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Two Notes Torpedo or Axe-FX II!? Electric Guitar Amplification
Old 20th June 2011
  #1
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Two Notes Torpedo or Axe-FX II!?

Here's the situation, I used to own an Axe-FX Ultra & I sold it following the news of the release of the Axe-FX II with the intention of updating. However, considering the distasteful demeanour of Fractal Audio & the people surrounding them I'm a little loathed to give them another 2.5k of my money if there's an alternative elsewhere that will do the job just as well (plus, the indefinite downtime while waiting for them to produce units is also kind of problematic for me). That being said, if it really is the best solution for what I need then it'd be silly to let my feelings on their behaviour etc. get in the way of my making music.

Anyway, with this in mind, the Two-Notes Torpedo has caught my eye & seeing that the venerable Michael Wagner recommends it is certainly something to turn one's head! I realise that the 2 products don't directly compete but, in my case, either one could potentially fit the bill.

Basically, when playing live I use a boost pedal into the front of a Handwired Marshall running through a Greenback loaded cab & I couldn't be happier. However, I record from home & therefore am simply not in the position to mic up my actual setup when it comes to the recording side of things.

The Axe-FX II would be the better product from a convenience point of view as I wouldn't have to worry about tube life, warming the amp up, relying on separate bits of gear if I want an alternative sound etc. & it would be a standalone solution that could live in my home studio (hence no carting my head back & forth from the rehearsal space). Therefore I probably would still pick the Axe-FX from that point of view. However, if my head running through the Torpedo would sound/feel more like my actual live rig (the first gen Axe-FX, while good, never quite managed it), then it may be worth sacrificing the convenience of the bells & whistles in the Axe-FX & taking my business elsewhere.

So, that's it in a nutshell, any opinions from forum users here on which way they'd go & why would be very much appreciated.

....I know it seems crazy that I'm having these second thoughts about the Axe-FX II simply down to the way the company conducts itself, but it's a lot of money to spend & when a company shows such blatant disregard & distain toward it's customers then it does make you think twice. Plus, on reflection, being a tube amp purist at heart had I have known about the Torpedo before I stepped into the Axe-FX world I don't think I'd have ever bought an Axe-FX in the first place anyway to be honest. ....My head tells me to stick with the known entity & wait for the Axe-FX II, but my heart tells me to take my business to a more deserving company & stop worrying about trying to recreate my analog setup in what is basically a computer (something that I'd have never considered a few years ago anyhow).

Sorry for waffling, but it's difficult when you have to spend this kind of money blindly. Any advice from people in the know, or feedback from users of the Torpedo, would be very much appreciated.
Old 20th June 2011
  #2
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Crash's Avatar
What is this behavior issue you speak of in regards to Fractal?
Old 20th June 2011
  #3
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Thread Starter
Things like the owner of the company calling his customers 'whiney bitches' etc. You shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth & treating his customers that way is not the kind of behaviour that makes me want to give him my continued business.

However, the intention of this thread wasn't to bash Fractal, they do make an incredible product, I'd just be interested to hear some real world opinions on the Two Notes product. Again, I haven't decided to jump ship yet, I'm just contemplating the alternatives in light of recent events.
Old 20th June 2011
  #4
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Indeed, I was not trying to start a bash Fractal conversation, just curious as to what was going down. Back on track and thanks for your explanation.
Old 20th June 2011
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crash View Post
Indeed, I was not trying to start a bash Fractal conversation, just curious as to what was going down. Back on track and thanks for your explanation.
No worries. :-)
Old 20th June 2011
  #6
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I have heard samples of the Axe-FX and they sounded decent to me. I have not heard the Two Torpedo product but it does seem intriguing. What about something simple, like a Palmer or Rivera Rock Crusher load box? There is the Eleven rack by Digidesign as well.... another that I am not really familiar with. I am more like a Les Paul and Marshall set to stun guy too but I get what you have to do to get by recording in the home set up.
Old 20th June 2011
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crash View Post
I have heard samples of the Axe-FX and they sounded decent to me. I have not heard the Two Torpedo product but it does seem intriguing. What about something simple, like a Palmer or Rivera Rock Crusher load box? There is the Eleven rack by Digidesign as well.... another that I am not really familiar with. I am more like a Les Paul and Marshall set to stun guy too but I get what you have to do to get by recording in the home set up.
For me the cab plays a big role in the sound & that's why I was thinking of the Torpedo over a normal load box as I'm lead to believe that the cab sim options are second to none in terms of their realism. I also like the idea of having my guitar signal sorted before it hits the DAW as that way it's independent of the recording system & there's less fiddling about when it comes to tracking.

