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Why I am a Big Fan of Fractal Audio ...

Discussion in 'Axe-Fx III Reviews' started by CurvedLight, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. CurvedLight

    CurvedLight
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    My experience with Fractal Audio started about 2 years ago when I purchased a used Axe FX II XL. Once the Axe FX III was announced I got on the wait list and received my Axe Fx III after waiting about 4 months.

    As an Axe FX II XL owner I received many FREE software updates in the 18 months I had owned it. I was pleasantly surprised each time as I NEVER got an update from Roland for my VG99, VG8 modelers from yesteryear.

    Now as a Axe FX III owner I have already seen frequent updates in my less then one year of ownership. I would think it is safe to say that for the foreseeable future (multiple years) The Axe FX III capabilities will increase beyond what my imagination can come up with. ( not to mention it currently is amazing)

    As a retired Software engineer and Manager, I am very familiar with Embedded Systems, DSP programming and audio algos in general. I can truly appreciate what the Fractal Audio team has accomplished with establishing an amazing Hardware Platform and re-write of the Software/Firmware to create the Axe FX III. I assume they are a small team, but they stand toe to toe with larger teams from long standing Musical Instrument companies. They have to be one of the most DEDICATED teams that exist. They consistently put out significant enhancements and are ready to fix bugs very quickly (the next day in many cases) even over the weekend. I tip my hat to this fine team of software professionals.

    THIS IS WHY I WILL BE A FRACTAL AUDIO CUSTOMER FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE !

    What are you thoughts ?
     
  2. Gregmang

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    I’ve been onboard since 2012 and also have a background with F200 companies in complex IT product rollouts and support.


    But I’ve never seen a company - regardless of size - deliver what Fractal does.

    Customer for life as well.
     
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  3. rushfan

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    As a proud AXE FX II and MFC owner, as well as an AX8 and now an Axe FX III, and being a computer network infrastructure consultant/engineer for the past 26 years, I have never been more impressed with a company for their hardware reliability and software development and extensibility as well. If only this existed about 39 years ago when I started playing guitar - jealous of the young guitarists out there that get their hands on these!

    Also a big, grateful shout out to all the members of this board that share their tips, tricks and expertise with us - that's also a big part of my positive experiences with Fractal Audio products!
     
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  4. 2112

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    It's so easy to forget just how good we have it, from the quality of the products to the support and the community. FAS 4 life!
     
  5. pauly

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    Until the big man retires, Im in!
    Thanks
    Pauly
     
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  6. axifist

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    All this is true, BUT you guys have to realize that the III was a very unfinished product when Fractal released it! There were many features missing (e.g. Global Blocks etc.) which Cliff added one after the other. What I'm saying is, it's a different business model than other brands use. Most of them release finished products, Fractal releases unfinished products. On the long run I definitely prefer Fractals model, because of the big pool of testers (me, you guys etc., good for bug hunting), ideas from the community and so on. When a company thinks its product is finished and releases it, many ideas will come from the users, but they won't get included, which sucks, especially if the hardware is in fact capable and it's just a software thing.

    After some time Fractal also sees products as finished. That's the case for the Standard and Ultra and will (I'm pretty sure!) very soon happen to the II and AX8 (the FX8 could already be considered finished). That's kind of sad, but would be reasonable, although the hardware is still capable of much more (I'm very sure about this).

    One last thought: This business model means, that all the updates we get are not really for free! We paid a good amount of money for these boxes. You paid 2500 $ for an unfinished product. Never forget that! That's a lot of trust you put in Cliff. What if something happened which forces him to stop developing the software?

    I don't want to ruin anyone's optimism, hell no, I also love my II (as much as one can love a guitar computer... let's say I'm very glad that Cliff brought modelers to this level and that I was able to afford even two of them), but in my opinion people sometimes need to be more realistic on things.
     
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  7. dpeterson

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    Very true. Even though the II is pretty much done update wise, it still sounds great and will sound that way for a very long time. I think we get somewhat addicted to the updates, and think the product is dead when they stop. I for one like the journey so I upgraded to the III, still have my II and it's going nowhere.
     
