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So I Got My Hands On An Axe Fx Ii And Here's What I Think


RipperShred
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It's a good unit. A lot of what we b*tch and moan about not being in the HD are in there; 5 band fully adjustable PEQ, with shelving on the 1st and 5th bands; it's in there. Global EQ? It's in there. 10 band graphic EQ that doesn't take up an effects block tied to every amp model? It's in there. User IRs; check. DSP limit? None that I've found. And two instances of pretty much every effects typ is available, and the amount of effects you can put in the chain its like 20 something. It's a lot whatever it is. I don't use that many effects, but for those who do, it's got a lot of good quality effects. Stuff we'd love to have, but then again, we've got what we've paid for. And what we've paid for isn't a 2K box.

 

And for the amp modeling, well, here's what surprised me. It's good. I'd say better than the POD HD. But not by as much as you'd think. It's a bit softer in the high frequency distiortion; where you might here digital aliasing in the POD - the squareness of the distortion waveform is more prevalent in the pod than the axe, and there seems to be a bit more overall harmonic content in the axe than the pod, but it still has digital aliasing artifacts if you have the acute ears to hear them.

 

I'd liken it to an XT/X3 being a standard def TV, while the HD would a 720p, and the axe a 1080p. Anyone who does, or has owned a 720p TV can attest that the picture is in itself great, and far superior to a standard def TV. And on its own is very impressive. But scrutinize it up close next to a 1080p TV and you'll be able to see the difference. and by the same token, stand 10-20ft away from both the 720p and 1080p TVs and your eye would be hard pressed to choose one over the other. And it's the same with the pod and axe. The axe is the better audio "image", but without scrupulous side by side comparison, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference of the two in a live mix, save for being able to tell a VH4 in a busy mix, and knowing that an HD doesn't have that model.

 

In truth, comparing comparable models, such as the fireball to the powerball ( I like the powerball better. It had more/better bass, and was punchier), the SLO (which I thought the HD held it's ground. I'd be happy to put my SLO presets up against someone's axe presets) and even like the dual rec red modern channel of the pod over the axe's. The fenders I thought were more than comparable. I REALLY like the VH4 channels 3 and 4, the "Das Metal" which is a fractal original take on the VH4, and would LOVE to see that in the POD, along with the Splawn Nitro, 6505 and 6505+ lead channels, as those were the only ones that weren't in the POD that I actually really like and wish that they were... Well, also the JCM800, as the one in the pod just doesn't sound right. But otherwise, those were the models that I felt were definitively missing.

 

For a third of the price, the POD HD PRO holds its own. The axe is a formidable box, but it has a formidable price tag to boot. Now that I've tried one, if I could find one for the right price I'd grab it. That said, I don't know when I'd be in the position to drop 2K+ on any one piece again. Maybe when the Axe III drops and drives the prices down on the Axe IIs I'll pick one up, but in the mean time, the POD holds its own.

 

 

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Never heard one myself but from what i get from watching countless youtubes videos i think AXE FX II:s effects are better than POD HD:s they sound like real studio effects and they should as you pay so much for it..

 

When it gets to AMP modeling i dont know as most units today is very close when it comes to heavy distortion but when it comes subtle distortion the ones that breaks up so nicely on a REAL tube amp i havent heard a digital modeling unit even come close to that sound..

 

They have come a long way though but it is something in those tube amps sounds that digital modeling units havent been able to mimic..

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I'd agree with the write-up. The biggest thing to me between the two units is this: ease of use. It took me AGES to dial in good tones with the Pod. With the Axe, it just happens. The EQs aren't convoluted and all of the effect parameters are straight forward and do just what you think they will. In a mix, can you tell the difference between my Pro and my buddy's Axe? No. But that's only because I spent so many grueling months making the two comparable and A/Bing patches between the two units.

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I reckon the JVC800 modelled in the POD needed to get to an Amp Doctor. Dial it up and have a listen with your guitar volume rolled back a bit. I think the amp used  needed a service! The others are much better.

 

I did try an Axe II before getting the HD500 I think your write up is a pretty valid appraisal of the two.  

 

Getting a pedal board thrown in on the 500 pretty much made it a no brainer to get.

 

I totally agree, no amp modelling rivals a real tube amp but they Kempler,Fractal and Line 6 are getting close.

 

What if you match the cost and include one of Line 6 DT amps, would it trump the Fractal?

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Well... add another thousand for the footswitch they are always out of stock on as well.. Ive never played an axe fx... Im sure its awesome.. but a podhd500x is 500$ and a axefx2 with a footswitch is 3200$ The pod sounds great once you dial it in...

