It is with a twinge of sorrow that I have sold my AA3 and moved on to the Fractal AX8. After 2 years with the AA3 and no major purchases in the period, the G.A.S. pressure had reached dangerous levels and in a fit of curiosity I took the plunge and ordered an AX8 from the good people at GU66. Having had the AX8 for about 4 weeks I can say that I don't regret the move, although the £1,445 price tag (damn that exchange rate!) was more than twice the cost of an AA12, which was an option I was seriously thinking about. So why do I like the AX8 more than the Amplifire? Amps/Cabs - OK, there are a lot more amps and cabs on the AX8, but strangely I am drawn to the usual favorites so no major difference in practice for me. The AX8 amps are more dynamic with greater detail in the low and low mids and better string to string definition. The cabs are better than the stock Amplifire cabs and you can run different cabs in stereo, which is nice. These differences my not be so great in the mix, but if you checkout Marco Fanton on youtube you get a good idea of what I am getting at. The amps have a massive number of options for tweaking although you don't need to go there to get a great sound and the presets are very good as they stand. Effects - no competition here, the AX8 has a lot more effects than the Amplifire and the ability to have dual drives and delays as well as more esoteric effects such as pitch, shimmer, rotary, ring modulation and synth open up more creative options for those who want them. The effects have a lot of parameters that can be tweaked, but thankfully there are preset options that get you into familiar territory for those who want an easier life. Switching - The AX8 has 8 preset/effects footswitches plus 3 function switches. The 8 footswitches access presets and turn on and off individual effects. If you access the scenes menu, can use the same 8 footswitches to turn on/off multi effects in the same way as the Amplifire. The AX8 goes one step further in that, by holding down any of the 8 footswitches, you can access a second version of any amp/cab/effect in the preset. This is really powerful, allowing you to setup separate clean and drive sub-presets and switch between the X/Y effects at any time as well as within a scene. With the preset selection menu, this means the 8 footswitches provided 32 different functions. Powerful stuff. Connectivity - There is no USB digital out but there is a SPIDF out. The usual XLR is provided for the mains out, and there is a second TRS output allowing you to go FOH and stage monitor separately . There are also 4 expression pedals jacks if needed and effects loops. Summary - The AX8 is a fantastic unit offering massive tonal options and connectivity in a well built and small package. The switching options and the ability to have X/Y versions of amps and effect is really useful and avoids having to change presets (this avoids the slight lag when changing). It is very expensive compared to the AA12 at over twice the cost; however I was planning on buying the AA12, pedal board and a decent power supply which would have set me back about £980 so the difference for me was not that much and I now have no need to buy other effects. The AX8 also has a looper as an added bonus and it has a mains power supply and switch so no wall-wart. I wish Atomic and all Amplifire users the very best, the AA3/12 are great bits of kit and I am sure will continue to provide their owners with great tones.