In The Axe-Fx Vs. Kemper Debate, Twelve Foot Ninja Chooses…..Line 6?

We asked Twelve Foot Ninja guitarist Stevic MacKay about his preference in amp modeling, and received a reply we weren’t expecting.


Most people have worked out by now that Guthrie Govan is actually a wizard. He has the hair, beard, British enunciation and command of the guitar that could only be explained by some sort of outer worldly wizard shit . . . Irrespective of whether he can ride a bike or not (is that rumor true?), he is a bloody incredible guitarist and an extremely affable gentleman.

In 2014, I saw one of his clinics and amidst predominately retarded questions from the audience that Bob Fuckface from the local music shop could’ve answered (as opposed to one of the most proficient, versatile electric guitarists on the planet), someone asked something I found interesting, “Hey Guthrie! Do you prefer Axe FX or Kemper?”

The brand that changed the game for amp and effect modeling was not even in that sentence . . . Line 6.

FYI: Guthrie’s response was that guitarists are too focused on what gear they use which was quite profound given the story I’m about to share.

I’ve observed a lot of Axe FX users in particular (including some profile members of the “Djent” community) being quite vocal about Fractal Audio’s apparent superiority comparative to Line 6. As a Line 6 user and occasional product trainer for the Aussie Line 6 distributor, this motivated me to challenge my own views/bias to ascertain whether there really was that much of a difference when it came to the finished product (recorded and live).

I wanted to delve a bit deeper into the growing perception that Line 6 is a “stepping stone” brand and consider the idea that perhaps I was actually using inferior gear.

It was somewhere in-between the Line 6 HD500 and HD500X that I experienced something of a Line 6 crisis. I started to believe maybe my equipment WAS inferior. I hypothesized that the outspoken Axe FX community might be motivated by one of two things:

1.) Axe FX IS significantly better.

2.) The impassioned views around Axe FX’s superiority are somewhat proportionate to the cost of the Axe FX. In other words, if you fork out over $2.5k for a digital modeling unit when there are other digital modeling units on the market for 75% less money, I think there is motive to want to justify your buying decision and recruit as many others as possible to re-enforce it. Nobody would want to face the alternative scenario of acknowledging they unnecessarily paid significantly more money for something they didn’t have to because they blindly bought into someone else’s purchasing rationalizations.

I entertained the notion that it was 1.)

So I contacted Fractal Audio and shared my story, something along the lines of: I’ve always been a Line 6 user, want to improve my sound, I hear the Axe FX is the way forward . . .

The guys were really cool and I bought myself an Axe FX II. Admittedly, I felt like I was turning my back on a friend by using different gear, but I had to find out for myself what the hype was all about.

I read the Axe FX II manual, used Axe Edit and Fractal Bot and I just couldn’t get it to do what I wanted. I felt like I was in a Vietnamese restaurant with a 50-page menu and all the options cancelled each other out. It was like using Linux if you’re used to OSX. With too many options I become indecisive, then make impulse decisions and wind up eating seahorse dick soup or something instead of what I really wanted.

I reconsidered my departure from Line 6 and told the guys from Fractal I couldn’t get what I wanted out of the gear (especially because of my Variax tech dependence in Twelve Foot Ninja live). The sounds I did get out of Axe FX were not me . . . I felt kind of homogenized into the djent sea. I didn’t want that sound for myself and I didn’t want to use presets. I wanted “my sound” which was actually forged with Line 6 gear all along.

Then I became aware of the cognitive dissonance inherent in that thought: I bought an Axe FX to replicate the sound of my Pod . . . Why not just use the Pod? Then I did some further investigating . . . What metal band starting with Mesh and ending with uggah do a large cohort of Fractal Audio “djent” users want to sound like?

If modern metal was Catholicism, Meshuggah is Jesus. So which albums did the captains of metals salvation use Axe FX on?


No albums?

But…the Axe FX?…For the love of onomatopoeia!!!

Batman face

My research tells me that the guitar tones on every Meshuggah release from Nothing to Obzen was recorded with Line 6 gear.

“Nothing” was the Pod Pro
“I” and “Catch 33” was the Pod XT Pro
“Obzen” was the Vetta II.

Incidentally, “Koloss” guitars were recorded with a VST plugin in Cubase.

Approximately 55.7% of Meshuggah’s U.S. sales have Line 6 gear all over them (everything prior to “Nothing” used amps). I literally broke the dashboard of my car drumming along to “Rational Gaze” (love that guitar tone!).

So is it weird that a large amount of Axe FX users are spending a lot of time and money chasing tones made by Line 6 gear? I reckon it is.

I’ve seen some guitarists bag out Meshuggah’s heavy tones online saying they’re shit! Which guitarists? You know . . . um . . . Fred Narkel from the Farkel Narkels . . . His band has that logo that looks like a pile of sticks . . .

I asked myself, who else is actually out there (as opposed to in their bedroom) using Line 6 gear in a cool way?

That’s when I started a Line 6 gang. Bedazzled jackets and secret handshakes pending.

Here are some of my findings:

In summary: Use whatever works for you. Line 6 works for me.

Written by

As Editor-in-Chief of Gear Gods, I've been feeding your sick instrument fetishism and trying unsuccessfully to hide my own since 2013. I studied music on both coasts (Berklee and SSU) and now I'm just trying to put my degree to some use. That's a music degree, not an English one. I'm sure you noticed.

Latest comments
  • True true on the fact that whatever works for you can be good. If it sounds good, it is good.

    • Spot on mate. That’s the point.
      Axe FX and Kemper are great! This is not a binary situation (I like Line 6, therefore I hate everything else). I just prefer Line 6 because it works for me and it also works for quite a few others.

      • I happen to have an Ultra and I love it to death but I certainly won’t shoot down Line 6 considering all they’ve done. I once showed a customer a Pocket POD and he was more than impressed (and so was I). My Line 6 Echo Park has still been my go-to digital delay for live stuff.

        • Line 6 makes some amazing delays and loopers, and I’d put them up there with any brand even those crazy expensive ones. Also the spider valve amp was badass. But I play an old Randall century 200 I got from eBay live, use a tubemeister 18 at home.

          • Those tubemeisters are seriously super cool. Sound great too.

  • When I’m at home I’m using podfarm like 99.9% of the time, which is so old at this point I don’t even think they sell it anymore, but it has that Fear Factory and older Meshuggah tone.

    • They actually do still sell it! I’ve got a copy of podfarm bought in 2013. HD Pro is my go-to nowadays

  • I like my Axe FX II, but I was using the original Line 6 POD for recording for over a decade and was still able to get some usable tones.

    I can see how all the options with the Fractal stuff can be a little overwhelming though, and the AxeFx seems to react a lot differently to different guitars than an ordinary amp would. It definitely took me a while to learn how to get everything dialed in the way I like it.

  • I used a POD500 at the house for recording. Tried it live a few times but could never get it to sound consistent. I just don’t have the patience for programming those things. Lately I’ve been using a Mark V:25, for di recording.

  • HOLD THE PHONE a guy who does work for Line 6 prefers Line 6? That is shocking. All I got from this is that he can’t read an instruction manual and his problems all stemmed from user erroe. You can’t recreate the tone of a 15w Crate practice amp with a 5150, that doesn’t make the Crate superior.

    • I do work for Line 6 because I actually use the gear. Feel free to link to your band with your superior tone =)

    • Who ever said that the Pod is superior to the Axe Fx? That wasn’t what this article was about.

    • If you’re after the sound of a 15W Crate amp then yes it would be superior over the 5150 for that purpose… a 5150 won’t get you every tone in the world and neither will an Axe Fx.

      • Actually yeah, the Axe will get you any and every tone in the world you could ever imagine.

        • I’ve been using a Kemper in the studio with my producer, and it’s fantastic. I’ll probably be using it for all the guitars on my band’s next EP. I have no issue with digital profiling amps and I have no agenda…. But you can’t truly believe that they can replace every amp ever made anywhere. Have you never been lucky enough come across an old 30W valve combo that just sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard? There are plenty of things out there you just can’t recreate digitally.

