Personal Q's on Axe Fx 2

Rock72

Member
Messages
1,644
I have a few questions I hope you guys can help me with. I am seriously considering getting an Axe Fx 2. I do live in an appartment where volume is an issue in the evenings. I do not currently gig, but play guitar every day as an "escape" from the everyday stress. I know there are other options, and I have owned an 11R, pods, and currently have the Zoom G3. I do consider myself audiophile, and hence the Axe. So a few questions:

1. Learning curve: is it very steep? I am not a "computer nerd" but do usually get my head around stuff. I have no studio experience at all. How long did it take you normal guys to get a handle of the Axe and its possibilites?

2. My current set up includes boutique/high end stuff, amp and effect wise. Did for any of you the Axe replace that, or did you keepthat as well?

3. Do you miss the "feel" og playing a tube amp, or is this elusive "feel" more psychology than anything else, and the Axe met all you expectations to feel and sensitivity?

Thanks for your time sharing your thoughs with a pondering mind.
 

Scott Peterson

TGP Co-Founder and Administrator
Staff member
Messages
37,501
I have a few questions I hope you guys can help me with. I am seriously considering getting an Axe Fx 2. I do live in an appartment where volume is an issue in the evenings. I do not currently gig, but play guitar every day as an "escape" from the everyday stress. I know there are other options, and I have owned an 11R, pods, and currently have the Zoom G3. I do consider myself audiophile, and hence the Axe. So a few questions:

1. Learning curve: is it very steep? I am not a "computer nerd" but do usually get my head around stuff. I have no studio experience at all. How long did it take you normal guys to get a handle of the Axe and its possibilites?
There is a learning curve, but how much of one depends on a lot of factors. Learning the box and how to use it for your own purposes relies on your expectations, application, and wants/needs. It's a deep enough box that you may not ever need to learn everything it does; a key to focus on is that you do not need to use everything or understand everything in order to get the results you require/desire.

2. My current set up includes boutique/high end stuff, amp and effect wise. Did for any of you the Axe replace that, or did you keepthat as well?
Some guys keep their other gear, some guys sell it, some guys sell the Axe-FX. Depends on the guy. :D

Can it replace all that? Yes. Will it make you happy? That's nothing anyone can tell you.

3. Do you miss the "feel" og playing a tube amp, or is this elusive "feel" more psychology than anything else, and the Axe met all you expectations to feel and sensitivity?

Thanks for your time sharing your thoughs with a pondering mind.
Some do, some do not. Depends again on too many personal preference factors.

I have come to depend on and prefer using the Axe-FX direct to FOH over using conventional rigs; but I could also use any given amp/cab/effect setup quite happily too.

Keep in mind that it's just a toolbox; you don't need to swear off your other gear or any other sort of gear to make it work for you. It can do that for you if you wish - the capability is there - but some prefer to use it as an effects only processor, some prefer to use it as a preamp/effects into a power amp and cab; and some prefer to run it 100% direct to FOH or some combination of the above. It's versatile, powerful and extremely practical.
 

Adam Zaiger

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
444
1. Learning curve: is it very steep? I am not a "computer nerd" but do usually get my head around stuff. I have no studio experience at all. How long did it take you normal guys to get a handle of the Axe and its possibilites? CURVE IS SMALL TO LEARN THE BASICS, AND A GOOD NUMBER OF PRESENTS ARE KILLER RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX. TO EXPERIENCE ALL "POSSIBILITIES" WOULD TAKE FOREVER.

2. My current set up includes boutique/high end stuff, amp and effect wise. Did for any of you the Axe replace that, or did you keepthat as well? DEFINITELY DOESN'T REPLACE THE BOUTIQUE STUFF FOR ME, BUT I COULD SEE SOMEONE GOING THAT ROUTE. IT SOUNDS GREAT.

3. Do you miss the "feel" og playing a tube amp, or is this elusive "feel" more psychology than anything else, and the Axe met all you expectations to feel and sensitivity? NOT AT ALL. IN MANY WAYS THE FEEL IS ALL THERE AND EVEN BETTER THAN THE REAL THING WHEN YOU TURN DOWN THE GUITAR VOLUME KNOB. HOWEVER, I CAN HEAR A COLORATION VS. REAL TUBE AMPS. IT WOULD HARDLY BE NOTICABLE TO AN AUDIENCE, AND THE TONES ARE GREAT BUT IMO IT'S THERE. I DON'T HEAR IT WHEN PLAYING WITH HEADPHONES (AND BTW THE EXE IS THE BEST HEADPHONE EXPERIENCE EVER!). I ALSO HAVE YET TO REALLY BOND WITH ANY FRFR SETUP, BUT I DO UNDERSTAND WHY SOME FOLKS DO THAT.
 

ejecta

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,973
All my answers are my personal tastes and views. IMHO the only way is by trying one out yourself to truly answer these to your satisfaction.

