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Axe-Fx III in Music Radar

Discussion in 'Axe-Fx III Reviews' started by kennyg75, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. kennyg75

    kennyg75
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    https://www.musicradar.com/reviews/fractal-axe-fx-iii

    Really good review but not sure why 4.5 and not 5. Might just be that Fractal isn't an advertiser like Line 6. Also might be the deep editing functionality of the Axe.

    "Although competitors like the Helix are perhaps more immediate, the Axe-Fx III has made great strides in terms of usability and ease of editing. Fractal Audio has once again laid down the gauntlet for what the professional end of the modelling market should aspire to."
     
    Philty, voes, NeoSound and 2 others like this.
  2. NeoSound

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    I don't quite agree that competitors are more immediate. If you had no experience with either rack unit from any of the competitors, received them all at the same time, spent the same effort learning to efficiently use each, I believe you would notice little difference because anything out that's familiar is easier than something new. Using my pc was much easier than using my iPad when I first got it. I still prefer the pc cause I can make it do more.
     
  3. 2112

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    Judging the Axe-III based on what the presets do is like judging a Ferrari on how well it handles driving the kids to and from school. It's a smooth ride, but boy oh boy when you start pushing it it leaves everything else in the dust.
     
  4. peteri

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    I really wonder about some reviews - I owned a Helix before the AX8 and now the III.

    I get it with the AX8, but really I would say the III is much more immediate than a Helix.

    With the Helix I was changing input impedance, putting compressors where I wouldn't in the real world, setting controls at non 'real world' positions. Then I was getting a good, realistic sound - but in my experience there's compression throughout the system which you need to carefully manage.

    Why I jumped to the AX8, I plugged it in and it sounded right - no messing.

    Without AX-Edit, I would have hated the AX8 - with the III, I don't see the difference in editing in either the Helix or the III
     
    AlGrenadine likes this.
  5. ElectricPhase

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    For me, the Helix UI was never a selling point. You have to to use it with your hands. How often do you have your hands close to the floor? How comfortable is that?
     
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  6. AdmiralB

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    I had a Helix for a month or so - got a helluva deal on an open-box unit from an online retailer. I found it confusing to navigate (this was before I had an Axe III), but I'm sure that was because I am so accustomed to using the Axe II.

    I agree with the above comment about "doing things unconventionally". I've never had a problem, even from the Standard/Ultra days, with just grabbing an amp model, a cab, and getting a workable sound. That was tougher with the Helix, and I often had to do things I wouldn't with 'real' (i.e. non-virtual) gear. And while I could get great sounds out of it, I never got what I would call really killer tones until I started messing with 3rd-party IRs.

    I'd consider owning a Helix Rack (mine was the floor unit), but only for amusement. I think it can sound fantastic, but the Fractal just does so much more, and most of that better (and it should, considering they're swimming at different price points).

    I do think the Helix has it way over on the Axe in terms of bass, though.
     
  7. Admin M@

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    Don't even get me started.
     
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  8. ML SOUND LAB

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    So it's been a decade already of the Fractal vs other modelers debate right? When are they going to start using another modeler as the thing that all new modelers get compared to? ;) Therein lies the true answer. To be able to do the things an Axe-Fx can do you need to understand how a signal chain works and that alone is too much for many guitarists to comprehend I'm afraid.

    But... this once again shows the perfectionist nature of the Fractal crowd. We see 4.5/5 and get mad that it's not 5/5. :D Maybe there's a link (pun intended) between musicradar getting money when they sell one of the other modelers.. maybe.. maybe.. money ruins so many good things it's sad.
     
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  9. negativefx

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    Agreed, but Line 6 can say "hit this preset to play bark at the moon, hit this one for cliffs of dover"... it's what works for the bedroom players. Sure there are some presets like that on the axe but that's like 90% of the L6 stuff.

    Also agreed that L6 gives better bass guitar support. C'mon Fractal...
     
  10. ML SOUND LAB

    ML SOUND LAB
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    I bet those presets sound just like the real guitar sounds right?

    Fractal makes pro gear. Ferrari comparison applies. If you're a bedroom player there are things like a Boss Katana that's perfect for that use case and only cost $100.

    The fact is that once you're in the studio with real tube amps and the best modelers on the market, it's very evident which ones are comparable to the real thing and Fractal is the closest one hands down. Other modelers need to be match EQ'd/tone matched/profiled to trick them to sound real.
     
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  11. negativefx

    negativefx
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    Don't have to convince me, I own two Axe and zero L6.
     
