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Sebasshreds

Helix vs Axe Fx 3 (simple question)

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Hey guys. 

Not tryna rehash the same old debates, this is a simple question. 

Anyone in here has owned or owns an Axe Fx 3? In terms of sound, we all know we can create fantastic tones with most modern flagship modelers. The real question here is about the responsiveness of the Fractal stuff. Ive been a helix owner for a while already, and I love all the tones i can get from my rack. Regardless, I went back to buying an amp and pedals because the helix hasn't ever felt like playing thru an amp. It really is a different story. And i don't mean the sounds, i can make my Helix just as fantastic as my Marshall, but, to me, at the moment of playing, no digital modeler has ever felt as nicely responsive, full, and saturated as an amp. Is what many say true? That the Axe Fx provides that 'organic' feel when you play via it?

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2 hours ago, Sebasshreds said:

Hey guys. 

Not tryna rehash the same old debates, this is a simple question. 

Anyone in here has owned or owns an Axe Fx 3? In terms of sound, we all know we can create fantastic tones with most modern flagship modelers. The real question here is about the responsiveness of the Fractal stuff. Ive been a helix owner for a while already, and I love all the tones i can get from my rack. Regardless, I went back to buying an amp and pedals because the helix hasn't ever felt like playing thru an amp. It really is a different story. And i don't mean the sounds, i can make my Helix just as fantastic as my Marshall, but, to me, at the moment of playing, no digital modeler has ever felt as nicely responsive, full, and saturated as an amp. Is what many say true? That the Axe Fx provides that 'organic' feel when you play via it?


I don’t have the Axe FX III, but I have the FM3. I don’t think it feels any different than the Helix. I think this whole debate is something that guitarists argue about on the internet, but it’s overblown. The big thing is that hearing a modeler through monitor is just a different experience than hearing an amp through a guitar cab.

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4 hours ago, Sebasshreds said:

Hey guys. 

Not tryna rehash the same old debates, this is a simple question. 

Anyone in here has owned or owns an Axe Fx 3? In terms of sound, we all know we can create fantastic tones with most modern flagship modelers. The real question here is about the responsiveness of the Fractal stuff. Ive been a helix owner for a while already, and I love all the tones i can get from my rack. Regardless, I went back to buying an amp and pedals because the helix hasn't ever felt like playing thru an amp. It really is a different story. And i don't mean the sounds, i can make my Helix just as fantastic as my Marshall, but, to me, at the moment of playing, no digital modeler has ever felt as nicely responsive, full, and saturated as an amp. Is what many say true? That the Axe Fx provides that 'organic' feel when you play via it?

 

This is the same apples to oranges comparison that's been posed a million times, and the answer is always the same: You can't get there from here...;)

 

Go to a studio with your favorite concrete-melting amp that has all the thunderous "feel" of a dozen stampeding elephants. Mic it up and play from the control room, listening through the studio monitors. Love it or hate it, you won't "feel" anything...because you're not in the room with a 4x12 blaring away @ 110 dB anymore. Plus, if you pop back and forth between the live room and the control room, you'll quickly realize that mic choice and placement can render the raw sound of the amp you love so much unrecognizable. Sometimes you'll like it, sometimes you won't, but different it will be...100% of the time.

 

Any modeler through an FRFR source will produce the same type of recorded tone that a physical mic-ed amp will generate, when heard through those same FRFR monitors...don't care who's modeler it is, or how much it costs. A recorded tone is not a live "in the room" amp tone... the former being the product of filtration through a microphone and a completely different playback system, while the raw amp tone comes from a fundamentally different different type of speaker/enclosure, with nothing between you and the sound but air. A mic (be it real or virtual) plus an FRFR playback system is the great equalizer...a "feel filter", if you will. And nobody's digital wizardry can put that feel back once it's gone, no matter what the brochure says. 

 

If you want to bridge the analog/ digital divide, then you need something like the Powercab, or just run 4CM into a traditional guitar amp and you'll have all the "feel" you can stomach.

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3 hours ago, phil_m said:


I don’t have the Axe FX III, but I have the FM3. I don’t think it feels any different than the Helix. I think this whole debate is something that guitarists argue about on the internet, but it’s overblown. The big thing is that hearing a modeler through monitor is just a different experience than hearing an amp through a guitar cab.

Oh no, i get you. Should have mentioned im also playing my marshall thru the same monitors as the helix. Pedals and marshall to a torpedo load box with impulse response (same as used on helix). I know all that coloring and dynamics fron the amp have much to do with the whole circuit and pre and power amp tubes. So i guess my question is the axe fx closer to imitating that? I actually owned the boss gt1000 as well, and that ARID system they claim imitates that tube feel actually feels better than helix, but i chose to stick with helix because in a mix it just always outshined the boss in terms of tones and also the interface is a nightmare to work around of. 

