Axe-Fx II Owner`s Manual
Owner’s Manual
Legal Notices
Fractal Audio Systems Axe-Fx II Owner’s Manual. Contents Copyright © 2011 -2012. All Rights Reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the permission of Fractal Audio Systems.
Fractal Audio Systems, Axe-Fx, Axe-Fx II, G2 Modeling Technology (“G2”), Virtual Vacuum Tube (“VVT”) are
trademarks of Fractal Audio Systems. Manufacturer names and product names mentioned herein are trademarks
or registered trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated with or affiliated with Fractal
Audio Systems. The names are used only to illustrate sonic and performance characteristics.
Important Safety Instructions
WARNING: To reduce the risk of fire or electric shock, do not expose
this appliance to rain or moisture.
CAUTION: To reduce the risk of fire or electric shock, do not remove
screws. There are no user serviceable parts inside. Refer servicing to
qualified service personnel.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Obey all warnings on the Axe-Fx II and in this User Guide.
Keep away from sources of heat such as heat ducts, registers or appliances which produce heat.
Connect only to a proper AC outlet of 100–240V, 47–63 Hz.
Keep the power cord in good condition. Do not kink, bend, or pinch. If the cord becomes
damaged, discard and replace it.
If not using your Axe-Fx II for extended periods of time, disconnect from AC mains.
Protect the unit from rain and excessive moisture.
Refer servicing to qualified personnel only.
Do not operate the unit and obtain service if:
a. Liquids or excessive moisture enter the unit.
b. The unit operates incorrectly or performance is inconsistent or erratic.
c. The unit has been dropped and/or the enclosure damaged.
Prolonged exposure to high volume levels can cause hearing damage and/or loss. The use of
hearing protection in high volume situations is recommended.
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Certificate of Conformity
Fractal Audio Systems, USA, hereby declares on its own responsibility that the following product:
Axe-Fx II Digital Guitar Preamplifier and Effects Processor
- that is covered by this certificate and marked with CE label conforms to following standards:
EN60065
(IEC 60065)
Safety requirement for mains operated electronic and related apparatus for household and
similar use.
EN 55103-1
Product family standard for audio, video, audio-visual, and entertainment lighting control
apparatus for professional use. Part 1: Emission.
EN 55103-2
Product family standard for audio, video, audio-visual, and entertainment lighting control
apparatus for professional use. Part 2: Immunity.
with reference to regulations in following directives: 73/23/EEC, 89/336/EEC.
Issued in May 2011
Clifford Chase, President
Fractal Audio Systems
EMC / EMI
This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B Digital device, pursuant to part 15 of the FCC
rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful interference in residential installations. This
equipment generates, uses and can radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the
instructions, may cause harmful interference to radio communications. There is no guarantee that interference will not occur in
a particular installation. If this equipment does cause harmful interference to radio or television reception, which can be
determined by turning the equipment off and on, the user is encouraged to try to correct the interference by one or more of
the following measures:
 Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna.
 Increase the separation between the equipment and receiver.
 Connect the equipment to an outlet on a circuit different from that to which the receiver is connected.
 Consult the dealer or an experienced radio/TV technician for help.
About the Author
Matt Picone is a music technology product specialist, sound designer, creative director, and musician with over 25 years of
experience spanning guitars, amps, effects, synthesizers, software, and beyond. He also works as a consultant to many greats
including Dweezil Zappa, Adrian Belew, Steve Vai, Dream Theater, the Edge, Peter Frampton, Neal Schon, King’s X, Scott
Appleton (Def Leppard/Rush/etc.) and more. This work is based extensively on the original Axe-Fx manual by Fractal Audio
founder and Axe-Fx creator Cliff Chase.
Many thanks to our team of awesome beta-testers, preset creators, copy-editors and proofreaders.
You may report manual corrections or suggestions in our forum at http://forum.fractalaudio.com
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Foreword
Thank you for purchasing an Axe-Fx II, one of the most powerful musical instrument processors
ever produced. Please take the time to read through this manual to become acquainted with
the Axe-Fx II.
Thinking back to a date when the first Axe-Fx units rolled off the line back in 2006, it would
have been a challenge to predict the scale of what was to follow… that the product would be
such a worldwide success that we would have a hard time keeping it in stock; that musicians
would rally around the unit, from online “Axe-evangelists” to the world’s most celebrated pro
players; that we’d soon be writing the foreword to a manual for the sequel: the Axe-Fx II.
Nevertheless, the Axe-Fx II is here. Advances in technology and knowledge, along with the
shared insights of our community, have allowed us to design and produce a next-generation
product that represents a giant step forward. If you owned a Standard or an Ultra, we think
you’ll be very impressed with all the updates, additions and improvements. If you’re new to the
Axe-Fx family, this is an incredible place to start.
It has been said that the Axe-Fx “restored digital to its rightful place as the superior solution to
musical effects processing.” Every aspect of the Axe-Fx II has been designed to deliver the latest
word in this commentary. It has twice the power of the Axe-Fx Ultra (while even the older
“Standard” still has more horsepower under the hood than the closest competitor). For the
player, this means better sound, smarter features, and improved performance.
We think that a time traveler from that date back in 2006 would be quite impressed with how
things turned out. We are, and we hope you will be too. And now, on to the show…
—Fractal Audio Systems, May 2011
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contents
Foreword .......................................................................................... iii
Table of Contents .............................................................................. iv
What’s New .......................................................................................1
1 Introduction ..................................................................................4
1.1 What is the Axe FX II? .............................................................................. 4
1.2 The Inventory/Grid Concept ..................................................................... 6
1.3 Connectivity and More ............................................................................. 7
1.3.1
My Head Hertz… ....................................................................................................................................7
2 Overview ......................................................................................8
2.1 The Front Panel ........................................................................................ 8
2.2 The Rear Panel ....................................................................................... 10
2.3 Computer Integration ............................................................................ 12
2.3.1
Minimum Requirements ......................................................................................................................12
2.3.2
Software Installation ............................................................................................................................12
2.3.3
Capabilities...........................................................................................................................................13
3 Connections ................................................................................ 15
3.1 Setting Levels ......................................................................................... 15
3.2 The PEDAL Jack ...................................................................................... 16
3.3 System Parameters ................................................................................ 16
3.4 Connection Diagrams ............................................................................. 17
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3.4.1
Axe-Fx II into Self-Powered Full-Range Speakers.................................................................................18
3.4.2
Axe-Fx II into Studio Monitors .............................................................................................................18
3.4.3
Axe-Fx II with Power Amp and Guitar Speakers ..................................................................................19
3.4.4
Axe-Fx II Effects Loop ...........................................................................................................................20
3.4.5
Axe-Fx II Digital Audio Interconnection ...............................................................................................20
3.4.6
Axe-Fx II Four Cable Method (“4CM”) .................................................................................................21
3.4.7
Direct to FOH plus Real Amps on Stage ...............................................................................................22
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3.4.8
Axe-Fx II as Effects Processor Only (with Guitar Amps) .......................................................................23
3.4.9
Axe-Fx II as a Computer Audio Interface .............................................................................................24
3.4.10
Axe-Fx II and MFC-101 .........................................................................................................................25
3.4.11
Axe-Fx II: One Possible “Big Rig” ..........................................................................................................26
4 Basic Operation and Editing ......................................................... 27
4.1 Presets ................................................................................................... 27
4.2 The Grid ................................................................................................. 28
4.2.1
Inserting and Removing Blocks ............................................................................................................28
4.2.2
Shunts ..................................................................................................................................................29
4.2.3
Connector Cables .................................................................................................................................30
4.2.4
Moving Blocks on the Grid ...................................................................................................................32
4.2.5
Example Presets on the Grid ................................................................................................................33
4.3 Editing Sounds ....................................................................................... 35
4.3.1
Quick Control .......................................................................................................................................36
4.4 X/Y Switching ......................................................................................... 36
4.4.1
X/Y Quick Jump ....................................................................................................................................37
4.5 Bypassing a Block ................................................................................... 37
4.6 Loading Effects from another Preset ...................................................... 37
4.7 Saving Changes ...................................................................................... 38
4.7.1
Swapping the Locations of Two Presets ..............................................................................................38
5 Effects Guide ............................................................................... 39
5.1 Amplifier [AMP] ..................................................................................... 39
5.1.1
Basic Amp Parameters .........................................................................................................................41
5.1.2
Amp Dynamics Parameters ..................................................................................................................44
5.1.3
Advanced Amp Parameters .................................................................................................................44
5.2 Cabinet [CAB] ......................................................................................... 48
5.3 Chorus [CHO] ......................................................................................... 51
5.4 Compressor [CMP] ................................................................................. 53
5.5 Crossover [XVR] ..................................................................................... 55
5.6 Delay [DLY] ............................................................................................ 56
5.6.1
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Mono Delay..........................................................................................................................................57
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5.6.2
Stereo Delay .........................................................................................................................................58
5.6.3
Dual Delay ............................................................................................................................................59
5.6.4
Ping-Pong Delay ...................................................................................................................................60
5.6.5
Sweep Delay.........................................................................................................................................60
5.6.6
Reverse Delay ......................................................................................................................................60
5.6.7
Tape Delay ...........................................................................................................................................61
5.6.8
Delay Common Parameters .................................................................................................................62
5.7 Drive [DRV] ............................................................................................ 63
5.8 Effects Loop [FXL] ................................................................................... 66
5.9 Enhancer [ENH] ...................................................................................... 67
5.10
Feedback Send [SND] & Return [RTN].................................................. 67
5.11
Filter [FLT] ........................................................................................... 67
5.12
Flanger [FLG] ....................................................................................... 69
5.13
Formant [FRM] .................................................................................... 72
5.14
Gate/Expander [GTE]........................................................................... 73
5.15
Graphic Equalizer [GEQ] ...................................................................... 74
5.16
Looper [LPR] ........................................................................................ 74
5.17
Megatap Delay [MGT] ......................................................................... 76
5.18
Mixer [MIX] ......................................................................................... 77
5.19
Multiband Compressor [MBC] ............................................................. 78
5.20
Multi Delay [MTD] ............................................................................... 79
5.20.1
Quad Tap Delay ....................................................................................................................................80
5.20.2
Plex Delay .............................................................................................................................................81
5.20.3
Plex Detune ..........................................................................................................................................83
5.20.4
Plex Shift ..............................................................................................................................................83
5.20.5
Band Delay ...........................................................................................................................................83
5.20.6
Quad Series Delay ................................................................................................................................84
5.20.7
Ten-Tap Delay ......................................................................................................................................84
5.20.8
Rhythm Tap Delay ................................................................................................................................85
5.20.9
Diffusor ................................................................................................................................................86
5.20.10
5.21
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Quad Tape Delay ..............................................................................................................................87
Tremolo/Panner [PAN] ........................................................................ 87
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5.22
Parametric EQ [PEQ]............................................................................ 88
5.23
Phaser [PHA] ....................................................................................... 89
5.24
Pitch Shifter [PIT] ................................................................................ 91
5.24.1
Detune .................................................................................................................................................93
5.24.2
Fixed Harmony .....................................................................................................................................94
5.24.3
Intelligent Harmony .............................................................................................................................94
5.24.4
Classic Whammy ..................................................................................................................................97
5.24.5
Octave Divider .....................................................................................................................................97
5.24.6
Crystals .................................................................................................................................................98
5.24.7
Advanced Whammy .............................................................................................................................99
5.24.8
Arpeggiator ........................................................................................................................................100
5.24.9
Custom Shifter ...................................................................................................................................101
5.25
Quad Chorus [QCH] ........................................................................... 102
5.26
Resonator [RES]................................................................................. 104
5.27
Reverb [REV] ..................................................................................... 105
5.28
Ring Modulator [RNG] ....................................................................... 108
5.29
Rotary Speaker [ROT] ........................................................................ 108
5.30
Synth [SYN] ....................................................................................... 110
5.31
Tone Match [TMA] ............................................................................ 111
5.32
Vocoder [VOC]................................................................................... 112
5.33
Volume/Pan [VOL] ............................................................................ 113
5.34
Wahwah [WAH] ................................................................................ 114
5.35
Input Noise Gate ............................................................................... 115
5.35.1
Input Impedance ................................................................................................................................115
5.36
Output Mixer .................................................................................... 116
5.37
Common Mix Parameters .................................................................. 117
6 Global Blocks............................................................................. 119
6.1 Introduction ......................................................................................... 119
6.2 Using Global Blocks .............................................................................. 119
6.2.1
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Saving to a Global Block .....................................................................................................................120
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6.2.2
Loading and Linking a Global Block ....................................................................................................121
6.2.3
Loading Global Blocks without Linking ..............................................................................................122
6.2.4
Unlinking Preset and Global Blocks ...................................................................................................122
7 Modifiers & Controllers ............................................................. 124
7.1 Introduction ......................................................................................... 124
7.2 Creating a Modifier .............................................................................. 124
7.2.1
Transformations.................................................................................................................................126
7.2.2
Damping .............................................................................................................................................127
7.2.3
Auto Engage .......................................................................................................................................128
7.2.4
Program Change Reset ......................................................................................................................128
7.3 Control Sources .................................................................................... 129
7.3.1
LFO1 & 2 ............................................................................................................................................129
7.3.2
ADSR 1 & 2 .........................................................................................................................................130
7.3.3
Sequencer ..........................................................................................................................................130
7.3.4
Envelope Follower .............................................................................................................................131
7.3.5
Pitch Detector ....................................................................................................................................131
7.3.6
Manual Knobs ....................................................................................................................................131
7.3.7
External Controllers ...........................................................................................................................132
7.3.8
Modifier Power! .................................................................................................................................132
8 Global Parameters..................................................................... 133
8.1 Configuration Parameters .................................................................... 133
8.2 Output Parameters .............................................................................. 134
8.3 Custom Scales ...................................................................................... 134
9 Input/Output Parameters .......................................................... 135
9.1 Input Parameters ................................................................................. 135
9.2 Audio Parameters ................................................................................ 135
9.3 MIDI Parameters .................................................................................. 137
9.4 Control Parameters .............................................................................. 139
9.5 Pedal Parameters ................................................................................. 141
9.6 X/Y Quick-Jump Assign ......................................................................... 141
10 Utilities ................................................................................... 142
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10.1
LCD Contrast...................................................................................... 142
10.2
Preset Utilities ................................................................................... 142
10.3
Status Meters .................................................................................... 142
10.4
Reset System ..................................................................................... 142
10.5
IR Capture ......................................................................................... 143
10.6
Firmware ........................................................................................... 144
11 Tuner ...................................................................................... 145
12 Tempo .................................................................................... 146
12.1
Setting the Tempo ............................................................................. 146
12.2
Synchronizing Sound Parameters ...................................................... 146
12.3
Tempo to Use .................................................................................... 147
12.4
Auto Delay ........................................................................................ 147
12.5
Metronome ....................................................................................... 147
13 Backing Up and Restoring ........................................................ 148
13.1
MIDI/SysEx Backup and Restore ........................................................ 148
13.1.1
Dumping to a computer .....................................................................................................................148
13.1.2
Restoring from a Computer ...............................................................................................................149
13.2
Onboard ROM Backup and Restore ................................................... 149
13.3
Machine-to-Machine Transfers.......................................................... 150
14 Firmware Updates................................................................... 151
14.1
Firmware ........................................................................................... 151
15 Troubleshooting ...................................................................... 152
16 Appendix ................................................................................ 154
16.1
Shortcuts Overview ........................................................................... 154
16.2
60-Second Edit Guide ........................................................................ 155
16.3
Understanding Preset Size Limits ....................................................... 156
16.4
Signal Flow, Global, and I/O Parameters ........................................... 156
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16.5
LFO Waveforms, Duty, and Phase ...................................................... 157
16.5.1
LFO Phase...........................................................................................................................................157
16.6
Tempo Cross Reference ..................................................................... 158
16.7
Mono and Stereo............................................................................... 159
16.8
Mixology ........................................................................................... 160
16.9
Humbuster™ Technology ................................................................... 161
16.10
Setting up a Wah Pedal ................................................................... 162
16.10.1
Using the Onboard Pedal Jack .......................................................................................................162
16.10.2
Using an Expression Pedal on an MFC-101 ....................................................................................163
16.11
Setting Up Spillover ........................................................................ 164
16.11.1
Within a Single Preset ....................................................................................................................164
16.11.2
Across Different Presets.................................................................................................................164
16.12
Using Send and Return ................................................................... 165
16.12.1
Creating Feedback Loops ..............................................................................................................165
16.12.2
Extending the Length of Effect Chains ...........................................................................................165
16.13
Loading User Cab IRs....................................................................... 166
16.14
Glossary & Resources ..................................................................... 167
16.15
Axe-Fx II Bank & Preset Numbers Table .......................................... 170
16.16
Factory Default Settings .................................................................. 171
17 Specifications .......................................................................... 173
17.1
Midi Implementation Chart ............................................................... 174
Warranty ....................................................................................... 175
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WHAT’S NEW
What’s New
Years of R&D at Fractal Audio Systems have yielded our next-generation product, the Axe-Fx II, with twice the
power of our former flagship, the Ultra. Axe-Fx II unveils new state-of-the-art algorithms and an innovative array
of great hardware and software features and improvements. This all-in-one preamp/effects processor stunningly
recreates great guitar signal chains—stompboxes, amps, cabs, mics, studio effects, and more—with
unprecedented power, flexibility, and control. As the successor to what many believe to be some of the bestsounding processors ever created, our new arrival takes "real amp tone and feel" to the next level, offering the
latest word in our commentary on restoring digital to its rightful place as the superior solution for guitar
processing. Never willing to rest on our laurels, we are proud to present the Axe-Fx II.
Twice the Processing Power
Our philosophy is to never cut corners on processing power. Our new state-of-the-art algorithms required a
powerful platform on which to operate, so the Axe-Fx II features two (count 'em) 600 MHz dual-core Analog
Devices TigerSHARC™ Digital Signal Processors working in tandem. One processor is devoted solely to amp
modeling while the other handles effects processing and system tasks. An ultra-high-speed bus interconnects the
two processors, shuttling data back and forth. Mated to the processors is a high-speed, 64-bit external memory
bus and twice the RAM of previous Axe-Fx products. A 200K gate FPGA provides peripheral functionality and
system bus management.
The Axe-Fx II is by far the most powerful instrument processor ever created, with more raw, real-time audio
processing horsepower than anything available at any price. Yet, unlike power-hungry PCs, the Axe-Fx II consumes
less than 40W and is nearly silent in operation.
G2 Amp Modeling™ with Virtual Vacuum Tube™ Technology
All this power would be useless without algorithms to take advantage of it. Years of research have yielded what we
call G2 Amp Modeling Technology, comprising major breakthroughs in both preamp and power amp modeling.
First, we created our new Virtual Vacuum Tube technology, or VVT. VVT is a complete departure from the static
waveshaping technology used by other products. It is a digital replica of a vacuum tube, complete with time,
frequency, and level dependencies. Just like a real vacuum tube, our digital replica is truly dynamic and changes
with your playing. This creates a level of realism, complexity, and response that other products just can't match.
Next, we rewrote the book on power amp modeling. G2 models the entire power amp, including the phase
inverter, power tubes, output transformer, power transformer, choke, filter caps, and more. The results are
amazing: warm, yet tight bass, powerful midrange, and silky highs. In addition, the Amp block now includes an
integrated, 8-band graphic equalizer for additional tone-shaping without extra blocks.
The current lineup of Axe-Fx II amp models are the result of incredibly detailed analysis of the actual amps that
inspired them. We spent a small fortune searching out and purchasing vintage and modern amplifiers to add to our
reference collection.
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WHAT’S NEW
Improved Speaker Simulation
The Axe-Fx II features new dynamic speaker modeling technology in the Amp block. This alone improves the way
amp and cab work together for realistic tone and feel. In addition, the Axe-Fx II features a new, higher resolution
(2048) convolution cabinet emulator with 70 factory Impulse Responses (IRs) and 50 "USER CAB" memory
locations. Factory IRs also include custom creations from the Redwirez and Ownhammer collections, plus
contributions from loudspeaker design engineer and Axe-Fx early adopter, Jay Mitchell.
Easier-to-Use Front Panel Features
A new, custom-designed 160x80 backlit LCD provides improved readability and more spacious screen layouts. In
addition to the main VALUE knob, new QUICK CONTROL knobs provide hands-on access to four additional onscreen parameters. Ten block types—Amp, Cab, Chorus, Drive, Delay, Flanger, Phaser, Pitch, Reverb, and
Wahwah—are now equipped with two fully independent parameter sets called “X” and “Y.” The X/Y switching
feature allows one block to have all of its settings switched at the touch of a button (during editing) or via MIDI
remote control (during performance). The X and Y buttons also double as user-definable “quick jump” keys that
can be set up to open the EDIT menus of any two blocks without going through the grid. A built in FLASH ROM
enables onboard backups of preset banks and system settings.
Axe-Fx II/Computer Integration with Onboard USB
The new onboard “Audio Class 2.0 compliant” USB interface provides a range of great capabilities for recording
and computer integration. You can record high quality 48k/24-bit audio from the Axe-Fx II directly to the
computer, play or process audio tracks from the computer through the Axe-Fx II, and use two-way high-speed MIDI
rd
without a 3 -party interface. On USB 2.0 or better systems, recording capabilities include not only the main
processed stereo outs but a pair of dry channels for easy re-amping.
New I/O Capabilities and Less Noise
All rear analog inputs are now balanced like the onboard XLR outputs. The ¼" unbalanced outputs feature our new
Humbuster™ technology, which senses and subtracts the ground noise of equipment connected with a simple
stereo-to-mono cable. This can provide up to 20 dB reduction in ground noise without resorting to dangerous
"cheater plugs" or expensive isolation transformers.
We designed the Axe-Fx II with the “Four-Cable Method” in mind. Special analog processing keeps the noise floor
even lower on Output 2, designed to be connected to the front of an amplifier.
The front panel input uses a proprietary circuit and dedicated A/D converter for astonishingly low noise. The
original Axe-Fx was hailed for its low-noise performance; the Axe-Fx II provides an almost 10 dB SNR improvement
with the same pristine quality. A high-quality headphone jack is also provided.
Designed for Unity Gain
The Axe-Fx II uses digitally controlled potentiometers to operate as a unity-gain device irrespective of the input
trim controls. Simply set the input trims with the LED input meters and you are done. Another benefit of this
technique is that Amp and Drive blocks are unaffected by trim settings.
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WHAT’S NEW
Improved Digital I/O
In addition to its USB interface, the Axe-Fx II sports SPDIF and AES input and output connectors. 7-pin MIDI In and a
selectable MIDI Out/Thru jack are provided for interconnection with other MIDI-controllable equipment.
Built for MFC-101
The Axe-Fx II features an all-new dedicated control port for connecting an MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller via that
unit's EXPANSION port. Readily available CAT5 (Ethernet) cable provides bi-directional communications over
lengths of 100 meters or more, PLUS phantom power from the built-in power supply of the Axe-Fx II. (Traditional 5
or 7-pin MIDI and power are still supported for Luddites and 3rd-party pedalboards.)
New FX Processing Features and Enhancements
The effect processing capabilities of the Axe-Fx II are also greatly enhanced.
First, we've made it easier to dial in “all-time favorites” on the Chorus, Delay, Flanger, and Phaser effects, with a
TYPE control that instantly makes all other required settings for great sound in seconds. These include tape delay
models, analog "bucket brigade" effects, “script" and "block" logo phasers, 'vibe, and many more. The sound and
features of these effects have also been upgraded to provide extremely authentic representations of the specific
characteristics of classic originals.
Many of the effects and algorithms have also been updated and enhanced. A dedicated 60-second looper block is
now included. The Delay and Reverb blocks now feature many improvements including integrated parametric
equalizers. Chorus, Flanger, and Wahwah modeling has been improved and also now includes optional built-in
nonlinearity "circuit overdrive" functions. The Phaser has been expanded. Graphic Equalizers (including Global) are
10-band. There are many new modifier slots. Compressors now use millisecond values for attack and release
times. Tempo parameters now offer 64 different rhythmic values. Filters allow far greater resonance. There are
simply too many of such improvements to list!
Global Blocks Allow Shared Sound Settings Across Multiple Presets
Those familiar with “Global Amps” from previous Axe-Fx products will appreciate Global Blocks. The new system
has been improved and expanded to every block type in the inventory (except Tone Match). Those new to Axe-Fx
products will appreciate how this feature allows centralized control of a preset collection. Save any “normal” block
to a separate and independent global memory area then load this entry across multiple presets with a "link" to
keep it instantly and seamlessly synchronized to the master. You can update the master from any linked instance
as desired. Should you choose to remove a link, this leaves both the global and the normal entries fully intact and
able to be edited independently of one another again.
Improvements and Enhancements, plus More to Come...
Aside from the areas mentioned in this overview, there are many more exciting updates, enhancements,
improvements, and additions in the Axe-Fx II. And while the Axe-Fx Standard and Axe-Fx Ultra essentially reached
maturity in terms of their capacity for further development, the Axe-Fx II is well equipped for a future of free
upgrades and updates in the tradition that established our commitment to product evolution.
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INTRODUCTION
1 Introduction
1.1 What is the Axe FX II?
The Axe-Fx II is an advanced digital preamp and effects processor for guitar, bass, and other musical instruments. It
is the highly anticipated sequel to the Axe-Fx Standard and Axe-Fx Ultra. It replaces amps, speakers, microphones,
stompboxes, studio processors, and more. It is an all-in-one, end-to-end great tone solution in a single black box.
Inside, a virtual environment allows you to “wire up” your dream rig. Choose from an inventory of hundreds of
classic and innovative components. Select and arrange things any way you like, limited only by the unit’s ample
CPU resources and your imagination. “Dial in” your signature sound using basic controls, or go deeper with
advanced parameters, then save presets for instant recall when playing, performing, or recording.
The sound is of uncompromising quality, due both to extremely high standards of hardware design and to our
advanced proprietary software algorithms. The Axe-Fx II, like its predecessors, asserts that digital has reclaimed its
birthright as the superior solution for musical instrument processing. Words fall short. You only need to plug in and
play to realize that this is “the real deal.”
A Word on Modeling
You may have noticed that the Axe-Fx II is not typically described as a “modeler.” This is not to diminish its debt to
heritage; on the contrary, we’ve done thousands of hours of deep analysis of the greatest amps, cabs, and effects
of all time. In fact, amps and pedals, their vacuum tubes and other components, plus speaker cabs and many
effects, are painstakingly replicated to perform exactly like the originals. But while the unit includes emulations
based on specific product types, it goes well beyond simply presenting models—with their limited controls,
features, and sounds—to offer a do-it-yourself modeling platform. If it’s models you want, we can give them to
you, but why stop there?
The Axe-Fx II removes limits instead of recreating them. Take our Wahwah effect, for example. You might just plug
in and start cryin’, or you could tune the pedal sweep, tweak the resonance, overdrive the circuit, and tailor the
sound to your exact wishes. Try the Plexi. Dial it in just right. Then open it up and hear what happens when you
drop in the tonestack from a modern Rectifier (all it takes is one turn of a knob to make the change). There are
hundreds more ways that the sound can be customized. Rediscover your all-time favorites, or go crazy creating
sounds you only wished someone would put in a product. And you don’t need to be an engineer to do so, as the
unit is extremely user-friendly.
You are not alone in the quest for tone, either. The Fractal Audio online community has amassed a wealth of
knowledge and is ready to share expertise on every subject, from the deviling details of differently dated diodes in
dilapidated distortions to how to set up your favorite artist’s “exact gear used in the exact order with the exact
settings for the first half of the second bridge of the third bonus track off the re-master.”
In comparison to its predecessors, the Axe-Fx II in fact has more capabilities like those of a typical modeler. Just as
our previous products allowed you to select, for instance, a “TYPE” of Amp, Cab, or Drive, now the Chorus, Delay,
Flanger, Phaser and other effects include a control to automatically dial in all-time favorites—settings like
“dimension chorus”, “tape delay”, “analog flanger”, “script 90 phaser”, and many more. Once you make a
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selection, however, you can again go beyond the model. With deep recreations of the intricacies and interactions
behind great tone, we create not only a sample or profile but a multidimensional whole enchilada. Again, just plug
in and hear it for yourself.
To re-pose the original question then, what is the Axe-Fx II?
The Axe-Fx II is the new flagship processor from Fractal Audio, with far more power and many more capabilities
than the former heavyweight champion, Axe-Fx Ultra—twice the DSP in fact, allowing it to deliver far more
detailed amp modeling, plus numerous other upgrades. It contains our best-ever guitar amplifier simulation and
effect technology—state-of-the-art algorithms designed to sound and feel like the real thing. It is a fully routable,
fully programmable, real-time controllable, multi-effects processor offering the utmost in sound quality, with
unrivaled flexibility and control options. It is a platform upon which you can create any number of incredible guitar
tones, and it is able to replace entire rigs of traditional gear with a single black box. Let’s take some of these
concepts a bit further:
Routable: Place effects freely in any order and layout—series, parallel, or complex networks, including feedback
loops and external send and return, at any point in the signal chain.
Programmable: Every effect has a full complement of parameters offering desirable features and tremendous
range. Gone are the limits of processors with restrictive options or little-to-no depth.
Controllable: Many parameters—including all the usual expression pedal suspects and every effect bypass
switch—can be operated remotely via MIDI, offering great real-time performance control capabilities. You can map
control curves, assign multiple parameters at once, tap powerful global controllers, and much more.
Multi-Fx: The Axe-Fx II offers all the classic effects plus a few new ones. The massive “effects inventory” allows any
preset to use two or more of almost every effect block type, so you can build huge virtual rigs. In addition, many
effects now include X/Y states so you can instantly swap one set of settings for another without changing presets.
Almost all the effects in the Axe-Fx II process in full stereo.
Utmost Quality: Sound quality is our first-and-foremost criterion for the success of the Axe-Fx II. This shows in the
hardware design and in every detail of our proprietary natural processing software algorithms. Many of these
replicate patterns that occur in nature (thus our company name of Fractal Audio Systems). The amp simulations
use unique, dynamic, non-linearity generators that produce smooth, even-ordered harmonics, giving a depth to
the sound that other processors lack. Our effects have been vetted and championed by some of the world’s most
demanding and discriminating players.
Rig Replacer: Having everything in one box has some great advantages, especially when that box is as powerful
and versatile as the Axe-Fx II. In addition to being able to replace big rigs outright, this tightly integrated, unified
system offers certain fringe benefits. No longer does changing a drive pedal mean fighting with cables half-an-inch
too short. No longer must you labor over which amps your tour’s budget will or won’t allow you to ship or handle.
Gone are the headaches and hassles of systems of so many boxes strung together with so many wires, prone as
they are to failure and noise. And let’s say a small meteor hits the stage and obliterates your Axe-Fx II: you can
literally restore to a new unit during the intermission and be up and running again for the next set.
Finally, after you’ve replaced your entire rig, the Axe-Fx II lets you continually re-invent it without ever touching
Velcro, rack screws, or your credit card.
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INTRODUCTION
1.2 The Inventory/Grid Concept
In the real world, we are limited by the equipment we own and by the fact that building a rig requires making
commitments. On the Axe-Fx II, these limitations are lifted, with the ability to tap a vast inventory of virtual amps,
cabs, effects, mixers, and more. You have the freedom to set them up, dial them in, save them as presets, and then
do it all again, as often as you like.
Axe-Fx II presets are created by selecting components—like amps, cabs, or effects—from an inventory, and placing
them as “blocks” into the slots of a 12×4 “grid.” As with their real-world components, blocks must be connected
together using “cables”—virtual ones in this case. Blocks in adjacent columns may be connected directly together,
with splits and merges as needed. Passive “shunts” carry signal through otherwise empty grid spaces.
Figure 1-1 – The Inventory/Grid Concept
(Note: Seven empty columns were removed from the illustration and are represented by •••)
The figure above presents a stylized example of an Axe-Fx II preset. The INPUT is routed through a SHUNT to feed a
“WAH” block. (The shunt has no effect on the sound and is shown only to introduce the concept of its use.) The
WAH block is connected to an “AMP” block (we might set its type to “Plexi Normal”), which in turn feeds a “CAB”
(one of the many “4x12” options, perhaps). This is routed to a reverb (“REV”) and then to the OUTPUT.
The size of a preset is limited only by the grid structure, block inventory, and total processing power or “CPU”.
You’ll be pleased to discover that there is enough CPU power to allow large and complex creations.
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The subject of creating and modifying presets on the grid is covered in detail in section 4: Basic Operation and
Editing (p.27). The inventory of blocks available to every Axe-Fx II preset is listed below:
Amp (×2)
Cab (×2)
Chorus (×2)
Compressor (×2)
Crossover (×2)
Delay (×2)
Drive (×2)
Effects Loop
Enhancer
Filter (×4)
Feedback Return
Feedback Send
Flanger (×2)
Formant
Gate/Expander (×2)
Graphic EQ (×4)
Looper
Megatap Delay
Mixer (×2)
Multiband Compressor (×2)
Multi Delay (×2)
Tremolo/Panner (×2)
Parametric EQ (×4)
Phaser (×2)
Pitch Shifter (×2)
Quad Chorus (×2)
Resonator (×2)
Reverb (×2)
Ring Modulator
Rotary (×2)
2-Voice Synth (×2)
Vocoder
Volume/Pan (×4)
Wahwah (×2)
Shunt (36)
In addition to the blocks listed above, each preset also includes a programmable Input Noise Gate (p. 115) and an
Output Mixer (p. 116). Of course, having components on the grid is just the beginning. Every block can be edited,
with parameters representing all the basic knobs you would expect to find, and advanced menus for deep control.
See the Effects Guide (p. 39) for more detail on blocks and their parameters.
A powerful new feature of the Axe-Fx II allows you to maintain your own collection of Global Blocks (p.119) that
can be inserted and then kept synchronized across multiple presets.
Twenty-two different Modifiers & Controllers (p. 124) are provided to automate or remotely control various
parameters in any preset. These are LFO 1, LFO 2, ADSR 1, ADSR 2, Envelope, Pitch Detector, Sequencer, Manual
A/B/C/D, and External 1–12.
1.3 Connectivity and More
The grid and effects inventory may be the centerpiece of the Axe-Fx II, but it is the powerful connectivity and
companion features that allow the system to be so much to so many. The hardware itself is covered in Section 2:
Overview (p. 8), which also details the new USB features for Computer Integration (p. 12). Rig design is covered in
Section 3: Connections (p. 15), where many diagrams are included.
Configuration and connectivity on the Axe-Fx II are managed with a number of user-specifiable options, listed and
described in Section 8: Global Parameters (p. 133), and Section 9: Input/Output Parameters (p. 135). Meanwhile,
Section 10: Utilities (p. 142) can fill out your understanding of functions related to general use and maintenance.
Finally, Sections 11 through 14 cover the Tuner (p. 145) and Tempo (p.146) functions, plus the basics of Backing
Up and Restoring (p. 148) and Firmware Updates (p. 151).
1.3.1 My Head Hertz…
As even this brief introduction demonstrates, the Axe-Fx II contains an entire world of diverse possibilities. Only
the precise terminology of audio engineering allows comparably diverse communities of casual and professional
players, producers, engineers, and others to use and enjoy this powerful device. In case you want to familiarize
yourself with specific audio terms or come up to speed on other topics, the Appendix is filled with useful material,
including a Glossary (p. 166). It is followed by Specifications (p. 175) and your Warranty (p. 173).
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2 Overview
The Axe-Fx II has a simple hardware interface with clearly labeled controls and jacks.
Review the following to familiarize yourself with the hardware features of the unit.
2.1 The Front Panel
Figure 2-1
1. The Axe-Fx II is housed in a powder-coated steel enclosure with an anodized aluminum faceplate.
Dual front handles allow easy rack mounting and removal.
2. The POWER Switch turns the unit on or off.
3. The 160 × 80 pixel LCD is where all menu and function screens are displayed.
4. INPUT 1 and INPUT 2 LED meters display the levels of incoming signals. See p. 15 for more detail.
5. STATUS LEDs communicate important events:

EDITED – This LED is lit when any change has been made to the current preset.

MIDI IN – This LED is lit while data is received at the MIDI IN port.

CLIP 1, CLIP 2 – These flash briefly whenever the signal level at the corresponding output
causes the D/A converter to clip. Section 3.1 on p. 15 has more information on Setting Levels.
6. In RECALL mode, the VALUE wheel selects and loads presets as it is turned.
In edit or menu screens, it changes the value of the selected parameter.
7. The ENTER button executes commands, commits changes, accesses sub-menus, and more.
EXIT works for cancel, escape, and various other functions.
8. In RECALL mode, the four NAV buttons select and load presets. Up = +1; Down = -1; Left=-10; Right =+10.
In edit or menu screens, these are used to select between on-screen parameters or options.
9. The PAGE buttons step through menu pages, shown as tabs at the top of the display.
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10. The 12 main front panel menu/function buttons are listed below.
 LAYOUT – This menu contains four pages: EDIT, MOVE, GATE, and MIX.




EDIT contains the grid, where presets are created by inserting blocks and cables (p. 27).
MOVE has various utilities for moving preset components on the grid (p. 32).
INPUT/GTE contains parameters for the Noise Gate and Instrument input impedance (p. 115).
OUTPUT page contains a mixer for overall level control of a preset (p. 116).
 EDIT – Select any block on the layout grid and press this button to open its EDIT menu.
Press repeatedly to cycle through the EDIT menus of all blocks in the preset (top-to-bottom, left-to-right).
 CONTROL – This menu contains pages for seven of the internal controllers available to every preset,
plus a Modifiers overview screen. See Modifiers & Controllers on p. 124 for details.
 FX BYPASS – This button toggles the bypass state of the currently selected block (p. 37).
Double click BYPASS in any block EDIT menu to access the SAVE/LOAD GLOBAL BLOCKS screen (p. 119).
 GLOBAL – This menu contains four pages: CONFIG, OUT1, OUT2, and SCALES. See p. 133 for details.



CONFIG contains parameters that globally affect the sound of all presets.
OUT1 and OUT2 each hold a 10-band graphic EQ and master GAIN control for the given outputs.
SCALES allows the creation of custom harmonies for use with the pitch shifter block.
 TUNER – Engages the tuner (p. 145) and displays its menu. Press EXIT or RECALL to close.
 I/O – Contains five pages used to configure the various input and output options of the Axe-Fx II.
See p. 135 for details.





INPUT is used to set input levels for front and rear jacks.
AUDIO contains various settings and switches used to configure the signal path.
MIDI contains settings related to basic MIDI connectivity, preset changes, and SysEx.
CONTROL is where MIDI CC numbers or the pedal jack are assigned globally to various functions.
PEDAL allows you to configure the onboard pedal jack for various types of external hardware.
 UTILITY – This menu contains various utility functions. See p. 142 for details.
 RECALL – Enters RECALL mode, the main operating mode for use during musical performance.
The Axe-Fx II always defaults to RECALL mode when you power it on.
 STORE – Enters the STORE menu where you can save, rename, or swap presets. See p. 37 for details.
 BYPASS – Bypasses the Axe-Fx II, routing the output of the A/D directly to the input of the D/A
converters, defeating all processing functions and lighting the BYPASS LED. Press again to un-bypass.
Double-clicking the BYPASS button in any block EDIT menu initializes that block to default settings.
 TEMPO – Flashes the current tempo on its built-in LED. You can also tap this button once to enter the
TEMPO menu, or two or more times to set a new tempo. The tempo can also be entered using a remote
switch or set via MIDI. See p. 146 for more information about Axe-Fx II tempo control.
11. X/Y – On the Axe-Fx II, many effects offer two sets of parameters, called X and Y. These buttons select
between them while editing. The X/Y state can be then switched remotely during performance for dual
function blocks (see p. 36). Outside of editing, X and Y can be individually set up to instantly display your
choice of EDIT menus for quick adjustment.
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OVERVIEW
12. QUICK CONTROL – The four knobs marked A, B, C, and D each serve two different functions.

While editing, they are used like the VALUE wheel to adjust parameters. Mapping is dynamic
and indicated by a small A,B,C, or D next to the onscreen parameter. See p. 36 for details.

In RECALL mode, these knobs work as “Manual knob” modifier sources, allowing control of
assigned parameters right from the front panel. See p. 131.
13. OUTPUT LEVEL – These controls set the output levels of OUTPUT 1 and OUTPUT 2 (“FX Send”). See
section 3.1 on p. 15 for information on setting levels. OUTPUT 1 also controls headphone jack levels.
14. HEADPHONES – Connect stereo headphones here to monitor OUTPUT 1 L+R.
15. INSTR – Plug your instrument into this Instrument Input Jack, designed specifically for use with
electric, acoustic, and bass guitars. Plugging a line-level device into this input may cause clipping of the
input amplifier and is not recommended.
2.2 The Rear Panel
Figure 2-2
16. INPUT 1 Left/Mono and Right, Balanced (1/4” Tip-Ring-Sleeve) Jacks – Connect line-level input
sources to these jacks, being sure to set the INPUT 1 LEFT SELECT to REAR in the I/O menu (p. 135)
17. INPUT 2 – Left/Mono and Right, Balanced (1/4” Tip-Ring-Sleeve) Jacks (“FX RETURN”) –
Connect to the output(s) of outboard equipment when using the FX Loop block (p. 66). You can also use
this as an auxiliary input to any point in the signal chain of any preset using the FX Loop block.
18. OUTPUT 1 – This section includes the Left and Right Output 1 unbalanced (1/4”) Jacks, Balanced
(XLR) jacks, and XLR Ground Lift Switch. The main processed output of the Axe-Fx II appears at these
jacks. Use the XLR jacks to connect to balanced inputs, employing the provided ground lift switch if
necessary to reduce unwanted 60-cycle hum. Use the 1/4” unbalanced outputs to connect to unbalanced
inputs, such as those on some guitar power amps or other devices.
19. OUTPUT 2 – Left/Mono and Right, Unbalanced (1/4”) Jacks (“FX SEND”) — The output from
Connect to the inputs(s) of outboard equipment when using the FX Loop block (p. 66). You can also use
this as an auxiliary output to tap any point of the signal chain for any preset using the FX Loop block.
New Humbuster™ technology, featured on Left and Right Output 1 and Output 2 unbalanced (1/4”)
Jacks uses a simple TRS-to-TS cable to significantly reduce ground hum. See Section 16.9 on p. 161.
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20. DIGITAL I/O – This includes both S/PDIF and AES/EBU format Input and Output Jacks. Only one or
the other pair of jacks can be active at any time depending on the setting of the SPDIF/AES SELECT
parameter in the I/O:AUDIO menu (p. 135). These jacks transmit and receive at a fixed rate of 48k.
21. USB – This provides the means to connect the Axe-Fx II to a PC or Mac, enabling a great range of twoway audio and MIDI capabilities. See section 2.3 on p.12 for details. Like the digital jacks, USB Audio
operates at 48k.
22. MIDI IN and MIDI OUT/THRU jacks – The Axe-Fx II has a MIDI IN port for connecting a legacy
MIDI Controller or Interface, plus a MIDI Out/Thru combo jack that transmits or forwards MIDI signals to
other devices.
23. MIDI PHANTOM POWER Jack – When using the MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller over a 7-pin MIDI
cable, connect the supplied AC Adapter to this jack to provide power to the floor unit via pins 6+7. Some
other MIDI controllers also support the use of phantom power on pins 6+7.
Warning! Do not connect an AC adapter with a rating higher than 1A to the Phantom Power
jack. Doing so will damage your Axe-Fx II.
24. MFC Control Port – This RJ-45 jack allows you to use a standard CAT5/Ethernet (non-crossover) cable to
connect the Axe-Fx II and a Fractal Audio Systems MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller. The cable used to
connect the Axe-Fx II and MFC-101 carries two-way data communication and phantom power without
needing an external “wall wart” adapter.
Warning! Connect the MFC jack only to the EXPANSION port of a Fractal Audio Systems
MFC-101. Do not connect to an Ethernet device such as a computer, hub, switch, or router, as
damage to one or both units could occur!
25. PEDAL Jack – This jack is used to connect an external expression pedal or switch to control various
functions of the Axe-Fx II. See p. 16 for more information on this function.
26. Main Power Input – Insert the supplied power cable and connect the other end to a grounded AC power
receptacle.
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2.3 Computer Integration
USB provides the Axe-Fx II with a “host” of great features.
2.3.1 Minimum Requirements
Windows Minimum Requirements:
 OS: Windows XP SP3 (x86 or x64), Vista SP2 (x86 or x64), Windows 7 SP1 (x86 or x64).
 CPU: Intel Core 2 @1.6 GHz or better, or AMD equivalent.
 Memory: 1GB minimum.
 USB 2.0 support required
Mac Minimum Requirements:
 OS X: 10.7.4 or later (Note: Many Axe-Fx II owners achieve satisfactory results with 10.5.7 or later).
 CPU: Intel Processor
 Memory: 512MB minimum
 USB 2.0 Support required
2.3.2 Software Installation
Although the Axe-Fx II drivers are fully class-compliant, software installation is still required on all platforms.
Step-by-step instructions are included with the installer. Both Mac and Windows versions can be downloaded from
our web site at http://www.fractalaudio.com/support.
Figure 2-3 – Windows and Mac driver installers
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2.3.3 Capabilities
The USB 2.0 class-compliant driver provides two channels of 48k/24-bit audio from the computer to the Axe-Fx II,
up to four channels from the Axe-Fx II to the computer, and two-way MIDI-over-USB. All features can be used
simultaneously.
Figure 2-4 – USB Features
Audio and MIDI ports (shown in the lower half of the dotted-outline box above) have different names on different
systems. In many applications, you can also assign “friendly names” to audio and MIDI ports.
Two Simultaneous Channels of 48k/24-bit Audio from the Computer to the Axe-Fx II
Two outputs, typically called OUT 0 and OUT 1, allow audio to be sent from the computer to the Axe-Fx II where it
can be mixed with processed signal at the main outputs or routed through onboard effects.
To pass unprocessed computer audio through the Axe-Fx II, set the MAIN INPUT SELECT (p. 135) to “ANALOG
(IN1)” (the default setting) or “SPDIF/AES.” This allows you, for instance, to play along with backing tracks or use
the Axe-Fx II as a high quality “soundcard.”
To process computer audio with the onboard effects, set the MAIN INPUT SELECT to “USB.” Signals received will
arrive at the grid INPUT. This allows you, for instance, to re-amp a dry track, or use the Axe-Fx II to process other
audio or plugin tracks. It is possible to simultaneously record the processed output on the computer using the AxeFx II audio inputs (0/1).
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OVERVIEW
Four Simultaneous Channels of 48k/24-bit Audio from the Axe-Fx II to the Computer
Four outputs, typically called IN 0, IN 1, IN 2, and IN 3, allow audio to be routed from the Axe-Fx II to the computer,
recorded, processed, or monitored.
The signal source for the first pair of outputs is selectable. The USB/DIGI OUT SOURCE parameter of the I/O:AUDIO
menu (p. 135) determines what is sent to the computer’s AXE-FX II ASIO DRIVER IN 0/1 inputs.
 Selecting OUTPUT 1 L+R sends the main processed output of the Axe-Fx II to the computer.
The same signal is, of course, still routed normally to the rear XLR and unbalanced jacks.
 Selecting OUTPUT 2 L+R sends the output of the FX loop block (p. 66) to the computer.
 Selecting MAIN INPUT sends the source selected under MAIN INPUT SELECT (p. 135) to the computer.


