Hey guys, I'm at a bit of a cross roads with my rig and i'm interested to see your opinions on it,

I currently run a Pedaltrain Novo 24 board into a Blackster 1046L6. I want to maximize my amp's potential using midi switching, and also want to add a few different sounds to my arsenal.

This means i would either need to upgrade to a larger board, midi switcher pedal and the desired pedals, or migrate to an all in one digital solution (ideally the fractal fx8).

My pro's and cons are:

- Fractal would be a neat all in one, lighter and more convenient solution, with a large amount of future proofing. But If the fractal goes down during a show then its essentially game over, there isnt much scope for on the fly fixes. Im a bit of a technophobe with programming, although I've heard the fx8 is quite intuitive.

- Pedals - allow for constant change and upgrading if i want and if something breaks its easy to swap a pedal our lead mid show. But it is significantly heavier and in has more points to fail.
You left out one factor- sound quality. Does the FX8 sound as good as some analog pedals?

Also, in the future do you see yourself needing any unique effects that the FX8 can't provide?
To be honest the effects i use are pretty standard, i.e. tubescreamer, phaser, chorus, whammy, analog delay etc. Nothing is really stand out unique at the moment.

The only unique thing ive debated is a fuzz, im not sure how well the FX8 drives are. Although that wouldn't be a core of my sound anyway
Id go for the FX8 any day of the week. Not only is it an all in one unit, it makes switching way easier, since you can program complete patches and change them with a press of a single button, instead of tapdancing over dozens of pedals. So its not just more handy, its also more versatile.

If you are scared about it breaking down, i suggest keeping your current pedalboard, or better yet, making a small one with just the basic effects that you need. That way, if the fx8 breaks down (id imagine thats pretty unlikely, those high end modelers seem to be built like tanks these days), you can just swap it out with the basic pedalboard. Its not a perfect replacement, but i imagine its better and easier than troubleshooting a 20 pedal board with midi switching and a thousand patch cables 10 minutes before you have to go on stage.
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If your amp has a pretty decent clean channel the FX8 will be so much more then just a pedal board. Go for it.
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Thanks Guys,

I think if i go down the pedal route i would be getting a pedal loop switching midi pedal, so i could try and get everything programmed as button patches.

But that said this is definitely swaying me towards the FX8
I always move towards lighter and easier, especially if it sounds as great as the Fractal. It should do what you want and a lot more (and I think it is on sale now).
Not needing to tap dance might be worth the price of entry The FX8 is also on sale right now. When not on sale, the AX8 is very little extra money so I'd look into going that route.
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I faced the same choice a while back and ended up buying an fx8. I absolutely love it.


Easy to use once you've programmed it
Easy to switch between similar pedals (I had different settings for my overdrive on my rhythm channel and my lead channel, now I just set the scene for each and hit it)
Stereo (usually not needed, but I like to occasionally run out to two amps. It's pretty nice that it just handles it)
Delays/reverbs are numerous and really quite great. Put it up against a couple solid delays and it absolutely blows them out of the water.
Variety. I never need a rotary speaker effect, but when I do it's there. Really encouraged me to try out more spacey and weird effects since I didn't have to go pay more and buy another one.
Built like a tank. Honestly don't know if I could break it.


The overdrives on it are really customizable and really, really good, but not quite as organic as a non-digital overdrive.
Adding effects on the computer when linked up to it isn't bad, but adding them on the machine is incredibly tedious. A million things to change, and a best-they-could-do-on-the-board UI.

As I said, I made the hop over and kept most of my pedals "Just in case." I don't think other than pulling out my ts-808 to compare I've pulled any other pedals out since. It's pretty damn great.
Do you want amp modeling or not. Right now I get all the effects and amp switching that I would ever want from a Boss GT-10.
I don't use it as a modeler, just as a controller and fx.
So if it is just fx that you're replacing, there might be a way to go with the new GT-100 or one of the Line6 units.
If you are concerned about the FX-8 breaking down and ending a show, think of it this way:
What happens when your power supply on your regular board dies? Or if you're going for a MIDI-looper setup, what if that dies? Isn't it show over that way too?
There's always a small chance stuff breaks and ends a show. Try not to think about it too much, or be prepared and bring a backup. There's nothing that can't break in any setup.

I play a Kemper nowadays and I use it for everything, amps and effects. It's amazing, I love it. I currently don't do gigs, but when I start again with some new projects, I'll be sure to bring a backup for it. I doubt I'll need it, but you never know. It's rock solid and like tfizzle also said, having all the options you'd want and then some is really great.
I K0nijn I thats actually a really good way to think about it. I tend to tour with a backup amp, i suppose it would just be a case of throwing a few backup pedals in my case too
one thing that hasn't been brought up is strymon.
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I personally don't trust digital all-in-one pedals and prefer a line of pedals as I know what I am hitting. I do have a basic multi effects pedal but the controls are analog and I dont use many effects. It keeps it simple. I prefer a few strong sounds than a whole skew. That's just me though and the music I listen to. A Wah, Fuzz (external), Phaser, Delay, Overdrive, Distortion, Compressor. Thats about it for me. With my analog/digital I can switch for a song over to a chorus if needed. I always sound the same anyways, just my style. Nothing fast, just my thing.
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