AX8: First Impressions

KSL

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So I received my AX8 today and would like to share my experience for those who are curious.

To preface this, I currently also own a Kemper and got the AX8 to try something different. As such, I will make a few comparisons with the Kemper.

First, the hardware itself seems solid. The only thing that I don't like are the knobs and the buttons as they don't feel as solid as the rest of the unit. I'm sure they'll hold up but they just don't feel good when usin them. Also, the leds around the knobs are recessed and I have concerns about being able to keep them clean as the AX8 is a floor unit.

The Kemper on the other hand has knobs and buttons with a great tactile and solid feel to them. I know this sounds like a minor thing, and it is, but these things add to the overall experience and use of the units. This matters a lot if you plan to do any editing on the unit itself.

I also decided to eschew reading the AX8 manual to see how easy it would be to get around..... Big mistake!!

After the unit booted up, it took me a while to figure out a couple of things such as, how to change presets, navigate the menus, or what the info on the screen means when I hit a switch. I have to say that this unit is super unintuitive and I can't imagine doing any editing live. Thank goodness for Axe Edit!!!! The menu navigation with the few provided buttons is pretty horrible and I would consider this to be a huge UX fail! The amount of button presses or knob turns required to get any where or do anything is ridiculous.

Meanwhile the Kemper has enough buttons and led prompts to let you navigate and know what's up at all times.

Tonally, out of the box, Kemper had more of what I am looking for. However, with a few tweaks, I have to say that the AX8 does have an edge over the Kemper in the way that it sounds and responds. But I haven't found any tones on the AX8 yet that I can say that truly trump the profiles I have on my Kemper.

Well, these are my first impressions of the AX8.

I look forward to playing and learning how to use this unit better as I know there are tons of awesome tones to be had from it.
 
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Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
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Thanks for the impressions. I'm a gear Luddite so I'll stick with my pedalboard. Some day someone will be user friendly for the flintstones but have the abilities of the jetsons.
 
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KSL

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Oh within 10 minutes I encountered weird issues with my AX8. For example, it was making weird spaceship noises until I rebooted the unit. Another was this weird digital warble whenever I sustained a note.

I am on the latest firmware 2.02
 

Crash-VR

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No wierdness here. This is my first modeler since the POD HD. I think this thing is incredible. It's taken very little time of editing in combination of AX8 edit and the unit to get solid grasp of the user interface. WAY easier than I thought it would be. I just don't understand the comments about editing live. When on the block you need to edit, press edit, twist the knobs, done. Press store enter enter if you want to save it. I was scared after reading so many comments like above. All I can think is that it's good I don't have any habits from other units that complicate my logic towards the AX8. This thing is a dream come true. Just don't judge it through headphones.
 
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atquinn

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Oh within 10 minutes I encountered weird issues with my AX8. For example, it was making weird spaceship noises until I rebooted the unit. Another was this weird digital warble whenever I sustained a note.

I am on the latest firmware 2.02
You can get weird spaceship noises out of pedals too if you turn the knobs a certain way :D. I recommend signing up at the Fractal forum and using the AX8 sub forums there. Plenty of people there would be willing to help you troubleshoot if you're having problems.
-
Austin
 

ColdFrixion

Senior Member
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5,760
While the Kemper's front panel interface is more intuitive than the Axe's, a GUI such as Axe-Edit is easier and more intuitive than the Kemper's front panel display by far, in my opinion. I much prefer working with a GUI on PC such as Axe-Edit over pressing front panel buttons anyway, and this is sorely missing on Kemper. Thus, comparing intuitiveness of front panel navigation is a non-issue for me.
 
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nicolasrivera

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I want to see the floor kemper, how will they solve putting all those knobs and buttoms for users that love the current unit, if they cant, all hell will get loose.
 

benifin

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I want to see the floor kemper, how will they solve putting all those knobs and buttoms for users that love the current unit, if they cant, all hell will get loose.
As a regular Kemper and Axe 2 user I'll go out on a limb and say that i dont think Kemper has any forseeable intentions [ next 2 - 4 years ] of releasing any sort of "floor" unit ... other [of course] than KPA Midi floor controllers.

You / we will see a hardware update to the Profiler way, way before we see any "floor profiler" / " floor profile player" .

