Blue Cat’s jam-packed-full-of-features plugin has been out for a month or two and I finally got a chance to review it. The video:
And the script notes:
Version 1.11 was reviewed. BlueCat sent a license for review.
Jam packed full of features. Primarily it is a guitar amp/cabinent simulator…but it’s so much more than that.
In addition to the guitar section, there are over 40 built-in effects. You can even put Axiom inside of itself!
distortion pedals, Bit Crusher, Chorus, Comb Filters, Compressor,
Ducker, Echo, Harmonizer, Multitap Delay, EQ, Multimode Filter, Flanger, Frequency Shifter, Gain, Gate, Stereo Pan, Phase Shifter,
Phaser, Pitch Shifter, Pitch Bender, Reverb, Stereo Strip, Sweep Filter, Tremolo, Wah and Waveshaper
Axiom also allows you to host third party plugins in the signal path, INCLUDING VIRTUAL INSTRUMENTS! This is a monster of a plugin, all for 200 dollars or Euros.
All major plugin platforms are supported along with MIDI control. It’s also zero latency, as long as you don’t add third party effects.
A standalone application is also available.
It’s actually difficult to review a plugin like this, because there are so many features.
The amount of controls can be overwhelming. Thankfully there are tons of factory presets to help get you started. The 37 pages long PDF manual is well written
Thanks to the Global GUI Zoom control, the GUI is ready for small screens and 4K monitors alike.
The handy Undo button should maybe be larger and a different color. Redo is also available.
Signal chain: flows left to right and up and down.
Volume Input –> Input Effects –> Parallel amp sim channels A/B with pre and post effects –> Master Channel
Load virtual instruments into the Tools Rack.
Lock parameters button, to prevent preset changes.
The tuner must be enabled.
You can save global presets or presets for each section.
Set up Axiom how you would like it to load, with the Default User preset. I like it at 130% zoom, show controls on (three buttons)
Amp simulator editor (lower case E button, top right corner). This is actually the Destructor GUI, which even has its own PDF manual.
Actually, most if not all of the built-in effects have their own PDF manuals. Just click the question mark icon when their editor windows are displayed
The plugin worked flawlessly with built-in effects. It would crash when loading or unloading certain plugins. Be sure to save your projects before doing so.
Drag and drop functionality was recently added and it is super useful. Duplicate by holding control and dragging an effect. You can even drag between instances of the plugin! .dll files from Windows Explorer right onto Axiom? Yep! There are a few other options, but yeah Blue Cat really thought this feature out.
Dynamics and flexibility are best part. Cleans are great but distortion and pedal effects need a good deal of work to become competitive with other guitar amp sims.
A simple mode would be very beneficial. Their Free Amp plugin is a step in the right direction.