User`s Manual - Axe-Fx Ultra and Axe-Fx Standard

User`s Manual - Axe-Fx Ultra and Axe-Fx Standard
Axe-Fx & Axe-Fx ULTRA
Pre-Amp /
Effects Processor
User’s Manual
For Firmware 9.xx and up
Table of Contents
Table of Contents .............................................................................. 1
Foreword............................................................................................ 3
About the Ultra Model................................................................................ 4
Introduction ........................................................................................ 5
What is the Axe-Fx? .................................................................................. 5
Concept ..................................................................................................... 8
Getting Set Up ................................................................................. 11
Rear Panel ..............................................................................................
Front Panel..............................................................................................
Example Connections .............................................................................
I/O Configuration .....................................................................................
11
12
14
17
Editing.............................................................................................. 22
Placing Effects.........................................................................................
Routing ....................................................................................................
Moving Effects.........................................................................................
Editing Effects .........................................................................................
Effect Mixer .............................................................................................
Output Mixer............................................................................................
Attaching Controllers ...............................................................................
Saving Presets ........................................................................................
Recalling Presets ....................................................................................
22
22
23
23
23
25
25
25
26
The Effects....................................................................................... 27
Noise Gate ..............................................................................................
Compressor.............................................................................................
Gate / Expander (Ultra Only)...................................................................
Multi-Band Compressor (Ultra Only) .......................................................
Filter ........................................................................................................
Graphic Equalizer....................................................................................
Parametric Equalizer ...............................................................................
Crossover (Ultra Only).............................................................................
Resonator (Ultra Only) ............................................................................
Chorus.....................................................................................................
Quad Chorus (Ultra Only)........................................................................
Flanger ....................................................................................................
Phaser .....................................................................................................
Rotary Cabinet ........................................................................................
Wah-Wah ................................................................................................
Formant Filter ..........................................................................................
Vocoder (Ultra Only)................................................................................
Pan / Tremolo..........................................................................................
Delay .......................................................................................................
Multi Delay...............................................................................................
27
27
29
30
31
32
32
33
34
35
37
39
41
42
43
44
45
47
48
53
MegaTap Delay (Ultra Only)....................................................................
Reverb.....................................................................................................
Amp Simulator.........................................................................................
Cabinet Simulator....................................................................................
Drive ........................................................................................................
Pitch Shifter .............................................................................................
Synth (Ultra Only)....................................................................................
Ring Modulator (Ultra Only).....................................................................
Stereo Enhancer .....................................................................................
Effects Loop / Aux. Out ...........................................................................
Mixer........................................................................................................
Volume / Pan...........................................................................................
Feedback Send / Return .........................................................................
59
60
63
72
75
76
83
84
84
84
85
86
86
Controllers and Modifiers................................................................. 88
Tempo .....................................................................................................
LFO's.......................................................................................................
ADSR's....................................................................................................
Sequencer ...............................................................................................
Envelope .................................................................................................
Pitch ........................................................................................................
External Controllers.................................................................................
Modifiers..................................................................................................
88
89
89
90
90
91
91
91
Global Parameters........................................................................... 94
Tuner ............................................................................................... 96
Utilities ............................................................................................. 97
LCD .........................................................................................................
Preset ......................................................................................................
Status ......................................................................................................
Reset .......................................................................................................
Firmware .................................................................................................
97
97
98
98
98
Tips and Tricks ................................................................................ 99
Achieving ultimate tone ........................................................................... 99
Using Your Axe-Fx with a Guitar Amp..................................................... 99
Using Your Axe-Fx Live......................................................................... 100
Computer Editing................................................................................... 101
Interference ........................................................................................... 101
Maintenance.......................................................................................... 101
Warranty Information ..................................................................... 102
Specifications................................................................................. 103
PORTANT 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. No userserviceable parts inside. Refer servicing to qualified service personnel.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS
1. Obey all warnings on the Axe-Fx and in this User’s Guide.
2. Keep away from sources of heat such as heat registers or appliances which produce
heat.
3. Connect only to a proper AC outlet of 100 - 240 V, 47 - 63 Hz.
4. Keep power cord in good condition. Do not kink, bend or pinch. If power cord
becomes damaged discard and replace.
5. If not using your Axe-Fx for extended periods of time disconnect from AC mains.
6. Protect the unit from rain and excessive moisture.
7. Refer servicing to qualified personnel only.
8. Do not operate the unit and obtain service if:
• liquids or excessive moisture enter the unit
• the unit operates incorrectly or performance is inconsistent or erratic
• the unit has been dropped and/or the enclosure damaged
9. Prolonged exposure to high volume levels can cause hearing loss and/or damage.
Use of hearing protection in high volume situations is recommended.
1
Certificate of Conformity
Fractal Audio Systems, USA, hereby declares on own responsibility that the following product
Axe-Fx - Digital Guitar Preamp / Effects Processor
That is covered by this certificate and marked with CE label conforms with 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 June 2007
Clifford Chase
President
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. However, 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 into 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.
2
Foreword
Foreword
Shortly after the advent of the electric guitar and the amplifier, guitar players began to experiment
with altering the basic sound of their instruments. Amplifiers soon began to incorporate spring
reverb units and then tremolos and overdrive circuitry. Never satisfied, guitarists yearned for even
more sonic possibilities and the effect pedal was born. These early pedals were based on discrete
semiconductors and consisted of wah-wah, distortion and other simple effects. Although crude,
folklore has exalted these early pedals to the point where some feel they were endowed with almost
mystical properties due to their germanium transistors or the particular manufacturer of inductors.
With the introduction of the integrated circuit (IC) in the late 1960's designers could now realize
more complicated effects. Notable among these were the operational amplifier and later on the
bucket-brigade delay line, the latter allowing compact time-based effects to become a reality. By
the 1970's a myriad of effect pedals were available to the musician from many different
manufacturers. Chorus, phaser and flanger effects became ubiquitous and pervaded the recordings
of the time. Many of these pedals were noisy and lacked fidelity, the analog delay lines contributing
to significant signal degradation.
As technology marched on and IC's became ever denser, a new paradigm was thrust into the
spotlight: digital. Digital effects, it was promised, would offer far superior performance: zero noise,
nearly infinite delay times, pristine reverbs, etc. Soon the multi-effect was born. In a single rackmounted unit the guitarist could have the equivalent of a dozen different effect pedals. Competition
was fierce with each manufacturer trying to one-up the other by cramming more and more into their
boxes. Ultimately, and unfortunately, this has led to digital's demise.
As engineering gave way to marketing, many soon began to question the Emperor's new clothes.
Pricing pressures and cost cutting forced engineers to use low-grade components and inferior
algorithms, and the quality of the effects suffered. Grainy, cheesy, noisy. No doubt many have heard
these terms when referring to digital effects. Soon, many guitarists rebelled against digital effects
and analog pedals have now enjoyed a renaissance. Old analog pedals are prized and sought among
vintage collectors. Musicians have ditched their rack processors in favor of a board full of
individual effect pedals.
But this is a pity. For digital does not have to carry the stigma that it does. Digital is, in fact, quite
capable of delivering the benefits that were originally touted. And now, more than ever, can this be
realized, as modern Digital Signal Processors (DSP's) are not only incredibly powerful but
relatively inexpensive. The quality of digital audio is hard to refute. Just witness CD and DVD
players, MP3 devices and computer audio in general all of which use digital processing.
Furthermore, digital offers the convenience of multiple simultaneous effects, programmability and
superior control.
With the Fractal Audio Systems Axe-Fx we have hopefully restored digital to its rightful place as
the superior solution to musical effects processing. Every aspect of the Axe-Fx has been designed
to deliver the ultimate in sonic quality. The converters are of the highest quality offering low-noise,
high linearity and uncolored performance. The DSP has more raw compute power than many
desktop computers allowing uncompromised processing algorithms. All processing is done at 32bit precision yielding uncolored, transparent sound.
3
Foreword
We hope you enjoy using the Axe-Fx as much as we enjoyed designing it. Over five years of
development have gone into making what we hope is the quintessential effects processor.
About the Ultra Model
The Axe-Fx UltraTM is a “souped-up” version of the Axe-Fx. All the same great sounds but with a
faster DSP and more memory. The UltraTM contains a large selection of effects and sub-algorithms
not present in the regular Axe-Fx and is geared toward serious studio and live use. The Ultra is
equally at home in a FOH or studio effects rack as it is in a guitar rig. Features exclusive to the Ultra
model are indicated as such.
NOTE:
Fractal Audio Systems, Axe-Fx, Ultra and Dynamic Response Technology are trademarks of
Fractal Audio Systems. All other product names, trademarks, and artists’ names are the property of
their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Fractal Audio Systems.
4
Introduction
Introduction
Thank you for purchasing an Axe-FxTM Pre-Amp / Effects Processor. You’re now the owner of one
of the most powerful musical instrument processors ever produced. By familiarizing yourself with
this manual you’ll be able to reap the full benefits of your unit. Please take a moment to read through
the sections that follow and acquaint yourself with the usage of your Axe-FxTM.
What is the Axe-Fx?
What is the Axe-Fx? Well, let's start by telling you what it isn't.
It's not a modeler in the strict sense. Although it has cabinet emulation and different amplifier
"types" it does not attempt to model any effect exactly. Rather the Axe-Fx was designed to simply
provide the effect as originally intended and with the utmost quality. All effects can be described in
terms of their desired sonic manipulation. All effect processors, whether "stomp boxes" or
otherwise, process the input signal to get an output signal, simple as that. However, some processors
obviously do better than others. The Axe-Fx approaches effects processing as a strict set of
specifications and implements those specifications.
For example, the wah effect in the Axe-Fx is not intended to model any of the classic wah-wahs.
Instead the input-output relationship of a wah was distilled into a set of specifications. From there
the effect was designed to exactly meet these specifications. There is no "black magic" or
obfuscation. The effect does exactly what it should do. Inherent in this approach is a degree of
flexibility that you do not get with other processors. In our wah example this allows you to set the
sweep range, "Q" and other parameters. Most modeling processors do not allow this level of control.
The Axe-Fx’s amp, drive and cabinet simulations, however, are very faithful reproductions of the
originals, but without the drawbacks of the originals. What this means is that they sound like the
originals but are easier to adjust and provide more flexibility and a wider range of tones. For
example, the Brownface amp sim sounds remarkably like a particular classic amp however the AxeFx contains working midrange and presence controls. Also the tone controls are much more
responsive providing all the tones of the original plus new tones that the original could not achieve.
Once again the philosophy is practicality and presenting the “effect” as it was originally intended.
The Axe-Fx does not use any analog processing or any tubes. If you look inside1 the Axe-Fx you
will not see any glowing tubes or any of the revered op-amps that the analog pundits claim offer
mystical sonic properties. What you will see are modern, high-quality components that offer
specifications and performance far exceeding any of the aforementioned devices.
The Axe-Fx does contain, however, very accurate digital replicas of actual vacuum tubes. We
gathered up some classic tubes and measured their transfer functions and then stored these transfer
functions in the Axe-Fx’s massive brain. Our replicas are so exact that we can reproduce the
harmonic spectrum of a real tube amp with amazing accuracy. Most modelers don’t even come
close.
1. Please do not open your Axe-Fx as damage may occur. Refer all servicing to qualified personnel.
5
Introduction
OK, so what does it do? Well, the Axe-Fx is fully routable, fully programmable, real-time
controllable, multi-effects processor. Whew, that's a mouthful. Let's examine each of these
attributes:
Routability: The Axe-Fx allows you to place effects in any order and in series or parallel. Also,
the effects loop is routable as well so if you use your Axe-Fx with a preamplifier you can place the
preamplifier in the effects loop and run effects both before and after your preamp. Some effects
work better when placed before distortion (which your preamp would provide) and others work
better after. By providing a routable effects loop the Axe-Fx allows unrivaled flexibility.
Programmability: The Axe-Fx allows extensive programmability of each effects parameters.
You are not constrained by the limitations of "one-knob" processors where little if any editing of
parameters is offered. In addition, many effects offer advanced editing capability allowing in-depth
programming. Usability has not been sacrificed though as most effects have a basic setup page
allowing quick access to the most used parameters.
Controllability: Many of the parameters in the Axe-Fx are controllable in real-time. Both
internal and external controllers can be attached to various parameters offering dynamic control of
an effect. Additionally these controllers allow mapping the control value to the effect parameter
through a transform so even greater control is afforded.
Multiple Effects: The Axe-Fx has all the classic effects plus a few new ones. And for most
effects you get two instances so you can really create some huge sounds. The Axe-Fx works on the
principle of an "effects inventory". You take an effect out of inventory and place it in the routing
grid and then connect it to other effects and connect controllers to it (if desired). If an effect has
multiple instances you can withdraw another instance of that same effect from the inventory and
place it at another location in the grid. The effects inventory is listed below along with the number
of instances available:
• Noise Gate (1)
• Compressor (2)
• Graphic Equalizer (2, 4 for the Ultra)
• Parametric Equalizer (2, 4 for the Ultra)
• Amplifier Emulator (2)
• Cabinet Emulator (2)
• Reverb (2)
• Chorus (2)
• Flanger (2)
• Phaser (2)
• Rotary Cabinet (2)
• Wah-Wah (2)
6
Introduction
• Formant Synthesizer (1)
• Tremolo/Panner (2)
• Delay (2)
• Multi-Delay (2)
• Filter (2, 4 for the Ultra)
• Pitch Shifter (1, 2 for the Ultra)
• Drive (2)
• Stereo Enhancer (1)
• Mixer (2)
• Effects Loop (1)
• Feedback Send (1)
• Feedback Return (1)
• Two-Voice Synthesizer (2, Ultra only)
• 16-band Classic Vocoder (1, Ultra only)
• Multiband Compressor (2, Ultra only)
• Crossover (2, Ultra only)
• Expander / Gate (2, Ultra only)
• 40-tap “MegaTap” Delay (1, Ultra only)
• Quad-Stereo Chorus (2, Ultra only)
• Resonator (2, Ultra only)
• Ring Modulator (1, Ultra only)
• Volume / Pan (1, 4 for the Ultra)
Despite the huge arsenal of effects at your disposal, the Axe-Fx first-and-foremost emphasizes
sound quality. Unique to the processing in the Axe-Fx is our proprietary natural processing
algorithms. Many of the algorithms in the Axe-Fx replicate patterns that occur in nature (this is
where our company name was derived from). The reverb algorithm replicates the sound of a real
room, the chorus and flanger use special variable delay algorithms that are more natural and smooth
that any pedal (analog or digital) could ever achieve and 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. Almost all the effects in the Axe-Fx are full stereo (except for the Amp,
Drive, Pitch and Multi-Delay effects) allowing for rich, full-sounding signal chains. And by using
two Amp blocks you can achieve a true stereo, dual-amp rig for really huge sounds.
7
Introduction
Along with our superior algorithms the Axe-Fx uses the finest quality components available. The
op-amps, A/D and D/A converters and passive components are all of the highest quality. The
converters are the same converters used in high-end studio equipment costing many thousands of
dollars. A single op-amp in the Axe-Fx costs more than all the op-amps combined in many “budget”
processors. Additionally our unique analog topology eliminates any electrolytic capacitors from the
signal path. Only high-quality film capacitors and precision metal-film resistors are used in the
signal path assuring low-noise and low-distortion performance. These features also allow the AxeFx to excel as a general purpose outboard processor for studio and live use.
Concept
The Axe-Fx works on the concept of an effects inventory and an effects grid.
Figure 1. Axe-Fx Concept
The effects inventory is a virtual stockroom of effects. Effects are removed from the inventory and
placed into the effects grid. The grid is a four row by twelve column matrix. Once an effect has been
placed in the grid it can be connected to any other effect in an adjacent column. Routing beyond the
8
Introduction
adjacent columns is not permitted. Figure 1 shows the conceptual model along with a somewhat
simple routing. The input feeds the “WAH” block which feeds an “AMP” block which in turn feeds
the “CAB” block, etc. A second series path has another amp and cab and this path is added to the
first path at the input to the chorus (CHO). Signal flow is always left-to-right. We’ll cover routing
in more detail later.
Every effect has a common input-output structure. The input sums the outputs of the effects that
feed into the effect. Each effect can have up to four inputs from the previous column. In turn each
effect can feed its output to up to four effects in the subsequent column.
Figure 2. Effect Block I/O Structure
The Output Mixer (the block labeled “OUTPUT” in Figure 1) sums the signals from the four rows.
The Output Mixer allows mixing and balancing of the four rows and overall level control.
9
Introduction
Figure 3. Output Mixer
10
Getting Set Up
Getting Set Up
Rear Panel
Figure 4. shows the rear panel of the Axe-Fx.
Figure 4. Rear Panel
1. Input1 - Connect line-level input sources to these jacks. If using the Axe-Fx as an effects processor
use these jacks and be sure to set the INPUT SOURCE to ANALOG REAR in the I/O menu.
NOTE: The front panel INSTR input is defeated whenever a plug is inserted into this input.
2. Input2 / Eff. Return - If using the effects loop the output of the effect(s) in the loop are connected
here. You can also use this as a generic input by placing the effects loop block in the grid but not
connecting anything to the block’s input.
3. Output1 - Main outputs. There are two sets of outputs, unbalanced and balanced. The balanced
outputs are intended for use with a mixing board and balanced cables (mic cables). The unbalanced
outputs are intended for connecting to a power amp or other unbalanced equipment. The GND
LIFT switch lifts the shield ground on the balanced outputs. If you get hum using the balanced
outputs flip this switch to isolate the ground.
4. Output2 / Eff. Send - Connect this to the input of the effect(s) in your effects loop. You can also
use this as an auxiliary output for on-stage monitoring or other uses.
5. Digital I/O - The IN connector provides 24-bit / 48 kHz digital input to the Axe-Fx. When
configured to use the digital input, INPUT1 is defeated and the effects loop is not active (see I/O
Configuration). The OUT connectors provide a digital version of the audio from OUTPUT1. The
format is 24-bit / 48 kHz.
Digital audio output is provided on both RCA and XLR connectors. Digital in is provided on an
RCA connector. You can connect and AES digital source (XLR connector) to the RCA digital input
jack using commonly available AES to SPDIF adaptor cables.
11
Getting Set Up
6. MIDI - MIDI interface. Connect your MIDI controller to MIDI IN. The POWER jack provides
power on pins 6 and 7 of MIDI IN allowing phantom powering of pedal boards that support this.
7. Pedal / Footswitch - Pedal / footswitch inputs. Connect your expression pedals and/or
footswitches here. Each jack is a ¼" stereo jack capable of supporting an expression pedal or a
footswitch (either momentary or latching).
When connecting an expression pedal the pedal data can be used to control various parameters
continuously such as volume, rate, drive, etc. A footswitch would normally be used to control
bypass or preset recall. See the I/O Configuration section for more information on pedal types and
configuration.
8. A/C In - Mains power. Connect to a grounded AC receptacle.
Front Panel
Figure 5 shows the front panel of an Axe-Fx Ultra.
Figure 5. Front Panel
1. Status / Warning Indicators - These four LED's consist of:
EDITED - Lit if the current preset has been edited, reminding you to save your changes.
MIDI IN - Lights whenever MIDI data is received.
OUT1 CLIP - Lights whenever the digital signal level at OUTPUT1 has exceeded that which is
representable by 24-bits. Internally the Axe-Fx uses 32-bit floating-point numbers so clipping is
virtually impossible. These values are then converted to 24-bit fixed-point numbers prior to being
output. If the converted value is greater than that which can be represented by a 24-bit fixed-point
number, this will cause clipping of the D/A converter and clipping of the digital output. If the
clipping is severe audible distortion may result. Reduce the output level by either turning down the
level in one or more of the effect blocks or by turning the master output level down in the layout
mixer.
12
Getting Set Up
OUT2 CLIP - Lights whenever the signal level at OUTPUT2 has exceeded that which is
representable by 24-bits. Reduce the output level by either turning down the level in one or more of
the effect blocks or by turning the master output level down in the effects loop mixer.
2. Value / Enter / Exit - The value dial is used to adjust values of various parameters. The ENTER
button is used to commit effects to a block, attach controllers and various other activities. The EXIT
button cancels dialogs and escapes from various states
3. Navigation - The four navigation buttons allow movement within a page. The PAGE buttons
switch between pages.
4. Menu - Pressing a menu button brings you to that menu instantly:
LAYOUT - This is the effects grid placement and routing menu. There are four pages: EDIT, MOVE,
GATE and MIX. The EDIT page is used to place and route effects. The MOVE page allows moving an
effect once it's been placed. The GATE page contains the adjustable parameters for the Noise Gate.
The MIX page allows overall mixing and balancing of the four rows in the grid as well as overall
output level adjustment.
EDIT - To edit an individual effect, highlight that effect in the LAYOUT>EDIT menu and press
EDIT. This brings up the edit pages for that effect. Pressing EDIT again switches to the next effect
in the grid.
CONTROL - Pressing CONTROL brings up the menu pages for the internal controllers. These are
TEMPO, LFO1, LFO2, ADSR1, ADSR2, ENV and MODS. These are discussed in more detail in the
controllers section.
EFF. BYP - To bypass and individual effect, highlight the effect and press EFF. BYP. The outline
of the effect in the grid will change to a dotted line indicating the effect has been bypassed. Pressing
the button again will restore the effect.
GLOBAL - This brings up the Global parameters menu. There are three pages: OUT1, OUT2, and
MIX. These are discussed in more detail in the Global section.
TUNER - Pressing this button brings up the tuner display.
I/O - This button brings up the I/O Setup menu. This menu allows you to configure the various
audio and control options of the Axe-Fx. See the I/O Section for more details.
UTILITY - This menu contains various utility functions. See the Utility section for more details.
RECALL - Brings up the Recall display and allows you to recall presets using the value dial.
STORE - Enters the Store menu allowing naming and saving of the current preset.
