Fractal Axe FX & Kemper Profiler

The arrival of the latest Fractal Audio email update reminded me to express a view I’ve harboured for some time.

I sometimes act as brand ambassador/demonstrator/adviser to a leading UK audio/tech company, and was a fairly early adopter of an Axe-Fx Ultra.  I gigged happily with it through a Mesa Fifty/Fifty power amp and vintage EV12L speakers for several years and became quite familiar with its workings. I controlled it then and now with my trusty original DMC (pre-Voodoolab, small footprint) Ground Control and two Boss expression pedals.

But I was disappointed that Fractal’s firmware updates of the Standard and Ultra models came to an abrupt stop when the Axe-Fx II was launched.  As good as customer service and updates had been up to that point, I really felt a bit abandoned. I would have thought that periodic if less frequent updates for legacy products informed by the ongoing update programme for the II would have been in order.

By that time, however, I was moving back to working with smaller, boutique amps so I never acquired a II, but much later I was intrigued by and acquired Kemper’s Profiler rackmount.

If I’m using rack gear and/or recording, I now use the Kemper as my preferred sound source, and the Axe-Fx Ultra as the processor. It also sees use as the wet in my wet/dry/wet setup around my wonderful Ceriatone D-style and 633 Engineering amps.

I know there is much heated, even religious, debate about the respective merits and that it is not entirely fair or me to contrast an Axe-Fx that is several years old and for example predates IR tech with a Kemper with is more recent, but I find the latter’s profiles more convincing and much easier to edit.

The Axe-Fx turns the tables as processor, but I still feel rather abandoned by the abruptness of the cessation of updates.

There, I’ve finally come out with it and ‘look forward’ to the hate mail…..

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