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glideman

oops.... I bought an Axe FX III.... but...

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... I won't be getting rid of my Helix and Helix LT...

 

I had to play one for myself... Hehehe

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tell us what you think.I wanted to try one myself because im a man child and i want new toys.

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I honestly have no desire to really try one. I tried an AX8 a few years ago and wasn't blown away,  and the Axe FX III is an expansion on that, so I don't really feel like I'm missing out on anything. I have too many things in my house as it stands right now. Not saying the Axe FX III isn't awesome, but I just feel like I have more than I need with the Helix and Helix Native.

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Yeah... I need one like a hole in my head, but the Furian in me wishes to walk on the dark side... LoL!

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and the Axe FX III is an expansion on that, so I don't really feel like I'm missing out on anything.

 

Actually Phil, the Axe III is an expansion of the Axe II FX XL+, which was an expansion of the Axe FX Ultra. The AX-8 was a nice but "cheaper version" of the set, kinda like the LT is for Helix.

 

Grats Glide- I envy you!!! 

 

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The thing that pushes Helix over the top for me is the Variax. The models aren’t perfect. And there hasn’t been much new development for quite a while. But for a gigging musician that needs a lot of guitar tones, has to carry and setup their own gear, needs some open tunings and and occasional acoustic guitar - its really hard to beat a Variax with Helix.

 

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Then I must have a bad Variax amsdenj. Not necessarily intended as negative because my Variax sounds "ok", but next to my 93 strat, Jem 7v or my 98 LP standard it just leaves me lacking tone and feel wise by comparison. Now, if you don't own those nice guitars (and don't care to either) and also need more functionality then yer right, nothing beats that combo. 

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Yeah, I agree the tech is a bit dated and sounded maybe not quite as good as the counter part but the flexibility of it is just hard to beat. I play wide variety of music and I have been using mine to replicate other musician’s tones. As for writing music, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Would cool if Line 6 released another model with helix’s tech inside and than perhaps the lines will blur a little more. I was also surprised how much my JTV-89 stays in tune so well. 

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On 7/4/2018 at 2:20 AM, glideman said:

... I won't be getting rid of my Helix and Helix LT...

 

I had to play one for myself... Hehehe

 

I would have gotten the axe iii and floor controller if I could afford it.  The helix is awesome but man some of these axe iii amp models just sound absolutely perfect- and the octave and delay effects are approaching strymon and eventide quality.  I've been pretty disappointed with the inability to do good organ pog and pitch shifted crystal delays and shimmer verbs,  maybe im doing it wrong.    i was about to start a toic about getting some of those strymon type delays (besides the basic ones of course)  I think its really just the newest plex delay and the ability to put like 5 things in parallel

 

and the axe iii isnt just like the ax8 thatd be like saying the helix is like pod hd500.  it has a lollipop ton more processing power than the axe ii xl plus even.  

 

I wish axe sounds and amp modeling and flexibility would get together with line 6 interfacing.  the fact that the axe controller costs half of what i paid for the helix (which has a wayyyy better foot controller) is ridiculous.  the sound quality is pretty amazing.  and the tone match and creating your own IR's with it.

 

I love helix- but id love to own em all!

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15 hours ago, spikey said:

 

Actually Phil, the Axe III is an expansion of the Axe II FX XL+, which was an expansion of the Axe FX Ultra. The AX-8 was a nice but "cheaper version" of the set, kinda like the LT is for Helix.

 

Grats Glide- I envy you!!! 

 

 

A bit pedantic... I'm not stupid, you know. My point stands, though, the underlying modeling and architecture is similar. I'm not a fan of all the little knobs and such on Axe Edit. There's just not much that appeals to me about the Fractal products, to be honest.

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Jezzz no one including me suggested you were stupid Phil. Pointing that out in your case was a bit anal, wasn't it? I would suggest a valium and a coke and a smile. Or is that too pedantic for you too? I just wanted to clarify to the folks who have never owned an Axe FX before to know that they "didn't" come from the AX8 as I thought you suggested. In fact, it was the other way around. We good now?

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On 7/4/2018 at 6:26 PM, spikey said:

Then I must have a bad Variax amsdenj. Not necessarily intended as negative because my Variax sounds "ok", but next to my 93 strat, Jem 7v or my 98 LP standard it just leaves me lacking tone and feel wise by comparison. Now, if you don't own those nice guitars (and don't care to either) and also need more functionality then yer right, nothing beats that combo. 