BYPASS - Pressing this button bypasses the Axe-Fx. The LED on the button is lit indicating the
bypass state. Press the button again to defeat the bypass. Pressing this button twice in rapid
succession restores all parameters of the selected effect to their default values.
13
Getting Set Up
TEMPO - Tap the song tempo using this button. The LED on the button flashes at the tempo that
was tapped in. The tempo is saved with the preset but may be overridden at any time. Recalling a
preset loads the tempo of that preset. Any effects set to use tempo will adjust their dependent
parameters to the current tempo.
5. Level Controls
INPUT1/2 - These controls set the input levels to the A/D converters. For best signal-to-noise ratio
adjust the levels until the top red LED just barely lights on the strongest peaks. For example, adjust
INPUT1 so that when you strum your guitar loudly with its volume all the way up the red LED
should light only occasionally. Setting the level controls too high may result in clipping of the input
causing audible distortion. For guitars with humbucking pickups the INPUT1 control will normally
be around the 2:00 position. For single coils you may wish to set this control slightly higher.
For best results when plugging line-level devices into an input set the controls at midpoint and
adjust the output level of the device so that the red LED barely lights on the strongest signal peaks.
The LED’s indicate the signal level at the A/D converter. When the red LED lights the signal into
the A/D is 6 dB below full-scale (6 dB headroom).
OUTPUT1/2 - These controls set the output level of the Axe-Fx. Adjust these to suit the equipment
connected to the outputs. Setting the levels too high may result in clipping of the attached
equipment. The Axe-Fx is capable of delivering about +18 dBu maximum with level controls at full.
6. Instr - Plug your guitar into this jack. This input is conditioned especially for use with your guitar.
Plugging a line-level device into this input is not recommended as this may cause clipping of the
input amplifier. Be sure to set the INPUT SOURCE to ANALOG FRONT in the I/O menu. If a plug is
inserted into the INPUT1 LEFT/MONO jack on the rear panel this input is defeated.
Example Connections
Below are examples of the Axe-Fx in various configurations along with explanations and tips on
usage.
As an Effects Unit with Separate Preamp and Power Amp
The Axe-Fx can be used as an effects processor along with a dedicated preamp and power amp. In
this configuration the preamp provides the primary distortion and tone shaping while the Axe-Fx
provides effects. By using the preamp in the Axe-Fx’s effects loop you can place effects both before
and after the preamp. Certain effects, like wah and phaser, tend to work better before distortion,
whereas time-based effects such as delay, chorus, reverb, etc. sound best after distortion.
This configuration also allows you to use the Axe-Fx amp simulations as well. In this way you can
use the outboard preamp for certain sounds, and the Axe-Fx for others. Be warned, however, after
using the Axe-Fx’s amp sims you may find your preamp redundant and just adding unnecessary
weight to your rack!
Of course you can always use the Axe-Fx between the preamp and power amp, if desired, in the
classic post-distortion configuration.
14
Getting Set Up
As an Effects Unit with a Combo Amp (or Head and Cab)
Below are two possible configurations for using the Axe-Fx with a combo amp (or head and
cabinet). In the first configuration the Axe-Fx is simply used in the effects loop of the amp. The
second configuration is more complicated but allows effects both before and after the amp’s preamp
stage. In this configuration you are using the amp in the Axe-Fx’s effects loop.
15
Getting Set Up
As a Preamp / Processor Into a Power Amp and Guitar Cabinet(s)
In this configuration the Axe-Fx is providing all distortion and tone-shaping. The output of the AxeFx is connected to a power amp and cabinets equipped with guitar speakers. Since the cabinets are
not full-range, the cabinet simulation in the Axe-Fx should be defeated. This can be done globally
via the GLOBAL menu, or per-preset by bypassing the cabinet block or removing it from the signal
chain. If the power amp is a tube amp you may want to bypass the Axe-Fx power amp simulations
as well. This can be done via the GLOBAL menu, or per-preset by turning the SAG control fully
counter-clockwise.
As a Preamp / Processor Into a Full-Range System
In this configuration the Axe-Fx is providing all distortion and tone-shaping. The output of the AxeFx is connected to a full-range sound reinforcement system. Since the system is full-range the AxeFx’s cabinet simulation should be active.
The configuration shown would be typical of using the Axe-Fx straight into a FOH mixer. Your
sound man would then send you your sound back into your stage monitor(s).
You can also use this configuration without the mixer as a stage rig. Simply connect the Axe-Fx
into a power amp and full-range speakers for the ultimate in tonal flexibility.
16
Getting Set Up
Recording
Using the Axe-Fx in the studio is straightforward. Simply connect the main outputs (analog or
digital) to a mixer, computer, etc.
I/O Configuration
Press the I/O button to access the I/O configuration menus. These menus allow you to configure the
audio, MIDI and pedals of the Axe-Fx.
Mode Configuration
The first page of the I/O menu configures the primary input source. Setting the INPUT SOURCE to
ANALOG FRONT or ANALOG REAR configures the unit to slave all clocks to the internal 48 kHz
word clock. Setting to DIGITAL selects the DIGITAL input as the main input and slaves all clocks
to this bit stream.
The Axe-Fx can only run at 48 kHz. If you connect a digital source to the unit be sure that its sample
rate is 48 kHz.
17
Getting Set Up
Set the INPUT SOURCE to ANALOG FRONT when using the front-panel input. This input is
conditioned to provide optimum noise performance for use with an electric guitar.
Set the INPUT SOURCE to ANALOG REAR when using the rear-panel input. This input is a generic
line-level input and works with any line-level source.
Audio Configuration
The next page of the I/O menu configures the inputs and main output of the Axe-Fx. Select the
desired mode for each of the inputs as follows:
LEFT - Use for monophonic input sources. For INPUT 1 use the front panel INSTR jack or the
rear panel INPUT1 - LEFT / MONO jack (set INPUT SOURCE as described above). For
INPUT 2 use the rear panel INPUT2 - LEFT / MONO jack. In this mode the left input signal
is copied to the right channel.
L+R SUM - Use when you wish to sum two sources using the LEFT and RIGHT input jacks.
STEREO - Select this if your input source is stereo.
OUTPUT1 MODE configures the stereo/mono operation of the main outputs as follows:
STEREO - Selecting this routes the left and right output signals to their respective output
connectors. This is the normal configuration for stereo use.
L+R SUM - Selecting this sums the left and right and sends the summed signal to both output
connectors.
L->R - Selecting this copies the left data to the right channel and outputs this to both connectors.
The OUTPUT 1/2 PHASE parameters allow you to invert the phase of the signal through the AxeFx to compensate for signal inversion elsewhere in your signal chain.
COPY OUT1 TO OUT2 - Setting this to ON will copy the data from the main outputs (Output 1) to
Output 2. The copy is done before the global EQ so that you can EQ the two outputs separately.
This can be used to run one set of outputs to the FOH and the other set to on-stage monitors. If the
effects loop block is in the grid then this setting is ignored.
MIDI Configuration
The MIDI page configures the MIDI parameters and preset mapping of the Axe-Fx. The Axe-Fx
contains memory for 384 presets. From a MIDI standpoint these presets are arranged in 3 banks of
128 each. To recall presets above 127 your MIDI device must be capable of transmitting a MIDI
Bank Select Coarse controller message (controller #0). The value of this message selects the bank
(0 - 2). Subsequent MIDI Program Change messages access programs from the selected bank.
MIDI CHANNEL - Selects the MIDI channel to which the Axe-Fx will respond. If set to OMNI the
Axe-Fx will respond to MIDI messages on all channels.
18
Getting Set Up
PROG CHANGE - When set to ON the Axe-Fx will respond to MIDI Program Change messages.
When set to OFF it will ignore them.
MAPPING MODE - When set to OFF the Axe-Fx will recall the preset given in the Program
Change message. When set to CUSTOM you can set up a custom map where an incoming number
is mapped to a desired preset
MAP FROM - Sets the input MIDI Program Change number that is mapped.
MAP TO - The actual preset that is recalled when the MAP FROM number is received.
NOTE: Mapping is only supported within Bank A (presets 0 - 127).
SYSEX ID - Sets the System Exclusive ID of the unit.
Control Configuration
The CTRL page configures the external control capabilities of the Axe-Fx. Each item in the list can
be controlled by either of the pedals or by a MIDI continuous controller. To set up the control for
an item simply turn the value dial to select the MIDI continuous controller number (or desired
pedal) that will control that item. The Axe-Fx has a “learn” feature that allows it to detect the
controller. Simply select the desired item to control and press ENTER. Now move the controller
and the Axe-Fx will learn the controller number.
Example
To set the main output volume to be controlled by Pedal1 select OUT1 VOLUME with the
navigation buttons. Then turn the value dial to select PEDAL1. Alternatively press ENTER
and then move your pedal connected to the PEDAL1 jack until the Axe-Fx learns the
source.
In the list there are eight external controllers labeled EXTERNAL 1, EXTERNAL 2, etc. These are
the external sources that can be attached to controllable parameters. The actual source can be either
of the PEDAL inputs or any MIDI continuos controller.
Example
Manual control of effects like Wah requires an external controller to be attached to the
Wah’s CTRL knob. In this example we’ll assume an expression pedal is connected to the
PEDAL 2 input jack. The first step is to assign PEDAL 2 to an external controller. In this
case we’ll use EXTERNAL 1. To do this select EXTERNAL 1 with the navigation buttons
and turn the value dial until PEDAL 2 is displayed (or use the Auto-Learn function). Now
when you attach a modifier to the Wah’s CTRL knob simply select EXTRN 1 as the control
source.
In this example we could have used any of the eight external controllers or any MIDI continuous
controller. The main point to understand here is that there are eight logical external control sources.
Each source is assigned to a physical source via the CTRL menu page. This source can be the
PEDAL inputs or a MIDI continuos controller. The logical source is then attached to an effects
parameter (via the MODIFIER menu, see the Controllers and Modifiers chapter).
19
Getting Set Up
GLOBAL BYPASS - The Global Bypass controller is a special type of bypass control. Whenever the
Axe-Fx receives a Global Bypass controller message it toggles the state of any effects that were
bypassed in the current preset. For example, if a preset has a Wah in it and that preset is saved with
the Wah in a bypassed state the Global Bypass message would un-bypass it. This controller can be
used as a universal master bypass control that toggles the bypassed blocks for each preset. Normally
you would have to remember what effect is bypassed in a preset and then send the appropriate
controller for that effect. With the Global Bypass, however, you can use a single controller to toggle
effects for each preset on and off. For some presets you may have a Drive block that you wish to
toggle on|off to switch between rhythm and lead work. For others you may have a Wah or Flanger
or whatever that you wish to toggle. So instead of having to use a different controller for each preset
you can simplify and just use one.
When a preset is recalled the effects are in the bypass state that they were stored in. Any that are
bypassed may then by activated using either their individual bypass controllers or all may be
activated by using the Global Bypass.
EFFECT BYPASS - Each effect in the Axe-Fx can be toggled in and out of bypass using a MIDI
continuous controller. Following the Global Bypass item are the individual bypass controllers.
Simply set the value to the desired controller number (or pedal number).
Example
To control the bypass state of Flanger 1 use the navigation buttons to select FLANGER 1
BYP. Then turn the value knob (or press ENTER to automatically learn) to select the
desired controller number. In this example we’ll use CC# 12. Now whenever the Axe-Fx
receives a CC# 12 message the bypass state of Flanger 1 will be set to the value of the
controller.
Note that the Axe-Fx uses negative logic for the bypass state. A controller value of zero bypasses
the effect and non-zero the effect is active. So if the controller value equals zero, effect off,
controller value greater than zero, effect on.
Pedal Configuration
The PEDAL page configures the pedals. The pedals can be used for parameter control, volume
control, effect bypass, preset switching and other purposes. When used for preset switching the
Axe-Fx can change presets without the use of a MIDI controller.
The two pedal jacks on the back of the Axe-Fx support continuous, momentary or latching pedals.
Continuous pedals are normally used for real-time continuous control of effect or global parameters
(i.e. volume). The other types are normally used for bypass control or preset switching. It is
important to understand how the various pedal modes operate to use them to the ultimate capability.
To use the pedal for switching operations such as bypass or preset change be sure to set the pedal
type to match the type of footswitch. Momentary footswitches close a contact while the pedal is
depressed. They typically do not "click" when pressed. Latching footswitches alternate between
contacts closed and opened each time the switch is depressed, they usually click.
20
Getting Set Up
Internally the Axe-Fx stores a state for the pedal. For momentary footswitches depressing the switch
toggles the internal state between 0 and 1. When set to latching the state of the contacts sets the
internal state: contacts closed = 0, contacts open = 1.
Footswitches are normally used to control an effects bypass state or for preset increment/decrement.
Of course one can still assign a footswitch as an external controller but the "value" from the switch
will be either 0 or 1. This may be used, for example, to change the rate of a Rotary simulator
between two speeds, when the controller is at value 0 the rate would be slow and when at 1 the rate
would be fast. This would be setup using a modifier on the Rotary simulator rate control.
When using a footswitch to control preset recall, a change of state causes a preset change. For
example, if a momentary footswitch is connected depressing the switch toggles the internal state.
This in turn would increment/decrement the current preset if configured as such. However, if a
latching footswitch were connected but the type is incorrectly set to momentary then the preset
would only change every other time the pedal was depressed as it would interpret the first press as
the pedal being depressed and the second press as the pedal being released.
If the pedal type is set to continuous it CANNOT be used to control bypass or preset change. This
prevents unwanted behavior in the event the I/O setup is not exact.
Pedal Setup Parameters
PEDAL1 TYPE - Chooses the type of pedal: continuous, momentary or latching.
PEDAL2 TYPE - Chooses the type of pedal: continuous, momentary or latching.
PRESET INCR - Chooses which pedal to use to increment the preset. When the selected pedal is
depressed the next preset will be recalled.
PRESET DECR - Chooses which pedal to use to decrement the preset.
PRESET START/END - When using a footswitch to control preset increment/decrement the preset
recalled will range between these values, wrapping around at the limits. For example if you wish to
use a single footswitch to change presets you could plug it into PEDAL 2 and set PRESET INCR
to PEDAL2. Each time you press the footswitch the preset will increment by one until the PRESET
END value is exceed in which case it will jump to the PRESET START value. If you wish to cycle
through presets 10 through 14 you would set PRESET START to 10 and PRESET END to 14.
PEDAL1 CAL - To calibrate a continuos pedal connected to PEDAL 1 press ENTER and move the
pedal through its full range several times. Press ENTER again when finished.
PEDAL2 CAL - To calibrate a continuos pedal connected to PEDAL 2 press ENTER and move the
pedal through its full range several times. Press ENTER again when finished.
21
Editing
Editing
Eventually you’ll probably want to build your own presets. With the Axe-Fx this is easy and
straightforward. There are three basic steps: placement, routing and effect editing.
Placing Effects
Press the LAYOUT button. Use the PAGE buttons to get to the EDIT page. This page shows you a
portion of the routing grid. The complete grid is 4 rows by 12 columns. Effects can be placed at any
position in the grid. Move the cursor using the navigation buttons until the desired block is
highlighted.
To change the effect at this grid position use the value dial. As you turn the dial the effect type is
displayed in an overlay box. When you reach the desired effect press ENTER to place the effect.
For this example let's place a compressor. Turn the value dial until COMPRESSOR 1 is displayed.
Then press ENTER to place the effect. The block should now display CMP indicating that a
compressor is in this position
You may be asking what those blocks with the lines through them are. These are called shunts and
allow routing through grid positions. Additionally, shunts sum up to four inputs allowing hybrid
serial/parallel routings. When no effect (or shunt) is present the grid block is represented by a dotted
outline with an empty interior.
Let's place another effect in the block to the right of the compressor. Move to that position using the
navigation buttons and the using the dial wheel select CHORUS 1. Press ENTER to place the effect.
Quick Edit - To change an existing block to a shunt simply select the block and press EXIT. To
change a shunt block to a blank block select the block and press EXIT. In both cases pressing
ENTER commits the change and pressing EXIT cancels the change.
Routing
The lines between blocks are routing indicators. Any effect in a column can be connected to any
other effect in the adjacent columns. To create or delete a route, highlight the source effect using
the navigation buttons and then press ENTER. The adjacent block in the next column will blink.
Move the blinking cursor to the desired destination block and press enter. If no route was present a
route will be added. If a route was present then it will be deleted. Movement is only allowed
vertically in routing mode. To cancel routing press EXIT. Note that effects in the first column are
automatically connected to the input and effects in the last column are automatically connected to
the output. An effect can have multiple inputs and outputs. Inputs are summed prior to processing.
An empty block can not be routed from/to. Removing an effect and replacing it with an empty block
will delete all routes to that block.
22
Editing
Auto Routing
Instead of having to manually set empty blocks to shunts to complete an effects chain the Axe-Fx
contains an auto routing feature. By pressing and holding ENTER the Axe-Fx will automatically
change an empty block to a shunt and place a route. Simply hold ENTER down until the chain
completes routing to the output.
Moving Effects
Effects can be moved once placed. To do this select the MOVE page using the PAGE buttons.
Highlight the desired block (or row or column) to be moved and then select the appropriate move
function using the value dial. Press ENTER to execute the function. When moving a block in a
complex routing the routing to that block may be destroyed. In this case you will need to restore the
routing. Simply use the ENTER button as usual to reroute the block.
Editing Effects
To edit the effect press the EDIT button. This brings up the edit display for that effect. If more than
one effect is present in a preset successive presses of the EDIT button will bring up the next effect's
edit display. Try it.
Bring up the Chorus edit display. There are three pages in this display. The first page is the BASIC
page. Most effects have a basic editing page allowing quick access to the most frequently used
parameters. Use the navigation buttons to move around in the page. Change the parameter values
using the value dial. To access the other pages in the display use the PAGE buttons. The chorus
also has an ADV (advanced) page. This offers in-depth editing of all the parameters available in the
chorus effect.
NOTE: To reset an effect to the default parameters double-click the BYPASS button.
Effect Mixer
Each effect has an output mixer. The controls are usually on the MIX page. Use the PAGE buttons
to access the MIX page. Most effects have a MIX page like this. The MIX page allows you to control
the mix, level, balancing and bypass mode of the effect. On some effects these controls may be
duplicated on other pages as they are frequently used. Not all effects have a MIX or GLBL MIX
control. These are effects that don’t mix wet and dry but just output processed (100% wet) signals.
Examples are the equalizers and the Amp Simulator.
The MIX control controls the ratio of wet and dry signals. With the control fully clockwise the output
signal of the effect is 100% wet meaning that only the effected signal is present. For effects like
chorus, reverb, delay etc. adjust the MIX control to achieve the desired effect amount. When routing
effects in parallel you'll often want to set the mix to 100% and use the LEVEL control to control the
mix of that effect.
23
Editing
The LEVEL control controls the output level of the block. The mixed signal is increased or
decreased according to this control. The proper way to set the level is to bypass the effect using the
EFF BYP button and compare the levels. Adjust the level until the volume is the same with the
effect active. You may desire some boost with a particular effect active (distortion for example) so
you can also increase the level to achieve this.
The BAL control controls the balance of the output signals. Every effect in the Axe-Fx has stereo
outputs. With the control at 12:00 the signal is equal in both the left and right channels. The BAL
control allows you to adjust the relative volumes of the left and right channels.
The BYPASS mode controls the operation of the effect when the block is bypassed. Effects may
contain any or all of the following modes depending upon the effect type:
• MIX = 0% : In this mode the MIX control is effectively turned to 0 and the LEVEL control to
0 dB. The block is effectively the same as a shunt in this case.
• MUTE FX OUT : In this mode the wet signal is muted and the dry signal is preserved at the
level set by the MIX and LEVEL controls.
• MUTE OUT : In this mode the output of the block is shut off (both wet and dry muted).
• MUTE FX IN : In this mode the effects input of the block is muted and the dry signal is
preserved at the level set by the MIX and LEVEL controls. Only the Reverb, Delay and Pitch
blocks have this mode. This allows the effect to continue after the effect has been bypassed.
This mode can be used, for example, to allow a delay to continue after the block is bypassed
without abruptly cutting off.
• MUTE IN : In this mode the input of the block is muted. You can use this mode to bypass an
effect but still have the effect sound continue, i.e. the delay repeats continue to sound.
For effects like Chorus, Flanger, etc. MIX = 0% is the most effective mode when used in a series
configuration. Use the Level control to balance the effect volume between normal and bypassed
states.
For effects like Delay and Reverb, the MUTE FX OUT, MUTE FX IN and MUTE IN modes may be
more effective as the dry level is unaltered allowing the effect to be turned on or off without
changing the direct signal level.
For non-mixable effects such as equalization (Graphic EQ, Wah), distortion (Amplifier) and
Cabinet Emulation the bypass mode is one of two states:
• THRU : In this mode bypassing the effect effectively turns the effect into a shunt.
• MUTE : Mutes the output of the effect.
24
Editing
To bypass an effect press the EFF BYP button. Press it again to activate the effect. Effects can also
be bypassed remotely using external controllers (i.e. MIDI continuous controllers). If an effect
doesn't seem to be doing anything make sure it hasn't been bypassed accidentally. A bypassed effect
will have a dotted outline in the layout EDIT page and in the effect page the effect name will
alternate with the word “BYPASSED”
NOTE: Many effects allow you to bypass an effect via a modifier (see Modifiers section). This allows you
to bypass an effect using any controller, not just a MIDI CC (continuos controller). For example, you
can use an LFO to toggle the bypass state on and off at a desired rate. Or you could use the envelope
follower to toggle the bypass state depending upon the level of the input signal.
To use this feature select the BYP MODE parameter and press ENTER. This will allow you to attach a
modifier to the bypass state. When the modifier value is greater than 50% the effect will be engaged,
when less than 50% the effect will be bypassed.
The rightmost switch on the MIX page is labeled GLBL MIX. This is the global mix control enable
for the block. When on, the mix for this block will be altered by the Global Mix control. This is used
to allow overall mixing of effects to compensate for venue differences. For example, you've
tweaked your patch "MY MONSTER SOUND" in your rehearsal studio and everyone thinks it
sounds great. You then get out to the gig and the effects are too prominent because the room has
hard floors and tin ceilings. What do you do? One solution is to frantically edit the patch going
through each block and adjusting the mixes. OR… since you previously turned on GLBL MIX on
the desired effects blocks you have a "master" effects control at your disposal. We'll talk more about
the Global Parameters later.
Output Mixer
The main output has a four channel mixer for fine-tuning a preset’s mix. It is accessed from the
LAYOUT menu on the MIX page. Each row in the layout has its own individual level and balance
control. The overall level of the preset can be controlled using the MAIN slider.
Attaching Controllers
To attach a controller select the knob that you would like to control and press ENTER. If that
parameter is capable of being controlled (indicated by the -[ ]- icon below the knob) you will be
taken to the MODIFIER menu to select the control parameters. See the Controllers and Modifiers
chapter for more details.
Saving Presets
All editing in the Axe-Fx modifies data in what’s known as the “edit buffer”. Upon saving, the
contents of the edit buffer are written to a memory location. If a new preset is recalled prior to saving
all the edits are lost. Recalling a preset loads the data from that preset into the edit buffer.
25
Editing
To save a preset press the STORE button. This brings up the STORE menu. The LOCATION box
contains the preset location at which the edit buffer will be stored. Next to that is the name of the
preset currently at that location (if any). If the preset is empty the name will say “EMPTY”. To save
at a different location turn the value daily to modify the location number. To save your changes
press the ENTER button.
The NAME box contains the name of the preset as stored in the edit buffer. To change the name
select the character you wish to change with the navigation buttons and turn the value dial to alter
the character. The Axe-Fx has a shortcut feature to help you name presets faster. Pressing the PAGE
buttons cycles through a short list of convenient starting characters to help you find the character
you desire more easily.
Recalling Presets
Recalling a preset on the Axe-Fx is done simply by pressing the RECALL button and turning the
dial until the desired preset is selected.
The Axe-Fx features and “Effects Recall” function. This allows the parameters of an effect in a
preset to copied into the edit buffer. To use this feature simply navigate to the EFFECT tab under
the RECALL menu. Select the preset that you wish to load from and the effect in that preset that you
wish to load, and then press ENTER. The parameters of that effect will be loaded into the same
effect in the edit buffer.
This is useful when you have an effect set up just the way you like it and only want to copy that
effect into a preset you are building. Also note that any modifiers that are connected to the effect
will be copied as well greatly simplifying preset construction.
26
The Effects
The Effects
The following sections describe the individual effects and their adjustable parameters.
Noise Gate
The Noise Gate is not a routable effect. It is always connected directly to the main inputs. To edit
the effect go to the GATE page in the LAYOUT menu. The Noise Gate is always active but can be
defeated by simply turning the THRESH control fully counter-clockwise.
The Noise Gate is a downward expander. Any signal below the threshold is reduced by the
expansion ratio. This provides smooth transitions rather than abrupt open/close style gating.
Parameters
THRESH - Threshold control. This 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. For example, if the threshold is set to -50 dB and the
input level is -60 dB and the ratio is 2.0 the input will be attenuated by 20 dB.
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.
ATTACK - Attack time control. Sets the rate at which the Noise Gate opens the gate.
Compressor
The Compressor reduces the dynamic range of the signal by lowering its gain when the input power
exceeds a threshold. It is best placed at the start of an effects chain and is most effective when used
with clean settings. Using a Compressor with high-gain distortion can lead to excessive noise or
squealing. The Compressor can also be placed near the output of an effects chain if desired to even
27
The Effects
out the response if using, say, two different distortion types. The low-gain distortion can be
followed with a Compressor to even out its response compared to a high-gain distortion. Otherwise
the low-gain distortion will be too dynamic.
Parameters
TYPE - The Axe-Fx contains two different algorithms for the compressor: feedforward and
feedback. The TYPE parameter selects which algorithm is used. STUDIO selects the feedforward
algorithm and PEDAL selects the feedback algorithm. The feedforward algorithm simulates the
behavior of popular high-end studio compressors whilst the feedback algorithm simulates the
behavior of classic “stomp box” compressor pedals.
DYN ATTK - Turns off|on the Dynamic Attack filter. When the Dynamic Attack filter is on the
attack rate varies according to the program material. Fast transients will cause a faster attack.
LOOK-AHEAD - Sets the amount of time the compressor looks ahead into the data stream. Look-
ahead can be used to reduce popping on transient sources and is especially effective on guitar and
other percussive instruments.
MIX - Sets the ratio of wet (compressed) and dry.
THRSH - Threshold control. The Compressor reduces its gain when the input power exceeds this
value.
RATIO - Sets the gain reduction ratio. This is the ratio of input power to output power beyond the
threshold. For example, if the threshold is -40 dB, the input signal is -30 dB and the ratio is 2.0 the
output will be -35 dB.
ATT - Attack rate. Sets how fast the Compressor reduces its gain once the threshold is exceeded.
Higher values equal faster response. In general the attack rate should be set to be similar to the
attack rate of the material. For guitar, a fast attack rate tends to work best.
REL - Release rate. Sets how fast the Compressor restores the gain once the signal has fallen below
the threshold. In general the release rate should be set slightly faster than the release rate of the
program material. An easy way to set the release rate is to strum a chord and watch the decay rate
on the gain reduction meter. Set the release rate so that the decay is slightly faster than the natural
decay. For guitar, a release rate of approximately 3.0 is recommended. High release rates can cause
pumping and distortion when used in conjunction with high compression ratios and should be
avoided.
LEVEL - Sets the output level of the block. This is the same control as on the MIX page.
KNEE - Sets the "knee" type. A soft knee gradually varies the compression ratio around the
threshold whereas a hard knee switches from no compression to the selected compression ratio
abruptly at the threshold. With high compression ratios a hard knee may produce undesirable
artifacts. In this case set the knee type to SOFT.
MAKEUP - Makeup gain. When this is on, the output level is automatically compensated allowing
for easier adjustment. The LEVEL control can then be used to fine tune the output level.
28
The Effects
DETECT - Selects the type of detector: RMS, Peak or RMS + Peak. RMS detection is smoother and
generally used to even out the level of the program material over a long period of time. Peak
detection is fast and is generally used to limit the peaks of the program material. Peak detection is
the most common type for use with guitar. The RMS + Peak detector 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 highpass filter on the sidechain input. Raising the frequency can
help prevent low frequencies from “pumping” the entire mix.
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 as the sidechain input. The other rows are summed as usual. By using a row as the
sidechain input you can use the compressor 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.
Gate / Expander (Ultra Only)
The expander module is sort of a “compressor in reverse”. When the signal level is below the
threshold the gain is reduced. The Gate / Expander block can be used as a gate or expander (as the
name suggests).
Parameters
THRSH - Threshold control. The Gate / Expander reduces its gain when the input power is below
this value.
ATT - Attack time. Sets how fast the Gate / Expander restores the gain once the threshold is
exceeded. Lower values equal faster response.
HOLD - Hold time. Sets how long the Gate / Expander holds the gate open once the threshold has
been exceeded.
REL - Release time. Sets how fast the Gate / Expander reduces the gain once the signal has fallen
below the threshold.
29
The Effects
RATIO - Sets the gain expansion ratio. This is the ratio of input power to output power below the
threshold. If the input power is -40 dB and the threshold -30 dB and the ratio 2, the output power
will be -60 dB (two dB reduction for every one dB below threshold).
DETECT - Selects the type of detector: RMS or Peak. RMS is smoother and is recommended for
slow attack settings and special effects use. Peak responds faster and is recommended for use as a
noise gate.
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 - Sets the frequency of a highpass filter on the sidechain input.
HICUT - Sets the frequency of a lowpass filter on the sidechain input.
Multi-Band Compressor (Ultra Only)
The Axe-Fx Ultra contains a three-band compressor that is great for mastering or compression of a
whole mix. It also works great after distortion to help thicken the tone.
The basic principle of the Multi-Band compressor is that the input is divided into three bands using
a crossover. Compression is applied to the individual bands and then the outputs recombined. This
allows isolating bands of the input material and applying different amounts of compression. MultiBand compression is the de-facto mastering tool and can really improve the final mix.
Parameters
FREQ1 - Sets the crossover frequency between band 1 and band 2.
FREQ2 - Sets the crossover frequency between band 2 and band 3.
Each compressor section has its own menu page with the following parameters:
THRSH - Threshold control. The threshold at which output compression starts to occur.
RATIO - Sets the gain reduction ratio. This is the ratio of input power to output power beyond the
threshold. For example, if the threshold is -40 dB, the input signal is -30 dB and the ratio is 2.0 the
output will be -35 dB.
ATT - Attack rate. Sets how fast the compressor reduces its gain once the threshold is exceeded.
Higher values equal faster response.
REL - Release rate. Sets how fast the compressor restores the gain once the signal has fallen below
the threshold.
LEVEL - Sets the output level of the band.
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The Effects
DET - Selects the type of detector to use, RMS or Peak.
MUTE - Mutes the output of the band. You can use the mute controls to audition one or more bands.
Filter
The Filter module is a simple programmable filter designed for general tone shaping. It allows a
variety of different filters along with real-time control of the filter parameters. You can use the Filter
module for quick, static tone shaping or for elaborate, dynamic tone manipulation.
It can be used as a straight gain block by setting the filter type to NULL. Another possibility is to
use it as a treble booster (with more programmability than the one in the Drive module).
In the 60's guitarists began experimenting with booster pedals to increase the signal level into their
amplifiers. This increased the amount of distortion their amps would produce. The more popular
booster pedals had extra treble boost in addition to overall boost. This technique was essential to
Brian May's tone on the early Queen recordings where a treble booster into a Vox AC-30 gave that
unmistakable sound.
To use the Filter/Boost module as a treble booster set the TYPE to either HIGHPASS or
BANDPASS. Experiment with the Q and FREQ controls to achieved the desired effect. Increase the
level to increase the overall signal level out of the block.
The FREQ, Q, GAIN, LEVEL and BAL parameters are all controllable. To attach a modifier to these
parameters select the parameter and press ENTER. This brings up the MODIFIER menu. When any
of these parameters are attached to a modifier an asterisk (*) appears after the name indicating such.
The Filter block also contains individual left and right pan controls. These controls 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 reduce the stereo
separation or as general stereo manipulation tools.
Parameters
TYPE - Sets the type of filter. All the standard filter types are available. A NULL type has a flat
frequency response characteristic and can be used if you want to use the block as a simple gain
element.
FREQ - Sets the center frequency of the filter.
ROFFS - Sets the right channel frequency offset as a multiple of the left channel. A setting of 0.5,
for example, would set the right channel frequency to half the left.
Q - Sets the ‘Q’ of the filter. Higher values give sharper responses.
GAIN - Sets the gain at the center frequency for the bandpass, notch, low-shelf and high-shelf types.
This control has no effect with the other types.
LEVEL - Sets the output volume level of the block.
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The Effects
BAL - Sets the output balance of the block.
PANL - Controls the panning of the left output signal.
PANR - Controls the panning of the right output signal.
BYP - Sets the bypass mode.
Graphic Equalizer
The Graphic Equalizer is an 8-band equalizer with band centers at 63, 125, 250, 500, 1000, 2000,
4000 and 8000 Hz. Each band can boost or cut up to 12 dB. Simply select the desired band with
navigation buttons and use the value dial to vary the gain.
The Graphic EQ can also be used as a booster. To use the EQ as a booster simply emphasize the
desired frequencies and set the level as desired. For a treble booster, for example, one might boost
the 2K, 4K and 8K by 6 dB or so and turn the level up 12 dB. The parametric equalizers (see below)
can be used in the same way by simply turning up the high-shelf gain and increasing the level.
Parametric Equalizer
The Parametric Equalizer is a 5-band parametric-type equalizer comprised of a low-shelf filter,
three bell filters and a high-shelf filter. To edit, select the band desired using the PAGE buttons. A
graphical display depicts the response.
32
The Effects
Parameters
FREQ - Sets the center frequency of the band.
Q - Sets the "Q" of the band. Q is a measure of filters bandwidth vs. center frequency. Higher Q's
exhibit narrower or sharper response. Use caution as very high values along with high gain can
cause output overload and clipping even though the apparent volume is low. Reduce the block
output level if this occurs.
GAIN - Sets the gain of the filter.
TYPE - The first and last bands have a selectable filter type. This parameter selects between the
three available types.
Crossover (Ultra Only)
The Axe-Fx Ultra contains two, two-way stereo crossovers. These crossovers contain 4th-order
Linkwitz-Reilly filters. You can combine the two crossovers to form a three-way crossover with a
little imaginative routing.
XOVER FREQ - Sets the frequency of the filters.
FREQ MULTIPLIER - When set to X10, the crossover frequency is multiplied by ten.
FREQ - Sets the center frequency of the band.
LEFT LOW LEVEL - Sets the output level of the left input lowpass filter.
LEFT HI LEVEL - Sets the output level of the left input highpass filter.
RIGHT LOW LEVEL - Sets the output level of the right input lowpass filter.
33
The Effects
RIGHT HI LEVEL - Sets the output level of the right input highpass filter.
LEFT LOW PAN - Sets the panning of the left input lowpass filter.
LEFT HI PAN - Sets the panning of the left input highpass filter.
RIGHT LOW PAN - Sets the panning of the right input lowpass filter.
RIGHT HI PAN - Sets the panning of the right input highpass filter.
Resonator (Ultra Only)
The Axe-Fx Ultra Resonator is 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. The position of these
filters can be before or after the comb filters. They are shown in the after position in the diagram
above.
The Resonator can operate in one of two modes: Manual and Chordal. In manual mode control of
the filter frequencies is done manually. In chordal mode a base frequency is set and a chord type
chosen. The filter frequencies are then set to match the type of chord chosen.
Parameters
MODE - Selects between the two modes of operation: manual and chordal.
INGAIN - Sets the level into the effect. Since the filters are very resonant overload can occur. This
control can be used to reduce the levels.
34
The Effects
MASTER FREQ - Scales all the frequencies.
MASTER LEVEL - Scales all the output levels.
MASTER PAN - Scales all the output pans.
MASTER Q - Scales all the bandpass filter Q’s.
FREQUENCY n - Sets the resonant frequency of the selected filter.
FEEDBACK n - Sets the resonance of the selected filter by varying the feedback.
FILTER LOC. n - Selects the position of the bandpass for the selected filter.
FILTER Q n - Sets the Q of the selected bandpass filter.
LEVEL n - Sets the output level of the selected filter.
PAN n - Sets the panning of the selected filter.
Chorus
A chorus subtly delays the input signal by a varying amount and mixes it with the undelayed signal.
The varying delay slightly detunes the signal so the result is one of multiple instruments playing in
unison. The Axe-Fx Chorus is a stereo multi-voice chorus. It uses a very computationally
demanding algorithm but delivers exceptionally smooth sounding ensemble effects. Each stereo
channel in the chorus can have from one to four voices. Increasing the number of voices increases
the fullness of the effect. For classic chorus sounds use two voices (one per side). For thick, full
chorus effects use four or more voices.
Basic Parameters
VOICES - Sets the total number of voices used in the effect. For example, a setting of 4 uses two
voices per side.
35
The Effects
RATE - Controls the frequency of the Low Frequency Oscillator (LFO). Use low settings with
higher depths for slow moving sounds. Increase the rate for vibrato effects. Set fully CCW to sync
the LFO to the Global LFO1 oscillator.
DEPTH - Sets the maximum delay variation. Higher depths increase the amount of detuning.
Usually the rate and depth settings should be varied inversely, i.e. if you increase the rate decrease
the depth however some unique sounds can be obtained using high rates and depths.
MIX - Sets the ratio of wet and dry. Duplicated from MIX page. A setting of 50% produces the most
prominent effect. Try setting the mix to 100% for vibrato effects.
TEMPO - Locks the rate to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120 bpm and the
tempo is set to a quarter note (1/4) then 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
BASS - Adjusts the bass response of the wet signal. The bass can be boost or cut up to 12 dB.
TREBLE - Adjusts the treble response of the wet signal. The treble can be boost or cut up to 12 dB.
BASS FREQ - Adjusts the corner frequency of the bass control.
TREBLE FREQ - Adjusts the corner frequency of the treble control.
DELAY TIME - Adjusts the minimum delay time of the delay line. This can provide subtle changes
in the character of the effect.
LFO PHASE - Adjusts the phase difference between the left and right lfo waveforms. For
maximum stereo spread set this to 180 degrees. For a mono chorus simply set this to zero.
LFO TYPE - Selects between the various waveforms for the LFO. Sine is the most commonly used
waveform. NOTE: only the sine type is allowed for more than two voices. If the number of voices
is set to more than two the LFO type will be reset 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.
For different chorus effects try experimenting with the type parameter. The Trapezoid waveform is
of particular 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 processor.
AUTO DEPTH - When this is set to LOW or HIGH the depth is automatically scaled for the rate.
Lower rates therefore increase the actual depth and vice-versa. The HIGH setting allows greater
maximum depth. This greatly simplifies adjusting the rate and depth and gives the most musical
results. For wild sounds you may wish to set this to OFF which decouples the controls allowing for
full depth swing even at fast rates.
PHASE REVERSE - When this is set to ON the phase of the right channel is reversed on the effected
signal. This increases the stereo imaging.
36
The Effects
WIDTH - Adjusts the time offset between the left and right delay line. At 100% the right delay line
will be at minimum time, at 0% the right delay time will equal the left. This can be used to increase
the apparent stereo width of the effect.
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.
Quad Chorus (Ultra Only)
The Axe-Fx Ultra Quad Chorus is the ultimate chorus effect. Four independent chorus units are
modulated by four separate LFO’s. The result is an incredibly lush and liquid chorus sound. It takes
a little while to program but the effort is well worth the investment.
The first three LFO’s are then combined in various amounts via the LFO Morph parameter for each
chorus unit. The fourth LFO modulates all the chorus units. In the illustration above the effect is
shown in the default stereo configuration. The four LFO’s are depicted as used for each chorus
delay line.
37
The Effects
Master Parameters
TIME - The time delay of each chorus unit is set to a percentage of its programmed value by this
parameter. This can be used to adjust all the delay times simultaneously or further modulate the
choruses.
RATE - Sets the master rate of the LFO’s.
DEPTH - The depth of modulation to each chorus is set to a multiple of its programmed value by
this parameter.
FDBK - The amount of the output of each chorus fed back to its input is controlled by this
parameter. Set to 0% for classic chorus sounds. Increase for flanging effects
INPUT MODE - When set to STEREO, two of the chorus units are fed from the left input and the
other from the right input. This can be used to preserve or increase the stereo separation.
DEPTH - The depth of modulation to each chorus is set to a multiple of its programmed value by
this parameter.
Chorus Unit Parameters
Each chorus unit has an identical set of parameters.
TIME - Sets the minimum time delay of the chorus unit.
LEVEL - Sets the output level of the chorus unit.
PAN - Sets the panning of the chorus unit in the stereo field.
DEPTH - Sets the depth of the modulation applied to the chorus unit.
LFO MORPH - This parameter controls the contribution of the first three LFO’s to the modulation
signal. A value of 0% would select only LFO1 as the modulation source. A value of 25% would
have equal parts of LFO1 and LFO2. A value of 100% would use only LFO3. The net effect is that
a combination of two LFO’s is used to modulate the chorus (in addition to the global modulation of
LFO4).
Advanced Parameters
The master parameters are duplicates of the first page.
WIDE MODE - When this in set to ON, the modulation to every other delay line is inverted thereby
widening the stereo effect.
MAIN DEPTH - This parameter controls the depth of LFO4 which modulates all the chorus units.
The amount of global modulation can be controlled by this parameter.
MAIN PHASE - Sets the phase difference of the main LFO (LFO4) between chorus units. This
allows the pitch of each chorus unit to change differently than if they were all modulated in-phase.
38
The Effects
LFO1 MASTER - If this is set to ON, the rate of LFO’s 2 and 3 are locked to LFO1 and the LFO1
RATE MULT parameter controls the first three LFO rates.
LFOn TYPE - Selects the type of LFO for each LFO.
LFOn RATE MULT - Sets the rate of the LFO as a multiple of the master rate.
Flanger
A flanger is similar to a chorus but uses a shorter delay time and feeds back some of the effect signal
back to the input. It was originally intended to duplicate the sound of two tape decks that were
synchronized together and then pressing on the flange of one of the tape reels (hence the term
flanging). This caused the tape decks to become slightly out of sync and created the classic
wooshing sound. A great example of this is in the Doobie Brother's song "Listen to the Music"
during the bridge.
Basic Parameters
TIME - Adjusts the nominal delay time of the delay line. This changes the character of the effect.
Low values give a jet-like sound whereas high values are metallic. Adjust to taste.
RATE - Controls the frequency of the Low Frequency Oscillator. Use low settings with higher
depths for slow moving sounds. Increase the rate for vibrato effects. Set fully CCW to sync to the
Global LFO1 oscillator.
DEPTH - Sets the maximum delay variation. Higher depths increase the amount of detuning.
Usually the rate and depth settings should be varied inversely, i.e. if you increase the rate decrease
the depth however some unique sounds can be obtained using high rates and depths.
39
The Effects
FEEDBK - Sets the amount of wet signal fed back to the input. Increasing the feedback can give
the Flanger a metallic quality as it produces sharp resonances in the frequency response. Note that
excessive values can result in marginal stability and may even cause oscillation. Decrease the
feedback if this occurs.
MANUAL - Manually controls the delay time. You can use this along with a foot controller or other
controller to control the flange effect. For full manual control set the depth to zero.