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  12. kennyg75

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    I've had some many tube amps over the last 20 years that I can't even remember some of them. I would say that every single amp sounds different including the same models and same year. The Fractal really has the vibe of a really good version of the amps and you can even make it sound less quality if you want more realistic. I'm going to go ahead and say that on a recorded version of a tube amp and a Fractal Axe 3 you couldn't tell the difference especially after hitting a desk or plugin emulation of a desk. Run a Fractal through a UAD neve and it's just going to be hard to tell.
     
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  13. Admin M@

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    That's a misperception in my experience, typically propagated by those who think quantity is more important than quality.
     
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  14. #14 negativefx, Sep 5, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
    negativefx

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    It can be argued for one side or the other in many different ways, but ultimately, there are certainly a number of threads asking FAS for more bass amp models.

    Edit: asking FAS for more models because the quality is absolutely superior to other products on the market.
     
  15. ML SOUND LAB

    ML SOUND LAB
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    If only people listened with their ears instead of reading with their eyes what's good for bass. I track a lot of professional productions with bass guitar and my Fractal and bass amp sims are RARELY the best option. DI bass has become more of a standard in pro studios rather than miking up bass amps and cabs for a reason. This is not an official statement from FAS but I think this might be the case - Bass amps and cabs are more of an in the room type thing by design meaning that they don't have a lot of high end to them nor are they very flexible. The best bass tones are achieved IMO by splitting a clean DI signal for the uber low end and then driving the top end with a little bit of dirt. Bass amp sims don't shine at either of those tasks. The Darkglass drive sim is pretty good though.
     
  16. #16 notalemming, Sep 5, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
    notalemming

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    As a bassist of 50+ years, this is my exact experience in the real world, long before modelers even existed. I can count on one hand the number of times a miked bass amp & cab made it to a final mix. One was that the client wanted a distorted bass so we cranked an old Ampeg flip top all the way up & it distorted like crazy. The client loved it but I thought it sounded awful LOL! It still got blended with the DI to give it some definition & punch. One of the absolute best bass sounds I have ever gotten was a custom Tobias Killer B (has pickups in the standard Tobias neck thru positions, not the more PJ like configuration of a stock Killer B) > BAE 1073MP > Apogee AD8000> Pro Tools. Big, fat, tight, punchy! That being said, it would be fun to have some of the great solid state bass amps like a Glockenklang Soul or a Thunderfunk TFB750 or if you want to stay vintage, the Thunderfunk's roots, AMP BH420. https://reverb.com/item/1589734-amp...h1u8wQdEAQYASABEgIM8PD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&pla=1
     
    voes, 406Ryan, 2112 and 4 others like this.
  17. FractalAudio

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    Whenever my band would go in the studio we would DI the bass. We NEVER mic'd a bass amp. NONE of the engineers or producers would even consider doing that. A good preamp like an Avalon is the gold standard. Then it's compression and EQ.
     
    voes, mworkman, Ziyan and 6 others like this.
  18. negativefx

    negativefx
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    Is tracking for recordings the only expected usage of the Axe on bass?
     
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  19. ML SOUND LAB

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    I think you missed my point. I believe that the main purpose of real life bass amps is not to make the bass sound better but to keep the sound as unaffected as possible and have some EQ controls for fine tuning... mainly just to get the bass loud enough to be used in a band context. The drive on bass amps is not really a pleasant sounding drive so essentially what you're asking for is "more clean amps" and I'm pretty sure they would sound very similar once you set the EQ accordingly. Many bass amps have a DI out in them and usually that's the signal that goes out to the FOH. The Axe-Fx is not a power amp so for that reason I don't really feel like "we need more bass amps". It would be way down on the list for what I want and there would be other things for bass before amp sims.

    I do think that miking up a bass cab gives you a cool sound. I use IR's on my DI bass and use a compressor instead of an amp most of the time. Single mic IR's are IMO the best options and the work as an extremely natural low and high cut that makes IMO is more important if you want that "real bass amp and cab" type of sound. I'm not saying bass amps sound bad. Here are some clips I've made with the bass Cab Packs but the IR's do the heavy lifting here, not the amps:

    ML USA Bass:



    ML SV Bass:



    One last thing, some of the best bass tones our there are just straight up the DI signal raw from a bass. Just take a listen to this awesome bass comparison video:
     
  20. negativefx

    negativefx
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    "The drive on bass amps is not really a pleasant sounding drive so essentially what you're asking for is "more clean amps" and I'm pretty sure they would sound very similar once you set the EQ accordingly."

    This is entirely opinion. SVTs for example (yeah, it's already an available model, but just an example) are widely praised for their bass drive sound.
     

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