AX-8 mini review

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by jzgtrguy, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. jzgtrguy

    jzgtrguy Member

    Messages:
    6,273
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    I got an AX-8 recently after being on the wait list since October. That wait was nothing compared to how long I had to wait to the Ultra when they came out. So having used an Ultra I thought I knew what I was getting into.

    I had been using a Port City Pearl 100 and their Standard 212 cab and a few pedals. Great rig. Hope I don't miss it too much.

    Sonically I think the AX-8 sounds amazing. I'm currently running it through an Alto TS210. I no longer have the Ultra so I can't A/B them but since it's been several generations of software since the Ultra and working from memory I'm pretty impressed with Quantum firm ware. Mostly I'm just using a Twin and some drive blocks, A /13 CJ and some drive blocks and some of the ODS models. It feels like a tube amp, responds like a tube amp etc. No complaints sonically.

    Programing is not nearly as intuitive as I'd hoped. I think I was thinking it would be similar to what I had experienced in the past. It's not. I chock that up to it being a pedal and having buttons to program etc. Working from the pedal is not as easy as I would have wished.

    The software editor is great though, just like I remembered. I still have problems programing the expression pedal for volume and wah etc. but that's mostly my problem not the AX's.

    There is a large glitch/lag when adjusting from the pedal to the editor or vice versa. It simply cuts out and then cuts back in. No big deal at home. Big deal playing out although I doubt I ever have the editor open during a live performance. I never experienced this with the Ultra. I never had the controller for the Ultra and I would use my lap top to turn effects on and off in real time live and it worked great. I looked like a total geek but it worked. It wouldn't with an AX-8.

    I think that editing an effect on the fly in a live performance would be awkward as would adjusting the amp in real time stooping down, getting on one knee etc.

    Lastly I seem to run out of processor pretty fast. I never experienced that with the Ultra. But if this is the same processor running more complex algorithms it only makes sense that it's going to run out of gas faster. I'm not building complex pre sets and I don't run several instances of effects at the same time. Just drive block, delay and reverb. Using the high resolution cabs seems to max it out faster. When you max out the processor it shuts off the reverb. Anyone else experience this?
     
    jzucker, KSL, football and 3 others like this.
  2. james...

    james... Member

    Messages:
    2,332
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Location:
    North Georgia
    Yeah people have expressed concern about the lag of the editor. I'm not sure if Cliff is going to fix this. I'm sure he will if it's possible.
     
  3. aizenx

    aizenx Member

    Messages:
    192
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    Yes, when I max out the CPU, the first thing to go is the reverb, every time. Switching it to standard definition vs high definitely helps.
     
  4. Pat6969

    Pat6969 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,151
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2014
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Amp and cab block DSP is separate from the effects DSP so type of cab doesn't affect reverb.
     
  5. partytrain

    partytrain Member

    Messages:
    5,700
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Location:
    Further south than I'd like.
    The fractal forum has been preaching using the small spring reverb as it uses the least amount of memory. Of course, that's hoping you like the sound of the small spring reverb, which I don't.
     
    football likes this.
  6. marshall2553

    marshall2553 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,207
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Location:
    NC
    If you're connected to the editor you need to pause it before making adjustments or switching scenes on the AX8 itself. The lag is the editor trying to sync back up with the hardware after every change.
     
    Crash-VR and vltjd like this.
  7. Flying_V1968

    Flying_V1968 Member

    Messages:
    612
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Location:
    Naples, FL
    This pretty much mirrors my experience with the AX8. I've had mine for about 3 weeks now. I came from the good old standard, which I still own (I'm a hoarder) and it still has great tones. I thought doing edits directly on the AX8 would be a breeze since I've had years of practice on the standard. That experience definitely helped but it's a different beast and the learning curve somewhat steep for a Pollock like myself. :p AX8 edit is superb but I pause communications when done tweaking due to the choppiness. I typically don't use much reverb so the cpu issue isn't a big deal for me. Someday I'll play around with the standard in the loop as a reverb.

    The AX8 sounds stellar and everyone I've jammed with are blown away. I love the form factor but wish the LCD screen was easier to read on the floor. It's flexibility and capabilities are immense. I get extremely satisfying tones and feel covering any style and genre. I really like it.

    My wife is a huge Prince fan and I was messing around learning Purple Rain a few days before he died - strange coincidence. (I just started working on some Bowie for the first time right before he died. If you want an artist killed off it seems I can help with that :oops:) I quickly dialed in a nice patch covering all the parts. She came running downstairs "omg, so beautiful! That sounds amazing!" She was literally tearing up. "I'm so glad you bought that crazy box! What a great investment." Best endorsement ever.

