Guitarists! You Drooling Over The Axe-Fx Ii Too?

(btw, since it processes audio signals i guess it could be awesome for other audio input as well?)

i wish i could motivate buying such a thing but since i’m not even in a band playing guitar it’s just not enough. (though i play a lot of both electric and acoustic at home)

BUT, might be that the axe-fx and the axe-fx ultra will be cheap enough now so that i actually can motivate buying one! : D

Frankly, no. :) IMO these things are really just for ‘traditional’ guitarists and designed to cover all their needs by moving all their processing into one unit. These units use cutting edge technology but to very traditional ends. Sure, you can do some whacky stuff, but it doesn’t come nearly as easily or naturally as setting up a ‘Texas Crunch’ patch in full stereo with two separate amps and cabs, because that’s what they had in mind when they made it. E.g. the Axe-Fx 1 already had a sort of step-sequencer for effects parameters, but can you imagine setting that up on such a small screen? What a nightmare. Or side-chain an external signal? I don’t even know if you can. You could use the computer to for setup, but where will it be when you need it? Probably not where you are at that moment, unless it’s part of your rig, at which point you’ll wonder why you can’t just make a few clicks in Live or whatever.

IMO if you’re really into electronic guitar music you’re much better off - both financially, hardware-footprint and creative-flexibility wise - to have it all on a laptop or a dedicated rack computer.

Besides, the interface still looks like the old Digitech 2112. What’s up with that?

I’m thinking of heading in another direction for live guitar:

Tube amp as a pre-colouring stage. This is absolutely necessary, no question. Tubes give integrity to the guitar sound like no other processing can. It’s a law.

Then, I already have a heap of fancy pedal effects, so I’ll go through them on the amp’s send/return routing so I can optionally add modulations and ‘wet effects’.

Then, use the amp’s line out or emulated out line out to go into the soundcard connected to the laptop. Run at 96khz sampling. Here I can use Renoise and a whole gamut of effects for anything I can dream of and some serious textural looping. Not synced riff looping though - I’m so over that. Just ambience and texture, un-rhythmic. Then I can solo/improvise at will over the top, and work to compliment what the other band members are doing. Run the output of the laptop to some stereo wedges, and maybe have some sort of switching system so I can go back to the raw amp sound using the amp’s speaker optionally.

Actually what I would really love is some basic tabletop effects unit with lots of effects, multiple effects at the same time, effect routing and hands-on-tweakability: lots of knobs. Only device I can think of at the moment is BOSS GT-8 (even though it’s intended as a floor effect, it can be used on desktop).

Does anyone know anything else?

Boss ME-25 is a decent one considering the price.

I use a dedicated cab sim (Recabinet) on my analog preamp and it sounds better than anything else I’ve tried. Using a dedicated cab sim you’re not wasting any CPU on a big amp sim frontend. I agree on the analog preamp (although tubes vs. solid state might be a matter of taste, especially for cleans) and I have found that digital cab modelling delivers far better results compared to the real thing than digital preamp modelling. It really adds the ‘punchy’ feel of a cab.

I’m working on running a midi tube-preamp into a mfx into A/D interface into Live and any VSTs then back out into the power amp. The idea is to eventually control everything via one midi footpedal: Patch change outboard and digital controlling onboard.

I’m thinking about swapping Live for Renoise, mainly so I can use it all on Linux as well, but Live has so much great stuff already in place and offers incredible simple routing options and effects chaining. I don’t think I can live without Live’s ‘effects rack’ thing.

The GT-8 is getting old. I’d get a GT-10 at least, if you really want to go this way. It has a few assignable knobs and generally a much better interface. All those knobs on the GT-8 look neat, but they’re stuck in the function they have on the label. If you are not using that effect, they’re just sitting there. Besides, the LCD is pretty limited, the GT-10 is a big improvement.

Alternatively you could get a POD. I don’t know if the new POD HD does simultaneous USB in and out, but I assume it does. The POD X3 pro offers about as much flexibility as you could want and has tons of I/O, a huge limitation of the Axe-Fx IMO, which essentially forces you to use only onboard effects or at least inline with the preamp.

If you can pick up a GTpro cheap, it offers several external effects loops on the hardware side (not just one, like most) that you can use to integrate other effects. The software side of the unit however is GT8-era and obsolete, despite Boss still praising it as their “Flagship Unit”.