Ahhh, there are never enough toys for us guitarists, are there?
Just when we think our rigs are complete, along comes some cool box to turn our heads and make us gaze in wonder.
One of the latest is the ToneWorks AX1500G multi-effects processor. A digital unit that offers an outrageous number of features for the contemporary picker to drool over.
The ToneWorks AX1500G is another feature-packed box teeming with sonic goodies.
Twenty years ago, guitarists were thrilled to own a separate flanger, fuzzbox, and delay. Now pickers have boxes like this that contain everything but the kitchen sink. Among this device’s many attributes are 56 effects (eight simultaneous), 96 programs (48 preset, 48 user), an expression pedal (allowing real-time control of 11 effects), a bright LED readout, and good ol’ “chickenhead” knobs for real-time control of effects and parameters.
Among the array of effects in here are distortion, delay, chorus, and flanger. There are also simulations of spring reverb, tape echo, acoustic-electric guitar, and various amp and cabinet types (which are created using Korg’s proprietary REMS technology). And while there’s no kitchen sink, there is a slick Ring Modulator effect. Cool! Another neat feature is that within each of the 96 programs are two channels, allowing you to flip back and forth between lead and rhythm settings, such as from clean to crunch or a rhythm power-chord sound to a blistering lead tone.
The AX1500G further contains some cool digital-recording features. One of them is a unique “sample and play” function that allows users to record up to eight seconds of audio to create a loop to jam with, be it a chord progression or interesting riff. You can also reverse the loop the audio for producing special effects.
There’s also the Phrase Trainer, which lets the user record up to 16 seconds of external audio (such as CD, cassette or guitar playing), and reduce its speed up to 75 percent without changing the pitch. This is great when you want to learn complex passages or riffs at a slower speed.
Groovy features, but how does it sound? Pretty ripping, actually; you can plug it into a guitar amp, but I plugged our test unit directly into a PA using the stereo outputs (since the AX1500G also functions as preamp). Inside are tons of great tones, from clean to rock to metal and onward. There are a whole range of kickin’ Metal and Distortion settings, but I especially liked “Beckola,” a good ol’ fuzzface kind of squawk. And the aforementioned Ring Modulator setting allows you to use the expression pedal to fade in as much weirdness as you want. There’s even a neat “Acoustic” simulator that re-EQs your electric’s tone to give it more acoustic-like qualities, which is handy for stage work (this works best on your guitar’s neck pickup). Again, there are too many tones in here to describe individually, but for an affordable multi-effects processor, I liked what I heard.
The A/B channel switch also works effortlessly and is a great idea whose time has come. The same holds true for the Phrase Trainer and sample functions (face it – looping is here to stay). I’d recommend a test-run the AX1500G at your local guitar store. It’s a box with lots to offer.
Type of Processor: Digital multi-effect.
Features: 56 effects, 96 preset effects, amp and cab simulators, riff sampling/looping, “phrase trainer,” acoustic simulator, more.
Contact: ToneWorks/Korg,316 South Service Road, Melville, NY 11747, (516) 333-9100, www.korgusa.com..
This article originally appeared in VG‘s June ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.