I do own a '67 Les Paul (with Tom Holmes pickups) and a '92 Strat Deluxe (with SVL Daytona pickups). And both of those guitars have silky smooth stainless steel frets. 

 

But I prefer the JTV-69S for gigs because its lighter (I'm getting old) and has more flexible tones, including open tunings and acoustic. It doesn't play like either of those other guitars, but its just different, not necessarily bad. To some extent the JTV-69S neck is more like a combination of the Fender scale and the Gibson thickness. I put the SVL Daytonas on the JTV-69S too, and it no longer suffers any missing tone. I really love those pickups and they really made the guitar. The models are just icing. 

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I have a Helix and love it, but very nearly went the Fractal route for two reasons:

 

- Editor runs perfectly on Linux.

- Loop time is longer.

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Here is my short story related to FAS...

 

Few years ago I bought Axe-Fx 2. I thought it was the best sounding piece of guitar equipment for that time. And I thought it was the best music related gear I have ever had.

 

If you are doing studio work only - this thing is fantastic.

 

But problems keep on rising as shrooms after rainy days.

 

Problem no1 - there is no foot controller. I mean I know that you can buy it. Couldn’t afford it at that time. Quite a big case if you want to gig around.

Problem no2 - this doesn’t feel like a tube amp. And this was a major thing which eventually led me to selling Axe-Fx 2 and buying good, ol’ tube amp, guitar cab and soldering some analog effects by myself. Back to the roots, gentlemen.

 

And now comes the Helix part.

 

It sounds very, very comparable with axe-fx 2. For the 2x less cost.

It does have floor switches and wah pedal. For free.

You can plug in microphone. For free.

It has way more better user interface. For free.

 

My major concern? Still does not feel like a real tube amp when amplifying it through solid state power amp (or maybe I just did not have any occasion to play the SS poweramp which is that good). I need tube power amp with guitar cab to make it work for me on rehearsals and small gigs.

 

Bigger venues are ridiculous and plain stupid straight connection to mixer + in ear monitoring. As ex-soundguy all I can say - we do love line in solutions. ;)

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FX III has a power tube-amp model insert in global out setting if you want that.

 

I could never go back to a real amp now, my cave man days are over, Helix Rack or FX3 are so far ahead of mere stage amps and pedals that there's nothing worth going back to---I'd rather retire than use a stage amp again.

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20 hours ago, dotpc said:

I have a Helix and love it, but very nearly went the Fractal route for two reasons:

 

- Editor runs perfectly on Linux.

- Loop time is longer.

Good reasons for many as well. Id also like to add the new Fractal device to my Helix and KPA (cause I've heard it sounds awesome too), but then I was always too spoiled, pessimistic, obtuse and pedantic for my (and others) own good. ; ) So tell me Glideman, is it nice enough and are you keeping it???

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17 hours ago, JazzMetalBear said:

Here is my short story related to FAS...

 

Few years ago I bought Axe-Fx 2. I thought it was the best sounding piece of guitar equipment for that time. And I thought it was the best music related gear I have ever had.

 

If you are doing studio work only - this thing is fantastic.

 

But problems keep on rising as shrooms after rainy days.

 

Problem no1 - there is no foot controller. I mean I know that you can buy it. Couldn’t afford it at that time. Quite a big case if you want to gig around.

Problem no2 - this doesn’t feel like a tube amp. And this was a major thing which eventually led me to selling Axe-Fx 2 and buying good, ol’ tube amp, guitar cab and soldering some analog effects by myself. Back to the roots, gentlemen.

 

And now comes the Helix part.

 

It sounds very, very comparable with axe-fx 2. For the 2x less cost.

It does have floor switches and wah pedal. For free.

You can plug in microphone. For free.

It has way more better user interface. For free.

 

My major concern? Still does not feel like a real tube amp when amplifying it through solid state power amp (or maybe I just did not have any occasion to play the SS poweramp which is that good). I need tube power amp with guitar cab to make it work for me on rehearsals and small gigs.

 

Bigger venues are ridiculous and plain stupid straight connection to mixer + in ear monitoring. As ex-soundguy all I can say - we do love line in solutions. ;)

 

I switched from Diezel + POD500X + Recto 412 to Axe II. and I was very disappointed, I wasn't able to get my tone back, there was just too many things to tweak. It was a great unit, but not for me. I was used to line6 logic and interface when editing effects, with axe edit it just wasn't working for me. 

