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FASLINK

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XLR.jpg

What is FASLINK

FASLINK is a proprietary Fractal Audio communications link between the Axe-Fx series processors and the MFC-101 resp. FC controllers. FASLINK provides two-way communication through an XLR cable and phantom power. XLR cables (microphone cables) are common, flexible and robust, supporting runs of hundreds of feet.

FASLINK replaces previous connection methods (MIDI and Ethernet).

There are two versions of FASLINK:

  • FASLINK (original) – Connects the Axe-Fx II and MFC-101.
  • FASLINK II – Connects the Axe-Fx III and FC foot controller(s), featuring a new protocol. Length limit is 100 feet (source).

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"FASLINK is not a balanced protocol. But it is robust because it uses high signaling levels. You can use any wire for FASLINK but ideally it should be shielded and a heavy enough gauge to carry up to 1A without significant voltage drop. If "I" were adapting FASLINK to CAT5 I would use each pair as a conductor. I.e. blue and blue/white tied together as one conductor, green and green/white tied together as another conducter. Then the drain wire (and maybe another conductor pair to ensure low resistance) connected to the XLR shield. FASLINK uses two conductors plus shield (standard mic cable). One conductor is power. The other conductor is data. The shield is the common return for the two conductors. We've tested FASLINK over 100m of cable. As long as the conductors are heavy enough so the voltage doesn't drop too much you can run it very long distances." source

Which Fractal Audio products support FASLINK

Axe-Fx III – Built-in FASLINK II support.

Axe-Fx II XL and XL+ – Built-in FASLINK support.

Axe-Fx II Mark I and II – FASLINK adapter needed to convert wiring from Ethernet/Ethercon to XLR.

MFC-101 Mark III – Built-in FASLINK support.

MFC-101 Mark I and II – FASLINK adapter needed to convert wiring from Ethernet/Ethercon to XLR.

FC controllers – Built-in FASLINK II support.

Setting up FASLINK

Axe-Fx III – Connect the XLR cable between the Axe-Fx III and FC controller. That's it.

Axe-Fx II – Connect the XLR cable. Turn on FASLINK in the I/O menu.

MFC-101 – Connect the XLR cable. Select the correct port in the MFC settings. WARNING: do NOT connect a power supply to the MFC-101 when using FASLINK!

"The FASLINK port is protected against shorts." source

Adapters for older hardware

The FASLINK XA-1 and XA-2 adapters convert the wiring on older Axe-Fx II and MFC-101 hardware (see above) from Ethernet/Ethercon to XLR. These adapters are "active" (source). They can be bought directly from Fractal Audio's online shop and G66.

The adapters do not support FASLINK II.

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More information in the FASLINK Setup Guide.