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Considering the AxeFX


New Member
Hi everyone

I am seriously considering replacing my beloved huge RoadkingII/4X12/Fridge of FX rack/theile Stereo cab setup... by an AxeFx. But i have a couple of questions first. Please note that i've tried to use the search engine in the FAQ but for some reason it doesn't return any result no matter how i try to use it.

I've work most of my carreer as a sound engineer, i've always been a sound geek. When the Roland GP8 got out in the late '80 i tought that i've found what i was looking for, hum! Since then i am in an everlasting quest for Tone/Feel/total recall/and ease of use. The later is a big issue for me, i've got my share of fiddling in endless menus, and my rig as it it now is quitecomplex and is only going to get bigger. For some reasons i don't seem to be able to have all the attribute mentioned above at he same time, there is always one ( or 2) missing. I can live with 3-4 basic amp sounds ( that's the RK) which i never touch but the effects is another story, i mean i need to take notes and have a plan to remember how everyting works... it's ridiculous, total flow killer.

Here's some more or less esoteric questions*:

From what i read everywhere i understand it sounds incredible, i get it, ok( eventhough i never used it) but the big question mark for me is*: how does it feel? I mean the way the «*amp*» react to your playing, do the axe fx have that liquid easy to play feel ? You know that bouncy elastic feel on a semi clean channel...Please be honnest. Again, i am not talking about the sound. If you don't have a clue what i'm talking about it's ok, just don't answer the question, but if you do, any thoughts?

Anyone here with an Axe FXII got to the point where you've run out of processing power and have to «*scale down*» something because of this limitation? ( On a realistic usable setup that is)

Is there any audible differences between Hi and low Res? Or is it just a difference mesurable with analysis tools?

There is one jack for an expression controller on the back of the unit. If anyone is using an MFC with the AxeFX does that makes the total number expression controller to 5? ( 4 on the MFC , 1 on the Axe FX)

Sorry for the long post, and thanks for your answers


Keep the Roadking, replace your fx fridge with axe fx ii !!

I had Mesa Roadster, sold it and bought axe fx ii. One year later I just bought mesa head again, because the "feel" thing. My personal experience with axe fx ii rectos is that you can't get the feel right no matter what you do. Axe has new 3 channel dual models wich are nothing like roadster or road king in real life. But it also has old 2 ch version of dual and those work pretty well. The sound is good in axe fx but the feel is not there, actually you'll not gonna get the Road King sound because its not modelled.

I bought old 2 ch dual rec and I'm gonna use it with my axe fx using 4CM, well actually 5CM! I'm still gonna go line-in live using slave out from Mesa going through CAB block in axe fx so I don't have mic my real cabinet.


Anyone here with an Axe FXII got to the point where you've run out of processing power and have to «*scale down*» something because of this limitation? ( On a realistic usable setup that is)

I had to scale down some fx when using one preset with scenes but that's because I have to use two amp blocks and one cab. I wanted to use 2 amps and 2 cabs but then came cpu overload so I use just one cab block.

Before I was using different preset for each tone but there is too much delay/lag when switching presets so I started using scenes in one preset wich is cool!

BUT now that I'll be using a real amp, maybe I can get one BIG preset that has everything I want because I dont need amp blocks to eat CPU...will see, haven't done that yet since I got the amp yesterday and it's beeing modified before I get it in action with axe fx ii (I needed fx loop mod)


Fractal Fanatic
I replaced my Roadking II with Ultra and Mesa 50/50. This is now replaced by Axe II and stage monitors. Still got the mesa poweramp and a 212 cab, but i don't use it.

Different routes with the same goal. To be happy with the tones. You have to try it imho.

People are different.


you'll get very different opinions on this question. some will say the sound or feel isn't there, some will say the axe nails it. only way to really know is to try one out.


Power User
I just want to say that the learning curve is pretty hard ...
We'll I figured that being a Roland user in the '80 is not a big problem...
But it still being a digital interface , so very deep possible tweaking or at list only a few knobs

Nothing to do compared with a real ampli...
The sound here is not a problem , definitely you can reach GREAT tones .

