For the nerds and those who just like to read: PAE-1 Technical Tips
It's common knowledge among practically all musicians that tube amps - particularly the power amp section - are more reactive and dynamic than solid-state amps. They compress, crunch and produce harmonics in ways solid-state amps simply cannot. In comparison, solid-state amps are often criticized as being "cold", "sterile" and "lifeless". That's why guitarists will gladly shell out thousands of dollars for tube amps when they could get solid-state amps with more features for a few hundred bucks. So is it even possible to capture the characteristics of a tube power amp without shelling out the big bucks and carrying around a 50-lb behemoth? Well, you'll never capture the impact of big speakers moving big air with just a pedal and a 10-watt bedroom amp (sorry, but for that you simply need the power to vibrate the walls), but now you can have the dynamics, compression, crunch and rich harmonic content of a tube amp in a small package.
The only pedal of its kind, the AXiom Power Amp Emulator PAE-1 was created by intensively studying the electrical characteristics of power tubes, transformers and tube heads and reproducing their behaviors in a 100% analog stompbox. To be clear, the PAE-1 is NOT an amplifier (it puts out about the same signal level as a loud overdrive or clean boost pedal). It isn't an "overdrive" pedal (and it isn't voiced or meant to be used as one). It isn't a digital modeler with cartoon-like exaggerations of what different tubes are "supposed" to sound like. What it does is emulate the real characteristics of a tube head and make whatever you plug into it seem like it's plugged into a tube power amp. Plug your overdrive pedals or preamp into the PAE-1 and plug the PAE-1 into your solid-state amp and voila: your sterile, lifeless amp now has the compression headroom, touch-sensitivity, crunch and sag of a tube head. Or, if you already have a tube amp, use the PAE-1 to give you that cranked tube feel at lower volumes or make your stiff, high-powered head more compressive and reactive.
- 100% analog circuitry
- Captures the dynamics, compression, crunch, distortion and rich harmonic content of a tube power amp.
- A MASTER control that adjusts the signal level into the internal phase-inverter emulator circuitry (just as a tube amp does)
- A FEEDBACK control that adjusts the internal negative feedback level: From no negative feedback at all (like a Vox AC-30) to high level (like a clean Fender).
- A POWER control that adjusts the behavior from that of a low-headroom 5W amp to a higher headroom 100W amp.
- A TUBE control that mimics the dynamic compression and headroom characteristics of different power tubes. You can dial from the stiffness and immediacy of ultra-linear configuration to the compression and bloom of EL84s.
- A PI GAIN control that adjusts phase inverter gain from 1 (like an under-powered single-ended amp) to 100 (a 12AX7/ECC83 long-tailed pair)
- A RECTIFIER control that mimics the power supply sag from completely stiff, through solid-state diode rectifiers, to the full-on sag of a 5Y3 tube rectifier.
- You can set the PAE for the tightness and bass response of fixed bias amps or the compressed, spongier dynamics of cathode biased amps.
- Select single-ended or push-pull configuration. Combined with the BIAS control this allows you to adjust the balance of odd and even harmonics.
- A BIAS control that adjusts the bias smoothly from cold bias to hot (centrally biased). You can go from famous Class A clarity to the bite of Class AB operation (even produce cross-over distortion).
- Features an internal trim pot that adjusts flyback voltage spikes in the audio waveform as produced by a tube amp's output transformer and speaker voice coil (or dial flyback out to mimic a purely resistive dummy load, ala the Hot Plate or other resistive attenuators).
- Individually handmade
- True bypass
The following demos were recorded direct with NO AMPLIFIER. The signal chain is:
Guitar -> AXiom DP-1 -> AXiom Power Amp Emulator (PAE-1) -> AXiom SCE-1 prototype (cab emulator) -> AXiom SCV-1 prototype (for stereo spread) -> interface -> DAW (reverb added, nothing else)
Demo #1: Fender Stratocaster with Dimarzio Virtual Solo bridge pickup and custom stacked neck pickup
Demo #2: Fender Stratocaster with Lindy Fralin Blues Special pickups
Signal chain for the following demo is: Guitar -> AXiom CC-1 -> AXiom OP-1 (as a clean boost) -> AXiom Power Amp Emulator (PAE-1) -> AXiom SCE-1 prototype (cab emulator) -> AXiom SCV-1 prototype (for stereo spread) -> interface -> DAW (reverb added, nothing else)
Demo #3: Fender Stratocaster with Lindy Fralin Blues Special pickups