FAQ: AX8

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(from the AX8 manual)

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Q: How do I upgrade the firmware of my AX8?
A: Use Fractal-Bot, available here.


Q: Can I load my presets from the Axe-Fx or FX8 into the AX8?
A: No, but you can transfer individual blocks using the editor software for each product.


Q: Why does my AX8 keep changing to the Edit menu of one of my effects?
A: This is normal while AX8-Edit is running. The pause button in the upper left corner of the program is designed to stop this so you can edit the unit from its top panel without interference from the editor.


Q: The effect on/off footswitches seem a little sluggish. Why is that?
A: Because it supports Press-and-Hold functions, the AX8 activates effects on the upstoke of the footswitch instead of the down-stroke. You can change this behavior.


Q: I’m hearing click and pops.
A: Are you clipping the AX8 outputs? Could it be a bad cable in your rig? Excessive CPU usage may also be to blame. Check the STATUS page in the UTILITY menu under SETUP. Is the CPU meter in the mid 90s or higher? If so, you’ve overloaded the current preset. Try removing one block.


Q: Where can I learn more about all the many parameters for all of these effect blocks?
A: We’re currently working on a universal Effect Parameters Guide for all Fractal Audio Systems products. Meanwhile, the Axe-Fx II manual has most of the answers you might need. Find it here.


Q: One my effects has totally stopped working!
A: Relax. When a tweaked effect overloads the CPU, the AX8 will disable one effect block. This block will be quickly blink on the grid and footswitch page, and its Edit Menu will show “DISABLED”. Reduce CPU load and the effect should automatically re-enable itself.


Q: My expression pedal isn’t working. What should I do?
A: Expression pedals need to be calibrated, mapped to a controller, and assigned to a parameter. Are you using a TRS cable? Is it connected to the right jack on the AX8? Is it actually an expression pedal? Did you set up a modifier?


Q: My AX8 won’t start up correctly.
A: One problem that may cause this is a bad preset. To get around this issue, reboot the AX8, but as soon as the “Splash Screen” is displayed, tap ENTER to load an empty, initialized preset. If this solves your trouble, you’ll need to find and overwrite the problem preset, which may be as easy as pressing STORE, ENTER, ENTER after performing this special startup routine.


Q: One or more of my presets produces no sound. What gives?
A: This might be any one (or several) of a number of things: Is your rig working correctly? Most of the time, the problem is a faulty or disconnected cable! Have you double-checked to ensure that you have a complete path from the input to the output? Is there a MODIFIER assigned to a volume or level control while the pedal or external switch is not present? You may also need to change the Initial Value for an external controller from 0% to 100%. Does the preset require a USER CAB which is not loaded? Try changing the CAB block to a Factory cab.


Q: Can I use a computer or external MIDI controller to operate the AX8?
A: Yes. The AX8 has a rich MIDI spec which allows it to be remote controlled.


Q: What is “FRFR”?
A: FRFR stands for “full-range, flat response.” This acronym is used to describe a “neutral” speaker or speaker system that is designed to reproduce the entire audible spectrum of 20 Hz – 20kHz without emphasis or de-emphasis. Examples of FRFR systems would include studio monitors and properly designed PA systems or components. Many manufacturers are also now offering FRFR systems designed specifically for direct guitar applications.


Q: Why all the technical terminology? Can’t every control just go from 1 to 10?
A: Only the precise terminology of audio engineering allows the very diverse communities of casual and professional players, producers, engineers, and others, to get the most from the AX8. If you’d like to brush up on Hertz, PicoFarads, milliseconds, etc., you can easily find a good glossary of pro audio terms online, or refer to the appendix of the Axe-Fx II manual.


Q: Why would I place a certain effect BEFORE or AFTER the Amp and Cab?
A: Sonically speaking, the main reason to care about effect placement is that a given effect will sound different when placed before or after distortion. How does this difference sound? If you’ve ever switched the sequence of traditional DRIVE and WAH pedals, you’ve heard an excellent example. In the case of wah before overdrive, the resonant filter of the wah “excites” the overdrive in a cool way while still retaining a natural overall tone. When the wah follows distortion, you might hear a more dramatic filtered sweep—with heavy distortion it can get almost synth-like—which might be considered less “classic.” It’s not surprising then that Wah would traditionally be a run as a “pre” effect between guitar and amp. The amp’s distortion follows the wah effect. Many other effects fall in this same category. A different example is found in overdrive with reverb and delay. In the natural world, reverb and echo occur because of open spaces around your guitar amp – like a club or concert hall. These effects would therefore NOT be heard before a distorted amp, but after it. Recording studios often add these kinds of effects at the console—after the mic has picked up the distorted sound from the guitar amp. If you wanted to simulate this natural sounding reverb or delay these effects would likely be run “post.” This is not to say that delay or reverb before distortion is a “no-no.” Many “legendary” tones came from echo units in front of an amp—but this effect is very different from “post” delay not only tonally, but also in terms of dynamics. The good news is that the AX8 allows you to experiment easily and find what combinations of pre- and post-effects work best for you. Creativity begins where conformity ends


Q: Why do I hear a pop or a gap when changing certain X/Y block types?
A: When you change X/Y, the AX8 may need to completely reprogram a block for its new function. In some cases, this is sonically transparent. In other cases, this may mean making changes inside the block which cause a small pop or gap. One option for DRIVE blocks that makes this completely avoidable is to use two different blocks instead of one block with X/Y Switching.


Q: My AX8 stopped working during or after a firmware update. How can I recover it?
A: The AX8 has a built in recovery routine. Power the unit off. Hold down the SHIFT button, and then power the unit on. Hold the button for about 1 second beyond the power up, and then release. Turn the page to the FIRMWARE screen and you will be able to install firmware using Fractal-Bot.

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