  • The fuck is this shit? I promise, having owned almost all PODs and an Eleven Rack, NOTHING comes close to the Axe II, especially anywhere from Firmware 10 up. The POD HD Pro/500 are toys with really lackluster amp/cab modeling. Also, the effects are much, much worse with limited customizability. But the final argument against pods that make them quite unusable in any serious situation are the picking and gain dynamics. If you think that the POD is just “fine” in those areas, well, obviously you don’t have very refined ears or professional needs.

    • This kind of comments are what reinforces the idea that you just want to feel good about the money you spent. Axe-FX or Kemper might be superior, but the POD HD does the job well and right there’s a list of musicians that can prove that.

    • 3leet5me

    • 2(The HD500x + Two notes Torpedo cab) = Axe Fx 2

    • I’ve never gotten the “pods aren’t dynamic thing”. I can roll the volume down on my super-tight-gated-high-gain sound and get a cool crunch sound, and with a rock sound I can roll down to a decent clean sound.

      Maybe you just can’t make a pod sound good.

    • Again, feel free to post your ‘professional’ band featuring your ‘superior’ tone. Teach me of your refined ears.

      • Ah yes, only someone with a “professional” band can have an opinion.

        • I think it’s fair to say that everyone is entitled to use whatever they like. Axe FX and Kemper are awesome products and I have friends who play in very influential bands using this gear. I also know people who smash it using Line 6. I wanted to expose the myth that gear-maketh-the-player. As Guthrie said, guitarists get too wrapped up in that shit. Bottom line is: Line 6 is a valid option that has helped many musicians achieve tangible results. To write it off completely and have nothing to back it up seems a bit disjointed to me.

          • You know people who smash Kemper and Fractal using Line6? Doubtful, but I guess we will take your word for it.

          • Two separate sentences Eric.

            The first sentence says: “Axe FX and Kemper are awesome products and I have friends who play in very influential bands using this gear”.

            The second sentence says: “I also know people who smash it using Line 6”.

            You chose to see “it” as Axe FX and Kemper. I was actually speaking generally, “they smash it”, “they do well”.

            Examples of bands using Line 6 gear that “smash it” can be found in the video right at the end of the blog (just before the part where I say “In summary: Use whatever works for you. Line 6 works for me”).

            Other past examples can be found on: Meshuggah’s releases “Nothing”, “I”, “Catch 33” and “Obzen” (apparently Tesseract, Animals As Leaders, Devin Townsend and Misha’s ‘Bulb’ demos where made with Line 6).

            We toured with Fear Factory and Dino was using Kemper and it sounded great. We toured with Periphery who use Axe FX and it sounded great. The point I am making (which seems to be getting lost on some folks) is: Line 6 is also a valid option that sounds great.

            At the end of the day: the gear is NOT the difference that makes the difference hence why I’ve found it amusing to read blog comments over the years vehemently slamming one product over another from people spending more time writing about gear on forums than actually doing anything with it. The gear doesn’t matter, being aware of the options does. I wanted to make a comment about the growing trend of Line 6 getting written off as a ‘stepping stone’ brand when that is clearly inaccurate (as demonstrated).

            But if you know that using Kemper or Axe FX vs using Line 6 significantly increases your chances of writing music people will like…. then I’d say, that is no different to thinking that fancy basketball threads will make you a better basketballer.

          • I totally understand what you are saying and agree. Which is why I was clarifying as it almost sounded like you were contradicting yourself. It’s also why I also asked it “smash it” was a colloquialism :-)

          • I have to agree with Kuntukka here. Yes, you can even make decent sounds with a Boss GT-6 that is 15 years old. But the point that you don’t seem to grasp, is that the Axe FX II is superior to all other pieces of guitar modeling gear. Gear doesn’t make a player, but when COMPARING GEAR… obviously everyone wants to know which is ultimately the best. And it is without a doubt the Axe FX II. Just you try one for an extended period of time (more than 10 minutes) and you soon realize that there are no boundaries with it. It’s just endless tonal creation with 100% realistic quality (I dare you couldn’t pass a blind test with real amps) and with the best effects on the market. I just added reverb to recorded drums with it, and it’s 100% convincing because it’s based on the real Lexicons, the parameters are 100% pro quality. It’s immense.

            It speaks for itself, when people say “WELL IT’S OVER 2K dollars!!!”, and yes, it is. But the quality there too, is unmatched. Two of the fastest DSPs on the market, constant updates and industrial-quality-everything; you get what you pay for. I understand, however, if tone is not that important to you and you’re not willing to dish out the 2K for a unit.

          • I gotta stop posting on here because it’s becoming an epic waste of time, but I want to address a couple of the points you’ve made:

            “…the point that you don’t seem to grasp, is that the Axe FX II is superior to all other pieces of guitar modeling gear”

            The point I DO grasp is your apparent inability to seperate personal bias and your subjective definition of what makes something “superior” with objectivity. In other words, you need to quantify those kinds of statements with context: are you referring to specs (which are objective) or your opinion (which is subjective)? E.g. I can say a Ferrari’s acceleration speed is superior to a Ford Focus because that is objectively measurable BUT, I cannot say that a Ferrari’s ability to take someone from A to B is “superior” without some subjective judgments or defined criteria. What are the priorities etc? This is the space where guitarists needs differ.

            “Everyone wants to know which is ultimately the best. And it is without a doubt the Axe FX II”

            What defines “best”? The easiest to use? The most robust? The most parameters to control? The most amount of amp/effect models? The amount of hit songs featuring the gear? You cannot determine what is “ultimately the best” because everyone’s needs and wants are different.

            “It’s just endless tonal creation with 100% realistic quality”

            73.6% of statistics are made up on the spot.
            How do you quantify “100% realistic quality”? You bought it, plugged it in and said, “yep, this is the same or better than the real thing”??. If so, that is your subjective assessment. A tube amp maniac might disagree with all of us.

            “Just you try one for an extended period of time (more than 10 minutes)”

            Your ability to arbitrate objectivity is only trumped by your ability to deduce from a blog exactly how long I spent using my Axe FX II. It’s incredible! You should be that guy on that show that figures shit out just by turning his head sideways. I had the Axe FX II for 3 months and again, I am not suggesting it was bad in anyway (relax Axe FX’ers! ha ha) I am saying I prefer the Pod.

            “I understand, however, if tone is not that important to you and you’re not willing to dish out the 2K for a unit”

            I did dish out $2k for the unit. I do not have a problem paying money for quality products (not suggesting Axe FX isn’t quality). My observation though, is that there appears to be a correlation between the vehement claims that “Axe FX is the most incredible guitar modelling tool ever to have existed ever and if you don’t agree you must be brain damaged!” and . . . consumer justification. Who really cares? If it works, it works. What rationally motivates anyone to invalidate all other products and render them “inferior” if not to make themselves feel better about something?

            I love this call, “if tone is not important to you” ha ha ha!
            C’mon dude, seriously?
            Do you think that as a professional guitarist, I don’t care about tone? Do you think all of the bands in that video don’t care about tone?

            Why is it so hard to accept that you can achieve great results with a RANGE of gear? EVERY unit has it’s pros and cons. Embrace the differences and remember that at the end of the day, people listening to your music are not going to hear how many parameters you’ve tweaked or how complex your routing is. They’re going to hear whether it is a good song, good playing and whether in general . . . It sounds good.

            This blog and video is an answer to the very simple question: “can you make things sound good with Line 6?” . . . Yes, you can.

            I know some people will be like that Smurf that hates everything and say: “I hate Twelve Foot Ninja. I hate Monuments. I hate Vola, Chimp Spanner, Vildhjarta, The Algorithm, Uneven Structure . . . I hated those Mesghuggah albums that used Line 6 gear, that Animals As Leaders album, Devin Townsend album and those Bulb demos! Fuck! I don’t know why so many people shared that shitty Line 6 tone! I hate them all because I can hear Line 6 all over them! Line 6 is inferior!!! I am superior!!! I know the difference!!! I’m special!!!” ha ha ha all that kinda talk just makes people sound like weird little smurfs to me.

            Groundhog day entry #16: use whatever works for you.

          • Trolls Stevic. Trolls. They come to hate with no regard or context to actually what or why they’re “hating”.

