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So far I'm not entirely sold on the Axe Fx 3....

Ant Music

Power User
Crazy I know but..... Fan boys, please hold your fire.

So far my take on the new Axe FX flagship (whilst this may change and I hope it does) is that it is pretty much an Axe Fx 2 with way more CPU and better ins and outs plus a couple more delays (no doubt there is more to it than merely that but you get the drift). There seems to be (as far as I know) little to really distinguish them as far as tones go.

I've managed to squeeze as much out of my Axe Fx 2 as I can and I just barely scrape through with CPU. I think the Axe 3 would definitely allow me to do the things I currently do easier but would not allow me to do things I am not already currently doing.

I am running guitar direct mono to the desk, a power amp into a live cab, a vocal mic (for talk box) plus synth block drones on a separate output direct to the desk. This does requires some very creative and elaborate routing and a hunk of CPU but it is possible on the Axe Fx 2.

I'd prefer to have some kind of an idea on where Fractal wants to take this new device before I throw down the $$$ but I don't expect them to make something like this public for obvious reasons. I was kinda frustrated with the lack of development in areas other than Amp tones in the Axe Fx 2 so I'd rather not throw down a bunch of money if I am likely to be similarly disappointed in the long run.

If an Axe FX 3 were to land on my lap I'm sure I'd be happier with it no doubt and it would make my programming easier but I don't feel like I know enough about what it will become as time goes on to justify spending more money (as yet). I'm more than happy enough with the tones I am capable of creating on the Axe Fx 2 but I'd just prefer to see more of the effects and application wish list from the Axe Fx 2 come to fruition.

Your thoughts?
 

Pwrmac7600

Power User
I think the only part you are over looking is future firmware advancements. While currently the differences between the II and the III may be subtle, as firmware develops going forward it will make the gap between the two much greater. If you were to compare a ultra and a current Axefx II now, the differences should be very noticeable as opposed to when the II was first released, the differences were probably much less.
 

AndiKravljaca

New Member
I think this is the thing about getting in early in a product's life cycle. Often times, we compare something which is just beginning to find its uses with something which has had years to hone and optimize its potential - sometimes that can be tricky and deceiving.

It's like comparing electric cars to gasoline cars in 1999, and easily dismissing them as 'there's nothing these can do that my normal car can't'. Noone then saw the Tesla's Ludicrous mode coming, so to speak. I firmly believe that the Axe FX 3, which starts life as an Axe FX 2 with more CPU, as you say, will receive firmware updates which will bring it to the limit of its power in due time.

It's just a question of when during a products life cycle you want to jump on, and for me, the answer is 'early'. But I totally respect anyone who wants to see the development first, and only then invest.
 

luke

Fractal Fanatic
I think the only part you are over looking is future firmware advancements. While currently the differences between the II and the III may be subtle, as firmware develops going forward it will make the gap between the two much greater. If you were to compare a ultra and a current Axefx II now, the differences should be very noticeable as opposed to when the II was first released, the differences were probably much less.

The original business concept was to create the perfect recorded tone. It wasn't until buyers complained about it not having the "amp in the room" tone that Fractal had to rethink their entire product line to fulfill what customers were demanding. Remember "tone match" to fend off Kemper entering the market?

I'm not sure the amps can get more real, and even if they could, would it matter?
 

atquinn

Power User
IMO the AxeIII sounds a bit better than the AxeII now, but it's not huge. The pitch shifting is also better. At any rate, in your situation, it would make the most sense to stick with what you have and keep an eye on future AxeIII development. You will lose absolutely nothing by doing so.

Austin
 

Pwrmac7600

Power User
The original business concept was to create the perfect recorded tone. It wasn't until buyers complained about it not having the "amp in the room" tone that Fractal had to rethink their entire product line to fulfill what customers were demanding. Remember "tone match" to fend off Kemper entering the market?

I'm not sure the amps can get more real, and even if they could, would it matter?
Well, how many times have we seen everyone say, "just when we thought it couldn't get any better, Cliff does xxx and it sounds even better". I think personally there is still some room for improvement. While it may lay in the subtleties, I think sumed they would add to a vast improvement.
 

bradlake

Axe-Master
Yes, for many of us part of the fun of FAS ownership is being able to see and hear the evolutionary results of singular genius literally played out in front of us as it occurs,even if this causes frustration for some . As far as tones go, I have had a III and and an xl+ side by side for almost a couple weeks now, and while the differences are subtle at times and I haven’t heard them anywhere near gig volume , there is no doubt in my mind that the III is a sonic step forward, and the routing and vastly increased IR capabilities and much improved front panel make getting around the unit a pleasure , even without an AxeEditIII.
Seems to me that this box is exactly what you need, Mr. Ant, with your demanding routing and CPU needs, and think it is a safe bet that Cliff will not sit on his laurels and let all this horsepower go to waste....the IIIs future is bright.
 
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pauly

Fractal Fanatic
Hi Ant,
Why not try running stereo to the desk, and to a stereo power amp, with each stereo send having it's own configuration as necessary - there's a plus?

