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Review - Axe FX 3 - After a year of using it.

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peteri

Experienced
Not to be rude but if "learning the basics" means getting to this point:

View attachment 84164

...and then clicking on a block, for example the amp block, to reveal its controls like this below:

View attachment 84170

...and it took you six months to work that out, that's not really Fractal's fault.


Personally I think the Axe Edit interface is about as intuitive and simple as it could be while still providing all the options it does. On the grid, right-click for block selection menu, then once your blocks are there, draw a simple line for your signal path. To adjust something, click on a block to reveal its controls. The "main" controls are always prominently displayed first, and then if you want to go digging through the other tabs (which are also intelligently organized), you can.

And really, the front panel interface isn't much different.
Completely agree with the above, I've never read the manual - it's that easy.

Much easier than some of the nuances with the Helix - for example two lines, one per DSP? I really don't need to be having to think of what DSP is running what, that's what load balancing in the OS is for!

And again, not wanting to be rude 'why do I need a Leon Todd video to find out how to change the line frequency'? So you bought a pro-level piece of equipment, didn't read the manual, didn't think 'I'll go to the set-up page and see what the options are' etc.? Sorry I find that hard to believe
 

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
Not to be rude but if "learning the basics" means getting to this point
I think @Omri Bazelet has some good feedback about the experience that shouldn't be brushed aside here. There's certainly a class of user that wants to get it home, power it on and GO! The manual, well-intended, isn't necessarily where everyone wants to start unfortunately.

In his case, there were some country-specific settings that aren't obvious from first power-on or from a glance at the manual. And, don't discount language barriers -- I'm not certain the manual is available in all languages which can be an impediment for initial success in non-US regions.

Discuss the ideas, people, not the people. Criticizing @Omri Bazelet specifically is exactly how you turn these feedback discussions to shit. I'm talking at you too @peteri and @Repartee41. This, "You must be stupid, I didn't have a problem with this..." innuendo isn't okay here. Got it?
 
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TSJMajesty

Power User
I think @Omri Bazelet has some good feedback about the experience that shouldn't be brushed aside here. There's certainly a class of user that wants to get it home, power it on and GO! The manual, well-intended, isn't necessarily where everyone wants to start unfortunately.

In his case, there were some country-specific settings that aren't obvious from first power-on or from a glance at the manual. And, don't discount language barriers -- I'm not certain the manual is available in all languages which can be an impediment for initial success in non-US regions.

Discuss the ideas, people, not the people. Criticizing @Omri Bazelet specifically is exactly how you turn these feedback discussions to shit. I'm talking at you too @peteri and @Repartee41. This, "You must be stupid, I didn't have a problem with this..." innuendo isn't okay here. Got it?
Best post I've read on this forum yet!

So the manual is online, in PDF format, right? How long would it take someone to add that A/C voltage note where it belongs, edit the link, and start a thread announcing that the manual has not only been updated, but will continue to get updated as time permits..., check back from time to time...?
 

peteri

Experienced
I think @Omri Bazelet has some good feedback about the experience that shouldn't be brushed aside here. There's certainly a class of user that wants to get it home, power it on and GO! The manual, well-intended, isn't necessarily where everyone wants to start unfortunately.

In his case, there were some country-specific settings that aren't obvious from first power-on or from a glance at the manual. And, don't discount language barriers -- I'm not certain the manual is available in all languages which can be an impediment for initial success in non-US regions.

Discuss the ideas, people, not the people. Criticizing @Omri Bazelet specifically is exactly how you turn these feedback discussions to shit. I'm talking at you too @peteri and @Repartee41. This, "You must be stupid, I didn't have a problem with this..." innuendo isn't okay here. Got it?
Sorry but at no point did I say that and as a native English speaker I’m fully aware of interpretation

However your ‘Got it’ is extremely rude, and frankly not what I would expect from a moderator
 

GreatGreen

Power User
I think @Omri Bazelet has some good feedback about the experience that shouldn't be brushed aside here. There's certainly a class of user that wants to get it home, power it on and GO! The manual, well-intended, isn't necessarily where everyone wants to start unfortunately.

In his case, there were some country-specific settings that aren't obvious from first power-on or from a glance at the manual. And, don't discount language barriers -- I'm not certain the manual is available in all languages which can be an impediment for initial success in non-US regions.

Discuss the ideas, people, not the people. Criticizing @Omri Bazelet specifically is exactly how you turn these feedback discussions to shit. I'm talking at you too @peteri and @Repartee41. This, "You must be stupid, I didn't have a problem with this..." innuendo isn't okay here. Got it?

To clarify I was discussing the idea, not the person. I don't think Omri is stupid, I think Omri is exaggerating to bring a finer point to his other complaints, and the idea that it would take anybody six months, or anything close to that, just to get up and running with the Axe-Fx is nowhere close to reality for basically anyone.

