Is the Axe FX worth it and should I get one?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by METAL, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. METAL

    METAL Member

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    For the longest time I've been using plugins for amp sims, and while they're alright, they sound a bit too digital and I'm not impressed with the latency. I use a Focusrite thunderbolt interface with a low buffer rate and still encounter latency.

    Moving on to my main question.. I've always been hesitant to drop $3k on amp modelling hardware but now I'm actually considering it. I'm looking for something versatile with low latency that has a good realistic sound. The Axe FX seems to do just that.

    With all that being said, is it worth the money? Will I be happy with it? I also looked at the route of buying a good head and digital load box, but it would add up to cost around the same and I wouldn't get the advantage of using different amp sounds.

    You feedback would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. jzgtrguy

    jzgtrguy Member

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    Remember when digital cameras first came out and the resolution was low and images were grainy? Go try and buy 35mm film today....Not saying tube amps are going anywhere, they're not but IMHO the line between analog and digital has been blurred to the point where it's almost impossible for over 90% of us to tell the difference. I don't think you'll regret it. It sounds amazing live also. No discernible latency.
     
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  3. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

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    Yes, odds are you'll love it once you get the hang of it. If you are in the US you don't need to drop $3k...get an XL on sale for $1795.
     
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  4. METAL

    METAL Member

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    I'm in Canada so it's more of an investment. Because of the exchange rate and shipping costs.
     
  5. RolandKorg

    RolandKorg Member

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    Why not the AX8? $1200, not $3k. Do you need to run two amps?
     
  6. METAL

    METAL Member

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    From what I understand, the Axe FX has more processing power? And is better for in the studio?
     
  7. xjojox

    xjojox Tardis-dwelling wanker Gold Supporting Member

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    Fractal is having all kinds of sales right now, you can get a loaded II-XL for under $2k.
    AX8 for much less.

    For recording, it's an entire music store in a box. Stunningly good and highly efficient for recording. I much prefer the Axe to mic'ing up a real amp. Total consistency between takes, seamless punch-ins, etc.

    Live, it all comes down to how warm and fuzzy you do or do not feel with one. The sound is stellar so it's all about the feel. I'm good with it but I don't go FRFR, I just use it at the heart of a rig with a power amp and guitar cab.
     
  8. mikah912

    mikah912 Member

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    It does have more power, but the sounds are identical. And it is idealized for a home studio if only because it doesn't have a fixed impedance input and also has USB sound card/recording functionality. But otherwise, the AX8 is super duper cool. You'd love it.
     
  9. Bentayuk

    Bentayuk Supporting Member

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    You don't need a 3K digital rig now to compete. I had the Axe Fx Ultra, which cost me 1K CDN, I got rid of it last week when I picked up the new Atomic AmpliFirebox for $299 USD. Seriously look into it, it's a cost effective solution for getting into the digital game, and the quality speaks for itself.

    FYI, I am considering looking into an AX8 later next year, but for now the AFB is doing a stunning job.

    Also, another option is that Long & McQuade now rent out Helix LT's for around $70 per month, with added rent to own options etc...
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  10. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    Yes it is worth the money, especially with late sales prices.

    For amp modeling raw amp tone, you can also look into the Kemper profiling amp.

    Axe FX will keep you busy for a long time, but there are also many plug in and play presets to enjoy, as well as nice deep rabbit hole to climb into if so desired. lol

    Great units, especially for studio
     
  11. METAL

    METAL Member

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    If I’m going to keep upgrading, I’m better off just saving and getting the Axe FX. I’ve heard demos of the Helix and it didn’t sound that much better than the VSTs I use.. I’d rather jut get an Axe FX. I’m just looking for some the opinion as to whether it’s worth the money.

    My main uses will be
    - Practicing and jamming in my home studio
    - Recording in my home studio
    - Ocasionally taking it for liver gigs
    Sound and versatility is obviously the most important thing for me.

    I have a Peavey 6505+ combo at the moment and while it’s great for what it is, micing it up takes more time and I’m stuck with the 2 channels it comes with. And all effects I have to buy pedals which also cost more.
     
  12. Bentayuk

    Bentayuk Supporting Member

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    I wouldn't consider them upgrades from one to the other. I've owned the Axe Fx Ultra, Helix and AFB. They are all excellent units, and it will come down to personal taste. You really won't know anything until you try one.
    If you want to try some decent VST's, the Mercuriall and Thermionik stuff is very good, and have stood tall in the past against my old Marshall, Peavey, Engl, and Mesa amps.
     
