Always consult the official Owners Manuals first!
Pages A-C are under review. Pages D-Z have been checked and updated.
This page is under construction!
- 1 TOP 3 tips!
- 2 AC Line Frequency: set for your country
- 3 CPU: stay below 80%
- 4 Double-clicking a control in the editor does not recall the correct default value
- 5 Emergency boot recovery
- 6 FASLINK issues
- 7 FRFR, what's that?
- 8 Global blocks won't stick
- 9 Hardware I/O test
- 10 Humbuster: which end of a cable goes where
- 11 Input 1 is clipping
- 12 Leaving the device switched on: is it bad?
- 13 Mobile app: is there one?
- 14 New to modeling, where do I start?
- 15 No sound
- 16 Power on issues
- 17 Reference sound clips
- 18 Reset system parameters
- 19 Sample rate: can I change it?
- 20 Can I copy a scene into another preset
- 21 Second-hand unit
- 22 Signal flow: use the meters
- 23 Sound is harsh and brittle
- 24 Sound at rehearsals and gigs is not as great as at home: what can I do?
- 25 Test tone
- 26 Thump: how can I get that from my traditional guitar cabinet?
- 27 Tuner is off
- 28 Tuner screen doesn't appear
- 29 USB Audio / AES / SPDIF signal level is too low
- 30 TO DO:
- 30.1 When will the editor be updated to match the firmware that just has been released?
- 30.2 I updated to the beta/recent release firmware, and I don't see the new feature in the editor?
- 30.3 I installed an updated editor, but it still doesn't seem to work right?
- 30.4 Where can I get a copy of older versions of the firmware or editor?
- 30.5 Do I need to reset the Amp blocks in my presets after updating the firmware?
- 30.6 Where can I find the names of the real amps on which the models are based?
- 30.7 Where can I find more information about the stock cabs?
- 30.8 Why doesn’t this virtual amp model sound the same as my real amp?
- 30.9 Is a generic preamp-only or power amp-only amp type available?
- 30.10 What happens when I reset an Amp block?
- 30.11 Is it possible to show (only) the amp controls that are present on the modeled amp?
- 30.12 How do I return to a scene in the state I left it?
- 30.13 How do I import a preset created on another FAS product?
- 30.14 Can I overwrite factory presets?
- 30.15 How do I reload a factory preset?
- 30.16 How do I copy a channel?
- 30.17 Can each scene within a single preset contain different blocks?
- 30.18 Input Level in I/O menu: does it prevent output clipping or make the signal softer or louder?
- 30.19 What's phase cancellation or comb filtering, and why should I worry?
- 30.20 Why does the volume decrease or increase when I bypass an effect in a parallel row?
- 30.21 How do I lower the CPU usage of a preset?
- 30.22 Why should I place an effect before (PRE) or after (POST) the amp or cab?
- 30.23 Why is my block stuck in bypass mode?
- 30.24 Where do I find the Metronome settings?
- 30.25 Does the device provide a Limiter?
- 30.26 Why don't I hear repeats from the 2290 delay type?
- 30.27 Why can't I adjust the time (milliseconds) in a Delay block?
- 30.28 How do I boost the volume level of my solos?
- 30.29 Why don't the fuzz models sound and respond as their real counterparts?
- 30.30 Where do I find more information about a Drive model?
- 30.31 Why am I hearing clicks and crackling noise in my preset?
- 30.32 The Axe-Fx III display shows several lines of text information on startup. Is this normal?
- 30.33 Why is the output level of the Axe-Fx III lower than that of the II?
- 30.34 I want to use Input/Output 2, 3 or 4 as an effects loop but I don't hear the signal
- 30.35 FAQ on the Fractal Audio forum
- 30.36 Why doesn't the editor or Fractal-Bot recognize the unit?
- 30.37 Does the editor allow offline editing?
- 30.38 Why do I have to press Save twice when changing the preset title?
