Fractal Audio Axe-fx II XL+

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by KJR123, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. KJR123

    KJR123 Member

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    Has anyone tried it yet? I have (in case you've been on pins and needles waiting to find that out). I haven't had the XL for several months (waiting for another product). In the mean time I tried three tube amps and other modelers. Well, I received the XL+ yesterday.

    My short review.....FANTASTIC !!!!

    This sounds (to me, of course) better than any previous firmware (can't remember the last one I've tried, somewhere around last summer). And, better than any other modeler or profiler I've owned or tried ( I have had them all.)

    I have several pedals I've kept just in case I decided to go back to tube amps for good. A pedal I bought last year, Mesa Boogie Flux Drive, always sounded bad with the amps and modelers. I almost threw it away it sounded so bad to me. Tried it with the Double Verb (Twin) model....excellent, just like I thought it was supposed to sound. My other pedals such as BB preamp, RC booster and Fulltone full drive 2 all work well. They behave like you'd expect with a tube amp. BTW, unbelievably quiet, no noise, I never touched the gate.

    Then I tried listening through headphones, playing that Mesa Boogie Flux Drive pedal in front of the Double Verb model. I expected a very harsh sound. The axe-fx sounded better than ever through headphones. Then I turned the dial to the Tucana model. Well, time flies...

    So, is this all improved because of the recent firmware updates? Or, is this because of the new XL+ LCD screen ;).
     
  2. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    It's the firmware. It's no hype. It's the funnest firmware ever because it's just... fun.

    If you've owned the II before, then please let us know how the new screen is... better? Same? How is it different? I don't know, so I ask.
     
  3. cliffc8488

    cliffc8488 Member

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    Mostly the firmware. The input is a bit quieter but not significantly (maybe a couple dB, if that). Otherwise it's pretty much an XL with a different LCD. The LCD is a bit brighter and has better contrast. That wasn't a design goal but a fortunate side-effect of going from a Chip-on-Board design to a Chip-on-Glass design.
     
  4. KJR123

    KJR123 Member

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    I owned the II and XL before. I don't notice a difference. It looks great with the "enhancing" film everyone leaves on it. FWIW, I never used the screen much, always used the editor. Since the editor wouldn't work with this unit I've been using the LCD. Good thing I remembered some things about maneuvering around. Any other time I'd get a little frustrated using the screen. It sounds and plays too good to get very frustrated.
     
  5. KJR123

    KJR123 Member

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    It is quieter than any previous unit and firmware I've used (don't remember last firmware I tried). Drive pedals in front.....still quiet. Do I need the pedals? No. Just wanted to test it. No doubt about it, this is fun to play.
     
  6. cliffc8488

    cliffc8488 Member

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    Those couple dB can make a difference when using drive pedals as any device placed before an amp (whether real or virtual) adds noise and that noise gets amplified. Drive pedals tend to use cheap op-amps which are noisy. A typical drive pedal will use TL072 op-amps. These don't really have very good noise performance. We use Burr-Brown and Analog Devices op-amps in the Axe-Fx which have low noise and superior fidelity but they cost a lot more.
     
  7. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

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    I still think it should have been called the Axe FX II XL Mark 2 :D
    -
    Austin
     
  8. RackFiz

    RackFiz Member

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    There's a Fractal Audio Axe-fx II XL+??? I didn't even know a new model had been released. I don't see it referenced at Fractals home page, is there a direct link I can look at?
     
  9. iaresee

    iaresee Member

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  10. AZG

    AZG Supporting Member

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    I vote for

    Axe FX II XL Mark II :idea :rotflmao
     
  11. aculturemind

    aculturemind Member

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    Perhaps this is why some of the boutique and even major makers' pedals are at least a hundred-fifty, let alone three hundred?
     
  12. cliffc8488

    cliffc8488 Member

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    A typical dirt pedal only has one or two op-amps so the cost of the op-amp wouldn't figure that much. The housing, switches, jacks, etc. are more costly than all but the most esoteric op-amps.

    There is a minimum cost associated with any product. The parts cost of a dirt pedal can be easily under $20. But you have to add overhead, SG&A, etc., etc., etc. which all add to the final cost of the product. Everyone who makes a salary at the company ultimately contributes to the cost of the product. Then add dealer and distributor markups, shipping, etc. and you're quickly at $150 for low-volume things like this.
     
  13. Matman

    Matman Member

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    Welcome back, OP. Thanks for the review.
     
  14. KJR123

    KJR123 Member

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    Thanks for the editor today.
     

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