Axe-Fx Ultra Preamp/fx

Line 6 was the first, but Axe-FX was the high-end product, promising simulations of almost every imaginable classic amplifier and speaker cabinet, alongside legion studio-quality effects.

Control over every conceivable parameter is possible, most in real time. If you have the patience, you can programme any sound you can imagine with this thing. Apparently expensive at $/€2500, but when you consider what it does it’s remarkable value.

It’s now the core of my whole rack system, which sits in its programmable effects loop.

A very intuitive dedicated editor program is also free to download, so you can programme new sounds on a laptop, even when you’re nowhere near the Axe-FX itself. Ideal while the wife is watching yet another episode of ER, Bones, etc.!

Sadly, this earlyish model’s firmware in no longer supported.

I giggled it regularly in a covers band for several years through my Mesa Boogie Fifty-Fifty amp and EV speakers.  Control vis my DMC Ground Control.

Since I bought mine, a second-generation one, it’s been superseded a number of times and joined by many other products – Kemper (which I also own), Helix, Quad Cortex etc.

All these things are great for walk-in cleans, modulated sounds and for pillowy heavy distortions.  They’re also very convenient as you can play without an amp.  Sound engineers and producers love them.  But none of these devices sounds and feels like an amp on the edge, which is where all the tones I seek live.

 

 

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