Good suggestion about the Eleven rack, I've always been twitchy about modellers though & if I was going stick to the modelling route then I don't think I'd want to go with anything but the new Axe-FX as I think it's most certainly the most powerful/accurate all-in one modeller & I'm particularly picky about my sound as you can probably tell.

The other thing about the Torpedo is that it looks like it could probably free me up from the constant tweaking & give me more play-time back. I know that I like the sound of my amp you see, it's just whether or not I can get an authentic 4x12 Greenback loaded sound from the Torpedo that will sound & behave as good if not better with my amp than the virtual rig equivalent in an Axe-FX. ...I wish stores stocked these bloody things so that you could try them out, it would make life so much easier! hehe
Old 20th June 2011
  #8
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I have heard about the current fiasco over at fractal...

How long is the wait?? I also heard that people are writing scripts to submitt hundreds of orders online so they can get a spot on the wait list.....

purrrty crazy.... The Axe FXII must be the "Beezneezz"..
Old 20th June 2011
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apadua View Post
I have heard about the current fiasco over at fractal...

How long is the wait?? I also heard that people are writing scripts to submitt hundreds of orders online so they can get a spot on the wait list.....

purrrty crazy.... The Axe FXII must be the "Beezneezz"..
The length of wait still seems indefinite in all honesty. I got on the european waiting list early May & was originally told I'd receive the unit late June/early July. However, they are now saying that they hope for a September delivery so long as there is no more delays from Fractal ...I guess we'll see how it pans out.

In the US they've just opened a waiting list I believe, but they are randomly putting a few units up for sale every now & then in their Yahoo store & if a customer is 'lucky' enough to secure one after having sat at their computer for hours on end clicking refresh then they have to then pay an extra $400 premium on top of the RRP for the pleasure of having done so. ...that's how it seems to be working anyhow.
Old 23rd June 2011
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenVoice View Post
Here's the situation, I used to own an Axe-FX Ultra & I sold it following the news of the release of the Axe-FX II with the intention of updating. However, considering the distasteful demeanour of Fractal Audio & the people surrounding them I'm a little loathed to give them another 2.5k of my money if there's an alternative elsewhere that will do the job just as well (plus, the indefinite downtime while waiting for them to produce units is also kind of problematic for me). That being said, if it really is the best solution for what I need then it'd be silly to let my feelings on their behaviour etc. get in the way of my making music.


....I know it seems crazy that I'm having these second thoughts about the Axe-FX II simply down to the way the company conducts itself, but it's a lot of money to spend & when a company shows such blatant disregard & distain toward it's customers then it does make you think twice. Plus, on reflection, being a tube amp purist at heart had I have known about the Torpedo before I stepped into the Axe-FX world I don't think I'd have ever bought an Axe-FX in the first place anyway to be honest. ....My head tells me to stick with the known entity & wait for the Axe-FX II, but my heart tells me to take my business to a more deserving company & stop worrying about trying to recreate my analog setup in what is basically a computer (something that I'd have never considered a few years ago anyhow).

Sorry for waffling, but it's difficult when you have to spend this kind of money blindly. Any advice from people in the know, or feedback from users of the Torpedo, would be very much appreciated.
RavenVoice,

I know exactly what you're saying. The only thing that we can do as consumers is show the arrogant owner of Fractal Audio that disrespect towards your customers will always bite you in the end. I have recently purchased an AxeFx and can't believe that someone who is so intelligent when it comes to electronic design could be so stupid when it comes to customer relations. As for me this "whiney bitch" will never spend another dime that might end up in his hand.

When it comes down to it, Eventide effects are better than the Axe's as he's modeled the Eclipse's sounds for a lot of it and any of the boutique amps that he's modeled sound better. The power of the unit has been the swiss army knife of the amp world approach that it does better than any other. But I will never give anyone who's disrespected so many people another dollar.

That's just my opinion, but I feel just like you feel.
Old 11th July 2011
  #11
Gear Head
 

I have also thought about both of these products and spent a lot of time researching the Torpedo.

Here is the biggest problem with the vb-101 IMHO: you don't actually know how it will sound with a given amp until you actually use it. The interaction of the load box to a given tube amp is not perfectly predictable. The owner of Two Notes admits that in many cases the result is a darker sound. that is the main reason they added an EQ to the unit: in order to allow you to bring back some of the highs and air lost in the process.

For me, I like stuff that works in a predictable fashion, so I decided to drop the torpedo from consideration, although I dig the concept.

