NAD - Review and Clips!

IronWeso

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Let me start of by saying I'm a tube amp lover. I've been playing the same amp for over three years now (a highly modded JCM2000 - voodoo amps). And I enjoy that amp a lot. It really covers everything from cleans to high gain. I'm in a cover band so a diverse amp is necessary. I use that amp (have a 3rd channel mod to split the green channel into 2) with some pedals and a Gmajor 2 and I can cover country to metal no problem in my band.

However, recently I have been itching for something... different. A different flavor of gain really. I was tempted to go for a Friedman or Engl a few times. There's a LOT of nice amps out there. But I started doing some research and decided to give a higher end modeler a shot. But this was a struggle... I am set in my ways a bit. Digital? BLAH. No way this would work. After hours of comparisons I finally decided to give it a shot. Why not? It can cover everything my Marshall can and a whole lot more from the videos I watched and listened to closely.
This is NOT another modeler vs tube amp conversation. I will not A/B them for you, this has been done a thousand times on youtube and if you closed your eyes and listened with your EARS you can't tell the difference. This is however a thorough review of my findings so far:

NAD - Fractal Audio Axe Fx II

I am quite convinced after 3 days of playing for about 24 hours that I will keep this for a long time. That's a few very late nights. I'll get into that in a bit. First, all the feel is there. Different guitars sound different. You can use toggle switches, volume and tone controls just the same. I was cautious about that to start. I am not in the business of conceding anything. But its all there in the feel.

Next up was the complexity. Oh it's complex, for sure. But it can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. I played the stock presets for the first four hours or so. STOCK PRESETS. :shock: Frank gave me a tutorial - thanks again dude - on how to use the software. Dude took 45 minutes of his time to show me how the editor works and even gave me some great presets. :thumb:Free editing software. I have the Gmajor2 software. The Fractal stuff makes a mockery of the Gmajor2 software. The editing platform is pretty neat and I can see how people could be scared away by this technology. But overall, its as simple or complex as you want it to be. You can change tubes or transformers, or you can just use a preset and set the treble mid bass and gain to your liking. Creating a preset is simple too. I made a neat little Fuchs/Dumble combo in less than 30 seconds. The fact that you can use two amps at once is pretty mind blowing. You don't need mad computer skillz either - I certainly don't have them :lol:

Most importantly is the sound. It sounds like a guitar amp. Any guitar amp you want. Any pedal. Any tone. It's all there. And it sounds good too. When I say it sounds like any amp, if you like the way that amp sounds, you'll like the Fractal's emulation of the amp. Any cab too. I haven't even started scratching the surface there. Judge for yourself. I "recorded" these with my iPhone. Its the Fractal, Power Station for a power amp, 2x12 Greenback Avatar cab.

Here's an acoustic take and a Mesa style lead at the end to show its versatility. I used my Iron Maiden Strat here. Basically a hot rodded strat.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjuSfTVsJKA

Here's a high gain test, Engl Savage (strat again):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iuv0FQpNXH8

Here's a jcm800 style test with my Les Paul:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-WUpE-S9yM

And finally a Friedman take with my Les Paul:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YE5h1Sf9c8

All of these were presets someone else made. I didn't touch anything in the preset. Didn't adjust gain, treble, bass, etc.

The only downer is that I spent a lot of time in the basement playing this weekend and my wife isn't too happy about that. The versatility of this thing is inspiring and keeps you going. There's a ton of free presets out there too. Want to jam to some Maiden? Boom I download a preset. Boston? Yea. Zakk? Yep.

Tons of fun. So in summary, give it a go if any of this sounds good to you. I'll eventually look for a power amp and FRFR speakers. In due time. I do plan on keeping my other setup. Big thanks to FrankV, PwrMac, KenG, and Steinmetzify for all the tips and help in the other thread.

Peace,
John
 

frankv

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I'm glad I could help out and would do it again for you or anyone asking. When you get your direct recording set up you will really enjoy the whole recording process.

Everyone knows my opinions on this thing. It's great to see others describe some of the same feelings too. Congratulations on taking the step you did. I believe it's just a matter of time that others will also stray away from the limited experience tube amps bring and step into a world of unlimited possibilities in the creation of great tones..
 

Steinmetzify

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Glad to help and glad we didn't steer you wrong, bro.

Always love it when tube guys get into it for the EXACT reasons you wanted to and really enjoy what it can bring to the table.

HNAD!
 

IronWeso

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Used it at band practice 2 nights ago for the first time. Obviously I've got a few things to tweak like bass, mids, treble and volume on some presets. :laugh2:It's laughable that I haven't even done that yet! Imagine getting an amp and playing it for 27 hours without turning a knob!!!!

Band was shocked at a lot of my presets and how good it sounded! :thumb:
 

cherrysunburst00

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Hey, CONGRATS!!! I'm happy for you. I hope you get to use that BEASTIE for a LONG LONG time to come.
 

frankv

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Used it at band practice 2 nights ago for the first time. Obviously I've got a few things to tweak like bass, mids, treble and volume on some presets. :laugh2:It's laughable that I haven't even done that yet! Imagine getting an amp and playing it for 27 hours without turning a knob!!!!

