• We would like to remind our members that this is a privately owned, run and supported forum. You are here at the invitation and discretion of the owners. As such, rules and standards of conduct will be applied that help keep this forum functioning as the owners desire. These include, but are not limited to, removing content and even access to the forum.

    Please give yourself a refresher on the forum rules you agreed to follow when you signed up.

Axe FX vs. real amp


I have it in the 4 cable method, and that preset 11 was just a blank 4CM patch with nothing other than the FX loop engaged.
Guitar > Axe input
Axe Out 2 > Mark V input
Mark V FX send > Axe input 2
Axe output 1 > Mark V FX return

Then the preset 12 in that video was the same configuration but with an amp block instead of an FX loop block, thereby replacing the Mark V's preamp with the Axe-Fx.
Props. That's some good routing. I was wondering how you did it too.


Cab Pack Wizard
Most if not all amps that I've A/B'd have always sounded incredibly similar. 5153 amp sims sounded identical way before Quantum already. Mesa Mark IV sounds incredibly close and I shot a video about this which @Fl7x was nice enough to post:

Thanks for posting this!

I've compared a Mesa Dual Rectifier Roadster to the Recto amp sims and the tone is there definitely. The Roadster has a different sound in the mid frequencies but other than that it's so close I have no interest in the real amp anymore.

I hope I don't piss anyone off by saying guitarists give way too much credit to amplifiers. The cab is most of your sound which is why IR's are so important and that's not marketing myself. That's just how it is. Proof: Here's a clip I made of a Rev G Mesa Dual Rectifier vs EVH 5153 through the same cabinet and mic up:

Sure they're different but honestly... if I move the microphone 1cm (that's 2/5") I'll get a bigger change in tone.

So when people start these threads: "Is the Axe-Fx as good as the real thing?" it kind of has no point. It sounds just as real as your tube amps do and is way more versatile as any of the amps you could buy and it's most likely going to nail any tone you have in your head with very little tweaking. Does it sound 100% like an actual amp you own? Does your amp really sound that great that it's better than any of the 200+ amps FAS has modeled? Don't think so. :)


Fractal Fanatic
What matters is not whether it sounds the same, but whether it sounds good..

Yes exactly what I wanted to say. All what matters is if it sounds good. I have never owned and never will own most amps that the Axe models are based on. So why care if they are 100% the same? I think they will never sound or feel exactly the same no matter how hard you try. A real amp will always has something special that no modeller can achieve. Same goes for most pedal emulations if you ask me. Instead of painstakingly trying to copy a specific amp I would rather have Fractal specialize more in their own Fractal amp models (which they do already, I know). That way people are not constantly comparing to the real thing and Fractal (virtual) amps can have their own signature sound.


The last couple of posts some up this issue. Bodde nailed it. The Silver Jubilee and the Dumble in the Axe sound WAY better than the ones I own...(because I have never owned either of those amps, and likely never will.)

But, I still don't even think the sheer amount of amps is the where the majority of value is for me. I still only use 4 (and 3 of those are very similar and I just use them like 3 channels of the same amp). It's the freaking ROUTING flexibility that you could NEVER get in a real rig. You can build a preset with 4 delays on it, with 2 in front, and 1 after the amp, and 1 after the cab... or whatever. On one preset, my phase 90 is first in my chain. On the next preset, it's last in my chain. Even with a Swtichblade (which new cost almost as much as an AXE) you can't beat the AXE's insane routing capabilities.

The forum in general focuses on the AMP sim side of this box 90% of the time. What doesn't get enough discussion is this device as a pure EFFECTS unit. It's simply the best there is. This is why so many Pro's use it. FX is actually what most pro's are using it for...


Power User
I haven't seen anyone else say this so I'm going to. For me the Axe FX IS a real amp in that it is as real a part of amplifying my guitar signal as any other analog/tube amp I've owned in the past.

The whole point of a guitar amp is to make the guitar loud enough to hear and give the player some shaping options. I for one am not concerned about how close the Axe-FX's version of an amp sounds. All I care is that it sounds good. I believe we can all agree on that. All we really care about is that the Axe-FX version of any given amp sounds close enough to its inspiration that we have a solid foundation for that type of tone.


New Member
No argument here that it sounds great. I simply enjoy learning about the nuts and bolts, the 1's and 0's of my gear. It enhances my experience while using it. And if I buy a $2000 steak, I want to know a bit more about the cow that produced it. That was the impetus of my original post, and I don't mind saying that I care how close the models are to the real world amps. Does that make me a "digital corksniffer"? I'm fine with that


@HiveMind I think the OP is a legit question.

I wouldn't say it matters for justifying the cost of the Fractal.

