Axe FX 2 vs 5150 iii what's your preference and why

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by Orionsbelt456, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    You don't need a tube rig to have an "open" guitar tone, just less compression. Generally that means less gain.

    Except for all the times where it's not a cold lifeless digital music computer, right? C'mon. The teams at Fractal and Kemper (and by the sounds of it now line 6) have figured out how to make technology work to the musician's advantage. It's just that those same musicians are steeped in tradition and by and large unwilling to actually embrace new things. Rack rigs were the must-have once before, too. Things are cyclical. If you don't physically see what an album was recorded with in 2016, you don't actually know. That "holy grail marshall plexi tone" may not be the Friedman the band said they used ;).

    In my limited experience the III's are a little touchy on the volume between 0 and 2 (IIRC) but they do actually get a tone at a quiet volume.
     
  2. vinniemallet

    vinniemallet EBMM Addicted

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    Hi,

    Used to have an Axe-Fx. Sold it. I'm with EVH 5150 50w now with a Zilla 2x12. Couldn't be happier.
     
  3. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Great!

    Why?
     
  4. PBGas

    PBGas SS.org Regular

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    Plus footboard for AxeFX and some kind of FRFR monitor as well as an expression pedal....lets not forget those little "cheap" essentials. loL :hbang:

    I'll take an amp any day. After being down the Kemper rabbit hole, I'll pass. If I was a touring pro, it would be a nice easy setup to use. I play a few gigs a month live and taking my amp and small board is no issue for me.
     
  5. Orionsbelt456

    Orionsbelt456 SS.org Regular

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    I love all this input! Is there any way from avoiding the 4 cable method with a TC triple delay?
     
  6. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    What do you mean?

    Use the fx loop or go straight in.
     
  7. Orionsbelt456

    Orionsbelt456 SS.org Regular

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    Are they both going to sound the same though?
     
  8. Lemons

    Lemons SS.org Regular

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    I've got an Axe fx2 and while I've never owned a 5150 iii, my mate did leave his with me for a few weeks so I've actually had some time to A/B the two. The axefx didn't sound any better than the 5150, but I did manage to dial them in to sound nearly identical. The real versatility of the Axe fx is that while the 5150 is just that, after playing around on a heavier high gain patch I can still switch to a nice fender twin sound. So performance wise the Axefx wins by a mile.

    Factoring in cost (even though it's already been said) the 5150 is better value.

    One last point is reliability, I've never had an issue with my unit but I know a guy that runs sound for various international touring bands and according to him they're not entirely solid enough when it comes to flying around the world.
     
  9. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    This is why I don't recommend using a traditional guitar poweramp and cab with the Axe-Fx. Those have a huge effect on the end result so if it doesn't sound "open", that's most likely that the settings on the Axe don't gel with the rest of your setup. Same as some amps sound crap with certain speakers or cabs but great thru others. That's where cab impulses come in on the Axe and I generally spend more time choosing the right one there than with the amp block.

    It is true that moving from a traditional tube rig to a proper Axe-Fx 2 is expensive, but overall not that much more than having a high end boutique amp like a Diezel and an equally good cab to match. It's just that people often miss the other gear part and end up not being happy with what they get out of the Axe.
     
  10. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    The effects loop never sounds the same as going straight in, fx loops bypass the preamp.
     
  11. bhakan

    bhakan SS.org Regular

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    Since you've already had both rigs, you already know the tonal differences. If you're concerned with silent practice/recording, you can always pick up a loadbox for the 5150 so you can run it into an interface for silent recording. I really think what it comes down to is how much do you use different models on the Axe? If you found your high gain tone and clean tone and just stick to those, the 5150 may be a good move. If you have a whole bunch of different high gain patches you use for different applications you may want to keep the Axe FX.
     
  12. Orionsbelt456

    Orionsbelt456 SS.org Regular

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    I hear ya. I honestly didn't have the 5150 iii very long as I purchased the axe rig like a week after. So I really didn't play around with it. Sold it to fund the axe fx.s o that's why I'm asking all of you some tonal differences and such
     
  13. Promit

    Promit SS.org Regular

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    I had an EVH 5153 50w side by side with an Axe FX into a Crown XLS power amp, on the same cab, for about two months. The Axe won.

    5153: I only like the blue channel on this head. I REALLY like that channel though. It's one of my favorite sounds on any amp anywhere. The red channel is too compressed for my tastes and the green strikes me as thin and bright. Because I had a 50w, I had the irritating volume jump issue between green and blue, and I wasn't in the mood to spend the $400 or so required to mod it. I wanted a three channel head, instead I had a one channel head with two other sounds I didn't like.

    Axe: It has the EVH blue channel, though the truth is I like the real amp a tiny bit better. I couldn't tweak them to be quite the same, I don't know exactly what I was missing. But it was only in direct A/B that I could say the amp was better, I never felt anything was missing just playing the Axe. I can also turn the Axe down to non deafening levels without so much tone loss. Oh, and then I have two hundred and fifty other amps and channels with better clean tones, better lead tones, and more flexibility.

    I also bought a Mark V to compare against the Axe. I like the Mark V, but I think the Axe actually does a better job at both IIC+ and IV, though god knows dialing in the Axe's Marks is confusing with all the different variations. Once I figured out which Mark sims I wanted, I preferred the tones I got from the digital box to the amp. I also could never get the Mark V to sound even slightly "Marshally" which was what I'd hoped the Crunch channel would do.

    I like to set up my AX8 with a EVH blue rhythm channel, a Mark IIC+ or IV lead tone, a Fender clean tone, and a Vox chimey breakup tone. Through a power amp and cab, it sounds perfectly convincing. And then I get effects on top! If you find an tube amp that does everything you want it to, then by all means go with that setup. I found myself wanting a more granular ability to pick and choose sounds, and digital delivered in spades.
     
  14. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    re: headphone practice, just use a good interface, free VST/program and your computer.

    There is absolutely no reason to be looking at which amp does the headphones thing when $100 on an interface and free programs get the job done without any of the headaches.

    Just worry about which amp suits your amp needs best.
     
  15. Rawkmann

    Rawkmann SS.org Regular

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    Pretty much, this. I'm not saying a nice digital all in one unit isn't the bee's knees, but many of the arguments made for them are basically moot. I've got a 'real' amp for gigs and rehearsal, and for 'versatility', riff writing, and quiet jamming, my audio interface with headphones covers all that ground just fine.
     
  16. Krucifixtion

    Krucifixtion Duncan Hills

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    In terms of tone I will generally always prefer the real deal tube amp for live use, but at home especially I prefer something like Axe-Fx for versatility and overall being able to get that tube like tone at any volume where the tube amp at home needs to be too loud for the sound I like. Doesn't make sense from a practice and recording standpoint unless you have an isolated room.

    I have an ENGL Invader for live and Axe-Fx II for recording and home use. Best of both worlds really. If you play out a lot and practice with a band get a real amp and go with something like a POD for home use. Although a 5150 III 50watt is somewhat useable a low volume, but if you never play out then go with Axe-Fx or Kemper.
     
  17. bhakan

    bhakan SS.org Regular

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    One thing in the whole tube vs. digital debate which is often overlooked, but was one of the primary reasons I chose tube, is while tubes can be unreliable, the amps themselves are pretty much indestructible and if something happens you/a tech can always open it up and fix it with relative ease.

    Depending on whether or not you're currently in a gigging band or the type of band you're in, this may not be as much of a concern, but for me, it's a big deal. If your band has any connection to the punk scene, chances are you'll play a lot of ....ty dive bars and house shows. These are by far the worst environments you can bring your gear to. I like knowing that if some asshole spills beer on my amp (which has happened before, luckily with no consequences) and fries it, I can take it to a tech and get it fixed for a reasonable price. I couldn't say the same for an Axe FX or Kemper.
     
  18. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Good point. Kind of brings up the life time of the equipment...

    However, I still prefer digital units for multifx purposes... versatility, I guess, programmability, probably...
     
  19. noUser01

    noUser01 Still can't play.

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    This thread went downhill in a hurry...

    Apples to oranges, really. It really comes down to what your wants, needs, and preferences are as a user. It depends on so many factors that it's impossible for us to say. If you're looking for advice on which one to buy, maybe give us some information on what your needs and interests are. Do you like to tweak, or prefer plug and play? Do you prefer the sound of real amps over digital units? Vice versa? Do you tour? Do you record? Is money an issue (not just in buying one or the other, but the costs associated with them like transportation or maintenance)?

    I love both, and while I have a preference I wouldn't recommend my preference to someone else without knowing their wants and needs.

    You must be new to "comparisons."
     
  20. Orionsbelt456

    Orionsbelt456 SS.org Regular

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    Thanks very much for all the input! I may buy a head and have both, not sure yet. I do play out, but not much. I just don't know if I want to spend a lot on a head knowing it won't get used much. As far as where I play, they are fairly nice venues. I don't tour or anything lol
     

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