NAD: Axe-FX Ultra

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

  1. roodyrocker

    roodyrocker Senior Member

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    Not only have I kept all my tube amps since getting the Axe Fx Ultra but I have actually added a few more! And its not because they do anything the Axe Fx can't, I simply have GAS :laugh2: In a nutshell the Axe Fx can do everything my tube amps do but my tube amps can't do everything my Axe Fx can :)
     
  2. zslane

    zslane Senior Member

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    Well, I simply don't have room for any more gear. My little apartment is pretty much stocked to the gills. I am somewhat desperate to get rid of stuff I'm not using anymore (and not just music gear). I feel weighed down by it all. Time to thin the herd, lighten the load, trim the fat, ...
     
  3. oldaxeman

    oldaxeman Senior Member

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    I just received my Ultra 3 days ago and I am very impressed with it so far. The effects alone are worth it to me. I researched the unit as much as I could over the past year and decided to pull the trigger.
    I played till the fingers were sore the 1st day just playing with all the effects. Now comes the task of dialing in the sounds I want. But I am very impressed so far.
     
  4. hbucker

    hbucker Senior Member

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    Accepting it as the useful tool it is, the only real question about it I have is tied to the fact that it is a computer.

    I can't help but think that your wall of Marshalls will still be worth something (probably more) in 20 years. My money is on the Axe FX not being worth much of anything in 10 years. Perhaps I'm just being negative. But that's where my guess is and why I would be reluctant to sell your wall of Marshalls simply because the Axe FX does it all.
     
  5. Benguitar

    Benguitar Senior Member

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    Very cool~ I wish I could get an AxeFx Ultra, But I'm happy with my Eleven Rack for now.
     
  6. roodyrocker

    roodyrocker Senior Member

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    But the Axe Fx has so much more than just the amp models in it. To get the same sounds with all those Marshalls you'd still have to literally spend thousands of dollars for those effects and other amps in there. So although you're right about the vintage amps being worth more, but that "computer" sounds more like an amp than a computer. Who knows, maybe 20 years from now people will be saying: you're selling a tube what? Never heard of those things before :laugh2:
     
  7. H.E.L.Shane

    H.E.L.Shane Senior Member

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    i love them things!!!!

    i'm not going to argue the tube amp versus modeling unit thing..

    but there is ONE constant...

    if you want to minimize your gear, and maximize your sound... a modeling preamp with a tube power amp is the way to go.. and the AXE-FX is the cream of the crop right now...

    there is NO WAY IN HELL that i could lug enough tube amps on stage to get all the sounds i want to use being that we cover everything from elton john to slayer...... think about it...

    I have an ADA-MP-1 that i LOVE... but, with 128 distortion presets.. its still a one trick pony.. all 128 presets sound like an MP-1....

    my GSP1101 has a MUCH better range of tones... its Mashall and Engl presetns REALLY sound like a marshall or an ENGL because the preamp tone stacks are replicated.... But.. it still aint no AXE-FX

    That being said... I just bought an Egnater Little Tweaker.....:thumb:
     
  8. zslane

    zslane Senior Member

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    You are absolutely right. But it rather misses the point, I think.

    I don't buy gear as an investment (I have a 401k, an IRA, and a high-yield corporate bond fund for that). I buy gear to use, and my tube amps simply don't get used anymore, and probably never will. As long as the Axe-FX continues to serve the purpose for which it was bought, then it will have been money well spent. My Marshalls, as nice as they are for what they are, are not earning their keep, so to speak, by collecting dust in my apartment. As of today, they are the poorer investment in terms of my musical development, which is all that really matters to me when it comes to this stuff.

    I am keeping them purely out of an irrational belief that I would one day regret getting rid of them. Not because they are providing me with concrete value on a daily basis.
     
  9. zslane

    zslane Senior Member

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    Have you been to the axewiki? I think it is presently down while being moved to a new server, but here is a very useful (and enlightening) bit of information from it to keep in the back of your mind as you explore your Axe-FX, particularly if you are interested in FRFR. It has to do with a key parameter of the cabinet sims called speaker resonance frequency. This entry is from Cliff himself (the Axe-FX designer):

    Speaker Resonance Frequency: this one is important to match the amp sim to the speaker type. There are certain aspects of real speaker cabinets that simply can't be modeled and require user intervention. For example, a speaker has a low-frequency resonance. A tube amp will create a higher output at that resonant frequency. The Axe-Fx has no way of knowing what that resonant frequency is and defaults to a value that is common for the speakers that are typically used with that amp. However, if you drive that speaker through a solid-state amp you won't excite the resonance unless you adjust the Speaker Resonant Frequency to match it. This is the one of the few advanced parameters I ever adjust and I tweak it until I hear the bottom end "sympathize". For example, my favorite Mesa cab resonates around 110 Hz but most of the models default to 95 Hz so I usually adjust the Speaker Resonance to 110 Hz when using that cab. After I do that the Axe-Fx is indistinguishable from the real thing, IMHO.

