Fractal Audio Axe FX II Review

Ah the good old Axe-FX II. Find out why I'll NEVER keep one and why the one I had for review is sold; you might be very surprised at the logic. But if you are an ordinary guy just like me you may well not be surprised by the arrogance of some makers out there.

Axe-FX II - why I don't have one

Axe-fx II why I would not entertain keeping one at ANY price.

I bought an Axe-FX II from the European distributor G66. A great company I might add.

I reviewed the unit and the MFC-101 on YouTube and the second I did I was ridiculed to an alarming extent on the fractal audio forum that is managed by the owner/designer of the company. Indeed they used racist words, ageism was rife, extremely derogatory remarks about me and lastly how I play guitar (which was never under review). Remember it was the Axe-FX II was under review not me!

I'm not a complete idiot when it comes down to playing guitar (I have some really great reviews of my albums I wrote and played without a single simulator in sight) and have had at least two tracks within the top 20 on N1M charts for instrumental rock but on equipment reviews I don't always play very well or always get it right, of that there is no doubt. But if the equipment is being reviewed then frankly the playing is another story; its the gear that I have to focus on.

When it comes down to saying racist remarks, expressing rife ageism and that other stuff (which I will not put on this site because I get lots of people visiting whom I don't feel should be subject to that abuse) on that forum I do not accept that sort of thing. Maybe its 'OK' for the OWNER of that company to condone that sort of thing but where I come from its simply bad business practice. A decent CEO with thought for his company would resolve that issue on that forum immediately whereas the other type like the one on there is happy to allow it all. Often you find that what are basically 'engineers' have little business accumen when it comes down to managing a company. Indeed I've seen it before.

Remember I'm probably just like you, I pick up a guitar and play because I like to. And I write reviews because I was sick and tired of seeing reviews that one way or another did not reflect the products that I bought; and there are many that write reviews that are often not a true reflection of the equipment in question. It costs me dearly to buy the gear and to spend untold hours writing about what I find so other musicians can benefit in some way from my experience. Indeed this very website has been continually developed since the 90's.

Unfortunately, even the owner was calling me things he should not have done and that's just not right (see below).

After all I was a paying customer so maybe it could happen to you!

And that's where I have issues with that company. The forum says welcome and the chimps on there say everything else you could think of; all because I wrote a review that they don't agree with? Reasons why? Well go and figure that one out yourself, but I guess that if you show some things that are irrefutable then they are worried that maybe someone has 'blown' the lid off rubbish.

But as a customer I have been treated like crap. And for a product that is equivalent to $3500 or £2500 in the UK that stinks. Remember (as I have been told by many other guys that have suffered with that company) that it could be you!

Actually I did like some the product (the box was exciting to open), but I did not like:

  • The 4 to 6 month wait
  • The pigeon welding inside the unit (it was amateurish and frankly I have seen better welding on really bad Chinese amps). This matters because the Axe-FX II they say should be used on the road. If that's the case that welding could crack or break under stress - yes its really THAT bad. I have never seen a worse job and still have the image to confirm exactly how the gear was sold.
  • The forum which I have absolutely no time for because of their language, attitude, racist comments and other stuff in contravention of their own forum rules.
  • The owner (who is the forum administrator or similar member, well fancy that) who will ridicule you if you ask about anything he does not like.
  • The product without 'where it was made' stamped on it (a requirement for Europe and the USA as well. They stamped the cardboard box which it is alleged is still in breach of the law. This matters; there is some awfully badly produced equipment from some countries and you have a right to know; it has to be on the unit itself permanently. I do believe since I told them about their illegal issues and problems on this point that they have now addressed that. If you know different just contact me. Maybe they can send the management check to me instead of the engineer they seem to employ who clearly did not know the law.
  • Lots of sounds neither I (or possibly you) would probably ever use.
  • The absolutely disgusting price when I bought it; its cheaper in the USA and they even discount it to the USA guys; but not here in Europe (sounds like a price fix deal again).
  • A self certified CE document. I really would like to see the original test document (which everyone has a right to see) showing the Axe-FX II under test conditions and all of those tests and results rather than some self certification signed by the owner engineer that actually shows no results of those tests whatsoever; indeed it is possible to consider if they ever existed in the first place. Why not ask for a copy you have a right to under the law.
  • No inclusion of the RoHS certificate. With the unit I bought, the serial number on it should be on the RoHS document from the manufacturer for Europe and rapidly becoming law state by state in the USA too. Ask for that as you have a right to see it. Valid ones show your serial number on it and when it was made and by who. I suspect the main board was made by a third party somewhere.

But what I do Like is:

  • The new Kemper Amplifier unit similar to the Axe-FX II but nearly half the price and sounds way better on amp simulations.
  • About 10 amp simulations in the whole Axe-FX II and some of the effects; but that's expensive for what's basically an effects processor. Even the Pro's tend to only use the effects! ask yourself why.

I gave the Axe-FX II a reasonable score for what I found when I reviewed that unit. Unfortunately because of those racist comments that were posted and the customer service (remember I'm a customer paying full price) I downgraded the product a little to reflect that the forum where you have to go to get support (I would not go there) and other stuff I have learned since from many other customers that have told me their stories. Strangely enough many reflect the experiences that I had. I have them all on file.

The product rating is 2 out of 10. Why? Well where I come from there is absolutely no excuse for all those comments on their forum, there is no excuse for treating customers this way and there is absolutely no excuse for paying £2500 (or $3500) when you can buy it in the USA with its pedal for substantially ( 1/3 off!) less money, but you do also get zero customer respect thrown in.

I would personally never buy another one of these as long as I live, well at least until I review some new gear they make sometime. I think tube amps eat it for breakfast. Tube amps may be better than the Kemper too, but at least the owner won't call you a 'chucklehead'. It's actually comical the more I think about it. How can an owner of the company call customers that - its ridiculous.

Its that simple really. If you are a PAYING customer of any company, and you are treated extremely badly then sell the gear and walk away; but don't forget to tell your friends how you were treated. I do. Because I don't want other people being called a chucklehead by the company owner or worse getting racist remarks banded about about them. Awful.

He clearly does not come from sales and maybe does not want his company to succeed who knows? Calling customers names in this way is bad news for that company. Shhh don't tell him with some luck he may fade away.


Click for a larger image.

Case closed.

Don't look for the review because it will never happen on this site (or maybe it will) but please do draw your own conclusions about the equipment and the guy who runs that show not to mention the appalling forum which is the ONLY place to go for help. The '' website I closed too. However, you might like to know that I was threatened by 'Fractal Audio' because they said that 'Fractal Audio' was their trade mark. Unfortunately for them, I checked this out on the government trade mark register before 'giving' that website to Fractal Audio and you know what? They DO NOT OWN 'Fractal Audio' as a trade mark and never have.

So I told them that they had no right to the domain, which is still in my ownership to this day. I will not buckle from what is actually a bare faced lie. RIP 'Fractal'. I guess what goes around comes around.


© A B Mckenzie 1997-2015. All Rights Reserved