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Software editors

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Iii Axe-Edit-Mockup.png

About Axe-Edit, Axe-Edit III, AX8-Edit and FX8-Edit

These are the software editors for the Axe-Fx II, Axe-Fx III, AX8 and FX8. Available for Windows and Mac.

Read the Getting Started Guide for Axe-Edit

Axe-Fx III Edit:

(Product information) "The Axe-Fx III would not be complete without Axe-Edit, our award-winning editor suite for Mac and PC. Axe-Edit is now presented in glorious hi-definition that scales cleanly to any size display. Veterans will find it very familiar, but more clean and comfortable. It includes a streamlined new interface with controls for all of the latest features of the Axe-Fx III, plus a convenient new “Quick Build” mode that allows you to build presets easily using drag-and-drop templates. Axe-Manage takes control of Presets and User Cabs, and a new Scene Manager takes charge of scene names and settings. Axe-Edit will be offered for Windows 7/8/10 and Mac OS X 10.7 or newer."

Unlike previous versions, Axe-Edit III is scalable on high-res displays.

The new architecture means that the editor does not need to be paused anymore when changing settings on the hardware or using an external controller.

"We rewrote everything using a client-server approach. You can have any number of clients attached, even multiple editors, and they all update automatically when something changes (even if changed from the front panel). The foot controllers are essentially clients as well." source

Important: when powering on the Axe-Fx III, the USB subsystem needs some time to settle down. It is recommended to wait a minute or so, before launching the editor.

Note: If you get an error message regarding MSVCP140.DLL, install the MS Visual C++ Redistributable Update.

Editing on a tablet or smartphone


Fractal Audio's software editors run on Windows and Mac computers only. To edit on a tablet or smartphone:

Connecting to hardware


FX8 and AX8 - The editor communicates with the hardware via USB, without requiring a 3rd-party MIDI Interface or driver. MIDI is not supported.

Axe-Fx II - The editor communicates with the hardware via USB or MIDI. USB requires installing a USB host driver first. USB Adapter Mode must be disabled to prevent slowing down Axe-Edit.

Axe-Fx III - The editor communicates with the hardware via USB. A USB driver must be installed on Windows computers.

The above applies to Fractal-Bot too.

No offline editing

The editor works in tandem with the hardware unit in a client-server type relationship. The editor requires the unit to be connected for all operations. "Offline editing" is not supported and will not be added to any future version. The client-server relationship brings a host of benefits to the editor, most importantly, it can never "corrupt" a preset as only the hardware itself ever "owns" the data. This means you can program sounds with the confidence that what you see is what you'll hear is what you'll save.

Running a software editor and Fractal-Bot at the same time

Don't run Fractal-Bot and a software editor at the same time because this may cause conflicts.

Refreshing definitions after updating firmware

The editor relies on information downloaded from the hardware's firmware. The editor will recognize when the firmware on the unit has been updated and will refresh the effect block definitions. This can also be manually forced.

Refreshing definitions may not suffice when the firmware contains new features. In those cases a new version of the editor meeds to be installed. The editor will notice you of this automatically.

Updating the hardware'd firmware is done with Fractal-Bot.

Google Chrome issue

"There is a known issue with Chrome seizing MIDI ports (both physical and virtual MIDI-over-USB ports) as part of some misguided MIDI over the internet idea. Since the AX-8 is USB 1.1 it only allows one connection so if Chrome grabs it then AX-8 Edit won't be able to use it. Unfortunately Google seems uninterested in fixing it." source "Chrome definitely can hijack the MIDI over USB port on the AX8. When that happens, it's not enough to just close the browser, you have to ensure that it is not running in the background. Fractal Audio has tested and confirmed this." source

Solving communication time-outs and disconnecting issues

  • Try another USB cable. Don't skip this, it's the most common cause of issues.
  • Do not use a cable extender or USB hub (a USB port on a keyboard can also be a hub).
  • Try another USB port on your computer.

Syncing with hardware and foot controller

Axe-Fx II, AX8 and FX8 – It's recommended to not use the MFC-101 with the Axe-Fx II, nor the onboard switches on the AX8 and FX8, while using the editor. The editors rely on intensive two-­way communication which can cause audio gaps or stutters while using a connected foot controller. The PAUSE COMMUNICATIONS feature, also available through an icon in the upper left corner or in the Settings menu, puts the editor on hold so you can test performance without glitches.