            I grew up playing and owning lots of Line 6 gear. Currently own the Axe-Fx 2. Got caught jumping on the band wagon a few years ago. And I’m that guy that paid/pays more attention to “what” gear than my playing abilities. My abilities have not grown as fast as I had hoped over the years because of the that gear nerd mentality. But I started a successful business based around my sheer love of all those gear options available and I love it. As a business owner, this front works to recommend and modify people’s gear to their liking.

            As a player, I wish I had your and Guthrie’s advice 15 years ago….

  • I have a pod , Axe II, guitar rig pro, and an eleven rack. Im sorry but the axe crushes all of it when it comes to versatility and recorded tone. No lie.

  • Those comments are golden, Fractal fanboys proving points mentioned in the article :D

  • Totally agree Stevic. Whatever works, WORKS. I just enjoy playing instruments. Hell, I’ve got a knock off Telecaster that I payed 12$ for and love it. To each his own. I own an Axe FX II and I do enjoy it. It’s by no means any better or worse then anything else I’ve ever played or owned. I just love tweaking and dialling stuff, and bought it because it seemed to have the capability of doing exactly that. Plus there was a crazy hype that I sadly bought into as well haha. Before my Axe FX, I used a very inexpensive Digitech RP500. It sounds absolutely killer, so much so, that I now run my guitar through the RP500, then I run IT into the Axe FX. Stoked to give the Pod HD500X a try.

  • I’m in the AxeFX2 camp. I’ve had and used other and in my opinion, and for my tone, nothing beats the realism of the AxeFx when handled well. I’ll put my money where my mouth is rather than just saying… “mine is way better than yours man!” lol (having said that… it’s personal pref)

    a tune with (not yet G3’d) AxeFx2 Amp, the Diezel Herbert..

    • Ch3 Herbie is my favorite AxeFx II amp sim for heavy rhythm by far. You using a stock IR?

      • Love that amp! No, I’ve been using OwnHammer IRs for a while now. :)

    • Interesting to see that the only guy that posts a link to an Axe fx doesn’t bash Line 6.

    • Jesus this sounds fantastic.

  • I fail to see how this article is any different than what it’s trying to condemn. You’re either justifying spending $2.5k or you’re justifying not being able to afford an Axe II. Everyone wants to feel good about their choices. Why don’t you just worry about yourself and let them worry about them? Does any of this really even matter?

    • I’m not trying to convince people Line 6 is the “best”. That concept is way too subjective (try talking to hardcore valve amp enthusiasts about modelling technology). I am promoting the idea that it is about what works for the individual and why Line 6 works for me personally (and Monuments, Chimp Spanner, Vildhjarta, Uneven Structure, Vola and The Algorithm)

  • I like how the kemper was not even discussed in this whole thing whenever it was supposed to be axefx vs. Kemper………

  • Im just gonna say this…i have seen guitarists in bands that i like use axe fx, mainly kemper, but also line 6 for live and recording purposes. However, when it comes to the average consumer in regards to axe fx, it seems the only samples that these they sayers put out is “djent” or some kind of experimental spacey progressive garbage(imo). In other words, 1 tone that they think is the shit. I’d really like for all the biased-towards-gear, and tone, freaks out there to put some samples of multiple different styles of music. in particular some good ol fashioned melo death.

  • To me it’s sad how people feel the urge to bash the Axe-Fx for simply being expensive. Did you even stop to think for a second what you’re getting for the price, though?
    You’re getting more than 200 fully authentic amp models, tons of great cabs, and an R&D lab quality effects processor. All of this with two of the world’s best DSPs (Analog Devices TigerSHARC) and with the Axe II XL, lab quality and virtually noiseless Burr-Brown opamps in the input stage.
    With the Axe you’re paying for exceptional quality hardware and software. Is the Axe hyped? Sure. Hyped without a reason? Not really. Those who can’t find tones they like with it are doing it terribly wrong.

    • And I didn’t even mention free firmware updates carrying new amps and revised effects and whatnot (no stupid “sold seperately” amp and effects packs a’la Line 6).

