Tips and tricks

From Fractal Audio Systems Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Tips And Tricks

Achieving ultimate tone

Ultimate tone is the Holy Grail for guitar players and is a combination of many
factors. To help you achieve the sound you are looking for follow these guidelines:

Choose the amplifier type carefully

The amp types all have their own unique voicing and certain types are better suited
to particular tones than others. Also experiment with the power amp parameters.
The Depth, Sag and Master controls can make subtle changes to the tone of an
amp that really bring out its character.

Experiment with the Drive

A lower gain amp type can turn into a raging shred machine with a Drive block
feeding it. Try putting a TS DISTORTION type in front of the Plexi amplifier type for

Tightening up the low end

Here's a trick to tighten up the low end on high gain patches:
1. Put a filter block before the amp block. Set the type to Highpass.
2. Attach the Envelope controller to the Frequency parameter. Use default settings for the Envelope parameters.
3. Set the Scale to 40%, Offset to around 22%.

Experiment with the Cabinets and Microphones

A different Cabinet type can change the sound of an amp dramatically. Start with
L/R cabinets linked and audition the various cabs and mics. Then unlink the
cabs/mics and experiment with different cab/mic combinations. You can fill out the
sound by using different types left/right and adjusting the panning.

Use the EQ

EQ can make a HUGE difference in sound. Try placing EQ before AND after the
amplifier block. Subtle EQ adjustments can tighten up the sound or increase the
depth. The Axe-Fx has a lot of EQ resources for just this reason. Take advantage
of them.

Using Your Axe-Fx with a Guitar Amp

Your Axe-Fx is equally suited for use with a full-range monitoring system or with a
standard guitar amplifier. A few prefacing comments are in order:

From the factory the Axe-Fx is designed to interface to full-range recording or
sound reproduction devices, i.e. studio monitors, sound cards, etc. The Axe-Fx
fully simulates the entire audio chain of a typical guitar rig including the preamp,
power amp, effects, speaker cabinet and microphone.

Often times, however, you may wish to connect your Axe-Fx to something other
than a full-range device, i.e. a guitar amp. In this situation be aware that the guitar
amp is already providing at least the speaker cabinet part of the signal chain. If you
were to leave the Cabinet Simulation active in your Axe-Fx then the audio would
basically be passing through a speaker cab in effect twice (once in the Axe-Fx,
once in the external cab). This can have a detrimental effect on the sound quality
and usually ends up being muddy as the high-frequencies are excessively
attenuated and other frequencies may be unnaturally emphasized.

If you are connecting the Axe-Fx to a tube power amp as well, then once again the
signal is effectively passed through a power amp twice (once in the Axe-Fx, once
in the external tube amp).

For this reason the Axe-Fx allows you to defeat the power amp simulations and the
cabinet simulations. The power amp simulation in a preset can be defeated by turning the SAG
control in the Amp block to zero or globally via the Power Amp Bypass switch (in the GLOBAL MIX menu).
The cabinet simulation can be defeated either globally via the Cabinet Bypass switch (in the GLOBAL MIX menu)
or by bypassing or removing the cabinet block from the signal chain.

To use the Axe-Fx with a standard guitar amp the preferred method of connection
would be to plug your guitar into the Axe-Fx and the output of the Axe-Fx into the
loop return or power-amp in put (if so equipped) of your amp. This bypasses the
preamp of your guitar amp and uses only the amp’s power amp and speaker. The
Axe-Fx then provides the preamp emulation and tone shaping.

If your amp does not have an effects loop then plug the output of the Axe-Fx into
the instrument input of the amp and turn the amp’s mid control to full and the bass
and treble to zero. On most amps this will actually be a flat response. You can fine
tune the tone after, if desired.

If your guitar amp is solid-state then you will probably want to use the full amp
simulation abilities of the Axe-Fx including the power amp simulation. If you are
using a tube amp then you already have a tube power amp and you may want to
defeat the power amp simulation. To do this turn the SAG control in the Amp block
to zero.

Since you are running into a guitar speaker (or speakers) turn the Cabinet
Simulation off in your Axe-Fx either by disabling it globally via the GLOBAL menu or
by bypassing or removing that block in a preset.

The Axe-Fx also works great driving a dedicated power amp and separate speaker
cabinet As above you should defeat the Cabinet Simulation (since you are already
going to into a cabinet) and if using a tube power amp you may want to defeat the
power amp simulation (using the SAG control).

Using Your Axe-Fx Live

The Axe-Fx is designed with live performance in mind. For the ultimate in portability
you could simply plug your guitar into the Axe-Fx and then plug your Axe-Fx into
the P.A. mixing board. Send some signal to the mains and your monitor and you’ve
got great sound with minimum hassle.

A more complicated approach would be to send the fully processed sound to the
mixing board but tap off before the cabinet simulation and send that to a guitar amp
or separate power amp and guitar cabinet. To do this you can use the auxiliary
outputs of your Axe-Fx. Simply place the Effects Loop block as the second to last
block in your signal chain and the Cabinet Simulator as the last block. The signal
appearing at the OUTPUT 2 jacks will be perfectly suitable for driving a guitar amp
whereas the signal at the OUTPUT 1 jacks will be perfect for sending to the P.A.


Electric guitars are extremely effective at amplifying more than just the sound of the
guitar but also the electromagnetic fields generated by TV sets, computer monitors,
neon lights and illegal taxi radios. The best defense against these sources of
interference is to have a well shielded guitar and to maximize the distance between
the guitar and these sources. If you are working at a computer consider using an
LCD monitor as these do not generate the high-intensity magnetic fields that CRT
monitors do.


Your Axe-Fx was built using the highest quality components available. No routine
maintenance is required. To clean the unit use a mild detergent and water solution.
Do not use any abrasives or harsh chemicals as these can damage the finish of the

If your unit is malfunctioning do not attempt to service it yourself. The Axe-Fx is
more like a computer than a tube amp and has no user serviceable components.
you determine that your unit is malfunctioning please contact the factory to arrange
for servicing.

Note: The Axe-Fx contains a small internal cooling fan. This keeps the CPU within proper
operating temperature under extreme ambient temperatures. You may notice a slight whirring
noise if you put your ear close to the unit. This is normal.