Helix vs Ax8

Which one

  • Ax8

    Votes: 225 54.2%
  • Helix

    Votes: 190 45.8%

  • Total voters
    415

jageya

Member
Messages
4,251
Since I have an Amplifire and will be getting a Helix and an AX8, I could theoretically do that if it weren't for the "all tweaked by someone who knows what they are doing" requirement :D. And anyway, I'm too lazy. I'll just pick the one (or 2) I want, move the rest and maybe post about why (or maybe not). Given that all these things have return windows, anyone sufficiently motivated could do something similar.

The other issue is the learning curve for the units. I mean, I had an Axe FX 2 for years, so I'll be able to get my sounds (which shouldn't be confused with "good" sounds :D) out of the AX8 immediately. I've had an Amplifire for a month or so and I'm still learning my way around it. Who knows how long the Helix might take? And hearing a recording that make them sound comparable still doesn't mean you'll be able to dial them in to your satisfaction.
-
Austin
Austin...you should already have a handle on the axefx2 vs the amplifire. I cannot afford all 3 like some here so we value opinions on the differences in amp tones/feel and effects. From what i have gathered from the internet the fractal has alot more amp models stock and more effects then the amplifire. the amplifire seems to have basic but good effects inside and in competition with the hd500x price wise is to most better sounding and has a more realistic feel.
the helix from what i have seen and heard online is the leader in interface-amount of unique effects and hookup options. Again many of the tones from the helix i have heard have been ok to decent and some say it aint no pod-in that it is the next gen of modeling for line 6 so it "should" sound alot better at 3-4(for used)x the price of the hd500...but the interesting thing is at amplifires pricepoint(2-2.5x less then helix) i wonder how the amps sound in comparison because i know line6 effects are more versatile and plentiful as well as the interface more elaborate and hookup options more plentiful...
Enter the ax8- 1399 giving helix a run for the money and at 2x the amplifire seems competative.
Oh no 2 amps at same time or 4 amp paths and no 4 send and returns...but 216 amps-14 minute looper and
? likely great basic effects and as stated the same engine as the axfx2. so these are exciting times.
I also know it comes down to more then just prices but as someone who can only get 1 unit for now bang for the buck is important. I have never looked at Fractal untill now due to the very high price so this really throws me for a loop.
 

nicolasrivera

Member
Messages
6,642
This is trully amazing... there are no compromises in the AX8 regarding audio quality to an Axe FX II XL.

Cant wait to get mine!!!

The AX8 uses the same converters as the Axe-Fx II. We put the money where people can't see it but where they can hear it. Different philosophies.
 

phil_m

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,703
This is trully amazing... there are no compromises in the AX8 regarding audio quality to an Axe FX II XL.

Cant wait to get mine!!!

The AX8 uses the same converters as the Axe-Fx II. We put the money where people can't see it but where they can hear it. Different philosophies.
Just exactly how many Red Bulls do you drink a day, Nicolas? :D
 

jageya

Member
Messages
4,251
so in theory anyone who has the axefx 2 now should be able to a/b with a helix and the ax8 will be the same engine as the axefx2? i hope someone will do this..i am on the fence NOW....My preorder is a few weeks away for helix.this is exciting...
 

uglybassplayer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,455
Interesting. Cliff stated in defense of the cost of the FX8 that it uses "Cirrus Logic's "flagship" converters (= $$$$$)".
I'm guessing he's referring to the CS4398 http://www.cirrus.com/en/products/cs4398.html.

He also states on the Wiki page...
  • "The AX-8 is not "way more powerful" than the FX-8. The AX-8 has one additional DSP that is DEDICATED to amp modeling. If you don't use the amp modeling the AX-8 has the same power as the FX-8. The AX-8 will not work as well as the FX-8 in 4CM. It is not designed for that. It will do 4CM, as will most digital processors but the FX-8 is the only processor of which I'm aware that is truly optimized for 4CM. That optimization requires a lot of expensive circuitry. The op-amps used are very expensive and there's dozens of them just to support the 4CM stuff. Add to that relays for true bypass, metal film capacitors, etc., etc., and you end up with an expensive design. The FX-8 and AX-8 are built on the same code base. There is a single folder that is used to build the common elements for both products. Enhancements to one automatically enhance the other. All this work we've been doing for the AX-8 will improve the FX-8. The AX-8 will be much more popular than the FX-8. That should be obvious. Most people want the amp modeling. If you don't care about the amp modeling then the FX-8 is the better product and the whole reason for having two different products."

Based on the above statement one would assume the AX8 does not use the same expensive converters and op-amps as used in the FX8, otherwise it would probably have to cost a few hundred more, correct?
 

Fractal Audio

Member
Messages
1,115
Interesting. Cliff stated in defense of the cost of the FX8 that it uses "Cirrus Logic's "flagship" converters (= $$$$$)".
I'm guessing he's referring to the CS4398 http://www.cirrus.com/en/products/cs4398.html.

He also states on the Wiki page...
  • "The AX-8 is not "way more powerful" than the FX-8. The AX-8 has one additional DSP that is DEDICATED to amp modeling. If you don't use the amp modeling the AX-8 has the same power as the FX-8. The AX-8 will not work as well as the FX-8 in 4CM. It is not designed for that. It will do 4CM, as will most digital processors but the FX-8 is the only processor of which I'm aware that is truly optimized for 4CM. That optimization requires a lot of expensive circuitry. The op-amps used are very expensive and there's dozens of them just to support the 4CM stuff. Add to that relays for true bypass, metal film capacitors, etc., etc., and you end up with an expensive design. The FX-8 and AX-8 are built on the same code base. There is a single folder that is used to build the common elements for both products. Enhancements to one automatically enhance the other. All this work we've been doing for the AX-8 will improve the FX-8. The AX-8 will be much more popular than the FX-8. That should be obvious. Most people want the amp modeling. If you don't care about the amp modeling then the FX-8 is the better product and the whole reason for having two different products."