1: Can be deep but doesn't have to be.

2: If I were still gigging where I could crank a tube amp that's what I'd do and would still have my tube amps. I don't and only play at home at moderate levels and record direct so I sold my amps since the Axe does better in that situation than any tube amp I've ever owned.... boutique or not.

3: Yes in some instances or tones I'm going for I do miss the feel of a tube amp.
 

mtmartin71

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,900
Pretty straightforward to use, but I'm used to using this type of gear and particularly the AxeFX platform. I gig out and also have a tube power amp and 4x12 that gets used all of one or two times a year. Don't really miss the tube amp but there are certain tones from a tube amp that I long to "feel" again. I just don't live in a place or gig at places where it makes sense for me to spend $2-3K for a Marshall Plexi stack. Instead, I can cop it with the AxeFX due to the incredible flexibility that Scott already noted. I'm also used to and kind of prefer monitoring myself via FRFR. Good luck if you decide to go the AxeFX 2 path. I think you'll enjoy it.
 

Black Squirrel

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,075
I have both The Axe II and the Zoom G3 And for me For practice using DT770 Headphones (BeyerDynamic) The Axe sounds pretty Amazing But The G3 Sounds Pretty Darn Good as well. The G3 Does not have the touch sensitivity and the "Bloom" the Axe has but I enjoy it all the same. I really don't think for practice the Axe II is $2,200.00 better then the Zoom G3. (I prefer the G3 to both the HD500 and the 11R) I would look into a used Standard to see if you like the whole Axe experience is right for you (you will need a mixed or some other headphone solution)

I play mostly on the cleaner side of things with very little effects use.
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
21,226
1. Learning curve: is it very steep? How long did it take you normal guys to get a handle of the Axe and its possibilites?

2. My current set up includes boutique/high end stuff, amp and effect wise. Did for any of you the Axe replace that, or did you keepthat as well?

3. Do you miss the "feel" og playing a tube amp, or is this elusive "feel" more psychology than anything else, and the Axe met all you expectations to feel and sensitivity?

Thanks for your time sharing your thoughs with a pondering mind.
The learning curve on the Axe II is not steep at all if you use a traditional power amp and cab. For recording direct and playing with a FRFR monitor cab sims come into play and that increases the things you have to deal with but it's really not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination.

I first bought an Axe FX Ultra and it was about a week of spare time after work before I felt I had developed a reasonable facility with it. The Axe II is easier to dial in and you can get great tone within minutes of opening the box.

I did not sell my favorite tube amps but haven't played through them in months.

I do not miss the feel of playing through a tube amp. I use a tube power amp and traditional 2x12 and the feel is there. I never once have thought "I really miss the feel of my Super Reverb" and for me that's saying a lot.

It sounds like you are a good candidate for one and the box is deep enough that you'll keep discovering things for a long time...something that keeps it fresh for me to the point where for the first time in years I don't feel that I need to keep looking for yet another amp.

Highly recommended.
 

DraggAmps

Member
Messages
2,823
Depends on what you consider the learning curve, because I doubt very many people completely understand and know how to use effectively everything about the Axe. It's a very deep/dense machine. But it doesn't take long to learn how to dial in a good sound and you'll learn more and more and produce better sounds every time you mess with it. It's not hard to get your head around dialing in a good guitar tone. Even the advanced parameters aren't too difficult, but you don't even need to mess with them until you're comfortable.

I've always been a boutique tubes and pedals guy. I went from a nice tube amp with a great pedalboard with well over $3000 worth of boutique pedals (I've collected and traded pedals for a while. Total boutique pedal junky before the Axe... and still) and the Axe can definitely replace that. The effects can sound easily as good and usually better. I even feel that the delays in the Axe are equal or better than my Strymon Timeline and it can do almost, if not everything that Timeline can do, plus it's own tricks. I love not having to adjust knobs on my pedals all the time, setting it up before each rehearsal.

With that said, pedals are always right there and they're relatively simple. They're right in front of you, they have knobs, and they click on and off. With the Axe, to have a comparable setup, you need a killer midi controller and it can take a while to program. Plus you have to program each effect and that can be endless tweaking, which may or may not be a good thing (I have fun tweaking. With the Axe, it's easy to get a good tone, but it's fun to try to make it better). Then you have to decide if you want to make it simple like physical pedals and use the same exact effect setups for every single patch, or if you want to get more complicated and make specific effect types and parameters for each patch. I think a combination of both is a good way of doing it, keeping things simple and clean by having a default setup, but making adjustments for certain frequently used patches that need their own thing going on.

As for tube feel and sound, I'm a total tube snob. Or at least I was. I turned my nose up at the Axe for years because you get this idea about digital in your mind and think that it's just not possible for it to sound as good. Even after I finally bought the Axe, I just didn't believe it was going to sound as good until I got it. I'm especially skeptical because I also build tube amps, and I'm just very fond of them. However, a well dialed in Axe, in reality, is virtually indistinguishable. In fact, in some ways it sounds better because it sound like a tube amp in it's ideal conditions. I truly believe that the only way anyone could really tell the difference in a blind test is if they picked the Axe because it sounded better since the real tube amp might not be sounding quite right on that given day or it's not cranked enough or any of the common flaws are showing through. However, I'd love to see Eric Johnson try to tell the difference between a very well dialed in Axe and a comparable set of amps to test against. And as far as feel, you can dial in all the "feel" you want as well. Compression, sag, etc. It feels and sounds like real amps on their best days.
 

Rock72

Member
Messages
1,644
Hi guys,

thanks for great answers and insights. I can definitely see the Axe, some good monitors, and late-evening headphone use as beeing an ideal setup for me at home. The question about learning curve was well answered by you guys. To sum it up, the learning curve can be as steep as you want it to be :). Plug'n'play (with some turning of knobs) or endless tweaking. Yes the Axe with all its offerings is perhaps "overkill", but that isn't to me a negative.

I do intend to keep my tube amp, as well as my pedalboard. I also agree with the comment that the Zoom G3 is a stellar unit for what it does. Also having had 11R, pods and other units, I didn't have any expectations. But I was pleasantly surprised.
 

Rock72

Member
Messages
1,644
Well guys, thanks to all your bad advices I am now the owner of an Axe Fx 2 and the MC-101 Foot Controller. Now the learning (and fun) can begin. With almost 400 presets, I guess that's where I'll be spending Christmas.

Thanks for all your help, much appreciated. And, don't shoot me when threads like "How do I.........with the Axe Fx 2" starts popping up :p
 

rcl

Member
Messages
1,768
Learning curve is much less with the "2" than the ultra. I was always looking for patches for the ultra and tweaking, never quite happy week to week. With the 2, I still mess with things but I am very happy with my patches and have a backlog of ones to try. Like anything, you will need to start the journey and your pace is your own. I still learn something about it, nearly every day.

I either have sold, or am still trying to sell all of my tube heads from a JVM, XTC, MarkV, Modena down to a voxer(and others-I sold a lot). Still have an eggy on consignment. I don't miss them, and I especially don't miss the bulk and tube issues. Some of my amps were amazing-for one or two tones-but I always needed something else. With the axe, heck I play violin in a couple of songs. Vox, DrZ, 1987X, Lonestar, XTC blue&red, JVM and rect-those are my main amps now-in a 4U rolling chassis ;)
I also use a violin, a synth sound, piezo specific patch, a B3 patch and one slot to be filled later(in my top 10 slots). I still have 2 combo's, but only because my wife would kill me if I got another axe rig. I would LOVE a second axe rig(2 bands). My other rig is a GSP1101 in 4cm with a blackstar 60 soloist. 11R into a powerblock is my home practice rig. HD500-I hope to get back to it and try it again. I left it with the guitarist in the "old" band since he has been using pods forever...he hasnt touched it though.

Besides the costs of all those heads, and the bulk of lugging AND storing them...I also no longer have a pedalboard. I have an MFC and 2 expression pedals. Every time I watch the other guitar player setup his board, mess with goofy cable issues or a bad pedal(he always has spares!), I give thanks to cliff that an RJ45 cable back to the unit is my only need. G30 wireless straight into the axe-DONE!

Some folks will say the tone is as good, nearly as good, good enough, etc. For me, it exceeds anything I could want. Now if my kids would just wake up so I could go down and power up! (I hate playing through headphones)

My rig today-AXE2/MFC, out1 to FOH and QSCK12 that sits in front of the MFC pointing up at me. Out2 is to a 44magnum(as of yesterday no more velo300) that hides in the back of my rolling rack-to a 2x12. That serves two purposes. I have a 2x12 at home and both band spots, so I dont have to move them and I can use the axe anywhere. Second, the bass player likes to hear my coming out of a cab near his cab. Personally, he drowns me out so I use the qsc to make sure I can hear me, and keep volume levels sane. The other guitarist will keep turning up to the point I cant hear the 2x12 cab-but that level works for him-so I set that cab kinda low, and he then keeps his rig lower-without knowing he is doing it or why. Then the bass player turns down etc. Miraculously, our ears no longer are ringing after practice...and I hear what FOH gets.
 




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