I spent a couple of hours with Cliff this afternoon, and he was nice enough to come by to my place to let me check out 7.0, and to show me the right way to match my amp.
I'd gotten pretty great results already with tone matching and the current firmware, and I can say that with 7.0, the results are absolutely SPOT ON. Switching back and forth, after a few clicks I actually had to ask Cliff to tell me which one I was listening to.
We used his development chassis, which he has setup with a great matching preset/template, along with an A/B/Y box that let us tap to switch back and forth between my 6505+ and the matched tone from the Axe-Fx.
The other end of the chain is just a 57 in various positions in front of my Recto cab with v/30s, into a Presonus Bluetube (with the tube gain off) and into the Axe-Fx, which then went out to my HD1221s and to my HS80Ms.
The cabling is pretty simple.
Output 2 -> Input on the amp
57 -> Mic Preamp -> Input 2 on the Axe-Fx
FXL block to route the signal to the head for reference
Output 1 -> Stereo to (whatever speakers)
The results are, no shit, completely spot on. We dialed in a couple of patches - one neutral on the 6505 lead channel (basically everything at noon) and another with the settings I normally play with. Not only is the tone there, but the FEEL of the amp is as well. The Axe-Fx already has pretty solid feel in the current firmware, and with the match + 7.0 everything that I love about the 6505 is there in this match - that awesome tube "bounce", the way it breaks up, everything.
Here's a lousy pic of Cliff's preset: (Note that the cab block is bypassed)
This matching is dead simple to do, takes no time at all, and what's also great is that the controls of the model in the Axe-Fx respond the same way that the controls do on my amp head. The 6505+ doesn't have a bright cap switch, but the 6160 model in the Axe-Fx does, so at the risk of sounding like a cheeseball, it's actually better than the real thing.
I also was lucky enough to get a little advanced preview, so here's my Axe-Fx right now... The perks of living up in the 'burbs a town over from Fractal's shop. (Though I have to go wash and wax Cliff's car as soon as I get done posting this..)
As far as FW7, what I can say right now is that there are new amp models, and you guys that like to abuse your volume knob to play with the way the amps clean up are going to LOVE it. The new reverb sounds amazing as well, especially the way it doesn't get in the way of the actual playing, and is immediately there when you start to let things ring out/sustain.
(And no, I can't send it to you..)
In short: The new firmware is sounding fantastic, and this is DEFINITELY the way to do amp matching. With a basic mic preamp and a '57, anyone can do it, and the results are so spot-on even the most delusional golden-eared tone snobs would be hard pressed to tell which is which.
Great stuff from Fractal, as usual.
So I've been talking it over with the guys, and we agree that you need to post some clips.