Review – Blue Cat Audio Axiom
Eli Krantzberg reviews Blue Cat Audio Axiom, a powerful and open multi effects processor and amp simulation software for guitar and bass.
Blue Cat Audio Axiom
It’s not uncommon for plug-in developers to build on previous successes. Often we’ll see existing features enhanced and rolled into their new releases. In the case of Blue Cat Audio, not only do they build on existing plug-ins, they actually wrap them up entirely in their new offerings!
Welcome to Axiom. A hybrid that comprises Patchwork, Destructor, and Late Replies, all rolled into one powerhouse multi-effects processor and dual amp simulator; designed specifically for guitars and basses.
Here’s how it works:
The signal arrives at the Input stage, where it can be processed with up to four of the forty internal effects, or any third party audio unit, VST, or VST 3 plug-in.
The signal then flows to a pre FX pedalboard for each of the two amps. Here, up to six effects can be added before the signal reaches the amp.
The signal then flows through each of the amps, which is a full-blown version of Destructor.
After this, a post FX pedal board strip is available for each of the two amps, again hosting up to six internal or external processing FX.
The pedal board controls are displaying parameters for the Slate FG-X plug-in hosted in the third slot:
The signal is finally routed to an output stage with four more effects slots available.
The two amps can be blended and panned individually, making Axiom great not only for stereo amp processing but also for stacked or parallel processing.
Not only have Blue Cat Audio rolled three existing plug-ins into one, but they have also incorporated and enhanced the best features of each in Axiom’s user interface. Some of the flagship features include the following:
- The ability to bypass each of the stages of the signal flow individually.
- The ability to save, store and recall presets separately at each stage of the signal flow.
- The ability to lock the settings at every stage of the signal flow individually from being changed when calling up new global presets.
- The ability to use a third-party audio unit, VST, and VST 3 plug-ins within the Axiom, complete with GUI controls that update to display third party plug-in parameters.
- The ability to scale and hide/show various GUI elements, so that you are only using screen space for the functions you need.
- Forty fantastic sounding FX plug-ins.
- The ability to insert Destructor and Late Replies anywhere into the signal flow.
- And two nice built-in bonuses: An easy to use tuner, and the ability to host third-party drum machines, software instruments, metronome, or sequencer, for live jamming.
And the most important thing, of course, this thing sounds fantastic! They’ve taken the best parts of Destructor and tweaked them, so the amps sound great just using the front panel controls. You only need to dig into the amp edit mode for detailed tweaking. In most cases, you can get a great tone simply with the front panel parameters.
We all know and love Logic Pro X’s Amp Designer and Pedal Board. But they fall short when setting up more complex routings. If you want to run the signal through multiple amps and multiple stages of FX processes, multiple tracks, aux sends/returns, and track stacks become necessary.
With Axiom, the entire signal flow is managed in one unified interface. Working to sculpt guitar and bass tones is a pleasure in Axiom. The ability to copy paste/plug-ins with their settings anywhere in the interface is a fantastic tool for creative experimentation.
I fully admit I am a Blue Cat Audio fanboy. Their products have consistently gotten better and easier to use with each new incarnation. And Axiom is the apex of it all. I can’t wait to see what they do next.
I had a guitar player over to record, and every preset we stepped through sounded great. Check Axiom out in action here: