Recording, reamping and computers
- 1 Getting audio to/from the computer
- 2 Latency when monitoring
- 3 How to mute hardware when listening to a DAW
- 4 If connecting the Axe-Fx to a DAW drops the volume or puts it into bypass
- 5 Simultaneous analog and digital audio
- 6 Axe-Edit III and Logic
- 7 Capturing, managing and mixing IRs on the computer
- 8 Reverb
- 9 Controlling the processor with the DAW
- 10 Reamping
- 11 X-Load LB-2: recording an analog amplifier without a speaker cabinet
- 12 Tone Match: matching the sound of a traditional amplifier or a recording
- 13 Software editors
- 14 Linux
- 15 Other topics
Getting audio to/from the computer
To get audio into (and from) a computer, an audio connection has to be established. Available options depend on the hardware.
- Axe-Fx III: analog, USB Audio, SPDIF, AES
- Axe-Fx II: analog, USB Audio, SPDIF, AES
- AX8: analog, SPDIF (output only)
- FX8: analog
To connect analog outputs and inputs to a computer (XLRs or jacks), a hardware audio interface is usually needed. The interface sits between the processor and the computer's I/O ports. This usually is a USB, Firewire or Thunderbolt interface. An analog connection means the D/A conversion has to take place at the processor output and A/D conversiion at the computer's input.
A digital connection avoids the need for digital/analog converting. To connect digitally, use one of the available options: USB Audio, SPDIF or AES. SPDIF and AES may require an additional audio interface between the processor and the computer. The AX8 only supports SPDIF Out. The FX8 does not support digital audio.
Firmware Ares 5 for the Axe-Fx III added the AES/SPDIF Input Level control. This is located in the I/O->USB/AES menu. Adjust to the desired level if using the AES or SPDIF inputs.
MIDI-over-USB is not an audio protocol. It's a method of transmitting MIDI data between the processor and the computer, tablet etc. through a USB connection. This can be a USB cable which is connected to USB ports at both sides, or a USB-to-MIDI adapter like the Roland UM-One.
"The digital signal is 32 bits. That's nearly 200 dB of dynamic range. Even if your at -30 dB you still have 170 dB of dynamic range. The dynamic range of a guitar (or bass guitar or microphone or kazoo) is nowhere near that great. You're lucky to get 80 dB because of self-noise and environmental noise. The signal sent to the USB is basically a copy of what the Axe-Fx processes. Just record it, don't worry about what the waveform looks like and reamp it later." source
Latency when monitoring
When monitoring audio through the computer's output, latency (the time between playing a note and hearing it) depends on the computer and the USB driver. Higher buffer sizes = higher latency. The Axe-Fx II and III allow you to adjust the USB buffer size.
"The Axe-Fx III has a new driver. I just tested it under Reaper and was able to set the buffer size to 8 with no problems. I typically have it at 256 because I monitor directly from the output but it seems to be working fine on the lowest setting." source
When monitoring audio directly from the Fractal Audio hardware or hardware audio interface, latency is below 2 ms.
How to mute hardware when listening to a DAW
When the Axe-Fx II is connected to a DAW through USB, and you have monitors connected to the Axe-Fx and you're recording, you may want to monitor just the DAW signal, not the signal from the Axe-Fx.
To accomplish this, use one of these methods:
- set USB/DIGI Out Source to Output 2, set Output 2 Echo to Output 1 and lower gain in Output 1's Global EQ gain slider.
- set USB/DIGI Out Source to Output 2, set Output 2 Echo to Output 1 and send a 0 value for Output 1 Volume's MIDI CC.
- set USB/DIGI Out Source to Output 2, put an FX Loop block at the end of the grid chain and connect your signal row(s) to it instead of the output block.
The Axe-Fx III's expanded I/O capabilities allow easier control.