Thanks
Pauly
 

shasha

Fractal Fanatic
The difference between the last update for the ultra and the first release of the II were not dramatic. By about the 3rd update it was massive. Fast forward a couple years and a tin of updates later and it's light years different. The reason? The original hardware couldn't support further development. Features were added that we hadn't even considered. It isn't about the difference between the two products at the initial release....it is about where the development ends up as it continues. It' about the ability to innovate which is what drives this company and brand. This isn't like other manufacturers that release a new product every quarter to get more sales. The II is great, but it's pretty much given all that it can for development. That is the time to upgrade the platform. Not because you need to sell more but because you can't progress further. This is the first step to continue moving forward.
 

sskkmm

Power User
For me, jumping from AX8 to the III was a no-brainer - I love where the platform is going, and I wanted to jump on the latest and greatest with the most exciting future. I almost picked up a II earlier and glad I saved up for the III.
 

bdrepko

Fractal Fanatic
Well, how many times have we seen everyone say, "just when we thought it couldn't get any better, Cliff does xxx and it sounds even better". I think personally there is still some room for improvement. While it may lay in the subtleties, I think sumed they would add to a vast improvement.
Better sound, more real, etc is all relative to experience. I bet when cinemascope came out in the 50's people said "film quality will never get better than this".
 

MSS

Experienced
I bought the III for future possibilities and to get the extra USB IO. I have retired my Apogee gear. I am still working on the pain staking process of manually porting my Ax 8 patches to the III but it sounds great!
 

BBN

Fractal Fanatic
I agree that today the tones are 'better', but not night and day.
But I fully believe the incremental improvements will never stop, now that FAS has the horsepower to keep pushing. That excites me.
I'm buying a III (waitlist 1/29 11:29 EST...so hoping soon), for the future updates, period. And I'm looking forward to a cool new UI.

But the points made by the OP are good ones, and make me scratch my head as to why someone would pay $1k more to skip the line or buy on eBay. That's just humorous that people are willing to throw away $1k like that....especially when it's for a product that nobody knew existed 4 months ago. Really? This was the void in your life that you just need filled right this second?
Especially since it seems you can buy an Axe2 Mk1 on the used market for that price!

Have some patience = 2 for 1 deal

Back to the OP - nothing wrong with waiting it out to see where FAS takes the III before you buy one.
 

Ant Music

Power User
Hi Ant,
Why not try running stereo to the desk, and to a stereo power amp, with each stereo send having it's own configuration as necessary - there's a plus?

Thanks
Pauly

When playing with a 2nd guitarist going stereo is not the best idea. Also when I rehearse I only use a live cab so it makes way more sense to simply run my whole rig mono all the time. When I was the only guitarist I loved going stereo but I've gotten used to mono now. So yeah. Don't get me wrong, I would definitely get more out of the Axe 3 but I can't see enough at this point to justify it.
 

Ant Music

Power User
I think the only part you are over looking is future firmware advancements. While currently the differences between the II and the III may be subtle, as firmware develops going forward it will make the gap between the two much greater. If you were to compare a ultra and a current Axefx II now, the differences should be very noticeable as opposed to when the II was first released, the differences were probably much less.

I think this is the thing about getting in early in a product's life cycle. Often times, we compare something which is just beginning to find its uses with something which has had years to hone and optimize its potential - sometimes that can be tricky and deceiving.

It's like comparing electric cars to gasoline cars in 1999, and easily dismissing them as 'there's nothing these can do that my normal car can't'. Noone then saw the Tesla's Ludicrous mode coming, so to speak. I firmly believe that the Axe FX 3, which starts life as an Axe FX 2 with more CPU, as you say, will receive firmware updates which will bring it to the limit of its power in due time.

It's just a question of when during a products life cycle you want to jump on, and for me, the answer is 'early'. But I totally respect anyone who wants to see the development first, and only then invest.

The difference between the last update for the ultra and the first release of the II were not dramatic. By about the 3rd update it was massive. Fast forward a couple years and a tin of updates later and it's light years different. The reason? The original hardware couldn't support further development. Features were added that we hadn't even considered. It isn't about the difference between the two products at the initial release....it is about where the development ends up as it continues. It' about the ability to innovate which is what drives this company and brand. This isn't like other manufacturers that release a new product every quarter to get more sales. The II is great, but it's pretty much given all that it can for development. That is the time to upgrade the platform. Not because you need to sell more but because you can't progress further. This is the first step to continue moving forward.

Lord knows when Babylon 5 came out in 1993 I did literally think 'computer graphics will never, ever, be better than this'.


Ok ok ok ok.... I know perfectly well there will be updates with the Axe 3. I am not over looking this at all. What I have alluded to is that I am more concerned with the nature of the updates that will come. I'd simply prefer to know the direction of the updates before I throw down the $$$. I already said I was frustrated with the developments that never came on Axe Fx2 so I wouldn't want to buy a 3 if the things I actually want are still not going to be implemented. That's what I am saying....
 

Icarusuki

Member
I wasn't entirely sold on the III either. I hopped on the wait-list expecting that I would decide not to buy the III. I got my first Fractal product in June of 2016, an Axe FX II XL+. Then I sold my Kemper. Then I bought an FX8 for my JP-2C. Then I got an AX8, because I'm lazy and lugging my rack to practice was annoying. Then I found a super cheap, used Axe FX Ultra (which I ended up selling for profit; because, money.) I'm pretty sure the Axe FX II XL+ would cover my needs for as long as I will be able to play or as long as the unit functions, whichever fails first.

So, when my invite for the III showed up, I had to really think about it. I didn't think it would significantly improve my playing/sound/happiness for the price, over the XL+. But, I realized I would rather spend the next few years on the ground floor of the III, as a platform, with tons of room to grow, than be at the outer edge of the II, making more and more compromises due to the CPU limitations* as time goes on. That's what cinched it.

On the bright side, if you already have a II, you already have a really great piece of gear; so your choice is: a really great piece of gear -or- a really, really great piece of gear. You can't lose.


*(Admittedly, me 'complaining' the "limitations" is pretty silly. I tend to create giant ONE PRESET TO RULE THEM ALL presets, and that's my neurosis, not the XL+'s shortcoming.)
 
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