Also, engaging and bypassing effects on the MFC-101 does not update Axe-Edit. To make the editor recognize such changes, its polling mechanism must be engaged. This is accomplished by attaching the Bypass parameter of any block in the preset to a controller. The block doesn't have to be connected to anything on the grid, so use a low CPU block.

Axe-Fx III – See Axe-Edit III above.

Noteworthy stuff

Regarding Axe-Edit for the Axe-Fx II, AX8-Edit and FX8-Edit:

  • You cannot type Min/Max values in a modifier menu because of technical reasons.
  • Looper, Tap Tempo and Tuner require the corresponding CCs to be set to their default values on the hardware.
  • Axe-Edit is not compatible with MIDI Mapping on the Axe-Fx II.
  • It is normal for the hardware display to change screens automatically while the editor is being used. To avoid confusion, it is strongly recommended that you avoid using the top/front controls of the device while the editor is running, or press the editor's Pause command.
  • To make the Tuner work on the MFC-101, verify that Send Realtime Sysex is enabled on the hardware.

Keyboard shortcuts

  • Command+I (Mac) / Ctrl+I (Windows): resets a block to its default values
  • Enter: opens the Edit field of the selected control
  • +: displays the menu associated with the ‘+’ button on the selected dropdown control
  • G: toggles the “Global” button for the selected control
  • F5: refreshes the preset
  • Spacebar: bypasses or engages the selected block, or toggle X/Y
  • Command+1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8 (Mac) or Ctrl+1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8 (Windows): select scene
  • Command+U (Mac) / Ctrl+U (Windows): insert a shunt
  • Cursors up/down: value up/down
  • P: Preset Picker
  • Command (Ctrl)-M: Preset Manager
  • Command (Ctrl)-Shift-M: Cab Manager
  • Grid Navigation Mode:
    • Shift+Ctrl+G (Windows)
    • Shift+Cmd+G (OSX)

List of keyboard shortcuts in the Getting Started Guide

Managing presets and cabs

Sharing presets across hardware devices

The offical editors do not import or convert presets for the different hardware processors, they are not compatible. Effect blocks however can be shared through the Block Library.

Use FracTool to import presets for other hardware into your device.


The editors offer fast access to Axe-Change, Fractal Audio's site for sharing presets, IRs, and effect blocks.

Exporting to disk

To export a preset to disk for archiving or sharing, select Export. Preset files have a .Syx file extension to indicate that they are in the System Exclusive MIDI file format.

Do not not share IRs which are protected by an EULA, license, copyright etc.

Global Blocks can kept linked or get unlinked when exporting a preset on an Axe-Fx II or III, according to the setting in Preferences.

Exporting to CSV

This command dumps a list of the parameter values of every block (including X/Y and channels) in the current preset. It’s a CSV file which means: Comma Separated Values. That’s a basic common database format that can be read or imported by most text editors, spreadsheets and databases.

You can also use this feature to see if a preset has changed, by dumping a preset before and after editing.

This command is available as a menu command only in AX8-Edit and Axe-Edit. In FX8-Edit hold down Ctrl+Alt+Shift and click Import (Mac: Command+Alt+Shift).

Importing a preset

Importing a preset replaces the currently active preset buffer on the hardware with a preset file from disk. The imported preset is not saved yet. It will be when hit the Save/Store button on the hardware or in the editor. The hardware must be connected to import a preset.

Valid preset files generally have a .Syx filename extension.

If the file is corrupt or not a valid preset file, the editor will warn you and not send any of the preset data to the hardware.

Importing from a bank file

You can select presets from a bank file and import just that one preset. Load the preset bank file through Import and use the Preset Picker.

To load an entire preset bank at once, use Fractal-Bot, or the Preset Manager browser.

Preset Manager

The editor's Preset Manager lets you import and export presets, rename them and copy/paste/move/swap them.

Preset-Cab bundles

Read this: Preset-Cab bundles.

Cab Manager

The editors (not FX8-Edit) include a Cab Manager which lets you import and export IRs, rename them and copy/paste/move/swap them.

You can also use Fractal-Bot and Cab-Lab to load user cabs.


The last user cab slots on the Axe-Fx II, III and AX8 are Scratchpads. These are meant for temporary storage. They are always cleared when cycling power. Use them to experiment with user cabs. Tone Matching, Cab-Lab and IR Capture also make use of them.

Editing presets and blocks

Changing a value with small incremental/decremental steps

Hold Command (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) while changing a value with the mouse.