But of course, I could be wrong :)

Ben
 

nicolasrivera

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As a regular Kemper and Axe 2 user I'll go out on a limb and say that i dont think Kemper has any forseeable intentions [ next 2 - 4 years ] of releasing any sort of "floor" unit ... other [of course] than KPA Midi floor controllers.

You / we will see a hardware update to the Profiler way, way before we see any "floor profiler" / " floor profile player" .

But of course, I could be wrong :)

Ben
Mmmm if there where any intentions of a hardware update it should have happened already, but it has not and by the looks of it there are no intentions of being done, i do think the floor unit will come first and then a kemper II, both units will sport new improved tech and pave way for the kemper future!
 

AZG

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I must agree the UI is not great, but edits I would actually do at a show are easy. Amp adjustments, use the dedicated knobs. Effects I have assigned to foot switches, tap the foot switch, click Edit, and turn knobs A-E, then click Store and Enter if I want to save the changes. For all patch setup I use AX8Edit which I think is much better than either the KPA or Helix UI. And then there are the tones... :)
 

mikah912

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The OP probably just needs time to settle with the AX8 workflow.

That's the double-edged sword of first impressions: One tends to overhype the immediate - whether bad or good - and minimize the rest.

That aside, someone else on here complained of their AX8 making odd noises with almost no playing input across patches. I don't think it's firmware-related, nor do I think it's particularly widespread. Just the second time I've seen mention of it anywhere.

That person sent theirs back to Fractal at their behest after contacting support.
 
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KSL

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Ill probably get used to the AX8 work flow process in time, but again, these are my first impressions.

But learning to edit on the unit itself is important to me as you never know what can happen, you might be stranded to change or edit something without a laptop nearby.

It's reassuring to know that users like @AZG find quick edits easy.
 

Dead-Pan

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Oh within 10 minutes I encountered weird issues with my AX8. For example, it was making weird spaceship noises until I rebooted the unit. Another was this weird digital warble whenever I sustained a note.

I am on the latest firmware 2.02
I've had the same thing happen. I think it is a com error between Axe Edit and the Ax8. Reboot fixes it each time.
 
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KSL

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The noise was really random and surprising and I wished I recorded it.

Hopefully it is not a reoccurring issue


The OP probably just needs time to settle with the AX8 workflow.

That's the double-edged sword of first impressions: One tends to overhype the immediate - whether bad or good - and minimize the rest.

That aside, someone else on here complained of their AX8 making odd noises with almost no playing input across patches. I don't think it's firmware-related, nor do I think it's particularly widespread. Just the second time I've seen mention of it anywhere.

That person sent theirs back to Fractal at their behest after contacting support.
 

veritechc

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My Axe Fx makes a squealing sound every once in a while when using Ax Edit. It's a communication issue with the USB hookup. A reboot fixes it up in a jiff.

Now nothing fixes that green screen interface. AX8 Edit will be your friend. It's so much better then the on unit UI. At least it is for the flagship Axe.
 

partytrain

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Oh within 10 minutes I encountered weird issues with my AX8. For example, it was making weird spaceship noises until I rebooted the unit. Another was this weird digital warble whenever I sustained a note.

I am on the latest firmware 2.02
Check the noise gate. I noticed mine making a lot of odd warbles when sustaining and it ended up being the "intelligent" noise gate. I have spent no time really researching the noise gates, I just know turning it down eliminated the extra noises.
 

atquinn

Silver Supporting Member
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My Axe Fx makes a squealing sound every once in a while when using Ax Edit. It's a communication issue with the USB hookup. A reboot fixes it up in a jiff.

Now nothing fixes that green screen interface. AX8 Edit will be your friend. It's so much better then the on unit UI. At least it is for the flagship Axe.
If you think that's true for the rack units, may you never use an AX8! :D The on-unit interface on the rack units is actually much better than on the AX8.
-
Austin
 

nicolasrivera

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Ill probably get used to the AX8 work flow process in time, but again, these are my first impressions.
First impressions are important, especially from those that have never had a Fractal product before this will help Fractal improve upon the things that will make the user experience more pleasant and help improve the products in the future.
 
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mikah912

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First impressions are important, especially from those that have never had a Fractal product before this will help Fractal improve upon the things that will make the user experience more pleasant and help improve the products in the future.
True, but I don't see Cliff changing the UI of either the hardware or software editors any time in the foreseeable future. That cake has been baked, sliced and boxed for quite some time. We're just at the very beginning of the AX8 product cycle.
 




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