But it matters for lots of people because they are trying to replace a conventional amp rig with a modeling rig. In that context, it absolutely can matter if the modeler is accurate and authentic.


Fractal Audio Systems
IMO accuracy is paramount and that's why we've devoted so much in resources to that end. The purpose of a modeler is to model amps as accurately as possible. Now it's impossible to account for component tolerances and tone controls can vary as much as 20% or more between two same amps. We therefore model all amps assuming the tone controls are "perfect" ((IOW if the amp was designed with a 500K pot we use 500K even if our reference amp is off by some percentage). We also don't match the Presence and MV tapers for previously discussed reasons. In some cases the Depth taper does also not match although this is infrequent. However you can be assured that even if the tapers don't match the models will match at the extremes of the control range and therefore the model is accurate but there may not be a 1-to-1 correspondence between the amp's knob and Axe-Fx's knob, i.e. Presence on 7 on the amp may be 5 on the Axe-Fx but 0 on the amp will be 0 on the Axe-Fx.

Yes, there is something to be said for "I don't care as long as it sounds good" and we have our own models that fall into that category. But if a device is supposed to model something it should do so as accurately as possible IMO.


@HiveMind I think the OP is a legit question.

I wouldn't say it matters for justifying the cost of the Fractal.

Bingo. I think looking at an axefx purchase as "200+ for the price of one" is goofy if your goals are to set up an amp museum. The price/performance benefit is staggering, and you can expect every amp modelled to serve the same purpose/role in a mix as the real amps would. I believe Cliff has done his best on making them identical, but I flip the thing on and get lost in playing, can't be bothered to compare and pick nits.

I feel like I'm kind of devaluing fractals hard work in modelling here, and I don't want to devalue the OPs question either because it's valid. At this point tho, I'd rather have my fractal than my pick of 10 of the real amps inside and that's even if you let me choose the Wrecks and Dumbles with the intention to flip them, lol.

If you need a 1:1 relationship to every knob or button, and it's even got to hiss the same way the originals do, then you need a storage unit full of amps and the accompanying maintenance bills. If you had the money to do that, you'd probably buy the axefx AND the amps anyway.

Alabama man

I just sold some of my vintage amps (collecting dust since I dove into the Axe). Was it a difficult decision? At first yes, but what I'm getting in exchange is so much better, IMO. One more amp to sell and it will just be my DRRI and the Axe.

Clockwork Creep

Power User
Yes, from a technical stand point, the Axe Should model the Amps as accurately as possible.
From an artistic standpoint - it doesn't matter. It sounds good. Make music, tweak your sound to a mix...


Fractal Fanatic

The purpose of a modeler is to model amps as accurately as possible.

Yes, there is something to be said for "I don't care as long as it sounds good" and we have our own models that fall into that category. But if a device is supposed to model something it should do so as accurately as possible IMO.

I agree 100%. However, I would *really* like to see where you would take us with your own ideas. And I don't just mean in terms of amp modeling. Everything is on the table as far as I'm concerned.

How would Roger Meyer have built an Octavia today? IOW, what was he actually going for? I'm just speculating here but I doubt it was a ratty sounding little fuzz box that had this one really limited range of notes that sounded killer and the rest was a mess of non-distinguishable mush.

Of course a lot of interesting things can be done with compound effects and controllers with the Axe already. But I'm looking forward to the cool ideas and accidents that have not yet seen the light of day from Fractal?

To me, this is where Roland/Boss has sort of always shined - I think they've pushed the boundaries more than any company in terms of what sounds you can produce with a guitar. Not everything has been a hit and despite being just about the first company to do modeling they've fallen behind. But things like the original GR synths, polyphonic distortion, and many of their pedals have been very unique and innovative. Their latest guitar synth pedal is really bitchin'.

EHX is another company that keeps on coming up with cool stuff - the B9/C9/Key9 are great examples.

Oh, and I'd like a Klon model too. LOL

Ed DeGenaro

The Logic here is somewhat flawed sewing that first you won't compare amp to amp model but rather amp model to preamp model.
Second I've done and shared it many times and the thing that I find is that the speaker sim or real is the biggest coloration in the chain.
Fwiw I'll share my 2 cents... I record gig with different set ups... axefx II into Reactors with v amps and guitar cabs, Axe II with amp loaded down. AxeII....amps...with or without pedals....Pod hd 500... And just did a gig with pedals into Red Box into FOH.
Here... This is a good example loaded down Calor 30 Live into Axe Fx...into FAS cab plug in on right and build in Axe cab on left... And FAS verb on it....

this HTML class. Value is https://drive.google
Top Bottom