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Coming from Helix to Axe-Fx III

jspete64

New Member
I am new to the forum....About a year ago I bought a Helix Rack,which was my first venture into the modeling world....I was terribly disappointed in the sound of the unit...so I sold it....Now,I am seriously thinking of grabbing an Axe 3 tomorrow,but I am gunshy after the Helix thing.....I play thru Yamaha HS7 studio monitors,in an apartment....the problem I had with the Helix,was the amp models just lacked clarity and definition...especially if you turned up the volume a bit...pure mud and fizz,and no amount of EQ helped....The Axe III sounds killer on YouTube videos,and I love the IR system...I think I would be happy with the Axe 3,but just wanted to see if anyone else had jumped from the Helix to the Axe III and what your experiences were....as soon as the bank opens in the morning,I am gonna order the Axe III....just wanting some advice...
 

boyedav

Member
I tried a Helix LT for about 45 days. I was satisfied (but not thrilled) with the tones I was getting. That said, I didn't find the Helix tones muddy or fizzy.

What I love about the Axe III is that it is sooooo tweakable. I think it's reasonably easy to get good tones with both, but with the Axe I feel like I'm better able to dial in those last 5% to get great tones.
 

jspete64

New Member
I tried a Helix LT for about 45 days. I was satisfied (but not thrilled) with the tones I was getting. That said, I didn't find the Helix tones muddy or fizzy.

What I love about the Axe III is that it is sooooo tweakable. I think it's reasonably easy to get good tones with both, but with the Axe I feel like I'm better able to dial in those last 5% to get great tones.
Mine just had a really woofy,muddy sound,and a fizzy high end...if you dialed the fizz out,sounded like a blanket on the amp...I know there are tons of people that love the Helix...I just didn’t...I think the Axe 3 will suit me much better,seems like it sounds better than the Helix,but it’s hard to tell on YouTube..
 

Zedhed

Inspired
.I play thru Yamaha HS7 studio monitors,in an apartment....the problem I had with the Helix,was the amp models just lacked clarity and definition...especially if you turned up the volume a bit...pure mud and fizz,and no amount of EQ helped....
I'm not familiar with these monitors, but what you play the AxeIII through (or any modeler for that matter) makes a difference.Whilst the Axe sounds great through studio monitors, if you really want the 'amp in a room' sound you'd be better off getting FRFR speaker/s to go with it although if all you want to do is play in an apartment I could understand why you'd only stick with studio monitors. Bare in mind you will not get the full experience of the Axe capabilities this way.

The AxeIII for me has been the best purchase of mine for a long long time, not only because it's a great unit but also because of the Fractal support and constant updates to the AxeIII. I've never experienced such an interactive company which actually listens to its user base and acts upon their concerns....almost immediately most the time.
 

Texhex

Member
Mine just had a really woofy,muddy sound,and a fizzy high end...if you dialed the fizz out,sounded like a blanket on the amp...I know there are tons of people that love the Helix...I just didn’t...I think the Axe 3 will suit me much better,seems like it sounds better than the Helix,but it’s hard to tell on YouTube..
What type of music do you play? The Fractal hardware and software combination is 2nd to none. I’ve used Helix Native (still do) and a Fractal AX8 and I was always able to get fantastic Metal, Crunch and Clean sounds out of both. I preferred the Fractal overall total solution to what is available from Helix and the Fractal sounds always sounded better to me when comparing the same amp models to Helix using the same Ownhammer IRs. I was always using headphones to compare the two. I prefer the Fractal sounds and software over Helix but at this stage in their development Helix or Fractal can produce great sounds regardless.
 

jspete64

New Member
I'm not familiar with these monitors, but what you play the AxeIII through (or any modeler for that matter) makes a difference.Whilst the Axe sounds great through studio monitors, if you really want the 'amp in a room' sound you'd be better off getting FRFR speaker/s to go with it although if all you want to do is play in an apartment I could understand why you'd only stick with studio monitors. Bare in mind you will not get the full experience of the Axe capabilities this way.