Deleting a cable between blocks

Double-click the cable.

Editing a modifier and attaching/detaching controllers

Right-click a modifiable control.

Adjusting Input Gate settings

Click on Input.

Adjusting preset and scene levels

Click on Output.

Resetting a block to its default settings

Select Edit > Initialize in the context menu. Or press Command+I (Mac) or Ctrl+I (Windows).

Note that resetting a block only applies to its current state (X/Y or Channel).

Swapping blocks

Drag a block onto another block.

Importing and exporting internal controllers

You can save and load internal controller settings, such as Envelope, into a separate Controllers block. Click the Controllers button and use the Block menu.

When sharing a regular effect block with specific internal controller settings, distribute both the regular block and the Controllers block.

Manage Global Blocks

Use the Global Block widget in the bottom left corner of the Axe-Edit window.

Block Library

The Block Library lets you save and recall effects blocks. The block definitions are saved on your hard drive, giving you a near limitless amount of block combinations that you can store and pull from as you build your patches. You can even share block definitions with other users, and between Axe-Fx II, AX8 and FX8.

Saving a block definition saves everything about that block: the X/Y or Channel settings of the block as well as all scene states. The controllers assigned to the block are also saved but not the configuration of the specific controllers attached to the block. Note: X/Y and Channel support varies per Fractal Audio product.

Block files (.blk) should never be edited by hand. They contain checksum information that the editor uses to ensure they are valid block files and hand-editing the files will destroy their validity.

There are multiple ways to load a saved block definition into a patch:

  • Right click on an empty spot in the grid and select Library -> Recall.
  • Add a block to the grid and then use the block library area to select one of the saved block definitions from your library for that block type.
  • Drag a block file from a Finder (Mac) of Explorer (Windows) window into the editor.

You can find the Block Library in the Block menu, the Grid context menu (right-click) and the Block Library control when any amp, cab, or effect block is selected on the grid.

The editor saves blocks to folders under /Fractal Audio/(editor) /blocks/. Files anywhere in this directory will be read into the library based on their type. The directory structure is ignored. You use a single folder to store block files from different devices. Don't worry if there are no subfolders under the /Blocks folder on your computer. It will be automatically created by the editor after dropping a BLK file in the /Blocks folder and restarting the editor, or after saving a block in the editor. If there's no Blocks folder either, saving a block in will create it.

Blocks files are saved to disk with a name and a date-stamp (similar to snapshots). The name of the file is not the name of the block as it appears in the editor. Changing the file name will not change the block library name. The block library name is internally stored and can only be changed through the editor. Blocks must be given a unique name per effect-type. For instance, one cannot create two Amp block entries with the name “Killer Tone”. Block names may be reused across effect types, however. An AMP and a CAB block could each be named “Great Tone”. Upon reading the blocks from disk, if a block currently being read has a name that is in use in the library for the given effect-type, then that block being read will have its name appended with a number. The original file will remain unchanged. For instance, if two Amp blocks have name “Great Tone”, then the first read library entry will be “Great Tone” and the second read library entry will be “Great Tone(1)”, and so on. This enables you to share library block files without having to worry about naming.

Deleting a library block entry from the Block Library widget will also delete the file from disk.

"Save Preset As Blocks": this command lets you store a preset as individual blocks. You use these blocks on other Fractal Audio devices through their editors.

Clear, initialize, refresh or revert

  • Clear – removes all blocks and clears the preset name.
  • Initialize – resets each block in the preset to its default values and sets the preset name to INIT.
  • Revert – instructs the editor to load the preset's stored settings from the hardware.
  • Refresh – makes sure that the preset in the editor is in sync with the hardware.


The Snapshot button, located to the right of the Save button on the main editor window and inscribed with a small camera icon on it, allows you to quickly save a snapshot of the current state of the preset. This is a handy "quick save" button that you can employ while working on a preset to save the state of the preset mid-edit, so you can return to it later or call it up for comparison. Snap shots are saved to a standard location and the files are labeled with the name of the preset, followed by the date and time of the snapshot, so that every preset save is a unique file and ordered in time.

X/Y settings

Copying X/Y values

Right-click X or Y and select the corresponding command.

Swapping X/Y settings

Right-click X or Y and select the corresponding command.

Quick-toggle between X/Y

The X and Y sets are a perfect way to do quick A/B comparisons on changes. Copy X to Y in the editor, start tweaking on the Y side of the block (or vice versa), press X for a quick comparison.


Read this: Channels.