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Switching from the II to the III - Motivations/Satisfaction

toneseeker911

Inspired
Coming from an AX8, the axe-3 is much simpler to dial in. Core amp tones, basic effects are all there without touching any advanced parameters.
You can use that to your advantage by either slapping something together quick and playing more guitar OR going down the tinkerer route to define your own tone by creating much more complex presets. They come together much better since the basics are so solid.
 

is9582

Power User
I started with the Ultra, then the first II with an MFC-101, followed by a II-XL and now the III. The III has the best tone, is the easiest to get usable tones, and the new virtual capo is just killin it. After getting my original III, I compared side-by-side to each of the earlier iterations. I sold all of the old units and bought a spare III. It is truly that good. I also got a FC-6 and then a FC-12 which both work great. They are different than the MFC-101, but I’ve now gotten used to the new FC units, and they are powerful, too. You will not be disappointed!
 

pauly

Fractal Fanatic
HI 6828

I had 2 Axe FX 2s, and sold one and got the 3.... Then almost immediately sold the other 2 so perhaps I qualify.

Q:If you've switched to the III did you feel like your creative palette broadened and justified your change/purchase?
A: Sure did - and now, with FW 12.09, I cannot beleive how good it is... I play and sometimes I find myself enjoying the sound so much that I'm playing these long slow notes oozing with emotion because they sound so fine. It's really amazed me lately - cannot speak highly enough of it.

Q:Is there anything on the III you wish was there but isn't or are you happy with what you have?
A: Nope - nothing I can think of.... An extra rack space maybe but that's splitting hairs. The fan noise shits me - so I've replaced the fan with a larger slower one which is way better. Also the logo has a blue light that was just overpowering everything else in the rack so I've dimmed that a little by putting some acrylic sheet in front of it.

Q:If you're not happy, are you waiting/hoping for those changes in version IV ?
A: No - I aint rich so please... wait a while for the 4!!

Thanks
Pauly

As a user since 2013 of the Axe-Fx II I'm feeling like I need to reduce my bank account and switch to the III (Because what else would I do with my money right?)

If you've switched to the III did you feel like your creative palette broadened and justified your change/purchase?

Is there anything on the III you wish was there but isn't or are you happy with what you have?

If you're not happy, are you waiting/hoping for those changes in version IV ?

I'm 87.49% (Approximately depending on the time of the day) convinced I'll switch to the III but I'm wavering on sticking with the II and ignoring YouTube video's that show how cool the III is.

Cheers.
 
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Lohengrin

Inspired
I can report a somewhat uncommon case here. I was perfectly happy with the II XL and did not have plans to upgrade as I didn’t find enough difference in sound. But I was planning to get the FM3 as a portable companion to the II XL. At some point of the road I ended needing a second device and got the III, thinking that it would be easy to sell in the future and flip for the FM3 when it is available for a II XL + FM3 rig.

Then, soon after getting the III I decided that I will keep the III and flip the II for a III + FM3 rig. And, frankly, I cannot really explain why in quantitative terms. I feel it’s basically a rounder product, but most importantly it’s easier for me to get the tones I want, and this is measured in a sensible reduction in tweaking times. I firmly believe the II can sound almost indistinguishable in most real world situations outside studio A/B’ing. But for instance, while I prefer the tones I get in the III, I don’t want to invest the tweaking time on the II to make it sound similar.

About features I miss, I can only imagine one, which is wireless control commands. I believe you can currently get there with third party HW/SW, but I do not feel like going down that rabbit hole neither. Imagine how convenient a wireless easy-to-pair FC might be… But definitelly not a game changer.
 

GaryB

Inspired
I was a little late getting to Fractal. I started with a II XL+ and a MFC101. I bought my first III in July of 2018, but didn't start gigging with it until April of 2019. I was waiting on FC-12 availability. The XL+ was serving me well and my gig schedule was heavy, so I didn't want to take the time to program the MFC for the III, only to have to do it all over again when the FC became available. Once I started gigging with the III, the XL+ became my backup rig. After about 6 months of gigging with the III, I bought a second III and FC-12 so my backup rig was identical to my main rig. I had absolutely no hesitation dropping coin on a second III. That's not to say the XL+ wasn't a good box. It was, and still is. Still sounds as good as it ever did. The III is just more, and better. As a matter of fact, the original game plan was to sell the XL+ once I got the second III, but I still have the XL+.....
 

NeoSound

Fractal Fanatic
The III is pretty amazing in every area! My only issue is portability, which is the same with any rack gear/foot controller combination - Studio/home/recording this is a plus. Gigging - not so much.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
Agreed.

I used to tweak the II a ton, but with the III lately, pretty much every stock amp sounds good and other than basic stuff don’t need to touch any advanced stuff to make it sound “realer”
I designed the thing and I never touch anything other than the basic controls now. Occasionally I'll tweak Sag or Output EQ but it's usually just the basic controls. I probably spend more time in the Cab block auditioning IRs.
 

Clockwork Creep

Power User
I own the Axe FX 2 XL.
Sure, the Axe FX 3 amps sound slightly more realistic (I assume?), and it has a better UI, and has more features, but the 3U size and more weight outweighted the pros and made it not really a worthy upgrade for me... My patches are really simple, I wouldn't really use all that extra processing power...
Now, the FM3.... That's gonna be mah boy. Best for my needs.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
I own the Axe FX 2 XL.
Sure, the Axe FX 3 amps sound slightly more realistic (I assume?), and it has a better UI, and has more features, but the 3U size and more weight outweighted the pros and made it not really a worthy upgrade for me... My patches are really simple, I wouldn't really use all that extra processing power...
Now, the FM3.... That's gonna be mah boy. Best for my needs.
The 3u form factor of the Axe Fx III is much better than the 2u of the Axe Fx II in my opinion.

