Fractal Axe Fx 3


  • These are pointless unless Kemper comes out with a new profiler. Anytime something completely new comes out you will have the old take a hit on value. I’ve been watching the Factual forums and everyone is excited over there so like politics, it all stays in the party line here and there.

    No, not pointless. The Kemper has to compete against EVERY model the Fractal comes out with. And while the last "latest greatest" is taking a nose dive, the Kemper is rising in price. (probably NAMM recognition and ppl expecting a tax return soon willing to settle fast and not negotiate)


    But after 6 years, the Kemper still sells on average for what it originally cost but at a USED price. I got my Kemper for $1490 in Jan 2013 and can sell it for that now easy. Does the Fractal hold such equity?


    No.

  • You are not paying attention obviously. You can’t make a comparison to something that has gone through complete hardware updates. I could see a comparison if the Ax just went through software updates like the kemper, but it hasn’t, Fractal has been making improvements to both hardware and software. Of course you are going to see a dip like that, hell, the Axe 3 has been talked about a long way back, those customers know what the deal is. If the Kemper 2 suddenly made an appearance you’d see a steep drop in the price of the current Kemper, especially since the new Kemper would be close to the current price.

  • i could care less. my kemper still sounds and feels like a tube amp. kemper doesn't need to keep coming out with firmware update after firmware update because their product is as close to perfect as you can get. that said, i AM looking forward to kemper adding more effects in the next few moths!

  • No, not pointless. The Kemper has to compete against EVERY model the Fractal comes out with. And while the last "latest greatest" is taking a nose dive, the Kemper is rising in price. (probably NAMM recognition and ppl expecting a tax return soon willing to settle fast and not negotiate)
    But after 6 years, the Kemper still sells on average for what it originally cost but at a USED price. I got my Kemper for $1490 in Jan 2013 and can sell it for that now easy. Does the Fractal hold such equity?


    No.

    Haven’t the price of a new Kemper gone up? At leat here it costs 25% more now than when I bought it.

  • Currently I see $1799 at Sweetwater, Sam Ash & Vintage Audio, and they were $1880 I think when I bought one.


    I just negotiated with several vendors for a lowest bidder. $1490 was tax out the door.


    Maybe they thought the Kemper was a flash in the pan at the time? IDK.

  • Well, it sure is a pretty thing!


    It is undeniably true that more processing power will allow Fractal to do more processing. I would further say that with that much processing power, the unit should be capable of producing sounds that the KPA is not capable of.


    The real question is ..... will the new Fractal unit sound better than a KPA?


    It is hard for me to get past the basic concept of the KPA.... it is just the most efficient way to capture real amp tone.


    To be fair, it is possible that in the future, it may become the norm that the tone that most people consider "good" can not be created by a tube amp at all. It can't be ruled out.


    For the tone .... we will all have to wait and see (hear) when the real thing comes out.

  • I don't imagine the FXIII's extra processing power has as much to do with the rendering of effects or models as much as dealing with the potential of the routing.


    I see on their display a 6x6 grid. We know the FXII has a 4x12 grid. So what is this, a 6x14? IDK, but if so, that raises the NEED for processing power to handle the potential.
    Have they added more than 2 possible Amps in the pathway? If so, the extra processing makes sense.


    But I wouldn't think that the extra processing means "more real" as the limit to Fractal sounding like the amps they model. Its only how well they program the algorithms for their models.
    And they do many of those very well in the FXII, some spot on. So more processing won't make them sound any "better".


    This seems to be a routing upgrade on a number of levels from first glance. Curious to see if it's more, and what kind of more.


    What I would be looking for from Fractal mainly are 2 things:
    1) More official base amp models in the unit
    2) A robust and central preset sharing site


    The power of the Kemper is it's realism and it's huge library of created and shared profiles. Fractal needs something like that for the user who is looking for a "Lifeson", "Vai" or "AC/DC Angus" preset (assuming they use the right guitar)


    Kemper should keep working on their effects, an Editor, a floor unit, and a potential upgrade of morphing profiles if they eventually do produce another unit a la KPA-Deuce (I like that, has an illicit flavor to it, haha, add to the unit a built-in Lava Lamp, hee)

  • My thing is gear always tends to get too complicated. Those of us that came from the 80s remember how it all started with the pedals, the classic ‘I need to switch from clean + chorus to distorted with delay.. “. And dreamed of something that would stop the 2 foot at a time shuffle. Rack gear started with one effect per rack. Then 4 effects, then 7! Wonderful! And the tiny display was ok, because you could only do so much anyway. When it got to where you suddenly had eventides and NASA rocket manuals, that’s where most jumped ship. Just too fucking much, and most of it was crap. Not for guitar. Back to pedals. Then the editor stuff came around, and that suddenly changed everything. The fatigue of the programming the massive layout was made easy. To finally not have to stand or sit for hours pushing, twisting, storing was gone! Thank god!


    Now, you have things getting like a rocket ship again. 1000 amps. 1000 cabs, 1000 inputs and outputs and etc, etc... Even with an editor, the more updates, I can feel the late 80’s early 90’s aggravation creeping up again. Do I have the latest update? Will we get another update? Do I really need the latest update? Can I use (fill in the blank) with this new update? Should I back this shit up in case my whole system crashes?! The Ax is turning into too much of a monster. The Kemper is gaining ground with more and more effects and things...


    And then there is my trusty 2 channel combo and 5 effect analog footpedal board... :-)


    Previously I imagined the death of tube amps because what is the point? But then I have to catch myself because we were here before. Now seeing how these boxes get more and more, I’m just wondering if there won’t be another tech brain crunch and reversal again.

  • There will always be people into analog gear for various bonafide reasons.


