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Has it really come that far?

I’m sorry if this is beating a dead and buried horse.. not trying to redo the funeral here, just hear me out.

I’m still on my mark II Axe Fx2.

I’ve owned it now for close to 10 years now. During this time I’ve gotten to know the unit VERY well. I’ve consumed every tutorial and piece of information related to it often many times over as it relates to certain pieces.. Thanks @yek

I know what works for me inside and out. I’ve worked through the firmware updates to craft my recorded and live tones neurotically.

Once the Axe3 was released, I had a sense of relief knowing that it was over.. that I could really take this thing and REALLY dial it in.

My tone may not be your tone, but I have it all dialed in.. this includes IR’s, amp blocks, effects, and tones that work with my power amps and cabs beautifully.

I have a buddy with an FM3 and we both agree that my tones are subjectively better, even though his may have more horsepower behind it and he hasnt put the time into it that I have.

How much am I missing out on by not upgrading? Is there really a next level up? I know at first it was a “feel” and “easier to get where you want” thing.

..But does the next gen really offer some sort of magic that I’m just blissfully unaware of?

I don’t need more routing than whats offered.. at least I think I dont..?

Looking forward to the replies! :)
 

CodePoet

Power User
The Axe-Fx II is great, but there's a huge level up in the Axe-Fx III. There have been many advancements that have been implemented in the ecosystem of the III. Anecdotally, I feel and hear the huge improvements the III provides. I had a II also.

But as for everything, go with what fits your needs and what is in your budget. There's not a wrong answer - it's a great time to be a guitar player for sure.
 

Rick

Axe-Master
I’ve used this analogy many times, but it still applies… My 1964 Super Reverb hasn’t ever had a firmware upgrade. Still sounds awesome. If I were still using that tone, I would gig it tomorrow.

I changed to the Axe Fx, at that time the flagship Ultra, for the unheard of number of options in a package that sounded awesome. It did many things I wanted to do that my then current rig could not. There was a reason to change, so I did. That felt like “I need to try this!” When it is that, I think you should jump on it.

Sometimes, there are just new things. It’s always cool to play with the latest/greatest and, while it isn’t “need to” it might be “would be fun to.” In that case, upgrade if you want or stand pat if you don’t. I’ve passed on the odd new version, yet I upgraded to the III-Turbo in no-gig-on-the-horizon Covid solitude. That from a III Mk I, which I was hardly pushing to any limits! I wanted to, so I did.

The point being it is up to you. If you love your sound and don‘t want to change, there is no reason to do it. Like my old Super, your rig didn’t start sounding less good when the III came out. You’ll be starting from scratch on building a sound that is “yours.“ Why do that? But if there are things that the III offers that you want, go for it! There has definitely been advancement, as much in function as in sounds. It wouldn’t be for nothing. The new stuff is incredible.

Just so I don’t come across wishy washy, when I read the OP I thought “if you’re happy with what you know, leave it until you’re not. Read up on current units and change when they do something you need that you can’t do now.” There’s my vote.
 

antcarrier

Power User
I have a 3 and a 2. The 3 will be familiar in how it operates, but the 3 has more features and sounds better. The 3 sounds smoother, like it has better oversampling or something.
 

raccoon

Inspired
Agree to the posts before.
Coming from not from FXII but from Ultra to FM3 and really hear and feel the approvement.

May as idea, ask your FM3 buddy if he can spent a free preset-slot for you to dial in your tone as test to help for decision to upgrade to newer stuff.
You should start from scratch, but to make it easier you can use FracTool to convert your main preset from FXII to FM3 and tweak it from there.
Depending on amount of used blocks or may some blocks that are not available at FM3 it will not be 100% complete but could be a start for a test.

And you got faster to your sound with the actual Fractals then with older ones.
I do more deep tweaking now than with the Ultra because it is easier and fun.
 

