Re: Question about an Axe Fx
Which Axe-Fx are you talking about? I'd make sure you're talking at least about an Axe-Fx II for newer. There is basically no support of the original or Ultra any longer, so I'd avoid those.
I play exclusively through an Axe-Fx II Mark II and I love it, although I've always been a modeler person. I have a baby at home and play 95% of the time through headphones. I use the Axe also as an audio interface and an external sound card . If you want to record, it runs straight into your DAW with a USB cable, which is really nice. The latency is basically non-existent and it frees up a lot of system resources for doing things like running other virtual instruments. But if you're not recording you may not care about any of that.
The primary complaint I've heard about the Axe is that it doesn't sound like a real amp, but more like a recording of a real amp. By which I mean there is no cabinet moving tons of air, so you lose all of that, which a lot of people are very used to and like a lot.
Another thing I could see a lot of people not liking is the controls, or lack thereof. The front panel has no traditional controls of any type and is mostly worthless. It's basically good for selecting presets. It's configured more like an old school rack effects unit. I do everything through the Axe-Edit program, which means that it's basically tied to a computer. Again, fine by me but for live use or for someone who likes simply turning knobs, I can see how this thing would be frustrating. Many of those people I'm sure would prefer the Kemper.
Regarding ease of use, I've had this for a long time so I don't remember but I don't think that it's super hard to use. There is definitely a setup process that isn't intuitive and requires you to read the manual. Basic use of the Axe-Edit program is easy but modifying anything can seem daunting. You have all your traditional controls, but beyond that you have a MILLION other things that don't make obvious sense. In effect, what you have is what is available to someone modding an amp, so you can model all sorts of crazy things like input power supply voltage sag, which in a real amp will affect how the tubes behave. Stuff like that. But these all have default values which basically make sense.
What I find most interesting about it is the time based effects (delay and reverb). You can do a lot of neat stuff with those. Think effects like a Strymon Big Sky.
Hope that helps.