It might work just wonderfully with your Marshall....or not. If you can demo, then great.
Old 11th July 2011
  #12
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Sometime ago I saw a demo of the VB 101 with someone from Two Notes assisting for the fine-tuning of the Torpedo. Despite his help, the sound we got from the Mesa-Boogie head wasn't right for everybody's hear in the control room, very flat, unpleasant. We even thought that the head could be damaged. So we hooked the head to whatever cabinet was available in the live room, put a single mike in front of one of the speakers and voilĂ  ! instant pleasure. Sure, the fact that the mike was a Josephson e22S certainly helped, but from them on, the Torpedo was turned off and that was it for the demo.

I'm sure some have different experences with the Torpedo with better results,an find that box useful but I think that it does prove that it can't fit all situations. So far I'm not convinced I can't reach the same results with a cab simulator box like SPL's and some impulses like ReWirez for much less $$ (and always keep a DI track for when I can make a reamp track with full power).
Old 11th July 2011
  #13
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Thread Starter
Thanks for your replies guys. I did actually purchase the VB-101 in the end. I did get to try it briefly before making my purchase, but the conditions weren't ideal (****ty monitors in the store etc). However, I was extremely impressed with the attention to detail in the unit. It's so straight forward & simple to use & I'm hoping it's going to liberate my workflow & get me away from the eternal tweaking that was the world of the Axe-FX & third party impulses. One thing I was real happy to see is that everything remains 100% touch sensitive with this unit. I can still control dynamics completely from the guitar (something that, contrary to popular belief, could never be done with the Axe-Fx).

I'm currently awaiting the arrival of a speaker cable that's long enough to reach my rack so, since getting it home, I've only been able to use it with a DI through the line in. Again, the workflow of the unit has seemed ideal & the speaker & mic emulations seem fantastic.

My only concern when trying it in the shop with my amp was that it felt a little flat compared to having a real cab pumping air (bearing in mind I was using ****ty speakers at very quiet volumes). However, Two Notes have informed me that they too had realised that the load box interaction was not 100% there initially. They then went on to say that they had completely redesigned the load box compensation feature since & that they now believed that they had completely nailed it. This new firmware is available as a free download from their website & the first thing I did when I got the unit was run the update. I have since read on their forum that they no longer believe that the post EQ section is necessary as the new loadbox compensation negates the need for it (this sentiment does seem to be reflected by existing users too). ...suffice to say I'm very much looking forward to trying this for myself once my lead arrives!

So, in summation, although I haven't been able to try the unit inside out as of yet, so far it definitely seems like I made the right decision. The Torpedo is FAR more conducive to a creative environment & the workflow is much more suited to studio engineers & professional musicians who don't want the gear to get in the way of the work. The build-quality is great, the design is immaculate (features like slaving the sample rate output to your converter & the automatic setting of gain levels are examples of how well this unit is thought out) & it allows the player to retain his dynamics & the control over his sound in a way that no modeller can. It's also real nice to see that the Two Notes team still consider the VB-101 an active product & are continually improving it with Free updates. I also really like that this unit takes care of the portion of the sound that would usually be handled by the engineer anyway & leaves the front end for the guitar player & his actual gear (why try & recreate my rig with digital simulations when the actual gear is sitting right next to me anyhow!?). If nothing else, the Torpedo certainly does seem to be the best direct recording solution I have found so far. Just how accurately the load box reacts to the amp following the firmware update, I guess I'll soon find out, but either way I do believe it'll give me better results than any alternative (even with the old firmware on ****ty monitors it felt more like a real guitar rig than the Axe-FX ever did).

FYI narapo, I did consider the SPL unit, but given that you're stuck do predetermined approximations of cab sounds I was a little put off. For me, the key thing with the Torpedo is it's complete flexibility. All the usual suspects are in there & you have complete control over mic placement, phase alignment, speaker overload etc. & you can always add your own impulses using mics & cabs of your choice. This flexibility should give the Torpedo far more of a lifespan & far more flexibility than units such as the SPL I feel. However, I can see how the SPL would suit some people who aren't concerned with trying to emulate specific cabs & micing techniques & just want a workable direct sound that doesn't need to be specific. ....oh, & with the Torpedo I shall be outputting my main mic'd amp sound on one channel & a dry unaffected sound on the other. This way my main guitar sound will be created on the way in without adding to the load on my CPU (also great for monitoring as I don't have to worry about the roundtrip through my DAW) but I'll also still have a dry track there to re-mic &/or re-cab after the fact should i wish. ...seems like the ideal workflow to me. :-)
Old 11th July 2011
  #14
Gear Head
 

Cool.

You what would be really really cool is if you could eventually put up some audio samples that directly compare the recorded amp to what you get from the torpedo. I was never successful in finding this anywhere.

Something simple like an sm57.

I might just have to put this back on my radar if the redesign gives a product that sounds close to and reacts the same as mic to amp
Old 11th July 2011
  #15
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyhorserocks View Post
Cool.

You what would be really really cool is if you could eventually put up some audio samples that directly compare the recorded amp to what you get from the torpedo. I was never successful in finding this anywhere.

Something simple like an sm57.

I might just have to put this back on my radar if the redesign gives a product that sounds close to and reacts the same as mic to amp
Unfortunately where I'm working I don't have the facility to be able to crank my amp & mic it (hence the need for the Torpedo in the first place). However, if it helps at all, I'd be perfectly happy to provide any feedback you'd like once I've got my lead & fully put it through it's paces?
Old 11th July 2011
  #16
Gear interested
 

Hi All,

RavenVoice: What about something like the Rivera Silent Sister Guitar Isolation Cabinet? You can get them loaded with the Celestion speaker of your choice, and you can then plug in your favorite head and crank it up and get to actually move a bit of air with the microphone to re-create your favorite tones, without going the modeling route...

Brian from WMC
BrianM@chucklevins.com
(Full Disclosure: I work for Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center)
Old 11th July 2011
  #17
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian from WMC View Post
Hi All,

RavenVoice: What about something like the Rivera Silent Sister Guitar Isolation Cabinet? You can get them loaded with the Celestion speaker of your choice, and you can then plug in your favorite head and crank it up and get to actually move a bit of air with the microphone to re-create your favorite tones, without going the modeling route...

Brian from WMC
BrianM@chucklevins.com
(Full Disclosure: I work for Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center)
Hi Brian, good suggestion. Again though, I have actually purchased the Torpedo now & so far it's seeming ideal. I did briefly entertain the iso cab thing a while back but decided against it as, from what I hear, although it cuts down the noise significantly it can still be quite loud. Given that I record in a residential area mainly in the evening that would've been a problem for me. ...I'm also liking the flexibility the Torpedo presents with different mics, placement options etc. & have always been concerned with iso cabs sounding a bit one-dimensional & boxy. Thanks though, your suggestion is appreciated nonetheless, it would be interesting to give an iso cab a whirl one day but hopefully I have the problem solved now anyhow. :-)
Old 11th July 2011
  #18
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cinealta's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenVoice View Post
I know it seems crazy that I'm having these second thoughts about the Axe-FX II simply down to the way the company conducts itself, but it's a lot of money to spend & when a company shows such blatant disregard & distain toward it's customers then it does make you think twice.
It's not crazy. I had been considering an Axe-Fx for several years. I was luckily able to get an Axe-Fx II the first week it came out. I was trying to work out some input anomalies and Fractal's only advice to me was that the product was not right for me, or my high-end studio reference monitors were the problem. Absolutely no tech support helping troubleshoot what I was hearing. I was not alone in hearing these anomalies:

axe 2 global eq? New axe 2 not amazing, yet?

Getting Buzzing Noise - Help and Suggestions Needed

Solo 99 Clean Cold Solder Joint?


my axe II dose not sound all that great ......

Cant get good sound-some amps/high gain/just not happening

Can't establish a long-term relationship with a manufacturer that has such a "love it or leave it" attitude and is not receptive to critical feedback (extremely politely and deferentially delivered), especially for an almost $3k digital processor with two rapidly depreciating, decade-old, Analog Devices TigerSHARCs.

Now we are increasingly hearing about hardware issues, eg bad encoders (turn the knob clockwise and the preset goes down or increases 3-4 at a time), headphone outputs (and inputs) wired opposite to the main outputs on the motherboard, random boot failures. There are obvious QC issues with the units yet Fractal wouldn't even consider that the unit may be the issue, in my case, and put all anomalies on user error or "hearing perception" (Fractal said I am experiencing the "Haas effect"):

One technical problem I'm having with new II

Headphones output left and right reversed?


Trouble powering on the Axe-FX II

my axe fx2 wont turn on anymore!!!!!!

II freezes repeatedly during startup

Furthermore, there was definitely contradictory information given on technical aspects of the Axe-FX II. I didn't even post it on the FAS board because I knew Fractal, or a mod, would instantly delete it (major censorship on that forum). First Fractal suggested that there was nothing in the circuit between the input and A/D converter. Not satisfied with that answer, based on what I was hearing as well as technical knowledge about digital potentiometers, Fractal then admitted that there is a variable-gain amp between the input and the A/D converter, and re-characterized the definition of the word "input" to mean "input to the A/D converter" (post variable-gain amp), which are two totally different things. Other useful technical questions Fractal didn't answer at all (eg what the scale is for the input LEDs, as they are not labeled):

axe 2 global eq? New axe 2 not amazing, yet? - Page 4

This is what is so great about small companies like Metric Halo, Avedis, BAE and Bricasti. BJ Buchalter (MH), Avedis, Mark Loughman (BAE) and Casey (Bricasti) have been incredibly gracious and informative about their products to customers. So it is definitely possible for small companies to listen to their customers and have great customer service, unlike Fractal.

Here is my nutshell review of the Axe-Fx II based on one week's use (sorry no sound samples or 6 month evaluation):

PROS:
-Very good high-gain digital models (Friedman, Fryette, Cameron etc).
-Very good effects (on par with some Lexicon & Eventide algorithms).
-Very good latency for live playing feel (due to dedicated Analog Devices TigerSHARC processor).

CONS:
-Mediocre clean models (thin-sounding).
-Mediocre light gain/light crunch models (no Divided By 13, Matchless, Two Rock type models etc; not convinced an actual Dumble was truly modeled).
-Difficult to edit on front-panel LCD.
-Quirky hardware issues (bad encoders, mis-wired headphone outs, random boot failures etc)
-Some amp models had background "digital artifacts" or "anomalies" (bugs, inaccurate bias settings etc)
-Clean and light-gain models only equal to, or marginally better than, other competitors (eg Line 6, IK Amplitube 3 etc) but at more than 10x the cost ($250 VST compared to $2,999 for Axe-Fx II).
-One man operation. If the owner is unavailable for technical repairs, or warranty work, it's unclear who else can service these units in a timely fashion.
-Detailed technical info about these units are not forthcoming (eg input LED scale etc)
-Unclear whether actual amps were modeled in all cases, or only circuit schematics were modeled.

SUMMARY:
-I would recommend the Axe-Fx II only for its effects, B-rack or live use convenience.
-Although it has very good "high-gain" digital models, other approximately similar, or marginally less quality "high-gain" models are available elsewhere at a fraction of the cost (eg Peavey ReValver etc).
-The U.S. dealer (Tone Merchants) sales rep advised me to only buy the Axe-Fx II for the effects, not the modeling. Their advice proved accurate.
-I sold my Axe-Fx II
.
Old 11th July 2011
  #19
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinealta View Post
It's not crazy. I had been considering an Axe-Fx for several years. I was luckily able to get an Axe-Fx II the first week it came out. I was trying to work out some input anomalies and Fractal's only advice to me as was that the product was not right for me, or my high-end studio reference monitors were the problem. Absolutely no tech support helping troubleshoot what I was hearing. I was not alone in hearing these anomalies.

Can't establish a long-term relationship with a manufacturer that has such a "love it or leave it" attitude and is not receptive to critical feedback (extremely politely and deferentially delivered), especially for an almost $3k digital processor with two rapidly depreciating, decade-old, Analog Devices TigerSHARCs.

Now we are increasingly hearing about hardware issues, eg bad encoders (turn the knob clockwise and the preset goes down or increases 3-4 at a time), headphone outputs (and inputs) wired opposite to the main outputs on the motherboard. There are obvious QC issues with the units yet Fractal wouldn't even consider that the unit may be the issue, in my case, and put all anomalies on user error or "hearing perception" (Haas effect).

One technical problem I'm having with new II
Headphones output left and right reversed?


Furthermore, there was definitely contradictory information given on technical aspects of the Axe-FX II. I didn't even post it on the FAS board because I knew Fractal, or a mod, would instantly delete it (major censorship on that forum). First Fractal suggested that there was nothing between the input and A/D converter. Not satisfied with that answer, based on what I was hearing as well as technical knowledge about digital potentiometers, Fractal then admitted that there is a variable-gain amp between the input and the A/D converter, and re-characterized the definition of the word "input" to mean "input to the A/D converter" (post variable-gain amp), which are two totally different things. Other useful technical questions Fractal didn't answer at all (eg what the scale is for the input LEDs, as they are not labeled).

axe 2 global eq? New axe 2 not amazing, yet? - Page 4

This is what is so great about small companies like Metric Halo, Avedis or BAE. BJ Buchalter (MH), Avedis and Mark Loughman (BAE) have been incredibly gracious and informative about their products to customers. So it is definitely possible for small companies to listen to their customers and have great customer service.

Here is my nutshell review of the Axe-Fx II based on one week's use (sorry no sound samples):

PROS:
-Very good high-gain digital models (Friedman, Fryette, Cameron etc).
-Very good effects (on par with some Lexicon & Eventide algorithms).