 

At that time I had connection timouts every 15 minutes, it was very frustrating, support wasn't able to help me and fellow users who had the same problem. I got sick of FAS, so I turned to Helix, and it works like a charm.

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1 hour ago, spikey said:

Good reasons for many as well. Id also like to add the new Fractal device to my Helix and KPA (cause I've heard it sounds awesome too), but then I was always too spoiled, pessimistic, obtuse and pedantic for my (and others) own good. ; ) So tell me Glideman, is it nice enough and are you keeping it???

 

I don't have it yet... Delivery scheduled for tomorrow (Monday) by the end of the day....

 

It'll take me at least a few days to even get going good and get a feel...  hehehe....  other than playing factory presets.

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As an owner of both a Helix and an Axe FX II I have to say that at this point the Axe FX sounds and feels better, there is more clarity, note separation and depth. Also the consensus tends to be that the Fractal Model are far more spot on. I play my Helix more due to the portability factor, and leave my AF2 at home for recording:reamping.

 

I’m not knocking the Helix, it’s much, much better than my Vetta or Pod X3 Live and when I don’t compare it, I really dig the Helix. That said when I plug back into my AF2 I CAN tell the difference. I haven’t however, tried the new firmware so that opinion may change.

 

One thing that would make me seriously think of ditching the AF2 is if as a Helix LT owner I could get Helix Native at $150, that would make reamping much easier and really make me question how much the difference is worth vs the convenience and user friendly aspect of the Helix.

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Torture redefined...

In possession of an Axe 3, but it sits dormant as I wait for work and a doctor's appointment this afternoon to be over...  Dohhhh!

 

Still, I love my Helix and Helix LT too much to part with even if Axe 3 ends up sounding/feeling a little better.  Portability and ease of use are far too great!  And you always need a backup or two!

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@spikey  this dang Axe III is pretty dang sweet... and that's just from running through all the factory presets... LoL!

 

Won't get rid of the Helix twins, but I can see myself gigging this puppy once the FC-12 footwitch box comes out!

 

Me likies... me lovies.....

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Glad you like It glide! Envy from this side- and also makes the competition stay on their toes too! Win Win ; )

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1 hour ago, spikey said:

Glad you like It glide! Envy from this side- and also makes the competition stay on their toes too! Win Win ; )

 

Yeah... I like competition!  Good for the guitarists! (and bass players).

 

Considering I haven't gotten any further than just running through all the factory presets, I think it's going to be a great piece of

guitar magic!  Can't wait to get the FC-12 in my hands so that I can have gigging capability.  I'm not screwing with breaking

out the old FCB Behringer pedal.  LoL!

 

Still think Helix is a massive competitor, especially when more goodies are added over the next year, etc....

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Just wondering, now that you've got them side-by-side so to speak, if there is a massive difference in quality when comparing similar models. Are we into hair-splitting territory, or is it bigger than that?

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Honestly, Axe III is a really nice box so far, but for someone that already has a Helix system, it wouldn't be worth the extra money other

than for future expansion capabilities.  I will say the high gain stuff is to die for.  It's probably got a little more to the amp models, etc., but it's

still not a jump the average Joe needs to make.

 

It's really nice sounding.  If you have the extra bank account, it's probably worth it for the future horsepower and expanded grid matrix compared

to other competing boxes.  Otherwise, don't feel like  you're missing out on being The Man (or Woman) if Helix is your financial limit.

I'm not a fanboy for either... I'm a fanboy for all brands that put out something that makes great music in the right hands.  Used to do that with

a Vox Tonelab SE and later an LE.   LoL!  Ran them into a tube power amp and guitar speaker cabs.

 

One area that the Axe 3 has caught up a decent amount is in the User Interface.  Much better for the average non-Fractal person to dive into than

past hardware solutions from them!  You can now truly edit/build on both the hardware platform and with the computer editor.

 

Basically,  if you can afford it, it's worth a look.  If not, Helix is more than capable of being a great solution.  I personally plan on using the heck out of 

all 3 of mine, Helix, Helix LT, and Axe FX III.   I used to have the Kemper for a few years, but I feel a good bit happier with the Axe 3 as Helix's companion!