The same result can be obtained by using OUTPUT 1 with a “shunts-only” preset (p. 29).
Switching INPUT 1 LEFT SELECT (p. 135) to “REAR” allows you to record the line level outputs of a
microphone preamp, keyboard, or any other sound source via the rear INPUT 1 L/R jacks.
The second pair of channels, available only on systems supporting USB 2.0 (see Minimum Requirements above),
always provides a way to simultaneously record a “dry” track for reamping. The source for these channels is the
unprocessed signal from the main input (i.e. the front INSTR jack or the rear INPUT1 L/MONO jack,
depending on both what is selected under INPUT 1 LEFT SELECT (p. 135)) and the rear INPUT1 R jack).
Warning: As with all input/output systems, certain routing configurations can result in audio feedback loops. Please exercise
care not to route active outputs to active inputs, or damage could occur to connected amps, speakers, or your hearing.
Two-way High-Speed MIDI Communication
MIDI enables the Axe-Fx II and the computer to communicate and synchronize, with capabilities for program
change, parameter automation, tempo sync, SysEx dump/receive, firmware update, and more. MIDI over USB is
1
considerably faster than “legacy” MIDI , and allows two-way communication with the computer over a single
cable.
rd
Axe-Edit, our free companion editor/librarian, can now be used without a 3 -party MIDI Interface or drivers, a
cause of common problems.
1
The transfer rate for the new connection is roughly faster than standard MIDI. Keep in mind that new preset, bank, and firmware sizes have
also increased considerably. Despite this, there is a net increase in the speed of computer interaction when compared to previous products.
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3 Connections
Before making connections, be sure to turn down the volume of your amps and switch off all power. Take
extreme care NEVER to connect the SPEAKER outputs of an amplifier to any jack on the Axe-Fx II as this will
damage one or both devices. If you’re not sure, don’t do it!
3.1 Setting Levels
For the Axe-Fx II to work properly, it is important that input and
output levels be configured correctly.
INPUT LEVELS are set with “soft-knobs” on the INPUT page of the
I/O menu. Adjust according to the level of input source material
until “hot” signals “tickle” the red LEDs on the front panel INPUT
meters. The red LED lights at -6 dB (below clipping). Some sources
may not reach ideal levels but can still be used with no problems.
All inputs are normalized, allowing the Axe-Fx II to operate with unity gain irrespective of the trim settings. The
sole purpose of the input trims is to optimize A/D drive level for the best signal-to-noise ratio and distortion
performance. Each input has its own dedicated A/D. The INSTR input jack parallels the rear inputs for improved
signal-to-noise performance.
The front panel OUTPUT LEVEL1/2 knobs independently control the volumes at these rear panel jacks.
Output 1 also adjusts the headphones level. Optimal levels will depend on what the Axe-Fx II is connected to.
To operate with unity gain, simply set the Output Level knobs to maximum. If you then route shunts from the input
to the output you will get out exactly what you put in.
If levels result in clipping of attached equipment, turn down the front panel OUTPUT LEVEL1/2 knobs. At
the minimum setting, volume is reduced but not silent.
NOTE: The Axe-Fx II uses digital potentiometers to adjust the output levels. These actually contain hundreds of tiny resistors
and switches. As such, some noise may be generated while adjusting the knobs.
If the OUT1 or OUT2 CLIP LEDS light while you use the Axe-Fx II, the problem is not trim settings but levels
in the digital domain. Chances are the effects in your preset—many of which can increase gain significantly—are
simply too hot. Reduce the output of one or more blocks (the AMP or CAB might be a natural starting point) or
adjust the main GAIN slider of the preset’s output mixer (p. 116).
When you need to adjust the level of all of your presets at once because some are clipping, you can also use the
GAIN slider on the OUT1 or OUT2 global graphic equalizer to make a global adjustment.
Clipping can also be caused if you have increased the BOOST/PAD setting for one of the converters and can be
reduced if you adjust this setting to be closer to 0 dB (see p. 135). Block or preset adjustment may still be required.
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3.2 The PEDAL Jack
The onboard PEDAL jack of the Axe-Fx II allows you to connect an expression pedal or footswitch for controlling
sound functions. To use a pedal or switch at this jack, you must first configure its TYPE and, for continuous-type
expression pedals, perform a simple calibration routine. See section 9.5 on p.141 for details on how to use the
PEDAL page of the I/O menu.
Any type of external switch can be used, as long as its contacts make and break the connection between tip and
sleeve on a regular 1/4” guitar cable. Expression pedals should have a linear resistance taper and max resistance
between 10kΩ and 100kΩ, and must be used with Tip-Ring-Sleeve cables.
To control sound parameters, you must first assign the PEDAL jack to an “EXTERNAL CONTROLLER” and then set up
a “MODIFIER.” This topic is covered in section 7: Modifiers & Controllers on p. 124, with a section specifically
about External Controllers on p. 132.
3.3 System Parameters
As you can see, the Axe-Fx II is equipped with a flexible array of input/output connector jacks. The diagrams above
cover the layout of the hardware, but seeing a few complete setups can also be helpful as you decide how to
connect other equipment. The following section illustrates some typical setups, some of which require that certain
“System Parameter” settings be made. For example, when “real,” physical guitar cabs are used, the global
“Speaker Simulation” switch will likely need to be set to “OFF.”
In addition to the short introductions provided with the diagrams below, system parameters are detailed in section
8: Global Parameters, and section 9: Input/Output Parameters. In the PDF version of this manual, available on our
web site, you’ll also find a diagram attached at the end showing inputs, routing, outputs, and the effects of system
parameters.
Many of the basic setups shown here can be easily combined or expanded. Mono setups might be made stereo or
vice versa. The MFC-101 MIDI Foot controller can be added for intelligent remote control. Computer connectivity,
for example, can be added to any other setup, enabling you to use Axe-Edit™, our free software Editor/Librarian
for the Axe-Fx II. Countless combinations are possible.
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3.4 Connection Diagrams
Familiarize yourself with the capabilities of inputs, outputs, and control connections through this overview. The
diagrams that follow in sections 3.4.1 through 3.4.10 illustrate several real-world applications.
Figure 3-1 – I/O Overview
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3.4.1 Axe-Fx II into Self-Powered Full-Range Speakers
COMPONENTS:
 Guitar
 Axe-Fx II
 Self-Powered Full Range
Speaker(s)
 Headphones (opt.)
Global Settings: Default
I/O Settings: Default
Notes: With its built-in amp and speaker simulations, the Axe-Fx II can be played directly into P.A. or other selfamplified, full-range, flat-response (FRFR) speakers. Externally amplified (passive) FRFR speakers are equally wellsuited. This might just as easily be a Front-of-House system with floor or in-ear monitors. In this configuration, the
Axe-Fx II creates all aspects of the end-to-end guitar chain for the ultimate in tonal flexibility—stompboxes, amps,
cabs, post effects, and more. Optional headphones provide an alternate way to listen when cabs are not present or
are switched off. Balanced (XLR) or unbalanced (1/4”) jacks and cables can be used to connect the Axe-Fx II, with the
former providing the advantage that less noise will be picked up over longer cable runs. If only one speaker is used,
set OUT 1 MODE in the I/O menu (p.135) to one of the mono options.
3.4.2 Axe-Fx II into Studio Monitors
COMPONENTS:
 Guitar
 Axe-Fx II
 Mixer (opt.)
 Studio Monitors
 Headphones (opt.)
Global Settings: Default I/O Settings: Default
Notes: This is essentially identical to the diagram shown above for Self-Powered FRFR speakers. The point to take
away here is that any system intended for full-range monitoring or sound reinforcement—from small computer
speakers to the P.A. at a huge arena—represents a suitable counterpart to the capabilities of the Axe-Fx II.
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3.4.3 Axe-Fx II with Power Amp and Guitar Speakers
COMPONENTS:
 Guitar
 Axe-Fx II
 Power Amp and
Guitar Speakers
-ORAmp Head/Combo
with FX RETURN jack
(power amp input)
and Guitar Speakers
`
Global Settings: Power Amp Simulation ON or OFF (see below), Speaker Cabinet Simulation OFF
I/O Settings: Set OUT1 MODE (p.135) as required for stereo or mono.
Notes: Depending on the character of the amplifier being used, Power Amp Simulations may need to be ON or OFF
for this type configuration.
 Power Amp simulations should be turned ON when using a “neutral-sounding” power amp that does not
color the tone or create a pronounced effect on the feel or dynamics. Solid State amps typically fit this bill.
 Power Amp simulations turned OFF when using the RETURN of the effects loop of a head or combo amplifier,
or a more “guitar oriented” standalone power amp that adds noticeable sag/saturation/tonal color.
 In either case, it is completely safe and reasonable to try both setting ways to see which you prefer.
Whenever you use the Axe-Fx II with traditional guitar speaker cabinets (whether open back or closed, small or
large, alone or in pairs) it is best to turn Speaker simulations OFF in the CONFIG page of the GLOBAL menu (p. 133).
Guitar speakers differ from full-range speakers in that they are voiced to focus on traditional electric guitar sounds:
mids tend to be prominent, highs rolled off, etc.
In any case, the settings required for this setup are not ideally suited for monitoring through the Axe-Fx II
headphone jack, as what you hear through headphones will not sound like what you will hear through the speakers.
Switching Power Amp and Speaker sims on and off, however, is a simple matter and can be done on an as-needed
basis.
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3.4.4 Axe-Fx II Effects Loop
COMPONENTS:
 Guitar
 Axe-Fx II, connected as
desired to
monitors/mixers/amps/
etc. (see other diagrams
for setup ideas)
 Outboard Processor or
Preamp
Global Settings: See Below I/O Settings: See Below
Notes: The Axe-Fx II has a stereo FX Loop that allows you to insert outboard gear such as preamps or processors at
almost any point in the signal chain of any preset. You’ll learn more about editing presets in section 4, and the
Effects Loop block is detailed on page 66. For now, just be aware that custom presets are required for the Effects
Loop to be used. The Effects Loop configuration above is compatible with other setups that do not utilize INPUT2 or
OUTPUT2 for other purposes. Global and I/O options should be set accordingly.
3.4.5 Axe-Fx II Digital Audio Interconnection
COMPONENTS:
 Guitar
 Axe-Fx II
 Mixer, recorder,
computer, etc. with
digital (S/PDIF or
AES/EBU) inputs and/or
outputs
Global Settings: Default I/O Settings: See below.
Notes: The digital connector jacks on the Axe-Fx II allow it to interface with a variety of devices with S/PDIF or
AES/EBU I/O. You can connect to the inputs of a digital mixer, for example, or process the signal from another unit
with a digital output, avoiding an unnecessary D/A:A/D roundtrip. The required clock rate for both input and output
signals is 48k. The onboard digital outs can monitor OUTPUT1, OUTPUT2, or the main INPUT, as specified in USB/DIGI
OUT SOURCE on the AUDIO page of the I/O menu (p. 135). The MAIN INPUT SOURCE must be set to “SPDIF/AES” for
digital inputs to be connected to the grid. A valid signal must be present at the selected digital input or the Axe-Fx II
will display “NO INPUT CLOCK!”
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3.4.6 Axe-Fx II Four Cable Method (“4CM”)
COMPONENTS:
 Guitar
 Axe-Fx II
 Guitar Amp with a series
1
effects loop and built-in
or separate Guitar
Speaker(s).
 Second Amp for Stereo
(opt.)
Global Settings: Defaults OK, since special 4CM presets should not have AMP or CAB blocks!
I/O Settings : Set OUT1 MODE as required for stereo or mono. Adjust the two OUTPUT BOOST PAD parameters to
lower the noise floor. See p.135 for details on these parameters. Otherwise, default settings.
Notes: This highly integrated setup places the Axe-Fx II simultaneously “in front of” an amplifier’s preamp section,
where it replaces traditional stompboxes, and inside its effects loop, where many effects work best. Although a
head and separate cab are shown, some combo amps also offer an onboard effects loop and can be used as well.
To use the 4CM, you will need to create special presets where AMP and CAB blocks are replaced by the FX LOOP
block (p. 66). Signal hits the Axe-Fx II first, into any effects that you want in front of the amp—compressor, drive,
wah, and the like. Then, the FX LOOP block is used to “insert” the preamp of the actual amplifier on the grid. Output
2 of the Axe-Fx II has an all-new, extremely low-noise design that is well-suited for feeding the front of an amplifier.
The signal makes a “roundtrip” to the amp’s preamp, and returns to the grid, where it is then processed by
additional blocks—maybe chorus, delay, reverb, pitch shifter, etc. The final routing is via Axe-Fx II OUT1/L to the
Return (Power Amp Input) of the amplifier and the cabs. To extend this configuration for optional stereo, connect
OUT1/R to the RETURN of a second amplifier, bypassing that unit’s preamp altogether.
The new Boost/Pad functions are designed to help run the OUT1 and OUT 2 D/A converters at optimum levels,
padding their outputs for even lower noise. To find the right setting, adjust either of these controls upwards until
you light the respective OUT CLIP LED on the front panel, then back off a few dB to prevent further clipping. You’ll
actually hear the noise floor drop as you make these adjustments.
Humbuster™ technology (p. 161), featured on all 1/4" outputs of the Axe-Fx II, can also provide a significant
reduction of ground hum when simple stereo-to-mono cables are used to connect to an amp or other device.
The no-amp/no-cab presets required for this setup are not well-suited for headphone monitoring, as what you hear
in the headphones will not include any power amp or speaker simulations.
1
Note: If your amp’s effects loop is the PARALLEL type, the chain of post-FX-loop blocks should output a wet-only signal.
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3.4.7 Direct to FOH plus Real Amps on Stage
COMPONENTS:
 Guitar
 Axe-Fx II
 Guitar Amp
with Guitar Speaker
 Front-of-House P.A.
Global Settings: Default I/O Settings: Set OUT1 MODE and OUT 2 MODE as required for stereo or mono
Notes: This setup is similar to others in which the Axe-Fx II is used direct into full-range speakers. Here, however,
specially designed “dual-chain” presets also feed on-stage or “backline” amps. The first chain contains a fully
simulated signal path. The second chain shares some effects with the first (those in front of the amps) but diverges
from there.
The “backline” chain differs from the direct chain in several ways. First, its Amp has the SAG parameter set to “0.00”
to disable power amp simulation in that block only. Since real guitar speakers are being used, no CAB block is
inserted. Duplicates of effects which follow the amp in the direct chain follow. The chain ends in an FX LOOP block,
which is routed via OUTPUT 2 to the FX Return of a tube amp. If a solid state or very neutral tube amp were used,
the SAG of that second AMP block might be set higher for simulated tube power amp tone and dynamics.
An example of the type of preset used in this scenario appears below as it would appear in Axe-Edit.
Figure 3-2 – A Dual Chain Preset
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3.4.8 Axe-Fx II as Effects Processor Only (with Guitar Amps)
COMPONENTS:
 Guitar
 Axe-Fx II
 Guitar Amplifier with
built-in or separate
speaker cabinet
Global Settings: Defaults OK, since special presets required should not have AMP or CAB blocks!
I/O Settings: Change INPUT 1 LEFT SELECT to “REAR” if using the Axe-Fx II in an effects loop as shown above, left.
Leave the default setting of “FRONT” if you are connecting a guitar to the Axe-Fx II, as shown above, right.
Notes: Although it was designed for complete guitar signal path simulation, the Axe-Fx II can also be put to superb
use as a standalone FX processor. As such, it can be placed between guitar and amp to replace stompboxes or in an
amp’s effects loop where a rack processor would normally appear.
To use either setup, you will need to create custom presets without AMP or CAB blocks. For operation inside an
amp’s effects loop, use the REAR input(s) and set INPUT 1 LEFT SELECT (section 9.2) accordingly. Presets in this case
will likely contain only those effects that sound best after a preamp: chorus, EQs, delays, reverbs, certain types of
pitch shift and modulation, et al.
For the best-case scenario when running in front of an amp, recognize that Output 2 of the Axe-Fx II has an all-new,
extremely low-noise design that is well-suited for this purpose. Effects-only presets should terminate in an FX LOOP
block to route signal to OUTPUT2. (In this case, nothing would be connected to the FX RETURN of the Axe-Fx II.)
The new Boost/Pad functions are designed to help run the OUT1 and OUT 2 D/A converters at optimum levels,
padding their outputs for even lower noise. To find the right setting, adjust either of these controls upwards until
you light the respective OUT CLIP LED on the front panel, then back off a few dB to prevent further clipping. You’ll
actually hear the noise floor drop as you make this adjustment. Humbuster™ technology (p. 161), featured on all
1/4" outputs of the Axe-Fx II, can also significantly reduce ground hum when simple stereo-to-mono cables are used
to connect to an amp or other device.
It is easy enough to extend each of the above configurations for use in stereo. With the Axe-Fx II in a loop, connect
OUT1 R to the RETURN of a second amp, bypassing that unit’s preamp altogether, or run fully within the loops of
two separate amps using IN1 L/R and OUT1 L/R. With the Axe-Fx II between guitar and amp, connect a second
amplifier to OUT2 R. The no-amp/no-cab presets required for the scenarios in this section are not well-suited for
headphone monitoring.
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3.4.9 Axe-Fx II as a Computer Audio Interface
COMPONENTS:
 Guitar
 Axe-Fx II
 Computer meeting
minimum requirements
(p. 12)
 Powered Monitors
 Headphones (opt.)
Global Settings: Default I/O Settings: See below
Notes: The Axe-Fx II offers great features when connected via USB to a computer. Pair this system with
headphones, studio monitors, or any other full-range listening system.
 Simultaneously record stereo processed guitar and dry tracks for reamping.
2
 Route stereo audio from the computer through the Axe-Fx II, simultaneously using all the regular
processing capabilities for your guitar so that you can play along with tracks.
 Send audio from the computer to the Axe-Fx II for processing (and send it back to record the result).
 Use the Axe-Fx II rear inputs to record other line-level audio sources, with or without Axe-Fx II processing.
 Use two-way, high-speed MIDI over USB for control/automation or Axe-Edit, the companion Editor
Librarian for the Axe-Fx II.
See section 2.3 for full details on USB audio and MIDI capabilities.
rd
The Axe-Fx II can also be used in conjunction with any 3 -party audio/MIDI interfaces.
2
USB 2.0 required for more than two simultaneous channels from the Axe-Fx II to the computer.
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3.4.10
Axe-Fx II and MFC-101
COMPONENTS:
 Guitar
 Axe-Fx II
 Ethernet Cable (CAT5)
 MFC-101 MIDI Foot
Controller
Global Settings: Determined by how the Axe-Fx II is to be used with other connected amps/speakers/etc.
I/O Settings: Determined by how the Axe-Fx II is to be used with other connected amps/speakers/etc.
Notes: The Axe-Fx II provides a significant advantage over its predecessors in that the Fractal Audio MFC-101 MIDI
foot controller can be connected to the new, dedicated rear-panel MFC control port. A single Ethernet (CAT5, noncrossover) cable carries bidirectional communications to support the many powerful features of MFC-101 “Axe-Fx
Mode,” including automatic preset name and tuner display on the floor, “preset-aware” tri-state Instant Access
Switch LED support, and much more.
Although it utilizes innovative connectors, the MFC-101 still transmits/receives MIDI to/from the Axe-Fx II, which
can then forward messages to other devices via its MIDI THRU port. (Note: MIDI THRU is disabled by default. Turn it
ON in the I/O menu under MIDI.)
IMPORTANT: Do NOT connect the MFC-101 power adapter to the MFC-101 or to the Phantom Power
jack of the Axe-Fx II while using the MFC Control port connector to connect the two units. The Axe-Fx II
provides required power from its internal power supply and transmits it over the Ethernet cable.
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3.4.11
Axe-Fx II: One Possible “Big Rig”
Here the Axe-Fx II is the centerpiece of a “big rig,” combining the capabilities of several other diagrams shown
above. The main outs feed a pair of powered FRFR cabs, so you can design and monitor sounds and play live with
the same sound. Meanwhile, USB provides all of the usual computer audio and MIDI integration features, with fullrd
range studio monitors connected to a 3 -party audio interface for monitoring and playback. We’ve added an
outboard processor in the FX LOOP (so you can clone its settings and put it on eBay ;)
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4 Basic Operation and Editing
Once you have set up your Axe-Fx II with speakers/amps/monitors or a pair of headphones, you can begin to
audition the factory preset sounds and learn to make changes by following this detailed guide to basic operation.
For a super-condensed version, see the 60-Second Edit Guide on p. 155 of the Appendix.
4.1 Presets
Each factory preset is a complete, pre-wired, pre-programmed setup for “end-to-end” sound—a guitar-in/stereoout path with amps, cabs, and effects—perfectly mixed and possibly even equipped with one or more “modifiers”
for automation or remote control. In the sections that follow, you’ll learn to view, edit, and create presets from
scratch. To begin, let’s look at the ways to load the presets saved in the Axe-Fx II.
Figure 4-1
As stated in the illustration, you can load presets sequentially with the VALUE wheel or use the NAV buttons.
The new PRESET DIRECTORIES allows direct access to all 384 presets in an ordered list. To open the directory,
press RECALL and use the PAGE buttons to select the “DIR” (numeric) or “A-Z” (alphabetical).
To use the directory, just turn the VALUE wheel or use the
NAV buttons to select the desired preset and press ENTER
to load. You will be returned automatically to the main RECALL
PRESET screen.
Presets can also be loaded using MIDI program change
commands. Although it isn’t indicated in the display, the 384
presets are organized into three banks. Bank A contains presets
0–127, B contains 128–255, and C contains 256–383. MIDI Bank Select (CC#0) and Program Change commands
allow you to specify/load any of the onboard presets remotely. (The MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller, in fact, comes
pre-programmed to select all 384 Axe-Fx II presets.) See p. 170 for a cross-reference on banks/program changes
and preset numbers.
Any preset can be edited and saved at any time to any memory location. Let’s look at how to make changes.
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4.2 The Grid
The grid, located on the EDIT page of the LAYOUT
menu, is a 12 × 4 matrix into which effect “blocks”
can be inserted and then connected together to build
presets. The INPUT appears at the left, the OUTPUT at the right. The display can fit a 5 × 4 section of the 12 × 4 grid
at any one time, with the ability to scroll to off-screen areas using the NAV buttons. A bottom scrollbar indicates
where you are in the overall left-to-right layout.
Figure 4-2 – In this image of an empty grid, off-screen areas are grayed.
4.2.1 Inserting and Removing Blocks
As explained in “The Concept” on page 6, the Axe-Fx II grid must be populated with blocks—components pulled
from a large inventory of amps, cabs, stompbox, studio effects, mixers, and more. The insertion, modification, or
removal of blocks happens at the grid cursor, a filled rectangle controlled with the NAV buttons.
Figure 4-3
To INSERT a BLOCK into an empty space…
 Use the NAV buttons to select the desired empty grid location.
 Turn the VALUE wheel. Available block names (AMP 1, CAB 1, etc.) will be displayed on the screen in
alphabetical order, and the selected block (if visible) will flash.
 When the desired item is found, press ENTER to insert it into the grid. To cancel, press EXIT instead.
As detailed above in The Inventory/Grid Concept (p. 6), every preset draws from its own complete inventory of
available blocks. As you place them on to the grid, they are removed from the inventory.
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The total number of blocks you can insert in any one preset is dictated by the fact that CPU utilization must not
exceed 98%. Each block has a “cost,” and when the sum of all blocks reaches the limit, a warning message prevents
you from adding additional blocks. The Axe-Fx II is extremely powerful, and most presets do not come close to the
limit. See Understanding Preset Size Limits on p. 156 for more on this subject.
To CHANGE the type of an existing BLOCK…
 Use the NAV buttons to select the desired block.
 Turn the VALUE wheel. Available block names (AMP 1, CAB 1, etc.) will be displayed on the screen in
alphabetical order, and the selected block (if visible) will flash.

The Axe-Fx II offers multiple instances of most block types (ex: 2 Amps, 4 Graphic Equalizers, etc.)
To keep the list manageable, only the “next-in-line” instance is shown as you cycle through the
insertion menu, so AMP 2 is hidden until you have placed AMP 1.
 When the desired block is shown, press ENTER. To cancel without making changes, press EXIT instead.
To REMOVE an existing BLOCK…
 Use the NAV buttons to select the block you wish to remove.
 Turn the VALUE wheel until NONE is displayed and press ENTER, or press EXIT to cancel.
Shortcut! To remove any block except a Shunt, select it and press EXIT, ENTER, EXIT, ENTER
4.2.2 Shunts
A shunt is a passive connector—a utility block that carries signal through otherwise empty grid locations. Shunts
are required because, although you may only wish to have a few components in your chain, signal does NOT flow
through an Axe-Fx II preset unless you completely connect the INPUT to the OUTPUT. A single Axe-Fx II preset can
contain up to 36 shunts.
Figure 4-4 – Shunts are used to span distances between INPUT, BLOCKS, and OUTPUT.
In the figure above, a shunt connects the Input to the WAH, and five shunts connect the Delay [DLY] to the Output.
Empty grid locations are indicated by dotted outlines and the absence of a three-letter abbreviation or thru-line.
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To INSERT a SHUNT into an empty grid location…
 Use the NAV buttons to select the desired empty grid location.
 Turn the VALUE wheel once to the right. “SHUNT” will be displayed in a popup, and the selected grid
space will flash if not hidden.
 Press ENTER. To cancel without inserting, press EXIT instead.
To CHANGE any other block type into a SHUNT…
 Select the desired block.
 Press EXIT. “SHUNT” will be displayed in a popup, and the selected space will flash if not hidden.
 Press ENTER. To cancel without inserting, press EXIT instead.
4.2.3 Connector Cables
As mentioned above, a preset’s INPUT must be connected to its OUTPUT in order for that output to produce any
sound. Blocks (including shunts) create the components of a chain, but these still need to be connected to one
another for signal to “flow.” This is done using routing connectors, commonly referred to as “cables.”
Figure 4-5 – Two otherwise identical presets shown WITH and WITHOUT connector cables between the blocks.
The second example above would produce NO SOUND as nothing is “wired up” to pass signal to the output!
If a preset is unexpectedly silent, inspect it carefully for one or more missing cables.
The Rules of Axe-Fx II Cables
 No cables = No sound. Even one missing link will break the entire chain.
 Signal flows from LEFT to RIGHT.
 A cable MUST originate from a BLOCK or a SHUNT. Empty locations are not viable origins.
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 If you try to connect to an EMPTY location, a SHUNT will be created there.
 You can ONLY connect to blocks in the next column to the right.
The
represents the origin of a connector cable.
The shows valid possible destinations.
The symbol shows destinations that are illegal/unavailable.
Any columns farther left or right would also be illegal/unavailable.
If the
were in a different ROW, every would still be in the same place.
 Cables are created AUTOMATICALLY between the INPUT and any blocks in the first column.
 Cables are created AUTOMATICALLY between the OUTPUT and any blocks in the last column.
 You may freely SPLIT or MERGE the signal up to four ways at any point. This is sonically transparent and
there is zero risk of inherent phase or other problems in the split/merge itself. CROSSING is also possible.
Figure 4-6 – Cables can CROSS one another without issue. Routings can be as COMPLEX as required.
To Create a Connector Cable…
 Use the NAV buttons to select the block where you wish the cable to BEGIN.

You can’t start from an EMPTY grid space!

The first and last grid columns are automatically connected to the INPUT and the OUTPUT.
 Press ENTER. The selected block and its neighbor to the right will alternately flash as “selected.”
 Use the UP or DOWN NAV buttons to select the desired destination block.

Remember that you will be prevented from trying to select blocks in other columns.

It is possible to select an empty location, but a shunt will be added automatically at the
destination if you complete the cable.

Be sure to select a destination that is not already connected to the origin block, or you will
REMOVE that cable (see below).
 Press ENTER. To cancel without connecting, press EXIT instead.
To Remove a Cable Connector…
Cables are removed in much the same way as they are created.
 Select the block where the cable begins.
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 Press ENTER. The selected block and its neighbor to the right will alternately flash as “selected.”
 Use the UP or DOWN NAV buttons to select the “other end” of the cable you wish to remove.
 Press ENTER. To cancel without removing, press EXIT instead.
A Shortcut for Spanning Empty Spaces
This shortcut allows you to span multiple empty grid columns with a series of automatic shunts and cables. This
technique is especially useful when you have placed your last effect block and need to wire it to the output or if
you want to fill an empty row with shunts.
 Select any block that is followed by a series of empty spaces.
 PRESS and HOLD the ENTER button. The intervening spaces will be automatically filled with shunts and
connected with cables.
You can also use this shortcut for small “runs” to connect any blocks with one or more columns of empty space
between them, but be careful: any existing cables encountered along the way will be REMOVED by the process!
A Word on Shunts and Cables
In the real world, cables and connectors can have an impact on the tone of a guitar rig. In the Axe-Fx II, nothing
could be further from the truth. Shunts and connectors, whether long, short, split, merged, or crisscrossed in a
huge mess, have absolutely no sonic properties whatsoever. They do not impart color, add latency, suck tone,
create load, invite hum, develop shorts, or get tangled up in the road case. A word of advice: merging identical
copies of a split signal will result in additive level increase and should be avoided in favor of simply increasing one
or another gain or level parameters.
4.2.4 Moving Blocks on the Grid
The LAYOUT menu also includes a MOVE page with tools to move individual blocks or entire rows or columns
UP, DOWN, LEFT, or RIGHT. When a block or a grid row/column is moved, it changes places with the item in the
space it is moved to. This can result in certain connector cables being modified or removed, so be sure to observe
how the elements of your preset are interconnected before proceeding with a MOVE operation.
 Press LAYOUT.
 Use the PAGE buttons to select the MOVE tab.
 Select a function with the VALUE wheel:

EFFECT LEFT/RIGHT/UP/DOWN

COLUMN LEFT/RIGHT

ROW UP/DOWN
 Use the NAV buttons to select the target effect block or row/column you wish to move. Look for the
SOLID square(s) in the grid representation on the screen.
 Press ENTER to execute the move.

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Repeat this step to move the same target again in the same direction.
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4.2.5 Example Presets on the Grid
Four sample presets are shown below as visualized in Axe-Edit, the companion software editor to the Axe-Fx II.
Review the diagrams to get a sense of how presets are constructed and how they appear on the grid.
EXAMPLE 1: Simple Amp Tone – In this extremely simple preset, an AMP and a CAB are combined for a straightahead tone. Shunts and connectors (which appear in Axe-Edit almost as one continuous cable), connect the INPUT
to the AMP, the AMP to the CAB, and the CAB to the OUTPUT.
Figure 4-7 – Amp/Cab Preset
EXAMPLE 2: Long Pedal Chain – Here, effects are strung together to create a giant virtual rig. Compressor, Volume,
Wahwah, Whammy, Tremolo, Overdrive, Phaser, and Flanger are all connected to an AMP/CAB combination,
followed by Delay and Reverb. As you can see, the Axe-Fx II supports a great number of simultaneous effects; this
preset uses just a portion of the unit’s total CPU power, leaving considerable room for more effects on other rows.
Figure 4-8 – A Pedal Chain
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EXAMPLE 3: Dual Amp Preset – This preset shows a dual-amp rig. A series of effects (Wahwah, Drive, Phaser)
begins the chain, then the signal is split into two amps and two cabs. (Note: A single, stereo CAB block might also
have been used, as shown in Figure 5-4 on p. 48, but here, the decision was made to use each CAB block in “high
resolution mono.”) Signal is panned hard left and right with CAB block BALANCE controls and then merged to feed
stereo post effects. A Multiband Compressor helps balance dynamics, while spaces in the chain leave plenty of
room for future expansion.
Figure 4-9 – Dual Amp Preset
EXAMPLE 4: Complex Routing – The program below demonstrates a more intricate routing scenario. The signal is
split and merged at various points between the input and the output, with various effects appearing before and
after two independent amps. Notice the complex feedback-loop routing in parallel with the “dry” signal feeding
the amps, and the reverb at the end of the chain running in parallel (its level controlled by an envelope for a
“ducking” effect).
Figure 4-10 – Complex Preset
MORE EXAMPLES…
The presets in this section represent only four examples of the nearly limitless possibilities that can be created
using the GRID, BLOCKS, and CONNECTORS of the Axe-Fx II. In addition to reviewing these diagrams, you can gain
valuable insight and ideas by exploring the factory presets or by discussing techniques with other members of the
Fractal Audio community. Visit forum.fractalaudio.com and join the discussion.
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4.3 Editing Sounds
The blocks of the Axe-Fx II represent diverse types of real-world equipment. In the same way that such hardware
devices are equipped with different controls, blocks also typically have many adjustable settings called
parameters. Parameter settings determine precisely how an effect will sound. These are arranged on PAGES in the
display of the Axe-Fx II. The system of parameters and pages for any block is referred to as its EDIT menu.
To Open the EDIT Menu for Any Effect Block…
With a preset loaded in normal RECALL mode…
 Press LAYOUT to display the GRID.

If the GRID is not shown at first, press PAGE to reach the EDIT tab.
 Use the NAV buttons to select the desired block.
 Press EDIT to display the EDIT menu.

NAV buttons select parameters on the page.

The name of the selected parameter will be
displayed in .inverse. with “VAL” shown above
if it is a knob, or “>” shown to its left in text
menu pages.

In scrolling menu pages, the sidebar has an
indicator to show relative position.
Figure 4-11: Press EDIT with any block selected on the Grid
 The VALUE wheel changes the selected parameter.
Changes can be auditioned in real-time by playing while you edit.
 For effect blocks with multi-page menus, the PAGE buttons select between them.
 Press LAYOUT to return to the grid, or press RECALL to go back to play mode.
Pressing EDIT repeatedly will step through the EDIT menus for all blocks in a preset, sparing you a return trip to
the grid. You can also press EDIT without entering the grid to go directly to editing a selected block in any preset.
Figure 4-12 – Three Typical EDIT menu pages:
The above figure shows three pages of typical EDIT menus (from the AMP block). Notice the tabbed labels near the
top: PG1, PG2, EQ, ADV, and MIX. Select between these using the PAGE buttons. The third example shows
a text-only menu. Some blocks, like the Graphic EQ (p. 73), Parametric EQ (p. 88), and others, have specialized
graphical displays designed to provide rich, intuitive editing experiences.
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4.3.1 Quick Control
The QUICK CONTROL A,B,C, and D knobs on the front panel are dynamically
1
mapped to four parameters in almost every block EDIT menu page , whether knob or textbased. The current mapping is indicated by the appearance of a small A,B,C, or D above or
to the left of the parameters on the screen. Assignments change dynamically as different
parameters are selected for use with the VALUE wheel. Turn the corresponding lettered
encoder knob to adjust a parameter.
The quick control knobs can also be used as Modifier SOURCES (see section 7 on p. 124). Their function in this
capacity is disabled while editing as it might otherwise compete with menu operations.
4.4 X/Y Switching
One of the new features of the Axe-Fx II is X/Y switching, available on 10 different effect block types: Amp, Cab,
Chorus, Delay, Drive, Flanger, Pitch Shifter, Phaser, Reverb, and Wahwah. Each instance of these blocks is
equipped with two fully independent sets of parameters, “X” and “Y,” making it possible to have two completely
different settings for one block. X or Y can be recalled instantly and seamlessly at the touch of a front panel button
(while editing) or by using MIDI remote control (during performance). Each block with X/Y may be saved with
either state selected.
The benefits of X/Y Switching are considerable. You might simulate amp channel switching (X as an American Clean
and Y as a British Crunch). This won’t require the CPU overhead of two separate amp blocks! Another application is
mode switching effects. Instead of painstakingly tuning modifiers (p. 124), you can just dial in X, dial in the Y, and
switch between them at will. Imagine a delay that can be switched at will from pristine dotted-eighth-note echoes
with light feedback to one with saturated, modulated quarter-note echoes under heavy feedback.
It is important to understand that MODIFIERS (see p. 124) are SHARED between X and Y states.
To Use X-Y Switching
 Open the desired block for editing.
 All blocks default with the X state selected. Dial in all parameters for the X state.
 Press Y and dial in all parameters for the Y state.
 Save the preset (see below).
2
Each available X/Y switch has its own dedicated global MIDI CC# assignment for remote switching . This option is
found in the I/O:CONTROL menu. See p. 139 for details.
X-Y / Y-X Copying
You can copy all of the settings from X to Y, or Y to X, by double tapping the button for the one you want to copy
to, and then pressing ENTER to confirm. If you accidentally double tap when you don’t want to copy, press
EXIT to cancel. So, to copy X to Y, double-tap Y and then press ENTER.
1
2
Exceptions: Quick control functions work in PEQ blocks, but letters are not shown. Mixer type blocks do not support Quick Control.
As noted in the section which covers I/O parameters, X is in fact the “ON” state for these CC switches (64-127) and Y is the OFF (0-63).
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4.4.1 X/Y Quick Jump
The X and Y buttons also double as user-definable Quick-Jump keys. These allow quick access to the EDIT menus of
your two favorite blocks from almost any screen without needing to “drill down” through the grid.
You might, for instance, set “X” to jump to AMP1, while “Y” might be assigned to bring up the PHASER1 menu.
Quick-Jump is disabled if you are already in the EDIT menu of another block (including Global Blocks or Modifier
sub menus), or if you are in the process of SAVING (where X and Y are used for quick character entry).
Quick Jump settings are assigned in the X/Y page of the I/O menu, detailed on p. 141.
4.5 Bypassing a Block
Can you imagine a stompbox that can’t be stomped? Neither can we. Any
3
effect on the Axe-Fx II can be bypassed (or engaged) in three different
ways:
1.
Press the front panel FX BYP button while the block is either
selected in the grid or open to edit.
Note that accidentally double tapping or holding FX BYP will enter the Global Blocks menu instead
(see p. 119). Press EXIT and try again if this happens.
4
2.
Use a MODIFIER (section 7) attached to the block’s BYPASS MODE parameter.
3.
By remote control via the block’s global remote bypass function, which may be set to “PEDAL” or to any
MIDI CC# on the CTRL page of the I/O menu (p. 135)
A bypassed block is shown on the grid with a dotted outline.
When you bypass any block, one of several things can actually happen depending on how its BYPASS MODE
parameter is set. For more on this, see the section on Common Mix Parameters beginning on p.117.
4.6 Loading Effects from another Preset
The Recall Effect function makes it possible to load block settings directly from one preset to another. Select the
EFFECT tab of the RECALL menu using the PAGE buttons. Select the preset and block that you want to load from
and press ENTER. “EFFECT RETRIEVED!” will be displayed, and the “local” block (whether or not it is already on
the grid in the current preset) will be updated with all settings from the “retrieved” block. If the block you are
trying to load is not found in the preset you try to load it from, “EFFECT NOT FOUND” will be shown instead.
3
4
The MIXER, FB SEND, and SHUNT blocks have no bypass functions.
The ENHANCER has no BYPASS MODE parameter.
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4.7 Saving Changes
After making various changes, you will undoubtedly want to save the results of your edits.
To store a sound in place, without changing its name or location…
 Press STORE to show the STORE screen.
 Press ENTER to initiate the process, and ENTER again to confirm.
The message “STORED!” is displayed when the operation completes.
To store a sound to a new location or with a new name…
The Axe-Fx II has 384 numbered preset memory locations. It is possible at any time to save any preset into any
location. It is also possible to change the NAME of a preset before you store it.
 Press STORE to show the STORE screen.
 Use the NAV buttons to select between the two available functions:

The LOCATION parameter selects where the preset will be stored:


The VALUE wheel selects numbered memory locations. NAV left/right skip by 10.
The NAME parameter allows you to edit preset names before saving:

Turn the VALUE wheel to change characters.

Press X or Y to jump to “handy” letters/symbols (space, 0, A, N, a, n).

Use NAV to move the cursor from one position to the next.

You can use up to 23 characters in a preset name.
 Press ENTER to Store.
 Press ENTER to Confirm.
The message “STORED!” is displayed when the operation completes.
4.7.1 Swapping the Locations of Two Presets
The Axe-Fx II has a new feature that allows you to SWAP the locations of two saved presets. This is useful, for
instance, if you want to re-order the factory presets without overwriting any of them, or if you need to move a
“keeper” preset to a different location so you can overwrite its previous location with a newer entry. To SWAP two
presets:
 Press STORE and PAGE to the right to the SWAP page.
 Use NAV keys and the VALUE wheel to select the two presets whose locations you want to switch.
 Press ENTER to Store.
 Press ENTER to Confirm. The message “SWAPPED!” will briefly appear when the operation completes.
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5 Effects Guide
The Axe-Fx II offers 33 different basic block types that can be combined freely up to the limit of available DSP
resources to create your own presets. An alphabetical listing of block types follows.
5.1 Amplifier [AMP]
The Amplifier block reproduces the sounds of an impressive array of vintage and modern guitar and bass
amplifiers, with 70+ different “types” based on stock, custom and hybrid models. You get great amp sounds from
the Axe-Fx II using only the basic drive and tone controls on PG1 and PG2 of the edit menu. In general most knobs
behave exactly like those on actual amp when possible.
Advanced parameters offer deeper control, but don’t be put off by these at first: their values are “set right” for all
models by default. That said, a deeper understanding of the AMP block offers deeper control, putting more tones
at your fingers and enabling “mods” that would require a seasoned tech in the real world. (Even he/she would be
unable to achieve many of the options possible with the virtual amps in the Axe-Fx II). It may be best if you can
listen to the effects of the various controls while you read this section. The right amp with the right settings is the
heart of the right tone.
Note: The Cab block (p. 48) is vital in creating an overall sound; if you’re not getting the sound you’re
expecting from an amp, try different cab settings.
The “heart” of the amp is its capacity for ultra-realistic distortions, created using our proprietary dual-stage nonlinearity generators. The preamplifier stage emulates the type of distortion generated by classic tube
preamplifiers. The power amplifier stage emulates the type of distortion generated by a tube power amplifier and
uses our proprietary G2 Modeling Technology™. The Axe-Fx II Amp also integrates a new built-in, 8-band graphic
equalizer for additional tone control without extra blocks.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Amplifier blocks.
Figure 5-1 – A simplified diagram of the AMP block
The AMP block processes audio in mono. The INPUT SELECT and BALANCE parameters
(see below) allow flexibility when combining the AMP with stereo effects.
Amp X/Y Channel Switching
Each instance of the Amplifier block stores two fully independent sets of parameters called X and Y. Selecting
between these allows you to change all block settings—instantly—at the touch of a switch or button (excluding
current Bypass State and any Modifier assignments). See X/Y Switching on p. 36 for more information.
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Amp Types
The following table details the different AMP types of the Axe-Fx II.
Manufacturer names and product names mentioned below are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners, which are in
no way associated with or affiliated with Fractal Audio Systems. The names are used only to illustrate sonic and performance characteristics
of the Fractal Amplifier TYPES, which have been created by incredibly detailed analysis of the actual amps that inspired them
AMP TYPE
59 Bassguy
65 Bassguy
Vibrato Verb
Deluxe Verb
Double Verb
Jr Blues
Class-A 15w TB
Class-A 30w
Class-A 30 TB
Brit JM45
Plexi Normal
Plexi Treble
1987x Normal
1987x Treble
Brit 800
Brit 800 Mod
Hipower Normal
Hipower Brillnt
USA Clean 1
USA Clean 2
USA Rhy 1
USA IIc+ Norm
USA IIc+ Bright
USA Lead 1
USA Lead 2
Recto Org Vntg
Recto Red Vntg
Recto Org Mdrn
Recto Red Mdrn
Euro Blue
Euro Red
Shiver Cln
Shiver Ld
Euro Uber
Solo 99 Cln
Solo 100 Rhy
Solo 100 Ld
Friedman BE
Friedman HBE
PVH 6160
Mr Z 38 Sr
CA3+ Rhy
CA3+ Ld
Wrecker 1
Corncob M50
Carolann Od-2
Fryette D60 L
Fryette D60 M
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BASED ON
1959 Fender® Bassman®
1965 Fender® Bassman®
Fender® Vibroverb®
Fender® Deluxe Reverb®
Fender® Twin Reverb®
Fender Blues Jr.
Vox® AC-15®
Vox® AC-30®
Vox® AC-30TBX®
Marshall® JTM45®
Marshall® Super Lead 1959®
1959® Treble Channel
Marshall® 1987x Vintage Series
1987x Treble Channel
Marshall® JCM 800®
Marshall® JCM 800®, modded
Hiwatt® DR103 (Normal)®
Hiwatt® DR103 (Brilliant)®
Mesa Boogie™ MKIV™ (Rhythm 1)
Mesa Boogie™ Triaxis™ (Green)
Mesa™ Boogie MKIV™ (Rhythm 2)
Mesa Boogie® Mark II™ Lead
(Normal)
Mesa Boogie® Mark II™ Lead
(Bright)
Mesa Boogie™ MKIV™ (Lead)
MKIV® (Lead + Treble Shift ON)
Mesa Boogie™ 2 Ch. Dual
Rectifier® (Orange Ch.)
Mesa Boogie™ 2 Ch. Dual
Rectifier® (Red Ch.)
Mesa Boogie™ 2 Ch. Dual
Rectifier® (Orange Ch.)
Mesa Boogie™ 3-Ch. Dual
Rectifier® (Red Ch.)
Bogner® Ecstasy Blue Channel®
Bogner® Ecstasy Red Channel®
Bogner® Shiva Clean Channel
Bogner® Shiva Lead Channel
Bogner® Überschall
Soldano® X99® Preamp (Clean )
Soldano™ SLO-100® (Normal Ch.)
Soldano™ SLO-100® (OD Ch.)
Friedman Brown Eye
Friedman Hairy Brown Eye
Peavey® EVH® 5150™
Dr. Z Maz 38 SR®
CAE 3+ SE® (Ch 2)
CAE 3+ SE®(Ch 3)
Trainwreck™ Express
Cornford MK50II®
CarolAnn OD2r®
Fryette D60®
Fryette D60®
NOTES
A low-to-medium gain amp designed for bass but more widely adopted by guitarists.
The blackface version with a different circuit design.
Based on a 40W combo that's great for clear or grinding cleans and gutsy blues.
Great, chimey tone with nice power amp breakup when you push the MASTER.
Based on the “Vibrato” channel. Known for amazing clean sounds and nice breakup.
A gutsy little classic with dual EL84s.
The heart of this amp’s tone comes from its power section and no negative feedback.
A combo that dominated the British Invasion. Gritty character, warm tone, great feel.
Created in response to demand for “More Treble.” Great highs + slightly reduced bass.
Made famous by Clapton and others; actually a modified Bassman® design.
The classic amp head that gave rise to “the stack.” Great for crunchy rhythm work.
Based on the “High Treble” channel of the legendary ’59.
Features what many consider to be an “essential” mod to the tonestack of this Plexi.
The treble channel of the 1987x Vintage Series Plexi.
Based on the vaunted model 2204. Bring the Master up for true 80s tone.
The 800 with a collection of the most popular mods to the amp.
Medium-gain, full sound amp with a unique tone-stack and a chimey, grinding tone.
A brighter model based on the amp’s “Brilliant” channel.
A somewhat neutral, clean- sounding model that can pushed into warm clipping.
Based on the “Vintage Fat Rhythm (Mark I, Blackface)” channel.
Based on THE California crunch rhythm sound. Rhythm Ch. 2 with “Fat” switch OFF.
Based on a US-made amp famous for its smooth overdrive sound.
This model has the pull bright OFF.
Based on a US-made amp famous for its smooth overdrive sound.
This model has the pull bright ON.
This model has a tight, focused, hi-gain sound. Great for fusion and rock leads.
Treble Shift gives this amp a slightly different character with a little more cut.
Based on the original Mesa Boogie 2-channel Dual Rectifier “Vintage” (Orange) Ch.
The red channel of the same.
Based on the modern version of the Dual Rectifier amp. Circuit changes made this
version more aggressive.
The red channel of the same.
Based on the 20th Anniversary model. OD channel w/ BOOST + STRUCTURE OFF.
Same as above but with OD channel w/ BOOST + STRUCTURE ON.
Based on the 90W anniversary model. Powerful shimmering cleans.
Based on a sweet, rich- sounding amp with aggressive, English- style midrange punch.
Based on “High Gain” channel of this 120W head. Heavy grinding lows and insane gain.
Based on the clean channel of a Soldano/Caswell midi-motorized preamp.
Based on SLO-100®, noted for its hot-rod chrome chassis and aggressive rhythm tone.
Based on the snarling lead channel of the above amp.
What many call “the ultimate modded Plexi” by Dave Friedman of Rack Systems.
The BE amp’s alternate voicing with a gain boost. A killer hi-gain tone in your arsenal.
Based on the high- input lead channel of an amp named after the criminally insane.
Based on an amp popular with country and roots players.
Based on Channel 2 (Rhythm) of a preamp designed by Custom Audio Electronics®.
Channel 3, (Lead) of the same.
Based on the Trainwreck Express—designed and built by the late, great Ken Fischer.
Based on a boutique British amp. Plexi-Meets-Modern tone with big cojones.
The celebrated OD2r. Model fine-tuned by the highly respected Alan Phillips himself!
Based on the Fryette Amplification D60 in the “Less” mode.
Based on the Fryette Amplification D60 in the “More” mode.
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Brit Brown
Citrus RV50
Jazz 120
Energyball
ODS-100 Clean
ODS-100 Lead
FAS Rhythm
FAS Lead 1
FAS Lead 2
FAS Modern
Das Metall
Brit Pre
Buttery
Boutique 1
Boutique 2
Cameron Ch 1
Cameron Ch 2
SV Bass
Tube Pre
FAS Brown
Big Hair
Solo 99 Lead
Supertweed
Tx Star Lead
FAS Wreck
Brit JVM OD 1
Brit JVM OD 2
FAS 6160
CALI LEGGY
USA LEAD 1+
USA LEAD 2+
Prince Tone
Blankship Leeds
“The Brown Sound”
Orange® Rockerverb®
Roland® JC-120®
ENGL Powerball®
Dumble OD Special® (Clean)
Dumble OD Special® (Drive Ch.)
Created by Fractal Audio Systems
Created by Fractal Audio Systems
Created by Fractal Audio Systems
Created by Fractal Audio Systems
Diezel™ VH4®
Marshall® JMP-1 Preamp®
Budda® Twinmaster
Matchless Chieftain®
Matchless Chieftain® + Boost
Cameron CCV100
Cameron CCV100
Ampeg SVT®
Studio Tube Preamp
“The Brown Sound”
FAS Original
Soldano® X99® Preamp (Lead)
FAS Supertweed
Mesa Boogie® Lonestar™
Trainwreck™ Express
Marshall® JVM 410®
Marshall® JVM 410®
PVH 6160
Carvin Legacy I
Mesa Boogie™ MKIV™ (Lead)
Mesa Boogie™ MKIV™ (Lead)
Fender® Princeton®
Blankenship Leeds
A faithful recreation of the legendary “Brown Sound” —The modded “#1” Marshall®.
Based on the dirty channel of the 50W head known for warmth and rich harmonics.
The only solid-state-based model in our collection; a quintessential clean tone.
Very high-gain German model. Lots of bass. Great for aggressive, drop-tuned riff work.
Based on the Clean channel of a coveted but rare amp made famous by Robben Ford.
The same amp. OD channel. Also played by the great Larry Carlton and many others!
Combines the best features of the British and USA crunch models.
Neutral high-gain lead with a tight midrange.
Hot-rodded British lead sound with a tonestack by Custom Audio Electronics.
A high-gain hybrid. Equally well-suited to modern rhythm and lead work.
Based on a high-gain, boutique amp famous for its powerful, heavy, aggressive sound.
Based on a rack-mount preamplifier version of the Brit 900. Crunchy “ZZ” tone.
Based loosely on a late 90s specimen. Relies mostly on power amp distortion.
A medium-gain amp: thick, yet crisp, with a fair amount of power amp breakup.
Based on the same amp but with a boost for more gain and high-frequency emphasis.
An amp its creator Mark Cameron calls “one pissed off amp.”
The higher gain tone of the Cameron.
Based on a head used for decades by famous bassists the world over.
A completely neutral, low-gain tube pre useful for “warming up” various sources.
The original BROWN model from the Axe-Fx Ultra.
Mids without mud. Revive the 80s metal scene. (Spandex not included.)
Based on the lead channel of a Soldano X99 preamp.
A custom creation by Fractal Audio Systems. One heck of a tweed!
This model is based on the lead channel of a Mesa Lonestar.
The original WRECKER 1 model from the Axe-Fx Ultra.
Based on the JVM410, channel OD1, Orange mode.
OD 2 Channel of the same.
A modified version of the PVH 6160 – less fizzy than the original, with a bouncier feel.
A model based on this signature amplifier.
The Lead channel with the MID GAIN switched on
The same, with both the Treble Shift and Mid Gain on.
Based on a single-ended Fender Princeton with a single-ended power section.
Based on a boutique version of an 18W Marshall with a big sound at low power.
New amp types will be added from time to time. Please check our web site for owner’s manual updates.
5.1.1 Basic Amp Parameters
TYPE – Selects the amplifier simulation. The simulations are, for the most part, based on classic and modern
amps, but they also include some hybrids and wholly original types that we created. For a complete list of
current amp types provided, see table above.
DRIVE – Sets the preamp gain for more or less preamp distortion. Used in conjunction with the MASTER (see
below), the DRIVE control and the amp DRIVE determine whether the sound will be clean, slightly broken up,
moderately overdriven, or completely distorted. DRIVE matches actual amp knob positions within about 10%.
The Axe-Fx II faithfully reproduces the sound of the treble peaker circuit on the DRIVE control found on many
amps. This can be heard when the low frequencies are attenuated more than the highs when the DRIVE is
turned down (and vice versa). To make the most of this capability, place a DRIVE block in front of the AMP.
Adjust the DRIVE control of the amp to achieve the desired amount of input treble peaking, and then adjust
the DRIVE and LEVEL of the block out front to achieve the desired effect.
BOOST – Toggles the input boost for an additional 12 dB of input gain. Use this to add more gain to the amp
simulation. To turn the BOOST switch ON or OFF, use the NAV keys to select the TYPE knob while editing an
amp and press ENTER. The letters “BOOST” appear beneath the knob to indicate that the boost is engaged.
The symbol < > appears when this setting is OFF. (See BRIGHT below for an illustrated example).
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BASS, MID, TREBLE – While many amp sims use simple filters to approximate amp tone controls, the AxeFx II exactly replicates the frequency and phase response of a classic passive tonestack. Use your ears to set
each control to the desired position. A different setting on the model may be required to achieve the same
response as the actual amp. In most cases however, knobs will be accurate to within 10% of the actual amp.
Some of the amps simulated on the Axe-Fx II do not have the full complement of tone controls. Some, for
example, have no mid control. To faithfully simulate the configuration of the original, set any superfluous
controls to noon (or “0.00” if you are using the “ACTIVE” tonestack type; see below). Of course, you may still
adjust to achieve tones the original amp does not have.
Extreme tone settings along and high gain can cause pickup squealing or excessive noise. This is especially true
with the TONESTACK TYPE (p. 54) set to “ACTIVE.”
BRIGHT – Many amplifiers contain a “treble peaker” on the volume control. On some amps this switch is
included as a pull switch on the volume control or toggle switch. On others, the circuit is hard-wired.
Every amp TYPE on the Axe-Fx II includes a bright circuit. If the original amp has no bright circuit, the default
state is off but BRIGHT can be turned on to apply circuit values most suited to an amp of that general type. If
the amp has a hard-wired treble peaker, the default BRIGHT state is on. The effect may be subtle or quite
pronounced; depending on the amp selected, and is also affected by the BRIGHT CAP setting (p.54).
To turn the bright switch ON or OFF while editing an amp, use the NAV keys to select the TREBLE knob and
press ENTER. The letters “BRT” appear beneath the knob to indicate that the bright circuit is engaged. The
symbol < > appears when the bright switch is OFF.
BRIGHT switch ON (“TREB BRT”)
BRIGHT switch OFF (“TREB < >”)
FAT – In the same way the TREBLE knob (above) also controls BRIGHT, the MID operates as a “Fat” switch,
emphasizing midrange “body” by shifting the tonestack center frequency down.
PRESENCE/HI-CUT – Boosts (or cuts) the upper frequencies from the power amp simulator by varying the
negative feedback frequency response. Increased presence can help a sound cut through a heavy mix.
Amps with no negative feedback circuits in their design cannot utilize a presence circuit. If DAMPING (which
determines the amount of negative feedback) is set to “0.00,” PRESENCE becomes a simple high-shelf
equalizer at the output of the power amp, and its label changes to “HI-CUT.” This allows you to control the
high-frequency response of the power amp for models that don’t have any negative feedback. When changing
to a model with no negative feedback (i.e. Class-A, Mr.Z, Recto Red), be sure to check your presence settings
as settings higher than zero might darken the sound undesirably.
Note: Unlike previous Axe-Fx models, the virtual presence circuit on the Axe-Fx II now operates from 0-10
instead of +/-5. Set it as you would on a regular amp.
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DEPTH – Boosts low frequencies from the power amp simulation by varying the negative feedback frequency
response. The DEPTH control is set by default to an appropriate value when the amp TYPE is selected, but this
setting may be overridden.
MASTER – The almighty Master Volume is a very important control. It determines the amount of distortion
contributed by the power amp simulator, and its setting is key to an amp’s sound. As the Master is turned up,
the entire character of the amp will change. The tone controls will have less influence on the sound, and the
sound will have more “bloom” and touch sensitivity. To prevent volume jumps when changing models, Virtual
“master” settings don’t necessarily correspond to knob positions on the amp being modeled.
With a little experimentation on your favorite Axe-Fx II amps, you will learn to appreciate the qualities of
different DRIVE and MASTER settings and how to find the great tones offered by different combinations.