  • I’ve never owned an Axe FX or a Kemper or a POD, I’ve used plugins since I got started in DIY music a few years ago, but I’m now considering picking up a modelling unit to give me a more robust sound archive (whilst also saving my poor CPU from exploding).

    This article was interesting, and certainly made the point that the POD is worth looking into over the Axe FX – but then the video made things a little disjointed.
    What I got from this is that the POD is more of a workhorse – it’s easy to use and provides a decent amount of versatility, and will more-often-than-not do the job for whatever you’re working on. The Axe FX, however, seems to allow for more attention to detail – sometimes complicated, but often yielding better results for those who desire them.

  • You can definitely get some good/great usable tones out of Line 6 gear but it requires a fuckton of tweaking…now if you could use your own IRs with the POD 500…that would be awesome

  • I choose a real amp over all these. kthxbye.

  • To those that say it requires a fuckton of tweaking to get a POD HD to sound good, try the new 5150 model they just released for it.

    It set it just like my 5150 at home, and I was good to go. Didn’t fux with the cab or mix, just tweaked the EQ, threw a tube screamer model in front, and I was set to go.

    I won’t deny that the Axe FX is an AMAZING unit, I’ve messed with my buddy’s Axe FX II, and it sounded fantastic! But for my rather limited amount of money, I’m VERY pleased with the POD HD500X.

    • It just sucks that you have to buy the 5150 model. Why couldn’t L6 released it as an free upgrade. I donl’t doubt that the model sounds good but their “pay to upgrade” model is horseshit.

  • Even if you disagree with the bulk of this article, the only thing you really need to take from it is the last line. I think it’s a great time to be a musician; there are so many options and finding your tone has really never been easier, whether you’re on a budget or not, Fractal or Line 6, real amps or modelled, whatever. My own experience has been that a lot of people will swear blind that I’m using Axe FX live (even though they own one themselves). And also that a fair few people that own one aren’t using any more than 10% of its potential because really all they need is a solid, basic tone. And you *can* get that with either unit, even though some people will try and tell you you *have* to use X, Y or Z. It’s just a matter of preference. TBH I think the mistake is coming at modellers expecting the real thing. It’s like trying to program a Moog to sound like a piano and totally ignoring the unique tonal characteristic of the Moog, ya know? Why try to make a modeller sound like an amp when it can do things an amp never could? Embrace the differences!

  • Tracked the new Jericco album with axe fx, as much as I love it as the updates got higher I found it hard to get that tone I love. Ended up using the direct tracks and reamping with amplitube. I sold the axe fx, i really miss it, yet i plugged in my original line6 pod pro with american lunchbox power converter and foil wrapped around the blown fuse the other day, sounds monstorous. Im eventually looking at replacing everrything with a jtv and 500hd whatever it is, looks fun. As much as i love the axe fx, i think i spent more time tweaking and updating than actually playing guitar

    • …and im just agreeing, player>gear

      • I’m sorry that you’ve had this experience. I find that most AFX users don’t pick the right IR for their tonal requirements. In my opinion, IR’s are 70% of the tone. The amp is almost negligible. I can’t create the same tone with a HBE as I can with a SLO100 or even a Splawn. It’s all in the cab/speaker. If you’re happy with the POD, that’s great. You can spend more time playing and that’s what we should all be doing, right?

  • I’ve got to say that the whole AFX/POD/Kemper argument is pointless. Yes that AFX2 (I’m a AFX2 user) is more money, but it offers more in ways of routing, IR’s effects and amp sims etc. The Kemper is a different beast altogether in that it doesn’t model anything, but “steals the soul” of an amp/cab and mic. The POD’s have always sounded great from their price point. I would never compare a £60 BOSS Delay to an Eventide H8000. It’s hardly comparable, is it? You wouldn’t compare a Ferrari to a Ford Focus, would you?

    The Axe FX 2 is a rabbit hole and if you are Alice inclined and want to create tones that surpass expectations then it’s the product for you. The Kemper is very much a Profile, minor tweak and play kind of product. The POD’s are almost plug and play with minor tweaking to get the job done. Certainly the right choice for finance conscious touring bands who want great tone and don’t have time to spend hours tweaking. I do feel like the POD is a one or two trick pony in that is does metal very well, but i’m yet to hear bands from different genres snapping them up. It’s all very arbitrary when you think about it.

