NAD: Axe-FX Ultra

Discussion in 'Amp Modeling' started by zslane, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. zslane

    zslane Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,803
    Likes Received:
    1,126
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    So after spending the better part of a year watching the (impressive, IMO) development of amp modeling in general, I decided to stop flirting with countless tube amps and multi-effects units and just spring for an Axe-FX Ultra. My ultimate goal is to go FRFR and hook up an FBT Verve 12ma to it. For now I am just feeding it to a Roland KC-100 keyboard amp which is quite neutral in terms of frequency response. The KC-100 produces a decent 60w of output which is more than enough for playing in my apartment.

    Eventually I will probably spring for an MFC-101 foot controller, but that's down the road when I find myself actually needing to do lots of real-time preset and pedal control switching.

    Now, I already have a bunch of Marshall tube amps that cover half a room's wall, but I suspect I won't be turning them on much anymore...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. screamingdaisy

    screamingdaisy Senior Member

    Messages:
    610
    Likes Received:
    422
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Let us know in 6 months.:D
     
  3. Standard 64

    Standard 64 Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,523
    Likes Received:
    387
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    People have played tube amps from birth to death,old school per say.
     
  4. borgein

    borgein Senior Member

    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    33
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    "After 2 years with the Axe, having been a tube amp guy for almost 20 years before, I went back to my amps now. It's a great tool, but it doesn't replace the real life experience of a quality amp just yet."

    Rig-Talk • View topic - Axe-fx vs Tube Amps... my first experience.

    It's a fun tool, yes. I have friends that have it.
    Some of them sold it after a few months, simply because they got to the point that they were pushing buttons and chasing sounds more than playing the guitar.

    The others went back to their tube amps, and only have the Axe FX has a unit to play with at home on some studio monitors...

    I want one myself, but it would never replace my tube amps. it would be an addition. I had a modeling amp before (Vox VT30) that i actually sold because i got tired of switching presets for each song i wanted to play, and to find sounds, tweak, adjust... So i just sold it and bought simple 1 channel amps and have never been happier... I actually focus on playing now, not pushing buttons or twisting knobs all day long... So i probably won't buy it.

    Looks fun though. Congratulations!
     
  5. zslane

    zslane Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,803
    Likes Received:
    1,126
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Yep. Tube amps are great.
     
  6. zslane

    zslane Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,803
    Likes Received:
    1,126
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    I would definitely agree that a device like the Axe-FX isn't for everyone. Just like a Dual Rectifier isn't for everyone. Or a Marshall Full Stack. Or a Roland JC-120.

    Some folks give the AFX a try and decide they prefer their tube amps. Other folks sell off all their old tube amp gear because it sits around gathering dust while the AFX gets used instead. To each his own, right?

    I think tube amps are great, but for my needs they are impractical. Or rather, I find the flexibility inherent in the Axe-FX to better match my needs and expectations. I am keenly aware of the "limitations" of the Axe-FX but fortunately they do not affect me. I am not forced to sacrifice anything I care about in exchange for a degree of versatility, reliability, and portability I couldn't dream of achieving with traditional amp gear. Moreover, I don't see the customizability of the Axe-FX as an obstacle, but rather as an asset. I am eager to get in there and start building my own rigs with Axe-Edit. What others see as a rathole of wasted time I see as a limitless pool of creative opportunities.

    Nobody should make the mistake of thinking that just because I may not use my Marshalls anymore that I don't think highly of tube amps or of Marshall tone. To the contrary, I love Marshall tone and Mesa Boogie tone and Fender tone, etc. In fact I look forward to dialing them in with my AFX! It's just that I have found a way to get 95% of the tonal qualities I want without all the hassles of tubes and big heavy heads and pedal boards.
     
    Hector Arcadius likes this.
  7. Standard 64

    Standard 64 Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,523
    Likes Received:
    387
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    I hope this doesnt turn into a pissing contest.Your right,to each his own.
     
