R/E/P Community

R/E/P => R/E/P Archives => The Acid Test => Topic started by: trock on December 12, 2008, 03:26:47 pm

Title: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: trock on December 12, 2008, 03:26:47 pm
I just recently purchased this unit to use in my home studio. not having the luxury to mic an amp I have always struggled with a direct electric sound. I own and have used a POD XT Pro and Amplitube 2, i have also tried the new overloud TH1 plugin.

I was about to buy a new POD X3 Pro when someone pointed me to this unit. Till then i have never even heard of it.

anyway, i listened to the clips provided by users on the company forum, paying close attention to the "direct" ones, and was blown away but what i heard. So i decided to try it out

I emailed the company and got an instant response from them (this is also important to me, company responsiveness, they excel at this)about the cost of a unit and decided to pull the trigger.

there are 2 units you can choose from, the standard and the Ultra. The ultra has more processing power than the standard, although i have not yet come close to bogging the standard unit down yet with any of the pre patch's or my own

the standard unit is very well made, much more so than a POD. the knobs on it are those that you like to feel, stiff but easy to use, it just oozes quality.

the unit is not just an amp simulator, it is also loaded with top end effects such as filters, verbs, chorus, delay, compressors etc. however it also has some of the best sims i have ever heard. They also used many different high end mics to get the different sounds with.

I run the unit with 2 cables, stereo direct to my sound card, a yamaha N12, and thus into my DAW. The unit has 3 banks, A B C, and banks A and B are loaded with pre set patch's.

When i first plugged the unit in i could tell right away i was going to be liking the unit far more than the POD or anything else thus far. The unit gives a very deep, very amp sounding sound and record really well. with a little tweaking you can make this thing scream with whatever your guitar is, or whatever pickups you have. I have a cheap PRS and it has never sounded this good

you can also download a MIDI GUI and run 2 midi cables from the unit to your MIDI card (see the list of ones that work well with the unit before you buy one). I use a small Edirol midi card and have had no issues with the GUI editor.

With the GUI editor i can upgrade the unit, and load pre set patch's and make my own from blank templates. you can also download patch's made by other users and add them to your unit.

i can't really describe the sound of the unit but if you go on the forum and go to the "recordings" section you can hear the unit in use by alot of people. The biggest thing for me is the direct recording sounds is just great and it LAYERS really well! something the POD killed me on

the unit is around 1500 bucks and the ultra goes for about 2K. the support from the company ( a small company in the US)and the quality of the build and sounds is a real winner in my book

and they are constantly updating it and in touch with the user base daily

anyway, if you are looking for a really good direct sound this is the box. you can also use it just for the stellar effects, or run it FOH and thru an amp.

here are some links for you





Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: Brian Kehew on January 13, 2009, 07:01:08 pm
Well, from the demos it sounds much better than the POD products, it's good design. I like the presence it has in the midrange, quite thick. Being very familiar with old amps, it seems to lack all the "thunk" of closemic'ed cabinets. The bite and cut are similar (maybe a little too bright - I can picture it sounding MUCH better through a lowpass filter?)

Again - for an "ampless" sound, it's pretty good, quite good. But I still prefer the real thing - which is expensive and trouble!
Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: trock on January 13, 2009, 08:54:40 pm
Hey Brian

I agree that nothing is really going to replace a great amp, mic, room, player and engineer. If this thing doesn't I don't think anything will

that being said, this will get you 95% of the way there, and for those of you who can't mic an amp i truly feel this is the answer

one other thing, some people do run these thru an amp and the combination of top quality parts and sounds with an amp is supposedly really good, the company has in fact just partnered with an amp company to sell the combo set up

i like it a lot more now that i have had the unit for a while. i have been able to set up my own sounds and patch's that work really well for me, clean, dirty, semi bluesy dirty etc

Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: mtlin on April 01, 2009, 06:12:55 pm
I have one too and I love it. It's uncanny how close you can get to real amplifier sounds. It's an amazing tool. The effects are excellent as well.
Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: trock on October 19, 2009, 07:57:00 pm
i just wanted to add this link for you

no post processing done on these


Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: philmagnotta on October 24, 2009, 10:26:40 am
I've been using the Ultra model since last February for my Zeta electric violin!
Since purchasing my electric violin in 1987, I have used EVERY digital efx processor available.
In absolute terms regarding audio quality (specifically for the Zeta) the Eventide H8000FW has no competition.
However, the h8000 is not foolproof...too many bugs that would render a live performance as unacceptable and especially the time required to load a new preset along with the anomalies of how it handles those program changes.
Eventides support is very poor  - if you are having issues which can't be resolved immediately.
Besides common effects such as reverb, delays, chorus/flange, etc, all high end units like lexicon pcm 81/91, TC electronics, etc all do very well regarding those common effects, again for processing the Zeta violin, but my goals for processor quality are targeted towards harmonizer abilities, program change handling speed and smoothness.
As for harmonizer functions, again for the Zeta, the h8000 is tops.
The Axe Fx harmonizer is 2nd best, at least for tracking violin bow.
All other common algorithms are more than acceptable.
Program change is quick and glitch-free.
No surprises with mechanical or software bugs, although I did swap out the internal fan. It was too noisy.
The company does not void warranty with that mod and support is very good.
Could it be improved?
Yes, a better screen for one along with my own personal ideas regarding system functions, etc, but since all processors have pros/cons, the Ultra is the least compromised for my use.
For processing guitars, I've had many guitarists in the studio and all agree that for a DSP unit, emulations of the real thing are as best as it gets right now.
I especially like the parameter choice of "COPY OUTPUTS 1 to OUTPUTS 2. It allows me to have zero latency performance during recording while sending the same audio out of the second set of outs into my MOTU 828 mk3.
If you decide to upgrade to the Ultra model, you'll have no problem selling the standard unit.
The Ultra is not just better as far as processor overhead, but with the addition of more and more advanced algorithms.
All in all, a top unit.
Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: patrick_wilson on November 21, 2009, 03:10:55 pm
Hi all,