    • I agree AxeFX currently offers more complex parameters than what a Pod can provide and Kemper’s profiling ability stands alone . . . I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either product to anyone requiring those specifics . . . I disagree that the Pod can only do metal well though . . . I play in a band that frequently plays different genres (Bossa, Salsa, Jazz, Funk, Reggae) and I personally find the Pod particularly good for those applications . . . We often receive comments about the authenticity of our sounds when we tackle different genres.

      Zooming out on your car analogy . . . Aesthetically speaking, I’d much prefer a Ferrari than a Ford Focus . . . but aesthetics are not relatable with the gear in question (I think they all look cool in their own way).

      What it is about is performance . . . Could a Ford Focus take me from A to B on the highway traveling at the speed limit of 100kmph? Yes. 0 to 100 in 9.4 seconds.

      Could a Ferrari? Of course. 0 to 100 in around 2.2 seconds.

      I am still bound by the speed limit despite the acceleration performance of the Ferrari being 4 times faster. Does it make a difference to reaching my destination amongst traffic?

      Are my insurance premiums higher? Are repairs and parts more expensive? If aesthetics are irrelevant, increased performance doesn’t alter the speed I reach my destination and it costs me more money at every turn . . . What would a pragmatist say?

      It is a subjective choice, but a choice that should still be an informed one.

      • I think my analogy was trying to convey that a Ford in its entirety (price, performance, handling and overall capabilities) is not going to have the same features and capabilities as the Ferrari, thus making a direct comparison a pointless endeavour. The POD and Axe FX vastly differ in price and each have their capabilities for their price range. I’m sick to death of the elitist Axe Fx players claiming that everything else is inferior, just as I am sick of hearing the POD and Kemper camps claiming that the AFX is over priced and that their units can do better.

        Who gives a flying f**k anyway? If you can get great tone with whatever you use, who am I to criticise? Most users of either units only use about 30% of the features and don’t have a clue about creating the right tones that translate well for recordings/live use. It’s a “one size fits all” mentality.

        My main two criticisms of the POD HD series is the DSP limits and the lack of third party IR support. If Line 6 added them, I would seriously consider buying one. Kemper is next on the list, then a POD HDX. I’ll do a comparison video with an impulse loader in Logic Pro X, so there’s only the amp sim being compared.

        This horse died years ago and you should all stop beating it.

        • For the sake of clarity: I have not said anywhere that “AFX is over priced” or that “POD’s can do better”.

          I am saying a hypothesis for why “some” AFX users feel the need to bash other products is to validate their purchasing decisions – the alternative is to concede that great results can be achieved for a fraction of the price.

          I absolutely agree with you otherwise: if you can get a great tone and great results . . . It doesn’t matter what you use.

  • Just my .02$. I’ve owned every Pod level since the original Pod to the HD500. For years I swore by the Pod, it and Line 6 were ahead of their time. I started to change when I needed more options then the Pod would allow. I pondered getting a Vetta, but passed when L6 refused to make rack version of it (…and no the Pod XT doesn’t count). This is about the time when I discovered the Axe fx. Fractal Audio only had the standard at the time, but I kept it in the back of my mind. They released the Ultra and I almost jumped, but I waited. After exhausting the Boss GT-10 I decided to jump after AFX2 was released. Truth be told, the AFX2 can be a frustrating unit. I doesn’t hold your hand like cheaper units and will allow you to fuck up your tone without apology or warning. You have to know what your doing and have to understand your signal chain.

    That said, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    IMO, if your idea of guitar tone guitar>pedal>amp>cab then AFX2 is overkill. Save yourself money and headache and get the Pod HD. If you have access to bunch of amps and want to do guitar>pedal>amp>cab then IMO the Kemper is probably better suited. If you want to do sound design, or having routing needs above and beyond what guitarists tend to do, then AFX is the most efficient way to do that. At this point, there is NO WAY I could go back to Pod, and I would easily have a rig 4 times the size and twice as expensive if I had to.

