Presets

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The information on this page supplements the official manuals.

Contents


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Number of available presets

Load a preset

Note to Axe-Fx II Mark I/II owners: due to space limitations in the Mark I/II BOOTROM, firmware Quantum 5.00 and later is not backwards compatible with presets created prior to firmware version 15.08. This limitation only exists for the Mark I/II. XL and XL+ still maintain backward compatibility.

You can load factory presets and presets from other users into your device. Presets have a .syx file extension. Presets are available on the user forum, Axe-Change and from other sources. If you use Fractal-Bot, a Fractal Audio editor or a MIDI librarian such as Snoize SysEx Librarian (Mac) or MIDI-OX (Windows): make a connection between your computer and the device, load the .syx file and send it to the device.

To load an external preset file in the editor, click Import, or drag and drop a file onto the editor.

The hardware is always ready to receive presets. If you upload a preset, the preset is not yet stored but kept in a buffer. If you want to keep it, save it in a preset slot.

Preset files are also kept in bank files with the .syx file extension. You can use the editor to pick individual presets from a bank file.

"There are two possible destinations for a preset: the edit buffer or a defined preset number. The destination is encoded in the data. If it's not going to the edit buffer then the preset was harvested from a hard drive somehow. When you load a preset with Axe-Edit it sets the destination bytes. However if you use a librarian then the preset may go to the edit buffer or to a defined preset location depending upon the destination bytes. You can identify the preset destination from the data. If the seventh byte is 7F then it will go into the edit buffer, otherwise it will go into preset memory. For example: F0 00 01 74 03 77 7F 00 goes to the edit buffer whereas F0 00 01 74 03 77 01 02 will go to bank B preset 2 (patch 130)." source

Load a preset on another type of hardware

Axe-Edit lets you transfer presets from an Axe-Fx II Mark I/II to a XL and XL+. But not the other way around! You can share individual effects blocks between all devices through the Block Library.

FracTool lets you share presets between the various Axe-Fx II models and between Axe-Fx and AX8, converting on the fly.

Another way to store preset settings is to export them into a CSV file which lists all parameter values. The editors offer this functionality.

Yek: "When I transferred all my presets from the original Axe-Fx II to the XL, I kept a log of changed parameter values. These are the ones you may want to check before and after transfer:

Walkthrough by Yek.

Another conversion issue concerns effects that support X/Y:

"Any blocks that have X/Y on the XL but not on the Mark II will not import the bypass state as that is stored differently. You need to manually adjust the bypass state after import." source

AxeFxTutorials article about sharing blocks.

This thread discusses the hex command to recall presets and scenes.

Load a blank preset on startup

Software editors: select Preset > Clear Preset to create an empty preset.

Factory presets

Download current versions of the factory presets.

Preset shows up empty

If a preset shows up empty, it was probably created with firmware that is more recent than loaded on your hardware. Update the firmware!

Preset size

In rare cases a preset can get too large (too many bytes). This is not the same as overloading the CPU. There's no warning or checking mechanism for this. If this happens, certain values won't get stored, or revert to zero upon recall. These are rare cases, which seem to occur mostly when the user uses a VERY large number of modifiers/controllers.

Preset switching speed (lag, audio gap)

Fractal Audio:

"With any device that features flexible routing you have to mute, switch then unmute. This takes time. The reason is that if you don't do this then you'll end up with sound from one of the blocks that may have moved to a different position possible causing a loud pop or other artifact. For example, if you have a simple amp->cab->delay preset then you switch to a preset that has delay->amp->cab the sound from the delay will get amplified during the switch so you have to mute everything, wait for the signals to decay, rearrange the blocks, then unmute. Products with a fixed routing can switch faster since they don't have to worry about rearranging blocks. The Axe-Fx amp modeling is also far more intricate and complex than other products and this requires muting the amp modeling for a short time to allow the bias points to settle." source
"Dropout is only 20-30 ms. If you are experiencing more than that then your MIDI controller is not programmed properly." source
"Our modeling is very detailed and whenever the amp model changes the "virtual circuit" needs to be reconfigured. We can switch quickly but often this causes clicks and pops due to the reconfiguration. So the amp block needs to run silently for a bit so things will settle. Then we unmute the block. This mute period is what you are hearing. Most other products just use a fixed algorithm and change the input/output EQ and gain. With this type of algorithm you can switch quickly without clicks and pops but, of course, you don't get the realism and detail." source

Preset-Cab bundle

A Preset-Cab bundle is a single file containing the preset and one or more user cabs. You can save a bundle in Axe-Edit or AX8-Edit and load it into Axe-Edit or AX8-Edit using the Import button.

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

Move a preset

You can move a preset by using Store > Swap on the hardware. Or use the software editor's Preset Manager.

Delete all presets

The Utility menus on the hardware let you delete all presets at once.

Print a preset or user cabs list

In the software editor, select Tools > Export as Text > Preset List.

Create a list of the values of all block parameters of a preset

In the software editor, select Export Preset as CSV.