  8. borgein

    borgein Senior Member

    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    33
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Yep :) I hope my post wasn't mistaken.
    As i said, the Axe-FX is an awesome unit. And combined with a Atomic cabinet (FR) for example it is just brilliant. It costs about the same as 1 1/2 100w Marshall racks for example (new vs new). But you have all the effects, tones, cabs and amps that you could dream of.

    Just the effects alone are worth the money. You can almost spend the same amount on pedals ALONE just to have the same amount of quality effects that the Axe-FX ships with.

    Hence, it is a really awesome unit. But as you said, it doesn't fit everyone. Personally, i would love one. But, i also sold my modeling amp because i was twisting and tweaking those knobs more and more every day... To play "that cover" i had to dial in "that amp" and so on... I got tired of it... But i had to do it... So i sold it and got an amp (Night Train) at that time that was as easy as possible... No effects, no loop, just power on/off, volume, gain and a 3-band EQ... I started PLAYING my guitar more then... and it sounded awesome anyway!

    But yeah... I am GAS'ing for a Axe FX Ultra in combination with a Atomic FRFR cabinet and the MIDI foot controller... That would have been awesome...

    I DO wish that Fractal Audio could dump most of their 390 or so presets that the units ships with though... As mostly all of them sucks tbh...
     
  9. zslane

    zslane Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,803
    Likes Received:
    1,126
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    One thing I learned from reading lots of reviews and forum posts prior to buying the AFX was that the presets should be viewed primarily as demonstrations of the unit's capabilities, not ready-to-go patches that a professional guitarist would want to rely on for their own tone. I knew that they were essentially like a recipe book full of examples to draw ideas from, and from which to learn how the various blocks work together, not the final word in tone construction. Ultimately, the Axe-FX shines most brilliantly when used to put together one's own rigs from scratch. Nevertheless, I actually like quite a number of the presets.

    There is a pretty vibrant community of AFX users sharing rig patches online, so if someone comes up with a killer patch based on a Bogner Shiva amp block, for instance, I can upload it to my AFX and save a lot of personal tweak time. I really like the fact that if there is something about the patch that seems a little off, I have access to those parameters and can adjust as necessary. "Endless tweaking" can either be a sign of creative exploration, or a sign of being utterly lost. But just like it is easy to just plug into a Vox and play, it is also easy to just plug into an AFX and play. It really isn't hard to get great tone out of it without spending untold hours fiddling with parameters. Anyone who says they can't is someone whose ears I simply don't trust.
     
  10. JakeM

    JakeM Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,615
    Likes Received:
    293
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    I would love one of these just for its effects with a small midi controller, I wish they made scaled down version. I like the tc g system but it's too big too. I really like it but a mini version would be nice too

    good luck with the awesome kit
    jake
     
  11. Actinic

    Actinic Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,379
    Likes Received:
    2,947
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    Still on the fence with this one. There are many bad demos on the web, making me not want to buy the Axe-Fx Ultra. Then I found this demo, and it is incredible. At least it is not cacophonous like some videos. The player, Ketil Strand, has rhythm and a good ear for replicating sounds.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-nHCW0eg0E]YouTube - (R)evolution of Rock Guitar-Fractal Audio Axe-Fx Ultra Preamp/Effects processor-Part I -Ketil Strand[/ame]
     
  12. hbucker

    hbucker Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,629
    Likes Received:
    1,228
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    I've got a friend who has one. It really is the real deal tone wise. I don't see myself ever getting one, but for some they are just the thing.

    If I ever got serious about a home studio, I'd say it would be an amazing tool to own.
     
  13. River

    River Senior Member

    Messages:
    57,250
    Likes Received:
    91,243
    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Good on you, zslane. I know how carefully you must've considered this, and we both know what can be done with it.
     
