I've been gigging with my trusty AX8 heavily for more than two years (ever since they came out) and I truly love it. But recently I've been on a quest to return to some analog gear...not so much to replace modeling, but I just miss the feel of real amps. I have a nice Carol-Ann, but that stays at home. The Origin Effects Revival Drive caught my ear. The demos sounded exactly like my sound: old-school, raw, very alive. I'm one of those guys who literally uses one patch on the AX8 all night...an X/Y amp block and a handful of basic effects. So I figured the Revival Drive would be perfect for building a small board. When I got it, I first tried it in the loop of the AX8 using the Fractal's cab block. Damn, it sounded good. It got me thinking...the HX Effects has IR loading...it would be the perfect pairing for the Revival Drive. I bought the HX Effects and loaded my favorite IRs (I have a LOT). For some reason, I couldn't get it to sound as good as using the Revival Drive with the stock cabs on the AX8. Believe me, I tried. Next I thought I would return the HX Effects and go back to a bunch of individual effect pedals (delay, modulation, etc.) and get a stand-alone IR loader or cab sim. I tried many, many options. I won't mention the pedals, but I kept thinking that the HX Effects sounded just as good as these expensive pedals for the time-based effects. Really. So I decided not to return the HX Effects. Then, while researching cab sims, I saw the new Torpedo CAB M. I thought, holy crap, this is exactly what I need! Two days later, I had the following rig: Guitar > CryBaby Mini Wah > XP Compressor > HX Effects. In the loop of the HX Effects, I have the Tumnus Mini > Revival Drive Custom. The output of the HX Effects goes to the CAB M. Man, I'm in heaven. After spending more time with the Revival Drive, I can truly say it's amazing. It needs tweaking and exploration for sure, but man, it sounds like an amp. It has all the little sputters and noises, and everything that makes a cranked amp glorious. Using the Torpedo app with the CAB M, I found a Greenback cab that was absolutely perfect. I now have an entire direct-to-PA rig on a 24x12 board. Back to the AX8: I was pretty proud of my patches. I really dialed a few in over the years. But next to the new rig, they sounded thin and a bit hollow by comparison. I hate to say it, but they sounded digital. It was something I hadn't noticed because I think over the past two years I just got used to it. Believe me, this isn't a slam on Fractal...I think their modeling is the best. But my new rig feels so much more alive. Bottom line, I think I'm at the point where I've made the following conclusions (for ME): • Analog sounds better up front (preamp, OD pedals, wah, compressor) • Digital is the obvious choice for time-based effects • A good cab sim is better and more consistent than a mic on a speaker • The combination of digital and analog is the SH*T I sold the AX8 because I just don't need it. Having said that, if Fractal comes out with a smaller unit soon, I will snag one just to have it. I still think modeling has its place, especially for guys using multiple tones. But for a rock guy like me who just needs clean, crunch and lead, I couldn't be happier with the new rig.