If a real amp doesn’t have a Master, begin with the Axe-Fx MASTER at or close to maximum when using
that TYPE. Lower settings can also be used, and can sometimes reduce “harshness.”

For “Cranked Amp” sound, set the MASTER to 3 o’clock and then slowly bring the drive up until the
desired tone is achieved. At high Master settings, less drive is usually required, especially for high-gain
types. If the Master Volume is set high, reducing the drive control is usually required for “best” results.

Amps designed for preamp distortion will typically sound better with the MASTER set low to prevent the
tone becoming muddy or excessively noisy. This includes the USA Lead types, SOLO 100, and others.

Amps with negative feedback (damping greater than zero) tend to have a “crunchier” power amp
distortion, which can get “raspy” if driven too hard. You can experiment with the interactivity of DAMPING
(see Advanced Parameters, below) and MASTER to achieve desired power amp distortion timbres.

Setting SAG (see below) to zero will disable Power Amp simulation, at which point the MASTER becomes a
simple level control with 40 dB of range.
LEVEL – This is a copy of the LEVEL control on the MIX page for easy volume adjustment without pageflipping. It has no effect on the inherent sound of an amp.
POWER AMP VOICING – Voices the amp to a variety of tonal styles, taking the guesswork out of mix
engineering by automatically adjusting the overall tone. Choose “Neutral” for the raw amp sound or choose
one of the other voicings for a quick “mix-ready” tone.
Speaker Page
These parameters shape the virtual speaker impedance curve and the resulting resonances in the virtual power
amp. Amp- Speaker interaction causes an increase in power amplifier response at certain frequencies, affecting the
tone. Note that the power amp frequency response will not equal the speaker impedance if the DAMPING is
greater than 0. This is because negative feedback flattens the response curve.
LF RESONANCE, LF RES FREQ, LF RES Q – Guitar loudspeakers have a low-frequency resonance,
typically about 100 Hz. This shifts up slightly when the speaker is mounted in an enclosure. This resonance
causes an increase in the power amplifier response due to the finite output impedance of the power amp.
MID RESONANCE, MID RES FREQ, MID RES Q – While most speakers don’t have a third resonance,
this parameter allows you to fine-tune the edge-of-breakup profile for “hyper-realistic” tones. For authentic
response, set MID RES flat (0.00).
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HI FREQ, HI RES – A loudspeaker voice-coil presents an inductive load to the power amp at high
frequencies. This inductive load, in conjunction with the output transformer capacitance, creates a highfrequency resonance at the specified frequency.
XFRMR LF, XFRMR HF – These set the output transformer bandwidth.
SPEAKER DRIVE –This parameter simulates distortion caused by pushing a speaker too far. It interacts with
the MASTER, which determines how hard the actual power amp is pushing.
Amp EQ Page
The amplifier includes a built-in, 8-band graphic equalizer, eliminating the need to follow the amp with a separate
EQ block for additional tone-shaping.
5.1.2 Amp Dynamics Parameters
SUPPLY SAG – This controls power amp dynamics. Higher settings simulate higher power supply impedance,
and thus greater tube plate voltage “droop,” for a more compressed feel. This control interacts with the
Master and will have little effect if the power amp is not being pushed. As the power amp is pushed and draws
more virtual current from its virtual power supply, the Sag control will have more effect.
IMPORTANT: Turning this control fully counterclockwise defeats power amp simulation for an individual
AMP block so you can use it as a PREAMP into an external tube power amp without globally disabling power
amp simulation (see section 8.1 on p. 133 or the “FOH + Real Amps” diagram on p. 22.
DYNAMICS – This controls the amount of dynamics processing and models the interaction between the
power amp, power supply and loudspeaker under high power-level conditions.
XFRMR MATCH – Transformer Match is an extremely powerful parameter that sets the relative output
transformer primary impedance to determine how easily the power tubes are driven into clipping. Higher
MASTER Volume settings result in a more pronounced effect. Increasing XFRMR MATCH causes power tubes to
clip sooner. Decreasing XFRMR MATCH causes power tubes to clip later and therefore the phase inverter and
grid clipping becomes more predominant. At higher settings, the resonance settings on the SPEAKER page of
the AMP block will be more pronounced. For optimum results bring up the MASTER until the desired amount
of power amp distortion is achieved, then adjust matching until the character of the distortion is as desired.
The various LF and HF resonance parameters interact strongly with this parameter so be sure to experiment
with those as well when crafting a tone.
XFRMR DRIVE – Simulates core saturation in the output transformer. Higher values simulate more core
saturation and, therefore, more transformer distortion.
5.1.3 Advanced Amp Parameters
INPUT SELECT – The AMP block processes audio in mono. This control determines how incoming stereo
signals will be processed. Options include inputting only LEFT or RIGHT channels or SUM L+R (the default
setting).
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INPUT TRIM – Allows you to adjust the relative gain of the preamp. Increasing the value will cause the amp
to have more gain than designed and vice versa. It is simply a linear gain applied at the input to the block. You
can use it to give a typically clean amp a bit more oomph or decrease the gain of a very high-gain amp. Note
that this is different than the Drive control because the Drive control interacts with the surrounding circuitry
and changes the frequency response as it is varied.
DEFINITION – This simple control shapes the high-end definition of tone as it enters the amp block.
LOW-CUT FREQ – This control allows you to reduce the amount of low-frequency content at the input to
the amp simulator. This parameter defaults to a value for each type but can be overridden if desired.
HIGH-CUT FREQ – This control sets the cutoff frequency of a low-pass filter at the very end of the preamp
simulation. It defaults to a preset value for each amp type but can be overridden if desired. Experiment with
this to fine-tune your tone. For example, some of the higher-gain amp types are characterized by fairly heavy
filtering after the preamp stage. You can increase the high-cut frequency to achieve a brighter tone.
Conversely you can reduce this value to achieve a darker or less brittle tone.
BRIGHT CAP – Sets the value of a virtual capacitor to determine the sonic effect of the BRIGHT switch
(above). Increasing this will make the preamp brighter and vice versa.
TONESTACK TYPE – The BASS, MID and TREBLE controls operate by default as “passive” controls. That is,
they simulate exactly the frequency and phase response of the classic passive tonestacks found in the original
amplifiers our simulations are based on. The TONESTACK TYPE control lets you change this behavior from
PASSIVE to ACTIVE, or to substitute the passive tonestack of another amp type.

Selecting the “ACTIVE” type gives each tone control +/- 12 dB boost/cut operation for up to twice the
range of a typical amplifier. Since the active tone controls are more sensitive, small adjustments have
bigger effects, and less extreme settings still achieve pretty extreme sounds. For example, full PASSIVE
treble for a high-gain British amp would be equivalent to only +5.0 dB ACTIVE, leaving 7 dB of additional
headroom! Active tone controls do not interact like those of a typical amplifier, so when you adjust the
treble, the mid and bass are not affected. This can make dialing in a certain tone easier and quicker than
it might be with a PASSIVE tonestack.

Selecting a SUBSTITUTE tonestack allows you to mix and match amps and tone stacks to create your own
hybrids. This allows you to use, for example, a Plexi-type tonestack on a Blackface amp model, or a
modern German tonestack in a British Preamp.
TONESTACK FREQ – Sets the center frequency of the tone controls to determine their effect on the sound.
This control works whether you are using ACTIVE, PASSIVE, or substitute tone stacks.
This parameter defaults to an appropriate value whenever you change the amp TYPE, but it can then be
changed as desired. However, if you subsequently change the TONESTACK TYPE, the TONESTACK FREQUENCY will
not necessarily be correct anymore.
TONE LOCATION – This control lets you change the location of the tone stack. “PRE” places the tone stack
at the input to the preamp, “POST” places the stack between the preamp and power amp. “MID” places it
between the last two triode stages, and “END” places it after the power amp (which is physically impossible
with a real amplifier). This parameter defaults to an appropriate value whenever you change the amp TYPE,
but it can then be changed as desired.
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PRESENCE FREQ – Alters the center frequency of the amp’s PRESENCE control. This parameter defaults to
an appropriate value whenever you change the amp TYPE, but it can then be changed as desired.
DEPTH FREQ – Alters the center frequency of the amp’s DEPTH control. This parameter defaults to an
appropriate value whenever you change the amp TYPE, but it can then be changed as desired.
GRID MODELLING – Enables or disables grid modeling in the virtual power amp tubes. Turning this to OFF
can reduce subjectively undesirable distortion.
POWER TUBE BIAS – Sets the bias point of the virtual power amp. Lower values approach pure Class-B
operation. Higher values approach pure Class-A operation.
DAMPING – This controls the amount of negative feedback, or damping, in the power amp simulation.
Higher values give a tighter and brighter sound but can sound harsh at very high master volume levels. Lower
values give a loose and gritty sound and feel. Like many other power amp parameters, DAMPING is set to an
appropriate value whenever you change the amp TYPE, but it can then be changed as desired. For example,
you might dial in some negative feedback on a “Top Boost” to give the power amp a more “American” sound
while still retaining the preamp voicing.
MAIND IMP. (SAG) – This is a duplicate of the SUPPLY SAG parameter on the AMP DYNAMICS page.
B+ TIME CONSTANT – Controls the rate of change in the power tube plate supply. Lower values give a
bouncier feel, while higher values give a tighter feel.
TRIODE1 PLATE FREQ, TRIODE2 PLATE FREQ – This parameter sets the cutoff frequency of the plate
impedance for the next-to-last triode in the chain. Many amps have a capacitor across this triode’s plate
resistor. This capacitor is used to smooth the response and reduce noise. You can adjust the amount of
capacitance, and the resulting frequency, using this parameter. The triode 2 plate capacitor is also exposed.
TRANSFORMR LF, TRANSFORMER HF - Duplicates of controls found on the amp’s SPKR page.
TRANSFORMER MATCH – Duplicate of the same parameter on the DYNAMICS page.
TRANSFORMER DRIVE – Controls how hard the virtual output transformer is driven. Higher values
simulate a smaller, more easily saturated transformer.
MV LOCATION – Sets the location of the Master Volume. Most amps have the Master Volume before the
phase inverter (“Pre PI”). On some amps (like the AC types) the Master Volume is after the phase inverter
(“PI”). A third option, “pre-triode,” is the default for amp types based on Hiwatt® models.
SAT SWITCH – The Saturation Switch engages a popular mod between the preamp and the tonestack for
more aggressive distortion character.
PRESENCE/DEPTH TYPE – Selecting “PASSIVE” models the typical passive circuit used in actual tube amps.
“ACTIVE” types use an idealized circuit that may be less authentic but useful in some circumstances.
TRIODE HARDNESS – This parameter controls how sharply the triodes enter saturation and can be used to
simulate softer or harder tubes. The default value is 5.0 and is set to this value whenever the type is changed.
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The effect of this is subtle and most apparent at edge of breakup. Lower values give softer saturation, higher
values give a more aggressive breakup.
POWER AMP LO CUT, POWER AMP HI CUT – These filters are provided for shaping the tonal color of
the virtual power amp. Note that in addition to applying a voicing filter, the POWER AMP VOICING parameter
(Basic Amp Parameters, beginning on p. 41) will also automatically set values for POWER AMP LO and HI CUT.
BIAS EXCURSION – Controls how much the grid voltage droops when the grids conduct.
EXCURSION TIME, RECOVERY TIME – control the time constants associated with bias excursion.
DYNAMICS, DYNAMICS TIME – These control the dynamics processor in the amp block, affecting the
feel of the amp by setting how much and how quickly the level compresses in response to higher input.
AMP Mix Page
The Amplifier block also has a MIX page with LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p. 117 for more information.
AMP block Resolution
Presets which use a single amp block run in high-resolution mode, utilizing an entire processor. This provides
greater fidelity and resistance to aliasing. This mode is automatic and is selected whenever there is only one amp
block in the layout grid. Adding a second amp block will revert both to normal resolution. Note that switching
between presets with differing number of amp blocks may introduce an additional delay as a “soft reset” of the
amp blocks must be done whenever changing the resolution.
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5.2 Cabinet [CAB]
The Speaker Cabinet Simulator (“Cab” for short) recreates the tonal characteristics of a any number of speaker
cabinet configurations. The Axe-Fx II contains 70 built-in “factory” cabinet simulations, plus 50 memory locations
you can use to load custom Impulse Response (“IR”) files. The Cab block also offers the ability to apply room and
microphone simulations, plus tone-shaping of low and high frequencies.
rd
Factory cabs include custom creations by Fractal Audio System, selections from 3 -party libraries by RedWirez and
Ownhammer, and contributions from loudspeaker design engineer Jay Mitchell. Visit http://www.redwirez.com
and http://www.ownhammer.com to purchase additional IRs you can load into your Axe-Fx II.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Cab blocks.
Cab X/Y Channel Switching
Each instance of the Cab block stores two fully independent sets of parameters called X and Y. Selecting between
these allows you to change all block settings—instantly—at the touch of a switch or button (excluding current
Bypass State and any Modifier assignments). See X/Y Switching on p. 36 for more information.
Cab Parameters
MODE – Selects between “MONO HI-RES,” “MONO LO-RES,” and “STEREO” modes. In HI-RES mode,
resolution is at maximum (1 × 2048). In LO-RES mode, resolution is halved (1 × 1024). In STEREO mode, the
processing is stereo, and the resolution is lo-res (2 × 1024).
Figure 5-2 – The Mono Cab Sim
Figure 5-3 – The Stereo Cab Sim
To use a stereo Cab block with two amps, set the balance control for
AMP 1 fully left, the balance control for AMP 2 fully right, and set the
Cab block MODE set to “STEREO.”
Figure 5-4 – Two amps into a CAB block set to STEREO mode
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CAB (TYPE) – Sets the cabinet type by selecting from 70 “FACTORY” and 50 “USER” IRs. Cabinet types are
listed in the table below. Those marked (OH) are exclusive “blends” created from selections in the
Ownhammer collection. Those marked (RW) are exclusive “blends” created from selections in the RedWirez
collection. Those marked (JM) were created by Jay Mitchell. Those not marked are creations of Fractal Audio.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
1×6 Oval
1×8 Tweed
1×10 Gold
1×10 Blue
1×12 Tweed
1×12 Black
1×12 Blue
1×12 EVL (RW)
1×12 Studio
1×12 EMI Open Back (JM)
1×12 Boogafunk Blue (OH)
1×12 Boogafunk E12L (OH)
1×12 Tweed Blue (RW)
1×12 Tweed Deluxe (RW)
1×12 Brit Blue (RW)
1×12 Brit G12H30 (RW)
1×15 Blues
1×15 Thunderbolt
2×12 Black
2×12 Brit
2×12 Doubleverb D120 (RW)
2×12 Doubleverb C12N (RW)
2×12 Blue
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.
40.
41.
42.
43.
44.
45.
46.
2×12 Top Boost Blue (RW)
2×12 Top Boost Silver (RW)
2×12 Boutique (RW)
2×12 Jazz (RW)
2×12 Gold 30 Far-Field (JM)
2×12 G12-65 Far-Field (JM)
2×12 Boutique
2×12 Doubleshow (JM)
4×10 Tweed Bass
4×10 Bassguy P10 (RW)
4×12 Basketweave G12H30 (RW)
4×12 Basketweave G12L (RW)
4×12 Basketweave G12M20 (RW)
4×12 Basketweave G12M25 (RW)
4×12 1960A G12M (RW)
4×12 1960B T75 (RW)
4×12 1960B K120 (RW)
4×12 1960B V30 (RW)
4×12 Hi-Power (RW)
4×12 Recto V30 (RW)
4×12 Recto V30 (OH)
4×12 Solo V12 (RW)
4×12 Solo S12X (RW)
47.
48.
49.
50.
51.
52.
53.
54.
55.
56.
57.
58.
59.
60.
61.
62.
63.
64.
65.
66.
67.
68.
4×12 German V30 (RW)
4×12 German Boutique (RW)
4×12 PVH 6160 (RW)
4×12 Uber T75 (RW)
4×12 Uber V30 (RW)
4×12 Uber T75+V30 (RW)
4×12 Citrus V30 (RW)
4×12 Mill 12K (OH)
4×12 SLM Blue (OH)
4×12 SLM H65 (OH)
4×12 SLM H75 (OH)
4×12 SLM M75 (OH)
4×12 SLM V30 (OH)
4×12 20W
4×12 25W
4×12 V30
4×12 German
4×12 30W (Ultra)
4×12 Cali
1×15 L.A. Bass
4×10 Aluminum Bass
8×10 SV Bass (RW)
When the MODE of the CAB block is set to “STEREO”, independent CAB L and CAB R type parameters appear.
User Cabs
rd
The Axe-Fx II allows you to load up to 50 cabinet IR files of your own choosing. A variety of 3 -party libraries exist,
and it is possible (though not a trivial endeavor) to create your own. For step-by-step instructions on loading User
Cab IRs, see section 16.13 of the Appendix on p. 166. You can also create your own User Cab IRs, using a built in
utility. See IR Capture on p. 143 for details.
As you scroll through user cabs by their numbers in the Cab TYPE parameter, NAMES will appear in the bottom of
the display. These names come from within the data of the user cab SysEx file. Names can be changed before the
file is loaded into the Axe-Fx II (using Axe-Edit or a 3rd-party SysEx utility), but not after.
SPKR SIZE – This control “scales” the IR to simulate shrinking or enlarging the virtual speaker. This effect can
be used to shift where the tone “sits” in a mix, or to create dramatic effects. Subtle settings (0.9-1.1) will
sound most natural. When the MODE of the CAB block is set to STEREO, SPKR SIZE is not offered.
MIC (TYPE) – Selects the microphone simulation type used. There are eight different types based on classic
guitar cabinet microphones. When the MODE of the CAB block is set to STEREO, independent MIC L and MIC R
parameters appear.
Manufacturer and product names mentioned below are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners,
which are in no way associated or affiliated with Fractal Audio Systems. The names are used only to illustrate sonic and
performance characteristics of the Axe-Fx II MIC TYPES.
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57 DYN (based on the Shure® SM57®)
58 DYN (based on the Shure® SM58®)
421 DYN (based on the Sennheiser MD 421 II®)
87A COND (based on the Shure® Beta 87A®)
U87 COND (based on the Neumann® U87®)
E609 DYN (based on the Sennheiser® e609® Silver)
RE16 DYN (based on the Electro-Voice® RE16®)
R121 COND (based on the Royer Labs® R-121®)
D112 DYN (based on the AKG® D112®)
67 COND (based on the Neumann® U67®)
It is also possible to set the MIC TYPE to “NONE.” When the MODE of the CAB block is set to “STEREO”,
independent MIC L and MIC R type parameters appear.
PROXIMITY – Available only when the Cab MODE is set to “STEREO”, simulates the classic proximity effect,
causing an increase in bass or low frequency response as proximity is increased.
LEVEL L, LEVEL R – Allows independent control over left and right output channels. These parameters
appear only when the Cab MODE is set to “STEREO”.
PAN L, PAN R – Allows independent control over left and right output pan. Adjust this control to obtain the
desired amount of stereo separation. These parameters appear only when the Cab MODE is set to STEREO.
LINK – Available only when the Cab MODE is set to “STEREO”, LINK turns the LEFT channel parameters into
master controls, which set identical values for LEFT and RIGHT parameters. You can still override the right
channel parameters values if desired.
ROOM LEVEL, ROOM SIZE – These controls determine the level and virtual size of a room reverb
simulation that is built into the cab simulator block. Increase to add room ambience to the sound.
MIC SPACING – Increases delay times inside the room reverb simulation by simulating the distance of the
room microphone from the sound source.
LOW-CUT/HI-CUT – Adjusts the cutoff points of first order high-pass and low-pass filters. Increase the lowcut if the sound is too “bassy” or “boomy.” Decrease the high-cut frequency for a darker cab tone.
MOTOR DRIVE – This models the effect of high power levels on the tone of the speaker. The Motor Drive
parameter controls the relative drive level and, therefore, the intensity of the effect.
AIR, AIR FREQ – Adds “air” and sets the cutoff frequency to determine if it is dark or bright sounding.
Cab Mix Parameters
The Cab block MIX page also has LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p.117 for more information.
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5.3 Chorus [CHO]
A chorus unit creates one or more delayed copies of the input signal and modulates each of these to create the
layered effect of different voices. Used subtly, the effect can be ambient and liquid, while more extreme settings
can produce a vibrato or “Leslie” effect. The Axe-Fx II offers a high-quality, multi-voice stereo chorus capable of
producing anything from exceptionally smooth ensemble effects to a wildly detuned warble.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Chorus blocks.
Figure 5-5 – The Chorus Block
Chorus X/Y Channel Switching
Each instance of the Chorus block stores two fully independent sets of parameters called X and Y. Selecting
between these allows you to change all block settings—instantly—at the touch of a switch or button (excluding
current Bypass State and any Modifier assignments). See X/Y Switching on p. 36 for more information.
Basic Chorus Parameters
TYPE – This control instantly sets other Chorus parameters for different useful sound settings. Types include:
DIGITAL MONO, DIGITAL STEREO, ANALOG MONO, ANALOG STEREO, JAPAN CE-2, WARM STEREO, 80’S STYLE,
TRIANGLE CHORUS, and 8-VOICE STEREO. Rate, Depth, Level, Balance, Bypass Mode, and Global Mix are not
affected.
NUMBER OF VOICES – Each stereo channel in the chorus can have from one to four voices. Increasing the
number of voices increases the fullness of the effect. Use two voices for a vintage chorus effect, or use up to
eight for a lush, multi-layered ensemble.
RATE – This controls the speed at which the chorus oscillates. Use low settings with higher depths for slowmoving sounds. Increase the rate and depth for vibrato effects. Set fully counterclockwise to sync the chorus
LFO to global LFO1. When RATE is shown in parenthesis, it is being set automatically by the TEMPO parameter
(see below). Set the TEMPO to “NONE” for manual control.
DEPTH – Sets the delay modulation, which determines the amount of detune heard from each voice.
Tip: Rate and depth are usually used inversely (high rate/low depth or low rate/high depth), but other settings can also
produce “interesting” effects. For precise control of depth, turn the AUTO DEPTH parameter on the ADVANCED page to OFF.
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MIX – Sets the ratio of wet and dry (duplicated from the MIX page). A setting of 50% produces the most
prominent effect. Try setting the mix to 100% for vibrato effects.
TEMPO – Sets the chorus rate in rhythmic relation to the global tempo. For example, if the tempo is set to
“1/4” and the global tempo is 120 BPM, the chorus modulation rate will automatically be set to 2 Hz (BPM/60
= Hz). To ignore the global tempo, set the tempo control to NONE.
Advanced Chorus Parameters
DELAY TIME – Adjusts the minimum delay time from 1.0–20.0 ms. Lower values create a more unified
sound while higher values approach the feel of double tracking.
LOW CUT – Adjusts the cutoff frequency of a high-pass filter at the output of the processed signal. This
control removes bass frequencies and can be useful to create chorus effects designed for bass guitar.
HIGH CUT – Adjusts the cutoff frequency of a low-pass filter at the output of the processed signal.
Decreasing this value creates a darker chorus effect reminiscent of an age when typical effects were unable to
reproduce the full frequency spectrum. Some might say “warm.”
LFO PHASE – Adjusts the phase differential between left and right LFO waveforms, which creates a
noticeable effect on the stereo width of the chorus.
LFO TYPE – Sets the “shape” of the modulation. Sine is the most commonly used waveform, but the
trapezoid waveform is also of interest as it was used in a classic “dimension” chorus processor. Set the LFO
phase to 90 degrees to duplicate the sound of this particular unit.
Note: Whenever the number of voices is set to more than two, the LFO type will be changed automatically to
“SINE.” If the number of voices is greater than two and the LFO type is changed to something other than
“SINE,” the number of voices will be reset to two.
See section 16.5 on p.157 for more information on LFO waveform shapes and phase.
AUTO DEPTH – Scales DEPTH to create a consistent sound at any RATE. This control simplifies dialing in
“musical” results. For precise control or wild sounds, you may wish to turn it OFF.
PHASE REVERSE – Allows Left, Right or both channels of the effect to be phase inverted.
DRIVE – This control allows you to simulate the gentle distortion produced by overdriving an “analog bucket
brigade” delay chip of the type used in many vintage chorus effects. Set to zero for “pristine clean.”
WIDTH – Widens the sound, creating a difference between left and right delay times by scaling the right
downwards from the value set (see DELAY TIME, above) toward 1 ms as width goes from 0–100%.
LFO2 RATE – Adjusts the rate of the secondary LFO. This LFO modulates the primary LFO and can be used to
create more interesting effects.
LFO2 DEPTH –Adjusts the depth of the secondary LFO.
STEREO SPREAD – Controls stereo width by setting the pan position of the two delays from hard-panned
(100%) to dead center (0%).
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The Chorus block also has a MIX page with LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p.117 for more information.
5.4 Compressor [CMP]
A compressor reduces the difference between loud and soft sounds by reducing the level of—or compressing—
loud signals. The reduction is triggered when the input signal exceeds a set threshold. While a compressor reduces
the volume of loud sections, it can simultaneously boost overall level for greater perceived sustain.
In guitar pedalboards, a compressor is often placed at the start of an effects chain (though using the effect in front
of high-gain distortion can increase noise or squealing). In the recording studio, a Compressor is typically placed
towards the end of a signal chain to smooth irregular levels. The Axe-Fx II provides both pedal and studio-type
compressors (detailed below).
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Compressor blocks.
Pedal-Type and Common Compressor Parameters
TYPE – The Axe-Fx II contains two different compressor types: STUDIO and PEDAL. The STUDIO type simulates
the behavior of popular high-end “Feed Forward” stereo studio compressors. The PEDAL type simulates classic
stompbox “Feedback” compressors.
Figure 5-6 – The Compressor Block's "Pedal" Type
Figure 5-7 – The Compressor Block's "Studio" Type
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AUTO – Turns the Dynamic Attack filter on or off. Turning this switch ON automatically varies the ATTACK
rate according to the program material; the compressor will respond to faster transients with a faster attack.
LOOK AHEAD – Despite fast attack times, a compressor can fail to “catch” very fast transients. Look Ahead
introduces a short audio delay so the compressor’s gain control stage has sufficient time to respond to the
detector, which is side-chained with no delay. Look ahead can reduce “popping,” especially when heavy
compression is used on very percussive sources.
MIX – Sets the ratio of wet (compressed) and dry sounds. This should normally be set to “100%.”
THRSH – (Threshold) Sets the level at which automatic volume reduction will occur. When input power
exceeds the threshold, the compressor reduces output volume as set by the RATIO. (When the TYPE is set to
“PEDAL”, the THRESHOLD is hidden and automatically set to “minus infinity”).
SUSTAIN/RATIO – In “PEDAL” type compression, SUSTAIN increases compression amount as the knob is
turned clockwise. In “STUDIO” type compression, SUSTAIN is replaced by RATIO, which sets the input-to-output
ratio for signals above the THRESHOLD. A ratio of 2.00 (2:1) means that an input that is 10 dB over the
threshold will increase the output by only 5 dB. A ratio of 10.00 (10:1) means that an input that is 10 dB over
the threshold is reduced to a mere 1 dB above. Setting the RATIO to “INFINITY” turns the compressor into a
“limiter,” reducing any level above the threshold to the threshold, applying a sort of “ceiling” or “brick-wall
limiting” above which nothing can rise.
ATT – Attack rate sets how fast the Compressor reduces the volume once the threshold is exceeded. For
guitar, a fast attack rate often works best.
REL – Release rate determines how quickly the output volume returns to normal once the input level falls
below the compressor’s threshold. Fast release rates can produce a snappy attack, but a setting that is too fast
can cause distortion if used in conjunction with fast attack times and high compression ratios. Slow release
times can keep the entire signal quiet, reducing the gain of passages even though they are below the set
threshold.
In general the release rate should be set slightly faster than the natural release rate of the program material.
An easy way to set the release rate is to strum a chord, watch the gain reduction meter (on PG2 of the EDIT
menu) and set RELEASE rate so the decay observed is slightly faster than the natural decay of the instrument.
LEVEL – Sets the output level of the compressor.
Studio Compressor Parameters
When TYPE is set to “STUDIO”, the following additional parameters appear:
KNEE – The knee control “softens” the operation of the threshold and the ratio, introducing gain reduction
gradually as signals approach the threshold. With high compression ratios, a hard knee may produce abrupt
gain changes. A soft knee produces a more “transparent” effect since it causes the compressor to engage
gradually.
MAKEUP – Automatic Makeup gain, when turned ON, compensates the output level to maintain perceived
loudness at the current threshold and ratio. The LEVEL control can then be used for fine control.
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DETECT – Selects whether the compressor will use RMS (“Root Mean Square”), PEAK, or RMS + PEAK
detection. RMS detection is smoother and generally used to even out the level of the program material over a
long period of time. Peak detection, commonly used with guitar, is useful for fast limiting. RMS + Peak
combines the best attributes of both: the speed of a peak detector and the smoothness of an RMS detector.
FILTER – Sets the frequency of a high-pass filter on the input of the compressor’s detector stage. Raising the
filter frequency can help prevent low frequencies from “pumping” the entire mix. Does NOT filter the output.
SCSEL – Determines which signal is used to feed the compressor’s detector. “NONE” is the normal setting and
selects the compressor’s input (sum of the rows feeding the block). You can also use the input from a
designated row, the main inputs, or the isolated left or right channel of the compressor’s input signal.
5.5 Crossover [XVR]
This two-way stereo crossover contains 4th-order Linkwitz-Reilly filters.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two crossover blocks. You can create a threeway crossover by feeding one output of the first to the input of the second.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Crossover blocks.
XOVER FREQ – Sets the crossover frequency of the filters.
FREQ MULTIPLIER – When set to “×10,” the crossover frequency is
multiplied by ten.
LEFT LOW LEVEL – Sets the level of the left input low-pass filter.
LEFT HI LEVEL – Sets the output level of the left input high-pass filter.
RIGHT LOW LEVEL – Sets the output level of the right input low-pass filter.
RIGHT HI LEVEL – Sets the output level of the right input high-pass filter.
LEFT LOW PAN – Sets the panning of the left input low-pass filter.
LEFT HI PAN – Sets the panning of the left input high-pass filter.
RIGHT LOW PAN – Sets the panning of the right input low-pass filter.
RIGHT HI PAN – Sets the panning of the right input high-pass filter.
Crossover Mix Parameters
The Crossover block also has a MIX page with LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p.117 for more information.
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5.6 Delay [DLY]
The Axe-Fx II Delay block lets you create classic, modern, and innovative echo effects. A “delay” records an input
and then plays it back later in time, creating the effect of an echo...echo…echo. Modified tape recorders were once
used for this purpose, but these had sound quality, noise, and reliability concerns. Solid-state (“analog”) delays
provided an alternative to tape but had shortcomings of their own. The advent of digital technology paved the way
for delays with pristine sound, longer times, and superior flexibility, plus the ability to use additional processing to
simulate the favorable “nostalgic” qualities of tape, analog, and even lo-fi digital predecessors.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Delay blocks. Don’t forget the additional two Multi Delay
blocks (p. 79), the one Megatap Delay block (p. 76), and the new Looper block (p. 74).
Delay X/Y Channel Switching
Each instance of the Delay block stores two fully independent sets of parameters called X and Y. Selecting between
these allows you to change all block settings—instantly—at the touch of a switch or button (excluding current
Bypass State and any Modifier assignments). See X/Y Switching on p. 36 for more information.
Delay Common Parameters
TYPE – The Delay TYPE control sets various parameters of the delay block to achieve popular delay effects
instantly. See the table below for a listing of DELAY block types.
CONFIG – The delay configuration determines which one of several base delay algorithms is used. Depending
on the configuration you select on PG1 of the delay block, PG2 is configured with different parameters. The
purpose and parameters of each configuration are listed below.
Table 1: Delay Block Types and Configurations
TYPE
Configuration
Digital Mono
Analog Mono
Mono Tape
Vintage Digital
2290 w/ Mod
Full-range, a pristine modern delay (Default Mono).
Frequency response and character of an analog delay.
Frequency response and character of a tape delay.
Uses bit-depth reduction for a lo-fi vibe.
Based on a former industry-standard unit.
MONO DELAY
Digital Stereo
Analog Stereo
Stereo Tape
Ambient Stereo
Ducking Delay
Full-range, a pristine modern delay (Default Stereo).
Frequency response and character of an analog delay.
Frequency response and character of a tape delay.
Ultra-wide echoes.
“Ducking” automatically lowers delay volume when you
play harder, resulting in a less “cluttered” mix.
STEREO DELAY
Dual Delay
A default setting for the dual delay.
DUAL DELAY
Ping-Pong Delay
A default setting for the ping-pong delay.
PING PONG
Sweep Delay
A default setting for the sweep delay.
SWEEP
Reverse Delay
A default setting for the Reverse delay.
REVERSE
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INPUT GAIN – Sets the input level into the delay lines. This lets you to attach a controller (e.g. pedal) to the
delay level input level for operation similar to that of an “Aux Send.” In other situations this control should be
set at 100%.
MSTR FDBK – Master Feedback scales any and all feedback parameters on PG2 of the Delay. Note that the
range of this control is 0–200%, making it possible (easy, in fact) to “overload” the feedback loop.
MIX – This is a copy of the LEVEL control on the MIX page, placed here for easy adjustment of the wet/dry
balance without page-flipping.
LEVEL – This is a copy of the LEVEL control on the MIX page, placed here for easy adjustment of the overall
volume without page-flipping.
5.6.1 Mono Delay
The Mono Delay can be used for a variety of great sounding standard and exotic delays. This configuration sums
the inputs into a single delay line.
Figure 5-8 – The Mono Delay Block
TIME – Sets the time of the delay line (time between repeats). When TIME is shown in parenthesis, it is being
set automatically by the TEMPO parameter (see below). Set TEMPO to “NONE” to regain manual control.
FEEDBK – Sets the amount of delay feedback (a.k.a. regeneration) to determine the number of repeats.
ECHO PAN – Controls the placement of the “wet” signal (the echoes) in the stereo image. Note that this is
different than the MIX page BALANCE control, which acts on the mix of both wet and dry.
REPEAT HOLD – This switch defeats the inputs of the delay and “captures” the current feedback loop,
which plays infinitely, as long as the REPEAT HOLD switch remains ON.
TEMPO – Sets the TIME parameter in rhythmic relation to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo
is 120 BPM, and TEMPO is set to “1/4” (one echo per beat), time will be 500 ms. To ignore the global tempo,
set to “NONE.”
DRIVE – Determines the amount of distortion created by a drive model in the delay path. Use this to simulate
the way cascading feedback overloads a tape or analog delay.
BIT REDUCTION – This control makes it possible to create the lo-fi sounds of vintage digital delays. The
number shown is the number of bits to be subtracted from 24-bit full scale. To create a 16-bit delay, for
example, set BIT REDUCTION to “8” (24 – 8 = 16). Bit Reduction is often used with high-frequency rolloff.
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Please be aware that because the MONO delay contains only one delay line, the two LFO PHASE parameters on its
MOD page have no effect. Similarly, the LFO TARGET parameters must be set to “LEFT” or “BOTH” for modulation to
occur.
5.6.2 Stereo Delay
This stereo-in/stereo-out delay has the convenience of common controls for most L-R parameters.
Figure 5-9 – The Stereo Delay Block
TIME – Sets the left delay time in milliseconds (time between repeats). When TIME is shown in parenthesis, it
is being set automatically by the TEMPO parameter (see below). Set TEMPO to “NONE” for manual control.
RATIO – Sets the right channel time as a percentage of the left. 100% results in both channels having equal
delay time. Settings close to 100% (e.g. 99.6%) will subtly widen the echo sound, while ratios corresponding to
whole number relationships like 7:8 (87.5%), 3:4 (75%) or 1:2 (50%) will create interesting “grooves.”
SPREAD – Controls stereo width by setting the pan position of the two delays from hard panned (100%) to
dead center (0%) to swapped hard pan (-100%).
REPEAT HOLD – Defeats the inputs of the delay and “captures” the current feedback loop.
FEEDBACK L – Sets the amount of feedback for the left channel to determine the number of repeats.
FEEDBACK R – Sets the amount of delay feedback for the right channel. To preserve “tail” balance, this
control will be adjusted automatically when RATIO is changed. You may override automatic settings by setting
a new value here manually.
TEMPO – Locks the TIME parameter in rhythmic relation to the global tempo.
DRIVE – Sets the amount of distortion in the delay path.
BIT REDUCTION – Sets the number of bits to be subtracted (from 24 bits), enabling lo-fi effects.
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5.6.3 Dual Delay
This is a stereo-in/stereo-out delay with fully independent controls for most L-R parameters.
Figure 5-10 – The Dual Delay Block
TIME L, TIME R – Dual parameters to set the time of the left and right delay lines. When TIME is shown in
parenthesis, it is being set automatically by the TEMPO parameters (see below). Set TEMPO to “NONE” to
regain manual control.
LEVEL L, LEVEL R – Dual parameters to independently set the volume levels of the dual delay lines.
MASTER PAN – The panning of each voice is multiplied by this value. A value of 100% will result in each
voice being panned as set in the individual pan controls. A value of 0% will result in both voices being panned
to center. A value of -100% will reverse the position of the voices. You can use a modifier on this parameter to
move the voices around the stereo field in real time.
TEMPO L, TEMPO R – Dual parameters to lock the independent TIME L and/or TIME R parameters in
rhythmic relation to the global tempo. See the TEMPO section under the MONO DELAY config (p.57) for more
about the relationship between BPM and delay time in milliseconds.
FEEDBK L->L, FEEDBK R->R – Dual parameters to independently set the amount of feedback for the left
and right channels, determining the number of repeats heard.
FEEDBK L->R, FEEDBK R->L – Dual parameters to independently set the amounts of cross feedback for
the delay lines. This controls how much of the left delay line is fed back into the right and vice versa.
PAN L, PAN R – Dual parameters to independently set the pan positions of the dual delay lines.
DRIVE – Sets the amount of distortion in the delay path.
BIT REDUCTION – Sets the number of bits to be subtracted (from 24 bits), enabling lo-fi effects.
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5.6.4 Ping-Pong Delay
The echoes of this easy-to-use Ping-Pong Delay alternate between left and right channels in stereo. The Ping-Pong
Delay uses the same algorithm as the Mono Delay (p. 66), except the ECHO PAN parameter is replaced by SPREAD.
SPREAD – Controls stereo width by setting the pan position of the delay outputs from hard pan (100%) to
mono (0%) to swapped hard pan (-100%).
5.6.5 Sweep Delay
The Sweep Delay uses the same algorithm as the Stereo Delay (above, p. 67), but adds an LFO-driven stereo
bandpass filter after the outputs of the delay.
START FREQ, STOP FREQ – These controls set the range of the filter sweeps.
RESONANCE – Sets the resonance of the filter. Some might describe this as an “intensity” control.
SWEEP TYPE – Sets the waveform of the LFO that controls the sweeps. See section 16.5 on p. 157 for more
information on LFO waveform shapes and phase.
SWEEP RATE – Sets the speed of the sweeps.
SWEEP TEMPO – Locks the SWEEP RATE parameter in rhythmic relation to the global tempo.
SWEEP PHASE – Adjusts the phase differential between left and right sweep LFO waveforms.
5.6.6 Reverse Delay
The Reverse Delay simulates the impossibility of a performance from the future being heard backwards in the
present. It does so by using a delay line to first record for a set time period and then to play that recording
backwards. While the first recording plays, the next snippet is being recorded so that reverse playback appears to
continue seamlessly. If you can think of your performance as a train, this is like individually reversing each car in
place instead of flipping the whole thing from front-to-back.
To hear only the backwards sound, make sure MIX is set to “100%.”
The Reverse Delay uses the same layout as the Mono Delay (5.6.1, above) except as noted below:
TIME – Sets the length of time that the delay line will “record” before reverse playback begins. When TIME is
shown in parenthesis, it is being set automatically by the TEMPO parameter (see below). Set TEMPO to “NONE”
for manual control.
FEEDBK – Sets the amount of feedback to add additional repeats to the reversed snippets.
ECHO PAN – Controls the placement of the wet (reverse playback) signal in the stereo field. Note that this is
different than the MIX page BALANCE control, which affects both wet and dry.
RUN – When this is turned ON, the reverse playback process is active and can be heard. Turning RUN to OFF
will mute playback (though any samples in the buffer will still silently run out). This switch can be remotely
operated with a modifier (attached, for example, to a footswitch) to stop and start playback.
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TRIG RESTART – When this is set to “ON” the reverse playback restarts when triggered via the RUN control.
If set to “OFF,” playback continues from the current position. The combination of RUN+TRIG RESTART can be
used to precisely align reversed passages to certain moments in a performance or to re-align tempo-based
reversing to the groove.
Tip: If you’re working with a sequencer, assign an EXTERNAL controller and re-trigger this every few bars to keep sync.
TEMPO – Locks the TIME parameter in rhythmic relation to the global tempo. See the TEMPO section under
the MONO DELAY type (above) for more about the relationship between BPM and delay time in milliseconds.
XFADE TIME – Sets the crossfade time between reverse audio snippets. When the playback position
approaches the delay time, a new snippet begins playback at time zero. The crossfade time controls how long
it takes for the old snippet to fade out and the new one to fade in. You can achieve interesting and rhythmic
variations by setting long crossfade times. For classic reverse delay sounds, set this at or near minimum value.
5.6.7 Tape Delay
The Tape Delay simulates a tape echo with two heads and motor speed control. It is ideal for vintage tape echoes,
but can also create vintage digital or analog delay effects. Built in EQ and modulation make it warm and warbly.
Figure 5-11 – The Tape Delay Block
MOTOR SPEED – Sets the relative speed of the tape motor from 50% to 200%. This parameter can be
modified in real time, making it possible to “warp” delayed material.
NOTE: The effect of MOTOR SPEED is cumulative with that of the onboard LFOs (see Delay Common Parameters on p. 61). To
accommodate maximum flexibility for these individual controls, it is possible that extreme settings may “clip” modulation by
pushing time excursion beyond the “legal limit.”
HEAD 1 TIME – Sets the length of the virtual tape loop in milliseconds. Note that time heard will be shorter
if MOTOR SPEED is increased above 1.0, or longer if below 1.0.
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HEAD 1 TEMPO – Locks the HEAD 1 TIME parameter in rhythmic relation to the global tempo. See the
TEMPO section under the MONO DELAY config (p. 66) for more information on tempo and time.
HEAD 2 RATIO – The Axe-Fx II tape delay has two heads, or “taps” on the loop. This control sets the relative
position of the second playback head from zero to a maximum of 100%—the HEAD 1 TIME value. Settings
close to 100% (e.g. 95%) can widen the echo sound, while values expressing whole number relationships like
2:8 (87.5%), 3:4 (75%), 2:3 (66%) or 1:2 (50%) create rhythmic grooves.
LEVEL 1, LEVEL 2 – These set the output level of each of the playback heads.
FEEDBACK 1, FEEDBACK 2 – These set the amount from each playback head to be routed back to the
recording head to create feedback or “regeneration”. Higher values will create a greater number of echoes
over time. Because each head replays its own feedback signals plus those of the other head, the sound can
very quickly become dense or even out of control—and dangerously loud. Increase feedback settings slowly,
and watch the front panel clip LED as a warning indicator. Lowering MASTER FEEDBACK first can also help.
PAN 1, PAN 2 – These place the outputs from each head within the stereo listening field.
5.6.8 Delay Common Parameters
Delay Modulation Parameters
Modulation systematically changes delay time, resulting in Doppler-like changes to the speed and pitch of the
echoes. This can create chorus effects, the “wow and flutter” of a worn tape delay, or extreme “Ray Gun” sounds.
LFO1 TYPE, LFO2 TYPE – Sets the “shape” of the modulation. See section 16.5 on p. 157 for more
information on LFO waveform shapes. Remember that the shift in pitch is determined by the slope of the LFO,
so a TRIANGLE waveform actually creates a sound that you might expect from a SQUARE waveform.
LFO1 TARGET, LFO2 TARGET – Sets whether the LEFT, RIGHT, or BOTH delay line(s) will be modulated.
(MONO, PINGPONG, and REVERSE configurations use only the LEFT delay line).
LFO1 RATE, LFO2 RATE – Sets the delay time modulation speed. When any RATE is shown in parenthesis, it
is being set automatically by a TEMPO parameter (see below). Set the TEMPO to “NONE” for manual control.
LFO1 TEMPO, LFO2 TEMPO – Sets the LFO rate in rhythmic relation to the global tempo. For example, if
the tempo is set to “1/4” and the global tempo is 120 BPM, the LFO rate will automatically be set to 2 Hz
(BPM/60 = Hz). To ignore the global tempo, set these controls to NONE.
LFO1 DEPTH, LFO2 DEPTH – Sets the depth of delay time modulation.
LFO1 DEPTH RANGE, LFO2 DEPTH RANGE – Sets the range of delay time modulation to LOW or HIGH.
LFO1 PHASE, LFO2 PHASE – Sets the LFO phase offset for the right delay line. See section 16.5 on p. 157
for more information on LFO phase. Has no effect on MONO, REVERSE, and TAPE configs.
The MOD page also contains the ducking controls. Ducking causes the “wet” level to be lowered automatically
when the level of your playing goes above a set threshold. Then, when you play more quietly or pause, the effect
volume increases so that the echoes fill the spaces.
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DUCKER ATTEN – Attenuation sets the amount by which the effect volume will duck (decrease). A setting
of 20 dB, for example, will decrease the echoes by 20 dB when the input level is above the threshold. Set to
0.0 to defeat the ducker.
DUCKER THRSHLD – Sets the trigger level of the ducker. If the input signal exceeds this value, the delayed
signal will be reduced by the amount set with the ATTENUATION control.
DUCKER REL TIME – Sets how long it takes for the delay signal to return to normal when the input goes
below the threshold. A short value here causes the ducked echoes to return to full volume the moment you
stop playing. Longer times cause the levels to swell back more gradually.
Finally, the MOD contains some cool parameters that didn’t fit anywhere else.
DIFFUSION – Sets the amount of echo diffusion. This causes the echoes to get “blurry” and can be used to
smooth the sound.
DIFF TIME – Sets the delay time for the diffuser.
PHASE REV – Allows the Left, Right, or Both delay line outputs to be phase inverted.
Delay EQ Parameters
The delay features a powerful equalizer inside the feedback loop.
LOW CUT – Sets the frequency of the low-cut filter. Increase for thinner sounds.
HIGH CUT – Sets the frequency of the high-cut filter. Decrease for darker sounds.
SLOPE – Sets the filter slopes, in dB per octave, of the high and low-cut filters.
Q – Sets the resonance of the high and low-cut filters. High values create boosted peaks at the cutoff points.
FREQ 1, GAIN 1, Q 1 – Controls for one of two peaking filters. Select the frequency to boost or cut, and set
Q to determine the width of the effect.
FREQ 2, GAIN 2, Q 2 – Controls for the second peaking filter.
Delay Mix Parameters
The Delay block has a MIX page with LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p.117 for more information.
A Word on “Spillover”
The Axe-Fx II Delay is capable of “spillover,” which means that effect tails ring out when the effect is bypassed or
when you change presets. For more on this subject, please see Setting Up Spillover on p. 164.
5.7 Drive [DRV]
The Drive block replicates 22 different, classic stompbox effects, ranging from sublime to intense. The overdrive
(“OD” or “DRIVE”) types are based on a cold-cathode tube model and give a warm, mellow overdrive tone. The
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BOOST types don’t distort much unless the drive is set quite high. BOOST types are primarily tone-shaping devices
useful for “pushing” an amp. Distortion types (“DIST”) are based on a variety of tube and solid-state models and
give classic distortion tones. The fuzz (“FUZZ”) types are based on a hard-clipping distortion and give a raspy sound.
Drive effects include the basic controls you will find on their real world equivalents: tone, drive amount, and level,
plus advanced controls like SLEW, BIAS, CLIP TYPE, and more, enabling you to create drives with custom gain and
tone-shaping. Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Drive blocks.
Figure 5-12 – A stylized block diagram of the DRIVE block
Drive X/Y Channel Switching
Each instance of the Drive block stores two fully independent sets of parameters called X and Y. Selecting between
these allows you to change all block settings—instantly—at the touch of a switch or button (excluding current
Bypass State and any Modifier assignments). See section 4.4 on p. 36 for more about X/Y switching.
Drive Parameters
TYPE – Selects the type of drive pedal or effect. A complete list follows.
Manufacturer names and product names mentioned below are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners, which are in
no way associated with or affiliated with Fractal Audio Systems. The names are used only to illustrate sonic and performance characteristics
of the Fractal Drive TYPES, which have been created by incredibly detailed analysis of the actual amps that inspired them.
TYPE
NOTES
Rat Dist
PI Fuzz
Tube OD
Super OD
Treb Boost
Mid Boost
T808 OD
Fat Rat
T808 MOD
Octave Dist
Plus Dist
Hard Fuzz
FET Boost
Tape Dist
Full OD
Blues OD
Shred Dist
M-Zone Dist
Based on the ProCo™ Rat Distortion.
Based on the Big Muff® Pi Fuzz.
Based on the Chandler™ Tube Driver that actually contained a 12AX7.
Based on the Boss™ Super Overdrive.
Based on a classic Treble Booster.
A custom mid-boost overdrive.
Based on the Ibanez™ TS-808® Tube Screamer.
A modified version of the Rat Dist. A bit fuller and smoother.
Captures the most popular 808 mods.
An octave distortion based on the Tycobrahe® Octavia®.
Based on the MXR™ Distortion Plus.
A hard-clipping, 60s-style fuzz.
A gentle, smooth clipping booster with tone controls.
Simulates the clipping of an overdriven reel-to-reel tape deck.
Based on the Fulltone™ Fulldrive OD Pedal.
Based on the Marshall™ Bluesbreaker®.
Based on the Marshall™ Shredmaster®.
Simulates the Boss™ Metalzone™, popular for extreme gain settings.
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Bender Fuzz
BB Pre
Face Fuzz
Master Fuzz
Bit Crusher
Based on the classic Tonebender circuit.
Based on the Xotic® Pedals BB Preamp®.
Based on Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face®.
Based on the Maestro Fuzztone, aka Satisfaction fuzz.
Based on a black box we found lying in the trash outside Studio Harshclip.
DRIVE – Sets the amount of gain/overdrive/distortion/fuzz/boost.
Note: A high-gain drive before a high-gain amp can cause noise and squealing to occur.
TONE – Determines the high/low character of the drive simulation, just as the tone knob on a pedal would.
LEVEL – Sets the output level. Even a clean-sounding drive can be used to “push” an amp to more distortion.
MIX – Controls the ratio of dry to wet. This should normally be set to “100%.”
BAL – Sets the left/right output balance of the block.
LOW CUT – Controls the frequency of the input high-pass filter. Increase to prevent "flubby" distortion.
HIGH CUT – Controls the frequency of the output low-pass filter. Lower this for a darker sound.
CLIP TYPE – Controls the type of clipping circuit used for the distortion generation.
SLEW LIMIT – Limits the large-signal frequency response. Turning up this control simulates the limited highfrequency response inherent in drive pedals using early op-amps. This parameter defaults to an appropriate
value when a type is selected.
BIAS – Sets the bias point for the clipping circuit. Varying this setting controls the relative amount of even and
odd harmonics. Set very high or very low for a unique “sputtering” effect. Use caution, as setting this too high
or too low with certain clipper types can render the block inaudible.
BIT REDUCE – Creates digital distortion by reducing the resolution of the audio signal. The number shown is
the number of bits that will be subtracted from 24-bit full scale. To create 4-bit audio, for example, set BIT
REDUCE to “20.” Bit Reduction is often used in conjunction with audio filtering like that which is possible using
the HI CUT, LO CUT, and EQ parameters of the drive block. Tip: It is supposed to sound nasty!
INPUT SELECT – The Drive block processes audio in mono. This control determines how incoming stereo
signals will be processed. Options include inputting only LEFT or RIGHT channels or SUM L+R (the default).
BYP MODE – Sets the bypass mode of the block to MUTE or THRU. See Common Mix Parameters on p.117.
BASS/TREBLE – These adjust the low-end and high-end of the built-in equalizer from +/- 12 dB.
MID, MID FREQ – Sets mid-boost or cut (+/- 12 dB) and frequency for the built-in equalizer.
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5.8 Effects Loop [FXL]
The Axe-Fx II has a full-stereo effects loop that can be used to insert outboard hardware anywhere in the signal
chain of a preset. Any signal at the input of the [FXL] block is passed to the physical OUTPUT 2 (“FX SEND”) on the
Axe-Fx II. Any signal received at the physical INPUT 2 (“FX RETURN”) appears at the outputs of [FXL].
Figure 5-13 – Effects Loop Routing
The Effects Loop block is frequently used to insert the preamp section of a head or combo. The main output of the
Axe-Fx is then routed to the effect loop input of the real amp. See the diagram on p. 21 for more on “the four cable
method” of setting up the Axe-Fx II.
Alternate Use as an Auxiliary Output or Input
The FX Loop Block doubles as a means to provide an auxiliary output or Input. Feeding signal to the [FXL] block
routes signal directly to the OUTPUT 2 jacks. This is useful, for instance, to send a fully processed mix to the
front-of-house while simultaneously feeding a (real) onstage power amp and speaker cabs. See the example on p.
22 for more details.
Alternatively, you might use the INPUTS and not the OUTPUTS so the [FXL] block allows a second input signal to
enter the grid at any point. Instruments with more than 2 outputs (rare but not unheard of) can thus be utilized.
The FX Loop block has a MIX page with LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE parameters. See Common Mix
Parameters on p. 117 for more information.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use one FX Loop block.
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5.9 Enhancer [ENH]
The Enhancer increases apparent stereo width through multiband frequency based separation of left and right
channels.
WIDTH – Sets the spread
INVERT – Depth sets the amount of separation
LOW CUT, HI CUT –
LEVEL – Sets the output level
The Enhancer has no mix parameters or bypass mode modifier switch.
5.10 Feedback Send [SND] & Return [RTN]
The Feedback Send and Feedback Return blocks allow you to route sound from any point in the preset routing to
any other point, bending the rule that signal may only flow from left to right. No connector will be visible between
the two blocks, but signal nonetheless flows from the output of the SEND to the input of the RETURN. Both blocks
must be used for either to function. The primary function of the Send and Return blocks is to allow effects to be
inserted inside of a “feedback loop,” almost invariably involving some type of delay. The MIX of the delay in the
loop is normally set to “100%,” since direct signal recirculation results in instability and undesirable phase issues.
Warning: Use caution with the Feedback blocks, as you can easily program an unstable loop and cause
internal clipping and/or very high sound levels, which may damage your hearing. With the RETURN
block MIX at 100%, set its LEVEL control to minus 80 dB and bring it up slowly. If you start to hear
squealing or other signs of instability, return the LEVEL control to minimum and analyze your routing for possible
causes of instability.
See Using Send and Return on p. 165 for creative application ideas.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use one FB Send and one FB Return block.
The Feedback Send block has SEND LEVEL and OUTPUT LEVEL controls. The latter controls the amount of signal that
passes through the block.
The Feedback Return block has MIX, LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE parameters. See Common Mix
Parameters on p. 117 for more on these.
5.11 Filter [FLT]
The stereo Filter block can be used for simple or spectacular sound shaping. It allows a variety of different effects
with real-time control of useful parameters. It can also be used as a “boost” by setting the TYPE to NULL or as a
treble (or mid) booster with greater programmability than the ones in the DRIVE block.
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The Filter block is equipped with individual left and right pan controls. These allow you to adjust the placement of
the left and right output signals in the stereo field. You can use these controls to turn a stereo signal into two
mono outputs (set both to 0.0) or to reduce the stereo separation, or you can use them as general stereo
manipulation tools.
The filter is stereo-in/stereo-out.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use four fully independent Filter blocks.
Parameters
TYPE – Sets the type of filter. All the standard filter types are available. A NULL type has a flat frequencyresponse characteristic and can be selected if you want to use the block as a simple gain element.
FREQ – Sets the center frequency of the filter.
ORDER – Selects different filter slopes. 2nd = 12 dB/ octave, 4th = 24 dB/ octave
Q – Sets the “Q” of the filter. Higher values give sharper responses.
GAIN – Sets the gain at the center frequency for the shelving and peaking filter types.
LEVEL – Sets the output volume level of the block.
BAL – Sets the output balance of the block.
PAN L, PAN R – These controls allow you to adjust the placement of the left and right output signals for
stereo width adjustment or stereo-to-mono conversion.
BYP – Sets the bypass mode of the block. See Common Mix Parameters on p.117 for more information.
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5.12 Flanger [FLG]
The sound of a Flanger can range from
subtle chorusing, to swooshing jet plane, to
robotic drainpipe. The effect was intended
to duplicate the sweeping comb-filter
sound created when one of two tape decks
playing synchronized material is shifted out
of time by pressing a finger on the “flange”
of the tape reel (hence the term). A great
example of tape flanging can be heard in
Figure 5-14 - The Flanger Block
the bridge of the Doobie Brother's song
"Listen to the Music." The flanger effect has evolved through countless variants, but almost all of them have a
“feedback” control (sometimes called “regeneration” or “intensity”) which returns some of the output signal to the
input and intensifies the characteristic sweep. A regenerative flanger is a real attention-getter.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Flanger blocks.
Flanger X/Y Channel Switching
Each instance of the Flanger block stores two fully independent sets of parameters called X and Y. Selecting
between these allows you to change all block settings—instantly—at the touch of a switch or button (excluding
current Bypass State and any Modifier assignments). See X/Y Switching on p. 36 for more information.
Basic Parameters
TYPE – This control instantly sets other Flanger parameters for useful sound settings. Types include: DIGITAL
MONO, DIGITAL STEREO, ANALOG MONO, ANALOG STEREO, THRU-ZERO, and STEREO JET.
TIME – Adjusts the nominal delay time of the delay line. This changes the character of the effect. Low values
give a phaser-like sound whereas high values are more metallic. Adjust to taste.
RATE – Controls the frequency of the Low Frequency Oscillator, which varies delay time to create the sweep.
Use low settings rate with high depths for slow-moving sounds. Increase the rate for vibrato effects. Set fully
counterclockwise to sync the Flanger LFO to global LFO1. When RATE is shown in parenthesis, it is being set
automatically by the TEMPO parameter (see below). Set the TEMPO to “NONE” for manual control.
DEPTH – Sets the maximum delay variation. Higher depths increase the amount of detuning. Usually, the rate
and depth settings should be varied inversely, so an increase in rate warrants a decrease in depth. Unique
sounds can also be obtained by ignoring this convention and using other combinations of rate and depth.
FDBK – Feedback sets the amount of wet signal fed back to the input. Extreme values give the flanger a more
intense quality as it produces sharp resonances in the frequency response. With negative FEEDBACK values, the
wet signals are out of phase with the dry, creating sounds with a different character than those created using
positive feedback.
Note that extreme feedback at minimum flanger DRIVE settings will cause a siren-like ringing oscillation.
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MIX – Sets the ratio of wet and dry (duplicated from the MIX page).
TEMPO – Locks the flanger rate in rhythmic relation to the global tempo. For example, if the tempo is set to
“1/4” and the global tempo is 120 BPM, the rate will automatically be set to 2 Hz (BPM/60 = Hz). To ignore the
global tempo set the tempo control to NONE.
Advanced Parameters
THROUGH ZERO – Setting this to ON adds a delay to the dry path equal to half the sweep depth. This can
emulate true tape-deck flanging, where one of the two tapes is first ahead of, and then behind, the other.
PHASE REVERSE – Controls the phase of the wet output signal. Either or both channels can be inverted.
Use to increase the effect of through zero flanging.
HIGH CUT – This filters the wet portion of the effect signal, gently rolling off treble at the set frequency with
a slope of 6db. Set to lower values for a “darker” flanging sound.
LOW CUT – Adjusts the cutoff frequency of a high-pass filter in the flanger’s feedback loop, gently removing
bass frequencies as the value is increased for a “thinner” flanging sound.
DRIVE – This control allows you to simulate the gentle distortion produced by overdriving an analog “bucket
brigade” delay chip of the type used in many vintage flanger effects. Set to zero for “pristine clean.”
LFO PHASE – Adjusts the phase difference between the left and right LFO waveforms. For maximum stereo
spread, set this to 180 degrees. For mono flanging, set this to zero.
LFO TYPE – Sets the “shape” of the modulation waveform.
See section 16.5 on p.157 for more information on LFO phase and waveform types.
LFO HICUT – Lowering this control filters the LFO waveform, rounding sharp turns in its shape. Certain
waveform types (saw, square, random) otherwise have “discontinuities,” which can cause clicks or pops as
their values jump from one extreme to another. Lowering the LFO HICUT frequency will mitigate this.
AUTO DEPTH – Scales DEPTH to create a consistent sound at any RATE. This control simplifies dialing in
“musical” results, but for precise control or wild sounds you may wish to turn it OFF.
STEREO SPREAD – Controls stereo width by setting the pan position of the two delays from hard panned
(100%) to dead center (0%).
DRY DELAY SHIFT – When THRU ZERO (above) is engaged, this allows shifting the cancellation point from
the center of the waveform to the edge or anywhere in between.
Flanger Mix Parameters
The Flanger block also has a MIX page with LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p.117 for more information.
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5.13 Formant [FRM]
Although the wah effect was originally intended to mimic
the sound of the human voice, it obviously falls a little
short in this regard. The talk-box, a system which plays
guitar sounds through a tube into a real human mouth,
comes far closer to the sound of actual speech, but is
considerably more unwieldy than a wah pedal. The AxeFx II Formant Filter makes "talk-box" effects possible
without the fuss and muss.
A formant filter is an extension of the wah principle but operates with a far more vocal quality. Formants represent
particular resonances of instruments, or in this case, of the human vocal tract. The human vocal tract generates a
handful of formants to produce the vowel sounds we recognize. For example, the vowel sound "eee" can be
reproduced with a bank of narrow bandpass filters with various frequencies and amplitudes.
The Axe-Fx II Formant Filter can be set statically or blend dynamically between START, MID, and END vowels. The
CONTROL knob sweeps across this range, gradually changing from one vowel to the next between positions. For
example, we can program the Formant Filter to go "III – AAA – OOO" for a “yoww” sound as a pedal is moved.
The Formant Filter usually sounds best when placed after distortion, although there are no hard and fast rules.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use one Formant block.
Parameters
START – Sets the start vowel sound.
Vowel
Example
MID – Sets the mid vowel sound.
AAA
EEE
bat
mate
END – Sets the end vowel sound.
III
feet
OHH
toe
RES – Sets the resonance of the filters. Higher resonance can yield a more dramatic
OOO
soon
effect.
EHH
bet
AHH
pot
AWW
fault
UHH
gun
ERR
girl
CTRL – Controls morphing between vowel sounds. The start vowel is generated with the
knob counterclockwise, the mid vowel at 12 o’clock, and the end vowel at fully clockwise.
Formant Mix Parameters
The Formant block has a MIX page with MIX, LEVEL, BALANCE, BYPASS MODE, and GLOBAL MIX parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p.117 for more information.
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5.14 Gate/Expander [GTE]
The downward Expander module is sort of a “reverse compressor” that increases the difference between loud
sounds and soft sounds by lowering the volume of soft sounds even further. When set up to completely silence
incoming signals below a certain threshold, the expander is called a gate.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Gate/Expander blocks.
Figure 5-15 – The Gate/Expander Block
THRSH – (Threshold) Sets the level below which automatic volume reduction will occur. When input level is
lower than the threshold, the expander reduces output volume as set by the RATIO.
RATIO – Sets the gain expansion ratio to determine how greatly signals below the threshold will be reduced.
For example, when a ratio of “2” is chosen, for every dB the input signal falls below the threshold, the output
signal will drop by 2 dB.
ATT – Attack time. Sets how quickly the Gate/Expander restores the gain once the threshold is exceeded.
REL – Release time. Sets how quickly the Gate/Expander reduces the gain once the signal has fallen below the
threshold.
HOLD – Sets how long the Gate/Expander holds the gate open once the threshold has been exceeded.
SCSEL – Selects the sidechain input source. NONE is the normal setting and selects the block input (sum of
the rows feeding the block) as the sidechain source. The other settings allow isolating a single row or main
input as the sidechain input. The other rows are summed as usual. By using a row or main input as the
sidechain input, you can use the Gate/Expander as a ducker or de-esser. You can also choose either of the
main inputs as sidechain sources, i.e. Input 1 or Input 2.
LOWCUT/LOCUT – These sets the frequency of low- and hi-pass filters on the sidechain input. The filters
only shape the signal which goes to the detector; they do not affect the tone of the signal at the outputs.
Mix Parameters
The Gate/Expander block has LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE parameters, detailed on p.117.
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5.15 Graphic Equalizer [GEQ]
The Graphic Equalizer is a 10-band equalizer with band centers at 31, 63, 125, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000, 8000,
and 16,000 Hz. Each band can boost or cut up to 12 dB. Simply select the desired band with the NAV buttons and
use VALUE to vary the gain.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use four fully independent Graphic Equalizer blocks.
The AMP block (p.39) has a built-in, 8-band graphic equalizer at its output, making it unnecessary to follow it with a
separate GEQ. There is also a global, 10-band graphic equalizer on each output (p. 134), which can be used to
modify the sound of all presets at once.
The Graphic Equalizer is stereo-in/stereo-out. Its LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE parameters are covered in
additional detail on p.117.
5.16 Looper [LPR]
The Axe-Fx has a full-featured Looper which allows you to create multi-layered performances in real time. The
maximum loop time varies from 15 to 60 seconds, depending on your choices for mono/stereo/undo.
Looper functions can be operated from the Axe-Fx front panel, or remotely via MIDI. Looper CC# assignments
appear on the CONTROL page of the I/O menu (p. 139).
Looper Basic Controls
RECORD – When you press RECORD, the Looper starts recording (if you hadn’t guessed as much we have to
wonder…) Here’s something that’s not as obvious: press record again to stop recording and instantly start
playback. This prevents you needing to hunt around for more than one footswitch to start a loop. If the record
length reaches the maximum allowed for the current mode, recording will end and playback will stop
automatically.
PLAY – This switch has two functions: use it to stop recording and begin playback, or use it to instantly stop
playback that is already rolling. A momentary switch can be assigned to PLAY for stutter effects.
ONCE – Toggles “auto-stop at loop-end,” so that if playback is running, the looper will stop automatically
when it reaches the end of the loop. If playback is already stopped, ONCE will start playback, play through the
loop and then stop. You cannot go directly from RECORD to ONCE.
STACK – Overdubs audio on an existing loop. Pressing it again stops the addition but playback continues.
Existing audio is faded every time through the loop based on the setting of the DUB MIX parameter on the
Looper’s MIX page.
UNDO – This removes the most recently recorded overdub. Undo removes a given “take,” defined as
everything between when you pressed STACK to start overdub recording and when you turned it off.
REV – Pressing this reverses the direction of the Looper. Playback and STACK recording are supported.
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HALF – Slows the Looper’s speed to half. Playback and normal or overdub recording are supported at half
speed. For double speed playback, record in half speed and then switch back to normal. Note: Halving the
speed slightly reduces high-end frequency response.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use one Looper block.
Looper Advanced Controls
MODE – Selects the Looper mode, determining mono/stereo, looper length, and undo. Whenever you
change the mode, the looper memory will be entirely cleared.
MONO – Recording and playback are in mono. Maximum loop length is 60 seconds. Undo is not possible.
STEREO – Recording and playback are in stereo. Maximum loop length is 30 seconds. Undo is not possible.
MONO UNDO – Recording and playback are in mono. Maximum loop length is 30 seconds. Undo works.
STEREO UNDO – Recording and playback are in mono. Maximum loop length is 60 seconds. Undo works.
QUANT – With quantize enabled, loop length is perfectly set to some whole number of beats) with reference
to the pulses of the Axe-Fx GLOBAL TEMPO (see p. 146)).
THRSH – The Axe-Fx Looper can start recording automatically when the input exceeds a set level. Turn this
feature ON or OFF using this parameter.
THRSH LEVEL – This sets the level which must be exceeded at the input of the Looper for recording to start
automatically.
DUB MIX – Actually located on the Looper’s MIX page, this determines how much layers are reduced when
you STACK new layers. If you never want old layers to decay, set this to 100%, but be aware that adding
additional layers in this way can result in excessive signal and clipping.
Looper Mix Parameters
The Looper has a MIX page with LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p. 117 for more information.
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5.17 Megatap Delay [MGT]
The Megatap Delay is a 2.5 second, 40-tap delay line with parametric control of time, amplitude, and panning. This
effect can be used to create interesting sonic patterns or to increase “density” before reverberant effects.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use one Megatap block.
Figure 5-16 – The Megatap Delay Block
Parameters
INPUT GAIN – Sets the input level to the effect. The primary purpose of this is to allow you to attach a
controller (e.g. pedal) to the delay level input level for operation similar to that of an “Aux Send.” In other
situations, this control should be set at 100%.
MASTER LEVEL – Controls the overall level of the delay.
TIME – Sets the delay time of the last tap. The echoes will be distributed between zero and this time.
NUMBER OF TAPS – Sets the number of taps (repeats) on the delay line.
TIME SHAPE – Specifies how the time between taps changes as they progress.
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CONSTANT – The time between taps will not change, regardless of the TIME ALPHA setting.

INCREASING – The time between taps will increase.

DECREASING – The time between taps will decrease.

UP / DOWN – The time between taps will increase and then decrease.

DOWN / UP – The time between taps will decrease and then increase.

SINE – The time between taps will decrease and then increase repeatedly in a sinusoidal
progression. Higher alpha increases the number of sine cycles.
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TIME ALPHA – Sets the acceleration of the rate of time change across the taps. A setting of 0% results in no
effect, while 100% results in an extreme effect.
Ex: Decreasing, Moderate Alpha
Ex: Decreasing, Higher Alpha
AMPLITUDE SHAPE – This specifies how the volume increases or decreases from tap to tap.
AMPLITUDE ALPHA – Sets the acceleration of the rate of volume change across the taps.
A setting of 0% results in no effect, while 100% results in an extreme effect.
PAN SHAPE – This specifies how the pan changes from tap to tap as they progress.
PAN ALPHA – Sets the acceleration of the rate of pan change across the taps.
A setting of 0% results in no effect, while 100% results in an extreme effect.
TIME RANDOMIZE – Controls how much the tap spacing is randomized.
Megatap Mix Parameters
The Megatap block has a MIX page with MIX, LEVEL, BALANCE, BYPASS MODE, and GLOBAL MIX parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p. 117 for more information.
5.18 Mixer [MIX]
The Mixer block contains a simple, linear mixer able to combine up to four stereo signals into either one stereo mix
or one mono mix. The mixer lets you fine-tune level blends or use modifiers (p. 124) to crossfade between
different effects or chains. Each pair of gain and balance controls corresponds to a row in the grid. For a more
thorough description of how Axe-Fx II mixers work, see section 16.8, Mixology, on p. 160.
Page 1 Parameters
GAIN 1 – Sets the level for the incoming signal from a block in row 1 of the column left of the mixer.
BAL 1 – Sets the balance between left and right signals of the block in row 1 of the column left of the mixer.
GAIN/BAL 2, 3, 4 – These pairs of controls respectively set the level and balance of incoming signals from
the blocks in rows 2, 3, and 4 of the column left of the mixer.
Page 2 Parameters
LEVEL – Sets the level of the output mix.
OUTPUT MODE – Specifies whether the outgoing mix should be stereo or summed to dual mono.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Mixer blocks.
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5.19 Multiband Compressor [MBC]
The Axe-Fx II contains a three-band compressor that is great for mastering or compressing a mix. It also works as a
tone-shaping tool, providing independent level and dynamics control over low, mid, and high frequencies.
The basic principle of the Multiband Compressor is that the input is divided into three component signals using a
crossover. Compression is applied to the bands individually before they are recombined. The MBC lets you isolate
frequency bands of the input material and apply different types or amounts of compression to each. Multiband
compression is a de-facto mastering tool and can greatly
improve a final mix or a complex guitar sound.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent
Multiband Compressor blocks.
Parameters
FREQ1 – Sets the crossover frequency between
bands 1 and 2 from 50–500 Hz.
FREQ2 – Sets the crossover frequency between
bands 2 and 3 from 1000–10000 Hz.
Each compressor section has its own menu page with
the following parameters:
THRSH – Sets the threshold above which output
compression starts to occur.
RATIO – Sets the input-to-output ratio for signals
Figure 5-17 – Stylized view of the Multiband Compressor
above the THRESHOLD. A ratio of 2.00 (2:1) means
an increase of 2 dB is needed at the input to produce an increase of 1 dB at the output.
ATT – Attack rate. Sets how long it takes for compression to occur once the signal exceeds the threshold.
Slower values allow more of the loud signal to punch through before the compressor can reduce it.
REL – Release rate. Sets how long it takes for the level to return to normal after the signal falls beneath the
threshold. Slower times can cause the compressor’s gain reduction to remain in effect even after a loud signal
has given way to a quieter section.
LEVEL – Sets the output level of the selected band.
DET – Determines whether the selected band will use RMS (“Root Mean Square”), PEAK, or RMS + PEAK
detection. RMS detection is smoother and is generally used to even out levels over a long period of time. Peak
detection, commonly used with guitar, is useful for fast limiting. RMS + Peak combines the best attributes of
both: the speed of a peak detector and the smoothness of an RMS detector.
MUTE – Mutes the output of the band. By muting two bands, you can solo the third. By muting one band,
you can focus on its contribution to the overall mix.
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5.20 Multi Delay [MTD]
The Multi Delay is a rhythmic multi-tap delay block. Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Multi
Delay blocks, each of which may be set to any one of ten sub-algorithms: Quad Tap, Plex Delay, Plex Detune, Plex
Shift, Band Delay, Quad Series, Ten-Tap, Rhythm Tap, Diffusor, and Multi Tape Delay. These are detailed below.
Multi Delay Common Parameters
Every Multi Delay TYPE shares a common set of PAGE 1 parameters. The TYPE control selects which of the abovementioned sub-algorithms to use, and INPUT GAIN determines the amount of signal fed to the effect.
Master Parameters
Most types have one or more “MASTER” parameters, summarized here. Not all MASTER parameters appear in
every type; those that do are at the top of menu PAGE 2. MASTER parameters scale the effects of other controls
and can be controlled with a modifier for interesting real-time changes.
MASTER TIME – Scales all the delay times in the block.
MASTER LEVEL – Scales the output levels of all taps at once.
MASTER PAN – Scales all tap pan amounts, essentially acting as a width or spread control. Negative values
will reverse pan placement in left and right channels.
MASTER FEEDBACK – Scales the feedback amounts of all taps or diffusors.
MASTER FREQ – Scales the frequency values for the filters of all four taps from 0.316–3.162×. You can
create dynamic filter effects by using a modifier to change this parameter in real-time, but be sure not to set Q
values too high or too low, or the result will be difficult to hear.
MASTER PITCH – Scales the values for all shift parameters in the block.
MASTER DETUNE – Scales the values for all detune parameters in the block.
MASTER Q – Scales the Q values of all four taps from 0.1–10.0×
MASTER RATE – Scales the rate of all LFOs in the block.
MASTER DEPTH – Scales all the depths of all LFOs in the block.
Mix Parameters
All Multi Delay types share a common MIX page with MIX, LEVEL, BALANCE, BYPASS MODE, and GLOBAL MIX
parameters. See Common Mix Parameters on p.117 for more information on these controls.
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5.20.1
Quad Tap Delay
The Quad Tap Delay offers four “taps,” each of which extracts a signal from any point in the delay line. It is useful
for cool creative and rhythmic effects. Each tap has its own level and pan controls, plus a bandpass filter with
adjustable frequency and Q. Four feedback controls are provided, but the sum of the four feedbacks may not
exceed 100%. Notice that feedback from all four taps is summed at the input, so even if its output level is reduced
to 0%, a tap with any feedback value greater than zero will still be heard the next time another tap plays.
Figure 5-18 – The Quad Tap Multi Delay Block
Parameters
TEMPO 1,2,3,4 – Sets the corresponding TIME parameter in rhythmic relation to the global tempo. For
example, if the global tempo is 120 BPM, and TEMPO is set to “1/4” (one echo per beat), time will be 500 ms.
To ignore the global tempo, set to “NONE.”
TIME 1,2,3,4 – Sets the time when the selected tap will be heard, from 0-2000 ms. When any TIME is shown
in parenthesis, it is being set automatically by the corresponding TEMPO parameter (see below). Set TEMPO to
“NONE” for manual control.
LEVEL 1,2,3,4 – Sets the level at the output of the selected tap.
PAN 1,2,3,4 – Sets the pan for the selected tap in the stereo mix.
FEEDBACK 1,2,3,4 – Sets the level of the selected tap in the overall feedback blend. Note that the sum of
the four feedback values cannot exceed 100%.
FREQ 1,2,3,4 – Sets the center frequency of the bandpass filter for the selected tap.
Q 1,2,3,4 – Sets the width of the bandpass filter for the selected tap. Higher values result in a narrower
range of frequencies passing through.
DIFFUSION – Sets the mix level of the diffuser block that precedes the delay line. Diffusion “smears”
transients and can be used as a type of reverb for creating interesting ambience effects.
DIFFUSION TIME – Longer times will smear transients over a longer period.
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DUCKER ATTEN – (Ducker Attenuation) Sets the amount by which the effect volume will duck (decrease). A
setting of 20 dB, for example, will decrease the echoes by 20 dB when the input level is above the threshold.
Set to 0.0 to defeat the ducker.
DUCKER THRSHLD – (Ducker Threshold) Sets the trigger level of the ducker. If the input signal exceeds this
value, the delayed signal will be reduced by the amount set with the attenuation control.
DUCKER REL TIME – Sets how long it takes for the delay signal to return to normal when the input drops
below the threshold. A short value here will cause the ducked echoes to “pop back” into the sonic forefront
the moment you stop playing. Longer times will cause the level to swell back in more gradually.
LFO 1 AS MASTER – Locks the rates of the LFOs for taps 2, 3, and 4 to the settings for LFO1.
LFO 1,2,3,4 RATE – Sets the rate of modulation for the selected tap. Remember that while LFO1 is set as
the master, the controls for 2, 3, and 4 will have no effect on the sound. When any RATE is shown in
parenthesis, it is being set automatically by the corresponding TEMPO parameter (see below). Set the TEMPO
to “NONE” for manual control.
LFO 1,2,3,4 TEMPO – Synchronizes the rate of the LFO for the selected tap in relation to the global tempo.
For example, if the tempo is set to “1/4” and the global tempo is 120 BPM, the LFO rate will automatically be
set to 2 Hz (BPM/60 = Hz). To ignore the global tempo, set these controls to NONE.
LFO 1,2,3,4 DEPTH – Sets the modulation depth for the selected tap. Remember that while LFO1 is set as
the master, the controls for 2, 3, and 4 will have no effect on the sound
5.20.2
Plex Delay
In terms of delay effects, a multiplexor, or “plex,” is a feedback network through which each of several delay lines
is fed back to itself and all the others. The result is a very smooth, reverb-like effect. When combined with
modulation, the result is a huge and lush-sounding space effect that can have qualities of echo, reverb, and chorus
all at once. The Plex Delay uses four delay lines.
Figure 5-19 – The Plex Delay Multi Delay Type
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Parameters
DECAY TIME – Sets the amount of time required for the echoes to fade by adjusting the coefficients of the
feedback matrix. Use caution, as high decay times can result in instability.
DIFFUSION – Sets the amount of cross-coupling between delay lines. Higher values increase the density of
the echoes and result in a more reverb-like sound.
TEMPO 1,2,3,4 – Sets the corresponding TIME parameter in rhythmic relation to the global tempo. For
example, if the global tempo is 120 BPM, and TEMPO is set to “1/4” (one echo per beat), time will be 500 ms.
To ignore the global tempo, set to “NONE.”
TIME 1,2,3,4 – Sets the time before the selected tap will be heard, from 0-2000 ms. Setting these values to
prime numbers will result in a dense array of repeats. When any TIME is shown in parenthesis, it is being set
automatically by the corresponding TEMPO parameter (see below). Set TEMPO to “NONE” for manual control.
LEVEL 1,2,3,4 – Sets the level at the output of the selected tap.
PAN 1,2,3,4 – Sets the pan for the selected tap in the stereo mix.
FEEDBACK 1,2,3,4 – Sets the level of the selected tap in the overall feedback blend. Note that the sum of
the four feedback values cannot exceed 100%.
FREQ 1,2,3,4 – Sets the center frequency of the bandpass filter for the selected tap.
Q 1,2,3,4 – Sets the width of the bandpass filter for the selected tap. Higher values result in a narrower
range of frequencies passing through.
LOW CUT, HIGH CUT – Sets the cutoff frequency for gentle high and low-pass filters in the feedback loop
of the delays. These controls affect all four taps simultaneously.
DUCKER ATTEN – (Ducker Attenuation) Sets how greatly the volume can be reduced by the ducker. A
setting of 20 dB, for example, will decrease the echoes by 20 dB when the input level is above the threshold.
Set to 0.0 to defeat the ducker.
DUCKER THRSHLD – (Ducker Threshold) Sets the trigger level of the ducker. If the input signal exceeds this
value, the delayed signal will be reduced by the amount set with the attenuation control.
DUCKER REL TIME – Sets how long it takes for the delay signal to return to normal when the input drops
below the threshold. A short value here will cause the ducked echoes to return to full volume the moment you
stop playing. Longer times will cause the level to swell back gradually.
LFO 1 RATE – Sets the rate of modulation. When RATE is shown in parenthesis, it is being set automatically
by the TEMPO parameter (see below). Set the TEMPO to “NONE” for manual control.
LFO 1 TEMPO – Synchronizes the rate of the LFO in relation to the global tempo.
LFO 1 DEPTH – Sets the modulation depth. Increasing modulation adds a chorus effect to the Plex Delay.
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5.20.3
Plex Detune
The Plex Detune is based on the Plex Delay (5.20.2 above) but adds four high-quality pitch shifters with a range of
+/- 50 cents to the output of the delay taps. Like the LFOs of the Plex Delay, these shifters help create layered
effect tails rich with pitch variations. With the following exceptions, the Plex Detune is identical to the Plex Delay.
Figure 5-20 – Plex Detune (and Plex Shift) Multi Delay Type
CROSSFADE – Sets the amount of overlap used in the granules of the pitch shifters. Lower settings give a
“grainy” sound, while higher values smooth the sound.
DETUNE 1,2,3,4 – Sets the amount of detune within a range of +/- 50 cents. Small values create a subtle
shimmer; higher settings create descending or ascending cascades.
In comparison to the Plex Delay, the Plex Detune has no LFO or modulation parameters.
5.20.4
Plex Shift
The Plex Shift is nearly identical to the Plex Detune, which is itself very similar to the Plex Delay. Its pitch shifters,
however, are granted a two-octave range with SHIFT parameters. This sub-algorithm has the same parameters as
the Plex Detune (5.20.3, above) with two exceptions:
DIRECTION – This determines whether small granules of audio in the pitch shifter are played back forward
or reversed. To understand how this works, imagine a word whose individual letters have been mirror-imaged
but are still in the correct left-to-right order (“
”). In this case, the letters are very short snippets of
audio. These are reversed (and possibly pitch-shifted) but are played back in the order in which they were
recorded. The length of the snippets depends on the TIME setting of the tap.
SHIFT 1,2,3,4 – This sets the amount of pitch shift applied at the output of each tap within a range of +/- 24
semitones.
5.20.5
Band Delay
Aside from the fact that its four delay lines are parallel to one another, and that it lacks a diffusor, the Band Delay
Multi Delay type is identical to the Quad Tap (5.20.1, above).
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Figure 5-21 – The Band Delay Multi Delay Type
5.20.6
Quad Series Delay
The delay lines of the Quad Series Delay are connected end-to-end so that their times are compounded as the
signal travels from one to the next. Each line has its own output tap, however, so the output of any line can also be
heard as it enters the next delay in the series. If you then set each delay time to 100 ms, you would hear echoes at
100, 200, 300, and 400 ms after the input.
Figure 5-22 – The Quad Series Multi Delay Type
The parameters of the Quad Series Delay are identical to those of the Quad Tap delay (5.20.1 above), except for
the absence of the diffusor block controls, the FEEDBACK SEND and RETURN parameters, and the single FEEDBACK
control.
FDBK SEND – Specifies which delay output (1–4) should be tapped to feedback to the input.
FDBK RET – Specifies which delay input (1–4) the feedback tap should be returned to.
FEEDBACK – Sets the amount of feedback from the send to the return.
5.20.7
Ten-Tap Delay
The Ten-Tap Delay provides a unique way to control the time, pan, and spacing of one to ten separate echoes.
Instead of feedback, it uses an innovative DECAY control to determine how the level of the ten taps changes over
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time. The levels of individual delay taps can also be adjusted from -80 to +20 dB. Pan is set as a SHAPE that can
change automatically as the taps progress.
MONO/STEREO – Sets the mode of the Ten-Tap Delay. In mono mode, twice as much delay per tap is
possible.
DELAY TIME – Sets the time between delay taps. When TIME is shown in parenthesis, it is being set
automatically by DELAY TEMPO (below). Set DELAY TEMPO to “NONE” for manual control.
DELAY TEMPO – Sets the DELAY TIME in rhythmic relation to the global tempo.
NUMBER OF TAPS – Sets the exact number of repeats.
DECAY – Sets how rapidly the volumes of the repeats decay over time.
SHUFFLE – Sets the amount of time-offset for the odd taps to give a shuffle feel to the repeats.
SPREAD – In stereo mode, this sets the spread of the repeats. At maximum, the left channel is panned fullleft and the right channel full-right.
RATIO – Sets the ratio of the left-to-right delay time in stereo mode.
PAN SHAPE – Controls the shape of the panning as a function of tap number. The repeats can move slowly
from one side to the other (“increasing” or “decreasing”), stay “constant,” or move back and forth (“sine”).
Dynamic pan effects are disabled if the Ten-Tap Delay is set to “STEREO” mode.
PAN ALPHA – Controls how quickly the repeats move as a function of tap number and pan shape. Higher
values produce a more pronounced effect. To alternate left-to-right, set the PAN SHAPE to SINE and the PAN
ALPHA to maximum.
LOW CUT – Sets the cutoff point of the high-pass filter. Higher values produce a thinner sound.
HIGH CUT – Sets the cutoff point of the low-pass filter. Lower values produce a darker sound.
TAP LEVEL (1–10) – Sets the relative level of the selected tap.
5.20.8
Rhythm Tap Delay
The Rhythm Tap Delay uses the same algorithm as the Ten-Tap Delay but allows you to create a custom rhythm of
repeats. You can enter the rhythm in three ways:
1.
2.
3.
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By specifying milliseconds between each tap and the previous.
By specifying some number of quantized time units (“divs”) between each tap and the previous.
By tapping a rhythm with the ENTER button and the LEARN function.
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The parameters for the Rhythm Tap Delay include those of the Ten-Tap Delay (5.20.7 above) plus the following:
FEEDBACK – Sets the feedback level from the final repeat to the input of the delay line. You can use this in
conjunction with the decay to control the overall decay behavior. If you set decay to zero and feedback to a
moderate value, the pattern will repeat, getting quieter each time through.
QUANTIZE – Quantizes the tap times to the entered note value. This can be used to aid in tapping in a
rhythm. The tap times will be rounded to the nearest multiple of the note duration. You can change this value
even after you’ve tapped in your rhythm.
Figure 5-23 – The concept of Rhythm Tap "divs"
LEARN – Use this function to enter a rhythm by tapping. For LEARN to work, QUANTIZE must be turned OFF.