BUT Honestly we have to say that a Mesa is a Mesa and a Fender is a Fender ... great sounding amps , AxeFx too is a great "multiple " preamp and Fx ... SIMULATION is a overrated term.... Better than... Who cares ...
Apple with potatoes , not possible to compare
I own a Frigo like you and a 2nd setup with AxeFx ... Very very happy with both.... Second is pretty easy to move

IMHO it depends on your routing choices...
Limitation ... Where? 4 external pedals more 4 external switches more up to 15 instant access switches fully configurable???

CPU limitation is not a problem unless as some forum fellow you are a layout maniac...
So many preset on a midi controller ... Why complicating too much
One more preset is best than putting 15 modulation types that can't be used at the same time unless you like to loose your tone

Only think I can find not at top class are Whammy ( al list for my taste)and the looper ... Not a big problem for a all in one device

If your dedicated to your sound you'll never be disappointed by the axe and Fractal...
Top Class company and customer service ...
A mutant device evolving in better and better

If you can, try it ...
If you can , keep the road king too


do you have the cab on stage with you? if you are used to hearing your cab at high volumes it might be a tough transition. that seems to be the tough part for most guys, not understanding the hearing the "mic'd rig" tone from the Axe vs the "amp in the room" tone from an amp. don't expect it to ever sound the same, it won't, and it's not meant to.



I will say it feel and sounds ,like a real tube amp. I have owned about 20-30 different heads combos ,preamp poweramps etc... and I must say Axe FX II sounds and feel like all those did. Last amp what I was own ,was Mesa Boogie Mark IV. It was best sounding amp what have ever made ,in my opinion. And I was sold that Mark IV to get money for Axe FX II ,and must say that was right decision.


I've owned many Mesas, and still own two (Mark IV & F-50, plus a 2x12 Recto and 4x12 Traditional cabs). Playing with a tube head + cab gets you the "feel", if you're into the amp-in-the-room experience. You could certainly go through the Road King's FX-return, using the Axe as a pre-amp and the RK as a power amp; that would give you the definite Mesa tone and the feel of playing a tube amp. I did this live with my F-50, running main outs to FOH and out 2 to my amp & cab for back line.

All that said, since I'm no longer in a band, I've fired up my Mesas only several times in the last few years. I'm not overly attached to the "amp in the room" thing, as it's not the reason why I started playing (and I personally feel I should be able to play without it). I've always sought the recorded tone of my guitar heroes, and trying to capture that with a traditional rig was always elusive. The Axe allows that in spades. Plus, coupled with flat-response monitors it's allowed me to experience rigs and tones I've never tried before.

IMO, the bottom line is if you want the versatility and perfect "in the mix" tones, the Axe + FRFR is the way to go. If you need the tactile experience of the amp cranked nearby to be happy, I'd go with the Axe + tube power amp + cabs.


New Member
Well thanks for all the info, this is a great forum. I might add that one other reason that i am looking at the Axe FX is the fact i'll be doing more and more gigs with in ear monitors system. Getting the sound right in the plugs with the RK is no easy task and kinda weird but still possible, need more stuff ( see it's getting bigger) now as for for the feel thing, so far it's not really happening in the plugs, hence, how the Axe FX like.


Power User
For me personally, the Axe-Fx really does nail both the sound and the feel of real amps, yes. I am totally happy with it. I also frequently play tube amps at friends' houses and the like, just because they're there and I don't want to haul my crap around every time I leave the house, and I do not find the Axe lacking at all. The Axe-Fx sounds and feels totally realistic to me, just like any other tube amp. It's full of natural compression, bounce, swirl, all that good stuff. I don't even think "this is a digital box and how do I coax this or that tube sound out of it," for me, it's transcended that. I just think "ok time to dial in sound X" and I go for it, and it usually sounds great.

In your case, for a guy who is already used to dealing with complex routing and digital interfaces, who has a large rack of stuff that's, like you said, probably only going to get bigger with time? I'd say you sound like the Axe-Fx was custom made for you, haha.

I'd say that if you were to buy an Axe-Fx, at the very least, you could probably replace your entire rack of effects with it. At the most, you'd be able to replace your entire rig altogether.

