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Axe-Fx Ultra vs Axe Fx II questions

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Fishbookmark, May 18, 2011.

  1. Fishbookmark

    Fishbookmark Member

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    With everyone raving about the Axe-Fx and all the great demos I figure it's just a matter of time before I purchase one. Now along comes the II and many people are dumping the Ultra to line up for the new one.

    So Being a tube amp guy and having been burned by the lower priced modelers:

    Is this just g.a.s. or is the II going to sound even better? And if the Ultra can already really model the analog and tube gear we all admire without glitches how much more modeling is needed? Will the II offer even more realism and if so what does that mean about all demos and accolades about the Ultra's current realism?

    I've read the info at the Fractal Audio site, but what actual sound/tone advantage will this new one have. Putting cost aside, what will be the real advantage of having a II over an Ultra?
     
  2. OldNo.7

    OldNo.7 Member

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    In the back of your mind, you'll be happier knowing that you have the newest/best thing..... :)

    I'm happy with my Ultra. I might get the new one someday, but I'm not in any hurry....
     
  3. uglybassplayer

    uglybassplayer Member

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    Seriously? How many threads are we going to start asking the same questions over, over & over again?

    Why don't we just stop R&D on pretty much all tech... why waste time & energy designing new phones, or computers, or TVs, or cars, or software, or guitars, or amps, or stompboxes for that matter.
     
  4. Fishbookmark

    Fishbookmark Member

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    Thats a silly answer. I'm asking a serious question about sound and tone on a product that people say is as real as my Boogie or my Fender and then a new version comes out - does it sound more "real"?

    My Iphone could improve in many ways and one thing I will never give it credit for is being as good a computer as my lap top.
     
  5. mtmartin71

    mtmartin71 Silver Supporting Member

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    I see what you're getting at. I often wonder when people were saying the POD XT was "95%" there and then everyone revised in the next generation...and so on. I look at it this way. Fractal is giving you a new platform with greater horsepower to build upon, and, it incorporates a different workflow and some HW features that weren't available in the first model...all based on direct user feedback. If you believe the AxeFX Ultra truly was 95+% of a real tube amp, maybe this goes to 99%. I don't know and I don't really care. I will probably get the AxeFX II to continue to push the edge in modeling and to support Fractal but I don't feel compelled to get it.
     
  6. PinkPanther

    PinkPanther Senior Member

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    I don't own the AXE FX, I actully use POD HD, but listening to the latest clips that Scott has been posting of the AXE II, I can say that I can hear the huge improvement over the AXE I and all other modelers. Just listen to the latest recto and maybe you'll hear the huge improvements.

    From what I hear, it honestly sounds as good as the best rectifier. At this level of realism, I honestly see that when using the AXE II for recording, you're hardly compromising anything had you miced a real amp. I finally believe that the "no compromise" bit used in fractal advertising to be a reality with the AXE II.

     
  7. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    The AFX2 is definitely a more capable device. Whether that capability translates to "better sound" is a more difficult question. The other thing to keep in mind is Cliff's history of making incremental improvements via firmware upgrades. The Ultra has the benefit of 3-4 years of such upgrades. It sounded good two years ago when my (used) Ultra was running firmware version 5.x. I think it's improved noticeably between 5.x and this month's 11.0 release. With things like VVT, it seems like Cliff has some more tricks up his sleeve and created a platform to allow him to pursue that vision. Simply put, even if the AFX2 didn't sound that much different today (and by all accounts it does), you can expect that it will in a year or two.
    Honestly, none, as far as I'm concerned. My AxeFx is just as capable today as it was last month before the AFX2 announcement. That's not to say that I'm not trying to figure out how to fund an AFX2 purchase. I just know the difference between "want" and "need". :p My Ultra has the "need" stuff pretty well covered.
    I think that the AFX2 has some upside as far as sonic realism but I wonder how far we are from reaching the limits of "affordable" FRFR if not human perception.
     
  8. uglybassplayer

    uglybassplayer Member

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    Is it? You have a grand total of 2 posts on TGP, and they're both here in this troll thread you started. Ok, answer this... Both Fender & Mesa have been introducing new models of amps for how many years now? Why do we now need a Transatlantic? Didn't Mesa get it right with the Mark I, or was it the IIc, or III, or IV, or V? Does the triple rectifier sound "more real" than the dual rectifier?


    Nor would I consider dragging my laptop with me everywhere I go to make phone calls... So what?

    Back to the axe... It's a tool that does a job, just like your Fender, your boogie, and yes, your iPhone. So Fractal put out a new version, added some features people were clamoring for like USB and headphone jack. So Cliff rewrote and improved upon his algorithms. Maybe the Axe II will sound & feel better (to some people). Maybe it won't. There are people will buy it however... Just like any new tube amp designed by Fender, Mesa, Egnater, Fuchs or Two Rock. How many companies are you aware that designs a single product and is able to ride on it's success indefinitely. Not too many I'll bet. Fractal is a business, and to stay in business they must continue to develop new products and enhance their existing ones... It's that simple. Is it really that hard to understand?
     
  9. Fishbookmark

    Fishbookmark Member

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    If workflow is easy that means a lot. One of the reasons I've held back on the Ultra is the amount of time reported with tweaking.
     
  10. Fishbookmark

    Fishbookmark Member

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    No, why are you so angry?
     
  11. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

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    I think that with any capable modeller you're going to have to spend some serious time for your sounds... unless the Axe II comes with great presets already....which I would imagine it does
     
  12. solo-act

    solo-act Member

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    It'll sound better
    Modeling real components of an amp takes loads of processor power. The Ultra had a lot, the II has all horsepower of Ultra dedicated to just amps and cabs so it can model more stuff and achieve more realism
    Yes. It means the Ultra won't sound as realistic as the II, but many believe the Ultra's better than any other modeler right now.
    I've played/heard it and it's more naked, raw, revealing and alive than the Ultra, which still sounds killer
    Room to add more stuff, better realism, more detail in the tone, more connection of hands to tone, future firmware updates. It represents the future of Fractal and where it's going tonally and technologically.

