Fractal Audio Axe-Fx

Discussion in 'Other Amps' started by Marc Johnson, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. Marc Johnson

    Marc Johnson New Member

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    Despite the significant cost of the Axe-Fx III, I'm pretty sure I'm headed that direction with my rack. To partially fund the endeavor, I'm going to be selling off my JMP-1 and 9100 (frankly, I wont miss the dither on the JMP-1's param knob at all). Having said that, I had a couple of questions -

    (also applies to Kemper Profiler if the Kemper guys feel inclined to comment)

    1. Have you owned an Axe-Fx, and if so, did you regret disposing of any gear pursuant to obtaining it?
    2. Did you stick with Axe-Fx exclusively, or were you on again, off again with it?
    3. Did you ultimately part ways with the Axe-Fx in favor of something less computery more traditional?

    Thanks in advance for your input. Just looking to avoid a move I might regret later.
     
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  2. Dmann

    Dmann Well-Known Member

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    1. Yes I own, and no, I sold 80% of my stuff (amps and rack gear), zero regrets.
    2. I did "all-in" 100% FRFR monitors and direct to FoH for about 2-3 years, zero complaints.
    3. Nope. still have my Axe-FX II, picked up an FM3 and have an invite for the Axe-FX III (waiting for sale).

    It's been almost 8 years now I've been using the Axe-FX II, and now the FM3.

    I'm currently using my fractal audio devices in a 4CM configuration (with an EVH 5150III 6L6 50 watt & a G12EVH + V30 loaded 212 cab) and am the most satisfied with my rig I've ever been. So just using it for EQ, FX, switching, etc. The FX are the best I've ever heard or used, and what you get for the price, IMO nothing else even remotely compares to Fractal. I use everything together or separately, and enjoy it all.

    My reason for this is : The Axe FX has models and they are great, but none of those are modeled from the amp I own, and nothing "plays" like the amp I own. The interaction isn't the same. Yes if you mic it up and process it, it sounds the same, records the same, passes the blindfold test, etc. However for myself, that live interaction of an amp/speakers/pickups/volume is an integral part of the playing experience and just something that can not be modeled or profiled(yet?).

    Keep in mind the Axe-FX still requires a powered amplifier, as it's just a preamp. Kemper has a powered offering. I'm not a fan of Kemper, just never clicked for me, I like to create my own stuff from scratch so the whole buying profiles thing turned me off, also they had no PC editor in 2013 or for a long time after so that disqualified it for me initially as well.

    I think at the end of the day, it really amounts to what you will be using it for.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
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  3. proxy

    proxy Well-Known Member

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    "The Axe FX has models and they are great, but none of those are modeled from the amp I own, and nothing "plays" like the amp I own. The interaction isn't the same. Yes if you mic it up and process it, it sounds the same, records the same, passes the blindfold test, etc. However for myself, that live interaction of an amp/speakers/pickups/volume is an integral part of the playing experience and just something that can not be modeled or profiled."



    This is great
     
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  4. giblesp

    giblesp Well-Known Member

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    Kemper owner...

    1) I upgraded from a POD HD, didn't regret it.
    2,3) I use Kemper exclusively for recording, sometime practice. 90% of the time, my Marshall for practice. I've come to the conclusion that nothing else will satisfy for recording, other than miking an amp which I can't do due to being in a residential property. But I'm always looking out for new gear that may record better. Started recording at home in '05, my Kemper with RME UC has been the best gear I've had so far.

    Just bear in mind that if you do get a Kemper, there are many ways to approach it. Generally speaking, many aren't satisfied with the stock profiles on it.

    Never tried the Ax Fx, as its hard to get over here in the UK. Check out both if you can, from a store with a good returns policy.
     
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  5. Frodebro

    Frodebro Well-Known Member

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    Kemper owner. It didn't replace anything, it's just another choice alongside my other amps. There are things it can do that the tube amps cannot, and there are things the tube amps bring to the table that keep them around.
     
  6. Dogs of Doom

    Dogs of Doom Moderator Staff Member

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    Kemper owner (rack - non-powered)

    I didn't sell anything either.