MIX - Sets the ratio of wet and dry. Duplicated from MIX page. A setting of 50% produces the most
prominent effect.
TEMPO - Locks the rate to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120 bpm and the
tempo is set to a quarter note (1/4) then 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
DRY DELAY - Adjusts the delay time of the dry signal. This, in conjunction with the TIME
parameter can be used to achieve “Through-Zero Flanging” (TZF). By experimenting with
combinations of TIME and DRY DELAY you can achieve wild TZF effects.
PHASE REVERSE - Controls the phase of the wet signal. Either of both channels can be inverted.
Use along with DRY DELAY to increase depth of TZF.
BASS - Adjusts the bass response of the wet signal. The bass can be boost or cut up to 12 dB.
TREBLE - Adjusts the treble response of the wet signal. The treble can be boost or cut up to 12 dB.
BASS FREQ - Adjusts the corner frequency of the bass control.
TREBLE FREQ - Adjusts the corner frequency of the treble control.
LFO PHASE - Adjusts the phase difference between the left and right lfo waveforms. For
maximum stereo spread set this to 180 degrees.
LFO TYPE - Selects the waveform for the LFO. Sine is the most commonly used waveform. You
can achieve strange rising/falling effects using the sawtooth types.
LFO HICUT - Adjusts the filtering of the LFO waveform. For certain waveform types along with
extreme depth or rate settings, clicking may occur at the waveform discontinuities. For example a
square wave can cause audible artifacts as the LFO rapidly changes from one extreme to the other.
Decreasing the LFO HICUT frequency will mitigate this.
AUTO DEPTH - When this is set to LOW or HIGH the depth is automatically scaled for the rate.
Lower rates therefore increase the actual depth and vice-versa. The HIGH setting allows greater
maximum depth. This greatly simplifies adjusting the rate and depth and gives the most musical
results. For wild sounds you may wish to set this to OFF which decouples the controls allowing for
full depth swing even at fast rates.
40
The Effects
Phaser
A phaser works by cascading a series of "allpass filters" and then mixing the processed signal with
the input. The allpass filters cause phase shift and at certain frequencies the amount of phase shift
will be exactly out of phase with the input so the mixed signal will have notches at those
frequencies. The Axe-Fx Phaser is extremely powerful allowing from 4 to 12 stages along with a
feedback control for producing even more dramatic effects. Also, the Axe-Fx phase is full stereo
allowing for spatial effects as well.
The Phaser also contains a special “Vibe Mode” that recreates the classic vibe effect with
astonishing accuracy. Set the ORDER control to fully clockwise to activate this mode.
NOTE: The MIX control should be set at 50% for the maximum effect.
Basic Parameters
ORDER - Sets the number of stages in increments of two. For classic phaser sounds set the order
to four and use low feedback. For more pronounced effects increase the order. Turning this control
fully clockwise puts the Phaser into “Vibe Mode” where the frequency spacings are fixed. In this
mode the FREQ SPAN control has no effect.
NOTE: Whenever the order is changed the LFO Type is automatically set to the default. For anything
other than Vibe Mode the LFO Type is set to TRIANGLE. For Vibe Mode the type is set to EXP
(exponential) If you desired a different LFO waveform be sure to check the setting after changing the
order.
RATE - Controls the frequency of the Low Frequency Oscillator. Set fully CCW to sync to the
Global LFO1 oscillator.
DEPTH - Controls the sweep depth of the LFO.
RES - Resonance control. Controls how much of the wet signal is fed back to the input. Increasing
the resonance increases how sharp the notches are. Excessive values of feedback can cause
instability. If this occurs decrease the feedback.
FREQ - Sets the start frequency of the first stage filter. This in combination with the depth control
controls the range over which the notches sweep.
41
The Effects
TEMPO - Locks the rate to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120 bpm and the
tempo is set to a quarter note (1/4) then 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
LFO TYPE - Selects the waveform for the LFO. The ramp types can provide falling or rising
effects. Experiment with Exponential or Logarithmic types for pulsating effects.
FREQ SPAN - Sets the span of the allpass filters. Higher values separate the resulting notches by
greater amounts.
LFO PHASE - Sets the phase difference from left to right for the LFO.
Rotary Cabinet
A Hammond B3 without a Leslie cabinet is like a BLT sandwich without the lettuce and tomato.
Guitar players soon came to discover the wonderful tones of the Leslie cabinet and it's brethren. The
classic Leslie cabinet is comprised of a spinning drum with a slot in it and a rotating horn called a
rotor. A low frequency speaker is aimed into the spinning drum while high frequencies are sent to
the horn. The result is unmistakable, from schmaltzy hockey-game to Steppenwolf, the Leslie
cabinet became ubiquitous. Spinning drum alone versions have been produced by other
manufacturers with Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Cold Shot" being one example of that sound.
The Axe-Fx Rotary Cabinet simulator reproduces all these classic sounds and offers more control.
Also, it doesn't weigh 300 lbs and require four guys to move up a flight of stairs. Isn't technology
great?
Parameters
RATE - Controls the rate at which the "drum and rotor" spin. Connect this to a controller for realtime control.
LDEPTH - Sets the modulation depth of the "drum". Higher settings provide a more pronounced
throb.
42
The Effects
HDEPTH - Sets the modulation depth of the "rotor". To simulate a rotating drum only cabinet
reduce this.
HLEVEL - Sets the output level of the "rotor". Use this to balance the level between the drum and
rotor.
TEMPO - Locks the rate to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120 bpm and the
tempo is set to a quarter note (1/4) then the LFO rate will be 2 Hz (120 bpm / 60 seconds = 2). To
ignore the global tempo set the tempo control to NONE.
Wah-Wah
Ah, the legendary wah effect. No effect has ever been as used (or abused). From Jimi Hendrix's
"Voodoo Chile" to, well, Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Voodoo Chile" the wah continues to hold a unique
place in the annals of rock history. The Axe-Fx Wah is the embodiment of this legacy but with
modern reliability and control. Also, the unique control input processing of the Axe-Fx eliminates
the "zipper effect" common to many remotely controlled wahs.
A wah is actually a very straightforward device. The signal is passed through a high-Q filter whose
frequency is controllable. The Wah may be placed before distortion for a subtler, classic sound or
after distortion for a more prominent and aggressive sound.
Parameters
TYPE - Selects between a lowpass, 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, or ‘Q’ of the filter. Higher values give a sharper response.
43
The Effects
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.
FREQ - Sets the frequency of the filter relative to the minimum and maximum frequencies.
Normally you would attach this to a controller. Attach it to an external controller (such as pedal) for
classic wah or attach it to an LFO or Envelope for autowah or dynamic wah.
Formant Filter
The wah was originally intended to mimic the sound of the human voice but obviously falls a little
short. A formant filter is an extension of the wah principle but operates on the concept of formants.
Formants are resonances in instruments, cabinets, and, in this case, the human vocal tract that give
sounds their character. The human vocal tract generates a handful of formants that 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 Formant Filter allows
"talk-box" effects without the fuss and muss of the real thing.
The Format Filter morphs between three vowel sounds: start, mid and end. The CTRL knob then
controls the morphing between these sounds. For example, we can program the Formant Filter to
go "ooo - eee - aaahh" as a pedal is moved. The start vowel is generated with the CTRL knob
counter-clockwise, the end vowel is generated with the knob fully clockwise and the mid vowel is
generated with the knob at 12:00. The sound gradually changes from one vowel to the next between
positions.
The Formant Filter usually sounds best when placed after distortion although there are no hard and
fast rules.
Parameters
START - Sets the start vowel sound.
44
The Effects
MID - Sets the mid vowel sound.
END - Sets the end vowel sound.
RES - Sets the resonance of the filters. Higher resonance can yield a more dramatic effect.
CTRL - Controls the morphing between vowel sounds. Normally you would connect this to a
controller (i.e. EXTERN1).
Vocoder (Ultra Only)
The Axe-Fx Ultra 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. Impressive amounts of compression can be achieved while still
rendering speech intelligible. Although it never really gained acceptance for that application, it later
found usefulness as a means of encrypting speech for wartime communications. In the 1970’s
Robert Moog and Wendy Carlos pioneered the use of the Vocoder for musical applications.
The Axe-Fx Vocoder pays faithful homage to those early analog vocoders. Using a true constantQ approach the Axe-Fx Vocoder can be used to make your guitar “talk” or make your voice sound
like a robot or other strange and interesting effects.
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.
45
The Effects
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.
FMIN - Sets the frequency of the lowest filter band.
FMAX - 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 and produce “anonymous mob informant” or “chipmunk”
effects.
HPMIX - Sets the amount of highpass filtered signal to mix in with the synthesis output. This can
be used to increase the intelligibility of the vocoding.
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.
MLVL - Sets the master level for all the synthesis filter outputs.
MPAN - 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.
46
The Effects
Pan / Tremolo
The Axe-Fx Pan/Tremolo provides, as the name would imply, panning and tremolo effects. A
panner moves the sound left/right in the stereo field while a tremolo varies the volume. Tremolo can
be used to get that classic "surf" sound especially when used with some spring reverb.
Parameters
EFF TYPE - Chooses between the tremolo and panner.
RATE - Sets the frequency of the LFO. Turning the control fully CCW locks the rate to the global
LFO1 generator.
DEPTH - Sets the modulation depth for the tremolo.
WIDTH - Sets the modulation depth for the panner. When Width is set to more than 100%, the
Panner will pan beyond a normal stereo image.
TEMPO - Locks the rate to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120 bpm and the
tempo is set to a quarter note (1/4) then 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 waveform for the LFO. Try experimenting with the Log or Exp
waveforms.
DUTY - This controls the symmetry of the LFO waveform. It has no effect if the waveform is a sine
wave. For a triangle wave this controls the shape of the waveform. At 50% the waveform is
perfectly symmetrical. For a square wave this controls the ratio of time that the waveform is "on"
as opposed to "off". This control has no effect for sine, log, exp or random waveforms
LFO PHASE - Adjusts the phase difference between the left and right lfo waveforms.
PAN CENTER - In panner mode adjusts the apparent center of the stereo image.
47
The Effects
Delay
The real strength of digital processing was first exhibited with the original digital delay processors.
Before that delay processing was done using analog delay devices or tape-based techniques. These
methods suffered from poor frequency response, noise, and in the mechanical versions, reliability
concerns. Digital delays address all of these shortcomings while providing longer delay times.
The Axe-Fx contains two different types of delay blocks. The regular Delay, described here, is your
basic digital delay (with a few enhancements). We'll talk about the Multi-Delay later. The Delay
has five different modes: Mono, Stereo, Ping-Pong, Dual and Reverse. In Mono mode the inputs
are summed and only the left delay line is used. This allows quick, classic delay sounds. The Stereo
mode allows independent left and right delay time and feedback allowing for modern stereo delay
sounds. The Ping-Pong mode criss-crosses the signal so that the echoes ping-pong left and right.
The Dual mode allows full control over the delay block providing controls for all parameters. The
Reverse mode is a special mono reverse looper capable of strange and exotic reverse playback
effects.
The Delay also contains a lowcut and highcut filter to allow frequency response tailoring of the
repeats. By turning down the highcut frequency you can simulate the sound of a tape delay with it's
poor high frequency response. Turning up the lowcut frequency can give a thin delay sound for
special effects.
The Delay also contains two delay time modulators that can be used to slightly modulate the delay
time. These can be used to add depth to the echoes or to simulate an old tape-based echo unit. One
can be used, for example, to simulate the slow fluctuation of a worn belt in a tape echo with the
other simulating a worn capstan (wow and flutter).
48
The Effects
The first and third pages of the Delay menu are the same for all types. The second page of the edit
menu changes based on the type of delay selected.
Common Parameters
TYPE - Selects between the various delay types available.
INGAIN - Sets the input level into the delay lines. The primary purpose of this is to allow you to
attach a controller (i.e. pedal) to control the delay level without disturbing the mix. Set the mix at
the desired maximum echo level and then use the INLVL control (via a pedal) to control the echo
level. This is different than controlling the echo level with the MIX control since the echoes will
continue to sound after the control is set to zero whereas using the MIX control the echoes will be
immediately cut off. If you are not attaching a controller then you would normally set this to 100%
(default).
Mono Delay
TIME - Sets the time of the delay line (time between echoes).
FEEDBK - Sets the amount of delay feedback. This controls how many repeats are heard.
ECHO PAN - Controls the placement of the echoes in the stereo image. Note that this is different
than the PAN control on the MIX page which controls the panning of the mixed sound. This control
only effects the wet signal.
TEMPO - Locks the time to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120 bpm and the
tempo is set to a quarter note (1/4) then the time will be 500 ms (one echo per beat). To ignore the
global tempo set the tempo control to NONE.
LOCUT FREQ - Sets the cutoff frequency of the lowcut filter. Higher values remove more low
frequency content from the delayed signal.
HICUT FREQ - Sets the cutoff frequency of the highcut filter. Lower values remove more high
frequency content from the delayed signal.
DRIVE - Sets the drive level into the tube simulator. This can be used to add some distortion to the
echo like an old tube-based tape delay. This control has no effect when using the Reverse delay
type.
Stereo Delay
TIME - Sets the time of the delay lines (time between echoes).
RATIO - Sets the ratio of the delay time of the right channel relative to the left channel. A ratio of
1.0 sets both channels equal. Decreasing this value decreases the delay time of the right channel.
SPREAD - Controls the stereo spread of the echoes. Increasing this value increases the separation
between the left and right delay signals.
49
The Effects
FEEDBACK L - Sets the amount of delay feedback for the left channel. The left feedback control
is the “master” and will automatically set the right feedback to the proper amount so that both
channels decay at the same rate regardless of the ratio. The right channel feedback control can be
used to override this if desired.
FEEDBACK R - Sets the amount of delay feedback for the right channel.
TEMPO - Locks the left delay time to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120
bpm and the tempo is set to a quarter note (1/4) then the time will be 500 ms (one echo per beat).
To ignore the global tempo set the tempo control to NONE.
LOCUT FREQ - Sets the cutoff frequency of the lowcut filter. Higher values remove more low
frequency content from the delayed signal.
HICUT FREQ - Sets the cutoff frequency of the highcut filter. Lower values remove more high
frequency content from the delayed signal.
DRIVE - Sets the drive level into the tube simulator. This can be used to add some distortion to the
echo like an old tube-based tape delay. This control has no effect when using the Reverse delay
type.
Ping-Pong Delay
TIME - Sets the time of the delay lines (time between echoes).
FEEDBK - Sets the amount of delay feedback. This controls how many repeats are heard.
SPREAD - Controls the stereo spread of the echoes. Increasing this value increases the separation
between the left and right delay signals.
TEMPO - Locks the delay time to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120 bpm
and the tempo is set to a quarter note (1/4) then the time will be 500 ms (one echo per beat). To
ignore the global tempo set the tempo control to NONE.
LOCUT FREQ - Sets the cutoff frequency of the lowcut filter. Higher values remove more low
frequency content from the delayed signal.
HICUT FREQ - Sets the cutoff frequency of the highcut filter. Lower values remove more high
frequency content from the delayed signal.
DRIVE - Sets the drive level into the tube simulator. This can be used to add some distortion to the
echo like an old tube-based tape delay. This control has no effect when using the Reverse delay
type.
Dual Delay
TIME L/R - Sets the time of the left/right delay line.
50
The Effects
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
attach a modifier to the Master Pan to move the voices around the stereo field in real time.
TEMPO L/R - Locks the delay time to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120
bpm and the tempo is set to a quarter note (1/4) then the time will be 500 ms (one echo per beat).
To ignore the global tempo set the tempo control to NONE.
FEEDBK L->L/R-.R - Sets the amount of delay feedback for the delay line. This controls how many
repeats are heard.
FEEDBK L->R/R-.L - Sets the amount of cross feedback for the delay lines. This controls how
much of the left delay line is fed back to the right and vice-versa.
LEVEL L/R - Sets the volume level of the delayed signals.
PAN L/R - Controls the panning of the delayed signals.
LOCUT FREQ - Sets the cutoff frequency of the lowcut filter. Higher values remove more low
frequency content from the delayed signal.
HICUT FREQ - Sets the cutoff frequency of the highcut filter. Lower values remove more high
frequency content from the delayed signal.
DRIVE - Sets the drive level into the tube simulator. This can be used to add some distortion to the
echo like an old tube-based tape delay. This control has no effect when using the Reverse delay
type.
Reverse Delay
TIME - Sets the time of the delay line (time between echoes).
FEEDBK - Sets the amount of delay feedback. This controls how many repeats are heard. Use
caution as instability can occur with the reverse type with certain parameter settings.
ECHO PAN - Controls the placement of the echoes in the stereo image. Note that this is different
than the PAN control on the MIX page which controls the panning of the mixed sound. This control
only effects the wet signal.
RUN - When this is set to ON the reverse playback is active. You can start and stop playback using
this or by attaching a controller to it.
TRIG RESTART - When this is set to ON the reverse playback restarts when triggered via the RUN
control. If set to OFF, the playback continues from the current position.
TEMPO - Locks the time to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120 bpm and the
tempo is set to a quarter note (1/4) then the time will be 500 ms (one echo per beat). To ignore the
global tempo set the tempo control to NONE.
51
The Effects
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 a long crossfade time. For classic reverse delay
sounds set this at or near its minimum value.
LOCUT FREQ - Sets the cutoff frequency of the lowcut filter. Higher values remove more low
frequency content from the delayed signal.
HICUT FREQ - Sets the cutoff frequency of the highcut filter. Lower values remove more high
frequency content from the delayed signal.
Modulation
The MOD page contains the various dynamic parameters that can be adjusted. This page also contain
the delay ducking controls. The ducker reduces the volume of the delayed signal when the input
signal is above the ducking threshold. Using the ducker helps keep the delays from cluttering the
sound and helps them ring out when you stop playing.
LFO1/2 TYPE - Sets the type of LFO for the delay time modulators.
LFO1/2 TARGET - Sets which delay line(s) the LFO will modulate. You can select to modulate left,
right or both.
LFO1/2 RATE - Sets the rate of the time modulators. The delay time can be modulated so as to
simulate a worn capstan or belt or to add a chorus effect to the echoes.
LFO1/2 DEPTH - Sets the depth of the time modulators. Use in conjunction with the rate controls.
DEPTH RANGE - The modulators use “auto depth”, faster rates automatically decrease the depth
and vice-versa. The DEPTH RANGE control allows selecting the amount of maximum depth.
DUCKER ATTEN - Sets the attenuation depth of 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 - Sets the trigger threshold of the ducker. If the input signal exceeds this value
the delayed signal will be attenuated by an amount equal to that set with the ATTENUATION control.
DUCKER REL TIME - Sets the rate at which the ducker releases the attenuation when the input
signal falls below the threshold.
DIFFUSION - Sets the amount of echo diffusion. This causes the echoes to get “fuzzy” and can be
used to smooth the echoes
DIFF TIME - Sets the delay time for the diffuser.
PHASE REV - When set to ON, inverts the phase of the right channel. This can be used to widen the
stereo effect.
52
The Effects
Looper (Ultra Only)
The Looper is a sixteen second phrase sampler. The Looper controls are different than the other
effects in that they are “pushbutton” controls rather than knobs. Selecting the control and pressing
ENTER toggles the state of the control. The Looper controls have dedicated MIDI CC assignments
as well so you can control the Looper using a MIDI footpedal or other MIDI device. Access to the
CC assignments is done in the I/O menu.
RECORD - When record is activated the Looper records the audio input. Pressing record again
stops recording and immediately begins playback.
PLAY - Toggles the playback state. If recording, pressing play immediately stops recording and
starts playback.
ONCE - This control plays the phrase one time only and then stops. If the phrase is already playing
the phrase continues playing until the end and stops. If the playback is stopped, pressing this plays
the phrase one time. Pressing this again while the phrase is playing resets playback to the beginning
allowing for “stutter” effects.
STACK - Pressing this adds the audio input to the existing phrase. Pressing it again stops the
addition. The existing audio is faded every time through the loop.
REV - Pressing this reverses the direction of the loop playback.
Multi Delay
The Multi-Delay in the Axe-Fx is a rhythmic delay block with five sub-algorithms: Quadtap delay,
Plex Delay, Plex Detune, Plex Shift and Band Delay. The Axe-Fx Ultra contains four additional
sub-algorithms: Quad-Series, Ten-Tap, Rhythm Tap and Diffusor. Delay times can be controlled
by tempo allowing for rhythmic patterns to be easily created. All delay lines can be modulated by
up to four LFO’s.
The following diagrams illustrate the various algorithms. Parameters vary by type but are listed
together for ease of reference.
53
The Effects
QuadTap Delay
Plex Delay / Plex Detune / Plex Shift
54
The Effects
Band Delay
Quad-Series Delay (Ultra Only)
Parameters
MASTER TIME - Scales all the delay times. Attach a controller to this for real-time control of the
delay times.
MASTER LEVEL - Scales all the output levels. Attach a controller to this for real-time control of
the echo levels.
55
The Effects
MASTER PAN - Scales all the pan amounts essentially acting as a spread control. The amount can
go negative allowing for the echoes to switch sides. Attach a controller to this for real-time control
of the pans.
MASTER FEEDBACK - Scales all the feedback amounts. You can attach a controller to this.
MASTER FREQ - Scales all the frequency values. Attach a controller to this to vary all the
frequency values in real-time. This can be used to achieve a wah-like effect on the echoes.
MASTER Q - Scales all the Q values. Attach a controller to this to vary all the Q values in real-time.
MASTER RATE - Scales all the LFO rates. Attach a controller to this to vary all the LFO rates in
real-time.
MASTER DEPTH - Scales all the LFO depths. Attach a controller to this to vary all the LFO depths
in real-time.
MASTER PITCH - Scales all the shift values. Attach a controller to this to vary all the pitch shifts
in real-time.