However, I do disagree with a few of those finer points as well personally (and agree with some as well). I don't think the Axe-Fx is difficult to learn and I don't think it's difficult to use, especially when compared to other digital devices in the product space, and when considering the freedom you have to build pretty much any given sound you like. Very complex patches and tones can be built in the Axe-Fx, but the people at Fractal have gone to exceptional lengths to make it as straightforward to use as possible, and I think they've largely succeeded. Almost everything is written in plain language and flows logically, the parameters of each block are always arranged in logical groups and tabs, in a hierarchy of most common parameters which are the most immediately available, to the most advanced, esoteric parameters grouped together at the end of the last tabs, etc.

As for some of Omri's other negative feedback...

1. A tutorial has already been made. It's the manual, and it's written in a very friendly, conversational cadence. It's not a "tough" read at all. Also, all the factory presets are designed to be a tutorial of sorts as well. They start off simply and escalate in their complexity to show you what the Axe-Fx can do. If you want a video, I think there are enough youtube tutorials out there to serve the purpose.

2. I do agree with Omri that it would be nice to be able to maximize Axe Edit to a full 16:9 window, sure. However, I disagree with having one giant Fractal Audio app that does everything. I like that Fractal Bot and Axe-Edit are separate, etc.

3. As for having the "real amp" names, I understand Fractal cannot legally include the names of all modeled amps, but I would also love the ability to "manually rename" amp models myself, along with a "rename back to default" option for misspellings, etc.

4. No bluetooth, please. It strikes me as a fairly unreliable technology, it would also make the device susceptible to wireless interference and add more complexity and cost to the unit.

5. I kind of agree with this one, partly. It could be useful if, for patches that only use one line on the grid, you could "fold" the signal path in the same way the Helix does so you could see and access blocks more easily.

6. Not so sure I agree with this one. Seems like the current method is just as proprietary / intuitive as a wheel double-click.

7. I disagree about the change in marketing strategy. Every dollar spent on marketing is a dollar not spent on R&D. And what happens when you start spending less on research while the company continues to grow and still needs to hit those numbers? Innovation and quality go down so you start relying on marketing for sales, instead of product quality. So you're forced to cut even more corners while marketing needs an even bigger budget to make up for having to push a lesser product, on and on until one day you wake up and you're Gibson guitars, who now makes larely unreliable, poorly crafted junk but constantly spends fortune after fortune trying to convince the market they're not. Opposite of this, you have Fractal Audio, who makes the Axe-Fx III and FM3, which are so uniquely great that Fractal's user base rave about them to the point that much of Fractal's advertising is done by word of mouth. Ever think about how weird it is that so many guitar players know about the Axe-Fx despite how rarely you see Fractal ads? It's because good products very nearly sell themselves.
 
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iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
To clarify I was discussing the idea, not the person.
Then discuss the idea. You made it personal when you said:
...if it takes six months to work that out, that's not really Fractal's fault.
As a litmus test, if you have to prefix what you're saying with, "Not to be rude..." that's a good indication that you're:

a) being rude; and
b) should rethink what you're trying to say and hold on posting it.
 

Chris Hurley

Experienced
I think I've read the manual for a lot of music gear while I was eagerly anticipating its arrival. Its the closest you can get to having it when you can't have it yet. Fractal could offer a $100 discount if you answer questions that you'd have to read the manual to know. haha.

Its hard for me to remember back to my first Fractal experience with the Ultra but I do vaguely remember that there was a bit of a learning curve- mostly in terms of getting around and getting the different keys into muscle memory. The grid concept makes a ton of sense and is super easy but when you need to change other settings you do have to know how to get there and how to get around.

On the other hand, HX Effects, HX Stomp and Kemper were all somewhat frustrating to use as well in the beginning because it just takes a while to learn your way around town on a new device. They all have things that are pretty irritating and its not ever going to be as easy as a guitar amp because it does way more than a guitar amp.
 

Omri Bazelet

Inspired
There's this mentality out there that you should be able to give criticism without engaging in discussion. And that anyone who engages in discussion around critical ideas is a "fan boy". That's a shitty way to shut down differing viewpoints and I got to say: it's pretty much not the way this forum runs.

If you post it, be ready to debate it. There's no room in this world for one-sided conversations. If you don't want to have a discussion, consider using https://support.fractalaudio.com instead of the thing literally called a discussion board to provide feedback.

People who don't agree with you aren't "fan boys". They just don't agree with you.
Let me explain to you, what actually a fanboy means to make it clear.

I don't have a problem with a fair debate with clear boundaries and respect to both sides. I have no problem if someone disagrees with me, or better yet, proves me I'm wrong. I'm totally fine with mistakes and ready to admit them.