(Re)name a preset

Axe-Fx II:

FX8 and AX8:

When renaming a preset in the software editor, make sure to press ENTER in the name field, before saving the preset.

Levels and avoiding output clipping

Preset level controls:

Systemwide level controls:

When the red “Out1 Clip” LED blinks, the signal in the digital domain is too hot (loud). The level knobs on the front panel have no effect on clipping, because they control the analog circuitry and are placed after the digital-to-analog converter. Clipping occurs at the digital output stage only. You cannot clip an individual block. Digital clipping does NOT harm the unit. IMPORTANT: there is no relationship between input level and output clipping! The Input Level parameter only controls the signal-to-noise ratio at the input stage and does NOT affect gain in the signal chain.

Severe clipping will cause digital audio distortion (crackle) which you want to avoid. This kind of clipping is not related to amp distortion. This digital distortion doesn't occur immediately when the Clip LED light, there's still some headroom left.

"Brief excursions into clipping may not light the clip LED long enough to be noticeable but can be audible. There is a hard limiter prior to D/A conversion that prevents wrap-around but if your preset is too hot you can hit that limiter which will sound nasty. As a rule of thumb, a preset shouldn't clip regardless of the pickups used. If you plug in a hotter guitar and the output clips, then your amp block output level is too high."
"The LED comes on around 1-2 dB below actual clipping." source

You can reduce the digital signal level in any block by turning down its Level. Recommended: Amp block Level and output block Level. You can check the output levels in Utility > Status.

There is a separate clip LED for Output 2. This level is controlled through Global EQ for Out2, and the FXL block if present.

If your unit's output is clipping heavily during a gig, you don't need to adjust the preset. Just enter the Global EQ and turn down Gain to solve this. Use the Output knob on the front panel to compensate for loss of volume.

Use Vol Incr/Vol Decr to adjust and store the output level while playing

There's a very convenient way to adjust the preset level on the fly (without manual editing): Volume Inc(rement) and Volume Dec(rement). These commands let you adjust the preset level in small steps while playing. Adjustments are saved automatically.

To make this work, assign these commands to switches on your foot controller. Vol Inc is MIDI CC 35, Vol Dec is MIDI CC 36. The MFC-101 has dedicated commands for this purpose.

Notes:

Note that other unsaved changes to the preset will get saved too, when Vol Inc or Vol Dec is triggered.

Measure, match and balance preset levels (VU meters)

You probably want to match the output levels of all your presets. If you want to do this by ear, don't do it at low volume level and don't use headphones. The reason: you may think that your high-gain preset needs to be turned down compared to your clean preset. But when playing live, that high-gain preset is compressed (has no peaks) while the clean is tone is very dynamic. Really, the only proved way to match levels by ear is to do this at gig level, and preferable with the band playing or using a backing track.

Another approach is to measure and match preset levels using the VU meters in the Utility menu. The Utility menu provides VU meters. The meters show the relative loudness of the Amp block output. These readouts can be used to help set preset levels to the same apparent volume. For convenience the level of the Amp blocks can be set from this page. Also, the value of the Output Level knobs is displayed in this page for reference (note that this is only for reference and does not affect the VU meters as the measurement is prior to the Output Level potentiometers).

"ITU-R is a standard for loudness measurement. Broadcasters use it to monitor the apparent loudness of program material and comply with regulations, i.e. making sure commercials aren't louder than the programming. The measurement includes a simple head model and hearing perception model to give a fairly accurate indication of relative volume." source Be aware that the VU meter is offset by 20 dB, so when the meter reads 0 it’s actually -20 dB. This means that the "0" mark does not indicate clipping. This allows for sufficient headroom. When playing you'll see the meters bounce around. The meters give you a general idea of the loudness of the current preset, to get you in the ballpark. Try strumming the strings in a consistent way. Adjust the Amp level(s), aiming for an average level around 0 dB."

The VU meters are available on the hardware only.

A third method:

  1. Select a preset with a really clean amp. Why? As Jay Mitchell explains: "Clean presets have the greatest crest factor (ratio of peak to average energy) and will therefore cause digital clipping at lower average levels (which determine your perception of volume) than gainier presets. For that reason, it is important to reference the levels of all other presets to that of the cleanest one set so that it never causes the (device) to clip with the Level control set to maximum. Once you have set this level you then need to set other presets to match it. Otherwise, your cleaner presets will either clip or be much softer than the others."
  2. Disable all effect blocks (especially compressors) except Amp and Cabinet.
  3. If you use a boost in the preset, enable it.
  4. Select your loudest pickup and hit the strings hard.
  5. Turn down Amp Level until the clip LED doesn't light anymore.
  6. Turn the level down another 8 dB. This creates sufficient headroom for unforeseen circumstances.
  7. This is now your reference level for all presets.
  8. If this method causes volume loss, compensate by turning up the overall volume level on the front panel or on your amplifier.

Methods to boost the output level

Methods to boost the signal level, i.e. for leads:

Guidelines for creating presets

For those with OCD, here's a checklist to verify the consistency of your presets:

Grid template

Here's a template for designing your presets:

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