Use the NAV keys to select the LEARN Parameter
Turn the VALUE wheel clockwise until “<TAP ENTER>” is displayed.
Tap the rhythm you want using the ENTER button. Be sure to include a tap for the original (dry) signal.
When finished tapping, turn the VALUE wheel to “<DONE>”.
TAP TIME 1–10 – Sets the time of the tap (relative to the previous one) in ms or divisions (“divs”). Divs are
”
th
units with the QUANTIZE value length. For example, if QUANTIZE is set to “1/16 , each div is 1/16 note, and all
ths
tap times will sound some whole number of 16 after the preceding tap. If QUANTIZE is “OFF”, you can enter
millisecond values directly or use the LEARN feature (above). Times that have been learned may be further
adjusted manually.
5.20.9
Diffusor
A diffuser uses feedback delays to increase density, “smearing” transients to create interesting reverb effects. At
certain time and feedback settings, taps can be heard individually, but the diffusor is typically used to create a lush
blanket of sound. This algorithm chains four diffusors in series and controls the matrix with a single feedback
parameter.
MASTER FEEDBACK – Sets the feedback amount to determine density. Together with the individual delay
time settings, this determines the character of the effect and the amount of “smear.”
LFO 1 RATE – Sets the rate of modulation to add a chorus-like sound to the tail of the effect.
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LFO 1 TEMPO – Synchronizes modulation to a rhythmic value in relation to the global tempo.
LFO 1 DEPTH – Sets the modulation depth to determine the intensity of time variations/chorusing.
TEMPO 1,2,3,4 – Sets the corresponding TIME parameter in rhythmic relation to the global tempo. For
example, if the global tempo is 120 BPM, and TEMPO is set to “1/4” (one echo per beat), time will be 500 ms.
To ignore the global tempo, set to “NONE.”
TIME 1,2,3,4 – Sets the time of each diffusor from 0-2000 ms. When any TIME is shown in parenthesis, it is
being set automatically by the corresponding TEMPO parameter (see below). Set TEMPO to “NONE” for manual
control.
5.20.10 Quad Tape Delay
The Quad Tape Delay adds a MOTOR SPEED parameter to the “QUAD TAP” Multi Delay type, also reducing the
number of LFOs from four to two. Like the classic Space Echo effect, it can produce wild oscillating echoes in
complex rhythmic patterns. For details on MOTOR SPEED, see section 5.6.7 on p.61.
5.21 Tremolo/Panner [PAN]
The Tremolo/Panner block, as its name suggests, has two uses. Tremolo varies the volume of a signal in a pulsing
or chopping way, while the Panner (often referred to a “auto-pan”) varies left and right channel volumes to create
the illusion of motion in the stereo field. Tremolo can be used to get classic "surf" sounds (add some spring
reverb!) or to create stark, modern “chopper” effects (use a square wave LFO!) Panning covers anything from slow
swings to psychotic shudders.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Tremolo/Panner blocks.
Figure 5-24 – The Pan/Tremolo Block
Parameters
EFF TYPE – Chooses between Tremolo and Panner.
RATE – Controls the speed of the tremolo or panner effect. Set fully counterclockwise to sync the chorus LFO
to global LFO1. When RATE is shown in parenthesis, it is being set automatically by the TEMPO parameter (see
below). Set the TEMPO to “NONE” for manual control.
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DEPTH / WIDTH – Sets the intensity of the modulation. When WIDTH is set to more than 100%, the Panner
uses psychoacoustic effects to pan beyond the boundaries of the normal stereo image.
TEMPO – Locks the rate to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120 BPM, and TEMPO is set
to a “1/4,” the LFO rate will be 2 Hz (120 BPM / 60 seconds = 2). To ignore the global tempo, set the tempo
control to NONE.
LFO TYPE – Selects the “shape” of the LFO waveform. Try experimenting with the Log or Exp waveforms.
DUTY – This varies the duty cycle—or “symmetry”—of the Triangle, Square, and Trapezoid waveforms.
LFO PHASE – Adjusts the phase angle of the LFO’s right waveform. With extreme settings, the Tremolo turns
into a Panner and the Panner turns into a Tremolo!
See section 16.5 on p. 157 for more information on LFO waveform shapes, duty, and phase.
PAN CENTER – In panner mode, this shifts the apparent center of the stereo image.
Tremolo/Panner Mix Parameters
The Tremolo/Panner block has a MIX page with LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p.117 for more information.
5.22 Parametric EQ [PEQ]
The 5-band Parametric Equalizer is one of the most precise and flexible tone-shaping tools in the Axe-Fx II. It lets
you select the exact frequencies you want to focus on, adjust how much you want to boost or cut, and specify how
the change should affect neighboring frequencies. The bands include a selectable-type low filter, three bell filters,
and a selectable-type high filter. Select the desired band using the PAGE buttons and adjust parameters as
required. A graphical display depicts the response, showing the effects of all five bands at once.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use four Parametric EQ blocks.
Parameters
FREQ – Sets the center or cutoff frequency for the selected band.
Q – A measure of filter bandwidth around the center or cutoff frequency. Set a higher Q for narrower boosts
or cuts. Extreme Q-values may cause output clipping even though the apparent volume is low. Reduce the Q,
gain, or block output level if this occurs. Frequency and gain are kept constant as Q is adjusted in the three
examples below:
Figure 5-25 – Effect of Q on bell/peaking filters
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Q exerts a different effect for BLOCKING or SHELVING EQ types, selectable for bands 1 and 5.
GAIN – Sets the strength of the filter through a range of +/- 12 dB.
TYPE – The first and last bands have a selectable filter type. This parameter selects between the three
available types.
 Shelving – This type equally boosts or cuts all frequencies above or below the specified frequency,
forming a “shelf.” The typical bass or treble controls of most devices are shelving EQs.
 Peaking – A peak filter cuts or boosts around a center frequency. When you boost or cut, neighboring
frequencies are also affected somewhat, depending on the bandwidth, or Q, of the band. Bands 2, 3, and
4 are always set to this type.
 Blocking – The blocking filter is so named because it only allows frequencies above or below the cutoff
frequency to pass through. Band 1 is selectable as a low-blocking type and Band 5 is selectable as a highblocking type.
Parametric EQ Mix Parameters
The Parametric EQ block has a MIX page with LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p.117 for more information.
5.23 Phaser [PHA]
The Phase Shifter, or Phaser, works by cascading a series of all-pass filters and then mixing the processed signal
with the input. This causes certain frequencies to be canceled or reinforced, creating notches and peaks. When
phase is shifted using a low-frequency oscillator (LFO), these peaks and notches sweep up and down the frequency
range to create the phaser’s distinct, hollow, swooshing sound.
The phaser in the Axe-Fx II is extremely powerful. It allows two to 12 stages to be cascaded with positive or
negative feedback and a flexible, stereo LFO. It also offers a special mode to recreate the classic ‘vibe effects with
astonishing accuracy.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Phaser blocks.
Figure 5-26 – The Phaser Block
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Phaser X/Y Channel Switching
Each instance of the Phaser block stores two fully independent sets of parameters called X and Y. Selecting
between these allows you to change all block settings—instantly—at the touch of a switch or button (excluding
current Bypass State and any Modifier assignments). See X/Y Switching on p. 36 for more information.
Basic Parameters
TYPE – This control instantly sets other phaser parameters for different useful sound settings. Types include:
DIGITAL MONO, DIGITAL STEREO, SCRIPT 45, SCRIPT 90, BLOCK 90, CLASSIC VIBE, and STEREO 8-STAGE.
RATE – Sets the frequency of the LFO that controls the “sweep.” Set fully counterclockwise to sync to Global
LFO1 (p. 129). When RATE is shown in parenthesis, it is being set automatically by the TEMPO parameter (see
below). Set the TEMPO to “NONE” for manual control.
DEPTH – Sets the depth of the LFO that controls the “sweep.” Set higher for more dramatic phasing effects.
FDBK – Feedback, also known as “regeneration” or “resonance,” controls how pronounced the peaks and
notches are. This is largely responsible for the iconic sound we associate with a phaser.
FREQ – Sets the start frequency of the first stage filter. This, in combination with the depth control, controls
the sweep range of the notches. This parameter is repeated as “START FREQ” on the Advanced page.
TEMPO – Synchronizes the rate of the Phaser LFO in rhythmic relation to the global tempo. For example, if
the global tempo is 120 BPM, and TEMPO is set to a “1/4,” the LFO rate will be 2 Hz (120 BPM / 60 seconds =
2). To ignore the global tempo set the tempo control to NONE.
Advanced Parameters
(All BASIC controls of the Phaser except TYPE are duplicated on the ADVANCED page for convenience).
ORDER – Sets the number of phase shifting circuits—or “stages”—in increments of two. Different settings
have distinctly different sound qualities. For a more “pronounced” effect, increase the order.
LFO TYPE – Selects the “shape” of the LFO, determining how the sweep changes over time. SINE or
TRIANGLE shapes will emulate classic phaser sounds. SAW shapes provide rising or falling effects, and
Exponential/Logarithmic “shapes” create a more extreme “pulsing” effect.
LFO PHASE – Sets the phase difference of the right waveform of the phaser LFO. Values greater than 0°
produce stereo phasing with 180°, reproducing the legendary “reverse sync” setting of “the world’s largest
phase shifter” (which incidentally employed six stages per side in this mode.)
See section 16.5 on p.157 for more information on LFO waveform shapes and phase.
FREQ SPAN – Sets the span of the filters. Higher values separate the resulting notches by greater amounts.
VIBE MODE – Technically, this parameter sets the all-pass frequency spacing. But it would probably suffice
to say that if Jimi, Robin, and David had a favorite Axe-Fx II phaser setting, this would be it. The TYPE
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parameter on the BASIC page can be used to get dial in classic ‘vibe sounds instantly, or you can manually turn
this switch ON to experiment with your own settings.
BULB BIAS – Allows you to control the “quiescent” current of the virtual light bulb used in Vibe Mode.
Varying this parameter controls how “lumpy” the frequency sweep behaves. Unlike a real 'vibe, the Axe-Fx II
compensates so that the center frequency doesn’t change with the bias, allowing easier control of the sweep
range. This parameter has no effect if Vibe Mode is switched OFF.
FEEDBACK TAP – Selects which phaser stage the feedback is returned to. Typically the feedback goes from
output to input, but the “SCRIPT 90” type requires it to be fed back to the second stage. (Stages are numbered
from 0, so to return at the second stage, select “1” for FEEDBACK TAP.)
Phaser Mix Parameters
The Phaser block has a MIX page with LEVEL, BALANCE and BYPASS MODE and GLOBAL MIX parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p. 117 for more details on these.
5.24 Pitch Shifter [PIT]
Pitch shift technology creates an incredible range of effects, from shimmering, detune-based chorus to one-guitar
orchestrations of complex harmony, to dive-bombing whammy pedals, and beyond. The Axe-Fx II Pitch Shifter
gives you all of these sounds and many more, with the following different modes of operation:










Detune – Creates chorus sounds with up to two detuned copies of the original signal.
Fixed Harmony – Shifts two voices by a constant amount.
Intelligent Harmony – Shifts two voices to another note in the selected key/scale.
Octave Divider – Simulates the octave down effects of classic analog stomp effects.
Classic Whammy – Shifts note(s) up and/or down 1-2 octaves with a control that can be assigned to a
pedal or other controller.
Advanced Whammy – Extends the Classic Whammy with custom range within +/- 2 octaves.
Crystals – Creates exotic “crystal” shifting with long splice times and optional reverse.
Arpeggiator – Shifts the pitch with a 32-step sequencer to create arpeggios or phrases from single notes.
Custom Shifter – Employs “User Scales” for totally custom intelligent shifting.
Auto Pitch – Turn your guitar or voice into Cher or T-Pain. Actually, please don’t…we’ve removed the AxeFx Ultra’s “Auto Pitch” algorithm from the Axe-Fx II ;)
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Pitch Shifter blocks.
Pitch Shifter X/Y Channel Switching
Each instance of the Pitch block stores two fully independent sets of parameters called X and Y. Selecting between
these allows you to change all block settings—instantly—at the touch of a switch or button (excluding current
Bypass State and any Modifier assignments). See X/Y Switching on p. 36 for more information.
Common Parameters
The first menu page has several common parameters for the pitch block.
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TYPE – Sets the sub-algorithm to use.
INGAIN – Sets the input level to the block for “Aux Send” type control even when the block is in series.
LOCUT FREQ HICUT FREQ – Sets the cutoff frequency of hi-and lowpass filters at the output of the pitch
shifter(s). Note that when the “OCTAVE DIV” type is selected, these controls have no effect.
PITCH SOURCE – The Pitch Shifter allows you to select a source for the shifter to use when making pitch
calculations.
 GLOBAL – In this mode, the pitch information comes from the global pitch detector connected directly to
the main inputs (L+R summed). The signal into this detector is unaffected by other effects in the current
preset and is usually the best choice for single note usage.
 LOCAL MONO – In this mode the pitch information is detected and analyzed at the input of the pitch
block. The “MONO” detector is optimized for speed and accuracy when playing single notes.
 LOCAL POLY – As with “LOCAL MONO,” pitch information is detected and analyzed at the input of the
pitch block. In this mode however, the detector is optimized for polyphonic sources. The pitch tracking is
necessarily slower but is more stable when used with chords. Complex chord types can still cause
instability; simple combinations of two or three notes work best.
Both of the local modes allow the detector to track the pitch of a delay or effect tail even after you’ve
stopped playing. They also include the internal feedback of the Pitch Block when calculating pitch.
Master Parameters
Several of the Pitch Shift types include MASTER parameters, detailed below.
MASTER PITCH – Scales the SHIFT setting for each of the voices. For example, with VOICE 1 SHIFT at “+12,”
VOICE 2 SHIFT set to “-12,” and MASTER PITCH set to “50%,” the shifts will be heard as VOICE 1: +6, VOICE 2: -6.
MASTER DELAY – Scales all delay times in the block.
MASTER FEEDBACK – Scales all feedback controls in the block.
MASTER PAN – The panning of each voice is multiplied by this value. A value of 100% will result in each
voice being panned as set in the individual pan controls. A value of 0% will result in both voices being panned
to center. A value of -100% will reverse the position of the voices. You can use a modifier on this parameter to
move the voices around the stereo field in real time.
MASTER LEVEL – Multiplies the level values by this amount.
Pitch Source, Track, and Adjust
PITCH TRACK – When set to “ON,” the Pitch Shifter will track the pitch of the incoming note and adjust
internal pitch shifting techniques accordingly for the best performance at any moment. Setting PITCH TRACK
to OFF ignores the pitch data and uses fixed shifting techniques. With pitch tracking OFF, the sound can waver
or flutter depending upon the note(s) played. With pitch tracking ON, the sound is typically smoother, but
complex chords may cause pitch instabilities.
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TRACK ADJ – This control allows fine-tuning of the pitch shifter “splice length.” For large shifts, this control
can help improve the quality of the shifted note.
Pitch Shifter Mix Parameters
All Pitch Shifter types share a common MIX page with MIX, LEVEL, BALANCE, BYPASS MODE, and GLOBAL MIX
parameters. See Common Mix Parameters on p. 117 for more information on these controls.
5.24.1
Detune
The Detune sub-algorithm creates two voices that are detuned between -50 and +50 cents (one quarter step) from
the input. This mode is useful for creating double-tracked sounds or chorus-like effects.
Figure 5-27 – The Detune Pitch Shifter Type
INPUT MODE – Determines whether the inputs are stereo or summed.
VOICE 1 DETUNE, VOICE 2 DETUNE – Sets the detune amount for each voice. Attach an LFO to create
modulating detune chorus effects.
VOICE 1 LEVEL, VOICE 2 LEVEL – Sets the volume level of the selected voice.
VOICE 1 PAN, VOICE 2 PAN – Sets the panning of the selected voice.
VOICE 1 DELAY, VOICE 2 DELAY – Sets the delay time of the selected voice.
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5.24.2
Fixed Harmony
The Fixed Harmony mode creates two voices at fixed intervals from the note played, with the possibility of using
feedback and/or delay to create cascades of upward/downward shifting.
Figure 5-28 – The Fixed Harmony Pitch Shifter Type
INPUT MODE – Specifies whether the incoming signal should be processed in stereo (as shown in the block
diagram above) or summed to mono and then sent to both voices.
VOICE1 DETUNE, VOICE 2 DETUNE – Sets the detune amount of the voice in a range of +/- 50 cents.
VOICE1 SHIFT, VOICE2 SHIFT – Sets the shift amount of the voice in a range of +/- 12 half-steps.
VOICE1 LEVEL, VOICE2 LEVEL – Sets the volume level of the voice.
VOICE1 PAN, VOICE2 PAN – Sets the panning of the voice.
VOICE1 DELAY, VOICE2 DELAY – Sets the delay time of the voice. When a delay time is shown in
parenthesis, it is being set automatically by a TEMPO parameter (see below). Set the corresponding TEMPO to
“NONE” for manual control.
VOICE1 DLYTEMPO, VOICE2 DLYTEMPO – Locks the corresponding TIME parameter in rhythmic
relation to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120 BPM, and TEMPO is set to “1/4” (one echo
per beat), time will be 500 ms. To ignore the global tempo, set to “NONE.”
VOICE1 FEEDBACK, VOICE 2 FEEDBACK – Sets how much of the output signal is returned to the input
for “shift-upon-shift” effects. Using both feedback and delay (above) results in cool-sounding cascades.
5.24.3
Intelligent Harmony
The Intelligent Harmony Pitch Shifter block type creates harmonies within a certain musical key and scale. The
SCALES parameter taps a small onboard database of music theory data to adjust shift amounts based on which note
you play. This makes it possible, for instance, to harmonize a melody around a key center without the shifter
playing any “wrong” notes. (With due respect, YOU still need to play the “right” notes for this to work.) Between
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the actual note played and the two shifted voices, three-note chords can be formed. Crank out some Maiden,
Boston, or Thin Lizzy all by yourself!
Figure 5-29 – The Intelligent Harmony Pitch Shifter Type
VOICE1 DETUNE, VOICE 2 DETUNE – Sets the detune amount of each voice within +/- 50 cents.
KEY – Sets the key that the harmony will be in.
LEARN – While learn is ON, the KEY parameter will automatically change to whatever single note you play.
Assign to a footswitch for modulations right in the middle of a phrase! Turn this OFF again to return to normal
harmonizer function.
SCALE – Sets the scale or mode into which notes will be shifted.
TRACK MODE – Sets how the harmony will track the input. SMOOTH allows the shifted note to follow bends
and vibrato in the input. STEPPED locks the harmony to the nearest chromatic tone.
GLIDE TIME – Sets the rate at which the harmony shifts from the one pitch to another as different notes are
played.
TRACKING – Allows fine-tuning the pitch shifter “splice length.” For large shifts, this control can help
improve the quality of the shifted note. TRACKING is the same as “TRACK ADJ” in other Pitch Shifter types.
VOICE1 HARMONY, VOICE 2 HARMONY — Sets the scale degree that each voice will sound.
It is important to recognize that this is NOT a “semitones” control but a specification of which note in the
scale should be used. To hear how it works, or to audition any scale, set the KEY to “G,” play the open G string
and change the HARMONY value. Compare IONIAN (MAJ) to AEOLIAN (MIN) in this way and you’ll get the idea.
If the current scale contains more or less than seven notes, not including the tonic, (diminished, whole tone,
custom, etc.), you may need to use your ears or do a bit of math to identify how its degrees play out over
multiple octaves.
VOICE1 DELAY, VOICE 2 DELAY – Sets the delay time of the voice in milliseconds.
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VOICE1 DLYTEMPO, VOICE 2 DLYTEMPO – Locks the delay time to the global tempo. For example, if
the global tempo is 120 BPM, and TEMPO is set to a quarter note “1/4,” then the delay time will be 500 ms. To
ignore the global tempo, set the tempo control to NONE.
Custom Scale
The Intelligent Harmonizer allows you to create a custom scale and save it with the preset. To use this feature,
set the SCALE parameter (above) to CUSTOM, set the number of CUSTOM NOTES, and set up your scales notes
in any key based on an arbitrary TONIC. As with other scales, the actual KEY setting (above) determines how
your custom scale will be transposed and compared to the note played for creating custom harmonies.
In comparison to the Custom Shifter (5.24.9, below), in which any input note of the chromatic scale can be
shifted +/- 24 semitones, the Intelligent Harmonizer requires that your creations contain from four to eight
notes (including the tonic), and each scale degree must be at least ½ step higher than the previous.
CUSTOM NOTES – Sets the number of notes when using a custom scale. Custom scales can have between
four and eight notes.
TONIC – This parameter has no effect on how the scale will sound in actual use but instead serves as an aid
so you can see an example of your custom scale transposed to any arbitrary key. Change this value and other
scale degrees will automatically update. It is the KEY parameter (above) which actually transposes your custom
scale for use during actual performance.
NOTE 1,2,3…8 – These are the notes of your custom scale relative to the TONIC. Set these to define the
scale degrees.
Scale Formulas
Here is a set of scale formulas for those scales used in the pitch shifter’s Intelligent Harmonizer and Arpeggio
modes. If scale names look slightly different from what you’ve learned, remember this joke: “Q: How many guys
does it take to name a Jazz scale? A: Well, let’s see there’s Bird, Yardbird, Zoizeau, Charlie, Satchmo, Pops, Satchel
Mouth, Dipper Mouth, Louis… so that’s TWO right there!”
SCALE TYPE
IONIAN (MAJOR)
DORIAN
PHRYGIAN
LYDIAN
MIXOLYDIAN
AEOLIAN (MINOR)
LOCRIAN
MELODIC MINOR
HARMONIC MINOR
BLUES SCALE
DIMINISHED (whole-half)
WHOLE TONE
DOMINANT 7 (aka dim half-whole)
DIMINISHED/WHOLETONE
PENTATONIC MAJOR
PENTATONIC MINOR
BLUES
CHROMATIC
96
DEGREES/FORMULA
1
2
3
4
1
2
3
4
1
2
b3
4
1 b2 b3
4
1
2
3
#4
1
2
3
4
1
2
b3
4
1 b2 b3
4
1
2
b3
4
1
2
b3
4
1 b3
4
b5
1
2
b3
4
1
2
3
b5
1 b2 #2
3
1 b2 #2
3
1
2
3
5
1 b3
4
5
1 b3
4
b5
All 12 tones
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
b5
5
5
5
b5
#5
#4
#4
6
b7
5
6
6
6
b6
6
6
b6
b6
6
b6
b7
b6
b7
5
#5
7
7
b7
b7
7
b7
b7
b7
7
7
8
6
7
6
b7
b7
b7
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5.24.4
Classic Whammy
The whammy, first introduced in 1991, is a relative
newcomer to the field of guitar effects. The Classic
Whammy brings all of the expected sounds to the Axe-Fx
II. Its CONTROL parameter is designed to be operated
remotely using a modifier (p. 124), typically assigned to
some source controlled by a pedal. In comparison to the
Advanced Whammy (p. 99) this type has only a few
combinations of octave up/octave down.
Parameters
Figure 5-30 - The Classic Whammy Pitch Shifter Type
MODE – Selects the Whammy mode:






UP 1 Octave
DOWN 1 octave
UP 2 Octaves
DOWN 2 octaves
UP/DOWN 1 Octaves
UP/DOWN 2 octaves
CONTROL – Adjusts the output pitch. Attach to a controller for dynamic control of the pitch. See the Wah
pedal tutorial on p. 162 for more details on doing this.
The introduction to this section covers COMMON, MASTER, TRACKING, and MIX parameters.
5.24.5
Octave Divider
The Octave Divider simulates the classic analog effect and
works by actually turning the input into a square wave
and then dividing the signal by two using flip-flops. Like
the classic effect, this effect only works on single notes
and works best on notes above the fifth fret. Experiment
with pickup selection and effect placement to achieve the
best results. Shift 1 and Shift 2 are fixed at one and two
octaves down.
LVL1, LVL2 – Sets the volume levels of the octaves.
Figure 5-31 - The Octave Divider Pitch Shifter Type
PAN1, PAN2 – Sets the panning of the octaves.
The introduction to this section covers COMMON, MASTER, TRACKING, and MIX parameters.
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5.24.6
Crystals
The Crystals Pitch Shifter is similar to the Fixed Harmony mode (p. 94) but is designed for special effects. It
features much longer possible “splice” times inside the shifter, reverse shifting, and a flexible feedback
architecture.
Figure 5-32 – The Crystals Pitch Shifter Type
VOICE1 DETUNE, VOICE 2 DETUNE – Sets the detune amount of the voice in a range of +/- 50 cents.
VOICE1 SHIFT, VOICE2 SHIFT – Sets the shift amount of the voice in a range of +/- 12 half-steps.
VOICE1 LEVEL, VOICE2 LEVEL – Sets the volume level of the voice.
VOICE1 PAN, VOICE2 PAN – Sets the panning of the voice.
VOICE1 DELAY, VOICE2 DELAY – Sets the delay time of the voice. When a delay time is shown in
parenthesis, it is being set automatically by a TEMPO parameter (see below). Set the corresponding TEMPO to
“NONE” for manual control.
VOICE1 DLYTEMPO, VOICE2 DLYTEMPO – Locks the corresponding TIME parameter in rhythmic
relation to the global tempo.
VOICE1 FEEDBACK, VOICE 2 FEEDBACK – Sets the feedback of the voice to the input. By delaying and
feeding a voice back, strange pitch effects can be created as the note is shifted again and again.
FEEDBACK TYPE – Selects the type of feedback. DUAL sends the individual voices back to their respective
delay lines. BOTH mixes the voices and sends them back to both delay lines. PING-PONG sends each voice to
the opposite delay line.
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For sake of explanation, the Crystal algorithm “splicing” parameters detailed below are not listed in the order in
which they appear on the display of the Axe-Fx II.
VOICE1 SPLICE, VOICE2 SPLICE – Pitch shifting breaks a signal into pieces called “granules.” These are
manipulated individually and then “spliced” back together. This parameter sets the length of the granules in
milliseconds.
VOICE1 SPLTEMPO, VOICE1 SPLTEMPO – Sets splice time in rhythmic relation to the global tempo.
DIRECTION – Determines whether the processed granules are played back forwards or backwards. To
understand how reverse works, imagine a word whose individual letters have been mirror-imaged but are still
in the correct left-to-right order (“
”). The length of the snippets depends on the SPLICE settings (above).
CROSSFADE – Sets the amount of overlap in the audio granules. A low setting will make the edges more
discrete, while a high setting will tend to blend splices together.
Example: Imagine that the shaded rectangle below represents an audio signal, like a piece of reel-to-reel tape.
The signal is divided into SPLICE-parameter-sized “granules.”
Setting DIRECTION to “REVERSE” does this:
CROSSFADE applies overlaps and tiny fade-ins/fade-outs to blend spliced edges:
Figure 5-33 – Splicing
5.24.7
Advanced Whammy
The Advanced Whammy is identical to the Classic Whammy (p. 97) except that its shift range may be set to any
custom number of semitones within a range of +/- 24.
Parameters
The parameters for the Advanced Whammy are the same as the Classic with the following differences:
START – Sets the start pitch shift amount in semitones. This is the amount of pitch shift applied when the
CTRL knob is in the minimum position.
STOP – Sets the stop pitch shift amount in semitones. This is the amount of pitch shift applied when the CTRL
knob is in the maximum position.
The introduction to this section covers COMMON, MASTER, TRACKING, and MIX parameters.
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5.24.8
Arpeggiator
The Arpeggiator uses a 32-step sequencer to control the shift amount of a harmonizer so that complex arpeggio
patterns can be created from a single note. Arpeggios “intelligently” transpose inside the designated key/scale as
you play different notes. So, in the key of C (Ionian) Major, the note “C natural” will arpeggiate as C-E-G (C major),
but the note D natural will arpeggiate as D-F-A (d minor).
Figure 5-34 – The Arpeggiator Pitch Shifter Type
Parameters
The Arpeggiator parameters are identical to those of the Intelligent Harmony shifter (p. 94) except as noted
below:
RUN – When set to “ON,” the sequence starts. When set to “OFF,” the sequence stops and resets to the
beginning. Attach the Envelope Follower (p. 131) to re-trigger the sequence on each new note.
SCALE – Sets the type of scale, or scale mode, that the notes of the arpeggio will be drawn from. Examples
are Ionian (major), Aeolian (minor), whole tone, etc. Set to CUSTOM to use custom scale tones (see Intelligent
Harmony above for details).
KEY – Sets the key that the harmony will be in.
STAGES – Sets the number of stages in the pitch sequencer.
REPEATS – Sets the number of times the sequence will repeat once triggered. Set to INFINITE to loop
forever.
TEMPO – Sets the duration of each sequencer step as a rhythmic value in relation to the global tempo.
GLIDE TIME – Sets the rate at which the harmony shifts from one pitch to another as the arpeggio shifts.
AMPLITUDE SHAPE, PAN SHAPE – Specifies how the volume or pan changes as the arpeggiator plays
through one cycle. See Megatap Delay (p. 76) for more detail on shapes and alpha.
AMPLITUDE ALPHA, PAN ALPHA – Sets the acceleration of the rate of volume or pan change.
A setting of 0% results in no effect, while 100% results in an extreme effect.
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STAGE 1,2,3…16 SHIFT – Tricky but ideally implemented for maximum flexibility, this parameter sets the
number of scale degrees that each note of the arpeggiator will be shifted above or below the note played.
Let’s look at the example of a four-stage arpeggio with values of 0, 2, 4, and 7. We’ll place it in the key of C for
comfort, with a scale type of IONIAN (MAJOR). When we play a C, the arpeggio will be heard as C-E-G-C’,
because:




C + 0 scale degrees = C…
C + 2 scale degrees = E (C…D,E)
C + 4 scale degrees = G (C…D,E,F,G)
C + 7 scale degrees = C’ (C…D,E,F,G,A,B,C’)
Remember that the notes of the arpeggios and the steps required to arrive at them are drawn only
from the current key/scale. Scales with more or fewer than seven notes in one octave (diminished, whole
tone, custom, etc.) can require some mental math, and it’s sometimes easiest to just use your ears.
Tip: By choosing the CHROMATIC scale, you can create a pattern that ignores the notes you play and simply
shifts pitch by the specified number of semitones.
The introduction to this section covers COMMON, MASTER, TRACKING, and MIX parameters.
5.24.9
Custom Shifter
The Custom Shifter is identical to the Intelligent Harmony Pitch Shifter (p. 94) except that it uses the custom
scales tables stored in the global memory. See section 8.3 on p. 134 for more information on setting up global
scales.
VOICE 1 SCALE, VOICE 2 SCALE – Selects the custom scale to use for each voice.
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5.25 Quad Chorus [QCH]
The Quad Chorus was designed to enable sounds beyond those of the legendary “Tri-Stereo” chorus, a fixture of
80s session player clean sound. It takes time to set up, but your efforts will be rewarded with incredibly lush and
liquid chorus sounds. It is a four-voice chorus with a powerfully complex modulation generator.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Quad Chorus blocks.
Figure 5-35 – The Quad Chorus Block
The parameters of the Quad Chorus are divided across pages for Master, Chorus 1–4, Advanced, and Mix.
Master Parameters
TIME – Scales the times set individually for each of the chorus voices.
RATE – Sets the master rate against which the rates of LFOs 1–4 are set as multiples.
DEPTH – Controls the depth of LFO4 for all chorus voices.
FDBK – Feedback for all four voices is controlled solely by this parameter. Classic chorus would typically
require a setting of 0%, while flanging is possible with higher settings (though extreme settings can cause
runaway oscillation).
INPUT MODE – The STEREO mode is shown above: left input feeds voices 1 and 2; right input feeds voices 3
and 4. In MONO mode, the two inputs are summed into all voices.
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Chorus Unit Parameters
Each chorus unit has an identical set of parameters.
TIME – Sets the minimum time delay of the selected chorus voice. All modulation is positive/unipolar.
LEVEL – Sets the output level of the selected chorus voice.
PAN – Sets the panning of the selected chorus voice in the stereo field.
DEPTH – Sets the modulation depth for the selected chorus voice’s MORPH blend of LFOs 1/2/3.
The depth of LFO 4 is set for all voices simultaneously via the MAIN DEPTH parameter on the advanced page.
LFO MORPH – This parameter taps any one, or a blend of any two, of LFOs 1, 2, and 3 to use as a
modulation source for the current voice. The scale below shows how the percentage setting selects between
the LFOs. A value of 0% taps only LFO1, while 75% would be an even blend of LFO2 and LFO3.
Figure 5-36 – Quad Chorus LFO Morph Scale
Advanced Parameters
The “MASTER” parameters on the Advanced Page are duplicates of items on the MASTER page (detailed above).
WIDE MODE – When this in set to “ON,” the modulation to voices 2 and 4 from their LFO MORPH outputs is
inverted to widen the stereo effect.
MAIN DEPTH – Controls the depth of LFO4, which modulates all four chorus voices.
MAIN PHASE – Sets the phase difference for the main LFO (LFO4) output to chorus voices 2 and 4.
LFO1 MASTER – If this is set to “ON,” the controls for LFO 1 also control the rates.
LFO TYPE 1–4 – Selects the type of LFO for each LFO.
LFO RATE MULT 1–4 – Sets the rate of each LFO as a multiple of the MASTER RATE.
Note: MASTER RATE appears as “RATE” on the MASTER page and as “MASTER RATE” on the ADVANCED page.
Quad Chorus Mix Parameters
The Quad Chorus block has a MIX page with MIX, LEVEL, BALANCE, BYPASS MODE, and GLOBAL MIX parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p. 117 for more details on these.
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5.26 Resonator [RES]
The Resonator consists of four resonant comb filters in
parallel. By tuning the comb filters, a metallic or resonant
timbre can be achieved from normally non-musical signals.
The Resonator works best on transient signals like speech or
percussion but can also be used to add unique character to
musical inputs.
In series with each comb filter is a bandpass filter tuned to
the same frequency. These filters can be placed before or
after the comb filters. They are shown in the “after” position
in the diagram to the right.
Figure 5-37 –- The Resonator Block,
Shown in its MONO INPUT MODE.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Resonator blocks.
Parameters
MODE – The Resonator can operate in one of two modes.


MANUAL: Resonator/filter frequencies are set individually as desired from 100–10,000 Hz.
CHORDAL: Resonator/filter frequencies are set automatically based on a setting for CHORD TYPE. A base
FREQUENCY scales all four voices to any pitch/key.
INGAIN – At high feedback levels, overload can easily occur. This scales the level into the effect for control.
MASTER FREQ/FREQUENCY – In MANUAL MODE, MASTER FREQUENCY scales the frequencies set
manually for the four resonators/filters. In CHORDAL MODE, this is replaced by FREQUENCY, which sets the
frequency for the chord root.
MASTER LEVEL – Scales all the output levels.
MASTER PAN – Scales all the output pans. Use negative values to reverse the stereo image.
MASTER FEEDBACK – Scales the feedback of all four resonators.
MASTER Q – Scales the Q of all four bandpass filters.
INPUT MODE – Selects between MONO, where left and right input signals are summed to all four
resonators, and STEREO, in which the left input channel feeds resonators 1+2 and the right feeds 3+4.
FREQUENCY 1–4 – Sets the resonant frequency of the selected filter.
FEEDBACK 1–4 – Sets the resonance of the selected filter by varying the feedback.
FILTER LOC 1–4 – Selects the position of the bandpass filter in relation to the resonator.
FILTER Q 1–4 – Sets the Q of the selected bandpass filter.
LEVEL 1–4 – Sets the output level of the selected filter.
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PAN 1–4 – Sets the panning of the selected filter.
Resonator Mix Parameters
The Resonator block has a MIX page with MIX, LEVEL, BALANCE, BYPASS MODE, and GLOBAL MIX parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p. 117 for more details on these.
5.27 Reverb [REV]
Aside from distortion, no effect has been more important to the electric guitar than reverb. Since the dawn of
guitar amplification, guitarists in small spaces yearned for the sounds their amps made in a hall or large room.
Early simulators incorporated metal springs and plates, but as with delay processing, reverberation effects were
truly revolutionized by digital technology. The Axe-Fx II is one of the finest you are likely to have heard: realistic,
lush, and dense, with the ability to emulate real spaces, vintage springs, classic digital effects, and more.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Reverb blocks.
Figure 5-38 – The Reverb Block
Reverb X/Y Channel Switching
Each instance of the Reverb block stores two fully independent sets of parameters called X and Y. Selecting
between these allows you to change all block settings—instantly—at the touch of a switch or button (excluding
current Bypass State and any Modifier assignments). See X/Y Switching on p. 36 for more information.
Basic Parameters
TYPE – Selects the reverb type. There are seven basic types and several variations. Changing the TYPE will set
values for other reverb parameters as well, but these can then all be freely modified manually.
Type
Notes
Room
Simulates an actual room. This is the type to use when you want the most natural,
realistic reverb. Also great on vocals and percussion.
Similar to the Room reverb but simulates a concert hall. It is a little less smooth and
has some response peaks, lending it a unique character. Use this when you want
your sound to stand out a little.
Hall
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Chamber
Plate
Cathedral
Spring
Cavern
Simulates the sound of large, boxy chamber. Useful when you want a bright,
resonant reverb sound.
Simulates the sound of a vintage reverb plate characterized by smooth yet bright
sound that is especially popular for vocals. The Axe-Fx II Plate simulation captures
the "shiny" sound without all the complicated setup.
Surround your tone with heavenly reverb in this incredible simulation of a grand
space.
Simulates the classic electro-mechanical reverb effect that has traditionally been
placed inside guitar combo amps as well as standalone reverberators.
Carlsbad has nothing on this monster. A vast, cavernous space.
TIME – Sets the decay time. This is the amount of time it takes for the reverb to vanish beyond the point of
perception. This is also known as the “t60” time, referring to the amount of time required for the reverb to
decay to 0.001 of its initial value (-60 dB).
INPUT GAIN – Sets input level into the reverb. Primarily for use with a pedal or other control to set the
“Send” to the reverb (allowing reverb to ring out even after the pedal is pulled back). In other situations this
should normally be set to “100%.”
MIX and LEVEL are duplicated from the MIX page.
Advanced Parameters
TYPE, TIME – Duplicated from the BASIC page (p.105).
SIZE – Sets the size of the space or spring. This controls the length of time it takes for an echo to bounce
between virtual surfaces. Higher settings increase the echo time and the delay before the reverb starts.
Large values can make the reverb more “grainy” as the time between the individual repeats increases. Lower
settings smooth out the reverb, but very small values will create a metallic sound.
As the size is increased, the reverb will become somewhat darker as high frequencies are absorbed.
COLOR – Adjusts the high-frequency absorption for a darker or brighter reverb tail.
INPUT DIFFUSION – Controls the amount of diffusion applied to the signal before it hits the main reverb
generator. Greater diffusion reduces “distinctness” and increases the “density” of the tail.
DIFFUSION TIME – Controls the length of the input diffusor. Lower values simulate a small diffusion space.
Higher values simulate a large space.
WALL DIFFUSION – Controls how quickly the reverb tail’s density builds. Lower values cause discrete
echoes to be heard for a longer time. Higher values cause the echo density to build rapidly.
ECHO DENSITY – Controls the initial density of the reverb tail. Higher values give a smoother sound. Lower
values allow the individual repeats to be more easily discerned. The overall smoothness of the reverb tail is a
function of this parameter along with the DIFFUSION and SIZE parameters. Large SIZE values will make the
individual echoes more apparent, as will lower values of DIFFUSION. For legato sounds, a low DENSITY value
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may be more suitable. For short, percussive sounds, a higher value may be more desirable as the reverb tail
will be smoother. Adjust to taste based on the program material.
PRE DELAY – Adds extra delay before the reverb starts. The SIZE control automatically imparts a certain
amount of delay before the reverb starts. Use this control to add more delay if desired. For example, if the SIZE
is low, the reverb will start almost immediately. You can use this control to add some delay before the reverb
starts but keep the small-sounding size.
TAIL DELAY – This delays the reverb tail independently of the reverb’s “early reflections.” It can simulate the
sound of spaces in which reflections from surfaces at different distances reach the listener at different times.
EARLY LEVEL – Adjusts the relative volume level of the early reflections. This control has no effect for the
Spring Reverb type.
REVERB LEVEL – Adjusts the relative volume level of the reverb tail.
MOD DEPTH – This parameter controls the depth of modulation of the reverb tail. For a more musical
sound, experiment with this and the MOD RATE control. The reverb contains an LFO that modulates the delay
lines that make up the reverb. This modulation helps fill out the soundstage and makes the reverb sound
fuller. The modulation is best used on pitched instruments. For non-pitched instruments like drums, it may
sound better with the modulation off. Set the depth to zero to defeat the modulation. To hear the effect of
the modulation, turn the mix to max and adjust the depth and rate. Then set the mix to the desired amount.
MOD RATE – Controls the rate of modulation of the reverb tail.
NUMBER SPRINGS – When the TYPE is set to “SPRING,” this sets the number of springs in the simulation.
SPRING TONE – When the TYPE is set to “SPRING”, this changes the character, emphasizing different tonal
aspects of the simulation. Lower values create a darker tone.
SPRING DRIVE – This simulates overdriving the circuit of the reverb when the TYPE is set to “SPRING.”
Reverb EQ Parameters
The reverb features a powerful equalizer with high and low-pass, plus two peaking-type filters.
LOW CUT – Sets the frequency of the low-cut filter. Increase for thinner sounds.
HIGH CUT– Sets the frequency of the high-cut filter. Decrease for darker sounds.
FREQ 1, GAIN 1, Q 1 – Controls the first peaking filter. Select the frequency and amount to boost or cut.
Set Q to determine the width of the effect.
FREQ 2, GAIN 2, Q 2 – Controls for the second peaking filter.
The Reverb block has a MIX page with MIX, LEVEL, BALANCE, BYPASS MODE, and GLOBAL MIX parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p. 117 for more details on these.
A Word on “Spillover”
The Axe-Fx II Reverb is capable of “spillover,” which means that effect tails ring out when the effect is bypassed or
when you change presets. For more on this subject, please see Setting Up Spillover on p. 164.
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5.28 Ring Modulator [RNG]
Figure 5-38 – The Ring Modulator Block
Commonly used on synth and fusion electric piano sounds
(or to create Dalek/X-wing pilot voices), the Ring
Modulator uses fast changes in amplitude to create
subtones or supertones harmonically unrelated to the
input. The Axe-Fx II Ring Modulator goes beyond the
classic effect in that the modulation frequency can be
dynamically controlled by the pitch of the input.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Ring Modulator blocks.
Parameters
FREQ – Sets the frequency of the oscillator.
FMULT – Sets the frequency multiplier for the oscillator. The actual oscillator frequency is the FREQ value
multiplied by the FMULT value.
TRACK – When this is set to “ON,” the frequency of the oscillator tracks the input pitch. The actual frequency
is then the pitch multiplied by the FMULT value.
HICUT – Sets the cutoff frequency of a low-pass filter on the output.
Ring Modulator Mix Parameters
The Ring Modulator block has a MIX page with MIX, LEVEL, BALANCE, BYPASS MODE, and GLOBAL MIX parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p. 117 for more details on these.
5.29 Rotary Speaker [ROT]
A Hammond B3 Organ without a Leslie cabinet is like a BLT without the lettuce and tomato. Guitar players also
discovered the wonderful, spinning, 3D sound of the Leslie and its brethren. The classic unit contains a spinning
drum with a slot in it, and a rotating horn called a rotor. A low-frequency speaker is aimed into the drum while
high frequencies are sent to the spinning horn. The result is unmistakable: from schmaltzy hockey-game to
Steppenwolf, the Leslie sound is ubiquitous. Drum-only versions have been produced by other manufacturers;
Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Cold Shot" offers an example of the sound of this variant.
The Axe-Fx II Rotary Speaker simulator reproduces all these classic sounds and offers more control. Also, it doesn't
weigh 300 lbs. or require four guys to move it up a flight of stairs. Isn't technology great?
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Rotary Speaker blocks.
Figure 5-39 – The Rotary Speaker Block
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Parameters
RATE – Controls the rate at which the "drum and rotor" spin. Connect this to a controller for real-time
control. When RATE is shown in parenthesis, it is being controlled by the tempo parameter (below). Set TEMPO
to “NONE” for manual rate control.
TEMPO – Locks the rate to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120 BPM, and TEMPO is set
to a “1/4,” the LFO rate will be 2 Hz (120 BPM / 60 seconds = 2). To ignore the global tempo set the tempo
control to NONE.
LOW DEPTH – Sets the modulation depth of the drum. Higher settings provide a more pronounced throb.
HI DEPTH – Sets the modulation depth of the rotor. To simulate a rotating drum-only cabinet, reduce this.
HI LEVEL – Sets the output level of the rotor. Use this to balance the level between the drum and rotor.
ROTOR LENGTH – This parameter adjusts the length of the virtual high-frequency horn. Larger values
increase the amount of Doppler shift and result in a more intense effect.
LOW RATE MULTIPLIER – Adjusts the speed of drum rotation compared to the rotor (which always spins
at the value set for TEMPO, above).
LOW TIME CONSTANT, HI TIME CONSTANT – Sets acceleration/deceleration rates of the drum/rotor.
MIC WIDTH – Sets the placement of the (neutral-sounding) virtual mics, determining the stereo width of the
effect. Because the spinning is cool in stereo, you may be tempted to run full-wide, but believe it or not, the
great Leslie sounds are often recorded in mono!
The Rotary Speaker has MIX, LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE controls. See Common Mix Parameters on p. 117.
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5.30 Synth [SYN]
The Axe-Fx II Synth block contains a three-voice monophonic
synthesizer that can be used as a tone generator or to track the pitch
of your playing for synth leads with a guitar or other instrument. Each
voice has its own resonant filter and may be set to produce any of
seven different oscillator waveforms. The global ADSRs or LFOs may be
used to modulate a variety of functions. Each Axe-Fx II preset can use
two fully independent Synth blocks.
Parameters
Figure 5-39 –- The Synth Block
The synth has three voices, each with the following parameters:
TYPE – Sets the waveform to Sine, Triangle, Square, Sawtooth, Random, White Noise, or Pink Noise.
TRACK – Selects the type of input tracking.

OFF – Allows the frequency and level to be set manually via the FREQ and LEVEL controls.

ENV ONLY – Selects the level to be controlled by the envelope while frequency is set manually.