- 30.39 How do I use Manage Presets and Manage Cabs?
- 30.40 Do I have to convert IRs in .wav format before using them in an editor?
- 30.41 Expression pedal
- 31 Videos
TOP 3 tips!
- Check your cables.
- Check your cables.
- Check your cables.
The trouble is almost always a cable, connector, a volume knob setting, an exhausted battery, or something else very basic.
AC Line Frequency: set for your country
If you are using the Axe-Fx III, FM9, or FM3 in a region where AC power frequency is 50Hz instead of 60Hz, change the AC Line Frequency setting in the Global Settings menu for better noise gate control. Read this: Noise gate.
CPU: stay below 80%
Double-clicking a control in the editor does not recall the correct default value
When double-clicking a control in the editor, it gets reset to a default value, not necessarily the default value. Only a soft-reset of the amp type (re-select) or a hard reset of the block or channel pulls the correct values from the hardware.
Emergency boot recovery
If the FC controller won't power on properly, or if the processor shuts down or starts blinking all lights, it's almost certainly caused by the cable. Use another standard microphone cable instead. Read this: FASLINK.
FRFR, what's that?
FRFR = full-range, flat response. This acronym is used to describe a “neutral” speaker or speaker system that is designed to reproduce the entire audible spectrum of 20 Hz – 20kHz without emphasis or de-emphasis. Examples of FRFR systems would include studio monitors and properly designed PA systems or components. Many manufacturers are also offering FRFR systems designed specifically for direct guitar applications. Read this: Connections and levels.
Global blocks won't stick
This applies to the Axe-Fx III only: if changes to Global blocks do not longer seem to stick, or the values are off, there's no available storage space anymore.
Hardware I/O test
Here's how to test the input and output ports: Realtime Analyzer block.
Humbuster: which end of a cable goes where
A Humbuster cable has a "mono" (one stripe) and a "stereo" (two stripes) end. The 'stereo" end goes into the output of the Fractal Audio device.
Input 1 is clipping
Leaving the device switched on: is it bad?
Mobile app: is there one?
Use FracPad to control the device on a tablet or smartphone.
New to modeling, where do I start?
The Fractal Audio Systems user forum is where users gather to help each other and discuss various topics related to Fractal Audio and their products. The Read Me and Forum Rules pages are recommended first stops.
If the device or preset doesn't produce any sound, check the following:
- CHECK YOUR CABLES!
- Device has the latest firmware installed?
- Input is connected to Output on the grid through blocks or shunts?
- Bypass Mode in bypassed blocks is not set to “Mute”?
- The physical output corresponds with the Output block instance on the grid?
- Blocks are set to the correct channel?
- The Cab block doesn't point to an empty user cab slot?
- Volume block with an attached controller is not set to zero volume?
- Output level knobs on the hardware are turned up?
- FX8 has the correct "pre/post" preset config?
- The Return Level in the Feedback Return block is turned up?
- Noise Gate (in Input block or separate block) doesn't have its Threshold set too high?
- Scene output level in Output block is turned up?
- Digital audio: USB Level or AES / SPDIF is turned up in I/O?
- Gain in the Global EQ isn't turned down?
- Monitors or other amplification is turned on?
Power on issues
- Emergency Boot Recovery
- Bypass a corrupt preset at startup
- Bypass global parameters at startup
- Presets appear empty
Reference sound clips
Go to this forum thread to hear sound clips of a factory preset (Plexi) without any tweaks, EQ-ing etc whatsoever, recorded with different guitars. This provides a reference when you think there might be something wrong with your rig.
Reset system parameters
Resetting the system parameters can solve mysterious issues.
Sample rate: can I change it?
Can I copy a scene into another preset
- Make sure the device is connected correctly. Read this: Connections and levels.
- Download and install the software driver for the device to work with your computer, if required. Read this: USB and Firmware.
- Install the editor.
- Reset the system parameters.
- Download the latest set of Factory presets and install them using Fractal-Bot.