Based on the above statement one would assume the AX8 does not use the same expensive converters and op-amps as used in the FX8, otherwise it would probably have to cost a few hundred more, correct?
The AX-8 and FX-8 uses the same converters (CS4272-CZZ) and op-amps. The circuit design in the FX-8 is necessarily much more complex to support true-bypass switching (without pops and clicks) and to optimize the outputs for use in 4CM.

The AX-8 removes the dedicated true bypass switching circuitry and simplifies the output design to save money. The cost savings is used towards an extra DSP.
 

jageya

Member
Messages
4,251
Since cliff has said all the amps/effects are the samein the ax8 as in the axefx2 apart from one amp/cab block, and its missing the more esoteric effects, I would assume the cab block is the same as the Axe FX cab block. Axe FX Cab block can run dual impulses in stereo mode, so that means two impulses.
 

nicolasrivera

Member
Messages
6,642
Since cliff has said all the amps/effects are the samein the ax8 as in the axefx2 apart from one amp/cab block, and its missing the more esoteric effects, I would assume the cab block is the same as the Axe FX cab block. Axe FX Cab block can run dual impulses in stereo mode, so that means two impulses.
IIRC The CAB Block on the AX8 will do Stereo IRs too.
 

Elric

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,487
Based on the above statement one would assume the AX8 does not use the same expensive converters and op-amps as used in the FX8, otherwise it would probably have to cost a few hundred more, correct?
No, it clearly means the components in the FX loop signal path are different between the two devices and the loop designs differ substantially; and those component and design differences translate into some-known-only-to-Fractal manufacturing premium for that device/design that has translated into some effect on the retail cost of the unit.

It says precisely d*ck with regard to component choices/content in the primary input or line out on either device. The way to determine that would be a tear down of both boxes or word from the manufacturer (based on Cliff's response above it looks like this has indeed been confirmed as being in-line with the rack units).
 
Last edited:

zerorez

Member
Messages
2,131
Don't own any digital modeling gear, but I must say from the interface and display aesthetics, the Line 6 Helix gets my vote. The Fractal Ax8 and other offerings look dated with that bland green lcd display.
 

Guitar1969

Member
Messages
2,245
Don't own any digital modeling gear, but I must say from the interface and display aesthetics, the Line 6 Helix gets my vote. The Fractal Ax8 and other offerings look dated with that bland green lcd display.
So that is how you would compare a guitar processor ?- I bet you also use an Apple Iphone over an Android. LOL

Just Joking

It does look good but I would take sound quality, even with less effect choices than a swiss army knife modeler that has tons of effects I would never use. I am sure some like that (maybe a cover band guitarist that needs to cover tons of sounds), but after coming from a Zoom modeler that has a bunch effects I will never use, I use mainly 4-5 as my core sound, as no modeling company can kill it on all their effects (Some will be good and some will suck). The previous Line6 proucts have all suffered from this, including the HD500 - sounds were not that great.

I have since moved back to the manual pedal setup so I can get what I like for each type and like my tone more now.

Sometimes Less is more.

Even though I don't feel the need to run out and get one of these new units, the way I look at it is if the Ax8 covers all the common effects(Delay, Reverb, Chorus,) and has a few great amp models, I would be ahead of the game replacing my manual pedalboard pricewise.
 

atquinn

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,721
So that is how you would compare a guitar processor ?- I bet you also use an Apple Iphone over an Android. LOL

Just Joking

It does look good but I would take sound quality, even with less effect choices than a swiss army knife modeler that has tons of effects I would never use. I am sure some like that (maybe a cover band guitarist that needs to cover tons of sounds), but after coming from a Zoom modeler that has a bunch effects I will never use, I use mainly 4-5 as my core sound, as no modeling company can kill it on all their effects (Some will be good and some will suck). The previous Line6 proucts have all suffered from this, including the HD500 - sounds were not that great.

I have since moved back to the manual pedal setup so I can get what I like for each type and like my tone more now.

Sometimes Less is more.

Even though I don't feel the need to run out and get one of these new units, the way I look at it is if the Ax8 covers all the common effects(Delay, Reverb, Chorus,) and has a few great amp models, I would be ahead of the game replacing my manual pedalboard pricewise.
If you think less is more, you wouldn't be looking at the AX8 or the Helix; you'd be looking at the Amplifire. The AX8 has a ridiculous amount of effects, more than 200 amp models, scenes, X/Y functions and more. The only way in which it could be seen "feature-limited" is if you compared it to the Helix. :D
-
Austin
 

Guitar1969

Member
Messages
2,245
If you think less is more, you wouldn't be looking at the AX8 or the Helix; you'd be looking at the Amplifire. The AX8 has a ridiculous amount of effects, more than 200 amp models, scenes, X/Y functions and more. The only way in which it could be seen "feature-limited" is if you compared it to the Helix. :D
-
Austin
Understood - I meant in relation to the Helix. I want the fractual quality but not willing to go their higher end route To be honest, I don't think I am ready to spend even this kind of cash on either option. it would be fun to have, but not needed, but isn't that what most of us guitarists face?
 




Trending Topics

Top