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Fractal Audio Axe-fx = burning all my amps and pedals!

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by song4gabriel, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    Just came back from a friend's house who needed a 2nd set of ears for recording. He had this thing in his rack, Fractal something. I said "what's that?", be barely even responds. He hands me a guitar, plugs me in and fires it up.

    OH. MY GAWD.

    Fractal Audio Systems Axe-Fx - Guitar Tone and Effects Processor - Amps, Cabs, Effects and More

    It is the most wicked guitar box I have ever heard. This thing eats Line 6 and every single software modeler for breakfast. It isn't even fair. It also appears to be a great effects unit (although I only fiddled with the guitar presets)

    Anyone on the board using one of these?

    There are some awesome jams that fractal had on the site. After hearing it, I pretty much called it a day in my studio (and looked at my pod xtpro with such disdain).

    time to sell off some kit...
  2. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    They have gained a ton of buzz (no pun intended), especially on the forums, imagine that. I personally have NOT played one but have witnessed two live shows where the guitar players used them. One was Megadeth, Chris Broderick...I 'think' he uses Engl on the back end/power section, I can't remember, there's a You Tube video out there and whereas I thought his live sound was good, his tone on the You Tube video was horrific.
    The other artist, one of my favorite players and Atlanta native Jimmy Herring, was the worse tone I've ever heard him play with.

    My impression is that it would certainly be superior than most of the modeling amps and software out there, but I personally wouldn't sell my amps for one. I suppose it's all relative to what your style of playing is and what you're after regards to tone. I actually like having different amps at my disposal...but that's just me.
  3. SharkFM

    SharkFM Active Member

    Looks like quite the processor, but what I've noticed is that these low volume or bedroom wannabe setups like the line6 stuff or....they do have a lot of whiz bang DSP and all that, sound great direct and through phones.

    But when it comes time to crank up, move air that is, you are much better off with the all tube head and a decent cab under it. We play through 3 amps - a 100W head & 4x12 cab left, a tube combo right and 18" TNT 300W in the middle for subfreq duties. Sounds amazing.
  4. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    i'm sure it does. but if i played that set up in my little studio, my house would explode.

  5. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I think the modeling amps work at the other end of the spectrum as well. If people are primarily hearing your guitar through a PA, there is very little difference between a miced amp and a good sim. Yeah the difference you talk about - between the 3-D output of the amp itself and the 1-D voltage produced by the sim - is biggest in the setting you are talking about. But as soon as you take the amp, mic it, and convert the sound to a single voltage you have made the difference between the amp and a sim small. The biggest difference is on stage, and as I keep reminding people - there are no paying customers on stage.

    Now there are players on stage, and if the Fractal unit does a lot better than Line6 et. al. on the feel of the sim - its response to the player - then that will be a big step forward.

    The way I use sims in the studio right now is to give the guitar player a reasonable sound when recording direct with a band. If the sim is good enough I can keep it, but I always record the clean sound so I can reamp.
  6. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    this thing is by no means a "beadroom wanna be" box. the difference between this and anything i've ever heard is the difference between throwing a bullet and shooting it.

    and for guys like me, where micing amps is an issue (and perhaps a handicap), tone from a great unit can be dialed in in a few minutes. sometimes i spend 3 days trying to get an amp to sound good in a recording (and it usually still leaves me pissed).

    as a baby engineer and grown up songwriter the axe fx will; 1) speed up my work flow exponentially 2) give me recordings that can go to final tape 3)save me mucho mixing headaches/scratch

    no doubt - amps are definitely ***ier, (and i have some nice ones), but in the end- the gear that helps my recordings sound better, the gear that which allows me to get the song in my head down and move on to the next one, is the gear i ultimately find the most useful.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    For me its all about the 'feel'. The response and the decay have to be 'real' for me to get excited about something simmed. The only thing I have found to give me that is the Digi Eleven rack. And the latency is non-existant. Live, especially on a big stage, theres no reason to use noise inducing transducers of any kind other than for show. Like Bob said you are effectively putting out a controlled signal past the mic diaphram anyway, so why not make it as toneful and pure as possible. And this is coming from someone who hears handbuilt point-to-point guitar amps everytime we play.

    Its got to have the feel and the decay has to be non-artificial for me to get excited.

    Also.....[edit] Spendy little boxes.....I checked it out. Always amazing sounds on the demo pages. Looks like a real deal kinda thing......very expensive
  8. SharkFM

    SharkFM Active Member

    I believe you need to hone your sound, by playing with your sound vs using a box stuck into somebody's Behringer powered garden PA speakers or having a big sound when you have headphones on in your bedroom trying to do nasty covers on youtube.

    So our approach to the DWSD guitar sound was to work the other way!! - that is go back from digital to physically replicate in analog how we are setting up the tracks in Reaper for the DWSD EP. This is straight-up guitar panned Right, Chorused Guitar panned Left and the bass frequencies down the middle. So to do this we "needs" the three amps, Traynor 100W all tube stack, Traynor YCS50 tube combo with custom ext speaker, a Dano 18V stereo chorus (bucket brigade all analog) to split preamp output, with the bass amp setup to be a subwoofer ~150 & lower.

    My son plays baritone we have a Gretsch double jet, so there are more demands for amplification. Volume is not the goal. Actually feels louder but sounds softer, warmer and sweeter. All frequencies are nicely managed by the parallel processing of the 3 amps, and 8 speakers (if you include the horn). It's the coolest biggest most enveloping guitar sound eva! So sweet to play and easy on the ears too. Cost $2200 everything was bought on sale or used.