MASTER DETUNE - Scales all the detune values. Attach a controller to this to scale all the detune
values in real-time. By varying the detune values this way, resonances are broken up and the delay
becomes smoother.
DECAY TIME - Sets the coefficients of the feedback matrix for the Plex types thereby controlling
the amount of time for the echoes to fade. Use caution with the Detune and Shift types as high decay
times can result in instability.
DIFFUSION - Sets the amount of cross-coupling between delay lines. In the Quad-Tap mode this
sets the mix level of the diffuser block (see block diagram). The diffuser can be used to smear
transients for an ambient effect.
DIFF TIME - Sets the delay time of the diffuser for the Quad-Tap mode. Longer times will smear
transients over a longer period.
TIME - Sets the delay time of the tap.
TEMPO - Locks the delay time to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120 bpm
and the tempo is set to a quarter note (1/4) then the time will be 500 ms (one echo per beat). To
ignore the global tempo set the tempo control to NONE.
LEVEL - Sets the volume level of the tap.
FEEDBACK - Sets the amount of delay feedback. This controls how many repeats are heard. The
total of all feedbacks must add up to 100% or less.
PAN - Controls the placement of the echoes in the stereo image. Note that this is different than the
BAL control on the MIX page which controls the balance of the mixed sound. This control only
effects the wet signal.
56
The Effects
DETUNE - Sets the amount of pitch detune for the delay line for the Plex Detune and Plex Shift
types.
DIRECTION - Sets direction of the pitch shifter. Reverse can be used for atmospheric textures.
SPLICE LEN - Sets the amount of overlap in the audio snippets. A low setting will make the echoes
more discrete whereas a high setting will tend to smear the echoes.
SHIFT - Sets the amount of pitch shift for the delay line for the Plex Shift type.
FREQ - Sets the center frequency of the delay line output filter.
Q - Sets the ‘Q’ of the delay line output filter. Higher values result in narrower bandwidth. The
Axe-Fx uses a constant power algorithm so higher Q’s increase the gain of the filter. As such, use
caution as overloads could result with some program material.
DIFF TIME - When using the Quad-Tap mode this sets the length of the diffuser as a percentage of
the maximum.
DUCKER ATTEN - Sets the attenuation depth of the ducker. A setting of 20 dB, for example, will
decrease the echo level by 20 dB when the input level is above the threshold. Set to 0 dB to defeat
the ducker.
DUCKER THRESH - Sets the trigger threshold of the ducker. If the input signal exceeds this value
the delayed signal will be attenuated by an amount equal to that set with the DUCKER ATTEN
control.
DUCKER REL TIME - Sets the rate at which the ducker releases the attenuation when the input
signal falls below the threshold.
LFO RATE - Controls the frequency of the Low Frequency Oscillator (LFO). Use low settings with
higher depths for slow moving sounds. Increase the rate for vibrato effects. Set fully CCW to sync
the LFO to the Global LFO1 oscillator.
LFO TEMPO - Locks the rate to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120 bpm and
the tempo is set to a quarter note (1/4) then the LFO rate will be 2 Hz (120 bpm / 60 seconds = 2).
To ignore the global tempo set the tempo control to NONE.
LFO DEPTH - Sets the maximum delay variation. Higher depths increase the amount of detuning.
Usually the rate and depth settings should be varied inversely, i.e. if you increase the rate decrease
the depth however some unique sounds can be obtained using high rates and depths.
FDBK SEND - Sets the feedback send tap for the Quad-Series type.
FDBK RET - Sets the feedback return tap for the Quad-Series type.
57
The Effects
Ten Tap Delay (Ultra Only)
The Ten Tap Delay is a special kind of delay that allows you to precisely control the repeats. It is
implemented essentially as 10 delays in series. You can control the exact number of repeats, up to
10, along with the decay, level and panning.
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 delay time per tap.
DELAY TEMPO - Sets the delay tempo per tap. This overrides the delay time parameter.
NUMBER OF TAPS - Sets the exact number of repeats.
DECAY - Sets how rapidly the repeats decay. A value of zero will have no decay and all repeats
will be at the same volume.
SHUFFLE - Sets the amount of time offset for the odd taps to give a shuffle feel to the repeats.
SPREAD - In stereo mode sets the spread of the repeats. At maximum the left channel is panned
full left and the right channel full right.
RATIO - Sets the ratio of the left delay time to the right in stereo mode.
PAN SHAPE - Controls the shape of the panning as a function of tap number. The repeats can
slowly move from one side to the other (increasing / decreasing) stay constant, or move back and
forth (sine).
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-right set the PAN SHAPE to
SINE and the PAN ALPHA to maximum.
LOW CUT - Sets the cutoff point of the highpass filter. Higher values reduce the amount of low
frequencies per repeat.
HIGH CUT - Sets the cutoff point of the lowpass filter. Higher values reduce the amount of high
frequencies per repeat.
TAPn LEVEL - Sets the relative level of the repeat.
Rhythm Tap Delay (Ultra Only)
The Rhythm Tap Delay uses basically the same algorithm as the Ten Tap Delay but allows you to
enter the exact rhythm of the repeats. You can enter the rhythm either manually or by tapping the
rhythm in with the ENTER button.
The parameters for the Rhythm Tap Delay include most of the Ten Tap Delay parameters listed
above plus the following:
58
The Effects
FEEDBACK - Sets the feedback level from the last 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.
LEARN - Sets this to <TAP ENTER> to enter the rhythm pattern learn mode. You can then tap the
desired rhythm in with the ENTER button. When finished set to <DONE>. If the ENTER button is
not pressed after several seconds the unit will automatically terminate the learn mode.
TAPn TIME - Sets the time of the tap relative to the previous tap. If Quantize is set this will read
out in multiples of the note duration. For example, if Quantize is set to 1/16th, this controls the delay
time between the previous tap and the selected tap in multiples of a sixteenth note.
Diffusor (Ultra Only)
The Diffusor is comprised of four two-second diffusers in series. A diffuser smears transients and
can be used as a type of reverb for creating interesting ambience effects.
Parameters
MASTER TIME - Scales all the delay times. Attach a controller to this for real-time control of the
delay times.
MASTER FEEDBACK - Scales all the feedback amounts. You can attach a controller to this.
TIME n - Sets the delay time each diffuser.
TEMPO n - Locks the time to the global tempo. For example, if the global tempo is 120 bpm and
the tempo is set to a quarter note (1/4) then the time will be 500 ms (one echo per beat). To ignore
the global tempo set the tempo control to NONE.
FEEDBACK n - Sets the feedback level for each diffuser. For maximum diffusion set to 100%.
MegaTap Delay (Ultra Only)
The Axe-Fx Ultra 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 delay patterns or as a “density
increaser” for use before reverberant effects.
Parameters
INPUT GAIN - Sets the input level to the effect. Attach this to an expression pedal or controller to
produce swell effects.
MASTER LEVEL - Controls the overall level of all the delay taps.
TIME - Sets the delay time of the last tap. The echoes will be distributed between zero and this time.
59
The Effects
NUMBER OF TAPS - Sets the number of taps (repeats) on the delay line.
TIME SHAPE - Sets the spacing of the delays as a function of tap number. This along with the TIME
ALPHA parameter can be used to control the tap spacing.
TIME ALPHA - Sets the spacing of the delays as a function of tap number. This controls the rate at
which the spacing changes.
AMPLITUDE SHAPE - Sets the amplitude shape of the taps as a function of tap number.
AMPLITUDE ALPHA - Sets the amplitude of the taps as a function of tap number. This parameter
controls the rate at which the amplitudes change with tap number.
PAN SHAPE - Sets the pan shape of the taps as a function of tap number.
PAN ALPHA - Sets the panning of the taps as a function of tap number. This parameter controls the
rate at which the pans change with tap number.
TIME RANDOMIZE - Controls how much the tap spacing is randomized.
Reverb
Aside from distortion no effect is probably more important to the electric guitar than reverb. From
almost the instant that amplifiers were created, guitarists yearned to be able to duplicate the sound
of their amps in a hall or large room. Early reverb simulators incorporated springs or large metal
plates. Most fine recording studios had their own large rooms dedicated to providing reverb. A
speaker and microphone were placed in the room and the reverberated sound was recorded.
Digital processing excels at simulating reverberation and the Axe-Fx has one of the finest reverbs
you've likely heard. A proprietary bandpass comb-filter algorithm provides extremely dense and
smooth reverbs with no graininess or metallic qualities. The Axe-Fx provides six basic reverb types:
Room, Hall, Chamber, Plate, Spring and Vintage.
60
The Effects
The Room reverb type simulates an actual room. It is the type to use when you want the most
natural, realistic reverb. Also great on vocals and percussion.
The Hall reverb type is 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.
The Chamber reverb type simulates the sound of large, boxy chamber. It is useful when you want
a bright, resonant reverb sound.
The Plate type simulates the sound of a vintage reverb plate. These are large metal plates suspended
in a frame. An acoustic signal is launched into the plate and pickups record the sound that is
produced as it bounces around inside the metal. Plate reverbs are characterized by their smooth yet
bright sound and were popular in the 70's and 80's especially for vocals. The Axe-Fx Plate
simulation captures the "shiny" sound of a plate reverb but without all the complicated setup.
The Spring Type is an idealized spring reverb emulation. It is more natural sounding than a real
spring reverb and suitable for more types of program material.
The Vintage Type is a true spring reverb emulation. It has the “boing” and “chirp” of a spring reverb
but doesn’t crash when someone trips over it.
The Axe-Fx Reverb edit menu has three pages. The basic page has the most commonly used of the
parameters below. The mix page is the standard mixer. The advanced page allows for more in-depth
editing and contains all the adjustable parameters (except for the mixer parameters).
Parameters
TYPE - Selects the reverb type. The are six basic types with three variations for each type, small,
medium, and large. Each type sets the parameters below to a preset value. You can override the
parameter values afterward but if you then change the type the values will be reset to the default
values for that type.
TIME - Sets the reverb decay time. This is the amount of time for the reverb to vanish beyond the
point of perception. This is 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).
SIZE - Sets the size of the spring, room, hall etc. This controls the length of time it takes for an echo
to bounce between the walls. Increasing this increases the echo time and also increases the delay
before the reverb starts. Small values smooth out the reverb, very small values can be used to obtain
a metallic sound. Large values can make the reverb more grainy as the time between the individual
repeats increases. Also, as the size is increased the reverb will become somewhat darker as the high
frequencies are absorbed more.
This control is important in that it actually sets the size of the room, hall, etc. that is simulated by
the algorithm. If you want the reverb to sound like a huge concert hall then best results will be
obtained by increasing this value. Of course there are no rules and you can set the size small and the
time high to obtain some interesting effects.
61
The Effects
INLVL - Sets input level to the reverb. Primarily for use with a controller to control the reverb and
allow the reverb to continue to sound. Set to 100% normally. Attach a controller to vary the reverb
level without disturbing the mix.
LOCUT - Decreases the low-frequency content of the wet signal
HICUT - Decreases the high-frequency content of the wet signal
COLOR - Sets the color of the reverb. Higher values simulate less high-frequency wall absorption
and result in a brighter reverb. Lower values increase the high-frequency wall absorption and result
in a darker reverb tail.
INPUT DIFFUSION (Ultra Only) - Controls how much initial diffusion there is in the reverb tail.
Low values cause the tail to start off sparse, high values cause the tail to start off dense.
DIFFUSION TIME (Ultra Only) - 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 density builds. Low values cause the
discrete echoes to be heard for a longer time. High values cause the echo density to build rapidly.
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 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
using the target 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.
EARLY DELAY - This controls the relationship between the early reflections and the reverb tail.
This allows a +/- 50% change in the early reflections initial delay. The size control automatically
sets the time between the early reflections and the tail. You can use this control to vary that time.
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 comprise the reverb. This modulation helps fill out the soundstage
and makes the reverb sound fuller. The modulation is best used on pitched instruments. For
62
The Effects
percussive instruments (i.e. 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.
NOTE: The modulation depth defaults to zero. To use the modulation you must enter the advanced
parameter page and set the depth and rate as desired.
MOD RATE - This parameter controls the rate of modulation of the reverb tail.
Amp Simulator
Without distortion the electric guitar probably wouldn't have had nearly the impact it has had on
popular music. The Axe-Fx contains multiple distortions based on emulations of various amplifiers.
As mentioned earlier the Axe-Fx is not a modeler however these emulations provide sonic
characteristics very similar to the amplifier they are emulating.
The Axe-Fx distortion is based on a proprietary dual-stage non-linearity generator. There are two
basic stages: preamplifier and power amplifier. The preamplifier stage emulates the distortion
generated by classic tube preamplifiers. The power amplifier stage emulates the type of distortion
generated by a tube power amplifier using our proprietary Dynamic Response Technology™.
Full control over all parameters is naturally afforded allowing precise tailoring of this all-important
block to your particular sonic tastes. Read the following carefully as the distortion block in the AxeFx is very sophisticated and a complete understanding will allow you to get the most from it. Also
it is important to understand the role of the Cabinet Simulator in the overall sound. The cabinet
contributes to the sound of a preset at least as much the amplifier type. If you’re not getting the exact
sound you’re looking for try a different cabinet simulation. Of course there are no “rules” so there’s
nothing preventing you from using a 10” blues cabinet with a high-gain amp simulation.
Experimentation can lead to some unique and useful sounds.
Parameters
GLBL - The Global Amplifier selector is a Fractal Audio exclusive. This unique parameter allows
assigning up to ten “global amplifiers” that are stored in non-volatile memory. Whenever a global
amplifier is selected the parameters for the amp block are loaded from memory. If a parameter is
changed and the preset is then stored, the parameters are written back to memory. Any other presets
that then use the same global amplifier will reflect those changes.
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The Effects
You can use this to store your most used amp types. For example, if you use, say, Plexi for most of
your crunch rhythm presets you can select Global Amplifier 1 and then set the type to Plexi. Dial
in your tone and save the preset. Now in any other preset you want to use those settings simply set
the Global Amplifier to ‘1’. If you find you want a little more treble you can turn the treble up and
all presets that use Global Amp 1 will now reflect that change. It’s like having a 10-channel MIDI
preamp built in.
TYPE - Selects the amplifier simulation. The simulations are based on classic and modern amps as
well as some hybrids and completely original types that we concocted. The following types are
available:
• Tube Pre - A completely neutral, low-gain tube pre-amp simulation. Useful for warming up
vocals and other instruments.
• Jazz - Based on a Japanese solid-state amp with built-in chorus. With essentially no tone
shaping this amp has a warm, midrange-thick sound that is good for jazz and fingerstyle. With
the Axe-Fx’s powerful tone controls you can tweak this type to get shimmering rhythm tones
as well.
• Brownface - Based on a classic American 40-watt tube amp with built-in vibrato. Great for
gutsy blues, this type breaks up nicely, especially when the Master is cranked. The original had
no Mid or Presence so set these to ‘0’ for classic tone.
• 59 Bassguy - A low-to-medium gain sound great for blues. Based on a classic bass amplifier
with four 10” speakers, it didn’t work so well for bass but guitar players quickly discovered it
made a great blues amp. Try a treble booster in front for screaming blues work a la Albert
Collins or Albert King.
• Deluxe Verb - Based on the classic 1965 “Blackface” 1x12 combo amplifier. This amp
features two 6V6 power tubes and has a great chimey tone. Turn the Drive and Master up and
the amp starts to get a nice overdriven breakup.
• Double Verb - Based on a popular, 100-watt American tube amp with two 12” speakers. This
simulation captures the Normal Channel. Very similar to the Brownface model but a little more
mellow. The tone-stack is also slightly different giving it just a bit different voicing.
• Class A - A medium-gain emulation based on an early British tube amplifier. This type does
not have the high-frequency emphasis like the American types and therefore has a darker sound.
Try a treble boost in front for a snarling British “opera-rock” sound. This amp is notable in that
it has no negative feedback around the power-amp and hence has a gritty character and less
high-frequency response.
• Top Boost - Based on the “Top Boost Mod” version of the Class A. The public yearned for
a brighter amp and the designers responded by adding a treble boost circuit. At first this circuit
was a retrofit but then included as standard. Our simulation captures the boosted high-frequency
response and slightly reduced bass response of the original.
• Plexi 1- Based on a classic British amp, the Plexi is great for crunchy rhythm work. The
original was basically a copy of the 4x10 bass amp (see Blues type above) that guitar players
adopted but with EL34 output tubes and other British components. Despite being essentially a
copy it had a unique voice all its own. It has somewhat low preamp gain and works best with
the Master and Drive both set fairly high.
• Brit 800 - The successor to the Plexi type was the vaunted 800 series lead amplifier. Many
80’s rock hits were born using this amp and we’ve captured its tone and put it into a neat little
package. This amp had EL34 output tubes, some treble peaking on the input and a little more
64
The Effects
gain than the Plexi. Like the Plexi type it likes having the Master cranked. At low Master
settings the amp can be brittle but bring the Master up and the true tone of this beast comes out.
Try it with any of the 4x12 cabinet types for classic rock and metal tones. Try a drive block in
front for more snarl.
• Brit 900 - The successor to the 800 series was the 900 series. This amp had basically the same
power amp but a new preamp with more tone shaping, more gain, and a solid-state clipping
circuit that gave it a raspier sound. This amp was designed to get more of its distortion from the
preamp than the earlier models but you can still keep the drive low and turn up the Master for
more power amp distortion.
• Brown - Based on a modified British style head with plenty of gain and lots of mids and highs.
This type captures the sound of Eddie’s early work. Crank the Master and bring the drive up
until you reach sonic nirvana.
• Boutique 1 - A medium-gain, thick, yet crisp, sound with a fair amount of power amp
breakup. Based on a now-defunct amplifier that was renowned for its liquid tone and endless
sustain. This amp had very unique tone controls and as a result a distinctive voice with a belllike quality. The preamp gain is fairly low so crank the Master to get that gutsy crunch. Good
for rhythm work in a sparse situation where fullness of tone is required.
• Boutique 2 - Same as Boutique 1 but with more gain and a bit more high-frequency emphasis.
The lead version of Boutique 1.
• HiPower I- A medium-gain, full sound based on a famous “High Wattage” amp. These amps
had a unique tone-stack and industrial quality output transformers with tremendous frequency
response. Chimey with a bit of power amp breakup. Plug in your Tele and crank out some Baba
O'Reilly.
• HiPower II- Like HiPower I but using the “Brilliant” channel.
• USA Clean - A somewhat neutral clean sound that can pushed into gentle clipping. Based on
a classic California amp’s clean channel this type has a full tone with a gentle midrange dip.
The power amp is punchy and clean but can be driven into light distortion if desired. Sounds
best with the drive turned up fairly high.
• USA Rhy 1- Crunchy California rhythm sound. Effective for solo use too with the gain turned
up.
• USA Rhy 2 - Similar to USA Rhy 1 but with the “mid-boost” engaged. This effectively
removes the midrange dip from the tone stack and gives a more focused sound and a bit more
gain.
• USA Lead 1- A tight, focused, hi-gain sound great for fusion and rock leads. Based on a
modern Californian lead amp that set the standard for hi-gain lead tones. With the tone-stack
before the preamp tubes this type has a more liquid response than the British types where the
tone-stack is after the preamp. For the classic California lead sound turn the drive up and back
of the Master a bit so that most of the distortion is coming from the preamp.
• USA Lead 2 - Similar to USA Lead I but with the “treble shift” engaged. This shifts the
response of the treble control lower and gives a slightly different character to the tone. There is
also a “treble peaker” on the input stage which slightly boosts the high frequencies giving this
type a little more “cut”.
• Recto 1- Based on a diamond-plated monster that redefined hard rock and “nu-metal” this
type is characterized by a big bottom and some top-end sizzle. The tone-stack location is after
the preamp which is quite a departure from the earlier Californian amplifiers.
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The Effects
• Recto 2 - Similar to Recto I but with a slightly different input frequency shaping circuit.
• Solo 100 - Based on a high-gain hot-rod with a chrome chassis, this amp is noted for its
snarling lead sound. Also great for aggressive rhythm work, this type “chugs” nicely without
getting muddy. Pair it with one of the 4x12 cabinet simulations for modern rock tones.
• Spec. OD 1 - Based on a coveted but rare lead head that was made famous by Larry Carlton
and others. Another amp with a very strange tone-stack, this amp has a singing voice and is
great for modern blues/fusion work. This is the clean channel.
• Spec. OD 2 - The overdrive channel of the above.
• Euro 1 - Based on a German high-gain amp, these amps pay homage to the British amps but
with lots more gain and more high-frequency emphasis. This type simulates the overdrive
channel with the boost and “structure” switches off.
• Euro 2 - As above but with the boost and structure switches on. This one has lots of gain and
plenty of low-end chunk along with a crispy top-end. Great for modern metal.
• UK GC30 - Based on a great British amp introduced in the 90’s this amp is a strange marriage
of a USA style pre-distortion tone-stack, British voicing and a Class A power amp. Best for
blues and lower-gain rock leads, has nice sustain qualities. Can get muddy at high drive levels,
decrease the bass to compensate.
• Buttery - Based on an 18-watt amp that gained notoriety during the late 90’s this type is a
low-gain amp that relies mostly on power amplifier distortion. Try a drive in front for smooth
lead sounds.
• Metal - A custom type similar to a British type but with more gain for more grind. This
simulation features quite a bit of high-frequency emphasis along with a modified British tonestack. Capable of searing rhythm and lead tones.
• Big Hair - Spandex, studded wrist bands, pyrotechnics and your Axe-Fx are all you'll need to
relive the 80's metal scene. This custom type has a unique voicing and tone-stack that
emphasizes mid frequencies without getting muddy. Now plug in and shred!
• Hellbeast - A radical custom type with an unconventional tone-stack.
• Supertweed - Like a vintage Tweed amplifier on steroids.
• Fusion - A smooth, thick tone good for fusion/blues solo work.
