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MarkJarvis

Helix vs AXFX 3, seriously...

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There will always be somebody better, faster. meaner, leaner with a bigger wein-errrrr anyway lol just spank the plank as Billy says. 

 

 

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and I do like the idea of 'instant gratification' rather than have to tweek to get to that result. 

 


 

I do believe in options and so this isn't really a negative per se, but I have to ask... Why in the world would you buy an Axe FX then if you wanted instant gratification? That was one BIG reason I sold both the Ultra and FXII+XL, once you got there they sounded good. But I could never play anything without spending more time tweaking thousands of settings in the patch first. 

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My 2 cents towards your fractal purchase: 
I tried a friend's AXE II about a year ago. I had it at home for two weeks or so, making patches for him. I didn't really know the AXE and at first I didn't like how it reacted.
My closest tonal references at that moment were my Helix rig, my TriAxis rig and my tube amps, because that's what I was playing 95% of the time, and coming from that, I couldn't get the AXE to sound "right" (whatever that means for me) but then it clicked and I found my way around it. I came to like the tones I was creating, and my friend has been using them since, with some tweaks to adapt them to his playing and guitars.
In the end I liked it, it made a good impression on me. Did I feel like I was missing something not getting an AXE? Nope...
Let's call this friend A.
Enter friend B (more a colleague than a friend, though). He's back from trying every kind of amp and/or processor under the Sun... or so he sort of prides himself of. 
Always buying and selling gear, looking for the holy grail.
After having plexis, AC30s, 800s, 900s, Stiletto, several Fenders and many others from brands like H&K, Orange, Peavey or Laney, he swears by his Koch Twintone II for a long while.
Then he sells it and all his remaining pedals and buys an AXE I (the last iteration of version 1, I think). He keeps the AXE but buys a Laney Cub that he wants just for home but ends up buying pedals again and giging the Cub. Sells everything again, including the axe, and buys the last AXE II version (XL something). After a year of repeating that he doesn't miss real amps and whatnot, he's gonna buy an amp again, and a pedalboard... I just sit and watch... and play my Helix. and TriAxis... and... :-D
He always sounds good to my ears. I don't sound (or feel) good with his setups, his presets or his guitars.
He doesn't really sound or feel really good with my gear either, but once we tested my Helix with my mosvalve power amp and his Blackstar v30 artisan 4x12, he started tweaking the Helix and getting tones he felt good with. Same when he first tried my Helix here at home. He didn't like it at first, but was sounding better by the minute.

Friend B is not fully satisfied with AXE. He claims to be, but his deeds show otherwise. Although I don't ask him about it, everytime we talk about real amps or the tube preamps I've been getting for myself (Mesa Studio Pre, Marshall, ADA, Carvin, Digitech...) the conversation ends with him saying how satisfied he is with the AXE and how he doesn't miss the real amps a bit.
But he's getting an amp soon... And pedals.

Friend A is satisfied with AXE. Although he also has other stuff he likes to use. AXE is for convenience, he says.

Me, I'm satisfied with Helix. It doesn't feel 100% like the real stuff, but the difference is negligible once you know how to find the tones that compliment your playing.
I also use other stuff, pedals, rack stuff, heads, combos... I have no need for another brand of modeller, though.
I'm not buying an AXE III, or IV, or version N anytime soon... not because of FOMO anyway, I don't have FOMO. If I ever get one, I'm sure I'll make it sound right for me. 

Bottom line: There is great gear out there. At the point where modelling is now, it's hard to choose by raw "quality", but if you feel the AXE is the right thing for you, go ahead and buy it..
Best of luck. I sincerely wish it satisfies your needs and wants.

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Fear of missing out. FOMO.

 

LOL, I'm old school and had to look it up... Ya know, searching for the Holy grail of Tone may be justification for this. ; )

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On 2/14/2019 at 1:52 PM, phil_m said:

 

Well, that's good because I have no plans on buying an Axe FX III... :-) I actually think the confirmation bias goes the other way, too, though. The Axe FX III is billed as a premium product, so it has to be better, right? How many could pick out clips from each device if they weren't labeled accordingly?

 

Seriously, I have briefly considered selling some other stuff I have and picking up an Axe FX III, but I simply wouldn't use it enough. I wouldn't gig with it because I don't really want to go down the road of having a rack-based rig, and, well, I'm perfectly fine gigging with my HX Effects board and an amp or my Helix board alone. If I owned a studio, I would probably have an Axe FX III, a Kemper, and a Helix Rack and find uses for them all... Although, I have to say that I think sometimes we suffer from having too many options in front of us. Purposely limiting your options is sometimes a necessary step for being creative.

 

On 2/16/2019 at 5:52 AM, MLSoundLab said:

I use the Axe-Fx III, Helix LT and also the Kemper pretty much every day for tweaking guitar tones so I would say that I have a good sense of what they are capable of. Here's a comparison of the same exact guitar tones recreated based on a real tube amp on the Helix:

 

 

And the same done one an Axe-Fx III:

 

 

So ultimately in some cases "you can" make them perform in a very similar way. I think you would have a hard time saying which is which in a blindfold situation. The way real tube amps are tweaked is very different to how some of the "older" modelers are tweaked. It's not just about bass, middle, treble and gain. The amount of master, drive and saturation highly affects the overall brightness of all of these things and on certain master settings you'll find that bass, middle and treble don't do anything at all. This is realistic and I think both the Fractal and Helix work this way. Tweaking these modelers is not as simple as a result. So yes, having 5 times more amp models is definitely an advantage but there's a lot of versatility in every single amp model especially with Fractal and all the advanced controls. The advanced controls that I use the most on the Fractal are the graphic equalizers and low and high cuts inside the amp block. You can essentially do this with a Helix and EQ blocks but sure it would look nicer if it was all done inside the amp section. :) In the right hands you should easily pass as a real tube amp using either of these modelers.

 


I've got a Helix floor, Helix LT, and a  Axe FX III.

I have no problem getting great tones out of either brand.  I used to own a Kemper a few years ago as well.

This is far from my first rodeo with modelers.  I will say that two custom built tube amps I kept rarely get fired up for more than 10 minutes before I get tired of them and the pedals and go running back to my magic machines!

 

I'll give Axe III the sheer power and bells and whistles edge. However, nothing more powerful and better sounding than a Helix that fits in one backpack and is an ultra light rig with a single or dual guitar backpack case!

 

I really enjoy having all three units... If you can't get great tone out of any of them, you probably need to take up bass, drums, or keyboards... LoL!!!

 

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1 hour ago, spikey said:

Fear of missing out. FOMO.

 

LOL, I'm old school and had to look it up... Ya know, searching for the Holy grail of Tone may be justification for this. ; )

Nah, don't feel bad. I get the feeling you are around twice my age, and I didn't know what it mean't until you posted it.  Not that I really gave a damn, but that is a side point lol. 

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Being new to the world of amp modeling, it's good to see that the Helix, Fractal, Kemper, etc. crowd argues about the same stupid stuff as the Marshall, Fender, Mesa crowd.  

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I'd like to add another "perspective" to this debate. These modelers are tools and ultimately in the right hands I believe you can get amazing results with both. At the same time in the wrong hands you can make the most powerful units sound really bad as well. I don't understand these posts from some people in here containing a long video of using just one modeler and then saying "I can't get these sounds from the Helix". No offence but chances are that you couldn't get them from the Fractal either. I believe that a big part of the learning curve in every modeler is that guitarists are now forced to learn how to tweak good guitar tones or purchase tone packs.

 

I don't think it's a debate of "which one sounds better". If both can sound like real tube amps then there's no other comparison besides specifications and features and how they fit the specific user's needs.

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7 minutes ago, MLSoundLab said:

I don't understand these posts from some people in here containing a long video of using just one modeler and then saying "I can't get these sounds from the Helix". No offence but chances are that you couldn't get them from the Fractal either. I believe that a big part of the learning curve in every modeler is that guitarists are now forced to learn how to tweak good guitar tones or purchase tone packs.

