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Don't take the Axe-Fx III for granted! (Tried Line6 Helix)

The Helix is a step in the right direction for line 6, but they havent nailed the lowend part of modeling yet and they still have that line 6 fizz in a lot of their sounds. Having units like the helix is a great thing because like mikko found out, you can get spoiled and become blind to how good you really have it.
 

RobMFX

Regular
Thanks for this thread. I owned the Axe2 at one point and sold it which I regret. I'm now looking at the Axe3 and Helix for direct recording (I don't gig). I know this is a Fractal forum but it seems like the overwhelming consensus is that although the Helix is very good and versatile, the Axefx3 is still superior in every way. I hope Fractal has a discount on these around the coming holidays!
 

slinky005

Forum Addict
Thanks for this thread. I owned the Axe2 at one point and sold it which I regret. I'm now looking at the Axe3 and Helix for direct recording (I don't gig). I know this is a Fractal forum but it seems like the overwhelming consensus is that although the Helix is very good and versatile, the Axefx3 is still superior in every way. I hope Fractal has a discount on these around the coming holidays!
Don't hold your breath. You get what you pay for.
If you compare prices between the Axe and any competing product, the Axe has way more value.
Affording that value is something else.
 

Brian Angiel

Inspired
Thanks for this thread. I owned the Axe2 at one point and sold it which I regret. I'm now looking at the Axe3 and Helix for direct recording (I don't gig). I know this is a Fractal forum but it seems like the overwhelming consensus is that although the Helix is very good and versatile, the Axefx3 is still superior in every way. I hope Fractal has a discount on these around the coming holidays!
On top of what @slinky005 said, Cliff has already said that Fractal is eating extra costs from the tariffs (rather than passing them onto the customer), and future purchases will also be hit with sales tax (no matter what state you're in). So new product + tariffs + incoming sales tax + "the price is right" = I wouldn't expect it, and now is the time to buy if you're truly considering it. Most of this discussion has taken place in the News section, so I hope this is helpful in the event you haven't seen it.
 

DrProgNerd

Regular
Today I sold my last two 12" speakers. Those represented the last pieces of my traditional amp-rig. Since buying the AIII, I have been selling off my heads, cabs and combos. 36 years of gear collecting. I have zero need for a 'real' amp since moving to Fractal. A buddy of mine picked up a $4,200 20th Anniversary Bogner XTC head. I told him - "Yeah, I have one of those in my AIII." I won't share his expletive-laden response. Lol. Another musician friend and I were talking about the Fender Deluxe. An hour later, I had programmed the best Deluxe rig I have ever heard into my AIII. Two of them - run wet/dry/wet.

I've had conversations with friends who had spent the better part of a Saturday, tearing apart their rig - re-routing cables and changing the order of pedals. I accomplish the same thing in a few minutes with Axe Edit and a few clicks of a mouse- AND I can make a copy of my original preset so I can A/B it with the one I'm editing. Can't do that with traditional rigs - you have to go off of memory.

I can't adequately emphasize the importance of the AIII in my playing - but I guess around here I don't need to. You all know. People who scoff at the price tag don't have a clue what they're missing out on. I've owned some of the best amps made and none of them compare to this amazing device. I appreciate so much the AIII, the Fractal team - who work to bring us all of the Firmware updates - and this community. I'll never own another amp. The AIII has me covered.
 

chris

Legend!
i've always viewed the Axe and FAS's approach as part performance, but a big part of amp preservation. tubes will run out some day. people will not have space (physical or sonic) for large, heavy amps and cabs. but the meticulous modeling practices of Fractal Audio will preserve those models for years to come. it's no wonder some companies have worked directly with Cliff in getting their amps modeled.

real amps and gear are still valuable, valued, and amazing. a true legacy of a phenomenon that is natural to all of us. but things change, and FAS will keep their legacy moving forward.
 

FreeMind

Forum Addict
sorry, i chuckled out loud.
I get why.
But yeah, i don't know the guy. All i know is that he does badass IRs.
Thing is, if someone only had one or two guitar amps some time long ago, before they've had an axe fx, they may have a skewed perception of what actually sounds like a real tube amp. With a bias towards the Axe Fx, one might think that If it doesn't sound exactly like an axe fx, this means it doesn't sound like a tube amp. And that might not be true. Just wanted to make sure this isn't the case.

In my case - I really don't have much experience with real tube amps, so for me to tell whether helix or Axe FX is more tube amp like would be impossible. The best I can do is compare the Axe to what i hear on Amp demo youtube videos. And ya'll know that's far from ideal :)
 
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xpenno

Forum Addict
I've tested out the helix vst and didn't really get on with it. For me the Axefx 3 is the first modeller that I've ended up playing more than I've been tweaking. It's been a revelation for me.
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
I'm not sure if my opinion on the Helix came across correctly. I think you can get realistic tube tones out of it but it's not going to be like a Fractal where even the bad settings on the amp still sound like a tube amp you know. Here's f.ex. kind of the most realistic Mesa Mark IV sound that I was able to get with the Helix:


That does actually sound like a Mark IV right. Well... I had bass and middle on 0 and treble on 10. I'm not even kidding, that's the closest setting to what my real life Mark V sounds like. Also the graphic EQ: 80hz -5dB, 240hz +1.5dB, 750hz -5dB, 2200hz -3.5dB, 6600hz -1.5dB. So I needed to have the bass and middle on 0 or else the amp wouldn't have that tight palm mute chunk sound. Even then I had to cut out the low end with the graphic EQ. But... it's just like 10 settings on the amp and I can make it sound a bit like a Mesa Mark IV. :) Still with these settings it will not sound as close as the Axe-Fx III does:


Helix with a tone match block? That might work?
 

decreebass

Veteran
Well, since this seems to be a thread gushing about the Axe III, I'll add my voice to the chorus. I can't get enough of it. I've been playing a lot today and just LOVING the sound I'm getting. It just makes me want to play more and more. I've owned the Helix and will probably own the Stomp for a backup rig, but there's magic in the Axe. Not only is it effortless to get a great tone, but the utilities are so well thought-out; like being able to adjust the levels of presets using real-time meters, for one. Being able to save blocks to a library for easy recall. A giant grid for creative rig development and routing... I could go on and on. I count owning and playing through the Axe among my greatest joys since learning guitar about 22 years ago :)
 

brianv4

Forum Addict
I had a Helix for a few months. Heard some great clips online so I gave it a shot. 1st impression, I thought it had potential but needed a lot of tweaking to get it there. To give it a fair shake, I figured I'd keep it and work with it a while. In the end, didn't rock my world. Now, once Fractal releases a more powerful floor modeler (AX12?) I'll be all over that! The AX8 is great but once I added a reverb block I'd overload the CPU. So I got an H9. Great setup but lost the simplicity factor. Holding out hope a more advanced one comes out "soon" @FractalAudio
 

JCBitB

Inspired
I don't want to knock the Helix too badly, because there are line6 wizards out there that can make them sound great, I'm just happy to admire them from afar. That's about as polite as I can manage. Losing access to my AxeFx would be like losing several fingers at this point
 

zenaxe

Fractal Fanatic
AxeFx III is in class by itself. I have direct access to all the competing hardware and it is not even close. The II is the next best in fact. IMHO :cool:
 

Rick

Fractal Fanatic
In my case - I really don't have much experience with real tube amps, so for me to tell whether helix or Axe FX is more tube amp like would be impossible.
There’s a lot of truth in this. When I started playing, tube amps were all there was. It was revolutionary when a thing like the Rockman came along. My generation suffered through a gaggle of poor “perfect modelers” through all the years that began with a 19.

This post reminds me that there are now a whole group of players who have played for more than a decade when the Axe Fx was never not available. That’s something to keep in mind as we go forward. Great point, @FreeMind
 

PBGas

Inspired
I was not at all a Fractal fan for many years. It wasn't because the product was not solid, it was due to all of the waiting list nonsense. They did things right this time and when I saw what was going into the Axe III, I had to try it. I am a long time tube amp user since I was a kid. I remember buying my first Marshall JCM800 1x12 combo amp some time in the early 80s. I loved that amp! Currently I have a Friedman BE-50 and a JP-2C Limited Edition. Love both of these amps like no others that I have owned. They both do what they do well. That being said, once the FC's are released, I may be having a hard time to keep everything because I am not sure I will always use it.

I get amazing tone from the Axe III and it is so easy to use. I really have barely spent any time tweaking mine other than a cab change on my presets and adding and subtracting a bit of this and that. The routing options are amazing and the setup and teardown is super easy. I really can't wait to start using mine at my regular gigs.

I don't think I will get rid of my amps. There are those days when you just want to hear that magic and it feels great to the ears. For all the other days, the Axe III does just fine for me. Truth be told, it is really hard to tell the difference most times.

It is a great time to be a guitarist!
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
It sure is. I'm also collecting a lot of real tube gear these days. Not entirely sure why but I feel like the knowledge I get from comparing the real thing to modelers is valuable for me.
 

Daveis

Inspired
In public forums I try not to be negative about Helix or any other gear. Inside this forum I can admit the Helix LT collects dust loaded with commercial presets. I keep it for reference and to have a guest rig for Helix friends to use. I’ve never put in so many hours playing as on the Axe3. 6-8 hours can go by and I’m not tired of playing.
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
In public forums I try not to be negative about Helix or any other gear. Inside this forum I can admit the Helix LT collects dust loaded with commercial presets. I keep it for reference and to have a guest rig for Helix friends to use. I’ve never put in so many hours playing as on the Axe3. 6-8 hours can go by and I’m not tired of playing.
The point was not to bash the Helix. The effects and UX and all of that alone would probably rate it around 8/10. If the amp modeling was at Fractal level I would see no reason why not to use it except for my unconditional love towards Fractal. :) It just makes you wonder about the pricing though when compared to the an AX8 but sure the screens and all that kind of explain it a bit. That being said, I'm definitely capable of tweaking great sounds out of it. It's just that the kind of small details we're constantly debating here on this forum, they seem so small in comparison.
 

RobMFX

Regular
Thanks again for the replies. I have decided to go with the AXE3 after doing some more research and reading the input on this forum. I look at it as a long-term investment since 80% of what I do now is direct recording into pro-tools using things like EZDrummer and backing tracks (I still love my Blackstar ID60 with upgraded warehouse speaker for jamming out though!) Its a big investment for me but I am going to sell of some gear to make it happen.
 
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