• FAS Clean - Combines the best features of the Blackface and the USA Clean into a hybrid
clean tone that’s great for a variety of uses.
• FAS Crunch - A hybrid British/USA crunch sound.
• FAS Lead 1 - A neutral high gain lead with a tight midrange.
• FAS Lead 2 - More gain and more sizzle.
• FAS Modern - A high gain hybrid tone that’s equally suited to modern rhythm and lead work.
• JR Blues- Based on a modern all-tube combo amp with two EL84 output tubes and a single
12” speaker. This amplifier has become an instant classic because of its gutsy tone at
manageable volumes.
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The Effects
• Brit Pre - Based on a rack-mount preamplifier version of the Brit 900. The preamp gained
notoriety for its crunchy tone and was made popular by ZZ Top.
• Recto New - Based on the modern version of the Recto 1 and Recto 2 amps. Some minor
circuit changes made this version slightly more aggressive than the originals.
• Energyball- Based on a very high-gain German amplifier. Lots of bass, great for aggressive,
drop-tuned riff work.
• HAD ODS 1- Based on a very rare amp used by the likes of Larry Carlton and Robben Ford.
• Wrecker 1- Based on another very rare and expensive amp designed by Ken Fischer.
• Brit JM45- Based on a legendary British Blues amplifier. This amp was actually a copy of the
American “bass” amp that many guitar players were using but with different output tubes and
transformer. Made famous by Eric Clapton and others.
• Das Metall- Based on a high-gain, boutique German amplifier famous for its aggressive
sound.
• Plexi 2 - Similar to Plexi 1 but with a different “bright cap” value and different transformer
model. Lower gain and more “vintage” sounding.
• SV Bass - Based on a popular tube bass amp.
• CA3+ Rhy - Based on a boutique rackmount preamp made by Bob Bradshaw. This models
Channel 2.
• CA3+ LD - Based on a boutique rackmount preamp made by Bob Bradshaw. This models
Channel 3.
• Eggie R20 - Based on a popular “rebellious” 20W amplifier head.
• USA IIC+ 1 - Based on an early model of the USA type famous for its smooth overdrive sound.
This model is with the pull bright off.
• USA IIC+ 2 - Based on an early model of the USA type famous for its smooth overdrive sound.
This model is with the pull bright on.
• Fryette D60L - Based on Fryette Amplification D60 in the “Less” mode.
• Fryette D60M - Based on Fryette Amplification D60 in the “More” mode.
• Mr. Z 38 SR - Based on a boutique amp popular with country and roots players.
• Euro Uber - Based on a high-gain German amplifier.
• PV 5105 - Based on a popular amplifier designed with the help of EVH.
• Solo 99 Cln, Rhy, Ld - All three channels of a famous rack preamp.
• Corncob R100- Based on a boutique British amplifier.
• CarolAnn OD2 - Based on a the vaunted OD2 from CarolAnn Amplifiers. Designed by the
highly respected Alan Philips.
• Citrus RV50 - Based on a 50 watt British amplifier with reverb and covered in orange Tolex.
67
The Effects
BRIGHT - Many amplifiers contain a “treble peaker” on the volume control. Some amplifiers have
a “bright switch” that can be used to engage or disengage the circuit. On some amps this switch is
built in to the volume control as a “pull on” switch or as a separate dedicated switch. On others the
circuit is hard-wired.
The Axe-Fx amp types default to a particular state for the bright switch. If the amp had a hard-wired
treble peaker the default state is on. If the amp had no circuit at all the default state is off. You many
override this state by selecting the TREBLE control and pressing ENTER. This will toggle the state
of the switch. The text “BRT” will appear under the control when the bright circuit is active.
If the original amp did not have a treble peaker circuit, the bright switch uses circuit values most
suited to an amp of that type. On some amps the effect may be subtle, on others, quite pronounced.
DRIVE - Sets the preamp drive. Higher settings equal more preamp distortion. On some amplifier
types the drive control has a treble peaker (like the original). When the drive is turned down the low
frequencies are attenuated more than the high. As the drive is turned up the low frequencies are
increased more.
Many amplifiers have this feature and it can be heard as the drive is varied. You can use this to
achieve the exact sound you’re looking for when a drive block feeds the amp. Adjust the drive
control of the amp to achieve the desired amount of input treble peaking and then adjust the drive
and the output level of the drive block to achieve the desired amount of distortion.
The Drive control has 50 dB of range. At a setting of ‘0’ the gain is 50 dB below the maximum gain.
BOOST - Selecting the TYPE control and pressing ENTER toggles the input boost. Use this to add
more gain to the amp simulation.
BASS, MID, TREB - Tone controls. The active tone controls in the Axe-Fx have up to twice the
range of a typical amplifier. When a tone control is set to the 12:00 position (0.0 dB) it is equivalent
to the simulated amplifiers control at 12:00. However, the boost cut range of the control is greater,
+/- 12 dB, whereas a typical amplifier may have only +/- 6 dB or less. This allows you to get sounds,
like heavily scooped mids or boosted treble, that normally wouldn't be possible.
Also, the active tone controls do not interact like a typical amplifier. So when you turn the treble
control the midrange and bass are not affected. This makes dialing in a certain tone easier and
quicker than with a typical tone stack. This does not affect the voicing of the simulation in that the
frequency response of the original circuit is always achieved however the exact setting of the
controls will be somewhat different. In general the Axe-Fx tone controls are more sensitive than a
typical amp and require less extreme settings to achieve the same sound. For example, if you set the
treble to full on a British hi-gain amp, the corresponding setting on the Axe-Fx is about 5.0 dB. The
advantage of this philosophy is ease of use plus more flexibility and wider range of tones. Adjust
the tone controls slowly and listen carefully. A 1.0 dB adjustment can make a marked difference in
the tone.
For those who prefer the classic passive tone controls that are found on most tube amps, the AxeFx has the option of using this style of tone control as well. Not just a crude shelving filter
approximation, the Axe-Fx passive tone stack simulation exactly replicates the frequency and phase
response of the classic passive tone stack. When using the passive tone controls the display will read
out in traditional 0-10 style as opposed to decibel readings.
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The Effects
Some of the amps simulated do not have the full complement of tone controls. In those cases setting
the control to 12:00 replicates the original. For example, some early amps did not have Mid
controls. To capture the original faithfully simply set the control to ‘0’. Adjust the control as desired
to achieve new and different tones.
Be careful in setting the tone controls as extreme settings along with high gain can cause pickup
squealing or excessive noise. This is especially true with the active controls.
PRES - Power amp presence control. This control boosts (or cuts) the upper frequencies from the
power amp simulator by varying the negative feedback frequency response. Increasing this can help
your sound “cut” through a heavy mix. This control actually has a greater range than a standard
presence control. Values greater than zero behave like a typical tube amp, values less than zero
actually reduce the high-frequency response even further.
If the Damping is set to zero this control is converted to a high-shelf equalizer at the output of the
power amp. This allows you to control the high-frequency response of the power amp for types that
don’t have any negative feedback.
DEEP - Power amp deep control. This control boosts the low frequencies from the power amp
simulation by varying the negative feedback frequency response. Defaults to an appropriate value
when the amp type is selected but may be overridden by the user.
DAMP - 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. Each amp type defaults to a its own
value but you may override the default value with this control. For example, a Top Boost amp has
no negative feedback and as a result a unique tonal character. You can override the default damping
and dial in some negative feedback to give the power amp a more “American” sound but still retain
the preamp voicing.
SAG - This controls how dynamic the power amp simulation behaves. Higher settings simulate
higher power supply impedance and thus more droop in the tube plate voltages which leads to a
more compressed feel.
This control interacts with the Master Volume control in that at low Master Volume settings this
control will have little effect as 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.
NOTE: Turning this control fully CCW defeats the power amp simulation. If you are using the Axe-Fx
into an external tube power amp and cabinet you may want to set this control to zero to defeat the power
amp simulation.
MSTR VOL - This, the Master Volume, is a very important control. It determines the drive to the
power amp simulator. A higher setting increases the distortion contributed by the power amp
simulator. As the Master is turned up the entire character of the amp will change, just like the real
thing. The tone controls will have less influence on the sound, and the sound will “bloom” more and
be more touch sensitive.
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The Effects
By carefully balancing Drive and Master Volume you can achieve the tone you desire. Experiment
with the two to achieve your ultimate tone. Sometimes the tone you desire may be mostly preamp
based and as such turn the Drive up and the Master down. Other times the tone may be mostly from
the power amp so crank the Master up and back off the Drive. Amps with negative feedback
(damping greater than zero) tend to have a crunchier power amp distortion and this can even get
raspy if driven too hard. This is due to the negative feedback attempting to linearize the power amp.
The resulting transfer function is harsher at clipping than an amp with little or no feedback. You can
experiment with the damping control and master volume to achieve the desired power amp
distortion timbre.
If the Master Volume is set very high best results are usually achieved by reducing the drive control.
Try setting the Master around 9 or so and then slowly bringing the drive up until the desired tone is
achieved. At high Master settings less drive is usually required, especially for high-gain types.
Amp types that are designed for preamp distortion typically sound better with lower values of this
control and too high of a value can make the tone muddy or excessively noisy. This includes the
USA Lead types, SOLO 100 and others. Lower gain amps such as Plexi, Brownface, and others can
benefit from higher settings as this can reduce the harshness of the amp.
If the power amp simulation is off (Sag at zero) this control then becomes a simple level control.
This control has 40 dB of range. A setting of ‘5’ is therefore 20 dB less than maximum.
Advanced Parameters
The advanced parameters allow you to further craft your tone by adjusting various parameters that
affect the sound and response of the amp block.
INPUT SELECT - This parameter selects which input(s) are fed to the block.
WARMTH - Adjusts the warmth of the output transformer. Higher values simulate “older”
transformers which tend to sound warmer. This is a dynamic response and the harder the power amp
is driven the more noticeable the effect.
THUMP - Adjusts the “thump” of the output transformer. Higher values simulate more interaction
which increases the low frequency enhancement. This is a dynamic response and the harder the
power amp is driven the more noticeable the effect.
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 lowpass 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 types are
characterized by fairly heavy filtering after the preamp stage but with this control you can reduce
the amount of filtering and achieve a brighter tone. Conversely you can reduce this value to achieve
a darker or less brittle tone.
If using the Axe-Fx along with a separate tube power amp you may wish to experiment with this
control to achieve the desired tone as the power amp may have its own high-frequency filtering.
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The Effects
BRIGHT CAP - This control sets the value of the “bright cap” across the virtual drive control.
Increasing this will make the preamp brighter and vice-versa. The Bright Switch must be engaged
for the effect to be audible.
TONESTACK TYPE - This control allows you to select the type of tone stack used in the
simulation. The tone stack will default to either ACTIVE or PASSIVE depending upon the DEFAULT
TONESTK parameter in the GLOBAL menu. When set to ACTIVE, the tone stack is a semiparametric EQ with +/- 12 dB of range for each control. When set to PASSIVE, the tone stack is an
exact digital recreation of the classic tone stack used in the amplifier being simulated. You can also
choose from a wide selection of other tone stacks if desired. Fifteen classic passive tone stacks are
available to choose from. So you can dial up a Plexi model and change the tone stack to a Blackface
or Top Boost, etc. yielding hybrid amp sounds.
TONESTACK FREQ - This control allows you to alter the center frequency of the tone controls.
You can use this to change the character of the preamp. This parameter defaults to a value for each
type but can be overridden if desired. When using the passive tone stack this control also works.
However, if you change the tone stack type to anything other than the default, the frequency reading
will not necessarily be correct although the control will still alter the frequency.
TONE LOCATION - This control allows you to alter the location of the tone stack. “Pre” places the
tone stack at the input to the amp, “post” places the stack between the preamp and power amp.
“End” places the tone stack after the power amp (which is physically impossible with a real
amplifier). This parameter defaults to a value for each type but can be overridden if desired.
XFORMER LF - This control allows you to alter the lower cutoff frequency of the “output
transformer”. Increase this value to simulate an old, under-designed transformer as was common in
some vintage amps. This parameter defaults to a value for each type but can be overridden if
desired.
XFORMER HF - This control allows you to alter the upper cutoff frequency of the “output
transformer”. Decrease this value to simulate narrow bandwidth transformers as were common in
some vintage amps. This parameter defaults to a value for each type but can be overridden if
desired.
LF RESONANCE - This controls the effective output impedance of the power amp simulation in the
bass region. Higher values increase the impedance which increases the interaction of the virtual
speaker with the power amp. Higher values give a fuller, looser sound, while low values can be used
to achieve a more focused sound.
HF RESONANCE - This controls the effective output impedance of the power amp simulation in the
treble region. Higher values increase the impedance which increases the interaction of the virtual
speaker with the power amp. Higher values give a brighter, chimier sound.
PWR 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.
PRESENCE FREQ - This control allows you to alter the center frequency of the presence control.
This parameter defaults to a value for each type but can be overridden if desired.
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The Effects
B+ CAPACITANCE - This control allows you to alter the amount of filtering capacitance on the
power amp virtual power supply. Higher values will make the response stiffer and “faster”. Lower
values will give a looser feel. Use along with the SAG control to fine-tune the response.
SPKR RES FREQ - This control allows you to alter the resonant frequency of the speaker cabinet.
STABILIZER - Under certain extreme settings of DEPTH and DAMP the simulation may go
unstable. This would happen in a real amplifier as well. The STABILIZER switch alters the “grid
capacitor” values to ensure stability.
LEVEL, BAL, BYP MODE - These are the standard output mixer controls.
Cabinet Simulator
The Axe-Fx contains 20 cabinet simulations. These simulations recreate the tonal characteristics of
a variety of different speaker and cabinet configurations. More than just simple filters, the cabinet
simulator actually captures the subtle frequency response variations inherent in a real guitar
speaker.
The simulator is true stereo allowing different speaker/mic combinations for each channel. This
allows setting up a dual amp configuration easily. Simply run AMP1 with its balance control fully
left and AMP2 with its balance control fully right. Sum their outputs into a cabinet block and set
the left cabinet and mic types for AMP1 and the right cabinet and mic types for AMP2.
The cab simulator can operate in three different modes: Mono HiRes, Mono LoRes and Stereo. In
Mono HiRes the processing is monophonic and the resolution of the simulation is at the maximum.
In Mono LoRes the processing is monophonic and the resolution is half that of HiRes. This mode
can be used to reduce processing load. In Stereo mode the processing is full stereo and the resolution
is half that of the HiRes mode.
Parameters
MODE - Selects the resolution and stereo/mono mode (see above).
TYPE L/R - Selects the cabinet simulation. The following simulations are available:
• 1x6 Oval - 6x9 oval (like in an automobile) speaker used in some early amplifiers. Match this
up with a Plexi model and crank out some Zep.
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The Effects
• 1x8 Tweed - Single 8" speaker. Good match for the Blues distortion. Really thin and cutting
for roots blues leads.
• 1x10 Gold - Single 10" Vintage speaker.
• 1x10 Blue - Single 10" Alnico "Blue" speaker.
• 1x12 Tweed - Based on the original 12" speaker used in the early "Tweed" amplifiers.
• 1x12 Black - Based on the single 12" speaker used in the "Blackfaced" tube amps.
• 1x12 Brit - Based on the single 12" speaker used in the British tube amps.
• 1x12 E12L - Based on a single American, high-powered 12" speaker that was popular as an
aftermarket replacement.
• 1x12 Studio - Based on a single 12" speaker found in the “Studio” model of a famous
Californian amp maker.
• 1x12 Open - Based on a single 12" speaker in an open-back cabinet.
• 1x12 Blues - Based on the single 12” speaker used in a popular “Pro” tube amp.
• 1x15 Blues - Based on the single 15” speaker used in a popular blues amp.
• 2x12 Black - Based on the dual 12" speaker cabinet used in the "Blackfaced" tube amps.
• 2x12 Brit - Based on the dual 12" speaker cabinet used in the British tube amps.
• 2x12 Cust - A "custom" dual 12" speaker cabinet emulation based loosely on the evaluation
of various "Boutique" amplifiers.
• 2x12 Tweed - Based on the sound of two classic American 12” speakers in a tweed covered
cabinet.
• 2x12 Boutiq - Based on a boutique 2x12 speaker cabinet from amp maker Mark Sampson.
• 2x12 Gold - Captured by audio engineer and Axe-Fx user Jay Mitchell. This is a “far-field”
model based on the famous “gold” speakers made in England.
• 2x12 G12H - Another far-field response from Jay Mitchell this time using popular British 12”
drivers.
• 2x12 Blue- Based on the sound of two classic American 12” speakers with blue labels.
• 4x10 Bass - Based on the venerable "Tweed Bassman" amplifier.
• 4x12 Recto1 - Matches up nicely with the Amp Simulation of the same name for that chunky,
mid-scooped sound.
• 4x12 Recto2 - Another version of the Recto1 cab model.
• 4x12 Brit - Based on the sound of modern British cabinets equipped with “vintage” midpower drivers.
• 4x12 20w - Captures the essence of the early British 4x12 speaker cabinets with their lowpower drivers and unique response.
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The Effects
• 4x12 25w - Based on the sound of the British 4x12 cabinets prevalent in the 1970's.
• 4x12 75w - Based on the sound of the British 4x12 cabinets prevalent in the 1980's. A good
match for the Metal or Hellbeast Amp Simulations.
• 4x12 30W - Based on the sound of a newer 4x12 cabinet with reissue 30W speakers.
• 4x12 Green- Based on a 4x12 cabinet with legendary “Greenback” speakers.
• 4x12 V30 - A “vintage” 4x12 30W cabinet model.
• 4x12 T75 - Captured by guitarist, engineer and Axe-Fx user Jocke Skog of the band
Clawfinger. This is a great model of a classic British 4x12 with 75W speakers.
• 4x12 German - Based on the “Energyball” cabinet.
• 4x12 Metal - Another model captured by Jocke Skog of the band Clawfinger. This is a
German cabinet loaded with vintage 30W speakers.
• 4x12 JM2000 - Based on a modern 4x12 cabinet from the famous British amp maker.
• 4x12 South - Based on a 4x12 cabinet from the famous amp maker from Mississippi USA.
• 4x12 Cali- Based on the sound of a classic American 4x12.
• 4x10 Alum- Based on the sound of a bass cabinet with aluminum drivers.
• 8x10 Bass- Based on the “SV Bass” cabinet.
• 1x15 Bass- Based on a famous 1x15 bass amp cabinet.
• USER n- Selects one of the user IR slots (see below).
MIC L/R - Selects the microphone simulation type. There are eight different types based on classic
microphones that are popular for micing guitar cabinets.
LINK - When ON, the right channel speaker and mic type change when the left channel type is
changed allowing for quick evaluation of the various types. You can still override the right channel
types if desired.
LEVEL L/R - Sets the output level for the left and right speaker/mic.
PAN L/R - Sets the output panning of the speaker/mic. Each speaker/mic combo can be panned in
the stereo field. By default they are panned 25% from full left/right. Adjust this control to obtain
the desired amount of separation.
DRIVE - Sets the input drive level. This can be used to simulate speaker break-up.
User Cabinets
The Axe-Fx has the ability to import cabinet impulse responses (IR’s) and use them instead of the
internal models. The responses may be loaded into the Axe-Fx non-volatile memory via a MIDI
utility. Once loaded, you can select which IR to use with the TYPE control.
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The Effects
To load a cabinet into a user location select the desired user location with the type parameter for the
Cabinet 1 block. Then send the sysex file from your computer. This will automatically load the IR
into the selected location. Alternatively you can use the Axe-Fx editor which automates the process.
Drive
The drive block replicates the effect of classic “stomp boxes”. They range from sublime to intense.
Use caution when putting a drive before a high-gain amp as excessive noise and squealing may
occur. Drives work best before low and medium gain amps.
Parameters
TYPE - Selects the type of drive effect. The fuzz types are based on a hard-clipping distortion and
give a raspy sound. The overdrive (OD) types are based on a cold-cathode tube model and give a
warm, mellow overdrive tone. The boost types don’t distort much unless the drive is set quite high
and are primarily tone-shaping and overdrive devices. The distortion types (dist) are based on a
variety of tube and solid-state models and give classic distortion tones. The following types are
available:
• Rat Dist - Based on a high-gain, raspy fuzz good for searing lead work.
• PI Fuzz - Based on a classic fuzz in a large silver and black enclosure.
• Tube OD - Based on a classic overdrive that contained an actual 12AX& vacuum tube.
• Super OD - Based on a Japanese overdrive that itself was a derivative of the T808 OD.
• Treb Boost - A bright, trebly sound good for overdriving medium gain amps. Particularly
effective on darker amps like Class A. This type has a LOT of treble boost and can easily cause
pickup squeal when used with a high-gain amp type.
• Mid Boost - A custom mid-boost overdrive.
• T808 OD - A screaming distortion sound good for overdriving low gain amps. Based on the
legendary Japanese pedal used by many famous artists.
• Fat Rat - A modified version of the Rat Dist. A bit fuller and smoother.
• T808 MOD - Based on a “modified” T808 OD type. This type captures the most popular mods
done to the famed Japanese distortion pedal. Sounds great as a clean boost in front of a low gain
amp with the drive turned down and the level turned up.
• Octave Dist - The Octave Distortion uses a full-wave rectifier to recreate the classic octave
effect. Best results are usually obtained when playing around the 12th fret.
• Plus Dist - Based on a famous overdrive/distortion pedal from New York.
• Hard Fuzz - As the name suggests, Hard Fuzz is a hard-clipping fuzz with little, if any,
frequency shaping. Good for nasty, vintage-style stuff.
• FET Boost - A gentle, smooth clipping booster. No frequency shaping. Good for overdriving
“classic” amp types.
• Tape Dist- Simulates the clipping of an over-driven reel-to-reel tape deck.
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The Effects
• Full OD - Based on a popular boutique version of the T808 OD.