Jason Scott

Fractal Fanatic
How much am I missing out on by not upgrading? Is there really a next level up? I know at first it was a “feel” and “easier to get where you want” thing.
I had an Axe-Fx II XL+ before buying a III. At the time I purchased the III, the sonic differences between the II and III were somewhat subtle. However, fast forward a couple of years and the differences are pretty palpable. Now, if you're happy with your sound, great, but for me, if we're talking about sounds straight out of the box, the III is definitely a level above the II. No question.

..But does the next gen really offer some sort of magic that I’m just blissfully unaware of?
I don't know about magic, but the III has some mojo that the II doesn't, in my opinion. In my experience, the amp models in the III have far more individual character that distinguish them from one another, the effects have been seriously overhauled, and the features are so much more fully realized in the III. I honestly can't imagine going back to the II now.
 

laxu

Power User
If you enjoy using the Axe-Fx 2 and like how you sound, keep using it and maybe wait some years for the 4th gen.

Back when I had an Axe-Fx 2 Mk1 I was already happy with the way it sounded. Sure, the Axe-Fx 3 may sound "more real" but I had no complaints about the sound after using the 2 for years. Comparing the "before Cygnus vs after Cygnus" firmwares on the 3rd gen, I felt it was more like going from a mix-ready sound to a live sound. The Axe-Fx 2 had more of that mix-ready sound too, with less low cuts needed and so on.

To me the 3rd gen's biggest upgrade is that it's easier to use from the front panel. Still dead last on my list compared to other modelers on the market, but it's much better than the 2nd gen Fractal.
 

bradlake

Axe-Master
To what is left of my ears, the III does sound Subjectively better, and I still own my II as well, but there is much to be said about using a well dialed -in unit of any generation…..Adrian Belew still tours his Ultra..and sounds fantastic……and Dweezil stuck with his II based tour rig for a fair Time after he got his (prototype) IIIs……
Bottom line for me here, if you can afford it comfortably, well worth the investment and checking out with the return window at your service….if for no other reason than to witness Cliff and teams’ constantly pushing the envelope of possibilities and technology in more or less real time.
 

axes

Inspired
To me the Axe III immediately sounded much much better compared to the II. I'm not a big manual dialer myself, I like to base my tones on already existing presets and the presets the III comes with are near perfect in many cases.
I think this is where much of the charm of the III compared to the II comes from.
 

Gl4th

Experienced
I’m sorry if this is beating a dead and buried horse.. not trying to redo the funeral here, just hear me out.

I’m still on my mark II Axe Fx2.

I’ve owned it now for close to 10 years now. During this time I’ve gotten to know the unit VERY well. I’ve consumed every tutorial and piece of information related to it often many times over as it relates to certain pieces.. Thanks @yek

I know what works for me inside and out. I’ve worked through the firmware updates to craft my recorded and live tones neurotically.

Once the Axe3 was released, I had a sense of relief knowing that it was over.. that I could really take this thing and REALLY dial it in.

My tone may not be your tone, but I have it all dialed in.. this includes IR’s, amp blocks, effects, and tones that work with my power amps and cabs beautifully.

I have a buddy with an FM3 and we both agree that my tones are subjectively better, even though his may have more horsepower behind it and he hasnt put the time into it that I have.

How much am I missing out on by not upgrading? Is there really a next level up? I know at first it was a “feel” and “easier to get where you want” thing.

..But does the next gen really offer some sort of magic that I’m just blissfully unaware of?

I don’t need more routing than whats offered.. at least I think I dont..?

Looking forward to the replies! :)
A unit 100% dialed in to personal needs outclass (on a subjective view) any newer/improved unit which seems better from what says manual or technical specifications.

The time YOU invested is YOUR R&D investment. And this is the added value in YOUR unit. Obviously who upgraded won’t never write that he wasted his money.

Plus, I don’t personally need necessarily a unit that is continuously closer to an amp I never had (you know, I can’t compare). I need a unit that gives me the tools to get the tone I like, no matter the name on the amp/cab/drive/etc. block.
 
Agree to the posts before.
Coming from not from FXII but from Ultra to FM3 and really hear and feel the approvement.

