Fractal Audio’s Axe Fx is the only digital amp modeller (and multi effects unit) that professional artist actually use in their productions. With PODs and the Boss GTs being excellent units for the bedroom guitarist with lack of space, the just-announced Axe Fx 2 is really outside the competition. The new version has double the CPU power, increased resolution on impulse responses, and an integrated USB sound card. Considering how good the old version is this might be the most GAS-inducing piece of gear ever!
I’m currently involved in couple of discussions on guitar forums where people are arguing that an amp modeler will never sound like/as good as a valve amp. That is just delusions in my book. Compare it to the world of photography, who doesn’t use a digital SLR now? Only reason to use an old camera is to get a retro look, I am certain it’s going to be the same with guitar gear in a couple of years. Let’s be bold now and create the best tone ever instead of focusing on emulating outdated technology!
For a sample of what version 1 can do, check out this video (that is stuck in above comparison, but still impressive):