely that you will sound exactly like your favorite guitar hero, but you will come VERY close.

Where can I find Triaxis Preset Downloads?

Triaxis downloads are saved sound files that you can use to upload to your Triaxis preamp. It's not a new idea but saves you months of work in developing sounds from scratch; the Triaxis IS complex. See the previous question for more info.

Why doesn't the Triaxis Download Program work on my PC?

The Triaxis program was written many years ago when Windows 95 was the flavor of the month - but things in the computer world move on at an alarming rate. We saw Windows 98, then Windows Millennium, then Windows 2000 and the Windows XP - now of course in windows 10! Bill Gates (or his oppo's these days) really does have something to answer for here; most of these operating systems are incompatible in one way or another. For the program to work on ANY of those systems you MUST set the program to run under Windows 95 emulation mode or it simply will not work. Checkout www.microsoft.com about how to do this it's not difficult, but I don't have the inclination to support Bill because like many others he does not pay me!

Who the hell is Tony McKenzie?

Tony McKenzie (not Richieblackmore.com, vai.org.uk, jimipage.org.uk, yngwie.org.uk or many other website names) owns this website. You might have found your way here by 'searching' for one of the other names associated with this website - and for that I make no apologies! This site tonymckenzie.com, triaxis.co.uk, bigdan.com (and others) is visited by many thousands of visitors - and those names are a contributing part and people who visit this site come back to it time and time again. It's rather like finding something by accident (well nearly) and deciding that your find was rather good; and with links to other sites from here you will be interested in some of the info available.

I have operated this site since early 2000 or thereabouts and when the site was launched it used to get about 50 hits a month! But these days the site is enjoyed by many and has even sometimes been recommended by Mesa Boogie so I'm told. Because I am a sort of technical guy, you can benefit from my experiences of how I have applied my ability to problems I have encountered with different products while I was building my sound canvas. You can also listen to my music on iTunes or loads of other places and hopefully you will like it - but if you don't - nobody minds either way. Remember if just 1 person in 1000 likes my music - I would be a household name - and so would you!

In reality I upkeep this site and my YouTube channel to hopeful help other guys in one way or another. Over the years I have leaned a little more to 'reviews' that are completely unbiased and truthful and that's something that you simply don't find every day - some reviews will bolster the equipment under review to be something it is not and when you buy it, well it is a big let down; magazines, manufacturers reviews, most regular musicians, your favourite guitar player that is either paid (or gets free gear) to write or appear in reviews and even guys who don't play guitar you name it, they all have their own little very biased way of telling you 'how great' the product is that they are promoting. But the fact is, that one way or another often they are either fan boys or are paid to say the gear is great! I NEVER do that; if the equipment under review is rubbish then I'll be the first guy to say so and even show you why on video to back up what I have said in my written reviews. Now that's a refreshing change right?

What is Tube Biasing?

Tube amps are a very old technology and are difficult beasts to handle - especially if you don't know what you are doing! Inside the power amp are typically voltages ranging from just 12 volts to 460 Volts+ in DC - which will easily kill you - especially if you get electrocuted with both hands. You will see the 'old' television guys working with one hand in their pocket - it's not because they enjoy themselves - it's to stay alive! So anyway inside the power amp is a thing called a tube or as they say in the UK a valve. Actually there's probably at least two, four, six or eight tubes. Each 'pair' of tubes works (the simplest way of describing) like a route to the next pair - or in a push-pull mode of operation. But these tubes need to have a particular voltage set to the most efficient to drive the tube correctly - this is known as the bias voltage. Often there is a small adjuster to change the bias voltage - not enough bias voltage and the tube runs cold and does not distort well (nicer for clean sounds), too much bias voltage and the tube will distort early (sometimes in a less musical way) and reduce the life of the tube. So it's important to get it right. There are many amps out there, and the bias voltages are often very different for each amp; a guess of the bias voltage is not usually a very good idea. Other problems exist - for example Mesa Boogies don't use a pot or adjuster for bias voltage change - instead they use a resistor. Mesa say that by using their tubes you don't need to set a bias for the amp - just buy the tubes as matched pairs or sets, plug them in and away you go (and away they go with your money too - they cost the earth in the United Kingdom). Of course, there are amps which are easy to set - such as the Marshall TSL and many of the later series of amps from Marshall amplification - these newer amps have an adjuster on the back of the amp. You will need some way of measuring the voltage - and the best method and safest I have found is to use a bias master from www.tubeampdoctor.com - this will save you hours and be completely safe if you follow the instructions. The bias master unit from tube amp doctor measures bias current of any 6L6GC, 5881, KT66, EL34, KT88, 6550 etc. in your amp. Includes 4 octal probes (2x bma2) and operation manual.

Last time I checked this unit cost about £100.00 or so, but you can use it over and over again -  and they sell just the sockets themselves so that you can use a simple volt meter to check your voltages of the bias of your amp. It's a good idea to check out the bias reasonably often to ensure the correct sound from your power amp as the difference can be amazing. Tube amp doctor also sells TAD Tubes - in my view these are as good as it gets - put them in a marshall amp and the amp is so different - it's radically better! Remember - the tubes themselves vary in quality, I only use TAD tubes in my Marshall and other amps. My recommendation for Amps of Brunetti, ENGL, Hughes & Kettner, Mesa Boogie, Soldano, Diezel, Egnater etc. TAD has the remakes of the all time favorite 6L6 classics of RCA and GE. The TAD 6L6GC-STR is the perfect choice for the tone of those rock legends with powerful deep bass and clear but pleasing airy top end. The 6L6GC-STR forwards the low end with pressure and has all the guts and bite to achieve all the rocking sounds from R'n'R like SRV to modern NU-Metal. This TAD 6L6GC-STR combines the famous reliability of the American made Philips/Sylvania STR series plus the beefed-up black-plate system like the highly regarded vintage RCA 6L6GC tubes. Obviously there are other brands around but I have never had a single tad tube fail since I started using them. Of more recent times I have had JJ tubes fail and nearly take out the amplifier... not recommended.

When can I see that Axe-FX review you did?  

You can't. I took a decision not to promote that product or its company in any way basically because of the attitude of the forum members (let's call them that) and the owner of that company. I have written many independent reviews over the years (indeed this site has been around longer than Fractal Audio) and have never quite suffered abuse in the way they dished it out to me (one of their customers that paid £2675.00 or $4000 equivalent for the privilege). It's not that I'm a prude or anything like that - its just that I don't like to be called a 'chucklehead' by the owner of that company basically because I believe they disliked what I said in my review; they must hate the truth? Other companies have found my reviews good to very good (in their own words) and I have often worked with those companies to expand my reviews with real manufacturer feedback - checkout the Marshall reviews for example and the Sanyo Pedal Juice review on my YouTube channel.

So instead of being civil and discussing the review so I could add content from fractal audio in to the written findings on my site they hurl abuse at me in a very personal way. I don't think that's right do you? In fact it's a great example of the exact way not to communicate - especially if someone wants me to listen. Needless to say, I don't listen to any site that promotes racist remarks, ageism comments, or indeed anything else that has been said by mainly nameless people who tend to hide on that particular forum behind silly names. Just one guy on that forum was cool - the rest? go figure... And I NEVER ever get influenced directly by any manufacturer because I would be just like the rest right? I still have the review of course and from time to time I use some of the images of rotten welding, cheap power supplies and more from the axe fx II in my other work as an example of how not to make decent products. Over 99% of other companies that I have reviewed equipment of happen to find my reviews good to exceptional. Ask yourself why fractal audio had that reaction, it's pretty much common sense that maybe I found some things they did not want to be published on my website and YouTube.

Why the new website?

Companies like Google will tell you that their work on the internet is for your benefit and what a great job they do with their search engine. Well, that statement would be great if it was true; in reality, Google and others are there for two things, your data and your money. But along the way they create untold havoc with owners of websites; they have the ability to put your website at the 'top of the listings' or never to be seen again and along the way keep 'tinkering' with the criteria of how your website should be rated. It's not just good enough to have a great website! Every now and then they change the method of assessing your website and some sites will go up in the listing and some sites will go down; it's a never ending circle. If you're unlucky then your site may indeed vanish in the ether forever and at that point you might as well give up; now that's the power Google hold and it should be addressed.

This website has had to be rewritten because of a Google threat! That's right, they said basically 'we notice your website is not easy to see on a cellphone; and if you don't fix that we will bear that in mind when we next examine your site and it will have an effect on your rating. That way of working is ridiculous and ill founded on the basis that Google owns the internet in some way. They certainly do not; I hate blackmail don't you?

It has taken me FOUR MONTHS of work just to update my website because of the Google blackmail and they don't give a hoot about any of that. Google's one way of thinking in everything they do is money, money. money; oh and advertising, and did I say money. So next time you think Google are the 'good guys' just trust me on this nothing could be further than the truth.

Are you going to continue to review equipment with that 'Inside and Out' review style that you have

The inside-and-out review style that I developed over a number of reviews turned out to be a really cool way of showing exactly what you get for your money and the quality of the equipment inside. Let's face it these days you never really know what the overall quality is like if you don't take a peek inside the unit under review; it could be like a rats nest inside or worse as in the case of the axe fx II I reviewed not really suitable for the road on the one I bought even though it was a rack unit. The general consensus from visitors to this website and my YouTube channel is that its a very good thing to include in a review so I'll be continuing that style for some time to come.

When will you run out of money to buy the gear you review?

I have been asked a few times by guys about how I get the money to buy all the equipment I review (I really do buy over 98% of equipment just like you do) and they don't do me any favors. The fact is, I won't run out of money so don't wait around for that to happen anytime soon. It's true I do sell off equipment sometimes to use the money to buy something else, but as far as what I do I always lose money from doing this stuff. Thankfully it's nothing to do with business or money that drives me to make reviews; its simply to help other guys make a choice about the equipment I choose to review. Now if someone wants to tell me this is a business clearly it is not; I don't sell anything other than disposal of what I have used personally and indeed have no interest whatsoever in running this hobby of music as any type of business. I choose what I want to do and when, there is absolutely zero money made from this website, my YouTube channel or anything relating to selling my old equipment; the fact is it's a massive money pit and my money only ever goes out and not in, which is far more than any of the other 'reviewers' I have seen from the music business ever conclude.

This is the main reason why my reviews should be completely trusted as they remain totally unbiased.

 

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