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GazzaBloom

Feedback as requested: AXE FX II XL+

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OK, I have no intention of starting a AXE FX vs PODHD flame war and will try to comment as objectively as possible.

 

I caused a bit of a storm by announcing that I was selling up my POD HD500X and DT25 rig and moving to a AXE-FX II XL+ and Atomic CLR.

 

The new gear arrived late yesterday afternoon and I have had just a couple of hours with it, here is my initial impression in comparison to the L6 rig.

 

1) The problem I had with the L6 sounds was a harsh boomy low end on the majority of amp models coupled with a (hard to describe) thin high end glassy presence (you can hear this clearly in some Youtube 'Vs' demos). I also found that I have to add the 'hard to understand' EQs to just about every patch to get anywhere near a tone that I was happy with. I also found the DT25 drive sounds to be harsh at low volume and it seems to need some significant volume to get the best from it. This is a luxury I cannot afford as I play 99% of the time at home. In general I have never been satisfied with the tones from the PODHD (I was happier with POD XT and X3), the cleans also sound too thin and almost 'DI' like with any string rattle from my guitars be prevalent in the tone (unlike through an amp) and no really 'body' to the sound.

 

2) My initial impression of the AXE-FX when plugged in for the first time through my Event TR8 nearfield monitors and the CLR wasn't good. I scrolled through many of the presents and found few that sounded good with my guitars and were not at all EQ'd right for me.

 

3) I came back to it a couple of hours later and I found the Axe-FX 'DOUBLE VERB' present and decided to have a look in that and see if I could adjust it to my taste. I switched off the bright switch, adjusted the tone to my taste (brought up mids, reduced bass, treble to suit my CS 60 Relic Strat), adjusted the drive, input level and output level, lowered the level on the reverb...and....there was a superb full bodied clean tone, direct into the interface and monitors. It's really hard to describe the difference, but the quality of the sound is significantly better, punchier, clearer and fuller. Through the CLR wedge, it really does sound like a old Fender amp played clean, with a punch and body I never found with the POD.

 

4) There is a plethora of options to tweak on the amps, effects, and cabs but this is down to the individual as to how far you want to go. I just tweaked the drive & EQ and am very happy with the Double Verb tone, no need for deeper tweaking. Took a few minutes and it was dialled in.

 

5) Effects, just had a quick scroll through some delays, reverbs, drives and modulation and again, a noticeable improvement, especially in the reverbs and delays.

 

I'm delighted and look forward to exploring further, now it's time to read the manual. If anyone gets the chance to upgrade and to spend some time (away from the Axe FX presets) with the AXE-FX II I think you would be impressed. But, it is hellishly expensive.

 

New rig shown in pic below

 

Gazza

post-2701-0-03473200-1431692564_thumb.jpg

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Thanks for the review Gazza. Yes I want one and yes now I hate you :D

 

Rock on bro!

Bill

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Thanks for stopping back and sharing your experience.   I must say that most of what you say in point (1) is what I have personally experienced and still do - it's taken me a long time to work out how to tame those issues from all the helpful advice I have had and found on this forum but I am still not 100% successful.  I have always thought it was just me and my inability to get to grips with it because I have heard so many samples where people have produced great tones.  I had the X3 Live before and I still have that as a backup but I must say I struggled to get good live sounds with that too but for recording it was easy - the HD500 also sounds better recorded but I can get better live sounds out of it but I have to spend time tweaking to get it right.

 

I am really pleased that you are already very happy with the Axe FX II and hope it works out for you and look forward to any future updates from you.

 

Thanks again.

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Thank you for the quick comparison.

 

A lot of things you mention about the pod I'm familiar with as well. I tend to ignore the EQs, so that's no biggie for me. The low and high end things you mention either I've dialed out to a certain degree (with no EQs), or learned to ignore.

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Thanks for sharing your first impressions. It might be "hellishly expensive", but if you are getting the tones you want, well... you only live once. 

All the best with your new gear.

Cheers

 

P.S. - Like nico said, if you have the time and inclination, I think it would be worth a listen to hear a comparison of your best attempt at tweaking the old vs the new gear for that tone you were looking for. Thanks!

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Glad you're enjoying it!

 

You've described the same scenario that I had with the HD500 and DT25. I could get great recorded tones but I struggled to be happy live. The DT25 brought me consistency live but at the expense of tones I was fully happy with. I always had at least one EQ in each patch just to remove the unruly frequencies but that limited my patches. 

 

I used dual amp patches, so that I could swap from a rhythm tone to a lead tone, with a ducking delay trailing over the tone change but I'd frequently run out of CPU and would have to scale everything back again. I hoped the Global Eq would bring me some help, only to find out that it did nothing over the L6 Link. The Kemper solved everything. 

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Thanks for your impressions! 

 

Sounds like you are finding some great tones from your new device!

 

Good luck and keep us posted.

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Thank you for sharing. I hear from everyone that it is easier to dial in good tones . I believe I will get one sooner or later.

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the low and high are fixed with the global eq, running line out into an interface...low cut and high cut get rid of boomy and harsh high end... makes tweaking infinitely easier and better

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the low and high are fixed with the global eq, running line out into an interface...low cut and high cut get rid of boomy and harsh high end... makes tweaking infinitely easier and better

They are, but not for recording...