  13. mikah912

    mikah912 Member

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    Buddy, for metal, an Axe-FX isn't going to sound "much better than the VSTs you use". Neither will a Kemper. Check it:



    Anyway, I'm not here to convince you to get anything but what you want. Sounds like you have your mind made up, so I would say AX8 at its current sale price is ideal.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  14. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    If you have the green, and using for studio get the rack unit. Great prices, dual amp configs, 2x the horsepower as the AX8 for a few hundred bucks more. If for mono amp tone and gigging with such, then an AX8 is fine too.
     
  15. RolandKorg

    RolandKorg Member

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    Maybe you guys who have experience with the various Fractals can explain to him (us) what it means for the Axe to have "2x the horsepower" versus the AX8. As far as i'm aware, it means you can run two amps at the same time, and are less likely to run up against a limitation on the number of effects you can run simultaneously. But, how often does that happen? If you're playing metal, how often do you need that many effects?
     
  16. ColdFrixion

    ColdFrixion Member

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    If versatility and sound quality are your biggest considerations, then yes, the Axe FX is worth every penny. In terms of tweakability, it's currently the most versatile unit available as offers more tone shaping parameters than any other modeler. In terms of sound quality, from a purely anecdotal standpoint the Axe FX is outstanding, at least judging by polls on this forum.
     
  17. Stokely

    Stokely Member

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    I'm 95% keys and a noob guitarist :D The guitarist in my band has an AX8, sounds great and he loves it. He's coming from a long history of tube amps and a brief direct rig with a Flyrig.

    Personally, I had issues with latency when messing with guitar as well. That was until I get my latest interface, now I don't notice it. I'm pretty sensitive to it with both guitar and piano...it doesn't take much to throw me off. Ironically, my interface is one of the cheapest out there, a Behringer u-phoria usb. I know a few keys players that prefer hardware keyboards to plugins for no other reason than latency, but I can't feel the difference between my hardware boards and my software sounds....with my last couple interfaces, I definitely could. I learned to compensate accordingly but that only works with certain sounds, and not at all with guitar IMO.

    So even though you have a good interface, I still wonder if that latency could be corrected.

    If was playing live guitar, I wouldn't personally use plugins, and I don't for keys either. This is 100% due to my fears about the laptop freaking out and/or logistics issues (how to keep people from knocking it over etc) and nothing to do with the sound. At home I"m 100% software, the convenience is king! I will say that I leave my DAW up and running with a track armed so that I can pick up the guitar and start playing just as quickly as I could with an amp.
     
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  18. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    I ran stereo operation with multiple amps and cabs. Not everyone needs that. I don't run that config as often these days because we have two guitarists.

    Some that record metal prefer the different amps or different cab multiples because it just feels better to them. Certain effects require more horsepower and DSP, and many have posted the limits of the AX8 vs the AXE2 etc. Reminds me of my Axe standard years ago and my later upgrade to the Ultra, then from Ultra to AXE2.

    If you don't want to run into any CPU limits, go with the AXE2. You can really get crazy and have room. It also is better because it's nice to go the Axechange and grab presets you know will work and not have such limitations. If for studio, it's a no brainer.
     
  19. rsm

    rsm Member

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    If you're using plugins then any of the current generation digital modelers will be fine. I've been using modelers for a few years, I've had more than I care to remember, some I wish I didn't sell, and I've found uses for a few I have today in different contexts. At this point in time, it's mainly a subjective decision IMO - what sounds, easy of use, workflow, capabilities, models, cost, usage contexts, etc. work best for you

    Get the modeler you want, it will work fine as long as you take the time to learn how to get what you want from it.

    Choose wisely. :)
     
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  20. RolandKorg

    RolandKorg Member

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    Okay, i get that the AX8 has 'limits,' but if you're a 'simple fellow' like me, and would only want to run: 1 compressor, 1 amp, 1 cab, reverb, 1 delay, and have flanger or phaser on a footswitch for momentary passages (let's call this "The Unchained Scenario," is that going to be a problem? For me, that would probably be the most i'd want to do. Otherwise, it would just be an amp, a cab, maybe a compressor, reverb, and maybe delay. Period. Simple rock/blues.
     

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