But, when someone says something that is negative or criticised for Fractal's way.
Suddenly there totally snob and without any proportions. Without an actual state. Simply rant.

"That's the Fractal Way so shall be it", or else
"This is a professional device, and it's not needs to be as easy as helix, because this is Axe FX and it's elitist"
There's nothing concrete about besides being a total fan who simply find any reason to say why he's right even if he's wrong. The AX3 should have no doubts and if you have, you're wrong.

That's a fanboy attitude, and it happens a lot.
 

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
Let me explain to you, what actually a fanboy means to make it clear.

I don't have a problem with a fair debate with clear boundaries and respect to both sides. I have no problem if someone disagrees with me, or better yet, proves me I'm wrong. I'm totally fine with mistakes and ready to admit them.

But, when someone says something that is negative or criticised for Fractal's way.
Suddenly there totally snob and without any proportions. Without an actual state. Simply rant.

"That's the Fractal Way so shall be it", or else
"This is a professional device, and it's not needs to be as easy as helix, because this is Axe FX and it's elitist"
There's nothing concrete about besides being a total fan who simply find any reason to say why he's right even if he's wrong. The AX3 should have no doubts and if you have, you're wrong.

That's a fanboy attitude, and it happens a lot.
I don’t disagree with this. :)
 

Omri Bazelet

Inspired
As someone who has had the Axe III half as long as you (but long enough to understand it well enough to

About using the Manual: I completely disagree about the Axe being too hard to learn, takes 6 months to learn the basics, need to watch other users' YT videos (OK, putting a note about the AC line voltage on page 1 may be a good idea), etc. I knew I had to start with the manual, for the reason stated above, but so should everyone, and not just assume that you can figure it out "intuitively", because you're not new to modelers. I only had to get a few pages into the manual (we're all eager to get some sounds out of this thing!), and I was up and running.
Let me ask you this straight up.

Have you ever read your mobile phone guidebook? Or else your PC one?
Most of the people won't. Because it already so intuitive and explained just by the GUI itself that you don't need to think a lot and read a Huge Phonebook to it.

In my prespective, when a device is advanced and high tech - it's simpler, and not only it's simpler, it allows you to do more than you ever imagined without scrubbing your head and wondering.
"How do I do that"?

I used A LOT of modelers before and even sold them when I worked in the music store.
Boss GT5, Kemper Profiler, Helix, Positive Grid BIAS FX, you name it.
All of them, were much easier to learn and way more intuitive and allowed me to do to same procedures in way less time. And I mean significantly less time.

And as you know, the BIAS FX isn't as good sound quality as the AX3 by no means. But you could actually get down to inner details (Transformer&Tubes for example) Imuch quicker.

If comparing it to the new Quad Cortex, the AX3 is way behind others in user interfacing. and I mean WAY BEHIND.
And quad cortex just by theory, could have similar paths. And creating it, is much faster.


Once I did that, then I wanted to learn how to tweak settings, turn on/off effects, save presets, etc., so I read a little further. I was fine. Does it appear that the instructions have been updated many times, and thus could use a complete going-over, from the perspective of a newb's eyes? Yes, I'll give you that. There are grammatical mistakes (I trip over sentences that don't have a comma where it should be, and personally, I believe the same attention to detail that is required to turn out a device such as this, should be extended to the literature that supports it! Guys, ya listening?), omitted words, the indentation conventions are convoluted, it has spelling mistakes, and it could be organized better.
I tell you what.
Guidebooks and Manuals, are important. They are and should open my mind and show me different ways to efficient my device.

But, the guide is so long. Truly long (Well, the AX3 has so many features..), you sinply get lost between every page and page.
If there was a much more dumber and simple guide book, which is shorter and more consenstrated, that would be much for friendly to me. And then have the large revision which includes all the advanced features detailed step by step, which I'm totally into, but let me get straight the basics first!
While having a welcome "splash" screen may be nice, getting up and running was no problem for me. And remember, I'm (was) a total newb. It seems to me, you're either one of those people who don't read manuals, or figured you didn't need to, due to your previous experience, or a combination of both. Don't blame the unit, if you weren't willing to take 30 minutes to


Now, as I said before, could the manual be organized better? Absolutely. Perhaps the first few pages should show a list of the most basic, common, oft-repeated actions a user is likely to do. I would include things like, "How To Navigate To Presets", before I discussed the "Setup Page," as an example.

The software editors: Yeah, they need work. Fractal Bot has to be downloaded separately (edit: I was wrong. There is a stand-alone, but it is also embedded in Axe Edit), but once it is, it acts like any other Dialog Window. I don't agree however, with combining one editor for both Axe 3 and FM 3, but the 2 separate editors should be able to run at the same time without causing conflicts. (I thought I remembered reading someone had that issue, but maybe it was their other devices causing it, or I dreamed it.)