• Blues OD - Based on a pedal built by a famous British amp manufacturer. A medium-gain
pedal with a good bit of treble boost, great for blues leads.
• Shred Dist - Another pedal built by the famous British amp manufacturer, this high-gain
pedal is voiced for modern metal sounds.
• M-Zone Dist - A Japanese distortion pedal popular for extremely high-gain metal distortion.
• Bender Fuzz- Based on the classic Tonebender circuit.
DRIVE - Sets the input drive level.
TONE - Controls the tone of the effect.
LEVEL - Sets the output level of the block.
MIX - Controls the ratio of dry to wet.
LOW CUT - Controls the frequency of the input highpass filter.
HIGH CUT - Controls the frequency of the output lowpass filter.
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 high-frequency 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 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 to high or too low with certain clipper types can render the block inaudible.
BYP MODE - Selects the bypass mode of the block.
Pitch Shifter
The Axe-Fx Pitch Shifter has six basic modes of operation: Detune, Fixed Harmony, Intelligent
Harmony, Whammy, Octave Divider, and Crystals. The mode is selected on the TYPE page.
The Axe-Fx Ultra Pitch Shifter has ten modes of operation: Detune, Fixed Harmony, Intelligent
Harmony, Classic Whammy, Octave Divider, Crystals, Advanced Whammy, Arpeggiator, Custom
Shifter and Auto Pitch. The mode is selected with the TYPE parameter on the first page.
The Pitch Shifter can use one of two different algorithms when in the Fixed Harmony or Whammy
modes. The algorithm is selected using the PITCH TRACK control. When set to ON, the Pitch
Shifter will track the pitch of the incoming note and adjust various internal parameters accordingly.
Setting PITCH TRACK to OFF ignores the pitch data and uses fixed parameter values. 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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The Effects
The Pitch Shifter also allows you to select the source of the pitch data that the shifter will use when
making pitch calculations. The global detector is unaffected by routings and is usually the best
choice for single note usage. The integrated detector uses the signal input to the pitch block
including any feedback within the block. This can enhance pitch stability when using feedback,
whether internally, using the FEEDBACK parameters, or using the feedback blocks. When using
the global detector and pitch feedback the pitched notes may sound a bit off if you stop playing since
there will be no signal to determine pitch from. By using the internal detector the pitch block is
always obtaining pitch information even when you stop playing.
The integrated detector may not work as well, however, if the data input to the block is distorted in
amplitude or time (i.e. reverb, chorus, etc.).
The PITCH SOURCE parameter has three settings:
GLOBAL - In this mode the pitch information comes from the global pitch detector connected
directly to the main inputs. This detector is optimized for speed and accuracy when playing single
notes.
LOCAL MONO - In this mode the pitch information comes from the integrated pitch detector
connected to the input of the pitch block. In this mode the detector is optimized for speed and
accuracy when playing single notes. By using the input of the block as the data source this detector
can continue to track pitch if you are using feedback or a delayed signal into the block and stop
playing.
LOCAL POLY (Ultra Only) - In this mode the pitch information comes from the integrated pitch
detector connected to the input of the pitch block. In this mode the detector is optimized for
polyphonic sources, i.e. chords. The pitch tracking is necessarily slower with more latency but is
more stable when playing multiple notes. Due to the inexact definition of pitch for chords, the pitch
detector may have difficulty finding pitch on complex chord types. Simple chords, diads and triads,
work best.
Common Parameters
The first menu page has several common parameters for the pitch block.
TYPE - Sets the sub-algorithm to use.
INGAIN - Sets the input level to the block. You can use this to control the amount of signal input to
the pitch shifters. Often times this is attached to a modifier to allow swell-type effects.
PITCH SOURCE - Selects the source of the pitch information. See description above.
Detune
The Detune mode creates two voices that are slightly detuned from the input. The amount of
detuning is adjustable between -50 and +50 cents. This mode is useful for creating double-tracked
sounds or chorus-like effects.
VOICEn DETUNE - Sets the detune amount for each voice. Attaching an LFO to these can be used
to create chorus effects.
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The Effects
VOICEn LEVEL - Sets the volume level of the voice.
VOICEn PAN - Sets the panning of the voice.
VOICEn DELAY - Sets the delay time of the voice.
Fixed Harmony
The Fixed Harmony mode creates two voices that are fixed intervals from the input.
MASTER PITCH - Multiplies the pitch shift by this amount. For example, if the shift is set to 12
semitones and the Master Pitch is 50%, the shift amount will be six semitiones.
MASTER DELAY - Multiplies the delay values by this amount.
MASTER FEEDBACK - Multiplies the feedback values by this amount.
MASTER PAN - Multiplies the pan values by this amount.
MASTER LEVEL - Multiplies the level values by this amount.
VOICE1,2 DETUNE - Sets the detune amount of the voice in cents. The range is +/- 50 cents. You
can attach a controller to the detunes by pressing enter.
VOICE1,2 SHIFT - Sets the shift amount of the voice in half-steps. The range of shift is +/- 12 half-
steps.
VOICE1,2 LEVEL - Sets the volume level of the voice.
VOICE1,2 PAN - Sets the panning of the voice.
VOICE1,2 DELAY - Sets the delay time of the voice as a function of the tempo.
VOICE1,2 DLYTEMPO - Locks the delay time to the global tempo. For example, if the global
tempo is 120 bpm and the 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.
VOICE1,2 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 translated pitch again and again.
PITCH TRACK - Setting this to ON instructs the pitch shifter to track the pitch of the input. For
single note work this provides improved results. For chordal work this should be set to OFF as the
pitch tracker obviously cannot determine the pitch of simultaneous tones.
TRACK ADJUST - This control allows fine-tuning the pitch shifter “splice length”. Higher values
increase latency but may improve sound quality of the shifted note, especially as the shift amount
increases.
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The Effects
Intelligent Harmony
The Intelligent Harmony mode creates two voices that track the note you’re playing and remain
within the key.
MASTER DELAY - Multiplies the delay values by this amount.
MASTER PAN - Multiplies the pan values by this amount.
MASTER LEVEL - Multiplies the level values by this amount.
VOICE1,2 DETUNE - Sets the detune amount of the voice in cents. The range is +/- 50 cents. You
can attach a controller to the detunes by pressing enter.
KEY - Sets the key that the harmony will be in.
SCALE - Sets the type of scale (or scale mode) that the harmony will use. Examples are Ionian
(major), Aeolian (minor), Whole Tone, etc. Set to CUSTOM to use custom scale tones (see below).
TRACK MODE - Sets mode in which the harmony will track the input. SMOOTH allows the
harmony note to follow bends and vibrato in the input. STEPPED locks the harmony to the nearest
chromatic tone.
TRACKING - Controls the tracking of the pitch shifter. Adjust for best sound. Higher values tend
to sound better for higher shifts and vice-versa.
GLIDE TIME - Sets the rate at which the harmony moves from the existing pitch to a new pitch.
VOICE1,2 HARMONY - Sets the scale degree the voice will sound.
VOICE1,2 DELAY - Sets the delay time of the voice in milliseconds.
VOICE1,2 DLYTEMPO - Locks the delay time to the global tempo. For example, if the global
tempo is 120 bpm and the 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 NOTES - Sets the number of notes when using a custom scale. Custom scales can have
between four and eight notes.
TONIC - Sets the reference note for entering the custom scale. This is not a stored parameter and
only serves to aid in defining the custom scale. Setting this to “C” allows defining your custom scale
with C as the tonic. The actual key that the harmony will be in is set using the KEY parameter.
NOTEn - These are the notes of your custom scale relative to the tonic set by TONIC. Set these to
define the scale degrees.
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The Effects
Classic Whammy
The Whammy mode allows control of the pitch shift via a control knob (normally you would
connect this knob to a controller such as an expression pedal). There are two sub-modes: WhammyUp and Whammy-Down. The difference between the sub-modes is the direction of the pitch shift.
In Whammy-Up mode the pitch increases as the control is increased. In Whammy-Down mode the
pitch decreases as the control in increased.
MODE - Selects the Whammy mode. Various amounts of shift are possible up to two octaves up
and down.
CONTROL - Adjusts the output pitch. Attach to a controller for dynamic control of the pitch.
PITCH TRACK - Setting this to ON instructs the pitch shifter to track the pitch of the input. For
single note work this provides improved results. For chordal work this should be set to off as the
pitch tracker obviously cannot determine the pitch of simultaneous tones.
TRACK ADJ - This control allows fine-tuning the pitch shifter “splice length”. For large shifts this
control can help improve the quality of the shifted note.
Octave Divider
The Octave Divider creates two new notes one and two octaves below the input. This effect
simulates the classic 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.
LVL1,2 - Sets the volume level of the octaves.
PAN1,2 - Sets the panning of the octaves.
MIX - Sets the mix between the effect and input.
Crystals
The Crystals pitch shifter is similar to the Fixed Harmony but optimized for special effects. It
features much longer possible “splice” times allowing for interesting delay effects. It also features
a reverse switch and extensive tempo options.
MASTER PITCH - Multiplies the pitch shift by this amount. For example, if the shift is set to 12
semitones and the Master Pitch is 50%, the shift amount will be six semitiones.
MASTER FEEDBACK - Multiplies the feedback values by this amount.
VOICE1,2 DETUNE - Sets the detune amount of the voice in cents. The range of +/- 50 cents. You
can attach a controller to the detunes by pressing enter.
VOICE1,2 SHIFT - Sets the shift amount of the voice in half-steps. The range of shift is +/- 12 half-
steps.
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The Effects
VOICE1,2 LEVEL - Sets the volume level of the voice.
VOICE1,2 PAN - Sets the panning of the voice.
VOICE1,2 DELAY - Sets the delay time of the voice in milliseconds.
VOICE1,2 DLYTEMPO - Locks the delay time to the global tempo. For example, if the global
tempo is 120 bpm and the 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.
VOICE1,2 SPLICE - Sets the splice time of the voice in milliseconds.
VOICE1,2 SPLTEMPO - Locks the splice time to the global tempo. For example, if the global
tempo is 120 bpm and the tempo is set to a quarter note (1/4) then the time will be 500 ms (one echo
per beat). To ignore the global tempo set the tempo control to NONE.
VOICE1,2 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 translated pitch again and again.
DIRECTION - Sets the “direction” of the splice playback. Try setting to REVERSE for spacey
effects.
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. PINGPONG sends each voice to the opposite delay line.
HICUT FREQ - Sets the high-frequency rolloff of the pitched signal using a 12 dB / octave filter.
This can be used to adjust the timbre of the voices.
CROSSFADE - Sets the amount of overlap in the audio snippets. A low setting will make the
echoes more discrete whereas a high setting will tend to smear the echoes.
Advanced Whammy (Ultra Only)
The Advanced Whammy mode is identical to the Classic Whammy mode except that the start and
stop shift amounts are controllable in semitone increments. This allows you to set the heel down to
any amount of shift and the toe down to any amount of shift rather than being constrained to preprogrammed intervals.
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 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 when the
CTRL knob is in the maximum position.
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The Effects
Arpeggiator (Ultra Only)
The Arpeggiator is a 16-stage sequencer that controls the pitch shift. Complex arpeggio patterns can
be created just by playing a single note.
Parameters
SCALE - Sets the type of scale (or scale mode) that the harmony will use. 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.
RUN - When set to ON, the sequence starts. When set to OFF the sequence stops and resets to the
beginning. Attach the envelope follower controller to this to re-trigger the sequence on each new
note.
TEMPO - Sets the tempo at which the sequencer steps.
GLIDE TIME - Sets the rate at which the harmony moves from the existing pitch to a new pitch.
MASTER LEVEL - Controls the overall level of all the sequence stages
AMPLITUDE SHAPE - Controls the shape of the output level as a function of the sequencer stage.
AMPLITUDE ALPHA - Controls the rate of change of the output level as a function of the
sequencer stage.
MASTER PAN - Controls the overall level of all the sequence stages
PAN SHAPE - Controls the shape of the output panning as a function of the sequencer stage.
PAN ALPHA - Controls the rate of change of the panning as a function of the sequencer stage.
STAGE n SHIFT - Sets the amount of pitch shift for the selected stage of the sequence.
Custom Shifter (Ultra Only)
The Custom Shifter is identical to the Intelligent Harmony except that it uses the custom shift tables
stored in the global memory.
Parameters
All parameters are the same as the Intelligent Harmony mode with the following exceptions:
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The Effects
VOICE n SCALE - Selects the custom Global Scale to use. See the Global section for more details
on Global Scales.
Auto Pitch (Ultra Only)
The Auto Pitch mode corrects the pitch of the input. This can be used to correct vocal performances
or as a special effect.
All parameters for the Auto Pitch mode are described under the Intelligent Harmony mode.
Synth (Ultra Only)
The Axe-Fx Ultra contains two dual-voice monophonic synthesizers. These are classic oscillatorbased synthesizers and can be used to do synth leads with your guitar or other instrument input.
Alternatively the can be controlled manually.
Parameters
Each synth has two voices with the following parameters:
TYPE - Selects the type of waveform. Sine and triangle are the smoothest while the square and ramp
types are more “buzzy”.
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 of
the input with the frequency 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. The oscillator can be detuned +/- 50 cents.
DUTY - When using the TRIANGLE or SQUARE waveforms this parameter controls the duty cycle
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 of the post-oscillator filter.
ATTACK - Sets the attack time of the envelope follower on the input.
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The Effects
Ring Modulator (Ultra Only)
The Ring Modulator is a double-sideband modulator that can be used to create harmonically
unrelated tones from the input. The Ring Modulator differs from the classic effect in that the
frequency can be controlled by the pitch of the input.
Parameters
FREQ - Sets the frequency of the oscillator.
FMULT - Sets the frequency multiplier for the oscillator. The actual oscillator frequency is the
FREQ value times 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 times the FMULT value.
LOCUT - Sets the cutoff frequency of a lowpass filter on the output.
Stereo Enhancer
The Stereo Enhancer is used to increase the apparent stereo separation between the left and right
outputs. When used judiciously it can make a stereo track appear “fuller” and “wider”.
The Enhancer block also contains individual left and right pan controls. These controls 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 reduce the stereo
separation or as general stereo manipulation tools.
WIDTH - Sets the phase difference between the left and right channels. Adjust until the desired
effect is achieved. Certain frequencies may cancel each other at various settings, experiment with
this to achieve the desired enhancement and frequency response.
INVERT - Allows inversion of the left or right channel (or both) if desired. Use in conjunction with
the width control to adjust frequency and apparent widening.
PANL - Controls the panning of the left output signal.
PANR - Controls the panning of the right output signal.
BAL - Sometimes the effect will cause a shift in the apparent localization of the instrument. The
balance control may be used to compensate for this.
Effects Loop / Aux. Out
The Axe-Fx has a fully routable effects loop which allows you to use outboard processors anywhere
in the signal chain. The effects loop can also be used as an auxiliary output for live stage monitoring
through an amplifier and cabinet or as a general purpose output. To use the effects loop as an
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The Effects
auxiliary output the output of the block is simply not connected. Alternatively you can place the
effects loop directly in the signal chain but not connect anything to the INPUT2 / EFF. RETURN
jack. The Axe-Fx senses if the effects return is not used and then just uses the loop as an output.
To use the effects loop as an on-stage monitor with a guitar amp (or head and cabinet) place the loop
BEFORE any cabinet simulation blocks. For example, if you want to send a fully processed, stereo
feed to the P.A. system and monitor your sound on-stage you would set up a chain like the
following:
AMP - CHORUS - DELAY - REVERB - EFFECTS LOOP - CABINET
Note that the effects loop is before the cabinet. The main output would then be fully processed
including the cabinet simulation. If you were to send this signal to an amp/cabinet combination it
would probably be excessively muddy.
If your on-stage monitoring equipment is full-range then you can place the effects loop after the
cabinet or simply use the un-balanced OUTPUT1 jacks for monitoring and connect the balanced
jacks to the P.A.
Mixer
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The Effects
The Mixer is a simple linear mixer that mixes the four rows feeding the block according to the gains
for each row. The Mixer allows you to fine-tune levels, or cross-fade between effects. This is
especially useful for cross-fading amps or delays.
Each gain control corresponds to a row in the routing matrix. To adjust, for example, the gain for
the effect in row two preceding this block, simply adjust GAIN2.
The BAL controls allow you to select the balance of left and right from each row summed into the
outputs. This is useful if you have differing signals in the left and right channels on a row. For
example, you can use set up a routing where two amp blocks feed a single cabinet block with one
amp panned hard left, the other panned hard right. You can now fade between the two amp blocks
using the BAL control. Attach the BAL control to a modifier for real-time control.
The controls are linear (as opposed to logarithmic like most other gain controls). This makes setting
up cross-fades much easier.
Volume / Pan
The Volume / Pan block is a simple level and pan control block. It allows you to insert level and
pan controls at any point in the routing matrix. It is a great way to control the level into or out of
effects using an expression pedal.
The Volume / Pan block also contains individual left and right pan controls. These controls 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 reduce the stereo
separation or as general stereo manipulation tools.
VOLUME - Sets the volume level out of the block.
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 A
selects a logarithmic taper where the attenuation is 10 dB when the volume control is at 5.00. LOG
B selects a log taper where the attenuation is 20 dB at midscale.
PANL - Controls the panning of the left output signal.
PANR - Controls the panning of the right output signal.
BYP MODE - Sets the bypass mode: Thru passes the input to the output when bypassed. Mute mutes
the output when bypassed. You can attach a modifier to this to control the bypass state using a
controller. When the modifier is less than 50% the block will be bypassed.
Feedback Send / Return
The Feedback Send and Return blocks allow you to feedback sound from one point in the routing
to any other point.
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The Effects
The Send block has no parameters, while the Return block has a basic mixer. Adjust the MIX control
to set the ratio of direct and feedback signals.
Best results are achieved when feeding back a pure delayed signal. If any direct signal is fed back
the resulting loop will usually be unstable and/or sound strange due to phase cancellation.
Warning: Use caution with the Feedback blocks as you can easily program an unstable loop and cause
internal clipping of the signal and/or very high sound levels which can damage your hearing. Always
start with the MIX control on zero and slowly bring it up. If you start to hear squealing or other signs of
instability return the MIX control to zero and analyze your routing for possible causes of instability.
87
Controllers and Modifiers
Controllers and Modifiers
The Axe-Fx allows control over many of the various effect parameters. In essence a controller is
like a robot that turns a knob for you. There are two basic types of controllers: internal and external.
Internal controllers are automatic controllers that are generated by the Axe-Fx based on various
parameters and conditions. External controllers are those generated by a MIDI device or a pedal for
example. A modifier is a transform from the value generated by the controller to a value given to
the parameter. Modifiers allow you to change the direction a parameter moves, smooth the response
and select which controller is attached to the parameter. A modifier tells the robot how to move the
knob.
Controllers
The Axe-Fx controllers are internal and external sources that generate control information. This
information can then be used to vary a parameter in real-time. Internal controllers automatically
generate control information, external controllers generate control information based on input from
the user, typically from the movement of an expression pedal. The control information is given to
a modifier which in turn varies the desired parameter.
Tempo
The most fundamental internal controller is the tempo controller. The tempo controller is special in
that it cannot be directly connected to a parameter but many "rate" or "time" parameters can be set
to depend on it. To use the tempo controller simply set the TEMPO parameter of the effect to the
desired note duration. To set the Tempo either turn the knob or tap the desired tempo in using the
TEMPO button. Tempo can also be tapped in using a pedal or MIDI CC message.
There are two tempo constructs in the Axe-Fx. The System Tempo is the tempo currently being
used. The Global Tempo is the last entered tempo. Entering a new tempo automatically updates the
System Tempo and sets the Global Tempo to equal the System Tempo. The current System Tempo
is saved with a preset during a preset save operation.
Presets can either set the System Tempo to the tempo value stored in the preset, which is the tempo
at the time the preset was saved, or the Global Tempo. This is done using the TEMPO TO USE
parameter described below.
TEMPO - Sets the current System Tempo. Whenever a tempo is entered, whether via this control
or by tapping or by MIDI clock, the System and Global Tempos are set to this value. The Global
Tempo is not affected by the tempo stored with a preset when the preset is recalled and remains in
effect.
TEMPO TO USE - Selects what tempo to use when recalling the preset. Selecting PRESET tells the
Axe-Fx to set the System Tempo to the tempo stored with the preset. Selecting GLOBAL tells the
unit to use the last entered tempo. If the value is PRESET the current tempo will change to the tempo
stored with the preset, but the Global Tempo will remain at the last entered tempo. Recalling a
preset with this value set to GLOBAL will load the Global Tempo into the System Tempo.
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Controllers and Modifiers
AUTO DELAY - When set to ON, any delay blocks that are bypassed will become active whenever
a new tempo is input. This allows recalling a preset with a delay block bypassed and then
automatically activating the delay when tapping in a new tempo.
LFO's
The Axe-Fx contains two Low Frequency Oscillators (LFO's) that can generate various lowfrequency waveforms for use in parameter modulation. The controls for each are identical.
TYPE - Sets the waveform type.
RATE - Sets the frequency of the LFO.
DEPTH - Sets the amplitude of the LFO.
DUTY CYCLE - For all waveforms except sine this allows you to vary the shape of the wave.
OUTB PHASE - Sets the phase of the secondary output (Output B). At maximum the secondary
output is out of phase with the primary output (Output A).
TEMPO - Locks the LFO frequency to the current tempo. This overrides the RATE control.
ADSR's
The Axe-Fx contains two Attack-Decay-Sustain-Release (ADSR) generators. These can be use to
generate sequences that can then be used to control parameters. The graph shows the relative shape
of the ADSR curve as its parameters are adjusted.
MODE - Selects the trigger mode of the ADSR:
• ONCE: The sequence plays when the threshold is exceeded.
• LOOP: The sequence repeats as long as the signal is above the threshold.
