Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by boboli, Jun 3, 2008.
Let me know your likes and dislikes and if it's worth 2200 bucks!
Just got my Ultra last night, and must say that my initial five hours with it were awesome! For a full run down, I opened up the box, set it up quickly, plugged the guitar into my mixing board through Mackie HR824 and played the first preset....holy cow. Awesome. Super Lead was soaring, tearing, wow. I then spent a disheartening 40 minutes going through all 255 presets and trying each one. To be honest, after that I wasn't so bullish as half of those presets are goofy super delay or hyper metal drive that I didn't need...then I finally got into the beauty and greatness of this machine. I started from a blank setting on preset #256 and began to dial in a basic clean for Strats. Holy mackeral did this thing come to life when I stripped all the effects off and focused on getting just an amp/cab setting. Set up for a Blackface amp, 2x12 Blackface cabinet with a small spring reverb and boom. Now I could go into the individual amp settings and play with drive, master volume, presence, EQ, etc. Just awesome. It took me all of five minutes to figure out how easy and intuitive the signal chain works and to find the hot buttons necessary to quickly tweak a sound. After nailing a solid clean tone, I ran many guitars through to test and loved them all. Eventually I time ran out as I needed some semblance of sleep, but right now I'm excited to go home tonight and try to dial in the next preset. So quick impression was that the presets I could do without the bulk of them, but the customization, tweakability, form and function won me over in spades even after that short time period.
Now in terms of buying the Ultra vs. Standard? Well, I just couldn't stand not having all options available as well as the capacity to handle future upgrades that may need the extra horsepower. Including the coupon for being on the waiting list, all-in I was $1,935 with shipping and total wait time for me was March 25 to yesterday.
Different Strokes. I had my Ultra for about a week and then decided it just didn't live up to the hype. I NEEDED the Axe-FX Ultra to work for me as I have a one man gig and I am trying to not have to have an amp to haul around.
I really tried to like it and it does sound pretty good. But in the end, "to me" it wasn't worth the scratch it costs to get one.
For a couple of grand it needed to just floor me and it didn't come close to that. My D'Lite22 and my 18Watt Marshall clone just killed it.
FWIW, I also bought the Bose L1 II personal PA system and sent it back after 30 days as well. For $3,200 it needed to stun me and while it sounded good, it didn't sound like my vision of a $3,200 PA system. I sent it back and for just over 2 grand bought 2 of the new JBL PRX 515 powered speakers. They did blow me away!! Plus only 57lbs apiece and they put out up to 134db
Given how the Axe-FX is raved about on this board by so many I will chalk it up to me not having good ears like everybody else.
My .02 :AOK
So far my biggest complaint is the lack of a footswitch, and not many usable presets right out of the box. You would think for the price they'd have many more usable presets ready to go. It's easy enough to make your own, but this seems like such a simple and basic feature to overlook. If I was testing it out in a guitar store for the first time, I might not have purchased it based on the presets.
After tweaking it to my liking, I have found that it's the best choice for my musical needs as I can dial in almost any basic sound I hear in my head. It all depends on what you use it for I suppose. I needed something that can get lots of different tones live and in the studio, and I'm sure the axe-fx can do that very well. I really do love the sounds it gets through my QSC speakers. I've owned and still do own tons of boutique amps, and the axe-fx holds it's own as far as I can hear. This is only the 2nd digital musical thing I've ever owned, and it's fun to be able to find cool new tones all the time. Everybody's got to decide for themselves. I'm not sure I need the Ultra model, but I got one for the hell of it. I do think the standard axe-fx would be all most players would ever need.
No worries, you can chalk me up too. I tried the Ultra as well, twice I might add.
Well worth the money for me. I play a lot of different styles and a lot of different songs. I use the advanced features of the Ultra regularly. For example, this week I will be using the arpeggiator.
Besides the amp modelling, which I find to be quite good, I have found the Axe-fx Ultra to hold its own as a top quality multi-effects processor. It's advanced routing features, high quality effects, and ease of use make it a no brainer for me.
Even if I wasn't using it for the modeling, I would be using as an effects processor. It really is one of the best gear purchases I have made.
Prior to the Ultra, I was playing thru an Ecstasy and Shiva w/ half a dozen pedals, and an Eclipse and a Gmajor.
Now, no pedals, no amp, no gmajor. I do still have the Eclipse running for a couple of thing the Ultra can't do. But, there are plenty of things the Ultra can do that the Eclipse cannot.
Do the amp models sounds as good as my ecstasy and shiva? Well the Axe-fx doesn't have a Shiva model. The Ecstasy model on the Axe-fx is exact (I like the real thing a bit better) and I just love the tone of my Shiva. But, the added versatility, quicker setup, consistency, small footprint, lighter weight, and great tones I get from the Ultra make it so the Bogners stay at home.
I wish some of the effects parameters were more granule. Some of delays times will go up in steps of ~8 ms when I want 1 or 2 ms precision. I wish the digital ins and outs supported multiple sample rates and could routed anywhere. I also wish input 2 had the option of going balanced in. Fractal has been awesome about addressing users concerns and issues so most of the dislikes I have, have been addressed.
Not every amp is for everyone. Perhaps if you had spend more time with it or used a different amplification system you would have been happier, but perhaps not.
I'm really happy with my Ultra and look forward to being familiar enough with all of the parameters and settings that I can create what I hear in my head.
So far it's been spectacular and gets played everyday despite living among some other amps I really love.
JJ, Just curious as to what it is the Eclipse does that the Ultra cannot do?
I have 'just' a Standard, but it's worth it for me.
It's pro gear; not plug-n-play. It is what you make it, not anything more or less. Some will dig it, some won't.
It has been about one year for me now. Not one second of remorse, not one second of wanting or needing anything else. It's in essence my entire rig, I play out more frequently than I ever have in my life now and gear simply isn't part of the equation for making music now. I don't spend any time at all chasing gear or searching for 'more' somehow. Making music is the entire equation now, the Axe-FX has allowed me to simply focus on that.
Same rig for a year and happier than ever? Priceless.
Sample rate conversion for one.
Granularity on the effects allows for some delay and pitch effects that you can't quite get on the Ultra (obscure ambient stuff). The sample n hold is just much easier on the Eclipse. I have not been able to reproduce the manafold alpha or beta algorithms on the Ultra. You can also do tempo based stuff based on # of bars (in some cases up to 8 bars) Ultra goes to 2. Also, polyfuzz distortion, a simulated lo-fi digital delay w/ digital artifacts, comb filtering algorithms. I like the ringmod on the Eclipse better as well.
Actually, it probably wouldn't be in my rack if I hadn't been making a lot of Eclipse clone patches. When I started, the Ultra would do a lot of the things the Eclipse could. Cliff took this as a challenge and revamped a lot of the pitch and delay algorithms w/ the 5.0 version and changed that. I had the Eclipse integrated in my rack with my switchblade by this point and it would be a hassle to take it out, plus I really like a couple of the Eclipse algorithms (even though I only use them on occasion) .