    I use my Kemper w/ my EL34 50/50 (equiv of 9100) all the time, into a regular Marshall guitar cab. I haven't been plugging into my other heads very often, since, I can use the profiles of many amp's & run them through the Marshall power section/speaker cab.

    If I want quiet, or to record, I'm also plugged in to the mixer/interface...

    I don't have any experience w/ AX-FX, but, I'm sure the options are similar, as far as how to use it.

    If you are a touring musician, one thing is, that you can put your sounds on a thumb drive/USB card & install them on a backline unit. If you use a power amp, you'll still need to sort that part out though. But, to travel w/ your sound, w/o taking the amp w/ you? Pretty sweet!
     
  7. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    1: Yes and then no. I own an Axe-FX II. It has not caused me to dispose of any gear. In fact, the reverse happened. It acted as a gateway drug, and caused me to seek
    out certain real tube amps based on the Axe-FX models of them. In fact I've bought more "real" tube amps SINCE getting the Fractal than I've ever owned in all the time
    BEFORE I got the Fractal.

    2: No, it's another tool in the shed. It has not replaced any other gear, but it serves to faithfully emulate many classic amps that I can't afford to purchase or have room for.
    It also is separate from my other amps and is what I use in my practice amp/workstation setup. It serves a different purpose than my Marshalls, Mesas, and Fenders. It's for when I get into a more serious practicing mood. Becasue of all the amps I have, it alone allows me to get that grinding tone I want, at a truly "practice while others are sleeping" volume level. Or any other tone.

    3: No. My AFII is staying. Only if I get an AFIII will I have any motivation to sell my AFII.
     
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  8. wakjob

    wakjob Well-Known Member

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    I just turned on, and plugged into one of my tube amps/pedal board for the first time since March or so... lasted about 10 minutes, and went back to my HX Stomp/DAW/Monitors.

    I'm over it I guess.
    I don't care about the minoot differences/nuances between the two worlds anymore.
    The quality of the effects is worth the price of admission alone.
     
  9. JacksonCharvelAddict

    JacksonCharvelAddict Well-Known Member

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    I tried the AxeFX2 and the Kemper and ended up liking the Kemper better. I didn't sell anything to get the Kemper. I felt that the Kemper worked best through a power amp and guitar cab. I don't like the sound of FRFR units.
     
  10. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

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    I know this is an Axe-FX post, and I have a Helix, but when I was buying it came down to the AX8 and Helix for me. I did not consider the Kemper because I was not interested in profiling (plus the Kemper is butt ugly if you ask me).

    Ultimately I decided on the Helix LT for three reasons:
    1. Cost - I'm not in a band and don't play out that often so it was hard to justify the cost of a AX8 (plus needing to get a foot pedal on top of that).
    2. Sounds - While I think the AX8 sounds better in some cases than the Helix, I didn't think it sounded that much better for me to justify the additional cost.
    3. Interface - Helix's interface is incredibly simple to navigate. I initially spent a lot of time setting up my presets and then some minor tweaks here and there. 3.0 just came out and I'm setting up some new presets and it's like I just did it yesterday. I didn't have to re-learn how to do things - it's that easy.
    I ended up selling 3 of my 4 amps and the few effects pedals I had left, but it wasn't to fund the Helix. I sold them because frankly I no longer need them (and since we moved I don't have as much space as before, so it was nice to get some room back). I don't care what some people say, and maybe I just don't have that good of an ear, but when dialed in it's really hard to tell the difference between the Helix and real amps/effects. Yes, there are differences in some cases, but that's what it is - different doesn't mean bad. I'm not a fan of FRFR so I run mine 4CM into my DSL and am real happy with my setup.

    Th Axe-FX is a great unit and I'm sure you'll be happy with it. If you can avoid it, I wouldn't sell anything you might regret upfront to fund it. If anything, maybe you'll decide later on to sell simply because you don't use it. Then at least you won't have any regret (or at least less regret :)).

    Let us know what you decide.
     
