Axe-FX II vs III
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Thread: Axe-FX II vs III

  1. #1


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Killadelphia
    ME: ESP Mirage Custom
    Rig: Hughes und Kettner

    iTrader: 6 (100%)

    Axe-FX II vs III

    Is the III really that much better than the II? I've been looking into getting a IIXL+ to replace all my real amps for noodling at home purposes (and maybe playing open Mics when that's allowed again.) Prices seem to range in the $1600-1800 range. the IIIs are closer to $2500, while Ultras (Which don't have USB?) are less than $1000. Even regular IIs can be had for fairly cheap, but there's Mark I and Mark II and whatnot, and there's seemingly so many different models and versions that I can't keep them straight.

    And what's this AX8 business?


    What's the best balance between affordability and functionality across the range? I'm certainly not a professional, I could hardly even be called an amateur, but I want something that's easy to work with that I can really play with sounds on (until I find the one I really like and never change it, of course.)
    When nothing less than second-best will do.


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  3. #2


    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Phx, AZ
    ME: Custom Tele
    MA: Guild GAD F150
    MB: Fender Jazz Bass 24 V
    Rig: Jet City JCA-22H

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    I had this debate a while ago but I ended on a Helix. The deciding factor for me was that the Helix has 4 loops for the couple pedals I use all the time that aren't modeled. Its something to consider if you have pedals to incorporate too.

  4. #3


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Killadelphia
    ME: ESP Mirage Custom
    Rig: Hughes und Kettner

    iTrader: 6 (100%)

    No pedals to speak of, I only own 3, 2 of them for novelty purposes, so number of loops isn't a factor.

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  6. #4


    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Tokyo
    ME: Ibanez RGIXL7-ABL
    MB: Ibanez SR505
    Rig: Fractal Audio AX8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    And what's this AX8 business?
    The AX8, which is what I use, is a pedalboard version of the Axe-FX II. The main difference, though, is that it has less processing power than the normal Axe-FX II (but more than both versions of the original Axe-FX). I used to have the Axe-FX Ultra, and I used a separate MIDI pedalboard to operate it. I prefer the AX8 because it's a lot lighter, smaller, and already has everything set up for live operations (not to mention that the Axe-FX II is an upgrade over the Axe-FX Ultra, although the Ultra also sounds great), so I don't need to buy and lug around a huge rack unit and a MIDI board (like I did in my previous band). Plus, the reduced processing power is not an issue for me because the absolute most effects, amps, and cabs I put on a preset at once is still less than the max the AX8 can handle. It's just that the Axe-FX II can handle more.

    The new pedalboard version of the Axe-FX III is the FM3. I haven't used it, but even if the Axe-FX III system is a lot better than the Axe-FX II (which doesn't seem to be the case from what I can tell), the FM3 is a lot smaller with only 3 footswitches total (while the AX8 has 8 preset footswitches + 3 bank/scene/effect switching footswitches).

    For comparison:

    AX8:
    https://www.fractalaudio.com/ax8-amp...multi-effects/

    FM3:
    https://www.fractalaudio.com/fm3/

  7. #5


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: London ONT
    ME: 6's
    MB: Aerodyne
    Rig: AxeFX III

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    The III has already received a ton of updates separating it further from the II. A brand new III is $2100USD direct from Fractal.

    I'd look for a used III at $1700. Now that the mkII is out, more people are selling their mkI's.

    https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threa...r-sale.166352/
    ________________________________________
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  8. #6


    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Herndon, VA
    ME: Jackson Soloist
    Rig: Fractal Audio Axe-FX II

    iTrader: 4 (100%)

    For what you want to do, I'd probably go with the FM3. It has the amp/cab modeling from the AFX3 and the good effects processing, but in a more affordable floor unit. You give up some of the routing flexibility of the AFX3 along with some processing power (which reduces the number of effects you can run simultaneously).

  9. #7


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Arizona
    ME: Ibanez
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    The AXE FX II is awesome, you can't go wrong with it and you will be happy with it.
    The AXE FX III is awesome, you can't go wrong with it and you will be happy with it.
    The AX8 is awesome, you can't go wrong with it and you will be happy with it.
    The FM3 is awesome, you can't go wrong with it and you will be happy with it.
    The Helix/Helix LT/HX Stomp/POD Go are awesome, you can't go wrong with any of them and you will be happy with them.

    Now that we've gotten that out of the way, the FM3/Axe FX III is basically the gold standard for amp modeling. I have the FM3 and a few of the amps it models, and while it comes unbelievably close, the real amps through a reactive load and the same IRs sound and feel better. Man it's close though. If you're looking for the best audio fidelity, snag a reactive load and a few IR packs for your tube amps

  10. #8


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: The GrVm North
    ME: EBMM(s)
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    I have an Axe-III and an FM3, along with a Kemper. I had an Axe-II for ages too.

    If I had to pick just one I'd go with the Axe-III. If my budget was limited, I'd get the FM3.

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