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Where can I find details about the _____ feature in the Axe-Fx?

In addition to the User Manual and Release Notes (RTFRN), the Axe-Fx II Wiki is the best place for details, tips and tricks and features of the Axe-Fx II.  Much of the information is compiled from the Fractal Audio forum, with many contributions from Cliff Chase himself, creator of the Axe-Fx. Forum user Yek created and maintains the Wiki, with help from M@ and SC09. A very helpful section is Yek’s How To’s available here: Another helpful page is this post on the Fractal Audio...

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How do I send my Axe signal to a PA system and to a Guitar Amp and Cab at the same time?

Many people like to have their Axe-Fx tone and effects play through their favorite guitar amp and cab on stage for the “amp in the room” sound as opposed to the “studio recorded” sound that the full-range Axe-Fx signal can produce through a full-range monitor speaker. Additionally, instead of mic’ing their cab as they would with a traditional amp/cab setup, they want to send the full-range Axe-Fx signal to the front-of-house (FOH) mixer for the audience to hear. This can be done by having 2 sets of outputs: one with a cabinet simulation (Cab block) and another without a cabinet simulation (going to the on-stage amp and cab). To do this, you’ll have to place the FX Loop block in all of your presets and use Output 2 to send the non-cab-sim’d signal to your amp and cab. Output 1 will be used for the full-range signal with the cab sim. The Basics First create your full-range setup. This should have a Cab block in the layout. Most presets are created with the Cab block immediately following the Amp block. This is logical, as there is usually nothing in between a physical amp and cab. However, in the Axe-Fx, the Cab block doesn’t need to be placed directly after the Amp block. You can have Shunts (the blank connected spaces) or other blocks like Delay or Reverb placed in...

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How do I send my Axe signal to FOH and on-stage full-range monitors?

The Axe-Fx II has a bunch of outputs that we can use to send to various places, like the PA system, a personal monitor, or any other speaker setup.  There are different ways to do this, and this article focuses on Full-Range systems like PA speakers, Studio monitors or full PA systems (as opposed to a guitar amp head and guitar cab). Out 1 XLR & 1/4″ The simplest way to get the Full Range Axe-Fx signal to the Front-of-House (FOH) mixer and to on-stage full-range monitors is to use both XLR and 1/4″ outputs from Output 1.  Most sound engineers are expecting a 1/4″ jack to go to a DI box, so you can give FOH the 1/4″ outputs and you can use the XLR outputs direct to your powered speakers or power amp.  However you can also give FOH the XLR and use the 1/4″ outputs for your powered speakers if you’d like. With this method, the Output 1 volume knob on the front panel controls both the FOH feed and the on-stage monitors. So using this knob to turn your monitors up when the band “suddenly gets louder after the first song” will send more signal to FOH and possibly clip the FOH mixer, making you sound bad. Of course, you can control your stage volume from controls on your powered speaker or power amp, but sometimes these...

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What is the difference between the Axe-Fx II and the Axe-Fx II XL?

The XL has the same DSP (processing) and amp modeling capabilities as the original Axe-Fx II and the Axe-Fx II Mark II. Most of the differences are rear panel hardware Input/Output (I/O) like a FASLINK port for XLR connection with an MFC-101 Mark III, though there is “expanded memory” which allows a few more types of blocks to have XY functions, more presets to be saved on the unit (768 presets as of 8-4-14, FW 15.04), as well as built-in backup firmware. As of September 2014, the XL has “potential for more instances of effects,” but the feature has not been introduced yet. The Axe-Fx II XL can use presets made on both the Axe-Fx II XL and the Axe-Fx II (original and Mark II). But presets made with the Axe-Fx II XL can NOT be used on the Axe-Fx II (original and Mark II). The Axe-Fx II XL was announced January 27, 2014 and was made available later in March 2014. Notable new features of the XL from the Fractal Audio website are as follows: Built-in FASLINK™ port for connection to MFC-101 Mark III over conventional XLR cables. Dedicated MIDI IN, OUT, and THRU jacks (vs. shared OUT/THRU in the Mark II). Two onboard PEDAL jacks (vs. one in the Mark II). Primary VALUE entry via optical encoder with a lifespan of 1,000,000+ rotations. “Secret Sauce III” instrument input features an even lower noise...