  11. saxon68

    saxon68 Well-Known Member

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    Kemper stage here.

    had helix before that and it was good enough for me to get rid of all the other gear, sold helix to have extra moving funds when I bought my house.

    after the move I got the kemper stage, and while I prefer the helix screens/workflow, the kemper sounds like a real amp to me, and more important it feels like an amp. I get the push/pull when it’s cranked, I get the pick attack dynamics, everything I’d expect with a real cranked amp (except feedback when using detune, but that’s the same with real amp I guess).
    It’s been almost 3 years since I’ve owned a tube head, zero regrets. About 18 months since I moved off power amp/4-12 and my back has no regrets. Straight FRFR now.
     
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  12. Mystic38

    Mystic38 Well-Known Member

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    I bought the AX8 and have been delighted with it.. i cannot reproduce the sound of my Orange AD30 (sounds glorious) using the AD30 model (sounds garbage) even using the same cab, but the marshall, fender and friedman amps sound great.

    I bought an axe fx3 and frankly have barely to get started..other than a couple of hours it has sat in the box as the ax8 does everything i need..and has footswitches.

    previously had podhd (never good for edge breakup/crunch), and 11R very competent, just limited.

    i did not, and dont plan on selling any of my amps as a result of the purchase..
     
  13. Marc Johnson

    Marc Johnson New Member

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    For anyone who may be interested (I'm the OP), my Fractal Axe FXIII is arriving on December 24th, about a month earlier than I expected. I was added to the wait list on November 26th, so I waited about a month. I was expecting more like 3 months.

    Thanks to everyone for their input. I honestly didn't expect so much participation, and it's very helpful. As of now, my plan is to get my feet wet with the Axe FX, and in about a month, start the purge. Up for sale will be my Marshall JMP-1, 9100, and 1936, and several other relatively cheap items that I don't think I'll miss. The thought of having a nice, tidy 3 rack space Fractal, power supply, and a pair of FRFR speakers is just too appealing. So I guess it's time to decide between the FC6 and FC12...
     
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  14. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    I got a Fractal and it just resulted in me buying MORE amps. Personally I'd wait on selling off any gear until you have the unit in your possession and you've spent some time finding out what it can do for you.
     
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  15. CraigP

    CraigP Well-Known Member

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    FC12 and an expression pedal or two
     
  16. myersbw

    myersbw Well-Known Member

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    Cool on your purchase, Marc! Hope you get out of it all you expect! I'll share my experience with AxeFX just to log it here...been a great post to read!

    I picked up the AxeFX Ultra (not II or III) on a CL trade. I gleaned and dropped in as many presets as I could find out there to give me a start. In the end, I was disappointed. But, I did hear there was a marked difference when the II arrived on the scene...just could not bring myself to invest when only playing a few songs in church every week. With the original, I didn't care much for the faceplate style control tweaking and the computer was a pain to hook up.

    BUT, like another here, it forced me to really dig in and understand "what" I wanted out of my setup. I love a good amp...I only need a cool clean, crunch and a 'crunch +' for some songs. However, I really really wanted lush reverbs...swells...shimmer...sometimes a delay. I also wanted no noise...that bugs me to no end. So, I started to explore pedals to see what would work for me.

    My setup is this: PRS Sunburst 22 (w/ 5708's) -> Strymon Riverside (the FAVE preset gives me that 'crunch+') -> HX Effects (for the effects I need)...that goes to any stage-side clean amp and split off to the house as need be. I love it. The only thing I'll likely add later is a couple small expression pedals for volume and possibly transitions on the HX or Riverside (i.e. morph into gain, etc.).

    A friend of mine actively tours with a Nashville artist and swears by his Kemper. I have found my balance and a lightweight tone I can take anywhere and replicate. If I did a lot of covers...or extensive shows, multiple bands, etc., I could see me using something like the AX8, Helix or Kemper floor model. But, I really like my lower budget approach where....if any piece goes south on me...it's not breaking the bank to replace it.

    Cheers!
     
  17. JacksonCharvelAddict

    JacksonCharvelAddict Well-Known Member

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    I would highly recommend that you keep a Tube power amp and a cab to run the Axe through. I have never liked any direct sound even from my Kemper due to the way a guitar and amp interact within a room is just gone. Running a real cab makes a big difference for me. Your Marshall 9200 would be great paired with your AxeFX.
     

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