If connecting the Axe-Fx to a DAW drops the volume or puts it into bypass
Some DAWs send MIDI commands (intended for other devices) which lower the volume of the Axe-Fx or put it into Bypass mode. To solve this, adjust the DAW settings. If not possible, force the Axe-Fx to ignore those commands by setting the corresponding MIDI CCs in I/O to "NONE". source
Simultaneous analog and digital audio
The Axe-Fx II and III allow the use of digital input together with analog output and simultaneous digital out. Also, you can use Input/Output 2 while using the digital input.
Axe-Edit III and Logic
If you're experiencing issues running the Axe-Fx III, Axe-Edit III and Apple Logic, read this for a solution.
Capturing, managing and mixing IRs on the computer
- Cab-Lab – Mix IRs on the computer.
- IR Capture– Capture IRs with your Axe-Fx II or III and additional hardware.
The hardware processors have world-class reverb built in. Also available as a plugin from FAS: FAS-FX Reverb.
Controlling the processor with the DAW
Preset switching, scenes, X/Y switching, channels and other MIDI-controllable functionality can be controlled remotely in the DAW. MIDI Program Changes and Control Changes can be embedded in a track, enabling automated control.
What is re-amping
Re-amping is the process of recording a dry signal to be "processed" at a later time. This lets you experiment with different amp models, before deciding which one will be used on the final track.
The Axe-Fx II and III are designed for easy re-amping. The AX8 can do it too but it takes more effort.
Re-amping with the Axe-Fx III
Re-amping is covered in section 3 of the Owner's Manual.
Re-amping with the Axe-Fx II
The USB output signal of the Axe-Fx always contains 4 signals: 4 x mono / 2x2 stereo. There's nothing you have to set up in the Axe-Fx. Channels 3 and 4 contain the raw data from the instrument input, without processing by the Axe-Fx. You record this on the computer by selecting input signals 3 and 4 as sources. This is known as the DI track.
Play this recording from the software back into the Axe-Fx, by setting the software's output source to Axe-Fx II, and selecting USB (or Digital) as input source in the Axe-Fx's I/O menu. Then tweak the signal on the Axe-Fx II by creating an empty preset and adding effect blocks, such as Amp and Cab. When you are happy with the result, record channels 1 and 2 again which contain the re-amped audio.
To record audio on the computer through USB, USB/Digi Out Source in I/O menu should be set to Output 1. If you want to route the guitar's dry input signal directly to the output (USB or digital), set USB/Digi Out Source to Input. To send dry signal only from the Axe-Fx II to the DAW through Output 2, set Echo Output 2 to Input.
"The DI signal level of channels 3 and 4 is fixed, for good reason. When you send that signal back into the Axe-Fx, it has the same level as the original signal sent to the grid. This means you don't have to adjust anything when re-amping. You simply send the signal back." source
"You are getting a bit-copy of the signal out of your guitar. Do not adjust the level. It may sound quiet because your guitar IS quiet when not amplified. When you put that signal back into the Axe-Fx it will be gained up and sound just like when you are playing through the Axe-Fx." source
Make sure to use the correct Input Mode when re-amping. For example, using Stereo instead of Left Only will attenuate the incoming signal.
- Bernd Kiltz
- Using Cubase
- Shasha's guide
- GotMetalBoy's tutorial on re-amping via Spdif with a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6
- Neokrunchers all digital method for best signal quality
- Time-aligned USB re-amping with Logic Pro (Mac
Re-amping with the AX8
- Adjust the routing in the grid to create a dry DI signal (no amp/cab processing).
- Use the FX Loop block to send that signal through Output 2 to the computer.
- Send the recorded DI signal back into the AX8 through Input 2 (analog), process it on the grid, and record it using S/PDIF OUT or the analog outputs.
Another way to send out a dry signal through Output 2, is to set Echo Output 2 to "Input 1" in I/O.
X-Load LB-2: recording an analog amplifier without a speaker cabinet
Tone Match: matching the sound of a traditional amplifier or a recording
3rd-party editors include: