Our computers have a very limited MIDI capability. PC MIDI is primarily used for the playback of MIDI files and simple MIDI functions. To implement more powerful MIDI task the use of some type of MIDI Interface must be employed. Here is shown the Midi Sport 2x2 Interface which has become popular for communicating with the Axe-FX.
When Fractal Audio releases a new firmware version it is necessary to hook computer to interface to Axe-FX to install new firmware. This keeps the Axe-FX constantly expanding and improving. We might also wish to backup Banks A/B/C presets in the event of failure or accidental overwrites. While it may take considerable time to fill 384 preset slots the ability to unload and reload banks does in fact make the Axe-FX unlimited in the number of working presets a person could archive.
LarsB has also created the Axe-FX Editor which allows computer editing of the Axe-FX. This is a very powerful tool. All of these functions require a MIDI Interface device similar to the MidiSport. Realize there are many more MIDI interfaces to choose from, some of which have proven to be problematic (please search forum for experiences).
The majority of these devices are deployed in the following manner. A driver is installed on your computer and the device is plugged in via a USB port. In many cases it is recommended to power the device on and then reboot computer to seek the driver.
Then Axe MIDI Out is hooked to Interface MIDI In and Axe MIDI In is hooked to Interface MIDI Out.
Keyword: Out to In and In to out. This provides a two way street in and out of the Axe-FX.
Tip - Tailor your connections to your needs. For example if you just want to backup your presets to your computer you only need one cable. Axe Out to Interface In. This one way street provides a safety net since you can't overwrite anything in the Axe when the signal is only exporting.
Utilizing this 'Out Only' method is also a good test method to insure you have connectivity again without overwriting anything.
For recommendations of which MIDI devices users use with their Axe-Fx, see this thread in the forum: http://www.setbb.com/axefx/viewtopic.php?mforum=axefx&t=4608