  14. zslane

    zslane Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,803
    Likes Received:
    1,126
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Bad demos on the web only reveal how bad most people are at making demos. They don't really tell you much of anything about the quality of the gear being demoed. Aside from videos like Strand's (and a few others), about all you can learn from them is how versatile the Axe-FX is. You won't usually get an accurate sense of how good it sounds. Then again, that's true of most amp "demos" you find on YouTube. In the right hands, any amp can be made to sound great; but in most folks' hands, even the best amp will sound like garbage on YouTube. A lot of the problem is that most folks don't know how to shoot video and capture audio separately for audio demonstration purposes (or are too lazy to bother). Guys like Ketil Strand know what they are doing and take the time to do it right, which is why the Axe-FX shines in his videos.
     
  15. zslane

    zslane Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,803
    Likes Received:
    1,126
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    I'm a big proponent of the FRFR (full range, flat response) approach to using the Axe-FX. I just think it makes so much sense. As planned, I ordered an FBT Verve 12ma powered cab. Should arrive next Tuesday.

    I am going to experiment with stereo amp rigs by hooking up the Verve to the left channel, and my Roland KC-100 to the right channel. I'm dying to try this setup with the factory preset called "Blitzkrieg", which has (I believe) a Diezel VH4 on the left and an ENGL Powerball on the right.
     
  16. roodyrocker

    roodyrocker Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,595
    Likes Received:
    1,293
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    I have an Axe Fx Ultra which I haven't really tweaked much. I have used it live and I run it through QSC HPR112i powered monitors. It sounds awesome and nothing like the Line 6 and Vox and whatever else modelers are out there. I did not sell off my tube amps but I'm not getting rid of the Axe Fx either. Not only is it a tone machine but the effects are high end sounding. You would spend a ton more money just to get those quality effects out of something like an Eventide. So yeah, the Axe Fx is worth it. It also has the advantage of sounding good whether cranked or low volume. Thats not something all my tube amps can do. Anyway, for me its not one or the other. I'm keeping both :D
     
  17. carydad

    carydad Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,465
    Likes Received:
    357
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    I play in a cover band and spent thousands on amps...my problem is I could get a great sound for some songs...but not a bunch of them. So if you need flexibility like that, a modeler can do it for you. My ultra sounds great in the room(FRFR QSCK12/K8) and on the ADAT. The MFC takes it to the next level.

    If you play one tone and that is all you need, the axe is probably overkill though still a cool tool and if nothing else the effects are stellar if you dont use the amp/cab models. The Ketil vids sold me on it. Sold over 10K worth of amps since and a few to go. Don't miss them at all.

    Definitely check out the fractal forum and the gear page. Guys post their settings and answer questions etc.
     
  18. zslane

    zslane Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,803
    Likes Received:
    1,126
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    I have a veritable wall of Marshalls myself and I am very tempted to sell them off now that I have the Axe-FX. There is really nothing that they do that the Axe-FX doesn't do just as well, except maybe weigh a lot more and take up a helluva lot more space. The thing is, I just can't bear to part with those Marshalls. I just know I'll regret it someday; if for no other reason than they may be worth a lot of moola in twenty years.

    I love this aspect of the Axe-FX. I can "crank the amp volume" to get all that great power tube distortion that would normally only happen at 120dB on a real amp, but then work with it at reasonable room volumes (just like listening to a CD of a guitarist playing a dimed tube amp). This is made possible by the Axe-FX doing all the work of a tube amp but at line-level, and then using an FRFR cab purely as sound reinforcement.
     
  19. dcooper830

    dcooper830 Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,556
    Likes Received:
    520
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    I'd love to get an Axe FX Ultra but no matter how awesome it is and how much I jam with it all the time........ I'd still keep my tube amps and play them too. :)
     
  20. zslane

    zslane Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,803
    Likes Received:
    1,126
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    I am keeping my tube amps (for now). But I don't know why I would play them anymore. :hmm:
     

Share This Page