Anyone upgrade from a $500 modeler to an Axe II?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by timowens316, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. timowens316

    timowens316 Member

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    For anyone who has upgraded from a $500 modeler like the HD500, GT-10, RP1000, etc., what are your thoughts on the Axe II vs. what you were using? I'm mostly interested in the experience of those who had never previously used an Axe. These are some questions I have…

    · How was the learning curve? Was it like learning a completely different system or is it similar to your old unit?

    · How does the user interface compare to your old unit, is it easy to navigate and find stuff?

    · How is the editing software, is it easy to use, does it have bugs or quirks?

    · Does it have all the ins, outs and functions that you need?

    Any other thoughts you might have would be appreciated.

    Thank you.
     
  2. hayashi

    hayashi Member

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    I went from a Marshall Plexi to a Digitech RP500 then to the AxeFX Ultra.

    - Learning Curve: For me, it was a bit more difficult to use than the RP500, but after a few days everything was became very natural to me.

    - Interface: One of the things I like most (probably more than even the sound quality) is that I can route and set up things as I please

    - Editing Software: I used to use the editing software but it's not as polished as I would like and tended to fail or not work the way I expected. I mostly just dial in tones using the actual unit

    - I/O: It has all the inputs and outputs I need. I can route to the FOH, my monitor, my computer, recording interface, etc. just fine.
     
  3. timowens316

    timowens316 Member

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    Thank you, that's good to know and it's very encouraging. Anyone else?
     
  4. mindseye

    mindseye Member

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    Went from a HD500 and a triple rectifier to a AxeII.....love it and no looking back for me.
    I have found the II super easy to use and dial in, I had my basic tones I needed dialed in within about 10 min. When I first got it and now that I have the MFC101 programming is really easy as for foot controlling goes.

    I really love how it constantly being improved also with firmware upgrades, that's something that always kinda bummed me out with the HD500.....they have not gave many for it.
     
  5. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    I have a PodXT Bean and just got an AFX II about a month ago. User interface is a breeze and very intuitive. I haven't hooked it up to a computer yet (I'm a bit of a technophobe who doesn't do any recording at the moment), though one of the reasons I bought one over the previous gen was the built in USB. I haven't resorted to any deep diving yet, either. The amps I'm familiar with dial up very similarly to the real counter part.
     
  6. BSHARP

    BSHARP Member

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    I upgraded from a GT-10 to an Ultra and I am very happy with the Ultra. That said, I've had the GSP1101 for five years and recently bought the G3 and will probably give the GT-100 a go. Nothing wrong with a variety. The AXE-II would be a priority purchase if I didn't already have the Ultra.
     
  7. shasha

    shasha Member

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    I went Ultra - > 11R -> AxeFXII. Can't really comment on how the learning curve went because to be honest it was like riding a bike; I got all the faceplants done with the Ultra already. :)

    All the I/O stuff is fine, AxeEdit works great, I haven't messed with the USB drivers for audio and to be honest I don't really plan to since I've got a good solid interface on hand.

    As far as navigating and editing some people don't like the front panel; I'm very comfortable with it. But the real benefit is using AxeEDIT, which in my opinion is just fantastic. I love the layout and the funcionality and I don't have to have a DAW loaded to use it. It's just so logical and to the point where as other apps out there have this cartoonish layout and buttons are all over the place trying to mimic the stuff they're modelled after. No gimmicks, but its still nice to look at and it's lean and mean. I can back up patches or entire banks and load and save presets very fast and AxeManage is really nice.

    But at the end of the day it's all about the sound and I'm really digging it a lot. I loved the Ultra, I got along fine with the 11R for the most part, but I'm having trouble prying myself away from the AxeFXII for silly stuff like sleep and work. Thank God I have a sizable fat store so I don't have to eat.
     
  8. Johnkenn

    Johnkenn Member

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    But how does it compare to a HD500 as far as SOUND...?
     
  9. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    [​IMG]
     
  10. docsmith

    docsmith Member

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    I upgraded from a HD500 to an Axe-Fx2 last year.

    First of all, there is nothing wrong with the HD-500. It's a totally pro piece of gear. You could record albums and tour the world with it, and you'd be just fine.

    That being said, comparing the HD-500 to an Axe-Fx2 is like comparing a 1970's color TV to a modern 60" plasma high definition TV. There's just no comparison. The Axe-Fx2 is THE most flexible, most cutting edge modeler out there. Yes, there is a learning curve. But Matt Picone wrote a fantastic manual (and it's not hard to understand). There's a great forum with a lot of active users who will be happy to answer whatever questions you may have. And there's an ever-expanding number of YouTube tutorials out there.

    Fractal is an exceptional company that makes exceptional products. The Axe-Fx2 was a lot of money and it was worth every dime. Absolutely zero buyer's remorse. I'm 1000% happy with it.
     
