What you present to the audience hearing your guitar signal is almost never what you hear standing next to your amp. And even those guys caught up in that - and on that point - fail to realize is that 99% of the time they don't hear their amp directly either; it's on an angle to their ears. (And sometimes ripping full blast into the backs of their knees). Your 'real' tone is what you here right in front of your speaker, with it aimed squarely at your melon. When recording or playing live, EQ is used to carve, boost, and space out different musical elements to make them standout, blend or better work together. Outside of only a few places, the entire 'direct from the cab to the audience' is not what is presented to the listener. What is presented is processed (digitally or otherwise) with EQ, limiters, compression and more. Your pedals and amps are tools in the actual entire toolbox used to both create and present your tone and timbre as a musician in an ensemble to the listening audience. And proper use of each tool individually and then corporately as a whole is what both shapes and delivers your tone. The key here and the whole 'monster' concept is that folks cannot grasp what the Axe-FX, beyond other modeling solutions, has to truly offer. It's not a 'replace your Soldano with this preset' thing. It's about a toolbox that has so much to offer if you have the proper understanding, grasp and knowledge to utilize it to create and craft your guitar tone. As a matter of philosophy, see the Axe-FX as a toolbox and not as a 'amp modeler' to get your mindset right about what it really is. That marketing speak has folks pulling their hair out trying to replicate analog amps using the same exact settings, etc.. The Axe-FX is a different beast; it has a massive array of tools to use to shape your tones. What does that mean? For example it is not 'wrong' or complicated to simply drop a PEQ in after your cab and modify it to taste. Try it in your DAW; just take your recorded tone and use a PEQ in your DAW to shape it to your preferences and goals; then drop inside your Axe-FX and replicate that curve with a PEQ block in your signal chain after the cab. You'll be amazed. It's almost like chiseling out the perfect tone 'sculpture' with chisels instead of just using hammers. You'll see folks react to something like that with, "well, I just want to use an amp and cab block to get there" when in analog, you need to EQ most everything you've ever recorded or mixed live. The bands that sound the worst, almost universally, are bands where the backline supports the room and the instruments are not in FOH. Factors like directionality, beaming, phase cancellations, and all sorts of issues come into play that almost always make for a trainwreck of a mix; and it shifts as you walk around in the room. That's one topic, and not the thrust of this thread or post. But it illustrates a fundamental separation of what 'purists' of any ilk don't comprehend. The greater picture when presenting music; be it recorded in the mix, or live on the gig. Jay Mitchell put it this way on another thread here in regards to this, and his point is well stated: "The Axe-Fx does both (emulate and create tones), albeit with a requirement for a higher level of user involvement than simple plug-and-play. If you think about it, that's really no different from physical amps, cabs, and processing gear. The players who have created definitive sounds have all done their homework, both in learning to play the instrument and learning to use and/or modify the gear. The notion that you can purchase those results with no effort on your part is the sort of naive myth that appeals to kids and hobbyists who are the core market for cheap all-in-one processors, but it is a myth nonetheless. You'll never get either your own signature sound nor the sound of your personal guitar hero without expending some of your own blood, sweat, and tears." I know I set folks off when I post things about the Axe-FX, especially on this board. But this isn't hype, this isn't hedging and this is what I was trying to say a long time ago when I first grasped what the Axe-FX really is. This thing is a 'monster' because it is far more than a 'preset in a box'. You get a toolbox with a lot of very powerful, complex and deep tools. You have to bring the carpentry skill and ingenuity to make it work for YOUR personal situation. It's a blank canvas, with the paints and brushes. But it is NOT paint by numbers. Trying to help.