Signal flow: use the meters
The Axe-Fx III, FM9, and FM3 make it easy to see if (and where) the signal flow is interrupted:
- Go to Layout > Meters to see the meters for all blocks on the grid.
- Check the Input and Output meters on the front/top panel to verify that there’s an input and output signal.
- Check the blocks to detect any issues. The top two rows indicate the incoming stereo signal, the bottom two rows indicate output.
Sound is harsh and brittle
- Perhaps you disconnected an expression pedal that controlled your Wah, and now all your presets with a Wah block have the Wah enabled.
- Verify that Power Amp Modeling in the Global Settings menu is not turned off.
- Verify that Cabinet Modeling in the Global Settings menu is not turned off.
- If you're hearing crackling noises, check the CPU usage of the preset.
Sound at rehearsals and gigs is not as great as at home: what can I do?
There are multiple possible reasons:
If you want to make sure that the hardware is capable of generating sound, create a simple test tone:
- Add a Synth block and connect it to the grid output.
- Select the Sine waveform and turn off Tracking.
Thump: how can I get that from my traditional guitar cabinet?
A modeler doesn't interact with a solid state amp and a traditional guitar cabinet in the same way that a tube power amp does. To get the traditional speaker cab to resonate, select an appropriate speaker impedance curve in the Amp block or detect the frequency at which your cabinet starts to resonate. To do the latter, use of these methods:
- Use a dedicated hardware meter (like from Daytona Audio) to measure the speaker.
- Send a Sine wave (using the Synth block) to the speaker and change the frequency until you hear and feel the speaker resonate. Set Low Resonant Frequency in the Amp block to that frequency.
- Disable the Cab block in the preset. Add a Filter after the Amp block, set to Peaking, Q at 5 and Gain at 10 dB. Start at 50 Hz, play some chugga-chugga (or use the Looper) and slowly adjust the frequency until you hear and feel the cabinet resonate. Remove the filter block, set the Amp block's Low Resonant Frequency to match.
Tuner is off
If the tuner seems off, and the device is digitally connected to another device, change the sample rate of the other device to 48kHz.
Tuner screen doesn't appear
Make sure that the Tuner is set at its first page.
USB Audio / AES / SPDIF signal level is too low
Adjust the Return Level parameter in the I/O menu.
When will the editor be updated to match the firmware that just has been released?
"Soon". Editor updates are provided once a new, non-beta, firmware has been released. Editor updates usually lag by no more than a couple of business days.
I updated to the beta/recent release firmware, and I don't see the new feature in the editor?
Sometimes a new version of the editor has to be released and installed to support the new firmware feature. Wait for the release.
I installed an updated editor, but it still doesn't seem to work right?
If you installed the updated editor that was released to support the new feature, and it won't work as expected, refresh its definitions.
Where can I get a copy of older versions of the firmware or editor?
Try the AxeFX Archive site.
Do I need to reset the Amp blocks in my presets after updating the firmware?
Only if the firmware release notes tell you to do so. Read this: Reset Amp.
Where can I find the names of the real amps on which the models are based?
Read this: Amplifier models list.
For in-depth information about each amp model, read Yek's Guide to the Fractal Audio Amp Models.
Where can I find more information about the stock cabs?
Read this: Cabinet models list.
Why doesn’t this virtual amp model sound the same as my real amp?
The sound of a traditional amp (combo or head + cab) is often referred to as: amp in the room. The use of a speaker cabinet with its specific directional characteristics, not being miked, differs greatly from a close-miked speaker, captured as an IR, which is then used in a direct signal going to a mixer or studio monitors or FR amplification.
The direct signal has more lows and highs too because of the proximity effect (distance between mic and speaker). Also, the directivity of studio monitors and FR speakers differs greatly from guitar speakers.
If you want the same sound, use the FAS modeler without cabinet modeling and amplify it:
- with Power Amp Modeling enabled: through a neutral power amp and a traditional guitar cabinet
- with Power Amp Modeling disabled: through a traditional guitar tube amp and a traditional guitar cabinet.