The AxeIII for me has been the best purchase of mine for a long long time, not only because it's a great unit but also because of the Fractal support and constant updates to the AxeIII. I've never experienced such an interactive company which actually listens to its user base and acts upon their concerns....almost immediately most the time.
Yeah,the amp in the room thing I get...but being in a small bedroom apartment,big amps and cabs are in the past....That’s why I sold them all and bought the Helix....I just wasn’t happy with the amp tones I was getting with it...although I thought the effects were pretty decent....I was hoping the Axe would be superior as far as amp sounds go...I like the idea of having everything in one box..
 

Zedhed

Inspired
Check out this video for a good idea of what the Axe is capable of

There are some great videos in the AxeIII 'recordings' section of this Forum as well.
 
Yeah,the amp in the room thing I get...but being in a small bedroom apartment,big amps and cabs are in the past....That’s why I sold them all and bought the Helix....I just wasn’t happy with the amp tones I was getting with it...although I thought the effects were pretty decent....I was hoping the Axe would be superior as far as amp sounds go...I like the idea of having everything in one box..
I was gun shy and on the fence too. I just got my Axe FX III last Wednesday. It has exceeded all my hopes in the tone department. Couldn’t be more pleased.
 

SteveW

Inspired
I'm not familiar with these monitors, but what you play the AxeIII through (or any modeler for that matter) makes a difference.Whilst the Axe sounds great through studio monitors, if you really want the 'amp in a room' sound you'd be better off getting FRFR speaker/s to go with it although if all you want to do is play in an apartment I could understand why you'd only stick with studio monitors. Bare in mind you will not get the full experience of the Axe capabilities this way.

The AxeIII for me has been the best purchase of mine for a long long time, not only because it's a great unit but also because of the Fractal support and constant updates to the AxeIII. I've never experienced such an interactive company which actually listens to its user base and acts upon their concerns....almost immediately most the time.
The HS7's are true FRFR...I have the HS8's, FRFR...in fact they are very very flat...his issue likely isn't that...IMO.
 

SteveW

Inspired
I am gonna pull the trigger tomorrow and hope for the best...it looks like an awesome piece of gear..I am sure I will be happy with it...
The reproduction on the Axe FX is dead on...exactly the same as the amps/ cabs modeled...but with the ability to infinitely tweak them.
 

phil92

Inspired
My completely uninformed noob 2c:

Woofy and fizzy pretty much describe all my modeller experiences prior to the axe.
And some presets in the axe III as well; after trying a few for few seconds I gave up and created my own presets. I came to the conclusion that I seem to hate IRs using the SM57 and much prefer condenser mikes. They sound more natural to me.

I am truly impressed with the axe III for all kinds of tones; high gain metal chunky rhythm, silky fluid leads, sparkling cleans and crunchy edge of break up texas blues inspired fender tones. That last one had my jaw on the floor. In my experience these are the hardest to convincingly pull off for modelers.

I love my old Mark IV but I haven’t even switched it on in a month. That’s how good and convincing the axe III is.
 

PBGas

Inspired
The Axe III is the one modelling unit that has completely satisfied me for using live and recording. It is really an amazing sounding unit and so powerful. I've had a Kemper when they first came out and while nice, I did not like the unit all that much. I had a Helix a couple of years back and it was a good unit but I wasn't as happy with the tones that I got out of it. This thing, simply amazing!
 
To make a long story short I think you will really like the AXE FX III!

Time for a little background since I had similar reservations about trying “yet another amp modeler”.

