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AX8 vs Axe-Fx II - How Do You Decide?

All of my research seems to indicate that the AX8 is perfect for me as far as dialing up all the tones I could think to come up with and then some. Cost is less and I am a hobby guitarist, open mic, etc. Maybe a band someday.

But how do most decide on needing the Axe-Fx II over the AX8? Dual Amps, touring, playing live in a band?


P.S. Where is Fractal's offices?


Fractal Fanatic
you decide based on what you want and need. if the Ax8 does everything you think you'll need it to, there's no reason to drop twice as much on the II and MFC. If you think you'll want dual amps or crazy patches with every block imaginable the 8 won't cut it. portability is a huge factor as well, obviously.


All of my research seems to indicate that the AX8 is perfect for me as far as dialing up all the tones I could think to come up with and then some. Cost is less and I am a hobby guitarist, open mic, etc. Maybe a band someday.

But how do most decide on needing the Axe-Fx II over the AX8? Dual Amps, touring, playing live in a band?


P.S. Where is Fractal's offices?
For your needs at the moment from what you describe the AX8 will be perfect!! Graduate to the AXE-FX later perhaps when things start moving along. Mind you though a lot of pro guys who gig regularly are more than happy with the AX8.


I had AFXII before and switched to AX8. Reason for that was the compact size and footswitches in the AX8. It still has all* the same quality amps, cabs and effects, that AFXII does. I haven't regret the switch at all.

I mostly need
1. A good high gain rhythm tone. That is easily done with the AX8.
2. A good clean tone with beatiful delay and reverb. Easily done!
3. A Big ambient clean tone. This is where i need to do some compromises. I get there, but i need to lower the cab block from Ultra res to normal res and reverb quality from high to normal.

If you like big Ambient reverbs with a lot of delays and synth effects. AX8 will have hard(er) time to achieve that. Like I said, for my needs the AX8 can do this as well, but i know guys who need at least two reverbs and delays to get what they need.

Other than that, AX8 gets the job done nicely! IMO


The AX8 being an all in one ergonomic unit sealed the deal for me. The overall integration and layout of the interface I've found to be outstanding. (Having used all manner of MFX pedals and rack plus midi control pedal over the years). The on board controls easily facilitate the sort of on the spot adjustments I've needed in performance situations: Sure, its easier to do the major layout and construction in AX8Edit: but its important to capably get after it from the panel without a computer.

I can (and do) use the AX8 for any situation at any time. For electric or acoustic guitar or bass. The convenience of taking it from one place to the next without much in the way of cabling or setup: To studio, jam, on the bus, etc. If I had gotten the AxeFX, I'd also need something more portable for some circumstances.

I'm not sure I'd make that much advantage of the additional capability of the AxeFX. CPU limitations haven't been a problem for me. I now use less effects: In my pre FAS days: I was prone to slathering on the effects like ketchup on a grease burger to "improve" lack luster amp modeling; but since Quantum is so good, I prefer just a little to enhance rather than smother the flavor of the modeling. (Q9 = A5?) When I do want to really lard on the effects: Its matter of crafting presets confined to what's actually in an ON state, and not expecting to achieve this from a traditional pedalboard layout with everything and the kitchen sink in one preset.
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Admin M@

Fractal Audio Systems
I love the grab-and-go portability of the AX8, the LED-ring knobs, and the fact that what some people see as "limits" actually seem to inspire creative thinking.

I love the added CPU power of the Axe-Fx II for larger and more complicated presets, and I do use the extra blocks (especially two amps), plus Tone Matching and IR Capture.
Thanks for the input. I am sold on the AX8. I am not a complicated player and I do not need multi-reverbs and delays at the same time. I like the ability to build multiple amp rigs and effects and work them in with an analog pedal board I do have. The AX8 will be great for grab and go acoustic work too. I just want a rig that would work with an at home PA to avoid redundancy of a guitar cabinet, etc. Thanks again.


Don't forget the super useful built in USB audio on the Axe II. Plug in a USB cable to your computer and your directly recording, and even able to do really cool things like record a dry DI track and the effected track, which then means you can play the DI track back and change the amp settings, effects etc. I find it really handy being able to easily record tracks without having to hook up an extra cables etc.

I also really like having the ability to run dual amps, gives a lot of tonal variety and unique tones. Plus, you can run two guitars into an Axe, essentially 2 signal chains, which can be kind of handy if you want a buddy to jam with you, someone on bass etc. I've found that kind of fun and useful too

Last but not least, having the CPU for as complex of patches as you can think up is handy too. Want to run 2 delays, and 2 reverbs, maybe a spring reverb going into a plate reverb or who knows what... you can do it as the II has the power for essentially two of each block.

AX8 is a great unit too, and ideally having both is the way to go, but if I had to be limited to just one or the other, I'd have to go with the II


For live use, AX8 is cheaper and easier, also more practical. For studio use, and digital recording/editing, the Axe is far better.


I'm not a big fx guy, I just want a good amp tone and the pedalboard, decent delays and verbs, programmable EQs, some compressor and gate... I think the only thing I envy from the Axe-Fx is the cab preamp simulations. Which I wonder why they aren't available in the drive block, by the way. But it wouldn't be a game changer.


Power User
AX8 = less gear to lug to a gig.

I do miss the USB audio connection, but now I just use VSTs to do amp sims when recording


New Member
recently bought AX8 after previous using FXII . I got so frustrated with using liquid foot jr midi pedal and mission exp pedal and trying to get them all working I ended up selling everything and getting out for couple years. The AX8 is so easy to haul, the edit are so easy to understand and accomplish. Super gig friendly! Im using a JBL powered 10 for monitor at gigs and going direct to PA too. Seems like things are really sounding better than two years ago too? For gigging no comparison AX8 ALL the way.


I was an ax2 guy and 'downgraded' a year and a half ago, for the portability and all-in-one setup. No longer need to carry a separate rack and pedalboard.

I do occasionally miss the higher horsepower, mainly for swirly/wispy/shimmery/reverby type effects i run into cpu limits. But the 8 is good enough for 99% of what I do, and the tradeoff is definitely worth it. This is the first fractal rig that i've been able to fly with!


Fractal Fanatic
I couldn’t decide so I kept both! I had my Axe since 2013 but when the AX8 came out I had to have it. I gig with my AX8 and leave my Axe at home.
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