Can a Fractal UI ever be like a Helix UI? Discuss here so Dave doesn't get mad :)

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Watt McCo, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. vangrieg

    vangrieg Member

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    That depends... Did DI have a share in Line 6 when it was sold to Yamaha? That would mean much more than Helix sales. :)
     
  2. JerEvil

    JerEvil Supporting Member

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    Who the heck is Dave?
     
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  3. gtr37

    gtr37 Member

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  4. vangrieg

    vangrieg Member

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    Some very influential VIP. Anticipation of his mood moves threads around.
     
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  5. ColdFrixion

    ColdFrixion Member

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    Considering the demand for previous models, I seriously doubt it was a small production run. This isn't their first rodeo. They've been engineering top tier units for over a decade, and they're hardly struggling to make sales.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  6. Danny W.

    Danny W. Member

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    I've had Axe-II, AX8, Axe III. Always use the front panel, except for preset management; have never had a problem with any of them. The III sounded great to me right out of the box with factory presets, which is not true of any other modeling equipment I've owned. I'm a retired engineer and suspect that I'm older than Fractal's average customer. ;)

    Danny W.
     
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  7. Pat6969

    Pat6969 Supporting Member

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    Small in comparison. What was it? 5000 units? Maybe? With Fractal it always seems like it’s their first rodeo. Every single release is plagued with waitlists. It’s good they have loyal patrons that will wait months and months to get the product.
     
  8. ColdFrixion

    ColdFrixion Member

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    Cliff has openly stated that they underestimated demand for the III. I have no idea how many units were initially produced, but when it debuted the Axe-Fx III was retailing for $2,499. Hypothetically, if the number of units produced was 5000 and half of those sold for $2,499 and the other half sold for $2,249, well, you do the math. Not too shabby for a product that's been out less than a year and a company that sells direct to consumers exclusively. They can barely keep up with demand as it is without needing to appeal to whatever percentage makes up the rest of the market, and I seriously doubt they're hurting for enough capital to invest in larger production runs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  9. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    HA, Axe-Fx Standard for me and AX8 .. . Only have used front panel for editing/programming and not 1 complaint. I am different though in that I went thru the factory presets quickly and then decided although they were fine, I'd just program my own and that was easily done. I have only 1 gripe with my Fractals and that is each time they've offered a new firmware upgrade, it messed up all my progams. That's probably just because I'm a picky bastard. ha. . Anyway, I'm always surprised to read people griping about Fractal's interfaces, but then I just realize I need to stay away from these forums and use my gear, instead of reading others' experiences with it. . Rock on all

    Eric
     
  10. Pat6969

    Pat6969 Supporting Member

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    I don’t doubt he’s making a good living, and I agree, I hardly think he could supply 90% when he can’t supply 10%. Everyone finds their niche and Fractal has certainly done that. Think how massive Fractal would be selling retail.
     
  11. ColdFrixion

    ColdFrixion Member

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    In my opinion, bigger isn't always better. Personally, I prefer FAS being a smaller company vs. some massive retailer. Among other things, as a smaller company the owner personally interacts with customers via the company forum and routinely listens to feedback and implements design changes based on user suggestions post haste. It's a very personalized experience. Updates are frequent and copious, and the turnaround time for a critical bug fix is often a matter of hours (or sooner) rather than days or weeks. Overall, the individual attention customers receive is simply outstanding compared to most major retailers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
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  12. vangrieg

    vangrieg Member

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    It’s not like there’s an much of alternative really if you’re looking for something like that, regardless of loyalty. Fractal have a product segment to themselves really, for now.

    Surely, a lot of people may consider choosing an Axe vs a Kemper vs Helix vs whatnot, but that’s always been kind of a mystery to me. If you think Helix sounds fine, why would you consider an AX8? If you are okay with the whole profile thing and like how Kemper sounds, that’s what you need. But if you want a “traditional” modeler and want the best sound there is, it’s Fractal or a used Fractal or nothing. Hate waitlists as you wish, there’s nothing else.