I also play through a set of Yamaha HS7 studio monitors and they are a great set of monitors and you can get a great tone with them. I’m curious what your signal chain/setup looks like - are you playing direct into the monitors or are the HS7’s running through an audio interface? How far away are you sitting from the speakers? That sort of thing etc…

I had tried several modelers over the years and was never really happy with the sound quality either - that is until I decided to give the AXE FX III a chance. I’ve owned several amps ranging from Mesa to Peavy. I played them through the TwoNotes Live load box using a set of Ownhammer IR’s into an audio interface routed through my monitors. (more on IR’s in a minute). So, I have some experience with a few different amps.

In fact, the AXE FX III so faithfully represents the sound/tone of the real amps and IR’s I was using that I was just blown away - and I still am on a daily basis! The nice thing about the AXE is that I’m not limited to one amp any longer! I’ve been having a lot of fun dialing in tones and experimenting with the vast collection of default IR’s included with the AXE FX III.

I used to have the same issues as you, just didn’t sound full and open - instead my sound was harsh and thin sounding and no matter what I did I couldn’t seem to get the sound I knew was possible. I’ve finally been able to get a sound that I’m happy with by experimenting with setting up my HS7’s in the following manner.
  • Setup your HS7’s on stands or place them on foam blocks if you can.
  • Make sure they are a couple of feet from any wall if you are able. If not, you can tweak the base a little on the back of the monitor if it’s just way too boomy.
  • Get those monitors spread out a bit! Form a nice big equilateral triangle with them. I position mine roughly 4 to 5 feet apart - this means they should be roughly the same distance to your ears.
  • Make sure the tweeter is at ear level.
  • Position your listening position to roughly 38% of the room length.

The items listed above really opened up my sound and made it sound full and rich! Much like the “amp in the room” feeling! Another thing, if you are playing through a cheap audio interface… you may want to consider upgrading that as well. Upgrading to a decent quality audio interface took my sound clarity and purity to another level! It felt even more open and full - it’s almost hard to describe until you have a chance to compare between and cheap interface and a high quality one. It added a clarity to the harsh high end frequencies I was used to. I went with the Clarret 4 Pre interface as an example. I’m also running the SPDIF out of the AXE FX into the the audio interface.

I also did a comparison using my peavy 6505+ amp and my TwoNotes Live load box and dialed up the exact same settings in the AXE FX III - THE TONE WAS SPOT ON THE SAME! I was blown away. I also did the bias mod to my amp and was able to experiment with the bias setting in the AXE FX and the adjustments there felt like it was spot on as well! I realize that this description is somewhat subjective - but it really does describe my experience with the whole thing so far. Also, keep in mind it’s best to learn how to dial an amp and go through Yek’s manual on the all the amps in the AXE FX. Amp knowledge is helpful no matter what modeler you are using!

Also, the AXE FX comes with some really nice IR’s - don’t be afraid to experiment with these you will be pleasantly surprised! I also like use the PEQ block at the end of the chain if I need to remove some stubborn harsh frequencies. Also, check out some of the videos that Leon Todd does on YouTube!

Once you get your hands on the AXE FX III, it will be the start of a new journey! You won’t be disappointed!
 

Chad Murphy

Member
I am new to the forum....About a year ago I bought a Helix Rack,which was my first venture into the modeling world....I was terribly disappointed in the sound of the unit...so I sold it....Now,I am seriously thinking of grabbing an Axe 3 tomorrow,but I am gunshy after the Helix thing.....I play thru Yamaha HS7 studio monitors,in an apartment....the problem I had with the Helix,was the amp models just lacked clarity and definition...especially if you turned up the volume a bit...pure mud and fizz,and no amount of EQ helped....The Axe III sounds killer on YouTube videos,and I love the IR system...I think I would be happy with the Axe 3,but just wanted to see if anyone else had jumped from the Helix to the Axe III and what your experiences were....as soon as the bank opens in the morning,I am gonna order the Axe III....just wanting some advice...
I too made the switch from Helix to axe FX 3. You definitely will not regret it. I 've sold all my amps...and don't regret it at all. I just wish the foot controller come out soon!
 
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