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How I use my AX8 ... (+ presets)


IMG_0867 kopie.jpg

How I use my AX8

Over the past months I’ve “perfected” my AX8 setup. Contrary to my primary Axe-Fx rig, which is much more laid out, this is my simple pack-and-go alternative, configured the way it works best for me.

In this post I’ll walk you through it. Yeah, I know, a video would be better, but I (still) hate doing those.

The hardware consists of the AX8, a single pedal and the MC6 controller by Morningstar. I need the MC6 because the 8 onboard footswitches on the AX8 do not suffice for my switching addiction. I use an USB power pack to power the MC6.

I’ve got a main AX8 preset, which I use about 90% of the time. Actually three, but I’ll get to that.

Onboard switches

AMP-X is a clean tone (Twin). AMP-Y is my crunch tone (Dirty Shirley). Switch #1 is assigned to AMP X/Y.
Yes, there’s a slight gap when switching between these sounds. But I can manage that quite nicely, and I don’t need to switch this way that often.

Switches 2, 3 and 4 provide various gain possibilities.

#2: Control Switch, assigned to Boost in the amp block
#3 is OD or fuzz (X/Y)
#4 is FET Boost or SDD (X/Y)​

This of course means that X/Y switching is enabled in the Global menu.

These are all “global” switches, fixed in position in every preset.

Switches 6, 7 and 8 are also global switches (same position in every preset).

#6 is Delay (X/Y)
#7 is Reverb
#8 is a GEQ used for leads​

I don’t care for reverb in my live tones, just a little for clean tones, so I mainly use the Spring to save CPU power.

This leaves switch #5. This is my "wildcard" switch and it is NOT a global switch. This allows me to assign it per-preset for specific tasks.


Together, the bottom row switches allow me to use various amounts and textures of gain at will.

Alternatively, I can use scenes. I set up my scenes like this in most presets:
  1. Clean (AMP-X)
  2. Crunch (AMP-Y)
  3. Rock (AMP-Y + Boost)
  4. Solo (AMP-Y + OD + Delay + GEQ)
  5. Volume swells
Scene Revert is on, so I can use scenes to return to my basic amp tones at any time.


F1: Single and Sticky presets
F1: Tap Tempo and Tuner
F3: Single Scene and Exit​


5 switches on the MC6 control modulation effects: Phaser, Flanger, Chorus/Detune, Rotary and Tremolo.

Now, not all these effects fit in a single AX8 preset. So I have Phaser, Flanger and Tremolo in the main preset, and Rotary and Chorus/Pitch in a secondary presets.

At this moment the MC6 doesn’t support press-and-hold as a secondary switch function. So I can’t hold the 5 switches to switch the effect between X and Y. That's why I’ve assigned the 6th button on the MC6 to switch all these effects between X and Y in one go (I hardly ever use more than one modulation effect at a time). The MC6 can do this because it supports 8 MIDI commands per switch.

To be able to switch all effects between X and Y, I’ve assigned MIDI CCs to Rotary X/Y and Tremolo X/Y in the AX8.


One pedal suffices for my needs. It's a spring-loaded Mission. Mainly wah, but doing other duties in specific presets: shimmer, Whammy, simulated feedback, ringmod etc.


Presets are in post #17.

P.S. Finally, I hope that some of the dreams in my wishes thread someday will become part of the firmware. This includes a "Page" feature, that would allow us to put the onboard switches to better use (second layer of footswitch assignments).
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Yek, you are a genius :)!!!

I built a DIY 5 FS MIDI-Controler (for scene selection and looper control). But at the moment I don't use it, as I don't want a bulky board nor an additional power supply. Also I had a minor issue wiht hum, when operating the MIDI-Controle barefoot :(. Maybe an integrated battery pack would make it possible to use it whenerver I feel like it, and leave it away, when I want to go small. One extra Mission EXP-Pedal is also all I need in addition...



Fractal Fanatic
Very interesting set up @yek. I also use very few presets and just a few scenes. I do use the controls on my guitar all the time. Guess I am a creature of habit. Back in the days before FAS, I used my guitar controls to work my amp rig. I still prefer to really focus on playing with the other musicians as opposed to doing the pedal and preset dance. I like your approach. Gets the Geeze stomp of approval.


I'm pretty sure I have configured hold to have a second function on my mc6. I'll look it up.

EDIT NOTE: info in this post is wrong, as CC hold will trigger both values. See my post below for conditional types which will work for having multiple functions on a single button, as well as being much more powerful.