    Tips like this go a long way towards maximizing the potential of your Axe-FX, particularly if you are trying to get authentic tube amp tone from it. People hear demos and feel something is missing, and much of it has to do with the demonstrators not creating an optimal rig (to say nothing of the poor recording methods they employ). Sure, this means it takes a bit more effort and knowledge to get the same results that a tube amp with a few knobs produces automatically (though tube amp fanatics also spend a lot of time and money trying to find just the right speakers for the sound they are looking for), but the flexibility and versatility more than make up for that, IMO. I'd rather audition different speakers by just pressing a few buttons and setting a couple of parameters than going through the cycle of buying them, installing them, taking them out and selling them, buying the next set of speakers, installing them, etc.

    I think that what a lot of the skeptics don't realize is that the ability to adjust the Axe-FX so that it behaves like a tube amp in virtually every way has been deployed as parameters. It's just that not every Axe-FX owner takes the time to learn about them and use them properly, leaving the general guitarist population with an inaccurate picture of its capabilities. Learning all those parameters is a daunting task, but lucky for us, a lot of advanced users out there have already figured out how to set these parameters and have uploaded them to the web as presets we can download and use ourselves. This saves a lot of time, certainly, but I also feel that learning how all this stuff works under the hood is the key to exploiting its power and sculpting its behavior to exactly what we want from it.
     
  10. hbucker

    hbucker Senior Member

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    My comment is all based on the fact that you already own these amps. I agree that "investing" with gear is not the point. I'm just assuming that decent tube amps will always serve a purpose where the modeling stuff will become obsolete the second they come out with the Axe FX Ultra PLUS model in a few years that has more processing power, more memory, etc.

    Perhaps we've reached the point where digital (if you prefer not to call it a computer) is not gear that becomes outdated like it once was. If that's the case, then my point is absolutely mute.

    I'm not sure any of us will know for a few years though. :hmm:
     
  11. zslane

    zslane Senior Member

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    You do raise two interesting points.

    First, let's pretend we all think the Axe-FX I have today sounds awesome with the firmware it has today and the on-board electronic components that are in it right now. Why wouldn't that sound just as good ten years from now (assuming it still "boots up") as it does today? Even if a bigger, faster model comes out with fancier algorithms, that doesn't render my existing unit inoperable or unappealing (tone-wise), any more than the appearance of MIDI control, built-in power attenuation, and built-in effects in modern tube amps have rendered old tube amps without these features unusable.

    Second, the problems of computer-oriented standards becoming obsolete are very real, yes. Who's to say that in twenty years there will still be any devices communicating MIDI using the 5- and 7-pin cables of today (or communicating via MIDI at all)? For all we know it will all be USB (or some other standard yet to come along) instead. Same goes for the S/PDIF output. Without some way to retrofit the unit for the new communication standards, I won't be able to control or manage the unit with the newer software/hardware that becomes available. And, of course, algorithm improvements will eventually stop becoming available due to memory and/or CPU speed limitations; backward compatibility is a limited luxury to be sure.

    I weigh this against the savings, both in terms of money and frustration, of not having to deal with tube replacement (and biasing) ever again. Add to that the fact that my Marshall will only ever sound like a Marshall. But my Axe-FX sounds like a Marshall, a Fender, a Vox, a Mesa Boogie, a Peavey, a Bogner, a Soldano, an ENGL, a Marsha, a Diezel, etc. with the turn of a dial. AFAIC, the benefits of digital far outweigh the issues of eventual obsolescence, even compared to "reliable" old technology like tubes and analog circuit boards.
     
  12. zslane

    zslane Senior Member

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    Here are a couple of quick pics I took last night of my Axe-FX rig with the FBT Verve 12ma powered monitor wedge. The Verve is connected to the left XLR output; what you can't see from these photos is that I have the right XLR output connected to my old Roland KC-100 keyboard amp on the other side of the room. Stereo amp output baby! :dude:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. dcooper830

    dcooper830 Senior Member

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    Ha! I bet that sounds effing amazing!

    I have a few different multi-effect processors and I love to hook them up in stereo with an amp on either side of the room...... it's pure ear candy!

    I can only imagine how that Axe-FX sounds. :)
     

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