I recently bought one of these used on Reverb and had a particularly enjoyable experience with Reverb (far better than I have had with eBay lately). I owned a Line 6 spider digital modeling combo amp about ten years ago. It was supposed to sound just like the original amps that they were modeling. It was ok, but not great. In talking to employees at my local Music Go Round used musical instruments store, they told me (and I whole heartedly agree) “that digital modeling has made an increase of about 50 years forward in the last ten years.”
The AX-8 has over two hundred twenty different amps, over one hundred thirty cabinets, over twenty-nine drive pedals, over nineteen delay pedals, plus multiple reverbs, flingers, chorus, both graphic and parametric EQ’s, noise gate, compressors. Anything that you could need or want, is in there. The AX-8 also has a stereo effects loop, so you can run your favorite pedal or rack unit in and switch it on and off at a footswitch. It also has MIDI. I am currently running an Eventide H9 in and out through the effects loop in stereo and controlled by MIDI for program changes that are automatic when I change pre-sets on the AX-8, and I send Beats per minute info to the H9 so that the delays are in time with the songs that I’m playing. I was able to program beats per minute and program changes into the MIDI section of each pre-set and even into each scene on the AX-8. It was my first time using and programing MIDI into anything and I found it to be extremely easy.
Fractal Audio has an exceptionally good forum with a pre-set exchange area which is fantastic. Fractal Audio has a free AX-8 Edit program so that you can quickly and easily edit pre-sets on a computer or laptop. You can also edit right on the front panel. Editing is super easy! When editing these individual effects, you have the option for either a X or a Y state, meaning that you can have two different effects, amps, and, or cab that you can switch between or program into scenes to mix and match. And by simply holding down the footswitch that programed to that effect, the effect will change to the other state either “X” or “Y” depending on which one you are currently in. Speaking of footswitches, they are completely programable to whatever you want them to be.
The AX-8 has eight banks which hold eight per-sets in each bank. Within each pre-set you have 8 Scenes that can be set up any number of ways. That gives you 512 scenes that you can store into the memory of the AX-8. Some people use the different scenes within a pre-set for intro, verse one, chorus one, verse two, chorus two, bridge, solo, and outro of a song. Some people use each pre-set as a pedal board type of set up, being able to switch effects on and off at will.
I am extremely impressed with everything in the AX-8. The amps sound formidable. They even act like a physical amp in that when I turn down the volume on my guitar it not only lowers the volume, but the drive goes down as well, just like the real amp. It is so versatile, I can and have done several worship sets at church in the morning and had a rehearsal with an eighty’s classic rock band in the afternoon and it managed both with killer sounds.