PITCH+ENV – Selects the frequency and level to be controlled by the pitch and envelope of the input.
FREQ – If input tracking is set to “OFF” or “ENV ONLY,” this parameter sets the oscillator frequency.
SHIFT – Shifts the frequency of the oscillator up or down in semitone steps.
TUNE – Detunes the oscillator slightly up to +/- 50 cents.
DUTY – When using the TRIANGLE or SQUARE waveforms, this parameter controls the symmetry or pulse
width of the waveform.
LEVEL – Controls the output level of the oscillator.
PAN – Controls the panning of the oscillator.
FILTER – Sets the cutoff frequency of a low-pass filter after the oscillator.
Q – Sets the Q or resonance of the post-oscillator filter.
ATTACK – Sets the attack time of the envelope follower on the input.
Synth Mix Parameters
The Synth block has a MIX page with MIX, LEVEL, BALANCE, BYPASS MODE, and GLOBAL MIX parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p. 117 for more details on these.
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5.31 Tone Match [TMA]
The Tone Match block matches the sound of the Axe-Fx II to
the sound of another amp, recording, or device. It does this
by analyzing the difference between a “reference signal” and
the sound of a starting point preset (the “local” signal).
The Tone matching process is covered by a separate minimanual available on our web site. Here is a summary:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
CREATE a starting point preset on the Axe-Fx II, dialing it in as close as possible to the desired tone. Don’t
forget to include the Tone Match block, positioned where it can “hear” the designated reference signal
and the output of your starting preset.
CONFIGURE the Tone Match block input options and connect or route the reference signal to the Axe-Fx.
CAPTURE the reference and local signals (using X and Y buttons) and watch as frequency plots are drawn
in the display.
COMPARE the reference and local signals (pressing ENTER) to produce the final Tone Match.
COMPLETE the process by saving the preset. Tone Match data is stored inside the preset, which can be
copied, exported or shared without needing to attach anything extra.
Optionally, Tone Match Data can be exported for use as an Axe-Fx II User Cab IR (see the “User Cabs” subsection
of 5.2 on p 48 for more.)
REF SOURCE – This specifies where the Tone Match block will pick up the Reference Signal.
REF CHAN, LOCAL CHAN – The tone Match block can analyze and process only in mono. These
parameters determines whether left, right, or a sum of left and right channels will be monitored by the tone
match block for the “reference” and “local” signals.
AVG TIME – Determines how long of a time window is used during signal capture. Setting this to max
invokes PEAK HOLD mode, which uses the maximum value observed for any frequency instead of averaging.
AMOUNT – Scales the Tone Match between full and flat, determining the magnitude of its effect.
SMOOTHING – This reduces the prevalence of peaks and valleys in the IR to ease a “notchy” sound.
Tone Match Mix Parameters
The PROCESS page also has LEVEL, BALANCE, and BYPASS MODE parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p. 117 for more information.
The Global Blocks feature is not available for the Tone Match block.
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5.32 Vocoder [VOC]
The Axe-Fx II has a digital recreation of the classic analog
vocoder. The vocoder, created by Homer Dudley, was
originally designed as means of compressing human
speech for transmission over narrow-band carrier
channels. In the 1970s, Robert Moog and Wendy Carlos
pioneered the use of the Vocoder for musical applications.
The Axe-Fx II Vocoder block pays faithful homage to those
early analog Vocoders. Using a true constant-Q approach,
Figure 5-40 –- The Vocoder Block
it can be used to make your guitar “talk” or to make your voice
sound like a robot [chicken]. When using the Vocoder with your guitar or other instrument as the carrier (synthesis
bank), resist the urge to sing along. Speaking in a monotone voice yields the best results.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use one Vocoder block.
Parameters
INSEL – Selects the input to use for the synthesis (carrier) channel. This is the input to use for your guitar or
other instrument. The other input is then the analysis channel and is typically used for vocal input.
BANDS – Selects the number of bands to use in the analysis and synthesis filter banks.
MIN FREQ – Sets the frequency of the lowest filter band.
MAX FREQ – Sets the frequency of the highest filter band.
RES – Sets the Q, or bandwidth, of the filters. Higher values yield narrower filters.
SHIFT – Shifts the frequency of the synthesis bands relative to the analysis bands. This allows you to change
the character of the vocoding to produce “anonymous mob informant” or “chipmunk” effects.
HPMIX – Sets the amount of high-pass filtered signal to mix in with the synthesis output. This can be used to
increase the intelligibility of the vocoding by allowing certain consonants and air sounds to pass right through.
ATT – Sets attack filter time for the envelope followers.
REL – Sets release filter time for the envelope followers.
FREEZE – Turning this to ON freezes the output of the envelope followers. This can be used to hold the vocal
formant.
MASTER LEVEL – Sets the master level for all the synthesis filter outputs.
MASTER PAN – Sets master panning for all the synthesis filter outputs. Individual control of the filter output
levels and panning is provided on dedicated menu pages. You can use these controls to fine-tune the filter
bank response and control the panning of the filter outputs.
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LEVEL 1–16 – These parameters appear as sliders across two pages. They set the out level for each of the 16
bands.
PAN 1–16 – These parameters appear as sliders across two pages. They set the out pan for each of the 16
bands.
Vocoder Mix Parameters
The Vocoder block has a MIX page with MIX, LEVEL, BALANCE, BYPASS MODE, and GLOBAL MIX parameters.
See Common Mix Parameters on p. 117 for more details on these.
5.33 Volume/Pan [VOL]
The Volume/Pan block can be used either as a “spot fix,” to adjust volumes or pans within a preset, or as a
dynamic control with an external expression pedal.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use four fully independent Volume blocks.
VOLUME – Scales the output level out of the block. Assign a modifier to create a volume pedal. See the Wah
pedal tutorial for more details on doing this (p. 162).
BALANCE – Sets the balance (L/R) out of the block.
VOLUME TAPER – Sets the “taper” of the volume control. “LINEAR” selects a linear taper. Log 30A, 15A,
and 10A select various tapers typically used for volume control.
INPUT SELECT –This control determines how incoming stereo signals will be passed. Options include
STEREO, LEFT ONLY, or RIGHT ONLY.
PAN L, PAN R – Controls the panning of the left and right output signals.
BYP MODE – Sets the bypass mode of the block. See Common Mix Parameters on p. 117 for more
information.
LEVEL – Sets the output level of the block independent of the setting for the VOLUME control.
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5.34 Wahwah [WAH]
From Jimi Hendrix's “Voodoo Chile” to, well, Stevie Ray Vaughan's “Voodoo Chile,” the wah pedal holds a unique
place in the annals of rock history. The Axe-Fx II Wahwah is the embodiment of this legacy but with modern
reliability and control and a smooooth feel.
A wah is actually a very straightforward device. The signal is passed through a resonant filter whose frequency is
controlled by a pedal. The Wahwah may be placed before distortion for a subtler, classic sound or after distortion
for a more prominent and aggressive sound.
The wah is stereo-in/stereo-out.
Each Axe-Fx II preset can use two fully independent Wahwah blocks.
Wahwah X/Y Channel Switching
Each instance of the WAH block stores two fully independent sets of parameters called X and Y. Selecting between
these allows you to change all block settings—instantly—at the touch of a switch or button (excluding current
Bypass State and any Modifier assignments). See X/Y Switching on p. 36 for more information.
Parameters
TYPE – Selects between a low-pass, bandpass, or peaking filter. A bandpass filter gives a more dramatic
sound whereas the other filters are more subtle.
FMIN – Sets the frequency of the filter when the frequency control is at its lowest value. This can be adjusted
to match the range of your instrument or preference.
FMAX – Sets the frequency of the filter when the frequency control is at its highest value.
RES – Sets the resonance (“Q”) of the filter. Higher values give a more pronounced response.
DRIVE – This simulates overdriving the circuit of the wah pedal.
TRACK – Sets the “Q” tracking of the filter. As the frequency is increased, the resonance will be decreased by
an amount proportional to this value. If this is zero, the resonance of the filter will be constant at all
frequencies. Classic wah pedals usually have a resonance that decreases with frequency due to design
limitations. This control can be used to mimic those pedals.
CONTROL – Sets the position of the wah. Normally you would use a MODIFIER to assign this parameter for
real-time control, but simply dialing it in will give you a great “parked” wah sound.
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5.35 Input Noise Gate
Every Axe-Fx II preset includes a “built-in” Noise Gate connected directly to the main inputs. To edit noise gate
parameters, press LAYOUT and turn to the INPUT/GTE page.
The Noise Gate is always active but can be defeated by turning the THRESH control fully counterclockwise.
The Noise Gate is a downward expander with dynamic filtering. Any signal below the threshold is reduced by the
expansion ratio. This can provide smooth transitions as well as abrupt open/close-style gating.
Parameters
THRESH – Threshold control. Sets the level at which the Noise Gate will start its downward expansion. If the
input signal drops below this level, it will be attenuated by an amount controlled by the ratio.
RATIO – Sets the downward expansion ratio of the noise gate, thereby determining how much quieter the
signal will sound when the gate is closed. The ratio acts as a multiplier to further reduce signals below the
threshold by a factor of “x.”
For example, with threshold is set to “-50” and a ratio of “2.0,” an input signal at -60 dB (10 dB below the
threshold) will actually sound 20 dB below the threshold, (so, -80 dB).
ATTACK – Attack time control. Sets the rate at which the Noise Gate opens the gate.
RELEASE – Release time control. Sets the rate at which the Noise Gate attenuates the signal once the
threshold has been crossed. Higher values will make the signal gradually fade once it drops below the
threshold.
5.35.1
Input Impedance
The INPUT IMP parameter appears on the page with Noise Gate parameters, but is not part of the Noise Gate.
Instead, it changes the actual analog circuitry of the INSTR input jack to alter the way the Axe-Fx II interacts
with your guitar. This recreates the way that some classic effects (e.g. Vibe) “load down” the pickups, causing a
change in frequency response. The Axe-Fx II recreates this effect by switching various (real) resistors and a
capacitor in and out of the signal path.
In Auto mode, the impedance is automatically set based on the first active effect the input "sees."
Normally you will want to leave this on AUTO, but you may also select any of the following values manually. This
setting is saved with the preset.






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1MΩ+ Capacitor
230kΩ
230 kΩ + Capacitor
90 kΩ
90 kΩ + Capacitor
70 kΩ





70 kΩ + Capacitor
32 kΩ
32 kΩ + Capacitor
22 kΩ
22 kΩ + Capacitor
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5.36 Output Mixer
Every preset includes a fully programmable output mixer, located on the OUTPUT tab of the LAYOUT menu.
This provides four pairs of controls for setting the output level, balance for each of the four grid rows, and a master
level adjustment control.
Figure 5-41 – The Output Mixer
LEVEL 1–4 – Think of these as input faders. Each is connected to one row of the grid as shown above.
BAL 1–4 – Each of these is connected to one row of the grid as shown above and determines the left-right
balance for the incoming signals. See BALANCE under Common Mix Parameters (below) for more information.
MAIN – Sets the overall level of the main mix for the selected preset. Use this control to adjust the relative levels
of different presets, but be careful not to clip the main outputs.
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5.37 Common Mix Parameters
Almost every block in the Axe-Fx II has a MIX page with parameters to determine how the output of that block
contributes to the overall preset signal. On some blocks, these controls appear on other pages. Take a moment to
familiarize yourself with these important controls and the differences between their settings.
MIX – Determines the balance of wet and dry signals produced
at the block output. For basic purposes, setting the mix by ear is
generally the best way to achieve a desired result. With the
exception of a few blocks that use a constant power algorithm,
MIX controls the dB levels of wet and dry signals in an inverse
linear relationship. A mix setting of 50% results in both the dry
and the wet being at equal levels of attenuation (-6 db) in
comparison to their maximum output levels, as shown at right.
LEVEL – As you would expect, the LEVEL controls set the output level of a block. Almost all LEVEL controls have
a range from -80.00 to +20.00 dB. Exceptions include the Compressor and Filter (+/-20.00 dB) and the Drive,
which ranges from 0-10 dB.
BALANCE – Determines how the mixed signal of a block will
appear at its two outputs. A centered BALANCE setting of 0.0 results
in both left and right signals being at full volume. As the control is
turned either way from the center position, the opposite channel
gets quieter. Both the wet and the dry are affected.
BYPASS MODE – Determines exactly what happens when a block
is bypassed. The different options, not all of which are available for
every block, are detailed below.
MUTE IN –When the block is bypassed, its inputs are disconnected,
silencing the dry immediately but allowing existing effect “tails” to ring.
New signals are prevented from entering the effect until it is re-engaged.
MUTE OUT – When the block is bypassed, its inputs remain connected,
but its outputs are muted. With this setting, effect tails are silenced when
the block is bypassed, but signals can still enter before it is switched on.
MUTE FX IN – When the block is bypassed, the inputs to its internal Effect
Processor are disconnected. This allows effect “tails” to ring and leaves
the dry unaffected when the block is bypassed. The Dry is completely
unchanged—LEVEL and BALANCE settings remain in effect.
MUTE FX OUT – When the block is bypassed, the outputs of its internal
processor are pulled, but dry signal is totally unaffected. With this
setting, signals can enter a reverb or delay before it is engaged.
MUTE – When the block is bypassed, wet and dry are totally silenced.
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THRU – When bypassed, the block is completely disengaged. None of its parameters have any effect on the
sound; it behaves exactly as a shunt would in its place.
With BYPASS MODE settings of “MUTE FX IN” or “MUTE FX OUT,” the LEVEL and BALANCE controls will still affect
the dry signal when a block is bypassed.
The MODIFIER slot of the BYPASS MODE parameter does not actually connect to the bypass mode parameter,
but to the block’s BYPASS SWITCH (the same one that the FX BYP button controls).
IMPORTANT: When a modifier is attached to this switch, it becomes the ONLY way that you can bypass
or engage the effect. If you find an effect that won’t bypass/un-bypass, check this setting.
INPUT GAIN – This parameter, available on reverb, pitch shift, and all three types of delay blocks,
determines the amount of signal fed to the effect portion of the block. It has no effect on the dry signal.
Within the block, this simulates the way an “Aux Send” would normally feed an effect routed in parallel.
GLOBAL MIX – This switch determines whether or not the MIX setting of the selected effect will be subject
to an offset (+/- 50%) applied using the global EFFECTS MIX parameter (p. 133).
This feature is provided so you can design presets with the built-in ability for one-touch mix compensation in
playing environments that require more or less wet mix. It is offered on the following effect block types:
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Delay
Formant
Pitch
Ring Mod
Chorus
Megatap Delay
Quad Chorus
Rotary
Feedback Return
Multi Delay
Resonator
Synth
Flanger
Phaser
Reverb
Vocoder
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6 Global Blocks
6.1 Introduction
The Global Blocks feature is completely new and exclusive to the Axe-Fx II. Those familiar with Global Amps from
previous Axe-Fx products will find this system greatly expanded and improved. Those new to the Axe-Fx will
appreciate how Global Blocks enable central control of blocks shared across multiple presets.
With this feature, “links” keep designated blocks in your presets synchronized to their global “masters,” which are
stored in a separate and independent memory area of the Axe-Fx II. Changes saved to a Global Block cause linked
blocks to update when the presets that contain them are recalled. Links to Global Blocks remain in place until you
manually remove them—even if you make and save other changes to the block or the preset!
This enables you to create a favorite sound setting and use it to create one or more global blocks. When you load
these into multiple presets, each with other different effects, mix levels, routing—whatever suits your needs—they
are automatically “linked” back to the original global entries. Now, as favorite (global) sound settings evolve (as we
all know these things tend to do…) you no longer need to update all of the individual presets that rely on them.
You just save your tweaks into the Global Blocks, and the latest and greatest settings are automatically applied to
linked blocks as normal presets are recalled.
Any of the 60+ block type instances on the Axe-Fx II can become global blocks, with 10 global memories for each of
them. And, should you choose to REMOVE a link between a block and its global counterpart, this leaves both the
global and the normal blocks fully intact and able to be edited independently of one another again.
6.2 Using Global Blocks
The Global Blocks feature includes 10 global memories for each and every instance of every type of block (except
Tone Match, which is not supported). There are 10 global “Amp 1” memories, 10 global “Amp 2” memories, 10 for
Cab 1, Cab 2, Cho 1, Cho 2 …right down the line to “Wahwah 2.”
One important thing to note is that you can only save to, load from, or link with the Global Block that precisely
corresponds to the block instance you are using in a preset. Instance refers not only to the type, but to the possible
block number, as well. So for example, global “Cabinet 1” blocks may only be used with the “Cabinet 1” blocks in
your presets and not with “Cabinet 2” blocks.
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To review, the Global Blocks feature allows you to:
 SAVE the settings for any “normal” block into one of the 10 global memories for that block type/instance.
This also creates a “link” between the original block and the fully independent Global Block.
 LOAD the settings from any Global Block into a corresponding normal block, with or without creating a link.
(Loading without linking simply applies the settings from a global onto a normal block).
 Use LINKS to keep normal blocks in sync with Global Blocks. As a preset is loaded, any linked blocks are
seamlessly and instantly updated from their global masters, ensuring up-to-the-moment settings. You can
also UNLINK at any time, leaving both global and normal block settings intact.
Modifier settings are NOT saved with Global Blocks, but blocks that have an X/Y switch (p. 36) will have all
parameter settings for BOTH states saved in the Global Block.
Global Blocks are included in an Axe-Fx II SYSTEM backup or dump (p. 148).
Without further ado, let’s look at a “how-to.”
6.2.1 Saving to a Global Block
Let’s start with how to SAVE the settings of a block to a Global Preset. This assumes that you’ve already inserted a
block on the grid and adjusted its parameters to create a setting you
want to save as a Global Block.
 Select a block on the grid and press EDIT to open its EDIT menu.
 Double-click (or press and hold) the FX BYP button to open
the SAVE/LOAD GLOBAL BLOCK screen.
Make a mental note of the name (and if there is one, the number) of the block type you are
saving, shown in the upper right of the SAVE/LOAD screen (“CABINET 1” in the example above).
 Turn the VALUE wheel to select the number of the Global Block you want to save to.
It might be good to keep a written log of your Global Blocks, e.g. “Global Amp1/#1: My Hot Plexi,”
“Global Delay1/#3: Super Spacey Echoes,” “Global Cab2/#4: Hi Res, 4×12 Recto (OH), panned left.”
 Ensure that “SAVE TO & LINK WITH GLOBAL” is selected on the display and press ENTER to save.
A confirmation message will be displayed: “OPERATION COMPLETE! YOU MUST SAVE PRESET TO COMMIT
CHANGES.” Almost there…
 You will be returned to the EDIT menu of the block you began
with. This will now show a “G” and the number of the
currently linked global preset in its title area. In the example at
right, you’ll notice “CABINET 1:G1” (G1 = “Global Block #1”).
 IMPORTANT! Once you have created (or updated) and linked to
a Global Block, you must ALSO store the preset for the Global Block changes and the link to be made
permanent.
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To review:
1) Open the Global Blocks Screen. 2) Save the Global Block with a Link.
3) Save the Preset. If you miss that last step, your changes to the
Global Block will be lost the moment you recall a new preset.
To edit or update a Global Block: 1) open any linked instance; 2) make
desired changes; and 3) save using the same process outlined above,
remembering to also save the preset to commit changes.
6.2.2 Loading and Linking a Global Block
Once you’ve saved a Global Block, it is a simple process to load it into
other presets and create the links that ensure different instances will
stay in sync. It is up to you to remember or document your Global
Blocks, but you can always RECALL one and inspect it if you lose track.
To LOAD a Global Block:
 First insert or select a block of the appropriate type in the current preset. Remember that Global Blocks are
limited to use with normal blocks of the same “type and instance,” so a Global FILTER 4 Block, for
instance, cannot be loaded into FILTER 1, FILTER 2 or FILTER 3.
 With the desired block selected on the grid, press EDIT to open its EDIT menu.
 Double-click (or press and hold) the FX BYP button to open the SAVE/LOAD GLOBAL BLOCK screen.
 Turn the VALUE wheel to select the number of the Global Block you want to load from.
 Ensure that “LOAD FROM & LINK TO” is selected on the display and press ENTER.
A confirmation message will be displayed: “OPERATION COMPLETE! YOU MUST SAVE PRESET TO COMMIT
CHANGES.”
 You will be returned to the EDIT menu of the current block, which will now be linked to the Global Block as
indicated by its title area (see the “G1” atop the second illustration of section 6.2.1).
 In order for the loaded settings and the link to be retained, you need to STORE the current preset.
Once a link has been created, it will cause the block in the current preset to update from the current settings of the
linked Global Block—seamlessly and instantly—as its preset is recalled.
IMPORTANT: Presets shared between users will either need to be first stripped of their Global Block links or delivered with
an accompanying “System” dump containing the Global Block settings. Otherwise, the “local globals” on the new system will
overrun the settings of any linked blocks when the preset is first loaded. A future version of Axe-Edit should allow “one-stop”
global link removal.
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6.2.3 Loading Global Blocks without Linking
It is also possible to load normal blocks from Global Blocks without creating a link. This offers a way to “stamp”
settings into a preset without enabling the automatic synchronization that normally accompanies the use of Global
Blocks. This is useful, for instance, if you want to use a favorite setting as a starting point for a “disconnected”
variant or if you want to share a preset with another Axe-Fx II owner who may not have the same Global Block
settings as you.
To load a Global Block without linking:
 First select a block of the appropriate type to insert into the
current preset. As always, remember that Global Blocks pair
with normal blocks of the same “type and instance,” so a Global
“Wahwah 1” block can be loaded into a “Wahwah 1” block but
not into a “Wahwah 2” block.
 With the desired block selected on the grid, press EDIT to open
its EDIT menu.
 Double-click (or press and hold) the FX BYP button to open the SAVE/LOAD GLOBAL BLOCK screen.
 Turn the VALUE wheel to select the number of the Global Block you want to load from.
 Ensure that “LOAD FROM GLOBAL (NO LINK)” is selected on the display and press ENTER.
A confirmation message will be displayed: “OPERATION COMPLETE! YOU MUST SAVE PRESET TO COMMIT
CHANGES.”
 You will be returned to the EDIT menu of the current block.
 In order for the loaded settings to be retained, you must STORE the current preset.
To review:
1) Open the Global Blocks screen. 2) Load the Global Block without
linking. 3) Save the Preset. Your local block settings will now have all the
settings from the Global Block, but there will be no link between the two
entries.
6.2.4 Unlinking Preset and Global Blocks
You will sometimes want to remove the link between a normal block and its global master. Removing a link does
not change the settings of the local block or its global master.
 With the desired block selected on the grid, press EDIT to
open its EDIT menu.
 Double-click (or press and hold) the FX BYP button to open
the SAVE/LOAD GLOBAL BLOCK screen.
 Ensure that “UNLINK” is selected on the display and press
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ENTER. A confirmation message will be displayed: “OPERATION COMPLETE! YOU MUST SAVE PRESET
TO COMMIT CHANGES.”
 You will be returned to the EDIT menu of the current block.
 In order for the link to be removed permanently, you must STORE the current preset.
REMEMBER! Global links are not exported with individual presets, and presets in a bank will link to the local global settings
stored in the System area of the Axe-Fx II. To back up presets with Global Blocks, you must also back up the System.
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7 Modifiers & Controllers
7.1 Introduction
Modifiers link parameters to controllers, allowing sound features to be automated or remotely controlled in realtime. For example, the sweep of a WAH block might be “attached” to a pedal as it ordinarily is, but you could just
as easily assign an LFO for a little Auto-Wah, or an “Envelope Follower” for some funky Mutron™-style action.
Besides Wahwah control, there are hundreds of other parameters you can “modify” on the Axe-Fx II, with over 20
different controller sources to connect them to. Some, like the built-in LFOs and Envelope Follower, are “internal”
to the Axe-Fx II, while others, like a connected expression pedal or a footswitch which sends a MIDI message, are
referred to as “external” controllers.
Figure 7-1
INTERNAL CONTROLLERS
These are built in to the Axe-Fx II. Every preset can have its own
settings for 2 LFOs, 2 ADSRs, Envelope Follower, Sequencer, and
4 Manual knobs. These are accessed via the CONTROL
button on the front panel. See section 7.3 below for details on
each of these controllers.
Figure 7-2
EXTERNAL CONTROLLERS
Each one of the 12 External Controllers must be assigned either
to the onboard PEDAL jack, or a MIDI CC# (0–127) in the
CTRL page of the I/O menu (p. 139). These assignments are
global, but you can use external controllers for different things in
different presets.
7.2 Creating a Modifier
The process of creating a modifier begins at the parameter you want to control. Parameters that can be
controlled are marked with a special symbol (left top). Look for it beneath a “soft” knob or to the right of
a text parameter. If a modifier is already present, the symbol will have a line through it (left bottom).
In the examples below, the MASTER and LEVEL (left), and TIME, RATIO, SPREAD, and REPEAT HOLD (right) may be
controlled with modifiers. LEVEL has one assigned already. Parameters without the symbol cannot be controlled.
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To Create a Modifier…
 Select any controllable parameter (
) and press the
ENTER button to show the MODIFIER screen.
 Select a SOURCE to assign to the current parameter or
choose NONE to remove an existing modifier.

The graph shows the relationship between the
control source (x-axis) and the sound parameter
(y-axis). The “dot” in the graph tracks the SOURCE as its value changes.
 You may leave the MODIFIER screen to return to the parameter’s main menu at any time by pressing
EDIT or EXIT.

Back in the EDIT menu, a modified Knob, Slider, or Graph parameter will be animated as the
source changes. Modified text parameters do not update in this fashion.

The text box above a knob shows the value that was set before the modifier was applied.
 You must STORE the current preset to make the modifier setting permanent.
To Remove a Modifier…
To remove a modifier, just change its SOURCE parameter to NONE.
Modifier Example: Wahwah Control
Before we get into further detail about the other parameters on the MODIFIER screen, let’s look at the basic
Wahwah example from the introduction above.
Figure 7-3
Let’s assume that the controller called “EXT 1” has already been set up (in the CTRL page of the I/O menu) for MIDI
CC# 16 (its default setting), and that we have connected a MIDI foot controller with an expression pedal that is set
up to send this same message on the correct MIDI channel. (In fact, this is the default setting for the EXPRESSION
PEDAL 2 jack on the MFC-101).
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To start, a WAH block is inserted on the grid. Pressing EDIT opens its EDIT menu. The modifier symbol
beneath the CONTROL knob indicates that a modifier can be added here. Selecting this parameter and then
pressing ENTER opens the MODIFIER screen. Selecting EXT1 for the SOURCE attaches this controller to our
parameter, and the wah pedal starts working! “Follow the bouncing ball” as the dot on the graph follows the
motion of your foot on the pedal.
If we change the modifier SOURCE to “ENVELOPE,” our wah is disconnected from the pedal and becomes
controlled instead by the level of the input signal to create a “touch wah”. Changing the source to one of the LFOs,
creates an oscillating “auto-wah.” Externals, Envelopes, LFOs, and other sources are detailed below in section 7.3.
7.2.1 Transformations
The MODIFIER screen also contains several parameters that enable you to set up a custom relationship between
changes at the source and changes in the destination parameter. This makes it possible to transform or “tune” the
feel and sound of a dynamic effect. This can be especially important when one control source is attached to
multiple different parameters.
The START, MID, END, and SLOPE settings are used to re-map the ways in which parameters respond to changes in
the source.
The MIN and MAX parameters “peg” the 0-100% scale of a modifier to actual parameter values. MIN and MAX are
set using the same units as the parameter being modified. For example, the MIN to MAX range for a LEVEL
parameter might be set from -9 to +4 dB, while a delay TIME might be set for 200–400 ms.
The following examples illustrate how START, MID, END, SLOPE, MIN, and MAX work together.
Example 1: Creating a Custom Curve
For the first example, let’s imagine a VOLUME parameter being controlled by a pedal (via EXT1/MIDI CC#16).
The default settings for START, MID, and END create a
perfectly linear relationship between the source and the
target. As the pedal is depressed, the volume increases in
direct proportion. MIN and MAX are set to their extreme
limits, so volume goes from 0.00-10.00 (OFF to FULL).
But linear response is generally unsatisfactory for volume
control because of the non-linear characteristics of our
hearing. Ears aren’t very good at math…
As we lower the value of MID, the response starts to take on
a more comfortable curve, closer to the classic log or audio
taper typically used for volume control. MIN and MAX are
still set to “0.0” and “10.0” so that volume goes from off to
full, but the way it swells has changed.
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Here are some more examples of the kinds of curves you can create by changing START, MID, END, and SLOPE. With
a bit of practice, you will learn to achieve desired modifier effects quickly.
Example 2: Setting MIN and MAX
MIN and MAX allow a modifier’s range to be “pegged” to precise values by setting the y-axis scale of the modifier
graph using the same units as the parameter being modified. This ultimately determines the relationship between
the source and the target parameter. The following examples illustrate MIN and MAX in action.
A now-familiar example: the default modifier setting for a
VOLUME parameter, showing a linear sweep, with MIN and
MAX set to their extremes.
At first glance this seems to be a reversal of the example
above, where pushing the pedal forward decreases the
volume. But look closer and you’ll find that MIN is set to
“10.0” and MAX to “0.0” With both sets of values inverted,
this setup sounds and works exactly like the one above!
Unlike the preceding examples, this one does not show
MIN and MAX set to their extremes. Instead, the range
goes from 8.0 to 10.0, so our volume pedal will create only
a small swell as it is rocked from heel to toe. You might
use this to create a variable solo boost pedal.
7.2.2 Damping
If MODIFIERS add automation or remote-control in “real time,” damping allows these changes to happen in
“stretched time.” Normally, parameters change at the same rate as their modifier sources. Their values may be remapped as we saw above, but changes are still essentially simultaneous; every little tremble of your foot is
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reflected by a little tremble in the sound. DAMPING allows you to increase the hysteresis in this system, adding a
little “viscosity” or “elasticity” so changes in the parameter can’t accelerate as quickly as those in the source.
At low settings, DAMPING adds a little smoothing. Try a setting of 4–12 ms to “grease” a wah or to ease the edges
of a step-sequence to eliminate clicks and pops. Medium settings can “relax” a whammy or cover up for a
“scratchy” expression pedal. With high damping, sound changes glide like honey. Quick motions are entirely
swallowed up, while a simple footswitch can be used to create a 1000-ms-long ramp of sound change. Used
appropriately, damping adds tremendous power to the MODIFIER system.
7.2.3 Auto Engage
Though it may sound like the precursor to an arranged marriage, AUTO ENGAGE is actually a powerful feature that
brings a block out of bypass when the SOURCE for a modifier on one of its parameters goes above a certain value.
The classic example is a Wah that turns on automatically when you rock the pedal and then turns off when you
return to the heel-down position. Another example might be a pedal that controls the speed of a Rotary Speaker
and then bypasses the effect when pulled all the way back.
To use Auto Engage, set the following two parameters, found toward the bottom of the MODIFIER screen:
OFF VAL – Sets the threshold that the value of the current SOURCE must cross for auto-engage to occur.
When the value goes above this limit, the effect is engaged. Note that incoming MIDI CC values of 0–127 are
scaled to 0–100% for purposes of this determination.
AUTOENG – Sets the time that the source must remain above or below the OFF VALUE for the bypass state
to toggle. Fast = 100 ms; Med = 333 ms; Slow = 1000 ms. Use slower settings to “loosen” Auto Engage so your
effect doesn’t snap off every time your source dips. Set to OFF to disable Auto Engage.
Try it! You’ll quickly find that Auto Engage comfortably eliminates the need for expression pedal “toe” switches.
7.2.4 Program Change Reset
Normally, the last value of an external control source is retained—even across preset changes—until a new value is
received. So if you “park” a pedal-controlled Wah, for example, then change to a new preset with the same Wah
settings, the newly loaded preset will load with the Wah in the same parked position.
Program Change Reset (PC RST) allows you to override this behavior, causing a parameter to use a previously
stored setting when it loads, rather than referring to the retained source value. As soon as the external controller
is updated—the pedal moved, a new MIDI message received—the attached parameter snaps back to track it again.
You can either set the stored value before turning PC RST to ON or change it afterwards. The parameter box above
a modified knob always shows the “manual” value so you can freely set it to save it. (Knob and filter “graph”
parameters with modifiers are animated as their sources change, so you won’t see these elements update in the
display as you turn the value wheel.) Text-only parameter values remain directly editable for this purpose. When
BYPASS MODE is assigned a modifier, you cannot change the stored setting with the FX BYP button; this control is
disabled to ensure that a remote control and the actual bypass state remain in sync.
Internal controllers are not subject to PC RST because their values are updated immediately when a preset loads.
(This is true even for an LFO or Sequencer that is “stopped” or an ADSR that has not yet been triggered.)
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7.3 Control Sources
The Axe-Fx II provides 22 different control sources for use in Modifiers. These are detailed below.
7.3.1 LFO1 & 2
An LFO, or Low-Frequency Oscillator, generates control signals in the form of a variety of
familiar wave shapes or random signals. Familiar examples of LFOs in action include the
pulsing of a tremolo, the steady back and forth sweep of a phaser, or the modulation of a
chorus. The Axe-Fx II contains two global LFOs that can be individually programmed per-preset for use as modifier
sources to control various other parameters. Press the front panel CONTROL button to find the LFO1 and
LFO2 menu pages for the current preset.
Each of the two LFOs outputs two signals (A and B), so the list of modifier sources contains four entries: LFO 1A,
LFO 1B, LFO 2A, and LFO 2B. By default, A/B pairs are complementary, meaning that as A swings from 0–100, B
swings from 100–0, but the phase of output B is fully adjustable for in-phase or in-between settings.
Besides being available as a modifier source, LFO1 may also be used to SYNC the rates of the Chorus, Flanger,
Phaser, Tremolo, and Multi Delay blocks. This not only allows the sweeps of these effects to be aligned to each
other, but to other modifiers as well. Adjust the “native” rate fully counterclockwise to enable LFO1 SYNC.
TYPE – This sets the waveform or shape of the selected LFO.
RUN – Tucked into the MODIFIER slot beneath the TYPE control, this parameter starts and stops the LFO.
When the LFO is stopped, its output drops to “zero,” and the wave cycle resets. When using a MIDI CC via an
external controller to toggle RUN, a value of 70 or higher will START the LFO, and a value of 57 or lower will
STOP the LFO (assuming the modifier has default settings for MIN/MAX/START/MID/END/SLOPE).
Tip: An LFO that is locked to tempo can still “drift” from another system or device. To stay locked to “song position,” just stop
and restart periodically from your DAW/sequencer with a quick pair of OFF/ON messages sent at regular intervals.
RATE – Sets the frequency of the LFO from 0.05–30.0 Hz. When RATE is shown in parenthesis, it is being
controlled by the tempo parameter (below). Set TEMPO to “NONE” for manual control.
DEPTH – Sets the amplitude or “intensity” of the LFO from 0-100%.
DUTY – Varies the duty cycle, or “symmetry,” of the Triangle, Square, and Trapezoid waveforms.
OUTB PHASE – Adjusts the phase angle of the LFO’s output B with respect to A. At 180°, the outputs are
phase-opposite, so while A swings from 0–100%, B swings from 100–0%. At 0°, A and B are in phase.
TEMPO – Sets the LFO rate in rhythmic relation to the global tempo. For example, if the tempo is set to
“1/8,” the LFO will cycle twice per tempo beat (8x/measure). Tempo changes are reflected in real-time. To
ignore the global tempo, set the tempo control to NONE.
LFO1 and LFO2 are also subject to interesting interactive variations made possible by the modifier slots available
on their own parameters. See p. 157 of the Appendix for a guide to LFO Waveforms, Duty, and Phase.
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7.3.2 ADSR 1 & 2
The Axe-Fx II contains two ADSR or “envelope” generators that can be used as control
sources. ADSR stands for “attack, decay, sustain, release”—the four time segments that
determine how long it takes for the entire envelope to run its course. The graph below
illustrates this concept. Press the front panel CONTROL button to find the ADSR1 and ADSR2 menu pages for
the current preset.
MODE – The mode determines how the ADSR generator operates in response to signals above the threshold.

ONCE: The ADSR plays through when the threshold is exceeded.

LOOP: The ADSR loops as long as the signal is above the threshold.