    EDIT: The 3.02 FW update auto-pauses AX8 edit now. And the display improvement is a welcome change as well. Thank you to the folks at Fractal - I am supremely confident you'll keep up the good work!
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2016
  8. Joe Rogers

    Joe Rogers Member

    Messages:
    33
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2015
    The new firmware release coming out (V3.01) addresses the audio dropouts dramatically when interacting with the editor. This is schedule for release in the VERY near future. With regards to the CPU, this is not the same processor(s) used in the Ultra. The AX8 is not meant as a replacement for the AxeFX (hence the dramatically reduced pricing). There are tips in manual for reducing the CPU overhead of your effects, and there are many threads on the Fractal Forum that discuss this issue. I encourage you to hop on over there, and take a poke around.

    Fractal appreciates all feedback, and we hope you enjoy using the AX8.
     
    ericb, jzgtrguy, Art_Vandelay and 5 others like this.
  9. veritechc

    veritechc Member

    Messages:
    2,761
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2015
    This is exactly the same on the Axe Fx with Axe Edit. It's really not a big deal as long as you don't use the editor while adjusting perameters at a gig.

    Strangely this is not the case with the helix editor. I can change parameters all day long and there is no lag. I wonder what the difference is?
     
  10. Zer0th

    Zer0th Member

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    The difference is likely down to the client [PC/Mac] / server [Fractal device] approach used in FAS's editors. The client editor queries the hardware/firmware a lot more than used to be the case. Pro: the editor is much more stable than before, especially when handling presets created on older firmwares. Con: slower, lost ability to edit a preset offline. Most with a long memory wouldn't choose to go back to the old paradigm.
     
  11. veritechc

    veritechc Member

    Messages:
    2,761
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2015
    The Helix editor also can't do offline editing. Some are complaining about that.
     
  12. football

    football Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,635
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Location:
    Boston Area
    Very much hope there will someday be some type of "AX8 Pro" coming out with same processing power as AxeFX (with higher cost) to add to your lineup.
     
  13. Pat6969

    Pat6969 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,151
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2014
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    +1!! The AX8 is a great product for guys looking to get into the game but I'm sure a "pro" version would be well received by gigging guitarists.
     
    veritechc likes this.
  14. veritechc

    veritechc Member

    Messages:
    2,761
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2015
    I have to admit I thought that was what the AX8 was supposed to be despite everyone telling me it is not designed that way. I've said it a few times that the AX8 doesn't really compare features wise to a Helix. Its not really a fair comparison. I think the Axe Fx 2 vs Helix is a way better feature set.

    I would be all over a Axe Fx with a integrated foot controller, a better and larger display and some scribble strips!
     
  15. bdrepko

    bdrepko Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,671
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    As a guitarist who gigs once or twice every week, I have not found any limitation so far in the AX8. Of course, I dont use heavy effects. I use reverb (not spring) and delay for leads. I sometimes use chorus and pitch effects.
     
    AZG, skinvoyager and ericb like this.
  16. Pat6969

    Pat6969 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,151
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2014
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Do you do any clean to mean? You don't find switching a slight issue? I find it challenging with one guitarist to seamlessly switch, takes some good timing to X/Y my clean to dirt and back again.
     
  17. marshall2553

    marshall2553 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,207
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Location:
    NC
    The CPU limitation hasn't been an issue for me yet. t can pretty easily build a preset with wah, phaser, drive, amp, trem, reverb, 2 delays, reverb and a cab block without running into CPU issues. I do run the reverb in normal mode and lower echo density. I've owned an AxeFX II and don't miss the horse power so far.
     
    veritechc likes this.
  18. bdrepko

    bdrepko Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,671
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    I dont have any songs where I change back and forth between clean and dirty. I do have a lead patch that I switch in and out of. No problems with that.
     
  19. marshall2553

    marshall2553 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,207
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Location:
    NC
    You can go from clean to mean without any drop out using scene controllers. Pick an amp that cleans up well by lowering some combination of input drive, input trim and master volume and attach scene controllers to those parameters. The Dirty Shirley model works well for this. Or set the amp up clean or crunchy and put a drive or filter block (with a level boost or cut) in front of it and enable them in the appropriate scenes.

    There will always be drop out if you're changing the amp type in an X/Y switch.
     
  20. veritechc

    veritechc Member

    Messages:
    2,761
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2015
    Is that the case with all fractal products? I'm not near my Axe Fx but I think if I do a X/Yswitch there is no dropout. I know that if you use a scene to change amps (not possible with the Ax8) there is no dropout.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice