The new AX8 is an all-in-one Amp Modeler + Multi-Effects Pedalboard Processor. It features many of the same leading-edge technologies utilized in our flagship Axe-Fx II processor, now offered in a floor unit at a fantastic price. Quantum Amp Modeling gives the AX8 over 222 exquisitely modeled amps that recreate the incredible nuanced tone and feel of real tube amps: sparkling cleans, elusive “edge of breakup” tones, and everything from warm, touch-sensitive overdrive to face-melting distortion. Ultra-Res™ Speaker Simulations offer a range of cab tones, with 130+ “Factory” cabs, plus 512 “User Cab” memory slots to store entries from our celebrated Cab Packs. Add to this a stunning selection of effects utilizing our state-of-the-art algorithms: G3™ drive pedals, HD reverbs, compressors, delays, EQs, choruses, phasers, flangers, rotary, tremolos, pitch shifting, wah, and many more. Above all, the AX8 sounds great, with a pristine, high-quality signal path and the signal processing power that makes Fractal Audio Systems the industry standard for today's most discriminating professional guitarists.
The AX8 is “built-like-a-tank” to be road-worthy and reliable. It sports a signature black steel chassis and aircraft aluminum end-panels, a convenient top handle/guard, and eleven quiet, durable, solid-state stomp switches with no mechanical contacts to fail.
Hands-on editing has never been easier than on the AX8. Dedicated LED-ring knobs give direct access to eight “must-have” amp controls: Drive, Bass, Mid, Treble, Presence, Depth, Master, and Level. Add to this five additional “soft knobs” beneath a brilliant LCD display, six buttons, including SHIFT for extra functions, front-panel LED meters/indicators, 27 LEDs in three colors, and dedicated knobs for output levels.
The back panel contains an instrument input with Fractal Audio’s signature “Secret Sauce” circuitry, stereo main outputs with XLR, ¼” Humbuster™, and SPDIF out, plus a stereo-in/stereo-out effects loop that can also be repurposed as a utility input or output. This allows the AX8 to output “cab sim” signal to “front of house” while simultaneously addressing a power amp and conventional guitar speakers for on-stage “backline”. USB, MIDI IN, and MIDI OUT ports round out the set. Above all, the AX8 features an extremely high-quality signal path to deliver ultra-low noise and pristine sound.
The AX8 features over 222 Quantum amp models utilizing the same industry leading amp modeling technology as our flagship Axe-Fx II. Fractal's amp modeling sets the industry standard against which all others are measured, and is backed by the endorsement of many of the world's greatest musicians across all genres of music. Only Fractal offers Ultra-Res™ Speaker Cab simulations for enhanced IR performance without intolerable latency. The AX8 is also compatible with our entire library of Cab-Packs.
Fractal Audio is just as well-known for effects as it is for amp modeling, with a long list of incredible names standing behind our "no compromises" effects technology. The effects of the AX8 use the same core technology and algorithms as those of the Axe-Fx II. An impressive number of effects are included, with what we believe to be the complete package needed by the majority of professional players in the ultimate "grab-and-go" unit.
The effects in the AX8 offer “XY” switching, giving each effect two completely different sound settings from a single block instance. For example, you might equip an AMP block with discreet “Deluxe Tweed” and “Plexi 50W” channels, or toggle a reverb between “spring” and “hall” sounds.
The AX8 gives you traditional "instant access" effects switching using the eight main footswitches, while three assignable “Function” footswitches let you change modes or access other features.
There are 512 preset memory slots, with each preset featuring our now-familiar “4x12” layout grid and eight easy-access “SCENES” per preset to engage pre-defined groups of effects, switch XY states, adjust levels, and more.
Our fantastically flexible “modifier” system enables easy, real-time sound changes. You can plug four external switches or expression pedals (like the Fractal EV-1) into the onboard jacks to control Wah, Whammy, Volume, or virtually anything else, or utilize MIDI or onboard controllers to make sound changes.
A precision, full-screen tuner, two global equalizers, and a convenient Tap Tempo function are also built-in. AX8-EDIT, a full-featured software editor, is included free.
The AX8 is also fully compatible with Fractal-Bot for preset sharing, easy backup and restore, plus firmware updates in the tradition of continual improvement that has become as much a hallmark of Fractal Audio Systems as the quality and sound of our products.
The AX8 actually received the Platinum Award TWICE, once for its release, and then again for the "QUANTUNM 8" firmware update.
The AX8 is first and foremost an amp modeler. It features Quantum Amp Modeling Technology, the same core modeling engine as our flagship Axe-Fx II. (In comparison, you get ONE [dual-XY-channel] amp block per preset instead of two). Quantum is the pinnacle of over a decade of R&D, the industry leader in amp replacement technology, heard in studios and on stages around the world and vetted by some of the world's most discriminating guitar and bass players. In your hands, it sounds and responds like a great tube amp, with an organic, "juicy" quality often described as very "musical". The eight dedicated amp control knobs of the AX8 make it easier than ever to dial in tones: just select a model, set the basics where they sound best to you, and play. Should you choose to go deeper, you'll find incredible flexibility and features—an amp designer's dream, with full parametric control over exquisitely modeled separate preamp and power amp, and more.
Speaker simulation is the essential counterpart to great amp modelling. The AX8 uses patent-pending UltraRes™ technology to recreate the tone of great speaker cabs, with 175+ factory "cabs" plus 512 memory locations so you can install selections from our many Cab-Packs. The AX8 also gives you the ability to output a second signal with NO cab sims, typically used to drive a power amp and cabs on stage while sending a fully simulated chain to front of house.