I sold my Helix and got the axe FX 3 for about a year now. Yes, it kills Helix stock presets.... HOWEVER. I am still using my Native plugin and if you combine it with some good IRs from OH MLSL or other.... man ... this thing can sound soooo good. For me, axe3 is cool sounding with all its options, but its not as much comfortable to use as helix native is. Reamping with native is sooo easy and saves a lot of time. PLUS I canforce Helix native to sound exactly as Fractal AXE FX 3 unit. There is no difference in sound, native can produce exactly the same sounds if you know how to dial your tone. Honestly, AXE FX 3 has so many options etc, but 99% of the time I wont touch much settings. They are overwhelming at least. I have spend some days in the past turning the knobs on Axe3, but I ended up creating as much simple presets as I can. I wish that Fractal guys could brought their product as a VST plugin like Native, because atm I enjoy recording with NATIVE over the AXE FX 3.
COMPARING SOTCK PRESETS is very unfair. AXE FX3 uses IRs in stock presets and Helix uses its own kinda lollipop sounding simulation of an IR. If you spend like 12 hours messing with stock cabs on Helix, than maybe you will get some decent sounds....maybe.... But load some cool IRs into Helix or Native and...... It can be on pair with Axe3.
For me NATIVE is a winner in terms of price, easy of use and can sound like Axe FX 3. PERIOD.
Native and Axe FX 3 as well, both can sound exactly like Neural dsp. Comparing the freedom that native has and the price point....
But people who don't know how to dial the sound they want will choose the neural dsp, because it sounds good straigh out of the box and they don't mind the limitations or obvious cash grabs with archetypes.... I do like how they sound but I have done a comparition and like I wrote before, both Helix and Axe 3 can sound exactly as Nolly's deafult preset.... The Neural DSP has this almost postproduction quality achieved by compressions and EQ within the signal chain, while both AXE and Native focus on delivering authenticity, which later can be processed to anyones likings.
ALL OF THIS is my honest opinion. I own AXE FX 3 as on the picture below, I had Helix Floor and I am using Helix native with Focusrite interface.
IMO Native is better than floor unit if you unlock its power by disabling the compatibility mode in options and combine it with a quality audio interface.
With Native all you record is actually a DI, which can be modulated with native via FX block on your trac which is so easy and comformtable to do.
With Axe3 on the other hand when you reamp you need to re-record the trac over and over again, after you made some changes, which is also nice option to have, but can take a lot of time if you are searching for the right tones......
The reason I sold Helix was that at that time I had no idea how to dial a good tone.... SAD BUT TRUE. So I went for AXE FX3. But now, after years of learning and experimenting I PROMICE TO YOU, if you know how to dial a tone you can get some crisp nice tones out of your old sneekers.
So all comes down to what is more comfortable for you.
I Paid for my axe fx 3 about £2.4k form G66 website in Europe, which is a rediculous price anyway.... For the helix native I have paid around £70 as a Helix floor user. I bought Helix floor for £1.2k and sold it for £900.... but anyway, giving that price difference between Native and AXE FX 3 and in the end they sound exactly the same while using same IRS..... well... Just think about it.... If you compare sotck presets, than obviously Axe is a winner. If you really want to nail something, like the difference between helix and axe3.... you will finaly do it. Axe might be the better product overall, as it has more IR memory, more presets, has more effects, can deliver more. But it is pricey. AND TO BE HONEST, within a mix content you will hear NO DIFFERENCE. If you can afford AXE than do it, why not. If you are clever and have no money (which is odd) but anyway can happen, (we have some extreemly lazy people out there ;d) than Helix Native is all you need. For its easy of use, flexibility, IRS and superb sound quality. Its the best VST out there, because it can replicate the sound of NeuralDSP, Bias2, Amplitube and most satisfactionary a real amp..... while being very flexible...
I am not a fanboy of any of those products, I just simply tell my honest opionion based on my experience with recent technology.
For a short time in the past I would call mysel Fractal fanboy, but later I realised If I am a fanboy, than definately I am a fanboy of current technology, because it saves me a lot of money, space and time by letting me use amp simulators and multieffects, which in the end sound as good or sometimes better than real rig and are joy to work with and record my guitars.
I HOPE this will help many of you to make a decision.
Here are some YT comparision and sound examples, so PLEASE don't tell me that Helix sucks, because literally it means that you suck at dialing your tones.