    The line6 stuff appeals to the wannabe crowd and it's nice stuff but it doesn't come close to 12ax7's driving a nice array of power tubes. no way.

    Shakin' the foundation on Twitpic

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  9. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    I might give it a try when I go to the shop, next time ...
    YouTube - (R)evolution of Rock Guitar-Fractal Audio Axe-Fx Ultra Preamp/Effects processor-Part I -Ketil Strand
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    How long have you been 'honing' this sound?

    Dont get me wrong, I'm happy that you are supporting the kids and that they are coming up the right way and getting a shot at working their music and sound. I find this quite admirable.

    But statements like this are inflamatory and show you have no concept of high-end modeling. It takes me five minutes to dial an extremely heavy and metal sound through a pair of monitors that illuminate every detail down to the most minute fizz in the sound. Does this replace a great amp? Yes and No. It is a tool. Just like my amp. (Handbuilt, voiced to ME, nothing but tubes, point-to-point wiring, highest quality caps and parts, tone for days) CERTAINLY not some off-the-shelf wankerwanna-be semi-pro deal with a lot of knobs that dont really do anything.....and yeah, it sounds awesome with a mic on it, or two.

    The point is, not everybody is some bedroom rock star that uses things that YOU dont think is going to sound good EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE OF THEIR PROCESS!

    So puffing up and saying that this will sound better than that and someones a "wannabe" simply because they arrive at a point in a different way than what YOU think is correct is simply posturing.

    Again. I hear this in every one of your posts. How long have you been at this again?

    Sharing is one thing and is great, but being a poser is quite another. Theres no sense in measuring parts around here , because theres a lot of 'bedroom wannabes' with a LOT more skills and gear than you can imagine. I know a LOT of competent people who have thousands and thousands of dollars wrapped up in finely tuned high-end guitar rigs that can make even the most modest of PODS sound good enough that you cant tell the difference between one of those and the real amps in a recording.

    Do you think they make it that way by NOT developing their sound?

    Its all about skills and the player.

    Agin, I'm glad the kids are getting a shot at this. Kudos. But dont tell me or anyone else that this is the only way it'll be good.
  11. SharkFM

    SharkFM Active Member

    " burning all my amps and pedals! OH. MY GAWD. " - Now that is inflammatory why aren't you jumping on that?!!! I've seen that exact wording on other forums too - like it's some sort of copy and past phrase for this fractal box.

    I think you mis-read - the wannabe comments refer to the Line6 stuff, and generally to using that approach for live sound and real work. I agree 100% if you are putting a sound to disk then I am sure the AXE scent will get all the girls. I mean my tech Sans AMP does a pretty good job too! I am 100% sure that the AXE is a fantastic, throughly professional quality device. Having built gear myself I know it's a flippin' huge project. I would consider it for recording. Our approach to guitar makes perfect sound sense. Every audio system is based on these principles I don't understand the reaction frankly.

    Recording - we have gone direct, speaker emulated. I was looking at the Axe for that but at $2K too much and my kids would kill me if I spent that!

    If you need some "About me" cred you may read on otherwise skip it...
    Studied guitar sound all my life really, never had the priority to spend on decent gear recording or otherwise until my sons are into it now. Time too - I mean with the Engineering companies (see jageng) that is already 24/7. Personally I always used low-end junk, or played without an amp. I really like the sound of the electric just played with nothing. I had my Sans Amp and a $99 Vox. I like acoustics too. With no ROI why would I spend on amps??

    About guitar sound - my thesis Project University of Western Ontario Engineering School
    Multi-effects Guitar Processing, All analog despite the Professor's request I do it digital. That was in '82. I used that box I built for several years too.
    Played Indie club circuit in Toronto for 5 years before engineering mega projects brought me out west here.
    We played some pretty cool gigs in TO even got to play with Ian Astbury of the Cult! When they were big. That was cool.
  12. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Sorry man, you aren't getting it. Praising (or cursing) a piece of gear doesn't inflame anyone whose ego isn't based on his gear. Insulting people because of the gear they own is inflammatory.
  13. SharkFM

    SharkFM Active Member

    Speaking in tongues?
  14. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    If you spent a moment getting to know the people who post here regularly instead of just coming here on occasion to spout some blather about about how you're doing all these incredible things with the kids' band without regard to others postings, you would KNOW that songforgabriel(Sean) is being funny when he posts a heading like that. Look at HIS guitar equipment list and then criticize.

    And , yeah, you arent getting it at all.

    And I wasnt looking for a resume for you to prove your point. No one disagrees with the use of live amps, theres just no need to compare tools for tools with someone who gets great effect from what they own. And they dont need you to tell them its wrong or compare their usage to something they are not in a belittleing way.

    I will ALWAYS object to this kind of tenor in ANYONES posts.
  15. SharkFM

    SharkFM Active Member

    Sorry don't have time for catty bs bye
  16. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Not "catty" just performing my function as a moderator here on this forum. Keep it clean...etcetcetc. Sorry if that offends you.
  17. SharkFM

    SharkFM Active Member

    spout some blather huh - well consider urself told.
  18. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Oh my goodness.....such language! BWAHAHAHAHA!
  19. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Don't laugh Dave. You've been TOLD! Oh, maybe I've been told too.
  20. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Suicidal tendencies, to get fresh with 3 Moderators AND the winner of the ADL 600 competition !

    Humor ist, wenn man trotzdem lacht.


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