    That said, if there were never an axe-fx II, I'd be happy playing the Ultra for many years to come, but I sold mine during countdown and am gigging without which kinda blows, but it'll be worth it.
     
  13. solo-act

    solo-act Member

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    I don't think that'll be the case with the II. The amps sound great over a wide range of settings, much like tube amps do. In fact it's kinda spooky how much it behaves like a tube amp. So much so it's both humbling and addictive because you get magic when you fret and attack just right and you get "meh" when you don't.
     
  14. leftyvic

    leftyvic Member

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    Because he's ugly?

    I updated my Ultra to 11.0 today and just made a very simple preset with a Bassman amp block and a 4X12 cabinet with V30s ... added a tube screamer drive block to it, plugged in my Les Paul Studio with P90s and cranked it up through a QSC K12. Damn ... I'm sure the II has its improvements but for just simple tubey vintage guitar tone goodness, the Ultra is outstanding. And if it can sound that good with such a simple preset, when you add in all the other variables and effects that you can dream up, well ... I sure wouldn't think twice about picking up a Standard or an Ultra at a good price and then growing into the II if you find you need even more.

    I happen to have two Ultras (one sits in my studio as a backup) so I will probably take the plunge but I will also be listening carefully side by side to make sure the additional cash for the II is really necessary to my ears.

    The thing about the Axe is ... I have a nice Fender Vibrolux sitting here, and I've owned a few other nice amps (a few Boogies, Egnater M4, Groove Tubes Trio). I can get those old familiar tones easily out of the AxeFX but I can also get a huge palette of other amp and speaker tones out of it, and that, to me, is what makes it worth owning, regardless of whether it's the latest or greatest, because the former greatest was pretty damn great, if that makes any sense.
     
  15. uglybassplayer

    uglybassplayer Member

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    Because I'm ugly... That and I'm tired of seeing countless threads started on the modeling forum that appear to be no more than trolls under the guise of asking an "innocent" question. For the record, I don't own an Axe, and don't know if I ever will. I've played & owned a number of tube amps over the past 34 years... Some pretty awesome & some not so much. I've also owned quite a few modelers & modeling amps over the years as well... Again, some pretty awesome & some not so much. I've never attempted to use any of the modelers I've owned to be a clone of any of my tube amps. Instead, I've used them for what they've excelled at for me... Delivering great controlled sound to the FOH. Back in the 80s I never would have dreamed of having something as portable & convenient as a POD. Today, I can go to a gig with one self contained piece of equipment that gives me more control and requires less maintenance than any of the amps & pedals I owned back then.

    BTW, you never answered my question... Why do tube amp manufacturers continue to develop new models when their old ones are so great?
     
  16. AndrewSimon

    AndrewSimon Member

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    Just think of it a re-tubing with some NOS tubes

    :p
     
  17. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Administrator Staff Member

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    How can one thing sound more 'real' than another thing? One can sound better, subjectively, but there is no actual 'real' thing more 'real' than another. It's a logical fallacy.

    This whole 'real' is a red herring wild goose chase; there is no actual 'real'. It's a made up 'measurement' that not even the 'real' amps can manage half the time; especially once they are mic'd up and being recorded. This is a recent offshoot of the vaunted and very tired 'amp in the room' and before that 'digital'. Catchphrases or keywords that simply are spit out to get folks all worked up... when there is nothing really there to be worked up over.

    "Real" is no measuring stick. It's troll bait. All the "90% of real" and "95% real" stuff is/was/remains internet chatter as grist for the mill.

    Gear are tools, means to an end. The tools you use are just tools. Some folks use wrenches, some folks prefer sockets.

    Whoopdee doo.

    Comparing the Axe-FX Standard/Ultra to the Axe-FX II is a whole other kettle of fish. I'll do a thread on it when the time comes.

    IMHO, YMMV.
     
  18. leftyvic

    leftyvic Member

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    Same reason Fender offers fifty different Stratocasters and Telecasters ... they want more of your money. And yet, the "old" amps that are prized and proven seem to linger ... Deluxe, Twin Reverb, AC-30, etc.

    Not that there haven't been innovations along the way ... multiple channel switching, the modular stuff by Egnater is very cool, I had a cool Groove Tubes Soul-o amp where you could use any tubes you wanted and run class A or class AB with it. But mostly, it's seems like companies (Dr. Z) offering a dozen different flavors and trotting out new variations and limited editions. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    I've owned some of the Line 6, Roland and Digitech products. The chief difference in my mind is Fractal's constant firmware upgrades and adding of effects and amp types and improving the technology ... for free. Roland would sell you an expansion board, Line Six just comes out with a new one or sells the upgrade, but Fractal only stopped developing the original AxeFX when it ran out of capacity for improvement ... that's a pretty rare thing in the marketplace. And I would suspect that the II has plenty of room to grow and it will be a while before the III comes along. Hopefully, Fractal will continue that philosophy.
     
  19. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    Well stated.

    I look forward to reading that thread.
     
  20. Fishbookmark

    Fishbookmark Member

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    That makes a lot of sense. The Ultra has always sounded pretty damn good to me and that would be a pretty strong argument for picking one up on ebay at the currently reduced prices. You get a great modern Jerry sound! How difficult would it be to dial in an older Jerry sound circa '72, Clapton at the Filmore East or Santana circa Lotus or Moonflower? Is this hours of tweaking? and would this be a reason to buy the II to dial the sounds in more easily?
     

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