    But "complexity" has been there a long time. Moog and programming synths. Ever try and program an 80's rack-mount delay/reverb unit?


    What I DO like is the easy of KPA interface and while the FXII's interface wasn't a bear, the Editor made it quite easy.


    But you're right about "choices". I think there are 2 approaches. Putting together a song and looking for that "right" sound, or playing with sounds and finding the inspiration to write from it.
    The first takes patience but pays off IF you already know the roadmap of the song. The latter helps generate songs.


    But if you're always researching and not getting down to making the music, yeah, it's getting counter-productive. This is simply because as you engineer you kill the Musician's Vibe in you.
    Engineers know this, which is why they do a lot of prep for a musician's session. Bot at home hobbyists/musicians have to deal with this constant changing of hats. And since Engineering is a deep subject, it's easy to get lost. The FXII's deep editing doesn't help you and now KPA has a pretty extended bit of tweaking inside you can get side-tracked with.


    I try to use the Rig Manager to find a sound based on a well-known tone I'm looking for. Search, get a group, audit that group, find the best for my application, and then do some simple tweaking. Takes 15m tops. I spend way more time on programming drums than the Guitar parts. And most guitar parts come from ideas you got during practice and experimentation, right?


    I look for the FUN factor. And when that drops, I go out and ride my bike, haha!

  • As someone who owns a Kemper and Axe FX II XL+, I'll be upgrading to the Axe FX III when it's released. I'm definitely looking forward to this unit. I have no plans to sell the Axe FX II or KPA. They'll both be used in the loop of the Axe FX III, which has 4 inputs, any one of which can be used as an FX loop.


    I don't expect any significant difference in modeling quality at launch, however the new hardware will afford a lot of growing room. I'm upgrading because I have little doubt it will completely eclipse the Axe FX II in terms of modeling and effects quality over time, just as the Axe FX II ultimately eclipsed the Axe FX Ultra in a significant way. The Axe FX II is already a powerhouse, though.


    One thing that's worth noting is that the Axe FX II can be made to sound exactly like any number of KPA profiles assuming you capture the cab section using the IR capture utility in the Axe FX. In my own blind tests, I've proved to myself that the Axe FX II is capable of reproducing Kemper profiles exactly by doing just that. I've said that time and again on this forum in various threads.


    For those who are happy with the KPA, great. I know I am. But I also enjoy what the Axe FX brings to the table. It definitely complements the KPA, in my opinion. I use both together quite often, and they make for an awesome combination. This isn't a zero sum game.

  • ColdFrixion,


    There was a big evolution from the FX->ULTRA->FXII but during the FXII's evolution there has been a greater deal of parity amp-wise.
    I think any new improvements in tone will be slight for some models and non-existent for others.


    I, too, have seen a great ability of each unit to match the other, enough so for live playing, but I haven't heard the FXII deliver non-effect early-make raw amps like a 1955 Gibson
    (to be fair I haven't tried capturing them either on the FXII, so I'll take your word for it)


    Some Fractal effects are already world class, so I can't imagine improvement, just extension (i.e.. more types of reverbs)
    but Fractal could use great improvement of their Overdrives (and not just Fractal, no modeler has really great overdrives yet IMO, and IDK why that is.)


    Will you use overdrive pedals on one of your I/O loops?

  • It is undeniably true that more processing power will allow Fractal to do more processing. I would further say that with that much processing power, the unit should be capable of producing sounds that the KPA is not capable of.....

    The key here i think is "should be capable". It all goes down to proper allocation of processing power. I'm sure Cliff is a very smart guy, but there's something extremely unique about the Kemper that i don't think was disclosed for good reasons.


    According to an interview with CK


    "The global sampling rate is 44.1 kHz, while the internal sampling rate is partially much higher. The algorithm for the tube simulation runs on more than 700 kHz sampling rate (!)"
    .

    I personally tend to think that the more than 700KHZ sampling rate of the kemper is more meaningful and beneficial than the most recent increase in the AXE FX III internal oversampling rate and the 64bit depth. To me just based on clips and production I heard of both units, I still haven't heard anything from the AXE FX II that has the realism of the Kemper and somehow I suspect that unusual more than 700KHZ internal sampling rate of the Kemper is only a tip of the iceberg that makes up the unique untold science behind the Kemper that I'm sure Line 6, Fractal, and all modeling companies are still scratching their heads trying to figure it out.


    SO in short , I predict that the AXE III will still lag behind in realism of amp modeling behind the Kemper. how much of the processing power increase will go to tube simulation or cabinet simulation? With the AXE FX III being a full fledged USB audio interface with dedicated graphic processor for the screen and other effects, I don't see the improvements proportionally being allocated to amp modeling.

  • I tend to believe there may potentially be quite noticeable improvement in the modeling over time specifically because fewer algorithmic compromises need to be made as a result of the increased processing capabilities. It's a new platform, so I'm not expecting significant qualitative changes out of the gate.


    As far as reproducing profiles in the Axe, I matched profiles that had equivalent amp models such as Bogner and Orange, for example. However, if I were attempting to reproduce a profile of an amp that wasn't modeled in the Axe, I'd start by finding one that sounds fairly similar, capturing the cab section of the profile using the Axe's built-in IR capture utility, tweaking the tone controls, and lastly, use the Axe's Tone Matching feature to close any remaining gaps. I have virtually no doubt the results would likely be indistinguishable in most cases.


    Overall, I'm fairly satisfied with the effects in the Axe FX II, though I'd be interested to see additional chorus algorithms and whatever else they decide to update. I don't use OD pedals, and I tend not to use an OD block in the Axe because I generally don't find I need one for my high gain presets. I used one when recreating a couple of Guido Bungenstock profiles, but most of the time I find I don't need them.