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Only in the last week have I had the time to update from facry preset of I think 6.0 to 11.00 on Axe...In the last week alone it is 11.03! I smile when I read about more firmware updates on the HD500, yeah the Axe and MFC out the box totally blow away anything but that's what £3,000 should probably do,

 

Out the box, the sound is unrivalled but the learning curve, and options really beg to ask, should one be programming or playing the instrument? 96 amps most of which are in the hard gain to total facemelt metal,

 

Honest truth I can dial sounds all day, but it's the audience who say what to them is good on the ear and what is worth 3K. Every pedal has it's place, and the HD500 does a superb job.

 

I'm lucky in that I get paid to play, so having HD500, GT 100 and Axe probably means I will have it all, and master none of them.

 

The wy technology is going I reckon it's only a matter of time before the Axe floor unit is released anyway, so everybody will have to up the game, to stay in the market

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I should correct my earlier post as last night with h'phones on I didn't detect the same on the JCM model. Might of been thru my motu interface.

 

I'd go for Axe or a KPA if it made me money.

 

But the ultimate upgrade would be to get the pedal effects and amp models you like from any of these modelers and get the real amps and pedals.

 

In the studio I am running 4CM in stereo to a Marshall VS 8040 and my High gain 40watt Fender and micing the cabs about 18" out (in phase and some room) as well as taking a s/p dif input and blend the three. (Using a TRS on the hD return into twin TS jacks)

 

there are plenty of tricks to get the most out of what you got. Even if you mic a monitor feed of the guitars and place the mic in phase or into a power amp and mic it.

It helps get some moving air in the mix.

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Excellant post about the Axe compared to PODHD.  It would be nice if Line6 had a slightly higher end unit for say $800 to $1000 that could compete a little more in the higher end market.  I ended up buying an external dual band EQ for the POD anyway and I'd rather have that built in plus a little more DSP power wouldn't hurt.

 

But I'm very happy with the PODHD and it's the best tone and feel I've had so far in the 30+ years of playing guitar.

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I own a POD HD500 and HD Pro. I also have an Axe II and  Kemper. I use my JTVs with a POD HD Pro and Axe FX. JTV to POD via VDI, POD to Axe via AES/EBU and then out to two xitone wedges in stereo. I use POD for wah, volume, and additional effects. Mutrons, Growler, pattern trems etc etc etc.

 

Amp models on Axe are way better. DSP limits are there you just run into them way less compared to HD Pro. Effects are more modern sounding, but I find POD effects work fine for the most part. I even use a bunch of mods on the pods even though they seem to be a weaker link.

 

POD works great with JTV for routing. Truth is I could not do what I want in a rig with Just Axe FX, I need the POD for routing a patch recall on JTV. If push came to shove I could probably use two POD HD Pros, but prefer using the Axe with the POD.

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  • 1 year later...

To be honest, I used to have an Axe Fx Ultra and was not impressed whatsoever with the sounds I got and I sat there for days trying to dial a good tone, with the Pod HD 500 X to me it sounds pretty damn good right off the bat and with a little bit of tweeking it sounds awesome, I recently had a chance of playing with the Kemper and to me it blew away the axe fx. so I would go with Kemper and pod hd500x any day before an axe fx.

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I read that AXE has some super HD models out now but also read where their customers are complaining about hitting the DSP limit with them.  Hmmm, that sounds familiar.

 

Line6 does a great job for the money.  No way would I spend 2 grand for an AXE then another grand for the foot pedal.

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After reading this thread I still like my HD500, X3 Pro and UX2. For a 36 yr ol guy who never had a guitar, amp or stomp boxes it made learning guitar fun. Darn near everyday I use them all and they still look and sound great, although I don't get rough with them and they rarely get moved alot. I've never seen the axe but the OP along with others here seemed to make alot of sense to me. Carry On & Rock On!

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ha ha ha here we go...if you can get one its the best bar none. Kemper gives it a good run though, still makes me chuckle though people on here who wouldn't touch a Chinese, Indonese guitar yet pay high end for Gibson, Fender etc, swap pickups,magnets,capacitors, brass nut for plastic because it REALLY makes that different a tone, and yet compare a £2500 with £500 and say there isn't much in it. Still use my trusty HD500 at 'dangerous gigs' but this thread makes me smile.

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Ive tried just about everything on the market including an AXEFX (not Kemper though)

 

Currently have a PODHD500x

 

For the money the POD is great but it can be made much better by using 3rd party IR instead of the inbuilt cabs.

 

IMHO its the cabs that let down the POD not the amps.

 

I dont play live just via PC and use a Two Notes WOS plugin with IR's loaded, sounds great to me

 

cheers

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Hi Guys!

 

i would like to share my experience with you.