Is a generic preamp-only or power amp-only amp type available?
No. But you can disable the power amp section of any Amp block. In Cygnus firmware, there's a dedicated switch for this. And you can use the TUBE PRE amp model to operate either as a generic preamp or power amp block.
What happens when I reset an Amp block?
A soft reset (performed by re-selecting the amp type) resets most of the parameters. A hard reset resets all parameters. Read this: Amp reset.
Is it possible to show (only) the amp controls that are present on the modeled amp?
Set Tone Control Display to: Authentic.
How do I return to a scene in the state I left it?
The default behavior for recalling scenes is that the blocks are recalled in their stored states. Scene Revert in the MIDI/Remote menu lets you change this. Set this to ON, to be able to return to a scene in the state you left it.
How do I import a preset created on another FAS product?
With Fractal Audio current guitar processors presets are cross-compatible. FracTool offers additional conversion functionality.
Can I overwrite factory presets?
Yes. Factory presets occupy regular preset slots, which are not read-only.
How do I reload a factory preset?
Read this: Factory presets.
How do I copy a channel?
The editors for the Axe-Fx III, FM9 ands FM3 let you copy a single channel through the Channel menu at the bottom of the window. You can also use the Layout > Tools menu on the hardware. At the time of writing, swapping channels is not supported.
Can each scene within a single preset contain different blocks?
No. A preset always has 8 scenes, and all scenes have the same routing and block.
You can do the following per scene:
- set the bypass state of each block
- control the output level of the scene
- set a block to X or Y, or on the Axe-Fx III / FM9 / FM3: to a specific channel.
- set scene controllers
- name scenes
No. Input Level in the I/O menu lets you the optimal input level for SNR: Signal to Noise Ratio. It does NOT prevent output clipping (indicated by the output LED) and it does NOT make the signal softer or louder and it does NOT change the gain of the amp.
What's phase cancellation or comb filtering, and why should I worry?
Read this: Mono/stereo.
Why does the volume decrease or increase when I bypass an effect in a parallel row?
You have to set the parameters correctly for a single effect in as parallel row. Set Mix to 100%, Bypass Mode to Mute In, and set Level as desired (or set Level to 0, and adjust Input Gain). Read this: Series and parallel routing.
How do I lower the CPU usage of a preset?
Read this: CPU usage.
Why should I place an effect before (PRE) or after (POST) the amp or cab?
Sonically speaking, the main reason to care about PRE vs. POST is that a given effect will sound different when placed BEFORE or AFTER the amp (the place where distortion occurs).
How does this difference sound? If you’ve ever switched the sequence of traditional DRIVE and WAH pedals, you’ve heard an excellent example. In the case of wah before overdrive, the resonant filter of the wah “excites” the overdrive in a cool way while still retaining a natural overall tone. When the wah follows distortion, you might hear a more dramatic filtered sweep—with heavy distortion it can get almost synth-like—which might be considered less “classic.” It’s not surprising then that Wah would traditionally be a run as a “PRE” effect between guitar and amp. The amp’s distortion follows the wah effect. Many other effects fall in this same category.
A different example is found in overdrive with reverb and delay. In the natural world, reverb and echo occur because of open spaces around your guitar amp – like a club or concert hall. These effects would therefore NOT be heard before a distorted amp, but after it. Recording studios often add these kinds of effects at the console—after the mic has picked up the distorted sound from the guitar amp. If you wanted to simulate this natural sounding reverb or delay these effects would likely be run “POST.” This is not to say that delay or reverb before distortion is a “no-no.” Many “legendary” tones came from echo units in front of an amp—but this effect is very different from “POST” delay—not only tonally, but also in terms of dynamics.
Why is my block stuck in bypass mode?