SUSTAIN: The ADSR begins when the threshold is exceeded, but HOLDS at the sustain level until
the signal drops below the threshold, at which point the release phase occurs.
RETRIG – When Retrigger is ON, the ADSR will reset to the beginning whenever the threshold is crossed from
below to above. If Retrigger is OFF, the ADSR must reach the end of its release phase before it can be
retriggered again.
ATTACK – The envelope begins at zero and increases to 100% over the
duration of the attack time (A).
DECAY – When the attack phase completes, the envelope descends for
the duration of the decay time (D) until it reaches the sustain level (L).
SUSTAIN, LEVEL – After the decay, the envelope remains at the
sustain level (L) for the duration of the sustain time (S).
RELEASE – At the end of the sustain phase, the envelope proceeds to
zero over the duration of the Release time (R).
THRESHOLD – Sets the level at which the LFO will be triggered (or retriggered; see MODE above).
7.3.3 Sequencer
Like any step-sequencer, that of the Axe-Fx II generates repetitive control patterns by looping through
a series of steps or “stages,” each of which outputs a specified value. The sequence can be run at a
specified rate or be synchronized to the global tempo. Press the front panel CONTROL button to
find the SEQUENCER page for the current preset.
RATE – Sets the rate at which the sequence is stepped through. At 1 Hz, each step will last for 1 second.
When RATE is shown in parenthesis, it is being controlled by the tempo parameter (below). Set TEMPO to
“NONE” for manual control.
TEMPO – Sets the sequencer rate in rhythmic relation to the global tempo. For example, if the tempo is set
to “1/16” the sequencer will play 16 steps per measure (4 beats). To ignore global tempo, set this to “NONE.”
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RUN – This parameter starts and stops the sequencer. When the sequencer is stopped, it remains at the value
set for STAGE 1 (see below). When using a MIDI CC via an external controller to toggle RUN, a value of 70 or
higher will START the LFO, and a value of 57 or lower will STOP the LFO (assuming default modifier settings for
IN/MAX/START/MID/END/SLOPE).
Tip: A Sequencer that is locked to tempo can still “drift” from another system or device. To stay locked to “song position,” just
stop and restart periodically from your DAW/sequencer with a quick pair of OFF/ON messages at regular intervals. Assign
the CC# to an External controller (p. 132) and assign this as the source of the modifier on the RUN parameter.
STAGES –Sets the number of steps in the looped sequence from 1–32. For example, if STAGES is set to “3”,
the sequencer will play steps 1, 2, and 3 in constant rotation: 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3…
STAGE # – Each of the STAGE parameters sets the value for one step of the sequence. You can randomize the
values of ALL steps in the sequence by pressing ENTER with any STAGE (or the STAGES parameter) selected.
7.3.4 Envelope Follower
The Envelope Follower “tracks” the level of the main input signal. The harder you play, the greater a
value it produces. The Envelope Follower is designed to enable “touch-control” of wah, filter, and
other effects, plus “ducking” and other types of dynamics control. Press the front panel CONTROL
button to find the ENVELOPE page for the current preset.
THRESH – The threshold controls the sensitivity of the Envelope Follower by setting the level at which
tracking kicks in or out. When the input level is greater than the threshold, the follower tracks it at the attack
rate. When the signal drops below this level, the output of the follower will decay to zero at the release rate.
ATTACK – The rate at which the follower output follows signals increasing in power.
RELEASE – The rate at which the follower output follows signals decreasing in power.
GAIN – The gain control works like a classic “sensitivity” control to set the relationship between incoming
levels and outgoing control signals. By boosting the input of the envelope follower, GAIN allows a weaker
input signal to exert a greater effect.
7.3.5 Pitch Detector
The Pitch Detector has no menu page or parameters, but appears in all modifier screens as a source.
This module monitors the main input signal and analyzes its pitch, outputting a low value for low notes
and a high value for high notes.
7.3.6 Manual Knobs
New to the Axe-Fx II are four front panel Quick Control knobs, detailed in section 4.3.1 on p. 36. When
the unit is in EDIT mode, they function as hands-on controls to facilitate editing. When the unit is in
RECALL mode, however, these knobs double as “MANUAL” control sources that can be used for
making sound adjustments without menu diving. Press the front panel CONTROL button to find
the MANUAL page for the current preset. The value of each knob is saved with each preset.
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Remember that while you are setting up a MODIFIER, the Manual knobs will be assigned to edit
parameters on the screen instead of operating as SOURCE. To test your modifier, you’ll need to leave the EDIT
menu (return to the grid or press RECALL).
7.3.7 External Controllers
The onboard PEDAL jack or any MIDI Control Change message
can be assigned as an External Controller to be used as modifier
source, as shown in the example in Figure 7-3. The Axe-Fx II allows
you to set up 12 global External Controller assignments, but
remember: you can use each of these to modify multiple parameters
per preset.
To set these EXTERNAL CONTROL assignments, use the CTRL page of
the I/O menu. Select the desired EXT CTRL entry and turn the value
wheel until PEDAL or the desired MIDI CC number is shown. Set an
External Control to NONE to disable remote control.
The Axe-Fx II also has a “learn” feature that allows it to detect
control sources automatically. Select the desired item, press ENTER,
and use the remote controller to send some data to the Axe-Fx II; the source will be set automatically. (This is also
a good way to ensure that remote devices are in fact set up and transmitting correctly.)
Remember that the channel of incoming CC# messages must match that of the Axe-Fx II under I/O:MIDI.
The Axe-Fx II uses a set of system parameters—EXTERNAL CONTROLLER INITIAL VALUE 1–12, located on the MIDI page
of the I/O menu (p. 137)—to determine what value should be used for each External Controller between the time
when the Axe-Fx II is booted up and when external data is first received. Options are 0% or 100%.
7.3.8 Modifier Power!
With the free space at the end of this section, here are some fun MODIFIER ideas.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
132
Eliminate conspicuous chorus “pulsing” with subtle RATE modification. Try an LFO or Envelope.
Modify the INPUT GAIN of a Delay or Reverb and create an “EFFECTS SEND” pedal to feed the effects.
Create a “Power Saturation” pedal to increase an amp’s MASTER while compensating its LEVEL.
“Double-whammy” goes UP and DOWN…at the same time! (2 PITCH blocks, one pedal).
Create a Sample-and-Hold FILTER by assigning FREQUENCY to a RANDOM-type LFO sync’d to tempo.
Ducking reverb! Run the effect 100% wet (parallel to the dry) then use ENVELOPE to lower its level.
Place a low-pass FILTER in front of a DRIVE and control its frequency for “foot tone fuzz.”
Crossfade between two different signal paths by controlling different MIXER channels inversely.
Touch-Wahs are old news. Try an envelope-controlled FORMANT, PHASER, FLANGER, or RINGMOD.
Create a synth-like vibrato effect for guitar. Modify Global LFO1 DEPTH with a pedal (0-100%). Assign
LFO1 to the CONTROL parameter of an Advanced Whammy (Pitch Block) set to +/-3 semitones.
Bonus! Reclaim pedalboard real estate with a “Wildcard” footswitch. (Hi Dweezil!) Set it to a CC# and
assign this to an External Controller. Then assign this EXT source as needed to the bypass (mode)
modifiers of different effects or settings across different presets.
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8 Global Parameters
The Global Parameters section, accessed by pressing the front panel GLOBAL button, contains four pages of
menus that control sound settings across all presets and modes. Changes made in this area take effect
immediately without needing to be STORED. The settings for all global parameters are included in a backup of the
Axe-Fx II “SYSTEM” (See p. 148). Default assignments for all system parameters are listed beginning on p. 171.
8.1 Configuration Parameters
The Configuration page (“CONFIG”) of the GLOBAL menu contains parameters that affect all presets at once.
PARAMETER
Description
POWER AMP
(OFF/ON)
This parameter enables or disables power amp simulation for all AMP blocks in all presets.
This capability is provided for cases when the Axe-Fx II is used with a guitar-oriented tube
power amp that contributes significantly to tone and dynamics. Having these characteristics
applied twice to the sound—once in the Axe-Fx II and once in the real power amp—would
result in an over-processed tone. Preamp (gain, tone, etc.), Graphic EQ, and Mixer (Level,
Balance, etc.) sections of the AMP block continue to affect the sound.
This parameter enables or disables all CAB block processing in all presets. The CAB blocks
will not physically appear to be bypassed, but they will act exactly as if they have been
replaced by shunts. Use this when you are using the Axe-Fx II with an amp powering real
guitar speaker cabinets or the sound will be muffled, muddy, and boomy.
Setting this to ON allows delays and reverbs tails to carry or “spill” over across preset
changes. You can select whether DELAY, REVERB, or BOTH effects will spill over. Setting this
to OFF causes effect tails to be “cleared” upon preset change. Note that you must have
nearly identical delay or reverb blocks in both the start and destination presets for spillover
to work correctly. See section 16.8 on p. 160 for a quick-start guide to setting up spillover.
This control provides +/- 12 dB of relative gain for all amp blocks and can be used to adjust
the gain of all presets to compensate for the differences in output between guitars.
This parameter allows you to boost or cut the MIX setting across all REVERB blocks in all
presets at once. Note that an offset applied here will NOT be reflected in the value shown in
the EDIT menu of the actual Reverb blocks. This capability is provided to compensate for the
fact that certain performance spaces may require more or less reverb “across the board.”
This parameter allows you to boost or cut the setting of the MIX parameter of all blocks for
which the GLOBAL MIX parameter is set to “ON.” This switch must be enabled on a perblock/per-preset basis and is available on the following block types:
CABINET
(ACTIVE/BYPASSED)
DELAY SPILL
(OFF/DELAY/
REVERB/BOTH)
AMP GAIN
(+/- 12 dB)
REV MIX
(+/- 50%)
FX MIX
(+/- 50%)
Delay
Chorus
Feedback Return
Flanger
Formant
Megatap Delay
Multi Delay
Phaser
Pitch
Quad Chorus
Resonator
Reverb
Ring Mod
Rotary
Synth
Vocoder
This feature is provided so you can design presets with the built-in ability to compensate for
how different performance spaces may require more or less “wet” mix.
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8.2 Output Parameters
The OUT1 and OUT2 pages of the GLOBAL menu provide tone and level control tools for the two main outputs.
PARAMETER
Description
BANDS 1–10
(+/- 12 dB)
Output 1 and Output 2 are individually equipped with 10-band graphic equalizers for
fine-tuning of the tone across all presets. This comes in handy when using the Axe-Fx
II in different environments, in which acoustics may vary, or when you change
amps/speakers with no opportunity to adjust your presets.
Output 1 settings apply to all instances of the Output 1 mix signal including the
Headphone jack, the OUT1 balanced jacks, the OUT1 unbalanced jacks, and signal
which may be routed to USB or DIGITAL OUTS.
One exception to note: when COPY OUT 1 TO OUT 2 is enabled in the I/O:AUDIO
menu, the global Graphic EQ setting for OUT1 is NOT copied to Output 2, which is
processed by its own global graphic equalizer in the usual way.
GAIN
(+/- 12 dB)
Output 2 settings apply to all instances of the Output 2 mix signal including the
Output 2 unbalanced jacks (FX send) and the Output 2 signal, which can be routed to
the DIGITAL OUTS. (See I/O:AUDIO on p. 135 for more on routing).
The GAIN slider to the right of the graphic equalizer can adjust the output signal at
the selected output by +/- 12 dB. This level adjustment happens in the digital domain,
and a boost can cause output clipping if not used judiciously. Conversely, a reduction
made here can provide a good temporary remedy until you have time to address a
multi-preset clipping problem.
8.3 Custom Scales
The Custom Scales (“SCALES”) page of the GLOBAL menu is used to configure custom scales for the Custom Shifter
type found in the Pitch Shifter block.
PARAMETER
Description
Custom Scale Number
(1–32)
Input Pitch/Output Shift
This selects from among the 32 global custom scales available to edit using the 12
parameters below.
These 12 parameters are used to determine the relationship between notes played
and pitch shift applied. Each of the 12 steps of the chromatic scale can be individually
shifted within a range of +/- 24 semitones (two octaves). To set up a custom scale,
select its number in the field above and then set each of the 12 pitch values as
desired. Settings are applied immediately with no need to STORE.
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9 Input/Output Parameters
The Input/Output (“I/O”) Parameters section, accessed by pressing the front panel I/O button, contains six pages
of menus used to configure audio, MIDI, and control settings for the Axe-Fx II. I/O settings are global, and changes
made in this area take effect immediately without needing to be STORED. The settings for all I/O parameters are
included in a backup of the Axe-Fx II “SYSTEM” (See p. 148). Default assignments for all system parameters are
listed beginning on p. 171. See also the diagram “Using Send and Return” on p. 165 of the Appendix.
9.1 Input Parameters
The INPUT page of the I/O menu contains parameters to manage input levels. For more on setting levels, see
section 3.1 on p. 15
PARAMETER
Description
INSTR IN
(0-100%)
INPUT 1
(0-100%)
INPUT 2
(0-100%)
This scales the level of signal at the front panel INSTR input jack, determining its level
at the input of the A/D converter.
This scales the level of signal at the rear balanced 1/4 ” INPUT 1 jacks, determining
their level at the input of the A/D converter.
This scales the level of signal at the rear balanced 1/4 ” INPUT 2 jacks (“FX RETURN”),
determining their level at the input of the A/D converter.
9.2 Audio Parameters
Routing and format parameters appear on the AUDIO page of the I/O menu.
PARAMETER
Description
MAIN INPUT SOURCE
(ANALOG (IN 1)/
USB/
SPDIF-AES)
This selects which one of several input sources should be routed to the Input of the
grid. “ANALOG (IN 1)” selects the front INSTR input jack or the rear INPUT 1 jacks,
based on the setting of INPUT 1 LEFT SELECT (below). When “USB” is selected, the AxeFx II will process signals sent from the AXE-FX II OUT 0 and AXE-FX II OUT 1 audio
outputs of the connected computer. When “SPDIF/AES” is selected, the digital inputs
of the Axe-Fx II will be used.
When “ANALOG (IN1)” is selected as the Main Input Source (above), this determines
whether the front INSTR input jack or the rear IN1 LEFT/MONO jack should be used as
the LEFT channel of the input signal. This option defeats the jack that is NOT selected.
This determines whether the signal received at INPUT 1 will be processed in stereo or
mono, and, if in mono, whether the “LEFT ONLY” or a sum of both channels should be
used. For typical “Guitar In/Processed Stereo Audio Out” applications, use default
settings: MAIN INPUT SOURCE to ANALOG (IN1), INPUT 1 LEFT SELECT to FRONT, and
INPUT 1 MODE to LEFT ONLY.
INPUT 1 LEFT SELECT
(REAR/FRONT)
INPUT 1 MODE
(LEFT ONLY/
L+R SUM/
STEREO)
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INPUT/OUTPUT PARAMETERS
INPUT 2 MODE
(LEFT ONLY/
L+R SUM/
STEREO)
OUTPUT 1 MODE
(STEREO/
SUM L+R/
COPY L>R)
OUTPUT 1 BOOST/PAD
(0-18 dB)
OUTPUT 1 PHASE
(NORMAL/INVERT)
OUTPUT 2 MODE
(LEFT ONLY/
L+R SUM/
STEREO)
OUTPUT 2 BOOST/PAD
(0-18 dB)
OUTPUT 2 PHASE
(NORMAL/INVERT)
COPY OUT 1 TO OUT 2
OFF/ON
SPDIF/AES SELECT
SPDIF/AES
SPDIF/AES SOURCE
OUTPUT1/
OUTPUT2/
INPUT
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This determines how the Axe-Fx II handles signals received at the balanced INPUT 2
(“FX RETURN”) jacks, setting whether they should be processed in stereo or mono,
and, if in mono, whether the “LEFT ONLY” or a sum of L+R channels should be used.
The outputs of the connected device and the nature of the source material will
determine which setting is best.
This determines how OUTPUT 1 signals will be processed after the output mixer of
the grid. This control makes it easy to use the same Axe-Fx II presets in a variety of
stereo and mono performance or recording environments. The decision to use SUM
L+R or COPY L>R should be based on the source material. See Mono and Stereo on p.
159 of the Appendix for more detail.
Firstly, this is NOT a boost intended for use during musical performance, as you might
find on an amp or pedal. Rather, this parameter is designed to boost signals to the
OUT1 D/A converters so they can operate as close to full-scale as possible, while
simultaneously padding converter outputs to lower the noise floor. To set this
control, increase the boost/pad amount until hard playing on a loud preset causes the
front panel OUT1 CLIP LED to light. Then reduce the Boost/Pad setting a few dBs to
prevent further clipping. Note that the BOOST amount is also applied to outgoing
DIGITAL or USB signals.
This determines whether signal at the OUTPUT 1 jacks will be normal or phaseinverted relative to its state at the output of the grid. This lets you compensate for
inversions elsewhere in the signal chain. Note that this inverts BOTH channels of the
stereo pair.
This determines how signals will be processed after leaving the output mixer of the FX
LOOP block, or after being created as a COPY of OUT 1 (see below). This control
makes it possible to use the same FX-LOOP-block-based presets in either stereo or
mono conditions, or to use OUT 2 to create a mono copy of the stereo signal
appearing at OUT 1. See Mono and Stereo on p. 159 of the Appendix for more on
using the Axe-Fx II in mono.
See OUTPUT 1 Boost/Pad, above.
See OUTPUT 1 Phase, above.
This switch causes OUT 2 to be fed by a copy of OUT 1 instead of the signal from the
FX LOOP block. Its use is suited to a wide range of applications such as feeding amps
and a recorder at the same time, sending identical signals to Front of House and Stage
monitors while retaining separate front panel knob level control over each, using the
Axe-Fx II simultaneously with both Stereo and Mono systems (see OUTPUT 1/2 MODE
above), and more.
This switch selects whether the S/PDIF or AES digital inputs and outputs are active.
Only one may be active at any time.
This selects the signal that will feed both the digital outs..
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9.3 MIDI Parameters
The MIDI page of the I/O menu contains parameters related to MIDI channel, thru, and program changes.
PARAMETER
Description
MIDI CHANNEL
1–16, OMNI
MIDI THRU
OFF/ON
Sets the channel on which the Axe-Fx II will receive MIDI messages. OMNI causes the
unit to respond to incoming messages on ANY channel.
Turning this ON will cause MIDI data received at the MIDI IN port to be forwarded to
the MIDI OUT port, where it is merged with regular outbound MIDI—SysEx dumps or
Realtime Tuner/Tempo Sysex for example. Thru is disabled during firmware update.
This parameter determines whether the Axe-Fx II will process or ignore incoming
MIDI program change messages.
This determines whether the Axe-Fx II will respond explicitly to MIDI program change
messages received, or whether it will re-map incoming program change messages to
load user-specified presets. For example, an incoming program change message of 15
would normally recall preset 15 (or preset 16 if DISPLAY OFFSET is on; see below).
With Custom Mapping set up, program change message 15 might be set to recall
preset 100, or any other preset you choose.
These two parameters work in pairs to specify which preset will be loaded for each
incoming program change message when MAPPING MODE is set to “CUSTOM.” For
example, if you select “15” for MAP FROM and then set a MAP TO value of “100,”
incoming Program Change #15 actually will load Axe-Fx II Preset 100 (or 101 if display
offset is on; see below).
This is 00 01 74 for the Axe-Fx II and cannot be modified.
Display Offset causes Axe-Fx II presets to appear to be numbered from 001 instead of
from 000. The offset does not change which preset is recalled by a given Program
Change message. Note: Display Offset requires a corresponding setting in a connected
MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller.
This determines whether the Axe-Fx II should re-process or ignore a MIDI program
change command for the currently loaded preset. With this setting OFF, the current
preset will be reloaded (and changes discarded) if it is selected again via MIDI PC.
Turning this OFF allows you, for instance, to load a preset, use various MIDI “instant
Access” switches or pedals to bypass effects or otherwise modify the sound, and then
stomp on the footswitch that originally selected the preset to have it revert to its
saved state. With this setting ON, redundant PC messages are ignored.
Selectively determines whether real-time SysEx messages for TUNER and TEMPO will
appear at the MIDI OUT port. The default setting of ALL ensures that a connected
MFC-101 Midi Foot Controller will be able to show the Axe-Fx II Tuner on the floor,
and that its TEMPO LED will flash in time with the current Axe-Fx II system tempo.
PROG CHANGE
ON/OFF
MAPPING MODE
NONE/CUSTOM
MAP FROM/MAP TO
0–127, 0–383
SYSEX ID
DISPLAY OFFSET
0/1
IGNORE REDUNDANT PC
OFF/ON
SEND REALTIME SYSEX
NONE/ALL/TUNER/TEMPO
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INPUT/OUTPUT PARAMETERS
USB ADAPTER MODE
ON/OFF
MIDI PC OFFSET
0–255
EXT CTRL # INIT VAL
0% OR 100%
138
This setting changes the way MIDI data is handled between the computer and the
physical MIDI IN/OUT and MFC ports of the Axe-Fx II.
When Set to OFF:
1. Inbound MIDI data at the MIDI IN or MFC ports is processed by the Axe-Fx II.
2. Inbound MIDI-over-USB data sent via the AXE-FX II MIDI OUT port of a
connected computer is processed by the Axe-Fx II.
When Set to ON:
1. Inbound MIDI data at the MIDI IN or MFC ports is processed by the Axe-Fx II
and also forwarded to the AXE-FX II MIDI OUT port of a connected computer.
a. Use this so your host sequencer/DAW can record the MIDI data
generated by an expression pedal connected to the MFC-101.
b. Use this to connect a MIDI keyboard or other device to the MIDI IN
port of the Axe-Fx II and play plugins or record performances in
your host sequencer/DAW.
2. Inbound MIDI-over-USB data sent via the AXE-FX II MIDI OUT port of a
connected computer is processed by the Axe-Fx II and also forwarded to the
MIDI OUT and MFC ports.
a. Use this so your host sequencer/DAW can also control devices
chained at the MIDI OUT/THRU port of the Axe-Fx II: synth
rd
modules, 3 -party processors, etc.
b. Use this to send SysEx backups or firmware updates to an MFC-101
connected at the MFC port.
Note that the USB ADAPTER MODE function is completely independent of the setting
for MIDI THRU (above). It is therefore possible, with both settings turned ON, for the
physical MIDI OUT/THRU port to sum/output four different sources simultaneously:
1) The Axe-Fx II regular MIDI out functions; 2) events received at the MIDI IN port; 3)
events received at the MFC port; and 4) events received via AXE-FX II MIDI OUT from
a connected computer. Adapter mode is disabled during firmware updates.
Adds the value specified to all incoming MIDI Program Change requests before they
are processed. This makes it possible, for instance, for the same foot controller
programs to access presets 0-127 for one gig, presets 128-255 for another, and
presets 256-383 for a third.
This specifies an initial value to be used for each of the 12 External Controllers (p.
132) until remote data is received. This also applies when the controller is absent. For
example, if you normally use an expression pedal to control the VOLUME block in a
particular preset, the absence of that pedal might mean that the preset gets “stuck”
in a silent position. Setting an initial value of 100% for the EXTERNAL CONTROLLER
mapped to that pedal would ensure that when the pedal is not connected, the
volume will be all the way up instead of all the way off.
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9.4 Control Parameters
The Control page (“CTRL”) of the I/O menu allows external controllers to be assigned to onboard functions. Besides
extensive MODIFIER capabilities (p. 124), the Axe-Fx II also has 100+ dedicated functions that can be assigned for
remote control via MIDI CC messages or the onboard PEDAL jack. These include global input and output volumes,
tap tempo, tuner, the bypass functions for every individual block in the inventory, the block X/Y switches, the
Looper controls, and more.
To assign a controller to a desired item, select it and turn the VALUE dial to select a MIDI CC number, or choose
“PEDAL” for the onboard jack. Set to NONE to disable remote control. The Axe-Fx II also has a “learn” feature that
allows it to detect control sources automatically. Select the desired item, press ENTER, use the remote controller
to send some data, and the source will be set automatically. This is also a good way to ensure that remote devices
are in fact set up and transmitting correctly.
Unless otherwise noted, all functions interpret MIDI CC values of 0–63 as “OFF” and 64–127 as “ON.”
PARAMETER
Description
INPUT VOLUME
NONE/PEDAL/0-127
This controls the global input volume at the start of the preset chain and is useful to
assign when you want to emulate the behavior of a volume pedal between the guitar
and the amp. Changes in level equate to changes in distortion amount, and effect tails
ring out when volume is lowered.
This controls global OUTPUT 1 volume (after the preset’s output mixer) and is useful
to assign when you want to control playback levels without changing any other aspect
of the sound. Amplifier input levels are unaffected for consistent distortion at any
level, and effect tail levels will be adjusted as well.
This controls global OUTPUT 2 volume (after the output the FX Block, or after it is
copied from OUT1, see section 9.2). This is useful when you want to control playback
levels for OUT1 and OUT2 independently, without changing any other aspect of the
sound, or if you want a pedal to control the SEND level to an outboard device in the
loop.
Operates the front panel BYPASS button (p. 8) remotely.
OUT 1 VOLUME
NONE/PEDAL/0-127
OUT 2 VOLUME
NONE/PEDAL/0-127
BYPASS
NONE/PEDAL/0-127
TEMPO TAP
NONE/PEDAL/0-127
TUNER
NONE/PEDAL/0-127
EXT CTRL 1–12
NONE/PEDAL/0-127
LOOPER REC, PLAY,
ONCE, DUB, REV, BYPASS
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Provides the ability to set the Global Tempo (see p. 146) through a remote switch.
IMPORTANT: Any data value (0-127) for the assigned CC# counts as a tap, so do not
use a momentary switch set up to send 127 for ON and 0 for OFF, or you will end up
with double-time!
Provides a way to enter or exit the TUNER function remotely.
This is where you specify which incoming MIDI CC# should be assigned to each of the
12 External Controllers available as Modifier sources (p. 132).
Each of the controls of the Looper block (p. 74) may be remote controlled.
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INPUT/OUTPUT PARAMETERS
GLOBAL BYPASS
NONE/PEDAL/0-127
VOLUME INCR,
VOLUME DECR
NONE/PEDAL/0-127
Global Bypass is used to engage all bypassed blocks in the currently loaded preset. It
retains and can then re-bypass these same blocks when triggered a second time. This
lets you prepare a collection of dual-state presets without remembering which
individual switches are needed to toggle their blocks. In one song you might have a
Drive block for switching between rhythm and lead work. Another may require Echo
and Flanger to be switched on during the bridge. Global Bypass allows a single
footswitch on your pedalboard to perform all of these functions and more.
These two options provide a convenient way to permanently increase or decrease
the MAIN output volume of the currently loaded preset. Each time VOL INCR is
triggered by a CC# value greater than 63, the master volume is increased by 1.0 dB
and the preset is saved. This is the same for VOLUME DECR, except it decreases
volume. The MAIN volume can be found on the OUTPUT page of the Layout menu.
IMPORTANT! Any other unsaved changes such as altered effect parameters or bypass
states will also be stored if either VOLUME INCR or VOLUME DECR is triggered.
AMP1 BYP
AMP 2 BYP
CAB 1 BYP
… THROUGH…
WAH 2 BYP
AMP1 XY
AMP 2 XY
CHO1 XY
… THROUGH
WAH 2 XY
140
WARNING! These functions are designed for use with momentary footswitches set up
to send a CC# value of 127 for “ON” and 0 for “OFF”. Do not use an expression pedal
or you will change levels +/-20 dB with a single sweep!
Every block instance in the inventory of the Axe-Fx II except FB SEND, FB RETURN,
MIXER, SHUNT and TONE MATCH can be set up with a global, dedicated MIDI CC
assignment to control its bypass state. The complete list of default effect bypass
assignments can be found in the Factory Default Settings section of the Appendix.
The X/Y switching feature equips various Axe-Fx II blocks with dual independent sets
of parameters, making it possible to have two completely different switchable
settings for a single block. Data values from 0–63 will select the Y state, while values
from 64–127 will select X. See section 4.4 on p. 36 for more on X/Y switching.
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9.5 Pedal Parameters
The PEDAL page of the I/O menu contains parameters to set up and use an expression pedal or switch through the
PEDAL jack on the rear panel of the Axe-Fx II. Simply connect the device, set its type, and perform a calibration
if using a continuous-type expression pedal. The PEDAL function may be assigned to any of the items listed in the
CONTROL page of the I/O menu (p. 139)
Any type of external switch may be used, as long as its contacts make and break the connection between tip and
sleeve on a regular 1/4”¼” guitar cable. Expression pedals should have a linear resistance taper and max resistance
of 10kΩ to 100kΩ, and must be used with Tip-Ring-Sleeve (TRS) cables.
PARAMETER
Description
PEDAL TYPE
CONTINUOUS/
MOMENTARY/
LATCHING
PRESET INCR
OFF/ON
Set this according to the physical type of the pedal or switch that is connected. Use
CONTINUOUS for expression pedals and MOMENTARY or LATCHING for switches.
PRESET START,
PRESET END
These set the start and endpoints for a cycle of presets that may be stepped through
by a connected footswitch or pedal when PRESET INCR is on. When the series reaches
the END preset, it starts from the beginning again.
To calibrate an expression pedal connected to the onboard PEDAL jack, first select
this menu choice, then:
 Press ENTER.
PEDAL CAL
When this is turned ON, a connected at the PEDAL jack may be used to increment
presets.
 Move the pedal through its full range of motion several times.
 Press ENTER again when finished.
Switches, unlike pedals, do not need to be calibrated.
9.6 X/Y Quick-Jump Assign
The QUICK-JUMP page of the I/O menu contains two parameters: X QUICK-JUMP ASSIGN and Y QUICK-JUMP ASSIGN.
In addition to their functions for X/Y Parameter switching (p. 36) the X and Y buttons are used for one-touch access
to two edit menus of your choice. The EDIT menus of the blocks specified here will be opened instantly when you
press X or Y in any screen of any menu except EDIT (including MODIFIER and SAVE/LOAD GLOBAL BLOCK) or
STORE.
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UTILITIES
10 Utilities
The Utilities section, accessed by pressing the front panel UTILITY button, contains five pages of menus
containing settings and tools that do not affect the sound or routing of the Axe-Fx II.
10.1 LCD Contrast
The LCD page of the UTILITY menu contains a single adjustment slider, used to set the contrast of the built-in
display to ensure good readability in different viewing environments.
10.2 Preset Utilities
The PRESET page of the UTILITY menu contains dump and backup utilities. Each of the options listed is executed by
selecting it and pressing ENTER to transmit or “dump” the selected memory area to an external device for
backup, editing, or other purposes. Be sure to note that dumps to MIDI and USB are initiated with separate menu
choices.
Backup and restore operations are detailed in Section 13 beginning on p. 148
10.3 Status Meters
The Status meter page of the UTILITY menu contains audio meters for Input 1 Left and Right (L1, R1), Input 2 Left
and Right (L2, R2), Output 1 Left and Right (L1, R1), and Output 2 Left and Right (L2, R2). The meter scale is -80 to 0
db.
The front panel also shows the levels for Input 1 L+R and Input 2 L+R on stereo LED meters.
To the right of the I/O section, CPU Utilization (CPU%) is shown on its own meter. The total CPU usage must not
exceed 98% or the entire system could destabilize. The Axe-Fx II works to prevent this condition from occurring.
See Understanding Preset Size Limits on p. 156 for more information on this subject.
10.4 Reset System
This menu page includes a single parameter that is used to restore the factory default settings to System
Parameters, specifically:

GLOBAL Configuration parameters, Global OUT1 and OUT2 settings.

IO Input, Audio, MIDI, Control and Pedal Parameters.

LCD Display Contrast.
The following areas are NOT affected by RESET SYSTEM PARAMS:

User scale settings are NOT modified.

User Cabs are NOT affected.
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
Global Blocks are NOT affected.

Preset memories are NOT affected.

Firmware is NOT affected.
To Reset System Parameters, select this menu page, then press ENTER.
A dialog will prompt you to “RESET ALL?” Press ENTER to execute the reset.
10.5 IR Capture
Impulse Responses allow the Axe-Fx to simulate the sonic properties of a real speaker system. The CAB block (p.
48) is pre-loaded with “Factory” IRs for 70 different speakers, while 50 “User” IR slots allow you to load custom
impulses.
This utility allows you to measures the frequency response of a real guitar cab (or other speaker) and save the
result as a custom Impulse Responses (IR) for use in the CAB block. To use the utility, you must connect the Axe-Fx
II to a power amp and speaker so the test tones may be played, connect a mic and preamp to the input of the AxeFx II so the resulting response may be captured, perform the test, name, and save the IR to a USER slot.
Components & Connections
To capture your own IRs with the Axe-Fx II, you’ll also need several common pieces of pro audio equipment.
Remember that every component in the chain contributes to the sound: the amp, the cab, the mic, and the
preamp.
A sonically neutral solid-state power amp is best. High wattage is not important as an accurate impulse can be
captured at relatively low levels, but take care to match
the amp to the impedance of the connected cab.
Select a microphone suited for guitar cab recording and
position it according to your preference of tones. The
web is filled with excellent info on mic placement,
distance, angle, etc., but don’t be afraid to experiment.
Remember that microphones have tonal “color” which
contributes significantly to an IR. As when recording,
being able to hear what the mic “hears” by placing the
cab in isolation will help produce desired results quickly.
Mic position and distance are also critical, and it may take
several attempts to find your “sweet spot.”
A preamp brings the signal of the mic up to line level for
processing. This also contributes to the tone, but even
the simple preamp in an inexpensive mixer can produce
excellent results. Do not apply dynamics processing (e.g.
compression) as this will misrepresent the response.
With an optional mixer, multiple microphones can be
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combined to produce a tone that blends their best characteristics. Note however that it is also possible to capture
mics individually and then blend them in a preset using multiple CAB blocks or the “stereo” cab mode. Leave your
guitar connected and monitors powered on so you can audition results when the capture is finished. Refer to the
diagram here and make connections as follows:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Mic the cab, which should be in a quiet, isolated place where background noise won’t be a problem.
Connect the mic to the preamp input and connect the preamp output to the INPUT 2 Left (FX
RETURN) of the Axe-Fx II.
Connect OUTPUT 2 Left (FX SEND) of the Axe-Fx II to the input of your power amp input.
Connect the power amp’s speaker out to your speaker cabinet. Turn the preamp and power amp ON.
Capturing the Response
5.
6.
7.
8.
Once you’ve made required connections, press UTILITY on the Axe-Fx II and page to “IR CAP”.
Press ENTER with the onscreen [TEST] button selected to generate a sample “chirp” for setting levels.
The test signal should sound loud enough to measure the speaker without background noise interference,
but not loud enough to be uncomfortable or overdrive the power amp or speaker. The front panel
INPUT2 LED meters of the Axe-Fx II will indicate the level of the signal received. Adjust the levels of
the power amp and preamp until an optimal level is obtained (the red LED indicates a level of -6db and
may flicker on during “healthy” peak levels). If signal is especially low, you may need to increase the
virtual input trim of the Axe-Fx II Input 2 (found under I/O: INPUT).
When levels are set correctly, navigate to the onscreen [CAPTURE] button and press ENTER.
Wait quietly for the capture to finish (~20 seconds), then use the NAV keys and VALUE wheel to
select a location (“Save to #”) and a name, then navigate to the onscreen [SAVE] button, and press
ENTER twice to store the impulse.
To audition your saved IR, change the CAB block of any preset to the USER cab number where you saved the
custom IR. You can combine multiple IRs using multiple CAB blocks or the “Stereo” cab mode. If you store the IR in
a user slot which is already in use in the currently loaded preset, you will be able to audition immediately upon
saving.
It is also possible to use this utility to capture the responses of systems other than a power amp/mic/preamp.
Possibilities might include the factory cabs of the Axe-Fx Ultra, a particular tape delay, or any other line-in/line-out
device.
The PRESET utilities (p. 142) allow dumping individual User Cab IRs to MIDI or USB for backup. Remember also that
all user cab IRs are included with a dump of the Axe-Fx II System (see chapter 13).
10.6 Firmware
The firmware page in the UTILITY menu utility shows you the VERSION of the currently loaded firmware, and
includes a function to place the unit into an UPDATE mode. To enter update mode, navigate to this menu and
press ENTER.
See Section 14 on p. 151 for details on how to update firmware.
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11 Tuner
The Axe-Fx II includes a state-of-the art onboard TUNER, an essential tool for the performing or recording
musician. It is easy to operate and features high-resolution automatic pitch detection, a calibration control, offsets
for modified tuning schemes, and the option to mute audio while tuning. The TUNER button shows the tuner.
The PAGE buttons allow access to the tuner CONFIG and OFFSET pages. To exit the tuner screen, press EXIT
or RECALL. The tuner may be set up via the CONTROL page of the I/O menu (p. 139) to be remotely
engaged/disengaged using MIDI or the onboard Pedal Jack. As of firmware version 6.0, the Axe-Fx tuner can be
used to tune droptune or bass guitars as well.
Configuration Parameters
PARAMETER
Description
CAL
430.0 – 450.0 Hz
MUTE
OFF/INPUT/OUTPUT
USE OFFSETS
OFF/ON
This calibrates the tuner by setting the frequency of A4 (in the 8va above middle C).
This setting determines whether the main inputs or outputs will be MUTED when the
tuner is engaged.
Determines whether the settings on the OFFSET page (see below) are applied or
ignored.
Offset Parameters
PARAMETER
Description
E1, B2, G3,
D4, A5, E6
+/-12.7 Hz
Offsets allow the tuner to be calibrated so individual notes diverge from standard
concert tuning by a defined amount.
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TEMPO
12 Tempo
Tempo is used in electronic music for synchronizing different rates and times, whether inside one machine or
across different devices. The Global Tempo of the Axe-Fx II allows for both internal and external synchronization,
providing effects with a central BPM clock that can run autonomously or march to the rhythm of an upstream
device outputting MIDI Beat Clock. The tempo is available to control a variety of rates and times in the Axe-Fx II.
12.1 Setting the Tempo
The Global Tempo may be set to any whole number value in the range 30 BPM (grave) to 250 BPM (prestissimo).
The current tempo is shown by a flashing LED inside the TEMPO button of the Axe-Fx II front panel, and it will
1
also flash on the tempo footswitch of a connected MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller.
To set the tempo, tap two or more times on the front panel TEMPO button, or press the button once and adjust
the TEMPO knob that appears in the onscreen display.
The tap function can also be controlled remotely by assigning a MIDI CC# or a footswitch connected to the
onboard PEDAL jack to TAP TEMPO in the Control page of the I/O menu (p. 139).
The Global Tempo will automatically synchronize to MIDI Beat Clock if it is detected at the MIDI IN port or in
the incoming MIDI stream of the USB interface. The Axe-Fx II does not recognize MIDI Time Code or SMPTE, nor
does it transmit MIDI Beat Clock.
12.2 Synchronizing Sound Parameters
Rates and times in a preset can be made to sync rhythmically to the Global Tempo by setting their corresponding
TEMPO parameters. This is done by selecting from a list of rhythmic values, ranging from 1/64-note-triplets to
double whole notes, with 76+ options in all. For example, to set the TIME of a “mono delay” to follow the quarter
note pulse of the tempo, find the TEMPO parameter in the delay’s EDIT menu (it is on PG2) and set this value to
“1/4.”
The moment you assign a value for TEMPO (other than “NONE”), its associated rate or time parameter is
overridden and may not be changed manually (as indicated by its appearance in parentheses). To regain control of
an overridden parameter, set its corresponding TEMPO parameter back to NONE.
The following parameters may be synchronized to the Global Tempo:
 Chorus, Flanger, Phaser and Tremolo Modulation Rates.
 Delay: All Delay Times and Modulation Rates.
 Multi Delay: All delay times, All Modulation rates, Rhythm Tap Quantization value.
 Pitch: All delay times, Crystal Splice time, Arpeggiator tempo.
 Controllers: Global LFO 1 and LFO 2 rate, Sequencer Rate.
1
This requires that the SEND REALTIME SYSEX option in the MIDI page of the I/O menu be set to “ALL” or “TEMPO.”
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TEMPO
Tempo-synchronized sound functions track changes to Global Tempo in real time, increasing or decreasing as it
speeds up or slows down.
12.3 Tempo to Use
Every preset contains two saved TEMPO settings: an actual TEMPO (BPM) value and a second setting called TEMPO
TO USE.
If a preset’s TEMPO TO USE parameter is set to “PRESET,” the Global Tempo will change to the saved BPM value
whenever that preset is loaded. Factory presets in the Axe-Fx II are saved with a tempo of 120 BPM and a TEMPO
TO USE setting of “PRESET.”
If a preset’s TEMPO TO USE parameter is instead set to “GLOBAL,” its saved BPM value will be ignored, and the
current Global Tempo will be used.
12.4 Auto Delay
When set to “ON,” any delay blocks that are bypassed will become active whenever a tempo is tapped in. This
allows you to set the tempo and un-bypass your delay block(s) from a single footswitch.
12.5 Metronome
The Axe-Fx features a built in metronome. Two parameters control its function.
METRONOME – Turns the metronome on or off.
METRO LEVEL – Sets the level of the metronome from +/- 20db
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13 Backing Up and Restoring
The Axe-Fx II can create external backups to a computer or other MIDI recorder, or onboard backups to its flash
ROM memory. Both methods are described below, as are details on how to restore each type of backup. It is a
wise practice to back up your Axe-Fx II regularly.
13.1 MIDI/SysEx Backup and Restore
IMPORTANT! If you have an MFC-101 connected to your Axe-Fx II, whether at the MIDI IN or MFC
Control port, power it OFF or DISCONNECT it prior to performing any dump. Failure to do so may
cause the MFC-101 to process incoming SysEx data resulting in unpredictable behavior.
13.1.1
Dumping to a computer
The PRESET page of the UTILITY menu contains various utilities for dumping the memory of the Axe-Fx II. Dumps
are transmitted as MIDI System Exclusive data, or “SysEx”, which can be recorded for backup, sharing, editing, or
other purposes.
Before executing a SysEx a dump, you must connect the Axe-Fx II to a computer. This might be via a legacy MIDI
rd
interface or via USB. Some means of recording the dump must be provided, typically a 3 party SysEx utility such
as MIDI Ox for PC (http://www.midiox.com) or Snoize SysEx Librarian for Mac
(http://www.snoize.com/SysExLibrarian). The details of configuring and operating these programs are beyond the
scope of this manual, but help can be obtained through their authors or at our forum
(http://forum.fractalaudio.com). Besides these options, Axe-Edit, our own MIDI Librarian/Editor, provides a range
of options. Axe-Edit is supported by its own documentation.
Once you have the computer connected and a SysEx utility ready to receive a dump, select the appropriate entry
on the UTILITY:PRESET page and press ENTER to begin transmission. There are options for dumping PRESET,
BANK, or SYSTEM to either MIDI (via the onboard MIDI OUT/THRU port) or USB (via the AXE-FX II MIDI IN port of a
connected computer). MIDI data appears at the MIDI OUT/THRU port regardless of the setting for MIDI THRU in the
MIDI page of the I/O menu (p. 137)
 DUMP PRESET TO MIDI dumps the currently loaded preset, including any unsaved changes, to the MIDI
OUT port of the Axe-Fx II. There is no onscreen confirmation when a PRESET dump initiates or completes.
 DUMP BANK (A, B, or C) TO MIDI dumps a batch of 128 presets to the MIDI OUT port of the Axe-Fx II. Bank
A contains presets 0-127, B contains 128-255, and C contains 256-383 (or 1-128, 129-256 and 257-384
when DISPLAY OFFSET (p. 137) is turned ON. An onscreen meter (“Bank Transfer in Progress”) indicates
the progress as a bank is transmitted.
NOTE: It takes approximately 9-10 minutes for a bank dump to complete via MIDI, so the meter moves very slowly.
 DUMP SYSTEM TO MIDI dumps all of the system settings of the Axe-Fx II. A SYSTEM dump specifically
includes:

148
All GLOBAL and I/O parameter settings
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BACKING UP AND RESTORING



All TUNER settings
All USER CAB IRs
All GLOBAL BLOCKS
An onscreen meter (“Bank Transfer in Progress”) indicates the progress as the SYSTEM is transmitted.
 DUMP USER CAB TO MIDI dumps the currently loaded User Cab IR for backup. If the “stereo” mode or
multiple CAB blocks are used in the current preset, the dump will be the “left” IR of the “CAB 1” block.
Dumping to USB
Each of the “DUMP… TO USB” options performs the same function as the corresponding “DUMP…TO MIDI”
choice, except that the SysEx data is transmitted to the AXE-FX II MIDI IN port that appears in your computer
when the Axe-Fx II is installed/connected via USB.
13.1.2
Restoring from a Computer
WARNING! When the Axe-Fx receives a BANK or SYSTEM SysEx file, it overwrites local data and settings
without warning. Be certain you are sending the correct files, and consider making a backup of current
settings before transmitting anything to your Axe-Fx II.
rd
To restore a SysEx backup file with a 3 party MIDI utility or sequencer:
 Create the connection between the Axe-Fx II and computer. This might be via legacy MIDI interface or USB.
 Transmit the desired SysEx file from the application to the Axe-Fx II. It is not necessary to ready the Axe-Fx
in any way.

When the Axe-Fx receives an individual preset, it does NOT store it. Rather, it loads it into the
“edit buffer” which must then be saved using normal methods (p. 37)

When the Axe-Fx receives a BANK or SYSTEM dump, it processes and stores the data
immediately, overwriting local presets and settings without warning.
Axe-Edit, mentioned above in the section on creating backups, can also open, inspect, modify and transmit SysEx
files. See our web site for more information about Axe-Edit. http://www.fractalaudio.com/products-axe-edit.html
13.2 Onboard ROM Backup and Restore
The Axe-Fx II contains an internal FLASH ROM where PRESET BANKS and SYSTEM SETTINGS may be stored for
speedy recovery without a computer. The contents of the FLASH ROM are not overwritten or modified during
firmware updates or when you restore presets, banks, or the system from SysEx backup files.
Select the appropriate entry on the UTILITY:PRESET page and press ENTER to begin the backup or restore.
Warning! Both BACKUP and RESTORE operations are permanent and cannot be UNDONE. When you
BACKUP to the onboard FLASH ROM, the old contents of the selected area will be irrevocably overwritten
by the new backup. When you RESTORE from the FLASH ROM, the selected Preset Memories or System
Settings of the Axe-Fx II will be overwritten by the restored data and cannot be recovered.
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BACKING UP AND RESTORING
Warning! Never interrupt a FLASH ROM Backup or Restore operation in process, or data loss/corruption
could occur. Do not unplug or power off the unit during BACKUP or RESTORE.
 BACKUP BANK A, B, or C copies a group of 128 presets to the onboard backup ROM. Bank A contains
presets 0-127, B contains 128-255, and C contains 256-383 (or 1-128, 129-256, and 257-384 when DISPLAY
OFFSET [p. 137] is turned ON). A meter indicates progress. It takes less than 10 seconds for a backup to
complete.
 BACKUP SYSTEM copies all of the system settings of the Axe-Fx II to the onboard Backup. Specifically, this
includes:




All GLOBAL and I/O parameter settings
All TUNER settings
All USER CAB IRs
All GLOBAL BLOCKS
 RESTORE USER BANK A, B, or C reads a group of 128 presets from the onboard backup ROM and writes
these into the onboard preset memories of the Axe-Fx II when you press ENTER to execute the
selected function. Bank A contains presets 0-127, B contains 128-255, and C contains 256-383 (or 1-128,
129-256, and 257-384 when DISPLAY OFFSET (p. 137) is turned ON.
 RESTORE SYSTEM reads all of the non-preset settings of the Axe-Fx II from the onboard Backup ROM and
writes these into their respective areas when you press ENTER. This specifically includes




All GLOBAL and I/O parameter settings
All TUNER settings
All USER CAB IRs
All saved GLOBAL PRESET settings
 RESTORE FACTORY BANK A,B, or C reads from a separate different ROM memory which always contains a
fresh copy of the factory preset banks regardless of what changes you save to the preset memories or
backup ROM. These otherwise operate the same as RESTORE USER BANKS, above.
13.3 Machine-to-Machine Transfers
Warning: When the Axe-Fx receives a machine-to-machine transfer, it overwrites local data and
settings without warning.
Preset, Bank or System data can be transferred directly from one Axe-Fx II to another. Connect the MIDI OUT of
the first Axe-Fx to the MIDI IN of the second and use any of the DUMP TO MIDI entries in the UTILITY menu.
nd
When the 2 Axe-Fx receives an individual preset, it does NOT store it. Rather, it loads it in the “edit buffer” which
must then be saved using normal methods (p. 37).
nd
When the 2 Axe-Fx receives a BANK or SYSTEM dump, it processes and stores the data immediately, overwriting
local presets and settings without warning.
It is not possible to connect one Axe-Fx II to another via USB.
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14 Firmware Updates
14.1 Firmware
As detailed in the UTILITIES section (p. 143), firmware is the onboard software that gives the Axe-Fx all of its
features, functions and capabilities. Through its capability for firmware updates, the unit has great potential to
evolve, with additions, enhancements and the occasional bug fix.
The firmware page in the UTILITY menu utility shows you the Version of the currently loaded firmware and
includes a function to place the unit into an UPDATE mode. To enter update mode, navigate to this menu and
press ENTER.
With Axe-Edit
Axe-Edit, the companion editor/librarian for the Axe-Fx II, includes a firmware update utility with step-by-step
instructions. Choose “UPDATE FIRMWARE” from the Settings menu to initiate the process. Axe-Edit includes its
own support documentation.
With a 3rd Party MIDI Utility or Sequencer
 Connect the Axe-Fx II and the computer. This will typically be done using USB but legacy MIDI also works.
 Launch your MIDI Utility and ready it to send the firmware System Exclusive file.
 On the Axe-Fx II, press UTILITY and select the FIRMWARE page. Press ENTER.
 Transmit the file from the computer to the Axe-Fx II. A progress bar will appear on the Axe-Fx II while it
receives the firmware. It will take several minutes to transfer the file.
 If all goes well, the Axe-Fx will display "GOOD CHECKSUM” and will then erase, flash and reboot.

If a firmware update fails, you may need to reboot the Axe-Fx II and try again after lowering the
rate at which your application sends SysEx data. This setting is typically called something like
“Speed of sending MIDI”, “Delay between buffers”, or “Pause between played messages”.
If you accidentally enter firmware upgrade mode, press EXIT or reboot the Axe-Fx II.
New firmware updates are made available through our website http://www.fractalaudio.com/support.
Please always review the README file and instructions included with the download.
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15 Troubleshooting
Fractal Audio Systems offers support through its web site at www.fractalaudio.com
You can also get answers to most questions in our online forum at forum.fractalaudio.com
The Axe-Fx Wiki at wiki.fractalaudio.com/axefx2 is also an excellent source of information.
Here are some frequently asked questions that might help you with very basic issues.
Q: How do I connect the Axe-Fx II to my computer?
A: Install the driver, available in the support section of our web site, and then connect the two devices together
with a standard USB cable. The Audio and MIDI input and output ports created will appear in your applications that
support these functions.
Q: Can I use the Axe-Fx II with MIDI controller “Brand X”?
A: MIDI is MIDI. You won’t get all of the deep integration features provided by “Axe-Fx Mode” on the MFC-101, nor
will you be able to connect via CAT5 Ethernet cable and without the need for a wall-wart AC adapter. But any
device that can send MIDI program and control change messages can interface with the Axe-Fx II.
Q: How do I set up a pedal to control the Wah?
A: See the tutorial on page 162.
Q: My Axe-Fx II is behaving erratically or “froze up” while I was using it. What should I do?
A: Reboot the unit. If the trouble persists across a reboot, try holding RECALL while you boot the unit to reset the
“edit buffer.” This will load an EMPTY preset, but won’t affect any of your saved settings.
Q: One of my presets produces no sound.
A: This might be any one (or several) of a number of things:
 Is everything still wired up correctly? Most of the time, the problem is a faulty or disconnected cable!
 Have you double-checked to ensure that you have a complete path from the input to the output? See p. 30.
 Is your guitar plugged into the front “INSTR” jack while INPUT 1 LEFT SELECT is set to “REAR” or vice versa?
(See I/O : AUDIO on p. 135.)
 Is there a MODIFIER assigned to a volume or level control while the pedal or external switch is not present?
Find and remove that modifier (p. 125) or change its EXT CTRL INIT VALUE from 0% to 100% (p. 137).
Q: The amps I’ve dialed in sound “wrong.”
A: The amp simulations of the Axe-Fx II are extremely accurate and should sound instantly familiar to those who
know the original amplifiers that inspired them. If things don’t sound correct, a few quick checks can confirm that
basic settings are correct. First, check the speaker cabinet type to make sure it is an appropriate match. You won’t
get typical “DAS METALL” sounds from a single 10” speaker. Next, consider the setting of the MASTER. If the
original amp had no master, try a high setting (8+) and then dial in the amount of distortion you want using the
DRIVE parameter. Check the CONFIG page of the Global menu to make sure that power amp and cabinet
simulations are set correctly (see Chapter 3). Finally, consider trying default settings and the headphone jack for
reference.
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Q: All my presets suddenly sound harsh and bright. What’s going on here?
A: Check the CONFIG page of the Global menu (p. 133) to ensure that the Global Power Amp and Cab Simulations
have not been turned off. If a single preset is affected, make sure you haven’t set the SAG parameter of its AMP
block(s) fully counterclockwise. The Global Graphic EQ (p. 134) may also have an unusual setting.
Q: Many of my presets suddenly sound hollow and thin. What could cause this?
A: These terms are sometimes used to describe the sound of phase problems caused when stereo sounds have
been summed to mono. Check the AUDIO page of the I/O menu to ensure that the OUTPUT1 MODE and OUTPUT 2
MODE are set correctly according to how you are listening to your Axe-Fx II. Listening with headphones while
making this change can also confirm or rule out this possible problem.
Q: The sound is distorted even on what should be “clean” presets.
A: Check the input and output levels of the Axe-Fx II and check the input levels of any downstream amps/monitors.
Try the headphone jack for comparison purposes. See p. 15 for more on how to set levels.
Q: The front panel CLIP LED is coming on. What does this mean?
A: The two CLIP LEDs indicate whether the D/A converters are being overdriven. Adjusting the output levels of
your presets, or reducing the global BOOST/PAD setting for the offending output, should help. See p. 15 for more
on how to set levels.
Q: My screen is blinking EXCESS CPU UTILIZATION! REDUCE LOAD.
A: First, try undoing the last change you made by turning the value wheel in the opposite direction. You can also
return to the grid, navigate around the message, and remove one or more blocks. You can also load a different
preset or reboot the unit.
Q: I am pressing FX BYP, but the state of the selected block will not toggle. What gives?
A: The BYPASS MODE parameter, available on almost all blocks, has a modifier slot to control bypass state. Once
attached to this slot, the modifier assumes total control over the block’s bypass switch. Either utilize the MODIFIER
to change the bypass state, or remove it.
Q: I loaded a preset from a backup and it sounds nothing like it did when I first saved it. What’s wrong?
A: The most likely scenario is that something else changed: the guitar, the amp, or perhaps the settings of remotecontrollers. It is also possible, however, that the preset in question uses Global Blocks that have changed.
Q: When I play audio from the computer through the Axe-Fx II, the sound is processed by the effects, and I can’t
hear the guitar. What’s wrong?
A: Change the MAIN INPUT SELECT from USB to ANALOG (IN 1). This will allow you to play along with audio from
the computer.
Q: Can I use the onboard MIDI ports to connect a keyboard/synthesizer/etc. to my computer?
A: Yes. Just remember to turn on USB ADAPTER MODE in the MIDI page of the I/O menu. See p. 137.
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APPENDIX
16 Appendix
The following material is designed for reference and aims to maximize your enjoyment of the Axe-Fx II. Please also
visit our online forum at http://forum.fractalaudio.com for discussions on these and many other subjects.
16.1 Shortcuts Overview
The Axe-Fx II has several shortcuts and hidden features. These are summarized below.
IN THE AMP BLOCK

With the TREBLE knob selected, press ENTER to engage or disengage the BRIGHT switch.
 With the DRIVE knob selected, press ENTER to engage or disengage the BOOST switch.
IN PRESET RECALL MODE

Press NAV UP or DOWN to load the next or previous preset.
 Press NAV LEFT or RIGHT to load the 10th preset in either direction.
ON THE GRID:

With a non-shunt grid block selected, press EXIT…ENTER to convert to a SHUNT.

With a shunt selected, press EXIT…ENTER to convert to an EMPTY SPACE.

With any block selected, PRESS AND HOLD ENTER to create a series of connectors and shunts to bridge
empty space to the right. This will also CLEAR existing connectors between a series of blocks.
IN THE EDIT MENU of ANY BLOCK

Press EDIT to skip to the EDIT menu of the next block.