With only 6 months under my belt, I can't yet speak to features such as re-amping, using controllers, setting up MIDI, etc., so that's all I have.

I agree with some of what you said, but most looks to me like you want a PRO piece of gear to be able to be used simply by figuring it out yourself, which simply conflicts with the complexity of this unit. Maybe setting the manual up incrementally, in sections that take you deeper as you get more familiar would be more helpful..., I don't know. But for someone who was completely new to modeling when I bought the Axe, I'm generally very satisfied.
I think that pretty much sums it up.
I used Pro gear, don't get me wrong, I'm not a newbie by any means. But Fractal's way is different and sometimes, complex.

Probably if the guide arranged differently I would feel comfy using it.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
3. When searching for an amp - I want my device to actually tell me what it is based of. Every modeler in the world have some sort of a short passage and explaination what is that model is all about. I truly don't need to go to a specific wiki or ask in a forum what you had created.
Please provide examples of these modelers that tell you what the amp models is based on. I have a Helix, an Amplifire, and a Boss and none of these state this.
 

Omri Bazelet

Inspired
I don't think he means sales volume. I doubt we sell more than Line6. Our goal isn't quantity of sales, it's quality of product and customer satisfaction. That helps ensure customer loyalty and concomitant company
You totally got it Cliff.
In my stance, marketing isn't about only selling. It's about spreading the message at loud knowing everyone we're exist. Then people will actually get convinced to try and eventually pay.

And most people that I know today, here in Israel, and I mean busy session players and producers. Have a clue about the AX8 and Axe FX 2 only or that thing that Periphery plays and made you known. A lot doesn't know about the 3 too much.

And if you ask the Sixth String, the Israeli dealer, that one you sell it to. Most of the people here know Kemper way better than Fractal.
Why? becuase it "has a true amp involved and captured", and simply got heavy advertisements that make a statement as the best thing out there, which it isn't.

No one knows about the new Cygnus and SpectrumTrack which is a huge competitor point and stand because it's revolutionary. Truly is. It is what differs mainly other competitors in the market.

I would really happy as a customer to have actually Fractal Official short tutorial videos about setting the device, tricks, tips and things that will make us the clients, get an approved information and knowledge about the AX3, from the one who made it. It means A LOT.
 

Justincase

Experienced
I do all my editing in axedit...so I just leave the amp list wiki open in a different window when auditioning amp models or presets for that matter. Makes it simple to just cross-reference. I figured trademark infringement issues that are reason for the cryptic/cute names.
😜🤘
 

TSJMajesty

Power User
Let me ask you this straight up.

Have you ever read your mobile phone guidebook? Or else your PC one?
Most of the people won't. Because it already so intuitive and explained just by the GUI itself that you don't need to think a lot and read a Huge Phonebook to it.


But, the guide is so long. Truly long (Well, the AX3 has so many features..), you sinply get lost between every page and page.
If there was a much more dumber and simple guide book, which is shorter and more consenstrated, that would be much for friendly to me. And then have the large revision which includes all the advanced features detailed step by step, which I'm totally into, but let me get straight the basics first!
Phone guide book? Yep, as soon as I got it. But there's really nothing in it. But I can tell you this: I've wasted way too much time trying to figure out how to find out how to make it do something differently. Google, YT vids, finally I give up. I wish it had a manual as detailed as the Axe. The GUI is intuitive? uhhh, dis-a-gree. Uh, let's see what happens when I tap this icon. Nope, that's not it. C'mon, you have to have had that same experience!

Computer? Same answer. But, I've book books. You should see my bookshelves. Lemme ask you a question: Do you know how to make the scrollbar wider? A computer is not intuitive.

Plus, apples and oranges. Along with your marketing comments seeming like you're somehow also frustrated that Fractal doesn't have a larger market share, the Axe Fx isn't geared toward the general consumer market. And WHY should something as complex as this, be dumbed-down to the least common denominator, so that any and every single person could just somehow figure it out, intuitively? And even if that were feasible, assumptions would still need to be made as to the level of experience a person has. Then people would be complaining, "Why don't you offer more details in the manual explaining how to accomplish _____?"

And the manual is long, yep. Your reason is in the parentheses. :rolleyes:
And some of your other retorts to me are things I already agreed with you on, like putting the basics in the first part of the manual.

I already said this, but your latest posts confirm what I thought: I believe you have had enough experience using gear like this to think you could figure it out intuitively, but for the time you spent reading the manual, it was too hard to find what you were looking for. I totally see where you're coming from. Especially about the example you gave about how to scroll through presets. The manual completely drops the ball on that simple operation.

And again, I agreed with some of your points, but most of them I don't.
 
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