May as idea, ask your FM3 buddy if he can spent a free preset-slot for you to dial in your tone as test to help for decision to upgrade to newer stuff.
You should start from scratch, but to make it easier you can use FracTool to convert your main preset from FXII to FM3 and tweak it from there.
Depending on amount of used blocks or may some blocks that are not available at FM3 it will not be 100% complete but could be a start for a test.

And you got faster to your sound with the actual Fractals then with older ones.
I do more deep tweaking now than with the Ultra because it is easier and fun.
That's actually a good idea. Maybe when I'm done recording the demo I'm working on, I'll see if I can borrow it for a few days!
 
You all really ought to be getting a little commission from FAS.

My questions were answered beautifully and while I wasn't really considering making the upgrade before this post; I am now in the heavy consideration phase.

The idea of taking my dialed in tones to the 'next' level is something that is hard for me to even imagine. Plus if there have been added knobs and deep parameters/frequency response similar to what I'm already used to, maybe it won't take me as long as it did the first time around..

The only thing that really has me weary is the constant FW upgrades, while I know it can be exciting to experience the evolution in real time, there is a part of me that just wants to wait until the last upgrade has dropped to take the plunge.

Talk about first-world problems! :sweatsmile:
 

scottburrow

Fractal Fanatic
I haven't been on here in a very long while. Seems like I had most of them up till the 3 came out. I had my AX8 I was very satisfied. So I jumped back in a few weeks ago. I bought an FM3 as I don't play out anymore retired from playing Churches a year ago. I'm very impressed I have to say. I bought an FC6 as well since I bought the FM3. There are a lot of things that are different from the AX8 and I approve...:)
 

TakaraGold

Experienced
I’m sorry if this is beating a dead and buried horse.. not trying to redo the funeral here, just hear me out.

I’m still on my mark II Axe Fx2.

I’ve owned it now for close to 10 years now. During this time I’ve gotten to know the unit VERY well. I’ve consumed every tutorial and piece of information related to it often many times over as it relates to certain pieces.. Thanks @yek

I know what works for me inside and out. I’ve worked through the firmware updates to craft my recorded and live tones neurotically.

Once the Axe3 was released, I had a sense of relief knowing that it was over.. that I could really take this thing and REALLY dial it in.

My tone may not be your tone, but I have it all dialed in.. this includes IR’s, amp blocks, effects, and tones that work with my power amps and cabs beautifully.

I have a buddy with an FM3 and we both agree that my tones are subjectively better, even though his may have more horsepower behind it and he hasnt put the time into it that I have.

How much am I missing out on by not upgrading? Is there really a next level up? I know at first it was a “feel” and “easier to get where you want” thing.

..But does the next gen really offer some sort of magic that I’m just blissfully unaware of?

I don’t need more routing than whats offered.. at least I think I dont..?

Looking forward to the replies! :)
If it sounds good and delivers what you need, then you're not missing much. I mean, the AxeFx from it's start has been an amazing soundcrafting tool, so tone and sound is the culprit here. And if you are happy in that area, there's no need for changing everything again.
 

luke

Fractal Fanatic
Once the Axe3 was released, I had a sense of relief knowing that it was over.. that I could really take this thing and REALLY dial it in.
You’ve answered your own question.

The chasing of firmwares and the alterations of tone they create can be exhausting, especially if the rest of your life is jam packed.

Back in the day, processors like the Rocktron Chameleon never received an update. I used those for over a decade without anyone ever complaining.

Remember, whatever firmware you’re on now, was once upon time the bestiest evar!
 

grandinq

Experienced
I love the tones on my Axe III and…

Last summer I was at an outdoor venue, sitting and enjoying the sun and a beer. There was a band on the secondary stage and as I was sitting there I started noticing how awesome the guitar tone was. I made a point to find out what he was using. I walked over to where the band was and saw the guitarist had an AX8. We chatted a bit after about Fractal and tones. It’s all good!!
 
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