• SUSTAIN: The sequence stays at the sustain level until the signal drops below the threshold.
The remainder of the sequence is then played.
RETRIG - When Retrig is on, sequences will reset to the beginning whenever the threshold is
crossed from below to above.
ATTACK - The attack or rise-time of the sequence. This is the first line in the graph.
DECAY - The time to go from the peak level to the sustain level. The second line in the graph.
SUSTAIN - The time the sequence remains at the sustain level. The third, flat, line.
LEVEL - The sustain level in percent of full-scale.
RELEASE - The time to go from the sustain level to zero. The last line in the graph.
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Controllers and Modifiers
THRSHLD - The threshold level in dB. When the signal crosses this value the sequence is triggered.
Sequencer
The Sequencer generates a sequence of values. When the last stage of the sequence is reached the
sequence starts over. The Sequencer can be used to generate repetitive patterns in time with the beat
of the song.
RATE - Sets the rate at which the sequence is stepped through. A rate of 1 Hz will cause the
sequencer to step through the stages at a rate of one stage per second.
TEMPO - Locks the rate to the global tempo. Set to none for manual control of rate, set to the
desired time signature to lock the rate to the current tempo.
RUN - Starts and stops the sequencer. You can attach a modifier to this to control the sequencer via
any of the available controllers.
STAGES - Sets the number of stages in the sequence. For example, if STAGES is 3, the sequencer
will step through the stages as 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, etc.
STAGEn - Sets the value at that stage of the sequence.
NOTE: The Sequencer features a random sequence generator. When in the Sequencer menu pressing
ENTER will load a random set of values into the stages.
Envelope
The Envelope follower follows the envelope of the input signal. The harder you play the greater the
value out of the Envelope follower. The Envelope follower makes possible dynamic parameter
control such as ducking delay or touch-wah.
THRESH - The threshold level in dB. When the input signal is greater than this value the output of
the follower will track the envelope of the input with a rate set by the attack time. If less than this
value the output will decay 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 - When using long attack times this can be used to compensate for the lower output level
from the follower.
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Controllers and Modifiers
Pitch
The Axe-Fx has a fast built-in Pitch detector. It is completely automatic and has no adjustable
parameters. The value from the pitch detector is proportional to the frequency of the note played,
higher notes give a higher value. If multiple notes are played at once the pitch detector will attempt
to find the lowest pitch but may not be able to lock onto it. The pitch detector works best with single
notes.
External Controllers
The Axe-Fx supports up to eight external controllers. You can attach these to the PEDAL1,2 jacks
or to any MIDI Continuous Controller (see I/O setup).
Modifiers
Modifiers act as a “middleman” between the control information from a controller and a parameter.
The data from a controller is manipulated by a modifier and then used to vary an effect parameter.
The Axe-Fx contains 16 modifiers. In its simplest form a modifier simply passes the data unaltered
from a controller to a parameter. For example, an LFO can be used to directly control the panning
of an effect output. Often times, though, you will want to manipulate the data from a controller. A
modifier allows you to change the response of a parameter to a given controller.
The first step in using a modifier is attaching it to the desired effect parameter that you wish to
control. To attach a parameter to a controller the parameter must controllable. Controllable
parameters are indicated by a symbol beneath the knob:
Indicates Parameter
is Controllable
When the parameter is attached to a controller via a modifier the indicator has a line through it
indicating that it is attached. For parameters in a list, the symbol above appears to the right of the
parameter in the list.
To attach a controller to a parameter, select the parameter with the navigation buttons then press
ENTER. This brings up the MODIFIER menu.
Once the menu is brought up the modifier must be attached to a source controller. This is the control
information source that will be used to vary the parameter. You can choose any of the internal or
external controllers as a source (or none to remove the modifier). Once the modifier is attached to
a source you can vary the response curve and the damping to suit the desired response.
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Controllers and Modifiers
To remove a modifier select the parameter with the navigation buttons and press ENTER. Set the
source to none then press exit. This will remove the modifier and restore the parameter’s value to
its stored value.
Parameters
SOURCE - This is the controller that will be used to control the parameter. There are a variety of
different sources available:
• NONE - Controller is detached.
• LFO1A/B - Selects the 'A' or 'B' output of LFO1 (see above).
• LFO2A/B - Selects the 'A' or 'B' output of LFO2 (see above).
• ADSR1/2 - Selects ADSR1/2.
• SEQNCR - Selects the Sequencer.
• ENVLPE - Selects the Envelope follower.
• PITCH - Selects the Pitch detector.
• EXTRNx - Selects an External Controller. There are eight external controllers. These can be
assigned to the pedal inputs or to MIDI continuous controllers (see I/O Setup).
START - Sets the start point for the transform.
MID - Sets the mid point for the transform.
END - Sets the end point for the transform.
SLOPE - Sets the shape of the curve.
SCALE - Sets the scale factor for the transform. The resulting curve is multiplied by this value.
OFFSET - Sets the offset. The curve is offset by this value
The SCALE and OFFSET parameters allow the user to position the modifier and control the
excursion once an initial transfer function is set with the other parameters. For simple linear transfer
functions, one need only use the SCALE and OFFSET parameters, leaving the others at their default
values.
DAMPING - Sets how fast the output changes with the input. To slow the response rate increase the
damping. This can be used to "de-click" a controller that changes rapidly.
This is especially useful when using controllers that have step-change responses such as an LFO
with a square-wave or sawtooth waveform or the sequencer. In these examples the value of the
controller jumps from one value to another instantly. If these values are then connected to a
parameter, that parameter will jump from one value to another instantly as well. Many times this
can cause an audible click or pop, especially if the parameter is a volume level or frequency
parameter. By increasing the damping, the parameter will not jump to the new value but slide to the
new value at a rate dictated by the damping value.
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Controllers and Modifiers
The damping control is also effective when using an expression pedal to control a parameter. It can
help smooth out the pedals response, especially if the pedal’s potentiometer has gotten “scratchy”.
AUTO ENG - When set to ON, automatically engages the target effect block when activity occurs
on the connected controller. This can be used, for example, to engage a Wah just by moving an
expression pedal.
PC RST - Reset on Program Change. When set to ON the controlled parameter will be reset to the
value stored with the preset upon loading the preset. The controller will not control the parameter
until it has changed from its previous value. The value stored with the preset is always displayed in
the value box.
For example, if you want to control the Volume of the Volume block using an expression pedal but
want it to be initialized to 10.0 on preset change regardless of the postion of your pedal set PC RST
to ON. Then set the Volume parameter to 10.0. When the preset is recalled the Volume will be at
10.0. If you move the expression pedal the modifier will then be active and be in control of the
Volume parameter from that point on.
Detaching a Controller
To detach a controller set the source to NONE and press EXIT.
93
Global Parameters
Global Parameters
The Axe-Fx Global Parameters menu is accessed by pressing the GLOBAL menu button. The
Global Parameters allows you to set the overall tone and mix of the Axe-Fx. These settings are
stored independently of the presets and restored at each power-on.
There are five pages: CONFIG, OUT1, OUT2, MIX and SCALES.
The OUT1 and OUT2 pages allow fine tuning of the tone for each of the outputs. Here you can make
adjustments to the basic tone of your Axe-Fx that affects all presets. This comes in handy when
using the Axe-Fx in different environments where the acoustics may vary. Each output has an eightband graphic equalizer and a master level control.
The MIX page allows overall control of the reverb and effects mix. As previously discussed the
Global Mix allows you to vary the reverb and effects mix across all presets. This is useful when
using the Axe-Fx in different environments where the ambience may vary. Note that the effects mix
only affects those effects that have their GLBL MIX control set to ON.
The CONFIG page allows for global configuration of the amp and cabinet simulations as well as
delay spillover control.
POWER AMP - Setting this to BYPASSED defeats the power amp simulation for all presets. This
is useful when you are using the Axe-Fx with a tube amp.
CABINET - Turning the CABINET to BYPASSED bypasses the Cabinet blocks in all presets. Use
this when you are using the Axe-Fx into an amplifier > guitar cabinet setup. This allows using
presets with cabinets in them in varying situations. For direct recording or into a full-range sound
reinforcement system (i.e. PA or home stereo) turn CABINET to ACTIVE (enable the Cabinet
Emulators). If connecting to a guitar amp with integral speakers or a separate amplifier and guitar
cabinet turn CABINET to BYPASSED. This defeats the Cabinet Emulators and presents the fullrange signal to the amplifier/cabinet resulting in the proper tonal response. If this is not done the
high frequencies will be excessively attenuated possibly resulting in a muffled or muddy sound.
DEFAULT TONESTK - This parameter allows you to select the type of tone stack that will be
selected whenever the amplifier type is changed. If set to ACTIVE, the Axe-Fx will select the semiparametric active equalization for the tone controls. If set to PASSIVE, the Axe-Fx will select the
passive tone stack style tone controls. In this mode the tone stack selected is the default tone stack
appropriate for the specific amp type. You can changed the tone stack to a different model or even
back to active using the advanced amp menu.
DELAY SPILL - Setting this to ON disables the clearing of all delay lines during preset change. This
in turn allows delays, reverbs and any other delay based effects to “spillover” to the new preset
Setting this to OFF clears all delay lines and prevents any spillover.
94
Global Parameters
Global Scales (Ultra Only)
The Axe-Fx Ultra has the ability to define up to 32 custom scales. A custom scale is an arbitrary
table of pitch shift values that need not conform to any conventional definition of a scale. Custom
scales can be used to create harmonic counterpoint using the Custom Shifter mode of the Pitch
block or other non-standard harmonic relationships.
To program a custom scale simply choose the desired location number where to store the scale
parameters. Up to 32 scales can be defined.
Next enter the output note for each note in the chromatic scale. For example, if you play a ‘D’ and
want an ‘F’ to sound set the ‘D’ SHIFT parameter value to three semitones. Now whenever you play
a ‘D’ using this custom scale the output will be shifted three semitones resulting in the note ‘F’.
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Tuner
Tuner
Pressing the TUNER button brings up the Axe-Fx tuner display. There are three pages. The first
page is the basic tuner display. The second page allows you to configure the tuner and the third page
allows you to enter custom tuning offsets.
CAL - This sets the reference frequency for the tuner.
MUTE - When set to ON this mutes the sound out of the Axe-Fx when in the tuner menu.
USE OFFSETS - When set to ON the custom temperament offsets entered on the OFFSETS page
are applied to the tuner display.
96
Utilities
Utilities
The Utilities menu consists of the LCD, PRESET, STATUS, RESET and FIRMWARE pages.
LCD
On this page you can adjust the contrast of the LCD.
Preset
Preset Dump
These functions allow you to save presets to a MIDI librarian (or MIDI librarian software on a PC).
Connect MIDI OUT to the MIDI librarian device. To save a preset simply recall the desired preset,
select the function and press ENTER. The preset data is dumped in SysEx format.
To restore a preset from a MIDI librarian connect the device to MIDI IN and send the SysEx data
into the Axe-Fx. The Axe-Fx automatically loads the data into its edit buffer. You can then save the
downloaded data to the location of your choice.
To dump a bank of presets simply select the desired bank to dump and press ENTER. Bank A
contains presets 0 through 127, Bank B contains 128 through 255 and Bank C contains presets 256
- 383. It may take several minutes to dump all the data in a bank. When saving the data to your
librarian device (or PC) be sure to name the saved data to indicate the bank in which the data
originated (i.e. BankA.syx). This will eliminate confusion if the need arises to restore a bank.
It is good practice to back up your presets regularly just as it’s good practice to back up the data on
your computer.
To restore a bank of presets connect the MIDI librarian to MIDI IN and send the SysEx data to the
Axe-Fx. The Axe-Fx automatically recognizes the data as a Bank Dump and loads the data into its
battery backed memory. CAUTION: THIS WILL OVERWRITE ALL DATA IN THE BANK.
Data from one Axe-Fx can be loaded into another Axe-Fx using this same method. Simply connect
the MIDI OUT of the first Axe-Fx to the MIDI IN of the second. A bank from the first unit can
then be loaded into the second unit.
Preset Update
This function allows you to update all presets to the latest protocol. The Axe-Fx can read presets
stored in either the current version or one version prior. When a preset is saved it is saved in the
latest protocol. If you’ve just updated the firmware to a major revision you can convert all your
presets to the latest protocol by using this function.
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Utilities
Status
The STATUS page allows you to monitor the input levels and CPU usage of the Axe-Fx. If
programming a VERY complicated preset you may run out of CPU power. The Axe-Fx has enough
horsepower to run at least 10 effects simultaneously. If the CPU utilization is approaching 90% you
may not be able to add a desired effect to the preset. Naturally some effects use much more power
than others, the amplifiers using the most. The Axe-Fx does not allow the total CPU load to exceed
98% as the unit could then become unresponsive.
The Axe-Fx uses worst-case scenarios in determining whether enough power is left to place an
effect and may not let you place an effect even if seemingly enough power is left. For example the
chorus can use up to 8% of the CPU if set to 8 voices and with controllers attached to all its
parameters. However it normally only uses a few percent. The Axe-Fx assumes the worst case and
checks to see if CPU utilization is less than 98 - 8 = 90%. This is done to prevent overloading the
CPU if the number of voices is increased.
Also, an effect is always running, even if bypassed so the CPU utilization does not change if an
effect is bypassed. If you need more CPU resources check to see if you have any effects bypassed
that you don’t need and, if so, remove them. This will reduce the CPU usage accordingly.
Reset
To reset all the factory parameter in your Axe-Fx select this page and press ENTER. This will reset
the Global parameters, the MIDI configuration, Continuous Controller setup and Pedal
configuration. This will not clear or otherwise alter any preset information.
Firmware
This page allows you to update the firmware of your Axe-Fx. Follow the instructions that
accompany the firmware.
98
Tips and Tricks
Tips and Tricks
Achieving ultimate tone
Ultimate tone is the Holy Grail for guitar players and is a combination of many factors. To help you
achieve the sound you are looking for follow these guidelines:
Choose the amplifier type carefully
The amp types all have their own unique voicing and certain types are better suited to particular
tones than others. Also experiment with the power amp parameters. The Depth, Sag and Master
controls can make subtle changes to the tone of an amp that really bring out its character.
Experiment with the Drive
A lower gain amp type can turn into a raging shred machine with a Drive block feeding it. Try
putting a TS DISTORTION type in front of the Plexi amplifier type for example.
Experiment with the Cabinets and Microphones
A different Cabinet type can change the sound of an amp dramatically. Start with L/R cabinets
linked and audition the various cabs and mics. Then unlink the cabs/mics and experiment with
different cab/mic combinations. You can fill out the sound by using different types left/right and
adjusting the panning.
Use the EQ
EQ can make a HUGE difference in sound. Try placing EQ before AND after the amplifier block.
Subtle EQ adjustments can tighten up the sound or increase the depth. The Axe-Fx has a lot of EQ
resources for just this reason. Take advantage of them.
Using Your Axe-Fx with a Guitar Amp
Your Axe-Fx is equally suited for use with a full-range monitoring system or with a standard guitar
amplifier. A few prefacing comments are in order:
From the factory the Axe-Fx is designed to interface to full-range recording or sound reproduction
devices, i.e. studio monitors, sound cards, etc. The Axe-Fx fully simulates the entire audio chain of
a typical guitar rig including the preamp, power amp, effects, speaker cabinet and microphone.
Often times, however, you may wish to connect your Axe-Fx to something other than a full-range
device, i.e. a guitar amp. In this situation be aware that the guitar amp is already providing at least
the speaker cabinet part of the signal chain. If you were to leave the Cabinet Simulation active in
your Axe-Fx then the audio would basically be passing through a speaker cab in effect twice (once
in the Axe-Fx, once in the external cab). This can have a detrimental effect on the sound quality and
usually ends up being muddy as the high-frequencies are excessively attenuated and other
frequencies may be unnaturally emphasized.
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Tips and Tricks
If you are connecting the Axe-Fx to a tube power amp as well, then once again the signal is
effectively passed through a power amp twice (once in the Axe-Fx, once in the external tube amp).
For this reason the Axe-Fx allows you to defeat the power amp simulations and the cabinet
simulations. The power amp simulation can be defeated by turning the SAG control in the Amp
block to zero. The cabinet simulation can be defeated either globally via the Cabinet Bypass switch
(in the GLOBAL MIX menu) or by bypassing or removing the cabinet block from the signal chain.
To use the Axe-Fx with a standard guitar amp the preferred method of connection would be to plug
your guitar into the Axe-Fx and the output of the Axe-Fx into the loop return or power-amp in put
(if so equipped) of your amp. This bypasses the preamp of your guitar amp and uses only the amp’s
power amp and speaker. The Axe-Fx then provides the preamp emulation and tone shaping.
If your amp does not have an effects loop then plug the output of the Axe-Fx into the instrument
input of the amp and turn the amp’s mid control to full and the bass and treble to zero. On most amps
this will actually be a flat response. You can fine tune the tone after, if desired.
If your guitar amp is solid-state then you will probably want to use the full amp simulation abilities
of the Axe-Fx including the power amp simulation. If you are using a tube amp then you already
have a tube power amp and you may want to defeat the power amp simulation. To do this turn the
SAG control in the Amp block to zero.
Since you are running into a guitar speaker (or speakers) turn the Cabinet Simulation off in your
Axe-Fx either by disabling it globally via the GLOBAL menu or by bypassing or removing that
block in a preset.
The Axe-Fx also works great driving a dedicated power amp and separate speaker cabinet As above
you should defeat the Cabinet Simulation (since you are already going to into a cabinet) and if using
a tube power amp you may want to defeat the power amp simulation (using the SAG control).
Using Your Axe-Fx Live
The Axe-Fx is designed with live performance in mind. For the ultimate in portability you could
simply plug your guitar into the Axe-Fx and then plug your Axe-Fx into the P.A. mixing board.
Send some signal to the mains and your monitor and you’ve got great sound with minimum hassle.
A more complicated approach would be to send the fully processed sound to the mixing board but
tap off before the cabinet simulation and send that to a guitar amp or separate power amp and guitar
cabinet. To do this you can use the auxiliary outputs of your Axe-Fx. Simply place the Effects Loop
block as the second to last block in your signal chain and the Cabinet Simulator as the last block.
The signal appearing at the OUTPUT 2 jacks will be perfectly suitable for driving a guitar amp
whereas the signal at the OUTPUT 1 jacks will be perfect for sending to the P.A. system.
100
Tips and Tricks
Computer Editing
The Axe-Fx can be edited using a Java-based software program that runs on PC or Mac computers.
You can hook the Axe-Fx up to your computer via MIDI and alter parameters using your keyboard
and mouse rather than the Axe-Fx front panel. The utility also manages your presets and user
cabinet impulse responses you may have. See the company website, www.fractalaudio.com, for
more information.
Interference
Electric guitars are extremely effective at amplifying more than just the sound of the guitar but also
the electromagnetic fields generated by TV sets, computer monitors, neon lights and illegal taxi
radios. The best defense against these sources of interference is to have a well shielded guitar and
to maximize the distance between the guitar and these sources. If you are working at a computer
consider using an LCD monitor as these do not generate the high-intensity magnetic fields that CRT
monitors do.
Maintenance
Your Axe-Fx was built using the highest quality components available. No routine maintenance is
required. To clean the unit use a mild detergent and water solution. Do not use any abrasives or
harsh chemicals as these can damage the finish of the unit.
If your unit is malfunctioning do not attempt to service it yourself. The Axe-Fx is more like a
computer than a tube amp and has no user serviceable components. TO PREVENT RISK OF
ELECTRICAL SHOCK DO NOT OPEN THE CHASSIS. If you determine that your unit is
malfunctioning please contact the factory to arrange for servicing.
Note: The Axe-Fx contains a small internal cooling fan. This keeps the CPU within proper operating
temperature under extreme ambient temperatures. You may notice a slight whirring noise if you put your
ear close to the unit. This is normal.
101
Warranty Information
Warranty Information
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.
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.
102
Specifications
Specifications
Front Panel Input
Connector:1/4” phone jack, unbalanced.
Impedance:1 Mohm
Max. Input Level:+12 dBu (conditioned for guitar use)
Rear Inputs
Connector:1/4” phone jack, unbalanced.
Impedance:1 Mohm
Max. Input Level:+18 dBu
A/D Conversion
Bit Depth:24 bits
Sample Rate:48 kHz
Dynamic Range:> 105 dB
Frequency Response:20 - 20kHz, +0 / -3 dB
Crosstalk:<-60 dB over full bandwidth
Analog Outputs
Connectors:1/4” phone jack unbalanced, XLR balanced (for main output)
Impedance:100 ohm
Max Output Level:+18 dBu
Dynamic Range:> 105 dB
Frequency Response:20 - 20kHz, +0 / -3 dB
Crosstalk:<-60 dB over full bandwidth
Digital I/O
Connectors:RCA Coaxial Type for S/PDIF I/O, XLR for AES Out
Format:S/PDIF - 24 bit
Sample Rate48 kHz
MIDI Interface
Input Connector:7-pin DIN (pins 6&7 connected to phantom power in jack)
Out/Thru Connectors:5-pin DIN
Pedal Interface
Connectors:1/4” TRS phone jacks
Format:Compatible with expression and momentary or latching pedals
General
103
Specifications
Finish:Powdercoated steel chassis with anodized aluminum faceplate
LCD:128x64 dot matrix graphic display
Dimensions:19” x 3.5” x 12” (483 x 88 x 305 mm)
Weight:10 lbs 4.5 kg)
Input Voltage:100 to 240 VAC, 47 - 63 Hz (universal input)
Power Consumption:< 10 W
Backup Battery Life:> 10 years
Backup Battery Type: CR2450 Lithium
Environmental
Operating Temperature:32 to 122 °F (0 to 50 °C)
Storage Temerature:-22 to 167 °F (-30 to 70 °C)
Humidity:Max. 90% non-condensing
(Specifications subject to change without notice)
104
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