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The Helix is a great tool.  Im sure the others are as well but, I chose the Helix because of the support.  I believe Line 6 is owned by Yamaha, so repair support should be available for a while.

That said, I have the Headrush 8" & had the PowerCab 112+.   I encountered the same issue with the PC+ that most run into with tube amps, it has to be too loud to sound decent.  I sold the PC & the HR gathers dust because the ROI is too low to bother.  I use the Helix 4cm with a DSL40C & get a lot of my tones bypassing the Marshall Preamp.  The Placater dirty is by far my favorite amp in the Helix.  I also  use several others for cleaner stuff.   The DSL has a WGS ET-65 speaker, which I mic with a 57.  I split the signal inside Helix & record a separate track to my DAW & add an IR.  I also record the dry guitar on another track to use with AMP software.  I almost always prefer the miced  amp, followed closely by the direct signal thru an amp sim.  The Helix sounds good & some would prefer it I'm sure.  Monitoring thru the DSL "feels" the same to me as the playing thru the DSL pre.  These are IMO & YMMV.

BTW, I did not start to hear the differences until I upgraded my interface to an RME.  I used a 2nd gen Scarlet & used the Helix as my interface for a while.  IMO, the sound quality of the Helix is much better than the Scarlett.

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On 3/22/2021 at 9:33 AM, Sebasshreds said:

Hey guys. 

Not tryna rehash the same old debates, this is a simple question. 

Anyone in here has owned or owns an Axe Fx 3? In terms of sound, we all know we can create fantastic tones with most modern flagship modelers. The real question here is about the responsiveness of the Fractal stuff. Ive been a helix owner for a while already, and I love all the tones i can get from my rack. Regardless, I went back to buying an amp and pedals because the helix hasn't ever felt like playing thru an amp. It really is a different story. And i don't mean the sounds, i can make my Helix just as fantastic as my Marshall, but, to me, at the moment of playing, no digital modeler has ever felt as nicely responsive, full, and saturated as an amp. Is what many say true? That the Axe Fx provides that 'organic' feel when you play via it?

Hello Sebassshreads, 
I was a previous owner of Helix floor for over a year. Great modeler and I would probably still be happy with Helix had I not had a chance to try our the AXE FX III.

I was able to dial in some pretty good tones with Helix with FW 2.8, 2.9x and 3.01. I know Helix users will argue that they can dial in usable tones with in minutes, however I could never be so skilled or lucky. They always took a little longer than a few minutes but were achievable. 

I found that the stock IR's were not on par with the aftermarket IR's available, so needless to say any of the tones that I did fall in love with on the Helix where using third party IR files. The user UI and touch control on the floor unit were excellent for making adjustments whether in front of the PC or not.

 

Enter the AXE FX III. I received my unit on the day of FW 15.01 being released so I cannot speak of FW revisions prior to this, but I was instantly impressed on how real the amps and cabs in Fractal Audio system where. It was a huge eye opener that I was not expecting, the sounds were a step above anything I had heard from the Helix, BOSS heads and needless to say, after a few days the Helix was up for sale and sold. 

I thought how could amp modeling get any better then this, then came FW 16 Beta, this was the game changer in terms of sound and more so was the 'feel' that you get when playing any of the amp models in FW16. I was able to dial in usable tones without changing anything with the stock settings on the amps and cabs. 

Even to this day, I can sit down and just strum a few chords and be lost for hours in just messing around with a Input and Output block, amp and cab block and I mean just lost for hours with what feels and sounds like the "amp in the room". It reacts to how you play and input from your fingers and pick, and this is a really neat experience. Sitting down with a Recto and being able to dial in great tones and not have to peel the skin off your face.

Organic, would be a great way to describe it. To my ears I cannot believe how far this FAS FW has come with this unit in just the short time I have owned it.

 

There are several guys that have sold their real amps and cabs as after A/B testing, they cannot tell the difference or don't have to deal with the physical limitations of the real amps and plus they can cash in on all their heads and cabs. There are countless posts of users dialing in there amps and cabs and not being able to tell which one they are playing when A/B the modeler against there real heads and cabs.

Of course the AXE FX III is a far bit more money if you are looking for the unit and FC12 controller, but I have no regrets and flat out the best purchase I feel I could have made. Stock presets, amps and cabs and effects are all top notch, but let your ears make up your mind for you.

 

Would I still be happy with the Helix, hell yes! I am sure I would be still using it had I not experienced the AXE FX III.

In the end, all that really matters is does it sound good and feel good to you?

The AXE FX III to date, never leaves me feeling like I need more or that something is missing.

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