Band was shocked at a lot of my presets and how good it sounded! :thumb:
I freaking LOVE that you are keeping track of the time you play your Fractal. I do it a different way but it's kinda the same..

I went through 14 battery changes on my Line 6 G90 wireless. :thumb: This reminds me I have to go to best buy and pick up a recharging setup.

You are too much of a gentleman.. I know this from speaking to you on the phone.. Do you know why your NAD thread is struggling to get attention? Well that's easy. You didn't call tube amps antiquated, backwards, one trick pony, dinosaurs... hahahahahaha

Ya hear that Cherry.... hahahaha. You got a couple Raptors in your house.. hahahaha
 

frankv

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Used it at band practice 2 nights ago for the first time. Obviously I've got a few things to tweak like bass, mids, treble and volume on some presets. :laugh2:It's laughable that I haven't even done that yet! Imagine getting an amp and playing it for 27 hours without turning a knob!!!!

Band was shocked at a lot of my presets and how good it sounded! :thumb:
I wanted you to expand upon this if you can. Did you find your first use of Fractal with the band a simple and easy event? or was it difficult choosing the right tonal presets to achieve your need?
 

IronWeso

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I wanted you to expand upon this if you can. Did you find your first use of Fractal with the band a simple and easy event? or was it difficult choosing the right tonal presets to achieve your need?
Frank, thanks for the compliment earlier. So yeah here was the "process" if you even want to call it that. I downloaded some presets and used many of the presets you gave me. Ordered them from 300-320 for easy navigation. Aldrich, 5 Friedman scenes, Metallica, Evh, 80s hair, queen, 3 steps :thumb:... In no particular order just to name a few. Mostly tones from stuff we cover. From there I used my hand to control the volume on the PS and to switch scenes or presets. I haven't even plugged in the Midi Mate yet! This proved to be extremely simple and easy. I even left my Mac at home!

As we played through songs I needed to adjust volume. Some presets were louder than others. I'm going to get a dB reader to easily make these uniform and have lead scenes at higher levels. :applause: As I listened to the mix I would take mental notes of which presets worked, which didn't, and which needed some tweaks. Most of them worked or needed some mid boost. One or two didn't translate too well. The tone match ones mostly didn't work out, except for 3 steps. That preset is awesome. I boosted the mids and vol to the second scene since, but the intro is SPOT ON!

My buddies were really surprised at the versatility and tone. I heard a lot of "holy **** that sounds exactly like Angus" or "holy **** that sounds exactly like the song" :dude:

I'll continue to work on stuff today - snowed in, looking like 2-3 feet of snow :)
 

frankv

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Frank, thanks for the compliment earlier. So yeah here was the "process" if you even want to call it that. I downloaded some presets and used many of the presets you gave me. Ordered them from 300-320 for easy navigation. Aldrich, 5 Friedman scenes, Metallica, Evh, 80s hair, queen, 3 steps :thumb:... In no particular order just to name a few. Mostly tones from stuff we cover. From there I used my hand to control the volume on the PS and to switch scenes or presets. I haven't even plugged in the Midi Mate yet! This proved to be extremely simple and easy. I even left my Mac at home!

As we played through songs I needed to adjust volume. Some presets were louder than others. I'm going to get a dB reader to easily make these uniform and have lead scenes at higher levels. :applause: As I listened to the mix I would take mental notes of which presets worked, which didn't, and which needed some tweaks. Most of them worked or needed some mid boost. One or two didn't translate too well. The tone match ones mostly didn't work out, except for 3 steps. That preset is awesome. I boosted the mids and vol to the second scene since, but the intro is SPOT ON!

My buddies were really surprised at the versatility and tone. I heard a lot of "holy **** that sounds exactly like Angus" or "holy **** that sounds exactly like the song" :dude:

I'll continue to work on stuff today - snowed in, looking like 2-3 feet of snow :)
Very good.. That's excellent.. When you adjust the volume remember to use the LEVEL on the AMP block to balance volume between presets.
Also remember that those presets come attached with a CAB block that you can't access correctly playing through a guitar cabinet. So if your buddies thought your tone sounded good, wait till you complete your rig and turn on CAB IRs.. :thumb:
 

IronWeso

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Very good.. That's excellent.. When you adjust the volume remember to use the LEVEL on the AMP block to balance volume between presets.
Also remember that those presets come attached with a CAB block that you can't access correctly playing through a guitar cabinet. So if your buddies thought your tone sounded good, wait till you complete your rig and turn on CAB IRs.. :thumb:
Yea that's really the next step. A Frfr speaker. But which? I'd like to get a standard 2x12 with 2 Frfr speakers in it. Kinda like my avatar 2x12. That way when gigging I can have my normal sound setup with volume behind me too
 

frankv

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Yea that's really the next step. A Frfr speaker. But which? I'd like to get a standard 2x12 with 2 Frfr speakers in it. Kinda like my avatar 2x12. That way when gigging I can have my normal sound setup with volume behind me too
Contact Mick at XItone.com. tell him you're from Alaska forum. Tell him what you want

Edit... How in the hell did "Alaska forum" get in there. hahahahahahah
 




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