Always consult the Owners Manuals first.
Note: the wiki is currently being updated with information about the FM3.
- 1 About firmware numbering
- 2 Check the firmware version
- 3 Download new firmware
- 4 Install new firmware
- 5 Firmware release notes
- 6 Update the editor
- 7 Audition presets after updating
- 8 Troubleshooting
- 9 More information
About firmware numbering
"Major revisions occur when there's a substantive change to the modeling algorithms." source
Check the firmware version
Go to the Utility menu to see the version of the installed firmware. Some devices display the version on the Home page.
Fractal-Bot displays the current version upon connecting.
Download new firmware
Install new firmware
Firmware is installed using Fractal-Bot, through USB.
In some case Fractal-Bot needs to operate in a special mode. Press CTRL (Windows) or Command (Mac), and click the dropdown menu to reveal and select the hidden “Utility” option. Then select the output port.
Updating firmware does not erase the presets.
Firmware installation on an Axe-Fx III takes about 5-7 minutes.
"5--7 minutes is normal. The firmware image is quite a bit larger than the II (about 5x) so it takes a longer to transmit." source
Firmware release notes
Read the release notes for present and previous firmware versions:
Update the editor
After updating the firmware, the editor's definitions needs to be refreshed. If the editor doesn't recognize the updated firmware automatically, do it manually.
Sometimes a new version of the editor has to be released and installed to support the new firmware feature. Software 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.
Audition presets after updating
Updated firmware may cause changes in your presets. Read the firmware release notes and verify your presets.
About changes in amp modeling:
- if new firmware includes changes in amp modeling, these are often implemented under the hood. As an user you DO NOT need to do anything, UNLESS the firmware release notes instruct otherwise.
- sometimes the firmware itself can't (or won't) enforce fixes or improvements and leaves it to the user to implement these. In such cases the release notes will tell you to "deselect-and-reselect" a specific amp type in existing presets (aka a "soft reset").
- if the new firmware includes major changes to the modeling, re-selecting every amp type in your presets is recommended, as will be stated in the release notes. It's a chore, but necessary to take advantage of improvements.
Emergency boot recovery
Built-in backup firmware in the Axe-Fx III, Axe-Fx II XL and XL+, FX8 and AX8 allows quick recovery in case of complications during or after updating.
Axe-Fx III — hold down PAGE LEFT and PAGE RIGHT while cycling power. Read this too
FM3 — hold down PAGE LEFT and PAGE RIGHT while cycling power
Axe-Fx II XL/XL+ — hold down Page Left and Page Right while cycling power until the Emergency Utility menu appears
FX8 — hold down SETUP and power the unit on. Hold the button for about 1 second beyond the power up, then release. The unit will now allow you to install firmware using Fractal-Bot
AX8 — hold down SHIFT and power the unit on. Hold the button for about 1 second beyond the power up, then release. The unit will now allow you to install firmware using Fractal-Bot
If the unit sounds bad after an update, try this: Reset system parameters
"There's multiple levels of error checking. First the USB endpoint is a bulk endpoint so it has guaranteed transmission. Then each packet has a checksum. Then the entire image has a checksum. Finally the image written to the FLASH is compared to the downloaded image byte-by-byte. It's virtually impossible to have corrupted firmware image." source
Emergency Boot Recovery is different from the procedure to bypass a corrupt preset at startup. To do the latter, read this: Corrupt preset at startup
Load a preset on older firmware
If a preset shows up empty, it was probably created with firmware that is more recent than loaded on your hardware. Update your unit's firmware.
Will repeating the installation of firmware fix issues?
The official response to this is that reinstalling the same firmware will not fix an issue resulting from installing new firmware.
(from the Axe-FX III Owner's Manual)
Q: How do I know the upgrade worked?
A: Check your firmware version anytime by pressing the SETUP button (Push-knob E) on the Home page. The version is displayed at the top of the Setup menu.
Q: Can I skip versions to go from a very old firmware version to a much newer one?
A: You can upgrade from any version to any other version. When you skip versions it is recommended that you also read the Release Notes for all interim versions, all of which are included with every firmware release.
Q: Will updating my Axe-Fx II firmware upgrade my factory presets?
A: Updating firmware does not upgrade Factory Presets. Updated Factory Presets, when offered, are released as a separate update on our web site support page. Fractal-Bot can be used to transmit this update in the same way it is used to update firmware.
Q: Will updating my Axe-Fx II firmware erase my customized presets?
A: Firmware updates do not erase customized presets. However, firmware updates may alter the sound of existing presets. Always read the Release Notes included with a given version before updating. Saving presets after a firmware update can render them incompatible with previous versions. It is always wise to back up your Axe-Fx II using Fractal-Bot before a major update.
Q: The firmware update failed mysteriously. What should I do?
A: If the Axe-Fx still boots normally, just try the update again. If successive failures occur, please delete and re-download the update file before trying again. Trying a different USB port or cable can also solve issues.
Q: After updating, my Axe-Fx will no longer boot normally.
A: See Emergency Boot Recovery below.
The Axe-Fx firmware is coded in C and assembly. source
"The Axe-Fx II can be reprogrammed at least 100,000 times." source
"Most DSP compilers include library functions for common signal processing functions. However every library I've seen makes the same mistakes in several important and oft-used functions. I can't disclose what functions and what those mistakes are but because of this we use our own hand-coded assembly functions for our own libraries. The results are measurable and audible especially when dealing with the special requirements of amp modeling. I should add that these libraries are low-level functions like FFT() and such. You're not going to find a library that implements a Tube Screamer or even something more granular like a diode clipping circuit. That all has to be developed in-house." source