The most likely culprit is that you have a modifier assigned to a parameter in the block that is set to Auto-Engage the block when you change the external controller associated with the block. For example, you have a Wah block with an external controller assigned as a modifier of the Control parameter in the block. In that modifier definition you've set up Auto-Engage so the wah block turns on when you rock the expression and off when you return the pedal to the "toe up" position. These settings would prevent you from un-bypassing or bypassing the block using any other means other than rocking or parking the expression pedal.
Where do I find the Metronome settings?
In the Tempo menu.
Does the device provide a Limiter?
In the Compressor block, set Ratio to Infinity" to turn it into a limiter. Read this: Compressor block.
Why don't I hear repeats from the 2290 delay type?
The 2290 delay type has phase on one side reversed and must be heard in stereo. If the signal is summed to mono after the Delay block, delay repeats will disappear because of phase cancellation.
Why can't I adjust the time (milliseconds) in a Delay block?
If the Delay block is set to a specific Tempo, e.g. "1/4", you can't adjust the number of milliseconds.
How do I boost the volume level of my solos?
Add a "null" Filter or a GEQ block at the end of the chain, with increased Level (try 3 to 4 dB).
Why don't the fuzz models sound and respond as their real counterparts?
The Fractal Audio device acts as a buffer and many fuzzes don't like that, because they depend on direct interaction with the guitar's pickups. It's the same with the virtual fuzz models. To improve the authentic behavior of a virtual fuzz model, make sure it's the first non-bypassed block following the Input 1 block and the input block impedance must be set to Auto. Read this: Drive_block.
Where do I find more information about a Drive model?
Read this: Drive block.
Why am I hearing clicks and crackling noise in my preset?
Check the CPU usage of the preset. If it's above the limit then crackling noises may occur. Read this: CPU usage.
If you hear a tick in your audio signal which syncs to the tempo, and it's not the Metronome, it's probably MIDI noise bleeding into the signal. You can easily check this by turning off Send Realtime Sysex in the MIDI/Remote menu. If the noise stops, it's indeed caused by the MIDI cabling. Use better MIDI cables and keep the MIDI cables away from problematic sources.
The Axe-Fx III display shows several lines of text information on startup. Is this normal?
Why is the output level of the Axe-Fx III lower than that of the II?
The default nominal output level of Output 1 and 2 on the Axe-Fx III is -10 dBv. This was done to reduce the number of support cases due to people overloading the inputs on consumer-grade interfaces, mixers, etc. Most professional gear runs at +4 dBu, so when using a pro-grade interface, mixer, etc., you may want to go into the I/O menu and change the Output Level to +4 dBu.
I want to use Input/Output 2, 3 or 4 as an effects loop but I don't hear the signal
Turn up the output level knob on the front panel.
FAQ on the Fractal Audio forum
Read the FM-3 FAQ in the forum.
Why doesn't the editor or Fractal-Bot recognize the unit?
On some computers the editor and Fractal-Bot will work only if a driver has been installed. Check the system requirements and download the driver from Fractal Audio's downloads page if needed.
Does the editor allow offline editing?
No. The editor must be connected to the hardware to operate. This is a design choice which is unlikely to change.
Why do I have to press Save twice when changing the preset title?
You don't have to do that. When editing the preset title field, make sure to press Enter to make the editor aware of the title. Then press Save to store.
How do I use Manage Presets and Manage Cabs?
Manage Presets and
Manage Cabs use a Browser pane at the left of the window. To show or hide the Browser pane click on the Browser menu at the top-left of Axe-Manage and choose "
Show / Hide". Or use the key sequence CTRL+B on Windows or CMD+B on MacOS.
Do I have to convert IRs in .wav format before using them in an editor?
No. The editor can import .wav files directly. Simply drag-and-drop any number of .wav files into the Browser pane to allow conversion. From the Browser pane you can now either Auto-Audition the files to a Scratchpad or drag from the Browser pane to a User cab slot.
To convert a batch of Wave files, use Cab-Lab.