 

I don't think it's a debate of "which one sounds better". If both can sound like real tube amps then there's no other comparison besides specifications and features and how they fit the specific user's needs.

I've seen SO many people over the last 10 years of using modelers buy one, click through presets and then be disheartened when it doesn't sound exactly like the artist they saw using the gear, or the YouTube demo video or whatever. They're just tools. Very, very, very advanced tools with lots of parameters and settings that need to be adjusted for every nuance of each individual player, just like an amp and individual pedals. Nobody just plugs into a Diezel with the settings wherever they are at random and achieves tonal nirvana, why would you expect to do that with a modeler. That's why people can make money selling artist packs and tone packs, because its easier for someone else to do the work.

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1 hour ago, gunpointmetal said:

I've seen SO many people over the last 10 years of using modelers buy one, click through presets and then be disheartened when it doesn't sound exactly like the artist they saw using the gear, or the YouTube demo video or whatever. They're just tools. Very, very, very advanced tools with lots of parameters and settings that need to be adjusted for every nuance of each individual player, just like an amp and individual pedals. Nobody just plugs into a Diezel with the settings wherever they are at random and achieves tonal nirvana, why would you expect to do that with a modeler. That's why people can make money selling artist packs and tone packs, because its easier for someone else to do the work.

This!

I wasn't thrilled with Helix when I first got it, but it didn't take me long to get past the hurdle. I didn't even bother with presets though. I basically powered through creating my own, and learning how to do that well on the Helix.  It wasn't instant as it was different than any other modeler I used, and parameters affected each other much more too. Now I am able to dial in tones that *I think* are really cool, and especially nice in tandem with other plugins. 

 

The closest I have come to buying presets is buying about a dozen cab IRs from 3sigma (which I am quite happy with). I still entertain the thought of buying the Helix preset pack from 3sigma, but that really isn't for the preset, its more for the "exclusive IRs made for Helix" that come with those presets. I might grab them during some holiday sale event like 4th July etc. 

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That's exactly it. There really wouldn't be a market for "presets" or "IR's" and so on if people didn't feel they were getting better results with them. I know I use my huge IR collection as a quick fix all the time. I don't really have to tweak for more than 2-3 minutes to get a realistic amp sound no matter what the modeler is. Also things don't have to be so complicated as I see some people even create tutorials on YouTube about how to create a good guitar sound with the Helix and using over a dozen blocks to get this one awesome sound. It definitely does not have to be that complicated. Just look at this video that I shot today and I'm only using the amp block with my own IR's:

 

 

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Oh...don't worry about me.  I'm just checking in to catch up on the drama going on in this thread.  I gotta fill my time somehow until the final season of 'Game of Thrones' starts later this year.....

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On 2/14/2019 at 1:02 PM, MarkJarvis said:

Hi All

Not trying to start trouble...I have been a very long time Line 6 user (POD 500 and Helix owner) but just listening to the 'stock' Fractal AXFX 3 sounds (263 amps) this thing kills...I just dont think there is any real comparison..maybe Line 6 can update Helix..and maybe its just me but damm I dont get that feeling listeing to the stock patches of helix or third party or my custom presets..

 

What do you guys thinK?

DEMO of Fractal AXFX 3 presets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEPZIQ6Yqzk

No comparison? I get killer tones with my Helix. I'm addicted to gear and always want more and I find the helix quite satisfying. 

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Thanks for your generosity in making these available for free.

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8 hours ago, silverhead said:

Thanks for your generosity in making these available for free.

No worries. I want everyone to get a taste of how good your modeler "can be". And also to show you that it doesn't require a super complicated preset. I was able to get the sound by boosting the bass and mids and tweaking the sag and master. After all it's pretty simple but you just have to understand what all of these knobs do. I don't think these are the same revision Rectifier but you can make it sound like an old Recto like mine is.

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On 2/16/2019 at 12:36 AM, Kilrahi said:

What's next? Baby wipes?

 

Lmao...

 

This thread, in a nutshell: 

 

"If they're not Huggies baby wipes, they're crap... and I demand that you all prove me wrong!"

 

;)

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