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Does anyones Axe-FX II sound this good?


Fractal Fanatic
Not that Cooper needs anyone to vouch for him, but after seeing him play at Axe-Fest 2012, I can tell you that's how he sounds. He is just a talented cat.


New Member
I have done some testing and have made a couple of observations about the AxeFXII. Most of you that are more experienced already know all of this, but for those of us just getting into the unit, hopefully this will help.

- The AxeFX is *very* sensitive to different guitars. I was surprised how much it brought out the character of each of my guitars. But this is what we want, right? I guess I was used to my previous "modelling" amps and you could pretty much plug a potato into them and they would sound the same. Not so here.

- Cab IR's probably make the biggest difference in the overall tone of an amp. Period.

- The AxeFX is very deep. It is taking me a while to learn all the ins and outs of what this thing can do. I still have a lot to learn.

Regarding my "problem", I was convinced something was "wrong" with my AxeFX compared with other demos I have heard. At least to my ears and what I want to hear. Everyone is different here and play two guys different sounds and one will like one and not the other. I heard what was perceived as a lack or clarity and "balls" in my preset (and tweaked) tones. After doing some testing, I now believe I was on the right track.

First, my recording setup:

- PRS Custom 24
- Mogami Gold cable
- USB into Mac Mini recording with Logic X. No plugins or effects of any kind were used to enhance my sound.

AxeFX set as audio device in Logic.

- Now for the tests/samples. I put a sound clip up on Soundcloud (link Below). There are three tests run back to back (see labels). The PRS was set using the Bridge PU, Volume all the way up, tone all the way up (brightest). AxeFX input set to tickle the red leds when playing hard. All AxeFX presets were untouched from the factory settings.

Link to Soundcloud file: https://soundcloud.com/jfk1/axefx-tests

Test 1) My original install of FW18 (axefx2_18p12). To my ears this sounded a little dull on the top end and the bottom end was flabby. I needed to add a high shelf to get decent clarity, but the bottom was still mushy. Playing the guitar I could really feel the flabby bottom more that I could hear it on playback.

Test 2) Complete reset. Global Setting/reset. Ran System clean as well. Reinstall all banks of presets. Unfortunately this actually made this worse. Sounded like above only much more exaggerated.

Test 3) I decided to load the FW that was used in Cooper's video (v15.06). At first it would not let me giving me an upload error. I figured maybe it was something in the presets calling some new feature in FW18, so I re-loaded the FW15 Preset (all banks). I was then able to install the 15.06 FW without issue. Now the sound to me improved 100%. The top end clarity was there, the bottom end tight an punchy. This was what I was
looking for.

I noticed that between the 3 tests, the effects (reverb, delay) in the preset sound remarkably different in delay time and the amount used. One problem I still need to resolve is that the latest AxeEdit does not work with FW15. I tried to reinstall and older version, but it did not install. Guess I will have to Google that.

I also wanted to confirm my "top end" theory. I loaded up Ozone6 in Logic and EQ matched my original preset with FW 18 and Cooper's. The resulting EQ curve added a rising (bell) curve that started around 1K (0db) and went up to 20k (6db). Quite a bit of high end need to be added to match the tone. I then did the same thing with the Fw15 patch. This time there was no high end added (except due to mp3 I think), confirming what I was hearing.

FW18 EQ Match:

FW15 EQ Match:

So overall the FW15 patch sounds much better to me. Maybe there was something screwed up with my FW18 install, but I am hesitant to go back to it. For now I will stay at FW15 and start cycling through some more presets.

Hope this helps someone...


Power User
I'm glad you found "your" tone, Jimmyk. I have to admit that sometimes it's hard to get "your" tone back after a firmware upgrade, but my experience is generally that "my" tone incrementally gets better with each firmware release. Some of that no doubt has to do with an increase in skill in honing tones that work for my purposes, but most of it is due to the more realistic modeling. I say that to say that I suggest you save what you have in FW15 and try FW18 again when you have time. When you do, don't be afraid to throw your conventional way of doing things out the window. Follow your ears - and gut - and don't be afraid to be experimental.


i can't imagine ever going back that far. sure each update is incremental, but that's a lot of increments between now and then. could never go pre G3...but whatever works.


Yeah I agree I don't think pre G3 sounds better. It certainly won't feel as good as the G3 amps. But if 15 works for you then it works that's all that matters in the end right?
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