CONS:
-Mediocre clean models (thin-sounding to my ears).
-Mediocre light gain/light crunch models.
-Difficult to edit on front-panel LCD.
-Quirky hardware issues.
-Clean and light-gain models only equal to, or marginally better than other competitors (eg Line 6, IK Amplitube 3 etc) but at 10x the cost ($250 vs $2,600 for Axe-Fx II).
-One man operation. If the owner is unavailable for technical repairs, or warranty work, it's unclear who else can service these units in a timely fashion.

SUMMARY:
I would recommend it only for its effects or for a B-rack. The U.S. dealer (Tone Merchants) rep advised me to only buy it for the effects, not the modeling. Their advice proved accurate. I sold my Axe-Fx II.
Wow, sorry to hear about the trouble you had with your Axe-FX, what you're saying sure does sound like Fractal & their goon-squad (I'm sure they think they walk on water you know!?). It's good you were able to sell it on quickly though ....I guess their availability issues are good for something after all!? Hehe. I don't know what your reasons were for trying the Axe-FX in the first place, but if it was for a direct recording solution like it was in my case then I'd definitely recommend checking out the Two Notes Torpedo to use with your real amp instead (a much better solution methinks! :-).
Old 12th July 2011
  #20
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Digitar's Avatar
 

We're not alone!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cinealta View Post
It's not crazy. I had been considering an Axe-Fx for several years. I was luckily able to get an Axe-Fx II the first week it came out. I was trying to work out some input anomalies and Fractal's only advice to me was that the product was not right for me, or my high-end studio reference monitors were the problem. Absolutely no tech support helping troubleshoot what I was hearing. I was not alone in hearing these anomalies.

axe 2 global eq? New axe 2 not amazing, yet?

Can't establish a long-term relationship with a manufacturer that has such a "love it or leave it" attitude and is not receptive to critical feedback (extremely politely and deferentially delivered), especially for an almost $3k digital processor with two rapidly depreciating, decade-old, Analog Devices TigerSHARCs.

Now we are increasingly hearing about hardware issues, eg bad encoders (turn the knob clockwise and the preset goes down or increases 3-4 at a time), headphone outputs (and inputs) wired opposite to the main outputs on the motherboard. There are obvious QC issues with the units yet Fractal wouldn't even consider that the unit may be the issue, in my case, and put all anomalies on user error or "hearing perception" (Haas effect).

One technical problem I'm having with new II

Headphones output left and right reversed?


Furthermore, there was definitely contradictory information given on technical aspects of the Axe-FX II. I didn't even post it on the FAS board because I knew Fractal, or a mod, would instantly delete it (major censorship on that forum). First Fractal suggested that there was nothing in the circuit between the input and A/D converter. Not satisfied with that answer, based on what I was hearing as well as technical knowledge about digital potentiometers, Fractal then admitted that there is a variable-gain amp between the input and the A/D converter, and re-characterized the definition of the word "input" to mean "input to the A/D converter" (post variable-gain amp), which are two totally different things. Other useful technical questions Fractal didn't answer at all (eg what the scale is for the input LEDs, as they are not labeled).

axe 2 global eq? New axe 2 not amazing, yet? - Page 4

This is what is so great about small companies like Metric Halo, Avedis or BAE. BJ Buchalter (MH), Avedis and Mark Loughman (BAE) have been incredibly gracious and informative about their products to customers. So it is definitely possible for small companies to listen to their customers and have great customer service.

Here is my nutshell review of the Axe-Fx II based on one week's use (sorry no sound samples or 6 month evaluation):

PROS:
-Very good high-gain digital models (Friedman, Fryette, Cameron etc).
-Very good effects (on par with some Lexicon & Eventide algorithms).
-Very good latency for live playing feel (due to dedicated Analog Devices TigerSHARC processor).

CONS:
-Mediocre clean models (thin-sounding to my ears).
-Mediocre light gain/light crunch models.
-Difficult to edit on front-panel LCD.
-Quirky hardware issues.
-Clean and light-gain models only equal to, or marginally better than, other competitors (eg Line 6, IK Amplitube 3 etc) but at more than 10x the cost ($250 vs now $2,999 for Axe-Fx II).
-One man operation. If the owner is unavailable for technical repairs, or warranty work, it's unclear who else can service these units in a timely fashion.

SUMMARY:
-I would recommend the Axe-Fx II only for its effects or for a B-rack.
-Although it has very good "high-gain" digital models, other approximately similar, or marginally less quality "high-gain" models are available elsewhere at a fraction of the cost (eg Peavey ReValver etc).
-The U.S. dealer (Tone Merchants) rep advised me to only buy it for the effects, not the modeling. Their advice proved accurate.
-I sold my Axe-Fx II
.
I'm sorry that you both had to go through the same kind of grief that I had to go through too. The Fractal Audio Site is nothing but a joke.