 

Hope this helped everyone interested out.  Both platforms are excellent tools of tone in my most humble opinion!   Never started this thread to start

a fight.  It's just FYI to share my experiences with my rather expensive MusicCRaK ToY habit.... LoL!!!!!!

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@spikey  @tenorkeith

 

Okay, I've had some more time and have hacked on some pleasing template presets that were good starter points worth editing.

 

I've concluded that Axe 3 is indeed really nice sounding and super bad@$$.  STILL not getting rid of the Helix twins no matter what, though.

I may end up putting in a setlist on one of the Helices for controlling the very few presets I'll have to build to gig with since I can use

2 amp blocks with 4 channels (different or the same amp models) each (and multiple cabs).  99% of my gigs will probably be done with one or two

presets.  I do that now with Helix as well.

 

For those that are insane enough like me and Spikey to own more than one modeler at a time, you can't go wrong at ALL with the Axe FX III.

You also can't go wrong by sticking with your Helix.   :D

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41 minutes ago, glideman said:

@spikey  @tenorkeith

 

Okay, I've had some more time and have hacked on some pleasing template presets that were good starter points worth editing.

 

I've concluded that Axe 3 is indeed really nice sounding and super bad@$$.  STILL not getting rid of the Helix twins no matter what, though.

I may end up putting in a setlist on one of the Helices for controlling the very few presets I'll have to build to gig with since I can use

2 amp blocks with 4 channels (different or the same amp models) each (and multiple cabs).  99% of my gigs will probably be done with one or two

presets.  I do that now with Helix as well.

 

For those that are insane enough like me and Spikey to own more than one modeler at a time, you can't go wrong at ALL with the Axe FX III.

You also can't go wrong by sticking with your Helix.   :D

 

Nothing insane about it at all. I just don't wanna bother with multiple HARDWARE modelers these days. I'm pretty with having my Helix settled, and should I need additional amp modeling for fun or whatever - I can call up any of the 50 Thermionik amp models or TSE X50 V2. But honestly, that's way more than enough. At some point, ya gotta stop tweaking and play.

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Yep.  I'm gigging Helix Friday with the same butter presets with scenes I've been using for awhile now (although they've evolved with firmware updates).

 

I still like having the next machine to play with and/or gig in the future, too.  However, I still want that Helix for those nights I need a change or don't want an extra piece of gear to lug! 

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Nothing insane about it at all. I just don't wanna bother with multiple HARDWARE modelers these days.

 

Its not that bad, no trouble at all really. I have two racks set up for each and play the one that suits me for that day.  ; )

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21 hours ago, glideman said:

@spikey  @tenorkeith

 

Okay, I've had some more time and have hacked on some pleasing template presets that were good starter points worth editing.

 

I've concluded that Axe 3 is indeed really nice sounding and super bad@$$.  STILL not getting rid of the Helix twins no matter what, though.

I may end up putting in a setlist on one of the Helices for controlling the very few presets I'll have to build to gig with since I can use

2 amp blocks with 4 channels (different or the same amp models) each (and multiple cabs).  99% of my gigs will probably be done with one or two

presets.  I do that now with Helix as well.

 

For those that are insane enough like me and Spikey to own more than one modeler at a time, you can't go wrong at ALL with the Axe FX III.

You also can't go wrong by sticking with your Helix.   :D

Very interesting, thanks for sharing your experience.

 

I'm a Kemper owner in addition to Helix and I get a lot of enjoyment from both. Hmmm ... maybe when the stars align, an Axe 3 might be in my future.

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7 hours ago, bsd512 said:

Very interesting, thanks for sharing your experience.

 

I'm a Kemper owner in addition to Helix and I get a lot of enjoyment from both. Hmmm ... maybe when the stars align, an Axe 3 might be in my future.

 

No prob.... Yep, I used to have Kemper and Helix for a long time.  It was kinda hard to let go.  I see a cheap used one, I might have to go for the hat trick... LoL

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I agree it's a very nice system, and I would buy one also, except that it seems to be rather excessively over-priced as I detailed on this page.

 

https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/no-axe-fx-3-in-australia-yet-what-the-actual.139830/page-2#post-1666880

 

In the end it doesn't offer much I can't do already, nor really differenciates it from what a Helix does, but the price difference (within Australia's context at least) is more or less a bit outrageous. Frankly, I think L6 is going to sell ten times as many Helix units here, on price alone.