Double-tap BYPASS to return the current block to defaults (also works for INPUT gate, OUTPUT mixer, all
internal CONTROLLERS, and both Global Graphic EQs).
 Double-tap FX BYP to access the SAVE/LOAD GLOBAL BLOCKS screen.
IN THE I/O CONTROL MENU:

Press ENTER to start LEARNING MODE for any function on the page. Move the external controller or send
a MIDI CC# to the Axe-Fx II, and the selected function will learn the assignment.
IN THE SEQUENCER MENU
 With any STAGE selected, press ENTER to randomize the values of all stages.
ANYWHERE EXCEPT IN AN “EDIT” or “STORE” MENU or SUBMENU:

154
Press X or Y to jump to the EDIT menu of either Quick Jump block (p. 141).
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16.2 60-Second Edit Guide
The following is provided as a quick start-up or reminder about editing on the Axe-Fx II.
Figure 16-1 – 60-Second Edit Guide
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APPENDIX
16.3 Understanding Preset Size Limits
Each block you add to the grid contributes to a preset’s total CPU load. So do connector cables, modifiers, and
“general overhead,” albeit to a far lesser extent.
As a preset grows in size and complexity, load on the CPU increases. You can check the current load at any time by
pressing UTILITY and switching to the STATUS page. A thermometer-like meter on the right side of the screen
shows the CPU usage (and provides a specific numerical readout above).
If the total CPU load were to exceed 98%, the Axe-Fx II would become unable to do much of anything, so there are
safeguards that prevent this condition from occurring. First, you are stopped from inserting any block whose
potential CPU usage might cause an overload by the message “INSUFFICIENT CPU”; (the Axe-Fx II assumes that a
block will be used to its limits when making this determination).
If you are prevented from inserting an effect, you can make changes to reduce the current CPU utilization and try
again. One strategy might be removing redundant blocks. Bypassed effects are in fact always “running” at full CPU
utilization, so these are prime candidates. Adjusting certain parameters can also help. Lowering the number of
voices in a chorus, for example, or switching the CAB TYPE from high to low-resolution might make the difference of
fitting that last effect block…or not.
As a second safeguard, the Axe-Fx II will alert you if a parameter change pushes the
CPU too far. In this case, the preset will be muted, the message “EXCESS CPU
UTILIZATION! REDUCE LOAD” will flash on the screen, and you’ll need to take steps to
get back below the limit. The most likely solution will be to change back whatever setting you had just made, but it
is also possible to enter the grid and remove or edit other blocks to address the issue.
These warnings happen very infrequently, even for power users. The CPU limit is generally not an issue when
creating musically viable settings. In the past, professional players have been able to replace entire rigs of gear—
amps, pedals, and beyond—with a single Axe-Fx Ultra Preset. Although our G2 technology has resulted in amps,
cabs, and certain other blocks that require additional power per instance, the onboard CPU power is DOUBLE that
of the Ultra, so there is still a considerable net pickup.
The Axe-Fx II dedicates a small percentage of CPU resources to USB processing. Extremely large presets may run
fine while USB is disconnected, but need some economizing as described above to run while USB is connected.
16.4 Signal Flow, Global, and I/O Parameters
If you are viewing the electronic version of this manual, the final pages (unnumbered) show a stylized view of AxeFx II signal and MIDI flow, with indications of the relative placement and functions of GLOBAL and I/O parameters.
These are not included in the hard copy version because of printing constraints.
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16.5 LFO Waveforms, Duty, and Phase
All of the modulation effects in the Axe-Fx II (Chorus, Flanger, Delay, Phaser, Tremolo, etc.) and the two Global
LFOs share a common set of waveform types—“shapes” that define the way they change over time. These are
represented below, together with an indication of how the DUTY parameter controls wave symmetry.
Remember that in cases where an LFO modulates the delay time (Chorus, Flanger, and any Delay blocks) it is the
slope, rather than the actual LFO “value,” that determines the pitch offset at any moment. A triangle with a
constant up/down slope will “sound” like the square wave “looks.” A square waveform with no effective slope will
produce only a series of clicks unless used with “damping.”
Type
50 % Duty Cycle (Normal)
SINE
0% Duty
100% Duty
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
TRIANGLE
SQUARE
SAW UP
SAW DOWN
RANDOM
LOG
EXPONENTIAL
(EXP)
NA
TRAPEZOID
16.5.1
LFO Phase
PHASE adjustments shift the alignment of the “RIGHT” or “B” LFO output. At 0° (below, far left), the two channels
are in phase; at 180° (below, far right), the two signals are phase-opposite, so while one is swinging from 0–100,
the other is swinging from 100–0 (and vice versa). Any interim setting is also allowed. Phase has no effect on the
Axe-Fx II RANDOM waveform.
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APPENDIX
16.6 Tempo Cross Reference
The tables below list the rhythmic values available in every tempo parameter on the Axe-Fx II. The first lists these
in the order they appear as you turn the VALUE wheel, with their equivalency in BEATS. The heavy border
shows a breaking point between common and uncommon tempos.
The second table (cross-referenced to the first by the INDEX values) lists time tempo time values sorted from
shortest to longest. Its cell borders show - - - 16th, - - - 8th, and — quarter note boundaries.
Values in Actual Order, with Beat Equivalents
Values from Shortest to Longest
INDEX VALUE
BEATS
INDEX VALUE
BEATS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
1/64th trip
1/64th
1/64th dot
1/32nd trip
1/32nd
1/32nd dot
1/16th trip
1/16th
1/16th dot
1/8th trip
1/8th
1/8th dot
1/4 trip
1/4
1/4 dot
1/2 trip
1/2
1/2 dot
1 trip
1
1 dot
2
3
4
0.042
0.063
0.094
0.083
0.125
0.188
0.167
0.25
0.375
0.333
0.5
0.75
0.667
1
1.5
1.333
2
3
2.667
4
6
8
12
16
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
22/64 (11/32)
23/64
25/64
26/64 (13/32)
27/64
28/64 (7/16)
29/64
30/64 (15/32)
31/64
33/64
34/64 (17/32)
35/64
36/64 (9/16)
37/64
38/64 (19/32)
39/64
40/64 (5/8)
41/64
42/64 (21/32)
43/64
44/64 (11/16)
45/64
46/64 (23/32)
47/64
1.375
1.438
1.563
1.625
1.688
1.75
1.813
1.875
1.938
2.063
2.125
2.188
2.250
2.313
2.375
2.438
2.5
2.563
2.625
2.688
2.75
2.813
2.875
2.938
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
4/3
5/4
5/64
7/64
9/64
10/64 (5/32)
11/64
13/64
14/64 (7/32)
15/64
17/64
18/64 (9/32)
19/64
20/64 (5/16)
21/64
5.333
5
0.313
0.438
0.563
0.625
0.688
0.813
0.875
0.938
1.063
1.125
1.188
1.25
1.313
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
49/64 (49/64)
50/64 (25/32)
51/64
52/64 (13/16)
53/64
54/64 (27/32)
55/64
56/64 (7/8)
57/64
58/64 (29/32)
59/64
60/64 (15/16)
61/64
62/64 (31/32)
63/64
3.063
3.125
3.188
3.25
3.313
3.375
3.438
3.5
3.563
3.625
3.688
3.75
3.813
3.875
3.938
158
VALUE
1/64 trip
1/64
1/32 trip
1/64 dot
1/32
1/16 trip
1/32 dot
1/16
5/64
1/8 trip
1/16 dot
7/64
1/8th
9/64
10/64 (5/32)
1/4 trip
11/64
1/8 dot
13/64
14/64 (7/32)
15/64
1/4
17/64
18/64 (9/32)
19/64
20/64 (5/16)
21/64
1/2 trip
22/64 (11/32)
23/64
1/4 dot
25/64
26/64 (13/32)
27/64
28/64 (7/16)
29/64
30/64 (15/32)
31/64
1/2
AKA
1/96th
1/48th
1/24th
3/64th
1/12th
3/32nd
1/6th
3/16th
1/3rd
3/8th
INDEX
1
2
4
3
5
7
6
8
27
10
9
28
11
29
30
13
31
12
32
33
34
14
35
36
37
38
39
16
40
41
15
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
17
VALUE
33/64
34/64 (17/32)
35/64
36/64 (9/16)
37/64
38/64 (19/32)
39/64
40/64 (5/8)
41/64
42/64 (21/32)
1 trip
43/64
44/64 (11/16)
45/64
46/64 (23/32)
47/64
1/2 dot
49/64 (49/64)
50/64 (25/32)
51/64
52/64 (13/16)
53/64
54/64 (27/32)
55/64
56/64 (7/8)
57/64
58/64 (29/32)
59/64
60/64 (15/16)
61/64
62/64 (31/32)
63/64
1
5/4
4/3
1 dot
2
2 bars
3
3 bars
4
4 bars
AKA
INDEX
2/3
3/4
whole
3/2
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
19
59
60
61
62
63
18
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
20
26
25
21
22
23
24
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16.7 Mono and Stereo
Here are some points about stereo and mono operation of the Axe-Fx II.
1.
Each Grid row is Stereo – Many new users don’t initially realize that a single path through the grid is
already in full stereo. You don’t need two rows for this! There are four full-stereo paths, then, from the
input to the output.
What looks like this in the grid…
…is actually this.
2.
Different blocks process in different ways — Some blocks (AMP, CAB, Drive, and the pedal compressor)
will sum the signal to mono at their inputs and process in mono, but the mono mix appears at both Left
and Right outputs for the block. Other blocks—Ping-Pong Delay or Reverb for instance—sum the input to
mono but then process and output stereo signals. Other blocks, for example the chorus or wah, have
stereo inputs, stereo processing, and stereo outputs. The Effects Guide, beginning on p. 39, covers every
block and its processing in detail.
Mono Summing vs. Splitting – When you need to run the Axe-Fx II in MONO, several options determine
how otherwise stereo signals will be processed:
a. Half-Stereo: By leaving the Axe-Fx II in stereo and connecting only the left main output to a
mono input, you get “half-stereo.” This works fine, with the caveat that the right channel will not
be heard! Panning will impart volume changes, and the Ping-Pong Delay and other wide effects
will need adjustment to be heard somewhat as intended. Tone may also change if panned cabs
or amps have been used.
3.
4.
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b.
Summed Mono: By choosing “SUM L+R” mode for either OUTPUT 1 or OUTPUT 2, the two
channels are added together and the resulting signal produced at both LEFT and RIGHT jacks. This
has the advantage of including all sounds intended for both stereo channels, but short delay or
phase differences between channels can result in strange artifacts or even total cancellation. This
setting is best when you’re confident that the presets you’ll be playing have been designed for,
or tested, in a SUMMED MONO listening environment. The Enhancer block and other short
delays could be problematic (including very short reverbs or the room simulator in the CAB
block). PHASE REVERSE switches should also be set to “OFF” when using this setting.
c.
Dual Mono: By choosing “COPY L>R” mode for either OUTPUT 1 or OUTPUT 2, you get a dual
mono signal. The sound will be identical to that of half-stereo, with the same limitations, except
it will be produced at both the left and right jacks. Use this setting when you want two mono
outputs without the problems typically caused by summing L+R.
Mono and Stereo at Once – New for the Axe-Fx II is the ability to operate OUT2 as a summed MONO copy
of the stereo OUT1 signal (or vice versa). Select COPY OUT1>OUT2, then choose the output mode for each
pair of jacks that best suits your needs. See Mono Summing above for possible concerns.
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5.
The new Global Blocks feature (p. 119) allows the Enhancer and other width-sensitive delay effects to be
manipulated across multiple presets at once. It might be wise to employ this feature if you imagine
needing to use a number of presets in either stereo or mono situations.
16.8 Mixology
The MIXER and FX LOOP blocks—and every preset’s output mixer—all contain 4‐channel mixers. As on a real
mixer, the LEVEL/GAIN parameters on the input channels determine what comes into the mixer. The overall mix
may then be acted upon by master output GAIN or LEVEL, and, where applicable, master balance controls.
The four channels of an Axe-Fx II mixer are “wired” to the four grid rows in the column to the left of
the mixer. In the first example at left, the level of Effect A would be controlled by the mixer’s
CHANNEL 1 LEVEL/GAIN control, because A is on grid row 1. Effect B would be controlled by Channel
2, because B is on row 2, and so on.
In the second example, the level of Effect Q would be controlled by the mixer’s CHANNEL 2
LEVEL/GAIN control, because Q is on row 2. Effect Z would be controlled by Channel 4, because Z is
on row 4. The location of the mixer never matters, only the location of blocks connected to its
inputs!
All mixer inputs are stereo. The BALANCE controls determine the left/right output balance of each channel. When
the balance for an input channel is set fully left, only the left channel of the block connected at that channel will be
heard at the mixer’s output; its right channel is silenced. Remember that every BLOCK in the Axe-Fx II has Left and
Right outs, even in cases where the signal is summed to dual mono (as is the case with the AMP, CAB, pedal type
Compressor, and, depending on their settings, certain other blocks as well).
Knowing what you now know about Axe-Fx II mixers, take a look at the Output mixer of a preset, located on the
MIX tab of its LAYOUT menu. On the surface, the output mixer looks like this:
But you can easily understand that these controls actually perform the functions illustrated below:
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To review: channels 1-4 of the OUTPUT mixer are fed respectively by the stereo outputs of rows 1-4 of the grid.
Each “channel” has a LEVEL that determines the gain of the incoming signal (+/- 20dB) and a BALANCE control that
determines how the LEFT and RIGHT channels contribute to the final mix. A master GAIN slider offers +/-20 dB
control over the final mixed output.
16.9 Humbuster™ Technology
All 1/4" outputs of the Axe-Fx II feature our new Humbuster™ technology, which senses and subtracts the ground
noise of connected equipment using a simple stereo-to-mono cable. This provides up to a 20 dB reduction in
ground noise without resorting to dangerous "cheater plugs," expensive isolation transformers, or other noise
reduction devices or methods. It is especially helpful when using the Axe-Fx II with a device like an amp head,
which can both add and amplify ground hum, but it provides similar benefits when connecting to the 1/4"
unbalanced inputs of any device: full-range cabs, mixers, and other processors or devices. Humbuster technology
causes no signal loss or degradation.
To take advantage of this feature, you must connect the 1/4" output(s) of the Axe-Fx II to unbalanced 1/4" input(s)
of another device using a special TRS-to-TS cable. The wiring requirements for this cable are shown below.
Figure 16-2 - Humbuster Cable
Axe-Fx Side
Cable
Remote Side
Tip
Ring
Sleeve
Wire 1 (hot)
Wire 2 (ground)
Shield
Signal
Ground
Ground
OUTPUT 1 L+R Unbalanced, and OUTPUT 2 L+R feature Humbuster noise reduction.
It is of course also possible to use these outputs with normal 1/4" cables.
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16.10
Setting up a Wah Pedal
16.10.1 Using the Onboard Pedal Jack
Setting up a pedal for use as a wah (or a whammy, or a volume, etc.) is a four-step process.
1.
2.
3.
4.
Connect the pedal.
Calibrate the pedal.
Assign the pedal to an External Controller.
Assign the External Controller to the Wah parameter.
Here are the steps in greater detail:
1) Connect an expression pedal to the onboard pedal jack of the Axe-Fx II. Expression pedals use Tip-RingSleeve cables and typically have a linear resistance taper.
2) Calibrate the pedal.
a. Press I/O
b. Change to the PEDAL page.
c. Select the PEDAL CAL parameter.
d. Press ENTER. Move the pedal through its full range of motion several times.
e. Press ENTER.
3) Assign the PEDAL jack to an External Controller.
a. Press I/O. Change to the CTRL page.
b. Select the EXT 1 parameter.
c. Change its value from “16” (the default) to PEDAL.
4) Assign External 1 to control the Wah.
a. Press LAYOUT to view the grid.
b. Select or insert a WAH block.
c. Press EDIT to open its edit menu.
d. Find and select the CONTROL parameter.
e. Press ENTER to view the MODIFIER screen.
f. Change the SOURCE to EXT 1. Test the pedal to see the dot on the screen moves. If it doesn’t
move, check the above steps again, starting from #1, or try a different pedal/cable.
i. OPTIONAL: to change the FEEL of the Wah, try adjusting the value of MID.
ii. OPTIONAL: to make the Wah “smoother,” adjust DAMPING to a value from 1–20 ms.
iii. OPTIONAL: to set the Wah so it turns on and off automatically when you move the
pedal, scroll down on the MODIFIER SCREEN and change the value for AUTO ENG to
anything but “OFF.” (See p. 128 for more details)
g. Press EXIT to return to the WAH edit menu. Make other adjustments as desired, such as
setting the range using the MIN/MAX FREQUENCY, or adjusting the RESONANCE and TRACKING.
h. STORE the preset to save the new wah and modifier settings.
Remember that MODIFIER assignments are not global. You must repeat Step 4 for every preset in which you want
the pedal to control the Wah. The advantage of this, however, is flexibility: you will be able to use the same pedal
to control multiple effects in multiple presets. See Modifiers & Controllers on p. 124 for more information.
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16.10.2 Using an Expression Pedal on an MFC-101
The process for using an expression pedal connected to a Fractal Audio Systems MFC-101 MIDI Foot controller is
almost the same as that required for the onboard PEDAL jack.
1.
2.
3.
4.
Connect the pedal to the MFC-101 PEDAL 2 jack.
Calibrate the pedal.
With default settings on both MFC-101 and Axe-Fx II, no custom I/O parameters are required.
Assign the External Controller to the Wah parameter.
Here are the steps in greater detail:
Please note that this section assumes your MFC-101 has factory default settings. To return an MFC-101
to factory default settings, press the #11 footswitch and reboot the unit by disconnecting it from and
reconnecting it to power. WARNING! THIS WILL ERASE ALL USER SETTINGS ON THE MFC-101!
1) Connect an expression pedal to the #2 onboard pedal jack of the MFC-101. (Pedal Jack #1 is preconfigured at the factory to control OUT1 VOLUME on the Axe-Fx II.)
2) Calibrate the pedal according to the instructions on Section 7.1 (p. 26) of the MFC-101 Owner’s Manual.
Be sure to change to “XP2” at Step 5!
3) Since Expression Pedal #2 on the MFC-101 is pre-configured to send MIDI CC# 16, and MIDI CC#16 is preconfigured to control EXTERNAL 1 on the Axe-Fx II, no special settings are required in the I/O menu for
this tutorial.
If you were using a different MIDI controller, or if you had XP2 assigned to a different CC#, you would use
the CTRL page of the I/O menu to set the desired EXTERNAL CONTROLLER to the desired MIDI CC number.
4) Assign External 1 to control the Wah:
a. Press LAYOUT to view the grid.
b. Select or insert a WAH block.
c. Press EDIT to open its edit menu.
d. Find and select the CONTROL parameter.
e. Press ENTER to view the MODIFIER screen.
f. Change the SOURCE to EXT 1. Test the pedal to see the dot on the screen moves. If it doesn’t
move, check the above steps again, starting from #1, or try a different pedal/cable.
i. OPTIONAL: to change the FEEL of the Wah, try adjusting the value of MID.
ii. OPTIONAL: to make the Wah “smoother,” adjust DAMPING to a value from 1–20 ms.
iii. OPTIONAL: to set the Wah so it turns on and off automatically when you move the
pedal, scroll down on the MODIFIER SCREEN and change the value for AUTO ENG to
anything but “OFF.” (See p. 128 for more details)
g. Press EXIT to return to the WAH edit menu. Make other adjustments as desired, such as
setting the range using the MIN/MAX FREQUENCY, or adjusting the RESONANCE and TRACKING.
h. STORE the preset to save the new wah and modifier settings.
Again, please recognize that MODIFIER assignments are not global. You must repeat Step 4 for every preset where
you want the pedal to control the Wah. The advantage of this, however, is that in another preset you will be able
to use the same pedal to control a Whammy, or the feedback of a delay, or any other parameter that allows the
use of a Modifier. See Modifiers & Controllers on p. 124 for more information.
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16.11 Setting Up Spillover
Spillover allows delay and reverb tails to ring out when an effect is bypassed or when you change presets.
16.11.1 Within a Single Preset
The first case is the easiest to set up and requires almost no special settings. To enable tails to ring when an
individual delay or reverb effect is bypassed (with a footswitch for instance), simply change its BYPASS MODE to
“MUTE FX IN.” The explanation of Bypass Mode on p. 117 explains why and how this works.
16.11.2 Across Different Presets
Setting up spillover that works across different presets is a bit more involved. The first step is to set DELAY SPILL on
the CONFIG page of the GLOBAL menu (p. 133) according to whether you want Delays, Reverbs, or “BOTH” to spill
over when you change presets. (“Delay” does not include Multi Delay or Megatap blocks).
Then, you need to ensure that the same delay or reverb blocks exist in both the preset you are changing from and
the preset you are changing to. These need to be not only the same block but the same INSTANCE (i.e. you must
use Delay 1 and Delay 1 vs. Delay 1 and Delay 2).
The moment you change to a new preset, the current settings for its delay or reverb blocks “take over” processing
the tails. If you change from a preset where delay has a time of 500 ms to one where the time is 100 ms, the tails
will be “inserted” into the new effect and be heard as 100 ms echoes. For spillover to work perfectly then, the
pair(s) of blocks in both “starting” and “landing” presets must have essentially identical settings and be placed in
similar routing architectures. You would hear quite a sudden difference in the tail, for instance, if a delay was
placed after a clean amp in the first preset and in front of a heavily overdriven amp in the second.
Bypass states and BYPASS MODE settings must also be considered. Switching from a preset where delay or reverb is
engaged to one where it is bypassed with a BYPASS MODE setting of “MUTE FX OUT” will prevent the tails from
being heard. Switching to a preset where the block is bypassed with a setting of “MUTE FX IN” however, will
cleverly allow the tails to ring while material you play after the preset change will be heard without the effect.
Some smart shortcuts exist for setting up reverb and delay presets for spillover. If you create one preset as desired,
you can save a copy to a new location and make changes only to other blocks. Using Global Blocks is another way
to ensures that mix, level, and other important settings will be consistent (though block routing and sequence on
the grid could still be a concern). Using the RECALL EFFECT function (p. 37), you can “import” a delay or reverb
block from another preset. This certainly beats pencil and paper as a means to transfer settings. Finally, Axe-Edit,
our free companion editor/librarian to the Axe-Fx line, offers numerous conveniences, like copying/pasting blocks
from one preset into various others and the ability to keep a “library” of effect block templates that can be
inserted into any preset at any time.
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16.12 Using Send and Return
The Feedback Send and Feedback Return blocks (p.67) have two main uses: creating feedback loops and extending
the length of effects chains beyond the size of the grid.
16.12.1 Creating Feedback Loops
Feedback loops allow you to combine effects in interesting ways and then route some of the output back to the
input. The figure below demonstrates this by using an exaggerated overlay of a preset illustration rendered in AxeEdit.
The “Main” signal enters the grid at (1), passes through the AMP and CAB, and reaches the output (2), where it is
heard at the speakers. Meanwhile, a tap of this main line at (3) carries signal to a Flanger and a Delay, set to
500 ms, no feedback, 100% wet. Nothing comes out of the Delay for 500 ms. Then, the first flanged echo emerges
in the mix with the main line at (4), where it is heard at (2). This echo simultaneously enters the Send block (5) and
is routed to the Return (6). From here it again passes through the Flanger—where the effect “stacks” on the last
pass through—and hits the delay again. This loop of Return  Flanger Delay Send Return would continue
forever if the FB Return block didn’t make it a bit quieter each time so that it gradually fades away. Each time the
loop exits the Delay, we get to listen in on the current state of things as it is routed through (4) to the output (2).
So to review, the send “ports” send signal to the return, where LEVEL controls the amount of feedback.
At left, the significant columns of this preset are shown as they
would appear on the display of the Axe-Fx II. Notice that on the
Axe-Fx II the connector from SEND to RETURN is not visible!
Countless variations of Send/Return loop presets are possible
when you use different effects, vary their order, or enter and tap
the loop in different places.
16.12.2 Extending the Length of Effect Chains
The 4x12 grid will suffice for the vast majority of long, complex routings. However, certain “Axe-aholics” require a
way to break this virtual sound barrier and exceed the number of columns available in the grid. The Feedback Send
and Return can be used for just this purpose. Place a Send block at the end of your first long chain and place the
Return block at the beginning of another, setting the return MIX to “100%” and the level to 0 dB. Continue through
other effects to the output as illustrated below.
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Figure 16-3 – A Giant Preset with SEND/RETURN
Oh, and the above example isn’t a fake. This real preset with 19 effects hits just under 91% on the CPU load meter.
Should’ve gone for 20!
16.13 Loading User Cab IRs
The Axe-Fx II has 50 user memory spots into which you can load “Impulse Response” or “IR” files containing the
information required to reproduce the sound of a particular speaker cabinet. Commercial IR files are readily
available, and the Factory Cabs include several instances of cabs created using selections from the RedWirez and
Ownhammer collections. It is also possible, though not a trivial endeavor, to create your own IR files.
Axe-Fx II Impulse Responses are transferred into the unit as MIDI System Exclusive data. You can use Axe-Edit, our
free editor/librarian, or any 3rd-party MIDI utility to do this. Axe-Edit includes its own documentation. This section
focuses on using a 3rd-party MIDI utility such as MIIDI OX or Snoize Sysex Librarian. The process for sending User
Cab IR Files to the Axe-Fx II is as follows:
1.
Ready the Axe-Fx II to receive the file:
a. Open any preset with the CABINET 1 block in it.
b. Select this block and press EDIT to open its EDIT menu.
c. Ensure that the MODE is set to “MONO HI-RES” or “MONO LO-RES.”
d. Change the CAB parameter to the numbered USER slot you wish to load into.
2. Connect the Axe-Fx II and the computer. This will typically be done using USB, but legacy MIDI also works.
3. Launch your MIDI Utility, ensure it is configured correctly to send SysEx to the Axe-Fx II, and ready it to send
the User IR SysEx file.
a.
Remember to select the appropriate MIDI devices in your application’s SETTINGS area.
For a USB connection to the Axe-Fx II, this will be AXE-FX II MIDI IN and AXE-FX II MIDI OUT.
4. Transmit the file from the computer to the Axe-Fx II. The Axe-Fx II will not show a progress bar, but its MIDI
IN LED will flash. If the IR File you transmitted has an embedded name, this will be displayed on the Axe-Fx
II in the bottom line of the CAB PG2 menu once the file has been received successfully. There is no need
to STORE or otherwise commit the change; it is permanent once complete.
Any User Cab IRs you have loaded into the Axe-Fx II are included when you backup or restore its System area. See
p. 148 for details.
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16.14 Glossary & Resources
4CM: See “Four Cable Method.”
A/D, D/A Converter: Analog-to-Digital or Digital-to-Analog Converter
ADSR: Technically, this stands for Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release but used as a noun it refers to an Envelope
Generator which, when “triggered,” produces a control signal that can be used to change parameter values in a
way that is predictable over time. Envelopes are typically “one-shot,” meaning they play through and stop. But
when set to loop, they can behave more like LFOs (below).
AES/EBU: Audio Engineering Society/European Broadcasting Union. The name applied to a professional audio
interface used for transferring digital audio between devices. AES for short. AES and S/PDIF both supply the same
audio data with slight differences in the frame bits.
Aliasing: Aliasing in digital audio refers to the phenomenon that happens when we try to reproduce frequencies
higher than one-half the sampling rate. See http://www.earlevel.com/main/1996/10/20/what-is-aliasing for an
excellent description.
Axe-Edit: The companion editor/librarian software for the Axe-Fx line. Download it from our web site at
http://www.fractalaudio.com
Balanced/Unbalanced: Balanced refers to audio signals designed to be carried over a three-conductor cable, which
minimizes unwanted noise and interference. Cables designed to carry balanced signals are called Balanced Cables
and usually use the XLR or Tip-Ring-Sleeve (TRS) connector end-types.
BPM: Beats per minute. A measure of musical tempo. The typical human heartbeat is about 60–80 BPM.
CPU: Central Processing Unit.
dB: Decibels. The unit for measuring sound intensity, or loudness. You’ll see this on level or volume parameters.
There are abundant resources about the science behind loudness, but simply making a few adjustments can get
your dB sense going.
Deg: Degrees (360ths of a circle) are used on the Axe-Fx II to specify differences in stereo LFO phase.
DSP: Digital Signal Processor/Processing.
Feedback: When an output is connected to an input, feedback occurs. The connection might change mediums, as it
does when sound travels from an amp’s speaker through the air to excite guitar strings connected to that amp’s
input. It can also be direct, such as when some of the output of a flanger or phaser is routed back to the effect’s
input. Feedback is also sometimes known in the effects world as “regeneration” and, less aptly, “resonance.”
Four Cable Method (4CM): A rig design where the Axe-Fx II is used both “in front of” and inside the effects loop of
a tube amp. See p. 21 for a diagram and details.
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FRFR: “Full range, flat response.” This acronym is used to describe a “neutral” speaker or speaker system that is
designed to reproduce the entire audible spectrum of 20 Hz – 20kHz without emphasis or de-emphasis. It is
invariably an approximation.
Hz: Hertz. The number of times something happens in one second. 4 Hz = 4x/second. Low values for Hz are useful
to describe RATES—the “speed” of a slow phaser’s sweep might be 0.33 Hz, for example (once every three
seconds). Hz are also the units used to plot low and high-frequency sounds. At the top of the frequency scale, units
of kilohertz (kHz or just “k”)—thousands of cycles per second—are more useful. You will see both Hz and kHz on
equalizers, filters, and other effects that deal with sound as a “spectrum” of frequencies. With a little time, you’ll
learn to match the numbers with their effects on a sound. Check the web for more info, such as The Guitar Player
Book (2007, free on Google Books), or get yourself this cool t-shirt from Rational Acoustics:
http://www.rationalacoustics.com/store/goodies/7-bad-system-dwarves-t-shirt.html
I/O: Stands for “Input/Output.”
IR: Impulse Response. An Impulse Response file is a collection of data representing sound measurements taken
from a speaker cabinet or system and used by the Axe-Fx II to enable the Cabinet block to emulate a particular
speaker cabinet. A test signal is played through the actual speaker, recorded, and used to generate a profile
utilized by the Axe-Fx II to reproduce the measured response.
Latency: In terms of effect processors, latency is an unwanted delay between what you play and what you hear.
The Axe-Fx II latency is so low that it is equivalent to standing just a few feet away from a tube amp.
LFO: Low Frequency Oscillator. An LFO creates control signals used to periodically change sounds in real time. The
back-and-forth sweep of a flanger or phaser, the sharp-flat wobble of a chorus, and the loud-soft pulse of tremolo
are each the result of an LFO at work.
MIDI: Musical Instrument Digital Interface.
ms: Milliseconds. Thousandths of a second. 500 ms is one half-second. 100 ms is 1/10th of a second.
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pF: Picofarads. You’ll only see it on one parameter, the amp’s BRIGHT CAP value, where it affects treble response.
Phantom Power: By leveraging an unused pair of copper wires inside of a MIDI or other cable, the Phantom Power
system allows a single cable to carry both MIDI data and power between the Axe-Fx II and a connected floor unit.
Phase: This term is used to describe the position of one waveform relative to another. When two similar waves are
in phase, their peaks and valleys will line up exactly, reinforcing one another. Waves that are out of phase have
their peaks and valleys in opposition, so while one is headed up, the other is headed down. An LFO Phase control
settings allows left and right sweeps to be either synchronized or offset from one another. An Audio Phase control,
(such as the one in the Enhancer block or the PHASE REVERSE parameters of the Delay, Chorus, Flanger, and other
effects) flips the polarity of an audio signal. (Some might say this turns the waveform upside down.) Combining
two identical audio signals of opposite phase results in complete silence, explaining why you need to be careful
when summing to mono any preset with blocks that invert phase or shift time alignment.
Resonance: Resonance is an increase in amplitude around certain frequencies. It results in the intensification or
prolongation of certain components of a sound. In the Axe-Fx II, it is most commonly used in descriptions of the
“Q” parameter of a filter or parametric equalizer. At lower values, Q determines the slope of the effect, and at
higher settings, Q impacts the width and height of a peak that forms around the cutoff or center frequency.
S/PDIF: Sony/Philips Digital InterFace
Semitones/Cents (“ct” or “cts”): Used to measure musical pitch. A semitone is one half-step, a.k.a. 1/12th of an
octave—the difference heard from one guitar fret to the next. A cent is 1/100th of a semitone—extremely small in
terms of your ability to hear a difference. You’ll see these units on the Axe-Fx II Pitch Shifter and Synthesizer.
SysEx: Short for System Exclusive. A type of MIDI data that can be understood only by the particular make and
model of MIDI device that created it. On the Axe-Fx II, it is used for presets, banks, system backups, and User Cab
IR files, and to allow real-time control of the unit via a connected MFC-101 or computer running Axe-Edit (q.v.).
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169
APPENDIX
16.15 Axe-Fx II Bank & Preset Numbers Table
The following table shows the BANK and PROGRAM CHANGE commands needed to recall an Axe-Fx II preset via
MIDI. Bank select commands persist until another valid bank select is received or the unit is rebooted. Remember
that DISPLAY OFFSET (p. 137) can add one (1) to all of the preset numbers (non-bold).
PC #
000
001
002
003
004
005
006
007
008
009
010
011
012
013
014
015
016
017
018
019
020
021
022
023
024
025
026
027
028
029
030
031
032
033
034
035
036
037
038
039
040
041
042
043
044
045
046
047
048
049
050
051
052
053
054
055
056
057
058
059
060
061
062
063
170
BANK A (CC#0 = 0)
000
001
002
003
004
005
006
007
008
009
010
011
012
013
014
015
016
017
018
019
020
021
022
023
024
025
026
027
028
029
030
031
032
033
034
035
036
037
038
039
040
041
042
043
044
045
046
047
048
049
050
051
052
053
054
055
056
057
058
059
060
061
062
063
BANK B (CC#0 = 1)
128
129
130
131
132
133
134
135
136
137
138
139
140
141
142
143
144
145
146
147
148
149
150
151
152
153
154
155
156
157
158
159
160
161
162
163
164
165
166
167
168
169
170
171
172
173
174
175
176
177
178
179
180
181
182
183
184
185
186
187
188
189
190
191
BANK C (CC#0 = 2)
256
257
258
259
260
261
262
263
264
265
266
267
268
269
270
271
272
273
274
275
276
277
278
279
280
281
282
283
284
285
286
287
288
289
290
291
292
293
294
295
296
297
298
299
300
301
302
303
304
305
306
307
308
309
310
311
312
313
314
315
316
317
318
319
PC#
064
065
066
067
068
069
070
071
072
073
074
075
076
077
078
079
080
081
082
083
084
085
086
087
088
089
090
091
092
093
094
095
096
097
098
099
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
BANK A (CC#0 = 1)
064
065
066
067
068
069
070
071
072
073
074
075
076
077
078
079
080
081
082
083
084
085
086
087
088
089
090
091
092
093
094
095
096
097
098
099
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
BANK B (CC#0 = 1)
192
193
194
195
196
197
198
199
200
201
202
203
204
205
206
207
208
209
210
211
212
213
214
215
216
217
218
219
220
221
222
223
224
225
226
227
228
229
230
231
232
233
234
235
236
237
238
239
240
241
242
243
244
245
246
247
248
249
250
251
252
253
254
255
BANK C (CC#0 = 2)
320
321
322
323
324
325
326
327
328
329
330
331
332
333
334
335
336
337
338
339
340
341
342
343
344
345
346
347
348
349
350
351
352
353
354
355
356
357
358
359
360
361
362
363
364
365
366
367
368
369
370
371
372
373
374
375
376
377
378
379
380
381
382
383
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APPENDIX
16.16 Factory Default Settings
GLOBAL CONFIG
Power Amp Simulation:
Cabinet Simulation:
Spillover:
Global Amp Gain:
Global Reverb Mix (offset):
Global Effects Mix (offset):
GLOBAL OUT 1
EQ:
GAIN:
GLOBAL OUT 2
EQ:
GAIN:
GLOBAL SCALES
All scales (1-32), all degrees (A–G#):
TUNER
Calibration:
Mute:
Use Offsets:
Offsets (E,A,D,G,B,E):
I/O INPUT
Instrument Input Level:
Input 1 Level:
Input 2 Level:
I/O AUDIO
Main Input Source:
Input 1 Left Select:
Input 1 Mode:
Input 2 Mode:
Output 1 Mode:
Output 1 Boost/Pad:
Output 1 Phase:
Output 2 Mode:
Output 2 Boost/Pad:
Output 2 Phase:
Copy Out 1 to Out 2:
S/PDIF / AES/EBU Select:
USB / S/PDIF Out Source:
I/O MIDI
MIDI Channel:
MIDI Thru:
Receive Program Change:
Mapping Mode:
(All 127 custom map entries)
SysEx ID:
Display Offset:
Ignore Redundant Program Change:
Send Realtime SysEx Messages:
MIDI Program Change Offset:
Ext. Controllers 1-12 initial value:
USB Adapter Mode:
Doc v6.00c
ON
ON
BOTH
+0%
+0%
+0%
All bands flat (0.00)
Flat (0.00)
All bands flat (0.00)
Flat (0.00)
-24 semitones
A4=440.0 Hz
OFF
OFF
0.0 cts
49.8%
49.8%
49.8%
ANALOG (IN 1)
FRONT
LEFT ONLY
LEFT ONLY
STEREO
0 dB
NORMAL
STEREO
0 dB
NORMAL
OFF
S/PDIF
OUTPUT 1
1
OFF
ON
NONE
1:1 (ex: 1=1, 2=2, 127=127)
00 01 74 (cannot be changed)
0
OFF
ALL ( = Tempo and Tuner)
0
0%
OFF
171
APPENDIX
I/O CONTROL
Default CC assignments appear in the table below:
Function
Input Volume
Out 1 Volume
Out 2 Volume
Bypass
Tempo
Tuner
External Control 1
External Control 2
External Control 3
External Control 4
External Control 5
External Control 6
External Control 7
External Control 8
External Control 9
External Control 10
External Control 11
External Control 12
Looper Record
Looper Play
Looper Once
Looper Dub
Looper Rev
Looper Bypass
Looper Half
Looper Undo
Looper Metronome
Global Bypass
Volume Increment
Volume Decrement
Amp 1 Bypass
Amp 2 Bypass
Cab 1 Bypass
Cab 2 Bypass
Chorus 1 Bypass
Chorus 2 Bypass
Compressor 1 Bypass
Compressor 2 Bypass
CC#
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
120
121
122
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
Function
Crossover 1 Bypass
Crossover 2 Bypass
Delay 1 Bypass
Delay 2 Bypass
Drive 1 Bypass
Drive 2 Bypass
Enhancer Bypass
Filter 1 Bypass
Filter 2 Bypass
Filter 3 Bypass
Filter 4 Bypass
Flanger 1 Bypass
Flanger 2 Bypass
Formant 1 Bypass
FX Loop Bypass
Gate/Expander 1 Bypass
Gate/Expander 2 Bypass
Graphic EQ 1 Bypass
Graphic EQ 2 Bypass
Graphic EQ 3 Bypass
Graphic EQ 4 Bypass
Megatap Delay Bypass
Multiband Comp 1 Bypass
Multiband Comp 2 Bypass
Multi Delay 2 Bypass
Multi Delay 2 Bypass
Parametric EQ 1 Bypass
Parametric EQ 2 Bypass
Parametric EQ 3 Bypass
Parametric EQ 4 Bypass
Phaser 1 Bypass
Phaser 2 Bypass
Pitch Shifter 1 Bypass
Pitch Shifter 2 Bypass
Quad Chorus 1 Bypass
Quad Chorus 2 Bypass
Resonator 1 Bypass
Resonator 2 Bypass
I/O PEDAL
Pedal Type:
Preset Increment:
Preset Start:
Preset End:
Pedal Cal:
CONTINUOUS
OFF
0
0
(No Setting)
I/O XY
X Quick Jump:
Y Quick-Jump:
AMP 1
AMP 1
172
CC#
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
Function
Reverb 1 Bypass
Reverb 2 Bypass
Ring Modulator Bypass
Rotary 1 Bypass
Rotary 2 Bypass
Synth 1 Bypass
Synth 2 Bypass
Tremolo 1 Bypass
Tremolo 2 Bypass
Vocoder Bypass
Volume/Pan 1 Bypass
Volume/Pan 2 Bypass
Volume/Pan 3 Bypass
Volume/Pan 4 Bypass
Wahwah 1 Bypass
Wahwah 2 Bypass
Tone Match Bypass
CC#
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
Amp 1 X/Y
Amp 2 X/Y
Cab 1 X/Y
Cab 2 X/Y
Chorus 1 X/Y
Chorus 2 X/Y
Delay 1 X/Y
Delay 2 X/Y
Drive 1 X/Y
Drive 2 X/Y
Flanger 1 X/Y
Flanger 2 X/Y
Phaser 1 X/Y
Phaser 2 X/Y
Pitch 1 X/Y
Pitch 2 X/Y
Reverb 1 X/Y
Reverb 2 X/Y
Wahwah 1 X/Y
Wahwah 2 X/Y
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
Doc v6.00c
SPECIFICATIONS
17 Specifications
FRONT PANEL INPUT
Connector:
Impedance:
Max. Input Level:
1/4” phone jack, unbalanced.
1 MegaOhm (less if Input Impedance is active)
+16 dBu (conditioned for guitar use)
REAR INPUTS
Connector:
Impedance:
Max. Input Level:
1/4” phone jack, balanced.
1 MegaOhm
+20 dBu
A/D CONVERSION
Bit Depth:
Sample Rate:
Dynamic Range:
Frequency Response:
Crosstalk:
24 bits
48 kHz
> 110 dB
20 – 20kHz, +0 / -1 dB
< -60 dB over full bandwidth
ANALOG OUTPUTS
Connectors:
Impedance:
Max Output Level:
Dynamic Range:
Frequency Response:
Crosstalk:
1/4” phone jack unbalanced (hum-canceling), XLR balanced (for main output)
600 ohm
+20 dBu
> 110 dB
20 – 20kHz, +0 / -1 dB
< -60 dB over full bandwidth
DIGITAL I/O
Connectors:
Format:
Sample Rate:
USB Audio Clock
RCA Coaxial Type for S/PDIF I/O, XLR for AES I/O
S/PDIF – 24 bit
48 kHz fixed
48 kHz fixed
MIDI INTERFACE
Input Connector:
Out/Thru Connector:
7-pin DIN (pins 6 & 7 connected to phantom power in jack)
5-pin DIN
PEDAL INTERFACE
Connector:
Format:
1/4” TRS phone jack
Switch: Momentary or Latching; Pedal: 10–100kΩ max, linear taper expression type.
MFC INTERFACE:
Connector:
PHANTOM POWER:
Connector:
RJ-45 “CAT5”
IMPORTANT: Do NOT connect this to a computer or router/switch/hub!
This jack is only intended for connection to an MFC MIDI Foot Controller.
Female 2.5mm jack
WARNING: Do NOT connect adapters with a rating higher than 1A (1000ma).
GENERAL
Finish:
Display:
Dimensions:
Weight:
Input Voltage:
Power Consumption:
Backup Battery Life:
Backup Battery Type:
Powder coated steel chassis with anodized aluminum faceplate
160x80 dot matrix graphic LCD
19” × 3.5” × 14.25” (483 × 88 × 362 mm)
10 lbs. (4.5 kg)
100–240 VAC, 47 – 63 Hz (universal input)
<40 W
>10 years
CR2450 Lithium
ENVIRONMENTAL
Operating Temperature:
Storage Temperature:
Humidity:
32 to 122 °F (0 to 50 °C)
-22 to 167 °F (-30 to 70 °C)
Max. 90% non-condensing
Specifications subject to change without notice.
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173
SPECIFICATIONS
17.1 Midi Implementation Chart
NOTE: MFC-101 Presets and Instant Access Switches have the capability to send custom MIDI data, entered
freeform as hex code, which can be used for many applications not supported “natively” (ex: Note On/Off).
Function
Transmitted
Received
Remarks
Basic Channel
Default
Changed
1
1-16
1
1-16
Note Number
True Voice
X
X
Velocity
Note ON
Note OFF
X
X
X
X
After Touch
Keys
Channels
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
O
CCs are GLOBALLY soft-assigned to functions via the I/O:CTRL menu.
These include INPUT volume, OUTPUT 1 and OUTPUT2 master volume,
Global Bypass, Tap Tempo, Tuner Invoke, 12 “EXTERNAL” control nodes
(assignable as modifiers to one or more parameters on a per-preset
basis), all LOOPER functions, the BYPASS switch of every block instance
AMP1, AMP2, CAB1, CAB2, etc.), and the X/Y switches of the 20 block
types that support this function (AMP1, AMP2, etc.).
O
O
O
O
Bank Select and Program Change messages may be used to recall the
384 presets of the Axe-Fx II. The unit also supports custom program
change mapping utilizing a FROMTO table with 127 entries.
BANK select messages are persisted until a subsequent valid Bank Select
is received.
Pitch Bend
Control Change
True Number
Bank Select
Program Change
Selecting a preset via the Axe-Fx II front panel will also transmit the
corresponding bank select and program change number messages
System Exclusive
Fractal Audio
Real-Time
Non-Real-Time
O
O
X
O
X
X
System Common
Song Position
Song Select
Tune Request
X
X
X
X
X
X
System Real-Time
Clock
Commands
X
X
O
X
Auxiliary Messages
Local ON/OFF
All Notes OFF
Active Sense
Reset
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
The list of parameters that can be controlled/edited via SysEx is too
large to list here. Real-time SysEx is used to transmit Tempo and Tuner.
Axe-Fx II Global Tempo syncs automatically to MIDI Beat Clock.
0 = YES, X=NO
174
Doc v6.00c
Warranty
Fractal Audio Systems warrants that your new Fractal Audio Systems product shall be free of defects in materials and
workmanship for a period of one (1) year from the original date of purchase.
During the warranty period, Fractal Audio Systems shall, at its sole option, either repair or replace any product that proves to
be defective upon inspection by Fractal Audio Systems.
Fractal Audio Systems reserves the right to update any unit returned for repair and to change or improve the design of the
product at any time without notice. Fractal Audio Systems reserves the right to use reconditioned parts and assemblies as
warranty replacements for authorized repairs. This warranty is extended to the original retail purchaser for units purchased
directly from Fractal Audio Systems or one of its authorized distributors or resellers.
This is your sole warranty. Fractal Audio Systems does not authorize any third party, including any dealer or sales
representative, to assume any liability on behalf of Fractal Audio Systems or to make any warranty for Fractal Audio Systems.
Fractal Audio Systems may, at its option, require proof of original purchase date in the form of a dated copy of original
authorized dealer’s invoice or sales receipt. Service and repairs of Fractal Audio Systems products are to be performed only at
the Fractal Audio Systems factory or a Fractal Audio Systems authorized service center. Fractal Audio Systems may require
advanced authorization of repairs to authorized service centers. Unauthorized service, repair or modification will void this
warranty.
DISCLAIMER AND LIMITATION OF WARRANTY
THE FOREGOING WARRANTY IS THE ONLY WARRANTY GIVEN BY FRACTAL AUDIO SYSTEMS AND IS IN LIEU OF ALL OTHER
WARRANTIES. ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR
PURPOSE, EXCEEDING THE SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF THIS WARRANTY ARE HEREBY DISCLAIMED AND EXCLUDED FROM THIS
WARRANTY. UPON EXPIRATION OF THE APPLICABLE EXPRESS WARRANTY PERIOD (1 YEAR), FRACTAL AUDIO SYSTEMS SHALL
HAVE NO FURTHER WARRANTY OBLIGATION OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED. FRACTAL AUDIO SYSTEMS SHALL IN NO EVENT
BE LIABLE FOR ANY SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES SUFFERED BY THE PURCHASER OR ANY THIRD PARTY,
INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS OR BUSINESS, OR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM USE OR
PERFORMANCE OF THE PRODUCT, WHETHER IN CONTRACT OR IN TORT. FRACTAL AUDIO SYSTEMS SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR
ANY EXPENSES, CLAIMS, OR SUITS ARISING OUT OF OR RELATING TO ANY OF THE FOREGOING. Some states do not allow the
exclusion or limitation of implied warranties so some of the above limitations and exclusions may not apply to you. This
warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights, which vary, from state to state. This warranty only
applies to products sold and used in the USA and Canada. Fractal Audio Systems shall not be liable for damages or loss resulting
from the negligent or intentional acts of the shipper or its contracted affiliates. You should contact the shipper for proper
claims procedures in the event of damage or loss resulting from shipment.
Doc v6.00c
175
Instrument
(Front)
Instr
In
Input 1
Left
Select
FRONT
Main
Input
Source
ANALOG
IN 1 METER
Axe-Fx II Input/Output Hardware & Parameters Guide
USB
IN1 L+R Bal.
REAR
Input 1
SPDIF/AES
SPDIF/AES
IN2 L+R Bal
(”FX Return”)
S/PDIF In
Input 2
FXL
Out 1
Phase
NORMAL
Out 1
Global
GEQ
Out 1
Global
Gain
D/A
+/- 12 dB
Input 2
Mode
I
N
P
U
T
“FXL”
O
U
T
P
U
T
Copy
Out 1 to Out 2
Out 2 Mode
OUT1 L+R
pad
OUT1 L+R Bal.
OUT 1CLIP
Out 2
Phase
Out 2
Out 2
Global Global
GEQ
Gain
NORMAL
ON
(XLR)
STEREO
SUM L+R
COPY L>R
LEFT ONLY
L+R SUM
STEREO
OFF
(Knob)
-18–0 dB
D/A
boost
INVERT
OUTPUT
LEVEL1
Out 2
Boost/Pad
0–18 dB
+/- 12 dB
OUT2 L+R
pad
(“FX Send”)
OUT 2 CLIP
BYPASS
(and METER)
S/PDIF
OUT1
S/PDIF
INPUT
AES
OUT 2
AES In
AES
USB In
(Knob)
(and METER)
“Effects Loop” Block
SPDIF/AES
Select*
SPDIF/AES
Select*
Left channel selected by INPUT 1 LEFT SELECT
Right channel taps INPUT 1 R jack
HARDWARE
Parameter Names
PARAMETER VALUES
Stereo
Mono
* SPDIF/AES Select acts on
both inputs and outputs.
S/PDIF Out
AES Out
USB/DIGI
Out Source
I/O: INPUT Menu
I/O: AUDIO Menu
GLOBAL:OUT 1&2 Menus
PHONES
-18–0 dB
boost
INVERT
OUTPUT
LEVEL1
Out 1
Boost/Pad
0–18 dB
STEREO
SUM L+R
COPY L>R
LEFT ONLY
L+R SUM
STEREO
ANALOG
USB
Out 1
Mode
BYPASS
IN 2 METER
(Rear)
“The Grid”
Input 1
Mode
USB 0/1
USB 2/3
Axe-Fx II MIDI Routing and Parameters
1. Outgoing MIDI generated by the Axe-Fx II is sent to all outputs (“dumps” are to MIDI or USB.)
a. The MIDI OUT port.
b. The MIDI out pins of the bidirectional MIDI IN port.
c. The MFC port.
d. The AXE-FX II MIDI INPUT of a connected computer.
2. Incoming MIDI is always processed by the Axe-Fx II, whether received from:
a. The AXE-FX II MIDI OUTPUT of a connected computer.
b. The MIDI IN port.
c. The MFC port.
3. When the I/O:MIDI:MIDI Thru parameter is set to “ON”, MIDI received at the MIDI IN port or MFC
port is forwarded to the MIDI OUT port (where it is merged with regular outbound messages).
4. When the I/O:MIDI:USB Adapter Mode parameter is set to “ON,” two things happen:
a. MIDI from the Axe-Fx II MIDI Output of a connected computer is forwarded to the
MIDI OUT port of the Axe-Fx II (where it is merged with regular outbound messages).
b. Incoming data at the MIDI IN port or the MFC port of the Axe-Fx II is forwarded
to the AXE-FX II MIDI INPUT of a connected computer.
Axe-Fx II USB Features
Axe-Fx II
“1×1” MIDI
“4×2” AUDIO
Computer to Axe-Fx II
1
2
USB
1
Axe-Fx II to Computer
2
3
2-Way
4
Route the Input
Select an Output Source
Dry Outs for Re-Amping
2-way high speed MIDI over USB enables
control, editing, and backup/restore.
L+R are routed based on
I/O:AUDIO:MAIN INPUT SOURCE
“USB” routes to the grid for processing.
Other options mix computer audio
with processed signals at the
OUTPUT 1 L+R jacks.
I/O: AUDIO: USB DIGI OUT SOURCE
selects between:
“OUT1L+R” (The Grid)
“OUT2L+R” (Typically FX Loop)
or “INPUT 1” (Dry).
Same signal also feeds SPDIF/AES outs.
LEFT taps the front
RIGHT taps the rear
INSTR jack or rear INPUT 1 R jack
INPUT1 L/MONO
jack, based on
I/O:AUDIO:
INPUT 1 LEFT SELECT
The MIDI IN and OUT/THRU
jacks can also be utilized by the
computer as a MIDI Interface,
based on the setting for
I/O:MIDI:USB ADAPTER MODE
Requires USB 2.0 or better
USB
Win
Mac or PC
meeting
minimum
requirements
Mac
AXE-FX II ASIO
DRIVER OUT 0
AXE-FX II
AUDIO OUT LEFT
AXE-FX II ASIO
DRIVER OUT 1
AXE-FX II
AUDIO OUT RIGHT
Play audio tracks into the Axe-Fx II for
processing (such as re-amping) or send
them directly to the main outs so you
can jam along with backing tracks,
perform on a soft synth, or monitor a
project in your DAW/sequencer.
AXE-FX II ASIO
DRIVER IN 0
AXE-FX II
AUDIO IN LEFT
AXE-FX II ASIO
DRIVER IN 1
AXE-FX II
AUDIO IN RIGHT
Record the processed output of the
Axe-Fx II to your sequencer or other
audio application. Alternately, capture
the signal from the FX LOOP block, or,
on systems which don’t support USB
2.0, record the dry signal from input 1.
AXE-FX II ASIO
DRIVER IN 2
AXE-FX II
AUDIO IN 2 LEFT
AXE-FX II ASIO
DRIVER IN 3
AXE-FX II
AUDIO IN 2 RIGHT
USB 2.0 (or better) systems also allow
you to record the dry unprocessed
signal from input 1 (stereo) at the same
time you’re capturing the main
processed outputs. Use these raw
tracks for re-amping or reference.
AXE-FX II
MIDI IN
AXE-FX II
MIDI OUT
Send MIDI from your sequencer to the
Axe-Fx II, or connect to Axe-Edit for
editing, firmware updates and more.
Receive SysEx backups on the computer,
or use the HW MIDI IN/OUT ports like a
standalone interface for 3rd party gear.
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