There are a few really helpful people there but for the most part it's people with their heads so far up Cliff Chases a** that it isn't funny. Their reason for attacking you is always the fact that he's given them all free upgrades since they bought their Axe years ago.

I've had at least 6 posts and threads deleted recently since the launch of the AxeII. I didn't attack anyone and was totally complimentary of Cliff's genius, but asked some very pointed questions about their downright rude and condesending customer service and I was attacked like you both have experienced by their "wonderful" moderator, Jay. After we spent thousands of dollars they had the money and couldn't care less if we liked it or not.

The only logical recourse is to tell all the professionals that we know in this business how Fractal goes about "TAKING CARE?!?!? of it's customers". I have personally stopped three different musicians from buying the AxeII and will continue to spread the word of how they do business to anyone I know.

I know they don't care but karma's a bitch!


As far as a new piece of gear, The Kemper Profiling Amplifier looks like a really great new piece of gear that literally clones your own set-up and models it. There's a YouTube video somewhere so you can check it out.
Old 12th July 2011
  #21
Gear Guru
 
Animus's Avatar
 

I didn't like the Torpedo stuff at all. Redwirez was world's apart better imo, and cheaper.
Old 12th July 2011
  #22
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animus View Post
I didn't like the Torpedo stuff at all. Redwirez was world's apart better imo, and cheaper.
It's interesting you feel that way considering the Torpedo emulations are the more in-depth of the two. You can always stick Redwirez impulses into it though if you wish & it's capable of running the highest quality versions as well (with the Axe-FX you have to use lower quality truncated versions).

The Torpedo is obviously going to be more expensive than a simple pack of impulses though as it's an all-in-one hardware solution that does the job of multiple different pieces of gear. In terms of price, I think the Torpedo's a really good deal, it's less than half the price of the Axe-FX & for a pro piece of studio gear it's pretty darn cost effective I feel.
Old 15th July 2011
  #23
Here for the gear
 

I was set on buying the new Axe FX II but as other people already has said in here, their customer relations are about as bad as I've ever encountered. When someone politely mentioned that the fan in a +$2000 unit is noisy, he got snubbed off quicker than Yngwie Malmsteen could play a one octave diminished arpeggio.

I've begun looking elsewhere and as my only interest is the FX part and the signal routing not the amp mod, there are some alternatives out there. I need to run a dual mono setup with separate inputs and outputs as I'll be running both a guitar and a bass through the unit. Eclipse seems to be a good choice.

The Kemper and Two Notes looks really nice, but I have three great amps in my studio, and I don't see the point in modelling those, so I'll stick to the "real" thing. (I'll probably have to eat my words later when I come crawling for amp sims...)
Old 15th July 2011
  #24
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by tubiux View Post
I was set on buying the new Axe FX II but as other people already has said in here, their customer relations are about as bad as I've ever encountered. When someone politely mentioned that the fan in a +$2000 unit is noisy, he got snubbed off quicker than Yngwie Malmsteen could play a one octave diminished arpeggio.

I've begun looking elsewhere and as my only interest is the FX part and the signal routing not the amp mod, there are some alternatives out there. I need to run a dual mono setup with separate inputs and outputs as I'll be running both a guitar and a bass through the unit. Eclipse seems to be a good choice.

The Kemper and Two Notes looks really nice, but I have three great amps in my studio, and I don't see the point in modelling those, so I'll stick to the "real" thing. (I'll probably have to eat my words later when I come crawling for amp sims...)
Good call with the Eclipse, I'd imagine you'll be very happy with that if it's effects that you need. :-)

To confirm though, the Two Notes VB-101 doesn't do amp modelling, it's aimed at people who want to use their actual amps but either need (or want) to record direct. It models speaker cabinets & microphones, it has some post effects (EQ, compression etc) & it has a load box on the front end so that you can connect your amp directly to it. It basically takes care of all the post amp stuff while providing an interface for you to use your actual gear.
Old 28th July 2011
  #25
Lives for gear
 
wakestyle's Avatar
@Raven

I'm looking at the Vb-101, you mentinoed you never had a good enough time to check out the unit after updating, can you give us a new review of the unit.

I want to run my amp into it to record 'the whole' signal chain while using my own speaker emu's if necessary. Most importantly how is the signal degradation (give us a tough review pls).

other option is Radial JDX with a separate load box or any other unit to accept speaker level signals just to convert to line (i don't need any sim's or features or fx)
Old 28th July 2011
  #26
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakestyle View Post
@Raven

I'm looking at the Vb-101, you mentinoed you never had a good enough time to check out the unit after updating, can you give us a new review of the unit.