    Fractal is certainly a small company, and if they had bigger presence in traditional distribution that would boost sales, but I don’t know by how much really. There are products that are way more suitable for the wider market.

    As annoying as this whole waitlist/one reseller per region policy is, I think I get why they are sticking to it.
     
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  13. vangrieg

    vangrieg Member

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    Sort of... Maybe. But that’s only in the US. Outside US, you can’t get anything directly from Fractal, neither product nor customer service. You can’t even get on a waitlist, and when there’s a waitlist in the US, you have no slightest clue when the product you want to buy may be available even theoretically. The customers and distributors alike are completely in the dark.

    That’s not much fun.
     
  14. ColdFrixion

    ColdFrixion Member

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    I can't comment on international service, but the attention customers in the United States receive is outstanding compared to most major retailers.
     
  15. Frank Ritchotte

    Frank Ritchotte Silver Supporting Member

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    That’s true but we are trying to bridge that by providing post sales support direct using as many social media channels as possible, including this one. This is a relatively new thing. It is also true that when using distribution the direct customer interaction is more challenging. It’s easy to move mountains for your customers when it’s your only focus (Line 6 is distributed and supported directly only in the US) but when you are using a partner with many many other brands and products it becomes more difficult. We are also trying to improve there as well. Fractal does a fantastic job.
     
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  16. ColdFrixion

    ColdFrixion Member

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    Just to clarify, my comment wasn't an indirect reference to Line 6 or any particular retailer. From all the praise I've heard regarding Line 6 customer service, you guys must be doing something right.
     
  17. WiresDream

    WiresDream Member

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    I don't want to come across like a butt-hurt Line 6 fanboi, coz I do love the Fractal stuff and I think it sounds great. But to me, the "best sound" stuff is getting a bit old. The gap isn't as wide as you'd think IMHO. Check this video out that I did a while back:


    It's 'riffy' and compares a whole bunch of high-gain sounds on the Helix and the Axe FX II.

    When Helix launched Sean Halley was using the phrase "it's just a different flavour" quite a lot. And that really is where we are at right now with modelling technology. I don't think any of them are particularly head and shoulders above another.
     
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  18. vangrieg

    vangrieg Member

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    I don't think I said anything about the width of the gap, just that there is one, and that for those that want something better, there are no options really. Helix is a great modeler, I don't mind using it myself at all (albeit in its Native version). Actually I use it way more than my Axe-FXs, because it has a plugin version.

    But Axe-FX is just better for me. I don't think this can be measured - the only meaningful measurement I've seen was aliasing performance where Axe-FX III outperformed both II and Helix by a significant margin, which is to be expected. Whether that measurement, coming from Fractal, is trustworthy and whether it matters is of course anyone's choice. That's about all that can be said about objective comparison of "quality". As far ass more subjective stuff is concerned... Well, I do hear a difference. In the video you posted (great job, by the way), Helix sounds good, and the differences may indeed be mostly described as "a different flavor". And I don't care much about authenticity, i.e. what sounds more like a real amp. But in my experience, Helix needs to be processed more to sound good. I always feel like EQing some stuff out for it to sound the way I want, making it in the end way less raw than I like. And in this regard, I think there's a noticeable difference even between the III and the II. Maybe that's aliasing, maybe more advanced modeling, I don't know. I just know that when I record something with Helix, and then play the DI through Axe, I like the latter more. And I don't tweak it nearly as much as I do Helix. This is even more noticeable with the III.

    So for me or anyone who feels similarly, Fractal is just a better choice. But as I said on more than one occasion elsewhere, if I were in the market for a floor unit for live use, AX8 is just too limiting for me, I'd pick a Helix over it. Maybe I'd also have an Axe at home, maybe not. Just to illustrate that I don't consider the gap mention a huge one.
     
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  19. Digital Igloo

    Digital Igloo Member

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    Oh jeez. Cliff, by faaaaarrr.
     
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  20. Yek

    Yek Member

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    Customer service from G66 in Europe is top of the line. Faulty devices will be picked up, turnaround is very fast and they are the friendliest people. I've never read a single complaint towards G66.
     
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