For me personally, I have never ran out of CPU unless I just get bored and set out to see how crazy I can make a preset just for its own sake. Also, The difference between high and low res mode for when you have either one or two amps on the grid is so small that can go back and fourth and not be sure if there actually is an audible difference at all, at least for the amps I usually gravitate towards. Maybe with some other amp sims it's more apparent, but I haven't heard it. The difference as far as I'm aware is basically that the high-res mode uses one or two more layers of anti-aliasing passes. The core tone processing is actually the same in high and low res mode, it's just that high res mode uses slightly more "digital smoothing" on top apparently.

Honestly, the biggest hurdle you have to get over as an Axe-Fx user is that you really do need a pretty comprehensive understanding of how tube amps work, how to dial a good tone on a real tube amp, and typical best practices for how to build a good, logically sound signal chain (delay usually goes after a high gain amp, wah usually works best before an overdrive pedal, etc).


If you're going with IEM (a solution I would have liked to pursue in my previous band), I'd suggest going for an FRFR solution and get used to playing without a traditional amp+cab. It should give you more consistency tweaking your presets through full-range systems.


Well thanks for all the info, this is a great forum. I might add that one other reason that i am looking at the Axe FX is the fact i'll be doing more and more gigs with in ear monitors system. Getting the sound right in the plugs with the RK is no easy task and kinda weird but still possible, need more stuff ( see it's getting bigger) now as for for the feel thing, so far it's not really happening in the plugs, hence, how the Axe FX like.

well in that case it's a no brainer....get the Axe. seriously.


My .02, your used to an amp and cab feel so if even if you ditch the Road King head and go with a tube power amp and use your cab you should be pretty happy. If your looking to shed more weight and bulk then your going to have to look at smaller lighter gear, common sense dictates.

I have never run out of processing power with the II though I'm not what one would call a power user. But I do have some pretty complex presets that are in the high 80% range with no issues.

I don't really hear any huge differences between Hi rez and Lo rex cab IR's, not that big of a difference. Same can be said about Ultra Hi rez cabs, there is some but in the context of a live performance I doubt any one would stand up and say "He's using an Ultra Hi Rez IR I can feel it" unless your using drop tunings in which case you would benefit. The graphs show that the (majority) of the gained information for UHR IR is in the lower freq spectrum below 100hz if I'm not mistaken.

I personally only use 2 expression pedals with a GCP I could use one more but that's about it. If you need more then that then your probably going to be getting into the power user domain and should probably be looking into the XL modle for the extra added features.

You didn't mention what type of music you played so it's hard to say what would be the best recommendation. The complexity and type of some songs with respect to effets and amp and cab (FRFR) tones will dictate CPU usage.

I say give it a try you have 10 days to see if it's for you or not.


keep your amp!
the axe fx is 95% soundwise there an 90% feeling like the "real thing". I use it because I have many different musical projects and bands so a 3HE rack with guitar wireless and IEM wireless is quite good for me. But after 5 years with Axe Fx I and then II I'm now switching back to mostly using a real tube amp (badger 30). For the metal stuff the axe fx is perfect but everything that needs a LOT of dynamic work (playing or volume pot,...) it's not there for me. A lot of people are fine with the 90% but for me, playing at least 4 hours a day, I'm missing something now. I know, that it's NOT the amp in the room feeling but more the first few milliseconds of a note when you hit it.


Fractal Fanatic
I think it's worth mentioning, that the Axe FX II is only a part of the set up, you will also need a flat SS poweramp and FRFR speakers or powered FRFR speakers. You can of course opt to use it in a 4CM setup with your tube amp, or just as an FX processor in the loop of your tube amp, but if you do, you will not get the full benefit of using the modeling and IR's.

put it like this..... Are you always tweaking your rig and never really satisfied with your tone and/or always looking for another addition to your rig because you can't do this or that with it? If so then I believe you are a perfect candidate for the Axe FX II.

The main thing to remember.... it is not an Exact copy of the real thing and never will be, however it is realistically a very convincing model. Even if you just look at the general forums today you will notice some die hard power users are all bent out of shape trying to compare the axe to the real thing and The difference is so minimal, that you need to analyze the waveform under a microscope to tell the difference. If instead you go into it realizing that it is actually it's own thing and not all those other things, you will find great tones that sound like the real thing and great effects that sound like the real thing, and then some, with the ability to take those tones above and beyond what any real physical tube amp could ever do.
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