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2 hours ago, Vanilla_Icecream said:

I agree it's a very nice system, and I would buy one also, except that it seems to be rather excessively over-priced as I detailed on this page.

 

https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/no-axe-fx-3-in-australia-yet-what-the-actual.139830/page-2#post-1666880

 

In the end it doesn't offer much I can't do already, nor really differenciates it from what a Helix does, but the price difference (within Australia's context at least) is more or less a bit outrageous. Frankly, I think L6 is going to sell ten times as many Helix units here, on price alone.

Yep... You guys get hosed on pricing for the Axe 3.  That's a whole lotta cash!

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I agree it's a very nice system, and I would buy one also, except that it seems to be rather excessively over-priced as I detailed on this page.


 

 

Yep, but it's not as expensive as air would be if it needed to be purchased. Thank God hot air we are sometimes full of doesn't cost much either. ; )

 

Quote

Yep... You guys get hosed on pricing for the Axe 3.

Ahh, Its only money and you can't take it with you. I still envy your toys -  Grats!!!

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So today I had an occasion to compare the sound and feel of both Helix and Axe2 head to head.

 

The general rule was - the same IR for both.

 

After minor tweaking there was literally no difference for me. Both for the recorded sound and how the thing felt when played. Of course the main goal was to make as similar sound as possible but similar feel was quite surprising.

 

Here is a tip: sag and bias parameters DO A LOT.

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AX8 man....gonna find out what this HELIX is in couple of days. AX8 is a monster, but I had an HD500X so curious. If one dies, Ive got a standby I suppose. Can't wait. Question though. I read that the GT 1000 not all the amps are ARES. Are there amps from the HD series on HELIX? or completely rebuilt from scratch?

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45 minutes ago, medbad5150 said:

AX8 man....gonna find out what this HELIX is in couple of days. AX8 is a monster, but I had an HD500X so curious. If one dies, Ive got a standby I suppose. Can't wait. Question though. I read that the GT 1000 not all the amps are ARES. Are there amps from the HD series on HELIX? or completely rebuilt from scratch?

 

From my memory: 

Helix launched with all new HX amps/cabs, and FX except for the Wahs, and the reverbs. (The wah/reverbs were revisions of previous models)

Every Amp added since launch is HX (and in my opinion better than most of the launch options)  

Every FX added since has been HX except for the one update that added like 77 FX from the M-series, and HD-series.  (this is what created the legacy category)

They have also since added 5 new actual HX reverbs to the unit (they moved the reverbs the unit shipped with under the legacy category). The new HX reverbs are quite nice, most of us hope for an expansion in options for them.

 

I am sure someone will correct me if I put up inaccurate info.

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20 hours ago, medbad5150 said:

AX8 man....gonna find out what this HELIX is in couple of days. AX8 is a monster, but I had an HD500X so curious. If one dies, Ive got a standby I suppose. Can't wait. Question though. I read that the GT 1000 not all the amps are ARES. Are there amps from the HD series on HELIX? or completely rebuilt from scratch?

 

All completely rebuilt, but the newer ones are - generally speaking - better than the launch ones. Even the Line 6 engineers admit that they've gotten better at the process as they've gone along balancing stark accuracy with what actually sounds good to their ears.

 

Honestly, you could stay with just the Mesa LoneStar, PRS Archon, Friedman BE100, Voltage Queen/Victoria Electro King,Matchless DC30, Litigator, Badonk and Cartographer models and cover about the whole spectrum of tones from virtually any amp out there.

 

I mean, you got Vox (BE100 clean channel, Matchless DC30), Fender (Archon and Lonestar clean channels), Marshall (Friedman, Cartographer), Boutique/Dumble (Litigator) and multiple high gain flavors (Archon, Friedman, Cartographer, Badonk)

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Opposite, just got Helix, as backup to my AX8. Fractal with 250 plus amps, eternal update and tone. Helix out of the box great tone in minutes. Fractal customer service totally kicks Line 6 service into touch. Before the comments fly, HD500 HD500X Bass XT Variax bass, Variax 700. You can't say I haven't tried. Let's see how this goes.

 

Tonewise though, not a lot you haven't heard. Both units are awesome, but the learning curve for Fractal is serious rocket science. And I had the AX2 until three months ago! Honest truth 250 amps? If you want obscure and for me unusable Fractal have the edge. I'm keeping both but my eye on on Line 6 customer service if I need help.

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