So yesterday, I finally went over to a friend's house for 3 hours or so to check out his Axe-FX. I’ve 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 I’ve 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 couldn’t find a single amp model or effect that wasn’t stellar. My taste test was the Axe-FX > Mesa 20/20 (a killer poweramp for this application) > 2 Madison 2x12 cabs.
I’ve 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 I’m 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 I’ve 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 Muse’s “Map of the problematique” 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 “move mountains” 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 you’re an audiophile & a guitarist, you’re 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! That’s 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 it’s the truth. Hearing is believing.
Now it’s time to start offloading more gear so I can get my FINAL guitar rig.
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!