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A skeptic's review of the Axe-FX Ultra
     
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Old 03-01-2010, 06:05 PM   #1
 
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Default A skeptic's review of the Axe-FX Ultra

So yesterday, I finally went over to a friend's house for 3 hours or so to check out his Axe-FX. Iíve heard the hype, but without a 1st hand sampling w/ someone who really knows the processor, I was really skeptical to shell out $2K for this processor. I got my chance to see what people have been talking about. Of course, I have 3-4 friends that went to his house for the same purpose & they have all offloaded their rigs for an Axe-FX Ultra. And these are some of the biggest tube snobs I know!

Without a doubt, that is the most versatile, hifi system Iíve ever heard. It lives up to the hype!
Nothing, and I really mean, NOTHING compares to it. Even the stock presets are just amazing. I couldnít find a single amp model or effect that wasnít stellar. My taste test was the Axe-FX > Mesa 20/20 (a killer poweramp for this application) > 2 Madison 2x12 cabs.

Iíve never heard a system respond so well to pick attack, pup controls, volume knob & pedal manipulation. By using those subtle changes, it really was like getting a new preset within a preset. And dude Iím not kidding when I say it NAILS tones. I tried a stock early EVH setting & it was dead on. Then it had a Van Hagar setting for the 90s tone & it nailed that as well. That was just the tip of the iceberg, but every preset I tried that was suppose to emulate a song or artist did it perfectly. It actually sounded exactly like the recorded tone. Of course, I went through my friend's tones & they were insanely good. So much punch, but with a clarity that Iíve NEVER heard in an any amp or processor. You can also get synth tones too. I was able to produce a pretty convincing sax tone with it. And I loved the 16-step arpeggiator! Wanna play Museís ďMap of the problematiqueĒ w/out using a synth module? No problem. I suppose the ridiculous processing power in the Ultra has a lot to do with it. And yeah, I tried this patch called Uber Chugga & it is THE quintessential Meshuggah djenty ďmove mountainsĒ tone. Seriously, the air I pushed was insane, but even with such a heavy tone, there was absolutely no mud. As I said, the hifi clarity it exudes is unparallel to anything.

Think of the Axe-FX as every tube amp & effects worth having, but couple it with the highest fidelity of any guitar system out there. If youíre an audiophile & a guitarist, youíre ship has come in. To compare the Axe-FX to a Line 6 Vetta or X3 is like comparing a Yugo to a Ferrari. Even though I am/was happy with my Digitech GSP1101, the Axe-FX just slays everything in its path. Couple all this with awesome customer support & continual firmware updates & you have a system that is PEERLESS! Thatís the only bad thing about the Axe-FX. Everything else will sound pale in comparison after you HEAR it. I know these all sound like bold statements, but itís the truth. Hearing is believing.

Now itís time to start offloading more gear so I can get my FINAL guitar rig.

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Old 03-01-2010, 06:07 PM   #2
 
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Hahahahaha, I was in the process of writing the exact same thing as you. My band were recording over the weekend with an Axe-FX (results will be up at the end of the week) and I went in fairly sceptical with my 5150 on backup, but ohmyfuckinggod does it sound good. Perfectly mid range punch i look for - sounded magic with my RGA, but the thing I loved more than anything were the super percussive Q-Tuner like cleans. I'm in love. But far too poor to get one. But I get 'it' now!
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Old 03-01-2010, 06:09 PM   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shannon View Post
Now itís time to start offloading more gear so I can get my FINAL guitar rig.

"They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are a bit dicier." - David Foster Wallace
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Old 03-01-2010, 06:14 PM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shannon View Post
Now itís time to start offloading more gear so I can get my FINAL guitar rig.
Yeah, right...

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Old 03-01-2010, 07:18 PM   #5
 
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Ok, time will tell on that last statement, but I know it's the next rig to get.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:30 PM   #6
 
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with my luck i would buy one and 2 weeks later they would release an improved version at a lower price point.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:34 PM   #7
 
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Thats the awesome thing about the axe-fx is they release the firmware updates all the time so every unit is as up to date as possible.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:42 PM   #8
 
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The only thing(s) keeping me from dropping everything and picking one up:

1) Nothing cures GAS. Not even this. (You know in your heart it won't be your FINAL rig, Shannon )

2) I haven't spent too much time with one, and while it was fun to try JJ's, I'd have to go more in-depth before shelling out that kind of cash.

3) I'd probably spend more time tweaking than playing. I did it with PODs, I would likely do it even more with this.

Also, a local friend of mine who manages a music store bought one and couldn't stand it. Said it sounded 'fizzy' and 'cheap.' He was running it through a 2:90 and a pair of V30-loaded 2x12s.

Too much focus leads to tunnel vision
Too much faith leads to religion
Too much knowledge leads to confusion
Too many guitar lessons lead to jazz-fusion
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