  11. lscottk

    lscottk Member

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    I had an HD500 for about a year before I got my AxeII last September. There is no comparison as far as tone. The AxeII sounds much better, in a completely different league. I am definitely not a Line 6 hater. I bought an AX2 from Musicians Friend in 1995, before the product was released for shipping, and I've owned a bunch of other L6 gear, including several other flavors of Pods, a Flextone 2 plus and a Vetta 2. In terms of tone and feel the AxeII smokes them all.

    If you want to use deep editing features then there is definitely a steep learning curve, not because the interface is difficult. It's actually the opposite. The interface is very well designed and very easy to navigate. The learning curve is due to the great depth and control that's made available. I have felt overwhelmed because I don't understand circuit design and the deep edit parameters essentially allow you to design your own amp. Fortunately the interface is so well designed and the amp models so well done that you can get great tone just using the basic controls, just like a real amp. If you want to get into the deep editing then there are all kinds of resources available on the Fractal forum that explain how the deep editing parameters work.

    The axe-edit software is first rate, and the AxeII is always being improved. Fractal customer service is as good as any that I've ever experienced, not just by a music company, but by any company. Cliff Chase the owner and mastermind at Fractal is amazing. He is incredibly generous with his time and energy and he is constantly improving the AxeII by releasing updated firmware. Most companies charge for the kinds of improvements that he just gives away.

    If you can afford it I give the AxeII my highest recommendation. It truly is a professional grade product with the best customer service you could ever hope to find. It costs almost 5 times as much as the HD500, but the AxeII is worth every penny and then some.
     
  12. ethomas1013

    ethomas1013 Supporting Member

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    I sold my Axe FX Ultra and used an HD-500 for a couple months before receiving the AxeII. There really is no comparison. The HD is a great unit for the price, and I really like the convenience of the all-in-one form factor. But the Axe Standard/Ultra/II are in a completely different league in terms of tone, touch responsiveness, and feel. And it's not just the amp/cab sims, the effects are also professional quality unlike the stomp-box quality effects you get with the HD and M series.

    Also, I found Axe-Edit, and the grid layout on the Axe-FX to be much more logically laid out and easier to use than the editing software for the HD. The learning curve on the Axe-FX is grossly over exaggerated in my experience - at least in terms of the amp/cab blocks. You don't have to edit the deep parameters if you don't want to. Great sounds are readily available without any special tricks. But editing effects is a lot more complex. The HD effects are very limited to a few parameters. If that's all you need, they they are pretty good (except the drives which all sound very harsh and digital to my ears). The effects on the Axe are much more in depth and require more knowledge to get what you want if you are going for something outside the basics. Download Axe-Edit, install it, and take a look at it for yourself. That will expose you to the layout and the editing features of the Axe-II.

    The Axe-FX has been the best amp related gear purchase I have ever made. No second thoughts whatsoever. Definitely worth every penny and I would even call it a bargain when you compare it to the price of the gear it has replaced for me. Whether it's worth every penny of YOUR budget is completely up to you. The substantial price difference and may not be worth it to you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  13. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Administrator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    vs.


    [​IMG]


    Both get the job done. One has a whole lot more depth; it's up to you to find a fit for your needs & preferences.
     
  14. docsmith

    docsmith Member

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    Scott, that visual analogy was just brilliant.
     
  15. echos

    echos Supporting Member

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    I have a question in this same vein, if the OP would indulge me. For those who upgraded from a 500 modeler to the axe fx, WHY did you make the switch? And if it was for tone, were you able to play one before you purchased it. Thanks.
     
  16. bsic

    bsic Member

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    I upgraded because I could. I was pretty happy with my pod hd (and x3, xt, etc before it). I used that at home and used a mesa electradyne tube rig with a nearly 2k boutique pedal board for live.

    I heard a lot of great thing about the axe, and if it lived up to the hype i thought it could potentially replace both setups.

    It did, bigtime. I'm very happy with it. I was a line 6 fan for nearly ten years and can say this is really no harder to dial in... Just a matter of remapping your brain from one unit to the other. I find the sounds far more realistic on the axe as well. I'm very satisfied.
     
  17. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    I made the switch primarily for tone. I actually think the PodXT sounds real nice. I like the JCM800 model in the V1 software a lot. But I had the chance to play the AFXII and was blown away. I probably should have tried a HD500 and Eleven Rack before purchasing, as all I use so far are the basic amp models that they all share, for the most part
     
  18. OrganicTimbre

    OrganicTimbre Member

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    I think it depends on how much you already know. I switched from L6 X3 bean to Axe Standard and while it's easy to just plug & play, the Axe's massive flexibility also lends itself to being more involved to learn. For example, it took a while for me to figure out that I could just use my mbox2 interface as a midi interface for using Axe-edit. For others, I suspect they probably also had a lot of problems connecting their Axe to their computer for using Axe-edit. I had never used a midi pedal board so it took a while for me to figure out all that needs to be done with that as well.

    Since you can do a lot more with it, there is a lot more to learn to do with it. Maybe the Axe 2 has simplified some of the issues I mentioned above.
     
  19. bsic

    bsic Member

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    Yes, the axe II has USB.... Super simple to connect now
     

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