I've had the Ultra for about 2 months now and on the stages we've been playing I have to say it's pretty awesome.  The unit is so deep and fairly easy to navigate that it really rewards the effort you put into it.  I've loaded some of the Recabinet cabs and they made the difference for me.  Just using a full range wedge at my feet is fun for feedback and such.

You can switch effects blocks on and off within the patches with a Behringer FCB1010 with a custom Uno prom that allows for stombox behaviour on either the top or bottom row.  I'm a midiot so it took some hair pulling to program it from the board but the whole package is just sick once you have it going.

Lately we've been having to do a lot of maintenance on all of our Diezels and 5150's (lol) and I love the repeatability of this unit.  For me it can sound a little too hifi for a live setting so I'm going to experiment with a power amp into some cabs just to hit a mic with the signal instead of going direct (which the foh loves).

Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: trock on November 25, 2009, 07:16:14 pm
Just wanted to add the ver 9 just came out and it takes the whole unit to another level. really really great sounds from the new update.

the updates and support on the product are fantastic

Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: rphilbeck on January 10, 2010, 10:48:22 am
Thanks for posting this.  It's more than I am willing to spend on a DI solution, but an impressive piece indeed.  I tried a POD a few months ago and didn't like it.  I got the Sansamp (the one with the tiny dip switches) and it is a huge improvement over POD.  The overdrive settings are very impressive, but the "in-between" sounds (clean to slight slight overdrive) are not.  

I've got a Palmer PDI-03 on the way, which is about the maximum I am willing to spend on a DI solution, and will be hoping it is what I am looking for.  
Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: rphilbeck on January 31, 2010, 02:38:15 pm
I'll never mic an amp again.
Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: trock on February 02, 2010, 10:40:38 am

i am actually working on some new songs with just the fractal in them, my rough mixes from stock pre sets, to me, are just amazing sounding.

it def stacks up there with the CD's of real groups i also listen to on the same system

the new GUI is also FINALLY really nice and is working really well for me.

Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: PookyNMR on February 09, 2010, 02:19:35 pm
Very interesting.  I've heard other rave reviews of this unit on other forums as well.

Has anyone compared it to the new Digi Eleven rack?
Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: trock on February 09, 2010, 07:47:21 pm
Hi Nathan

interestingly enough, i have the fractal and 11r right on top of each other in one of my racks

the fractal, for me, far exceeds the 11r sounds, right underneath the 11 r in my rack is a POD XT pro, the 11 r for me is better than the pod.

the fractal is an order of magnitude better than the 11r, again for me, in terms of sound, effects etc

now that being said the 11 r certainly integrates very well into the PT LE 8 that came with it and its a cool tool and i think for a guitarist that wanted to get into PT and recording it would be a ncie way to go

however for a straight up head to head match up in terms of guitar sounds from clean to really heavy, and effects that are all over the place from the straight up verbs, delay to the crazy vocoders etc the fractal, again for me, kills
Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: trock on April 22, 2010, 07:26:45 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEwxZsZqJbA&feature=relat ed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-nHCW0eg0E&feature=playe r_embedded#!

found some new clips by a guy with an ultra, he goes thru a ton of older classics in the second one and in the first link some more well modern rock etc

Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: Jay Kadis on April 24, 2010, 10:50:43 am
Ordered an Ultra.  Can't wait.
Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: trock on April 24, 2010, 01:24:12 pm
Cool jay!

if you need any help let me know. also join the forum and you can get alot of answers and help right away

i think you will be really happy. there is a guy on GS in the Ultra post who was very gun shy about the whole thing who absolutely loves it now. he plays for a living

anyway, good stuff!

you may know all this but here is the forum link


the owner is on there and helps quite a bit, his name is Cliff

also the GUI is really nice now but you def want to make sure your MIDI device is compatible, and there are posts on that. i only use the gui now to control the unit

hope this helps some

the updates come pretty readily and so far ALL have improved the sound and the capabilities of the unit

alot of guys use it into an amp or PA and play live. many others, such as myself, just run it direct in the studio. it has improved my songs guitar sounds exponentially


Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: Jay Kadis on April 24, 2010, 03:10:28 pm
I'm completely sold just by hearing what is possible with the unit.  I will use it for live, for recording, and for exploring the New Music world of guitar-twisting.  This is what I've been waiting for to upgrade my old GT-3.

I think I've read the manual and every bit on the Fractal web site already.  Also checked out the forum.  Thanks for the review that got me started.
Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: trock on April 24, 2010, 03:48:11 pm
no prob! glad to have helped! have fun!
Title: Re: Fractal Audio Axe FX
Post by: trock on April 26, 2010, 06:32:54 pm
Here is a new review from SOS


i don't see many on the fractal so i thought i would post this one