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Input block

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Iii ins and outs.jpg

Available on which Fractal Audio products

  • Axe-Fx III: 5 blocks
  • Axe-Fx II: 1 block
  • AX8: 1 block
  • FX8: no

X/Y and channels

  • Axe-Fx III: 4 channels
  • Axe-Fx II: no
  • AX8: no
  • FX8: n/a

What's the Input block for

The input block is the area where the signal enters the grid.

Together with an Output block it can establish an effects loop.

The Input block also provides the following:

Position of the Input block

Axe-Fx II and AX8: The Input block has a fixed position at the start of the grid.

Axe-Fx III: Input blocks can be positioned anywhere on the grid.

Input blocks on the Axe-Fx III

The Axe-Fx III has 5 Input blocks, which can be placed anywhere on the grid.

The Input blocks are linked to the hardware inputs, except Input 1. Input 1 can be linked to:

  • Analog input (Instrument/Input 1)
  • USB outputs 5+6 from computer
  • SPDIF or AES input

The 5th Input block is the Input USB block, which gets signal from USB Outputs 7+8 from a computer.

Only Input 1 can be configured as a Global Block.

Each block has its own noise gate settings. On the Axe-Fx III the gate includes EMI filtering, see below.

Input 1 (front and rear) provides adjustable input impedance.

When the Input block is bypassed, it prevents external signals from entering the grid. When engaged, it doesn't pass signal from blocks which are connected to it (in front of the Input block).

Regarding the Input 3 and 4 blocks:

  • Output is not connected to Input and Input is bypassed: signal from the loop is muted
  • Output is connected to Input and Input is bypassed: signal is passed without going through the loop.
  • Output is connected to Input and Input is engaged: signal from the effect loop is passed.

The Input blocks have 4 channels.

Creating an effects loop on the Axe-Fx III

Go here.

Parameters table

Parameter Axe-Fx III Axe-Fx II AX8, FX8
Noise Gate:
Threshold yes
Ratio yes
Attack yes
Release yes
Output Level yes
Gate Type yes

Input impedance

Variable input impedance: available on which Fractal Audio devices

  • Axe-Fx III: Input 1 (front and rear)
  • Axe-Fx II: front input
  • FX8: instrument input
  • AX8: no (fixed at 1 Megaohm)
"The XL+ front input circuit is identical to the AX-8 except the AX-8 doesn't have the variable impedance circuitry." source

What is variable input impedance

It changes the analog circuitry of the input jack to interact with the guitar pickup. It recreates the way that some classic effects “load down” pickups, causing a change in frequency response.

Input Impedance is also referred to as: Input Z.

In Auto mode, the impedance is set automatically, based on the first engaged effect to follow the input.

"Some old stomp boxes, i.e. Univibe, fuzzes, etc. have a low input impedance. This low input impedance will load down a guitar's pickups and change the frequency response of the pickups. You cannot simulate the effect of pickup loading after signal acquisition since the pickup parameters are an unknown quantity. So if you want to exactly model one of these old stomp boxes you need to replicate the impedance loading. The 11R and the Axe-Fx II do this by switching in resistors and capacitors on the inputs that change the input impedance to match the device being modeled. I do not believe that input impedance affects feel in any way. This is simply impossible. I remember people saying they could feel the input "pushing back". Silly. It will, however, definitely affect the sound as the frequency response of the guitar will be altered. The resonant frequency of the pickups will shift downwards and the Q will be altered as well. Now... it is debatable whether this alteration in frequency is actually desirable. If you want to exactly duplicate the sound of a vintage effect then, yes, it is desirable. However, most, if not all, modern effects feature buffered inputs to prevent pickup loading. This is done because typically we don't want to load the pickups. When the pickup designer is designing a pickup he is assuming the pickup will not be loaded. He chooses the winding, magnets, etc. such that the pickups have a desired frequency response into a very high impedance (i.e. 1 Mohm or greater) load. Variable input impedance is a nice feature if you want accuracy but it's not that big of a deal and certainly doesn't make one device better than another. Personally I prefer the sound with it turned off." source
"The pickups see a load. That load is the impedance of the cable and the impedance of the amp input. The typical input impedance of a tube amp is a resistance plus a small capacitance to ground (120 pF or so). The Axe-Fx input simulates this input impedance. Some effect pedals present a different load. The Axe-Fx replicates this by switching in different load resistors and capacitors when a model of that effect is first in the effects chain." source
"It's not virtual. It physically switches in a capacitor." source

Impedance values

  • 1MΩ
  • 1MΩ + Capacitor. Use this to simulate a long guitar cable (source)
  • 230kΩ
  • 230 kΩ + Capacitor
  • 90 kΩ
  • 90 kΩ + Capacitor
  • 70 kΩ
  • 70 kΩ + Capacitor
  • 32 kΩ
  • 32 kΩ + Capacitor
  • 22 kΩ
  • 22 kΩ + Capacitor

Variable input impedance doesn't work with a buffered input signal

"A buffer will render the impedance stuff ineffective. It will also add (maybe considerable) noise which may defeat the low-noise advantage of the front input." source
"A wireless acts as a buffer. Hence changing the input impedance will not be able to load down the pickups." source

To change the impedance use a device like the Radial Dragster.

Fuzz, buffers and impedance

Forum member AustinBuddy recommends 90k for Input Impedance when using a fuzz model.

"The Fuzz in the Axe-Fx reacts as though there is a buffer in front of it (because there is). It's a limitation inherent to all modeling products. I modeled it using a nominal source resistance. I forget what I used for the source resistance but it was probably around 100K ohms. To really simulate it you would need a controller to simulate the changing output impedance of the guitar." source
"You can simulate the effect of a guitar into a Fuzz-Face using the Input-Z feature." source

Set to 1M to prevent "thump"

Engaging some effects, like Wah or Phaser, can cause a "thump" in the sound. This may be caused by impedance switching.

To solve this, change Input Impedance from Auto to (i.e.) 1M.

"The thump isn't the wah, it's the Input Impedance changing. If your preset is set to Auto for the Input Z, when you engage the wah the impedance switches. This causes a slight thump if you are playing since the load on your guitar changes. If you want to avoid this, turn Input Z to 1M OHM (Input Z is in the INPUT/GTE page of the Layout menu)." source
"Set the Input-Z on the preset to 1M rather than Auto. The reason the Wah engages abruptly is because it switches the input impedance. Setting Input-Z to 1M overrides the impedance switch. source