1. Is it Just Like an Effects Cable Orginizer/Controller?
Nope. It's an all-in-one box. Effects. Amp models. Cabinet modelling. Everything right there in the box. All you need is the box. Nothing else. My rig is currently: guitar -> Axe-Fx II -> direct to the front-of-house. Nothing but net. And awesome tones.
You could run it in four-cable mode (4CM) with an existing amplifier that has an effects loop. But honestly, this is the inferior way to run it. It shines the brightest when it's run direct to a flat response, full range (FRFR) amplifier and speaker combination. In my case I'll go straight to the front-of-house or, for small gigs, I'll run it in to a Yorkville E10P powered monitor wedge and use that as my "amplifier". If you run in 4CM mode your amps pre and power amps, plus your guitar cab and speakers, add a ton of colour of their own to the signal chain and you don't really reap the full benefits of the awesome modelling it does.
I just happened to be playing around tonight with the new Peavey 5150 Mark III model that got added in the 6.00 firmware release. I am totally in love with this amp model. Sounds KILLER on all three channels (green, blue and red). Here's the red channel doing my ****ty take on one of VHs best licks (IMO): http://bit.ly/LmO0TU
I say goddman
that thing is so much fun to play!
That was recorded guitar -> Axe-Fx II -> Apogee Duet and captured by Logic 9. Nothing else. That easy. Killer tone. My kids, sleeping upstairs, didn't even know I was getting my rock arena god on.