    • The Vetta is the amp version of the X3.

      • Flip it. The Vetta came first, with X3 coming after and vaguely claiming to have Vetta-like powers (which IMO it did not)…

  • I pirated guitar rig 4
    what up now bitch

  • I’ve been using a POD HD 500 for a few years now. I use it live, not so much for recording. I go direct… the whole point for me here is to be able to gig without lugging around a bunch of gear. In my experience using the POD HD direct for gigs requires a nightmarish amount of tweaking to get it to the point where boomy lows or broken glass highs are not destroying my high gain tone. In fact, recently I’ve had better luck using effects to distort the Hiwatt model over using any of the high gain amp models.

    I’m no genius when it comes to live sound, so it’s possible that I simply don’t know what I’m doing, but the very existence of MEAMBOBBO’s (excellent) site devoted to getting quality high gain sounds out of a POD HD ( should serve as a bit of evidence that the POD HD needs a lot of TLC if you want to get good high gain tones out of it in direct mode.

    From what I can gather through online research (I’ve only used the POD HD in direct mode) the POD’s preamps are solid. It’s the cab / mic sims that are the problem. But that does me no good because if I have to lug a power amp and cab around it defeats the purpose of the POD altogether. I might as well just buy an amp and some pedals.

    If anyone here who loves their POD HD and uses it live in direct mode has some secret way to get organic sounding high gain tone I’m all ears. I’d love to not have to drop $1500 on a new Fractal AX8.

  • Well….compared to most 80’s Rock and definitely smoother Overdriven Tones like Van Halen – ( I am an outsider on these modern hi gain Tones and Music)( I don’t play 80s Rock either)-
    “Modern” Hi Gain lets a lot of buzzier Content into the Tone- even some ENGL and MESA (Recto) Amps seem to do this and Players don’t dial it out so it’s acceptable to many.

    You don’t need a Rocket Science Tube Amp or Rocket Science Modeler to get buzzy square wavy Tones-
    I have heard AX FX demos do some really smooth lighter overdrives and smooth “gainy “tones…and the Kemper also…
    and it helps to ” pre-master” your Cab IR or post Cab Signal and post filter usually in the 7k to 13 k range for the smooth Tones.

    But these high gain relatively harsh tones are not that hard to get anyway – even Malmsteen sounds like a Violin compared to the Tones the OP is talking about.
    Buzz is easy…( just not easy to listen to…lol…IMO).

    It’s the smoother, glassier harmonics gain without buzz fuzz and fizz that requires more challenges for Tube Amp Designers and Software Modeling Engineers than the harsh stuff…harsh is relatively easy..

  • Just want to jump in here. Kemper wasn’t really represented. So yes, the axe fx does have a very wide set of “djent” tones. (Still how can you compare it to the axe lol but let’s get there later) it really caters well to its market, but the pod? P.O.S. Can you get a good tone? Sure, after hours of tweaking, but if I want to emulate some vintage tube sounds, particularly in the realm of cleans, the pod just sounds so thin out of the box. I don’t want to spend forever working with cab IR’s and getting the gain to not sound nasally… I want to play guitar. This is where the Kemper excels. It sounds like the amp I need without too much tweaking. I can play out the gate. This goes for the axe too. Plus the “sound packs” for the pod are overpriced, and catch up to you. The community built around the axe and the Kemper and what the unit can do without “extra packs” far exceededs that of what the pod gets you out the box. Also, in the studio… It’s way easier for me to dial in a new tone for a new band on the Kemper, than say the pod… Where good sounds are further and farther apart… It just doesn’t cut it. Maybe some guys out there do great with them… But this is overlooking some serious flaws with the pod. Also… At pod price… Just get yourself a solid used head. It’s going to take a lot less of your time “sorting through crap”. This is nothing short of pathetic advertising…

  • I actually bought the POD HD 500 of Twelve Foot Ninja’s other guitarist, Rohan, that they used to record Outlier, which is pretty incredible. I only want an Axe 2 now because of the greater processing power for dual amps, pitch shifts, and layers of reverb and delay. The POD HD will still be with me for MIDI functionality though.

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