There are a lot of questions flying around on this board regarding the Fractal Audio Axe-Fx, so to make everything easy for people speculating about whether or not it's worth dropping the cash for one of these, here's a place for you to ask specific questions and get direct answers from those of us who own the unit and have first-hand experience with it. I really hope this thread isn't redundant, Mods Anyway, I'll start out with some FAQ: Q: Does the Axe-Fx really sound like a tube amp? A: This one is obviously the most relevant qustion, but it's also very subjective and hard to answer. In my opinion: yes. Some bands you can check out that use an Axe-Fx are: Periphery, Animals as Leaders (Live, not on the record), Devin Townsend, Dweezil Zappa, Cynic and Meshuggah, and some guys who use the Axe-Fx but not exclusively are Jeff Loomis, Chris Broderick, Adrian Belew (King Crimson), Vernon Reid, Greg Howe, Marty Friedman and many others. For some statements from these artists, head over here: Artists using Fractal Audio Systems and Atomic Amplifer Products Some examples of the Axe-Fx, used in a professional mix or settings: (this one might be seen as file-sharing, please let me know and I'll take it away. Soryz bulb ) And... um... one of mine Q: Is the Ultra model that much superior to the Standard, and would I regret buying the Standard? A: This is also a matter of opinion, but at least we can pinpoint what it is in the Ultra that costs the extra money. First of all, ALL the amp, cab and mic sims are exactly the same in both the Standard and Ultra models. You're not missing out on any of that when buying a Standard. What the Ultra offers is primarily more memory and CPU, meaning you can put more effects and routings etc. in a patch before you run out of CPU. That said, running dual amps and dual cabs on the Standard, along with a few effects like a compressor, delay and reverb, is no problem on the Standard. Some argue that, due to the continuous firmware updates from Fractal Audio, which constantly add more amps and stuff to the Axe, there may come a point in the future when the Standard's memory can't hold any more stuff. We're not there yet, but it may happen. However, the Standard already has 50+ amp models, and they won't sound any less good just because the firmware updates stop. But it's worth keeping in mind. The Ultra also offers a multi-band compressor, synth effects, a vocoder, looper and a routable noise-gate among other things. The routable noise gate is, in my opinion, kind of redundant because the amps in the Axe-Fx don't add any noise on their own like regular amps do, so having the noise gate at the start of the signal chain (as it is on the Standard), works as good as having it anywhere else. For those wondering if it's possible to still make som wild effected tones on the Standard model, check this out: In conclusion: If you're more of a guitar-into amp guy who likes a lot of versatility both live and in the studio, I'd say the Standard is fine. If you're a studio guy who wants the extra mastering tools and OTT effects of the Ultra, or you play in a U2 cover band, get the Ultra. Q: Is it easy to dial in a good sound? A: The interface is very easy. But getting a good sound is mostly up to how much experience or knowledge you have about studio tools and sound engineering. Remember, the Axe-Fx doesn't just simulate guitar amps, it simulates guitar recordings. So dialing in a tone on the Axe-Fx can be most easily compared to recording and mixing a guitar tone on a record. However, the Axe-Fx is also a great way to learn about EQ's, compressors, filters etc. My studio skills went through the roof after getting the Axe-Fx . So it can work both ways. In short, the more time you spend learning and reading about what each parameter does to the tone, the easier and quicker it'll be to dial in good tones. Q: What do I need to buy extra to use the Axe-Fx live? A: In essence, nothing . You can plug the Axe-Fx straight into the PA, listen back through the monitors, and switch patches by flicking the large, round knob on the front of the Axe-Fx. When I first got mine, I did some shows like this. I pretty quickly bought a midi controller though, to be able to steer it with my feet. Pretty much any midi controller will do, I bought a Behringer FCB1010 which is about as cheap as you can go but it's a reliable pedal and works well with the Axe-Fx. Some people, especially those who have a lot of experience playing live with a tube halfstack behind them pumping air at their asses, like to run the Axe-Fx through a power amp and cabinet. This way, the Axe-Fx only acts as a preamp, and when doing this it's very easy (and recommended) to shut off the power amp and speaker sims on the Axe-Fx. This can be done on a -per patch basis, so you can have a set of patches for live use, without power amp and speaker sims, and another set of the same patches for studio use with the power amp and speaker sims on. It's also common to use powered monitors with the Axe-Fx. The reason for this is, for example when you have a loud drumset and maybe the other guitarist in your band plays a half stack, they send a lot of volume from the stage, so if your guitar sound only comes through the PA which sometimes sits above the first few rows in the audience, it makes it hard for them to hear you. By using powered monitors (placed behind you, facing the audience like a regular amp), you even out the stage mix and can also free up some space in your monitor mix. You also get a much more exact representation of what your actual tone sounds like through the PA, as you get the exact same tone through your powered monitor. If you use a power amp and cab, it might sound awesome where you are standing but through the PA it might sound like crap and you don't notice. Either method works though and it's completely up to personal preference. Q: There isn't one at my local Guitar Center, how will I ever buy one? A: American buyers can order directly from the company here: http://www.fractalaudio.com/purchase-fractal.html, and european buyers can easily buy from G66, the only european distributor afaik: http://www.g66.com/. These guys have excellent customer service btw. Aside from the Axe-Fx, they sent me their own "n00b manual" to get started making patches, a hand-written thank you note and a box of chocolates That's how you run a business, boys and girls! Any more questions, and I'm sure both myself and the other Axe-Fx users on this board will be happy to help! Cheers! - edit - Btw, please don't come into this thread to bash the unit or modeling in general, or tell us all how much better you think tube amps are, or that the GSP is better value or whatever. This thread is meant to be helpful to those considering buying the unit, so unless someone specifically asks for a comparison between the Axe-Fx and a another amp that you may have experience with, please take it somewhere else. Play nice.