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Axe FX for bass

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by bass4peace, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. bass4peace


    Jan 27, 2013
    just curious!! anyone using the Axe FX for their bass tone? My guitarist uses one and it is amazing. He said it has Bass tones, effects, amp and cab models etc too. Not that I have a couple thousand $$$ to drop on one but just curious if anyone here uses one and what do you think of it??
  2. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Is this thing on!? Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    64 Audio · DR Strings · Source Audio · Hipshot
    I have no experience, but saw a Rig Rundown the other day that showed the Deftone's bass player using one. No sounds samples, but there are bass players that use them.
  3. bmason81


    Jul 7, 2010
    My friend has Axe Fx at his studio, The Audio Kitchen in Akron Ohio. I was there while my friend was laying down bass tracks and it sounds phenomenal.
  4. BrentSimons

    BrentSimons Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2004
    Vergennes,VT USA
    John Myung from Dream Theater has one in his rack as well. It handles all of his effects and distortions/OD's.

    I too wish it was more within my price range!

    Take Care,
  5. negativefx

    negativefx complete hack

    Feb 18, 2013
    Fort Collins
    I'm torn between the Kemper profiling amp and the Axe FX for bass. It's GAS more than anything, as I already have a great amp, but there's always room for more...
  6. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    I recently heard a metal band (forgot their name) on a small local stage.
    The bass player was running his bass into an Axe FX and then into the PA.
    He wasn't using an amp, and his sound was REALLY good.

    It's on my wish list for sure (like, fantasy wish list as selling my entire pedal board and amp may just barely pay for a new one).
    But I'd still need money for a powered PA speaker.
    Not quite ready to make that jump...
  7. It's a cool idea but it takes all the fun out of slowly getting pedals to amass a board.
  8. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right?

    Apr 9, 2012
    Occasional Beta Tester for Confusion Studios, Singular Sound, and Source Audio
  9. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    I had one for a few days. It kicks ass. But, I returned it because I am a tweaker and quickly realized that I would spend way too much time experimenting and not playing. Also, the price tag is way too high for just bass because there is only one amp and cab sim. I didn't really care for the cab sim. The unit does so much and does it well but, I just found it easier to walk up to my amp, turn a few knobs and be done with it. Great unit though.
  10. johnbegone

    johnbegone Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    This is how I feel about modeling amps for bass as well. Our guitarist just started using a Kemper and it sounds incredible, very exciting - he's tried leaning me in that direction, but the truth is if I want one amp and cab model, I'll just use the VT bass for $100. And so that's what I do. Plus for now I love my pedalboard too much to give it up!
  11. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    Yeah, that's where I'm at too.

    I tried to sell the Axe-FX to my girlfriend (treble guitarist), but she too is still in love with her pedal board, and the 'mission control' layout on the AF unit makes her cringe.

    Still, I want her to have one... if only I were a wealthy man... :p
  12. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    [Quick clarification: the AxeFx Ultra and AxeFxII have the following dedicated bass amp models: Ampeg SVT, Fender Bassman. Also, many other guitar amp models can be used with excellent results depending on the type of sound you're going for. The preamping capabilities of the unit are unrivaled IMO, so the best guide should always be your ears. There are also many bass cabinet emulations to choose from. The AFXII has quite a few bass cabinet IRs (Impulse Responses) of 15", 4x10, 8x10 cabinets, or you can even create your own IRs of your existing cabinets if you like. As with the amp models, you can also get excellent tones from some of the guitar cabinets. In addition, both units allow you to upload a number of third party cabinet impulses (Redwirez, Ownhammer, etc.), so there has never been a problem with limited choices, if variety is what you seek.]

    I've been using the AxeFx Ultra/II for about 5 years. In short, it is a highly sophisticated, modern solution using arguably the best, most cutting edge technology available in a product of its type. Understand that the amps in the AxeFx are modeling algorithms, that exist in their own right. By contrast, the Kemper is a "profiler" which requires the use of a profile that is "captured" and then manipulated. Thus, you are at the mercy of the captured profile for base tone. With the AxeFx, you are at the mercy of the modeling algorithms for each amp as compiled by Fractal Audio's tech team, and these models are constantly being refined, upgraded, and expanded (free of cost).

    For most typical bassists, the AxeFx is too much beast for the job, too many bells and whistles, and at too high a price tag. If you need only a basic "core" tone, and a multi-stomp or a couple of individual stomp boxes fulfill your needs for special effects, then you simply may not find value in the AxeFx. IMHO, it is not a matter of WHETHER a bassist could be made happy with the tones produced by the AxeFx, but rather, whether a bassist can personally, subjectively, justify the price tag.

    If you're a tweaker and tinkerer, then the AxeFx is like an audio playground/Leggo/etch-a-sketch in a box. You can certainly focus more narrowly and use the unit as a simple preamp, a very high quality preamp, and not concern yourself with the vast breadth of features...this takes serious restraint, but many users are able.

    If you're a "one trick pony" type of player - and there's nothing wrong with that! - then the AxeFx may be overkill at it's high price tag. If you enjoy stretching out, or have the NEED TO stretch out and can take advantage of the incredible versatility of the AxeFx, then you may find the price tag to be incredibly reasonable, and actually a money and back saver.

    I'd be happy to answer any specific questions with respect to the AxeFx for bass. It is really a deep unit that can be successfully implemented in so many different ways. It's hard to boil it all down adequately and simply in a brief post.
  13. bass4peace


    Jan 27, 2013
    Thanks to you all for your replies!!! Good stuff. Appreciate all your input!!
    Seems Axe should make one just for bass and drop the price quite a bit for it too :) Would love to experiment with one.
  14. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I'll be honest: the AxeFx is a product that is inspired by guitarists, mainly FOR guitarists. That bassists get indulged with some specific goodies seems to be only them throwing us a token bone every so often, which is a bit of a drag. Thus, it seems there is not enough perceived interest from the broader market for them to delve into much of anything with respect to modeling for bass, though they certainly could. But they are a very small company with limited resources, so I don't blame them for not stepping up. All this means is that, as a bassist, you really have to have good reasons for dropping $2k for an Axefx. There are good reasons to own, certainly, and I've never regretted my decision to go that route (my current rig is ultra light and flexible thanks to digital modeling tech), but it's no surprise to me that many bassists might pass on the AxeFx at the moment, or until the prices drop, or until someone else (like ZOOM, but still they are pretty low end by comparison) steps up in a serious way.

    I will say this, though: A used AxeFx Standard can be had for pretty reasonable $$$ (under $1000 probably). This is known in the community as a Gen 1 (firmware 11 - FINAL) version unit. I have an Ultra (same deal: gen 1 FW 11 modeling technology) that I use at rehearsals with a crown power amp in bridge mono powering an SVT 8x10 cabinet. (Arguably, the modeling technology in the newer AxeFxII is much better!) The SVT amp model in the AxeFX gen 1 units was good enough to my ears to convince me to sell my Ampeg SVT Classic all tube head. YMMV, but for me it wasn't that tough a choice, and I don't miss the heavy tube head at all. If I were doing bigger rooms regularly or touring, this is how I'd use my AxeFx for bass guitar, given the luxury. It sounds great!

    Also, if you do get the itch, know that Fractal Audio has a 15 day free evaluation period, so if you aren't satisfied you can return it for your $$ back, no problems.
  15. I had an Ultra and then a II and got some great bass tones out of it.

    Overall, I'm pretty much just as happy with what I'm getting from my iPad/JamUp-AmpKit rig with much less heartburn and expense.

  16. father of fires

    father of fires Commercial User

    Nov 29, 2006
    Chief of Medicine at Damnation Audio
    I would love one myself but I can't justify the need.

    I wouldn't use it to get normal bass tones. I would use it to get some wicked tones that I can't get with regular amps.

    Just imagine a getting the sound of a Fender Tweed Deluxe at 1000 watts. That's what I'd use it for.
  17. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Lots of products out there that allow you to get great sounds, at price points all over the map. Tonight I'll be using a Zoom MS-60B ($99) for an acoustic duo gig. And if that is all that is needed, then of course, why use an AxeFx, right? If, on the other hand, you need to create a multitude of tones that have varying amounts of effects, require more sophisticated real-time control of multi-effects, etc., then the AxeFx will offer you the best chance of achieving this without prohibitive limitations. I started with all stomp pedals and rack processors, and then replaced many of those with the TC Electronic G-Force (a great piece in its own right). With the AxeFx, I was able to replace the G-Force, rack tuner, and virtually any other extraneous interfaces that were necessary. Each move was a step up in tone/effects control and integration, was more streamlined, and effectively was a lateral move financially.

    If you only need one tone then, yeah, the AxeFx is a huge luxury that most can't justify. For the other players that go off the deep end with wildly varied sounds and effects, and need live control of those sounds (anyone like TOOL?), the AxeFx is an unparalleled product at it's price and footprint IMO.
  18. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I'm confused why everyone is saying the just love their pedalboards too much. You can run the board right into one, especially for FX that the Axe doesn't do or doesn't do well.
  19. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    I don't like spending gear money on arrangements of 0s and 1s and some DSP chip that will be outdated... well by the time the product is released is better but not enough better.
  20. Thrash3r


    Aug 5, 2013
    I'm using our guitarists to record with, it sounds pretty good but not £2500 good.