The Axe Fx II is very deep and means you need a deep rack and that's difficult to handle.

The Axe Fx III fits in much shallower racks and feels much more balanced.

If the Axe Fx III is heavier it sure doesn't feel like it. Maybe because of the depth...
 
For me it was the dedicated USB cpu (huge deal when recording), better noise floor/reduction, and the fact that it gets updates. I think its worth the extra money for sure. The 2 XL isn't bad just because the 3 came out. If you have the extra money to spend, sell your 2 XL and get a used 3. The prices aren't wildly different.
 

Tremonti

Fractal Fanatic
As a user since 2013 of the Axe-Fx II I'm feeling like I need to reduce my bank account and switch to the III (Because what else would I do with my money right?)

If you've switched to the III did you feel like your creative palette broadened and justified your change/purchase?

Is there anything on the III you wish was there but isn't or are you happy with what you have?

If you're not happy, are you waiting/hoping for those changes in version IV ?

I'm 87.49% (Approximately depending on the time of the day) convinced I'll switch to the III but I'm wavering on sticking with the II and ignoring YouTube video's that show how cool the III is.

Cheers.
Hands down the 3 is much better than the 2. 2 was great, but the 3 has even more awesomeness inside. Easier to dial up amp tones quick. Less futzing around. Better highs and overall sound is more open IMO.
 

6828

Member
Wow ! thanks everyone for taking the time to reply to my questions, I didn't expect to receive so many replies so quickly!

I would like to upgrade to the III and a FC-12 but it seems our friend Corona has slowed distribution down and it may be a long time before I can get one in Australia unfortunately.

I appreciate all the comments people have made and it's been invaluable in progressing my thought processes in getting one. I guess now I have to just put my name on a list and see when my name is called.

Thanks again !
 

Dukehunt

Member
Wow ! thanks everyone for taking the time to reply to my questions, I didn't expect to receive so many replies so quickly!

I would like to upgrade to the III and a FC-12 but it seems our friend Corona has slowed distribution down and it may be a long time before I can get one in Australia unfortunately.

I appreciate all the comments people have made and it's been invaluable in progressing my thought processes in getting one. I guess now I have to just put my name on a list and see when my name is called.

Thanks again !

Luckily I was in the list for early this year, we certainly waited long enough here in Australia, months felt like years :(.
 

rodzimguitar68

Fractal Fanatic
I have a Mark 1, XL plus, and a III.

I never turn on the Axe II's in my rack, but I have them as spares, or if I ever wanted "even more" of something. I tried that for a while, but the III sounds better by itself. I have the XL+ in one of the loops, with wet controls of the effects set to 100%, so there is no dry signal being added back in from the II. I think the converters are so much more pure on the III, that adding in some converted dry signal of the XL+ makes my tone, just a little "Not as good".
 

Sambora73

Inspired
I designed the thing and I never touch anything other than the basic controls now. Occasionally I'll tweak Sag or Output EQ but it's usually just the basic controls. I probably spend more time in the Cab block auditioning IRs.

The III is my first fractal product, but this right here is why I love it and never touched my real amps since getting it. None of this pissing about with high or low cuts, eq here or there, raise or lower pickups, etc to try and just get a decent tone that I’ve had with other modellers.
Just pick an amp and matching cab and I usually start with BMT and MV at 6 or 7, gain at 3 and away you go. Pretty much what I did with real amps.

Another thing I love, when I find an amp I’m not familiar with and the above doesn’t sound great. Quick bit of research and whatever the characteristic of the real amp is, works in the Axe. I was watching a video of an SLO that sounded fantastic and put the same settings in the Axe. Boom! Little but if i IR auditioning, but quickly got the same great sound.
 

Joe Bfstplk

Axe-Master
I designed the thing and I never touch anything other than the basic controls now. Occasionally I'll tweak Sag or Output EQ but it's usually just the basic controls. I probably spend more time in the Cab block auditioning IRs.
Me too.

I usually switch amp models if I can't get the amp response in the ballpark on the Authentic tab. Occasionally I will dig into a couple deeper params when it's close, like the bias percentage on the HIWATT to get it in the 70% range.

Just grabbed some more IRs the past few days. Mikko had some new packs for the Mikko player, and cabIR.eu has the Marshall 8x10 guitar cab that Robin Trower liked back in the day, and a few othees. Still hunting for any and all Weber VST sounds, and a full set of 6G4 and 6G12 to match my favorite Fender models.
 

dr bonkers

Fractal Fanatic
Vendor
If I was not developing amp presets to show off my cab packs, then as a sheer user I still would recommend the upgrade to the Axe-fx III from the Axe-fx II for the following reasons:

  1. the noise floor is lower.
  2. less prone to RFI.
  3. reamping is stable- no mysterious crashes when the Windows Axe Edit is open along with Google Chrome.
  4. Converting a II preset to III preset using FracTool and no other tweaks, the same settings sound less compressed and more open on the III when comparing the sounds head to head in the same listening volume with the same instrument in the same room.
  5. The pitch effects are less glitchy and track better.
  6. The reverbs are more open.
  7. The delays are more refined and can be fine tuned better on the 3.
  8. Signal routing options are much more open for creative use. You can use it as an outboard effects processor for your DAW for up to 6 mono analog tracks.
  9. The UI on the unit is much more intuitive and easier to read at multiple angles.
  10. The foot controller integration kicks the snot out out of the MFC-101. No more mystery timeout messages.
  11. The firmware keeps improving.
  12. The impedance curves open up all new amp behavior possibilities.
I hope this helps.
 
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