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"modeling technology" and Artists & 75% of the time..lol


Didn't watch the video... But I was at Vai Academy last year.

Steve's rig is guitar -> Carvin VLD (Preamp) pedal -> Axe Fx II -> FX Return of two Legacy Heads and 4x12 cabs.

His tech Thomas Nordegg said he's been trying to convince him to tour with the AX8...


a friend of mine bought the synergy system. i think he got like a fender deluxe and a friedman smallbox module (or whatever is closest to those). i sold the Egnater module system when i managed a music store, so i'm familiar with that too. they seem very similar, if not the same thing.

my friend brought his synergy 2 module rack, and i had my AX8 on this gig. granted he didn't have it too long to dial it in perfectly or whatever, but you could clearly hear the difference and the synergy system sounded like the "typical modeling sound" that people associate with modelers.

i think the weakness is in the real lack of IR capability. probably some generic cab sim for the direct outs. it just doesn't do it justice at all. the AX8 sounded full and rich, where his had that hollow, prickly high-end, no definition sound. it works, and especially if not comparing to something. but he was a little disappointed.

that said, he used it at his own gig the next day and he told me it sounded great there. so he's happy, and it works for what he needs. he usually uses a real Smallbox combo, but this gig was too small for it.

but directly comparing it to my AX8, the difference was pretty substantial. i don't even tweak my presets very long or very detailed. just basic bass mid treb and the GEQ for the most part. it's the fundamental modeling approach that is really different. and i think an IR system would make it sound so much better.

Rich G.

I guess it's just like everything else. Follow the money. They say what that particular audience wants or pays to hear at any given time.
All his talk about "latency" and running the Synergy preamp in the loop of the Legacy... yet not a word about the AxeFX II blinking away right between them.

I'm sure the Synergy preamp sounds good. I used an RM4 system for years. It has sat dormant since I started using an Ultra followed by a II in a live setting. It took a little getting used to at first. After that initial acclimation period, there was no turning back.

James Nash

Huge respect for Vai's musicianship and history, of course. And I like the tones he's getting here. But as others have mentioned, if you rip the preamp out of a Marshall Plexi, it simply will NOT deliver the kind of lead tone Vai's getting from that Synergy preamp. I'm guessing the Synergy is adding additional gain circuitry and filtering to mimic the power stage ? Sounds like they're doing a pretty good job--again, I like the sounds. But "authentic" because it "uses the same resistor values" ... I'm calling BS :)


Fractal Fanatic
Synergy will come up with the Vai pre-amp called Heritage, within a year!
Lets say by NAMM 2020!

As a Bonus: A poweramp section for Vai.
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