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MIDI Introduction

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a very powerful protocol that allows musical instruments as well as computers to communicate with each other.
This MIDI section of Axe-FX Wiki is intended to cover those features and uses as they apply to the Axe-FX Standard and Ultra by Fractal Audio.

MIDI would be primarily used for 6 purposes regarding the Axe-FX.

  1. To upgrade firmware (operating system).
  2. To have ability to backup and restore Axe-FX presets.
  3. To edit Axe-FX presets via computer software editor.
  4. To select presets via MIDI footswitch.
  5. To control various individual functions via a MIDI controller.
  6. To transfer settings and presets from one Axe to another.

Basic Principles: MIDI is laid out in banks. A bank is 128 presets (or patches) which would be numbered either 0 to 127 or 1 to 128.

The Axe-FX utilizes 3 Banks (labeled A/B/C) of 128 preset slots each for a total of 384 configured as follows (non-offset mode):

  • Bank A ~ 000 to 127
  • Bank B ~ 128 to 255
  • Bank C ~ 256 to 383

Pre v5.00 Firmware ~ Banks A/B were supplied with duplicate, editable factory presets.
Post v5.00 Firmware ~ Banks A/B were unique presets for a total of 256 editable factory presets while Bank C had 128 empty preset slots for custom user creations.
Post v5.22 Firmware ~ 128 New Bank C presets introduced for a total of 384 Factory Supplied Presets. These reflect Ultra configurations with Standards most often quickly following suit.

Getting Started

MIDI In/Out/Thru

Getting Started: The Axe-FX has 3 MIDI connections. In/Out/Thru. In/Out of the device are obvious. The Thru is a duplicate of the In signal allowing a 'daisy chain' of devices to be formed. MIDI cables are also necessary to get started with any MIDI purpose. Standard MIDI cables are 5-Pin DIN as shown above as the Out and Thru sockets. Notice the In socket is a 7-Pin DIN. It will accept either a 5 or 7 Pin Cable. Above the MIDI sockets on the Axe is a connector called Phantom Power In. You can plug your MIDI device power adapter into this plug and utilize Pins 6/7 of your MIDI cable to power your MIDI device. That way you have one clean cable run for both power and MIDI to your footswitch (for example).

TipTip - Since you will be going from the Out of one device to the In of the other and the In of that device to the Out of the other it is easy to get lost in your connections. Try using 2 colors of MIDI cables (ex: red and black) and designate a 'go-to' device and a 'go-to' cable. Now by using 'Blackout' as a key word and the Axe as the key device the reference is black cable to Axe MIDI out.

2 colors and a keyword easily keep 4 connections straight.

MIDI Hardware

MidiSport 2x2 MIDI Interface

MIDI Interface - We need a MIDI interface to allow us to communicate with our computer and software.

Rolls MX128 Midi Buddy Footswitch

MIDI Footswitch - This will usually be a 12 button footswitch. It will have 10 presets, a Bank Up and a Bank Down button. Primary purpose is for preset selection.

Axess FX1 MIDI Foot Controller

MIDI Controller - This is a powerful variable controller which uses Continuous Controller messages. Many times this type of device will have a volume or wah pedal (or both). It will also have various switch buttons which can be used as the MIDI footswitch above or to turn off/on individual effects such as chorus, reverb, flange, echo, etc. It is by far the more complex of the setups.

MIDI Editors

CC numbers for the AxeFX Ultra

These are the default cc numbers, they can be changed.

CC# Description
10 Input Volume
11 Out1 Volume
12 Out2 Volume
13 Bypass
14 Tap Tempo
15 Tuner
16 - (Pedal 1 is set to External 1)
17 - (Pedal 2 is set to External 2)
18 External 3
19 External 4
20 External 5
21 External 6
22 External 7
23 External 8
24 Looper1 Rec
25 Looper1 Play
26 Looper1 Once
27 Looper1 Dub
28 Looper1 Rev
29 Looper2 Rec
30 Looper2 Play
31 Looper2 Once
32 Looper2 Dub
33 Looper2 Rev
34 Global Bypass (all bypassed effects will toggle or change according to their bypass setting)
35 Volume Inc
36 Volume Dec
37 Amp1 Byp
38 Amp2 Byp
39 Cabinet1
40 Cabinet2
41 Chorus1
42 Chorus2
43 Compressor1
44 Compressor2
45 Crossover1
46 Crossover2
47 Delay1
48 Delay2
49 Drive1
50 Drive2
51 Enhancer1
52 Filter1
53 Filter2
54 Filter3
55 Filter4
56 Flanger1
57 Flanger2
58 Formant
59 FX Loop
60 Gate1
61 Gate2
62 Graphic EQ1
63 Graphic EQ2
64 Graphic EQ3
65 Graphic EQ4
66 Megatap
67 Multicomp1
68 Multicomp2
69 Multidly1
70 Multidly2
71 ParamEq1
72 ParamEq2
73 ParamEq3
74 ParamEq4
75 Phaser1
76 Phaser2
77 Pitch1
78 Pitch2
79 QChorus1
80 QChorus2
81 Resonator1
82 Resonator2
83 Reverb1
84 Reverb2
85 RingMod
86 Rotary1
87 Rotary2
88 Synth1
89 Synth2
90 Tremolo1
91 Tremolo2
92 Vocoder
93 Volume
94 Volume
95 Volume
96 Volume
97 Wah1 Byp
98 Wah2 Byp

MIDI Links