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What is the difference between the Axe-Fx II (Mark I) and the Axe-Fx II Mark II?

The only difference between the 2 models is that the Mark II has an etherCON port for the MFC connection while the original Axe-Fx II has an Ethernet port for the MFC connection. etherCON uses an XLR-type barrel that surrounds the actual RJ-45 connector; this barrel will lock into place just like an XLR cable can, which is much stronger than the tiny plastic tab that secures a normal ethernet cable. Note that you can still use a normal ethernet cable with an etherCON jack on the Axe-Fx II Mark II (or the MFC-101 Mark II and Mark III). However, you cannot use an etherCON cable with a standard ethernet port like on the original Axe-Fx II (or the original...

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Why are my Axe-Fx Clip Lights turning on? What is Clipping?

The Out 1 and Out 2 Clip LEDs indicate internal digital clipping. Basically, your preset is too loud and it is clipping/distorting internally – before it even gets to the Outputs and your next device (mixer, powered speaker, etc.). To fix this, it’s best to reduce the Output Level parameter in your Amp block. If you have no Amp block in your preset, you can reduce the Level parameter in any block or reduce the Main slider in the Output block. You can also reduce the volume of all presets at once by reducing the Gain slider in the Front Panel Global EQ menus, but this is only a quick fix – you should return to the presets that are clipping and reduce their volume individually. Gain-Staging is a very important concept in anything related to audio. You always want to make sure that you set the best signal to noise ratio as well as not having levels too hot that cause clipping or distortion. Analog gear was a bit more forgiving, and sometimes an overdriven signal actually sounded good. In today’s digital world, overdriven signals are absolutely terrible and clipping in a digital domain never sounds good. In this video, I describe clipping and show what it looks and sounds like. I go through a few ways to solve clipping and describe how you may have gotten there...

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Using Axe-Manage for Presets and Cabs in Axe-Edit 3.1.0+

Axe-Edit 3.1.0 added Axe-Manage for Presets and Cabs. This handy function helps you audition Preset and Cabs BEFORE you load them onto the Axe-Fx II itself. Check out this video for more detail. If you are already familiar with Axe-Edit, check out this shorter version focusing on the new...

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Scene Controllers in the Axe-FX II – Basics

Scene Controllers are a new feature introduced for the Axe-FX II in Firmware v12. It’s a great addition because now we can change the parameters within blocks to particular settings when we change scenes, and we can have different settings for each of the 8 scenes. So if I want a Drive setting of 3 in Scene 1, 5 in Scene 2, 1 in Scene 3 and 7.8 in Scene 4, I can now do that! *NOTE* Much of the information on this page applies to all Controllers. So while the focus is on Scene Controllers in the Axe-FX...

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Setting the Input Level – Axe-FX II

In this video, I show how to set the correct Input Level on the Axe-FX II, which is really just setting the optimal signal to noise ratio. It doesn’t affect the gain or tone of your preset unless you have extreme low levels that don’t give enough signal or high levels that constantly clip. If you set the level to 100% and you aren’t making the red clip lights turn on, it’s ok! We don’t want any clipping and whatever level you set that doesn’t make it clip is a good level to create your presets and use the...

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Connecting to PA Gear – Axe-FX II

The Axe-FX II is a very flexible piece of gear because we can use it with almost any type of sound device available – PA speakers, Guitar Amps, headphones, etc. In this video I show how to connect to different types of PA Gear including Powered Speakers, Powered Mixers, All-in-one PA Systems, Headphones, Mixers and more. In the Mixer section, I show how to Gain Stage properly and discuss some common problems that happen on stage. This is another long video, but learning about the different styles of PA gear that I show can prepare you to connect to...

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