I want to run my amp into it to record 'the whole' signal chain while using my own speaker emu's if necessary. Most importantly how is the signal degradation (give us a tough review pls).

other option is Radial JDX with a separate load box or any other unit to accept speaker level signals just to convert to line (i don't need any sim's or features or fx)
Hi Wakestyle, no problem. I've actually been putting the unit through it's paces over the last few days so you've got me at a good time. :-)

Let me start by saying this, I'm LOVING it thusfar! It does everything it says on the tin, hassle-free, with reliable & straight forward operation. It's a breath of fresh air to use & the workflow is so quick that it really lends itself to the creative process.

In terms of feel, following the firmware update, they've nailed it! I'm a player that controls my sound through technique & manipulation of the guitar's volume knob so I'm extremely fussy in this area. I can safely say that I can utilise the same techniques going through the Torpedo as I can in a live scenario with my actual cab & everything behaves the way that I'd expect (something that I've NEVER been able to say about any other direct recording solution that I've tried in the past).

Sound-wise it's fantastic as well, every nuance of mic placement, how hard you're pushing the speakers etc. all seem to operate in a very fluid & precise way. Funny enough, after having toggled through lots of different mic/cab/placement options I ended up landing on a setup that mirrors what I do by choice when micing a cab in real life, so I'd say this speaks volumes in terms of how much attention to detail they've put into ensuring that these emulations truly reflect the real world equivalents.

So yeh, in summary, I can HIGHLY recommend it! In the past I've always found every direct recording solution I've tried to be pretty darn lack-lustre, the Torpedo however has put a big old smile on my face! :-)
Old 28th July 2011
  #27
Gear Head
 

Darn it: just when I had ruled out the vb-101 and planned around a dedicated cabinet enclosure and worked out the signal chain blah blah for silent recording, you have to come out with a positive review.

Thanks for the review. Two quick questions: specifically, what amp are you running through the unit (model, tubes) - I wonder whether certain amps ultimately fit the load box better than others (the cornford examples sounded pretty good too); secondly, how do you find the latency and have you tried the low latency option. Would you say that it tightens up the bottom end or makes it a bit flubby?

In the end, what I care about is reliability, workflow, and the creative process, and it appears that this meets all of these objectives for you. Move over cab enclosure, your about to be torpedoed...
Old 28th July 2011
  #28
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyhorserocks View Post
Darn it: just when I had ruled out the vb-101 and planned around a dedicated cabinet enclosure and worked out the signal chain blah blah for silent recording, you have to come out with a positive review.

Thanks for the review. Two quick questions: specifically, what amp are you running through the unit (model, tubes) - I wonder whether certain amps ultimately fit the load box better than others (the cornford examples sounded pretty good too); secondly, how do you find the latency and have you tried the low latency option. Would you say that it tightens up the bottom end or makes it a bit flubby?

In the end, what I care about is reliability, workflow, and the creative process, and it appears that this meets all of these objectives for you. Move over cab enclosure, your about to be torpedoed...
Hi Crazyhorse, I use a Marshall 2061X (EL84s). In regard to latency, it was something that I was worrying about myself before I tried the unit, however, in reality it really does seem like a non-issue to me. I haven't even bothered trying the low-latency mode as I'm perfectly happy with the feel as is & I'm getting great results using the 'overload' parameter to simulate how hard I push my speakers in the real world.

If you do decide to get a VB-101 yourself then do let me know how you get on, if my experience is anything to go by then I'm sure you won't be disappointed! :-)
Old 29th July 2011
  #29
Hi all,

don't want to interfere with the discussion here, just to answer to :

Quote:
The owner of Two Notes admits that in many cases the result is a darker sound. that is the main reason they added an EQ to the unit: in order to allow you to bring back some of the highs and air lost in the process.
We just released a new version of the Load Compensation function (firmware update), this is no longer the case.
Old 29th July 2011
  #30
Quote:
On a similar note though, one thing that would be handy as a possible future firmware upgrade to the VB-101 hardware unit would be the ability to multi-mic within the unit itself (rather than having to use a dry signal with the plugin if you want an additional mic). As the unit does have 2 outputs would it not be possible to have a 'dual mono' setting that could output different emulations to each output? ...just a thought. The VB-101 is one wicked unit though, I'm loving mine! :-)
Having a full stereo process is kind of tricky with the VB-101, but maybe having the possibility of 2 microphones mixed on a mono out would be nice ?

By the way, the VM-202 does exactly what you want.
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