Help deciding between amp + cab or AxeFX + FRFR speaker

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by jbaxter, Apr 19, 2019.

Which rig?

  1. Tube amp

  2. AxeFX

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  1. jbaxter

    jbaxter SS.org Regular

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    So I'm in the market for getting a big boy rig now, as I only have a Boss Katana 50 and a few pedals. I've been interested in getting an AxeFX for the last few years, but I realize I'll need more than just that to use it in a live scenario. For the hell of it, I priced out two rigs to see what kind of value I could get for my $$$, and I'm not really certain what to go with. I play mostly prog metal and pop punk. (Prices are for a new item, but I have no issues buying used)

    The t00bz rig:
    Peavey Invective MH - $699
    Zilla Fatboy 2x12 - $750
    Ernie Ball VP JR (since Invective MH has no master volume) - $99
    TC Dreamscape (for chorus/flanger) - $169
    Total is $1720

    The AxeFX rig:
    AxeFX III - $2249
    Yamaha DXR10 FRFR speaker - $599
    Crown XLS1002 poweramp - $339
    Furman ML-8x power conditioner - $150
    Gator G-PRO-6U-13 rack case - $189
    Total is $3527

    As a note, I already have distortion/reverb/delay pedals so not factoring those in.

    Now I'm not certain if I've chosen the best value for my money with the AxeFX stuff, but from what I've read these are pretty solid pieces of gear. I would love some external insight into which of these rigs would be more worthwhile, especially considering the AxeFX setup is about twice the cost of the tube amp setup. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. broangiel

    broangiel Member

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    It's possible I'm missing something, but... Why do you have a power amp and powered FRFR under the Axe rig? Do you have a cab that you're also interested in powering? (I'm assuming not, because the cab is in your itemized tube rig, but I thought I'd ask).

    The general consensus on the Fractal forum is that a power conditioner is not needed (especially if it's on the lower end of the quality spectrum), but I do understand the desire for one.

    Now for me, I love my Axe III - mostly because I don't have any specific needs or goals I'm trying to achieve with gear, so the "do whatever you want" nature of the Axe appeals to me. If you've got a relatively narrow scope of what you want/need to achieve with your gear, maybe the tube setup is easier & more cost effective.

    But, if you have the funds and the desire for the Axe, then I say go for it. It's a great piece of gear, and it's only getting better. The last couple updates have brought new drive models and the JP2C model.
     
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  3. ThePIGI King

    ThePIGI King Death Will Reign

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    Voted for Axe FX. But to keep costs down, ditch power amp + that speaker and get something like the headrush powered 112. Also, get some unistrut with some botls, nuts and washers and build the rack for crazy cheap with your exact dimensions.
     
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  4. jbaxter

    jbaxter SS.org Regular

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    I totally missed where it said the speaker is powered lol, my bad. I do like the versatility of the AxeFX quite a bit, and I would rather go that route personally. I guess the only thing stopping me is patience since I can reasonably afford the tube rig now but I'll have to wait a while before I can splurge on an AxeFX + the other goodies. Thanks for the feedback!
     
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  5. jbaxter

    jbaxter SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the suggestion, that drops it down to about $2900. I'm kinda fat fingered when it comes to DIY, is putting a rack together relatively straightforward?
     
  6. MetalHex

    MetalHex SS.org Regular

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    Tube amp. Then take rest of money and buy a new guitar....or two
     
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  7. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    Bare in mind you’re comparing Tube amp into a cab vs axe FX into FRFR.

    Amp into a cab in the room sounds different, perhaps more natural and certainly more what people expect. Using impulses and FRFR speaker is more like what you hear from the control room with an amp mic’d up in an isolation booth. Mic and mic placement play a huge role.

    I got kinda sick of FRFR, I didn’t like the feel or sound, and I didn’t like that I spent more time flipping though impulses than playing. Obviously it works for some people, I may have liked it more with a better quality FRFR cab. I ended up getting a matrix solidstate power amp and Zilla 2x12 cab for my axe FX ii, and I’ve been happy with that.


    As far as axe FX vs. Tube amp, have both (but I have the axe FX ii, not iii), and there were times in the past when the axe FX wasn’t quite there, or took a lot more fiddling than a tube amp to get the same kind of sound and feel. The last update for the II included some of the new stuff from the III and in my opinion the sound is there now. The III is probably even better in that regard.

    As for which to get, I think it depends a lot on your needs. If you need extreme versatility, portability, reliability, ability to record direct, play silently, want an all-in-one unit where your whole signal chain is there, then the axe FX is for you.

    If you’re more of a one (or two) sound kind of person, just want to plug in and play without tweaking or editing advanced menus, don’t need silent recording, portability, a tube amp might end up cheaper as well as easier to work with.

    They do have prettt different workflows.
     
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  8. ekulggats

    ekulggats SS.org Regular

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    Chop another 1000$ off the AxeFx rig and get an AX8 instead of the FXIII. No good reason to lug around a separate midi controller and have to use a rack when you could Have it all in the floor format, for much cheaper. I doubt you'll truly hear the difference between the Ax8 and the fxIII, its truly amazing and If you're at stage volume you never will.
     
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  9. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    AX8+FRFR108
     
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  10. buriedoutback

    buriedoutback SS.org Regular

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    Tube amp and spend the rest of the money on ammo... oops wrong forum.

    IME (smaller shows with shitty PAs) I would go big amp + big cab.

    I don't have experience with the lunchbox/50 watt amps... but I have found 5150s for $400 - $500 CAD and Mesa 4x12 for $600 CAD in the Toronto area. My other guitar player has a 4x12 so I can't do a 2x12.

    As far as AxeFx... the III is the newest/most expensive option (i think?) and you could find an AX8 or AxeFx 1 or 2 for way cheaper. I'd still advise getting a pwr-amp & cab at that point for stage volume/etc.
     
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  11. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Since you only mention 1 pedal with the amp rig, I would say get a 5150 fullsize, 212 cab and have at er.
     
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  12. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, I could never get used to the FRFR sound and feel either. I use my Axe-FX II with a Matrix Poweramp and Guitar Cab. Best of Both Worlds.
     
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  13. jbaxter

    jbaxter SS.org Regular

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    Considering this route as well. What cab are you using?
     
  14. broangiel

    broangiel Member

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    I did this with my Mesa 2x12 using a SD PowerStage 170 with good results.
     
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  15. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    The main cab I use with this rig is an old Gflex 212 cab.
     
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  16. trem licking

    trem licking SS.org Regular

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    Cab in the room feels and sounds the best live. Amp n cab
     
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  17. ATRguitar91

    ATRguitar91 SS.org Regular

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    Why not an HX stomp, Powerstage 170, and a cab of your choice?

    Better yet, since you've already got some effects you like, grab a Powerstage and some preamp pedals for a sweet pedalboard rig.
     
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