 

i owned all the pods line6 made..... until 1 month ago i owned a hd pro and a hd bean. sold the pro kept the bean, and bought an axe fx II xl + controller...... lot of money :-(

 

of course the units are different...... the XL cost around 10 times the bean, i paid for the bean 280€ and for the XL 2599€......

 

i have to admit that the most significant difference is that when you choose an amp and a cab it sound already good with the deafult parametes.... not too much tweaking for me to create my desired tone.....

but...... i think the big difference is made by the ultrares cabs......... i tried standard res cab and i have to admit that is not so different.... but ultra res cab made my days :-)

 

i could hear the difference cleary.... we play with iems no amp on stage no wedge monitor....... so in the iem you can hear how much is gentle in the high frequencies...... is more "natural", more "as you expect" from a miced amp........

 

fx....... by my side fx ae totally opposed to amps.... when the amps sounds great with default parameters i find really difficult the fx...... example..... my rythm patch is in the pod and in the axe

 

guitar - gate - drive - phaser (bypassed by ready to activate) - amp - cab

 

ok..... with the pod i reach easily the phaser sound i like..... in the axe is a nightmare.... a big amount of controls, and doesn't sound as a phaser pedal..... but sound every time as a post effect...even if you choose the pre position and a pedal model.....

 

delays reverbs choruses ar fairly superior IMHO......

 

the chance to have different output mode is fundamental for me......

 

another big difference i found is the feel when you play...... is more "inspiring"... but is every time difficult try to explain some feeling..... but i can assure you .... is different.... if you try both units in A/B comparison you can feel this difference......

 

so ......

 

the axe is better? yes

the axe is 10 time better? i don't know....

 

i'm extremely happy about the machine....... i'm satisfied 100% and if i have the chance to go back 2 month i'll buy again..... but i'll keep my bean + shortboard for sure..... because is also a good machine, and i really portable.... and for the money there is not a better solution!

 

Francesco

 

 

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I am sure it is the case the AXE II is better than the POD.

But by your,  "Is it 10 times better?"  "don't know"

LOL  

It is natural to reinforce your purchase decision.

We all want to be right. LOL

 

And you have a great unit with the AXE. It is a tweakers delight and for sure you'll get great tones.

There are plenty of top acts using the Axe. It is the Professional choice. Well Done

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ha ha ha here we go...if you can get one its the best bar none. Kemper gives it a good run though, still makes me chuckle though people on here who wouldn't touch a Chinese, Indonese guitar yet pay high end for Gibson, Fender etc, swap pickups,magnets,capacitors, brass nut for plastic because it REALLY makes that different a tone, and yet compare a £2500 with £500 and say there isn't much in it. Still use my trusty HD500 at 'dangerous gigs' but this thread makes me smile.

LOL. You are right in a lot of cases. But I do use a Indonesian made Variax(at least I think, it's a 500 that I was told was before they were produced in China), Korean Epiphone LP, and Strat made from vairous parts including some for Squire parts likely of Chineese origin. I put a set of $100 picks in it from Guitar fetish. I could probably afford a Gibson if I really wanted but I really like have multiple guitars and I can't afford multiple Gibson, Fenders, etc....

 

My dream setup, It would likely be the one or two of the actual amp emulated by these devices along with a couple of selected pedals.

So for the price of AxeFx system, I could buy something pretty close to my dream setup. Line6 Products on the other hand have gotten me very close to that dream without costing me a morgage payment.

 

To the OP, good review. Never messed with AxeFx and as good as the POD is I always wondered how it would compare in true objective side by side.

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Side by side mate, the presets off Axe sound like amps, the HD with tweaking sound great, but we were born to play and not spend our lives tweaking which is what I did with Boss and Line 6. Quite happy with my HD and don't tweak so much anymore. But out of the box, the sound and tone is chalk and cheese.

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hd500+jtv does things no other rig can achieve (custom tunings+guitar model change mid-song with ONLY ONE FS + custom guitar workshoping, etc, etc, etc) and @ much much cheaper price than 3k €... definetely consists the USP (unique selling proposition) of the specific hd500+jtv bundle...
I'll gladly bow 2  superior knowledge, here, if anyone's got it...

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from what I read here, and I really appreciate all the great input, its the cab's that separate the units (and of course the money).  For $200 I am seriously considering the Logidy Epsi C but just haven't pulled the trigger yet.  I honestly can't say that for me at least, I really need different cab options but as a total gear hound it just keeps pulling me under...  If that gets me matched up to the AxeFX and keeps all the simplicity of a floor unit and the JTV/DT25 integration I can't see the need to ever spend AxeFX kind of money... 

 

Although as mentioned above, if I win the lottery I will be getting a ton of real amps, cabs and pedals just because...  ;)

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