To the OP, I have an AxeFX Ultra and it is sick. Just sick. I don't know how else to describe the sounds it is capable of delivering. I'm not a tone snob or tube snob, I play what feels right, what sounds good to me (been playing 16 years and owned a lot of gear).
This thing, hands down, is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I **** you not, it really is that good. But that's for *me*. I listened to the audio demos and I watched YouTube and thought I had it paired down to either the GT-10, the X3 Live, the gt2.9tt or whatever it's called and then maybe the Utopia G300.
Then I heard this unit's clips and I was intrigued. So I read and read and read some more and tried to listen as best I could to see if it could do what I wanted. Well I got it and like I said, for me, it really is *that* good. Check out the Fractal forums, Dweezil Zappa is posting over there about the preset he uses (built from scratch) to cover VH's Eruption. I heard the clip:
And it's pretty damned good. I'm not playing it through a power amp and cabs at the moment (but will at some point). For now, I play it directly through my studio monitors/audio interface and it's insane.
You gotta read the manual, you gotta LOVE to tweak (or at least HAVE THE ABILITY) to tweak your sound.
But so far I'm absolutely floored by how good this and ALL of it's effects are, plus it's alive, it's a living breathing product. How often do other companies release firmware? Not just to fix initial F'up's but firmware that actually does new and better things? In my experience, not often enough. But these Fractal guys are Johnny on the Spot with updates. I would however NOT invest this much money and NOT get the Ultra. If you get one, GET THE ULTRA. The standard is awesome from what I've heard and read, but in the long run I think the Ultra is a better investment.
And sorry to come off as yet another guy who's had too much of the Kool-Aid but when I find something that sounds this good, it's hard not to come off like a weenie.