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  8. norcalrocker

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    Totally agree, I started learning guitar a little over a year ago and we new guitar players have millions of options in different price points as well as lots of free online tutorial lessons and tabs for songs. It makes learning easier than ever and more fun too! I had a few private teachers but private lessons are super expensive and now can learn most stuff for free online. Same for amps- no need to spend 50k plus on boutique tube amps when a 2500 Fractal Axe FX III does that and more in a smaller lighter more affordable footprint. Now have to save and decide between Fractal and Kemper that is tough choice. I am waiting on Fractal to release the foot switch controller pedalboards.
     
  9. Admin M@

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    This is total B.S. and not even worthy of an enumeration of the reasons why I say this.
     
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  10. lqdsnddist

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    I was happy to play my III with the original firmware for a good month after getting it, it had tons of amps, effects, cabs etc. I think it was far from "unfinished"

    It was essentially every bit as good, if not more so, than the II I replaced, and that product took several years to reach the point where it did. The III exceeded it straight from the box. I'm sure it will continue to get better and better, but calling it "very unfinished" is a bit off the mark.
     
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  11. Gregmang

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    Unfinished ?

    Not even....
     
  12. CurvedLight

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    I totally DISAGREE. I look at it this way--- software driven projects are NEVER "Finished" - They are always evolving and getting better ( IF the people behind the product CHOOSE to enhance it and not take the money and run on to the NEXT product). In the modern software paradigm (i.e. web based and mobile software) the notion of putting out a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and let your customers have it SOONER then Later and then continually update the product based on Customer Feedback is the norm. In embedded systems and ESPECIALLY the music industry this is not so common. Calling this out is the whole point of my original post :)


    Again I have to TOTALLY DISAGREE with this line of thought. In say 6 months to a year from now a person pays $2500 for the Axe FX III with say version 2.x or 3.x of the firmware--- your reasoning falls apart.

    For what its worth, I CHOSE to get the Axe FX III as soon as it was available KNOWING ( or "trusting in Cliff" as you put it) That in the months and years to come it would evolve into a better and better product. So I gladly paid $2500, expecting/appreciating FREE upgrades for the life of the product because Fractal Audio CHOOSES not to charge for Software/Firmware updates .

    I stand by my original post, this post is intended to explain what I was trying to express. AXIFIST - you are entitled to your own opinion, I choose to agree to disagree and I am not intending to start a flame war. Keep on riffing !
     
  13. pauly

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    I would've paid what I paid for the III whether it was going to be updated or not. Worth every penny to sound that good.
    Thanks
    Pauly
     
  14. Admin M@

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    The Taylor Swift tour opened and played shows using firmware 1.0
     
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  15. #15 negativefx, Oct 10, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
    negativefx

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    I keep saying the same thing about Microsoft Windows. They've been patching an unfinished product for 30+ years! /s

    Weird thing about software... you can improve it over time. Maybe for Axe-FX IV, FAS will just release 1.0 and walk away to start working on Axe-FX V. Then we can finally have a finished product on release!

    Edit: You can always get a Axe-FX II XL+, seeing as how v10 could be nearing the end of the "feature update" patches for it. Pretty sweet that it only took them 4 years from when they started selling it to releasing a "finished product". Maybe hold off on the III for 3-4 years to make sure you buy a finished product.
     
  16. BBN

    BBN
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    You have a finished product on release.
    Firmware updates are optional.
     
  17. BBN

    BBN
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    Using this logic, you also should hold off from buying a smart phone, ipad, tablet, digital mixer, cable box, laptop, PC, Mac, or any digital device that has an OS
     
  18. lqdsnddist

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    In fairness, I’ve bought a bunch of all those things and most are now next to useless. If I would of saved all my money and just bought the latest and greatest versions today I’d have state of the art stuff AND lots of extra money in the bank

    Only issue is what I would of used for the past decade or so lol
     
  19. BBN

    BBN
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    I hear you!
    But how lucky are we, none of our Fractal gear has ever become useless!
    People still gig with Axe Standards.
     
  20. negativefx

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    Woosh
     

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