CC Hold Delay
Number1 Value1 Number2 Value2 Channel
Values 0 - 127 0 - 127 0 - 127 0 - 127 1 - 16
Details CC Number (Press) CC Value (Press) CC Number (Hold) CC Value (Hold) -

Sends a Midi Control Change message only if the switch is held down for more than 600ms. A CC Message of Number = Number 1 and Value = Value 1 will be sent out when the switch is pressed down. If held more more than 600ms, a CC message of Number = Number 2 and Value = Value 2 will be sent out.

Example of Use
This function is very useful when you want to assign one footswitch to switch banks, and then activate a preset once you have selected your desired bank just by holding down on the footswitch. Another cool use for this is to set your looper’s play function to Number 1 and Value 1, and Stop function to Number 2 and Value 2. That way, you can have 2 useful functions in one preset. Just press the switch once if you need to play the loop, and hold it down when you want to stop the loop.

If you need a working example I can get it tonight when I'm home.

(Currently in a train, copy and paste as best I can)
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You sure about this working as as a secondary function?
Because when I use this, the primary function kicks in as well.
Yeah, the Hold Delay sends a first CC message on button press, and then a second one if the switch is held down. We might make some changes to this in the next firmware.
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@yek would you mind posting your AX-8 preset. I’ve used your AXE-FX version for a long time that was based on the Friedman. It rocks.


@yek would you mind posting your AX-8 preset. I’ve used your AXE-FX version for a long time that was based on the Friedman. It rocks.

I'll upload them tonight.

On my Axe-Fx the BE v1 is still my main amp model.
I use the AX8 mainly in another band which needs a more vintage tone. That's why I selected the Dirty Shirley.


Fractal Fanatic
I use the AX8 mainly in another band which needs a more vintage tone. That's why I selected the Dirty Shirley.

Do you guys really find the Dirty Shirley to be vintage sounding? To my ears the DS has a very smooth and fine-grained distortion. IMO the Friedman Small Box has the same dynamic range, but its drive is much more grainy and organic, which to me equals vintage sounding :)


Do you guys really find the Dirty Shirley to be vintage sounding? To my ears the DS has a very smooth and fine-grained distortion. IMO the Friedman Small Box has the same dynamic range, but its drive is much more grainy and organic, which to me equals vintage sounding :)

Well, vintage as in “more-vintage-than-the-BE”. :)
Cleans up much better also.

The Smallbox model is based on the high-gain channel of that amp, which is similar to the BE. To my ears it does not sound more vintage... It’s my least favorite Friedman model, also because of the amount of bottom end.


Fractal Fanatic
Interesting :)

I never liked any of the BEs (I know, I'm weird that way). I like (but rarely use) both the DS and the SM box, but I prefer the DS for more modern sounding stuff and the SM for the older stuff. I also find the SM to clean up very well.

Thanks for your walk-thru - You use your AX8 in completely different way than I do, but it just shows how many options are in the box.

EDIT: I just read that Friedman describes DS as being based on a JTM45 - I must admit that I don't hear that at all :)
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I should add this reminder about using an external MIDI controller with the AX8:

when switching presets on the AX8 itself, the buttons assigned to effect blocks on the MIDI controller can "loose sync" with the actual effect states on the AX8. This means that sometimes a switch has to be pressed a second time to take effect. That's not a fault of the MC6, it's inherent to unidirectional MIDI and easy to explain:
  • Press Phaser switch on MIDI controller. MIDI controller sends "Phaser on" command. Phaser turns on.
  • Switch to another preset on AX8.
  • Press Phaser switch again to turn on Phaser. The MIDI controller has no knowledge of the preset switching and sends "Phaser off" command. Nothing changes on the AX8...
  • To engage the Phaser, the Phaser switch has to be pressed a second time.
The MC6 does offer a way to ease the pain, partly: it lets you assign a command to a switch which "clears" all its switches.


Hey @yek I took a look at my MC6 this morning and I'm not using CC hold delay, rather conditional type - sorry for that confusion.

See screenshot below how I have button C in Bank 1 setup.
Short press loads up CC#0 PC#5 (my Smallbox preset)
Long press changes the MC6 to bank29, which happens to be where I have the MC6 setup to control DMXIS (lighting).

So I have conditional type 2, value 2, which from the manual does this:
If switch is held down (600ms)
Skip to the next Conditional Placeholder (0:0) and send the messages after that Placeholder.
Else, send the rest of the messages after this Conditional when the switch is released, up till the next Placeholder.
So I place directly after this what I want to trigger if I press the button less than 600 ms.

Then I have
So I have conditional type 0, value 0, which from the manual is called a placeholder
After this line I place my midi commands I want to trigger if I hold longer than 600ms.

This was introduced in V2.01 firmware in June last year.

Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 8.20.04 am.png

(and thanks for your presets and all your work on this forum!)
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