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They are, but not for recording...

depends on how you record.. mine is ran from line out of the HD 500 into my pod studio UX2 and THAT is my usb interface, so global EQ works just fine that way

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I think the global EQ works for all outputs except USB and the L6 Link.

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depends on how you record.. mine is ran from line out of the HD 500 into my pod studio UX2 and THAT is my usb interface, so global EQ works just fine that way

Very interesting... I have the same devices but never used the like this... Care to tell me exact connectivity?

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Very interesting... I have the same devices but never used the like this... Care to tell me exact connectivity?

simple, guitar into pod hd, line out (Left) from hd 500 into guitar in on UX2, then ux2 to PC via usb... use UX2 for monitoring and select it in your DAW as input and output

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Thanks for sharing your first impressions. It might be "hellishly expensive", but if you are getting the tones you want, well... you only live once.

 

... or you could donate those few thousand dollars of a price difference to a charity that feeds starving children, and they might get to live once.

but yeah, if your tone is better, why not

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simple, guitar into pod hd, line out (Left) from hd 500 into guitar in on UX2, then ux2 to PC via usb... use UX2 for monitoring and select it in your DAW as input and output

Exceptional! I will try it!

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Thanks for sharing your first impressions. It might be "hellishly expensive", but if you are getting the tones you want, well... you only live once. 

... or you could donate those few thousand dollars of a price difference to a charity that feeds starving children, and they might get to live once.

but yeah, if your tone is better, why not

 

I don't own an AXE FX, or any other Fractal Audio equipment. But to suggest that AXE FX owners are responsible for starving children in the world is about the most moronic thing I've ever read.

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OK, I have no intention of starting a AXE FX vs PODHD flame war and will try to comment as objectively as possible.

 

I caused a bit of a storm by announcing that I was selling up my POD HD500X and DT25 rig and moving to a AXE-FX II XL+ and Atomic CLR.

 

Thanks for posting about your AXE FX II XL+. I always like reading about other peoples experiences with these sorts of processors. I found it all very interseting. Good Luck and have fun with your new tone processor. I'm sure you'll be posting some sound tracks in the future.

 

depends on how you record.. mine is ran from line out of the HD 500 into my pod studio UX2 and THAT is my usb interface, so global EQ works just fine that way

 

This is what I've been doing from time to time except I run the HD500 1/4 outs into a TonePort UX2 Line inputs or KB37 Line inputs and record stereo using GearBox or PodFarm. Works great for me. The more I work with cutting offending frequencies with EQ's the happier I am. Although from time to time I like the sound of a raw amp.

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This is what I've been doing from time to time except I run the HD500 1/4 outs into a TonePort UX2 Line inputs or KB37 Line inputs and record stereo using GearBox or PodFarm. Works great for me. The more I work with cutting offending frequencies with EQ's the happier I am. Although from time to time I like the sound of a raw amp.

 

you know I had forgotten about the line in's... dug out an extra cable, set the driver to line in stereo and bam... great stereo sound!! thanks!!... now stereo effects work correctly

 

 

you don't have to use gearbox or pod farm though.. just set the daw to use the ux2 and the pod hd's tonesa will come hrough

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... or you could donate those few thousand dollars of a price difference to a charity that feeds starving children, and they might get to live once.

but yeah, if your tone is better, why not

 

Like a good book...I had to read this one again......   :huh: ....     :wacko:

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you know I had forgotten about the line in's... dug out an extra cable, set the driver to line in stereo and bam... great stereo sound!! thanks!!... now stereo effects work correctly

 

 

you don't have to use gearbox or pod farm though.. just set the daw to use the ux2 and the pod hd's tonesa will come hrough

 

Glad I could help and your welcome! The reason I was using GearBox or PodFarm was so that I could use the reverb and other effects I have in the software that I don't have in the HD500. Your absolutley right though you can can just direct the signal to your DAW of choice and be good. Rock On!

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I bet ya loving ya new effects box, I know I would, I love the all those really in-depth tweaks. even more so if I don't understand them because that means (for me at least) im learning new things that can be done with effects (although the HD500 is more than ok for me at the moment) 

 

I guess the pure guitar player could/would say "nah, I don't want to spent all that time tweaking" which is fair enough, although I cant help thinking if I was brill on the guitar I would also love to understand totally everything about effects and possibilities to enhance/experiment with sounds which may/could give you a totally different way of playing other than you normally would kind of more creative ..

 

I know that's not for everyone although that's how I will learn to develop my style\way of playing .. I guess I will end up being a sound guy while learning guitar, I don't want to be a guitar hero I just want to enjoy myself with the tech and possibilities

 

the HD500 is very nice bit of kit but I would love to own an FX II, the way I see it If  I could afford to buy an FX II and love the idea of effects why would I just limit my self to the HD500 .. I would be all over an FX tomorrow if I could afford one although I would still Keep the HD500 as I would want to link them and experiment ..

 

in a funny way the Line 6 POD HD500\X reminds me a bit like PEAVEY VK 's Quotes, as in they give you all the quality features with out a bloated price that most people can afford .

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