Always consult the official Owners Manuals first!

X/Y switching

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This page discusses a feature of legacy products and will not be updated.

Available on which products

  • Axe-Fx III: no (replaced with Channels)
  • FM9: no (replaced with Channels)
  • FM3: no (replaced with Channels)
  • Axe-Fx II: yes
  • AX8: yes
  • FX8: yes

What is X/Y switching

Most effect blocks in the Axe-Fx II, FX8 and AX8 can be switched quickly between two sets of settings: X and Y.


  • Amp X = clean, Amp Y = high gain
  • Phaser X = Script 90, Phaser Y = Vibe
  • Rotary X = slow, Rotary Y = fast
  • Cab X = mono, Cab Y = stereo
  • GEQ X = soft boost, GEQ Y = loud boost

"The idea behind X/Y is that people often have multiple distortion/chorus/delay/etc. pedals on their board but they rarely have more than one on at a time. So rather than creating more instances of effects, which sucks up CPU, have each instance capable of more than one sound." [1]

X/Y switching has been replaced with Channels on next generation Fractal Audio products (Axe-Fx III, FM3).

Which effect blocks support X/Y

Axe-Fx II Mark I and II – Amp, Cab, Chorus, Delay, Drive, Flanger, Phaser, Pitch, Reverb, Wah, Rotary

Axe-Fx II XL and XL+ – Amp, Cab, Chorus, Compressor/Dynamics, Delay, Drive, Flanger, GEQ, Gate, Mixer, PEQ, Phaser, Pitch, Rotary, Reverb, Tremolo, Wah

AX8 – Amp, Cab, Chorus, Compressor/Dynamics, Delay, Drive, Filter, Flanger, Gate, Multi Delay, Phaser, Pitch, Rotary, Reverb, Tremolo, Wah

FX8 – Chorus, Compressor/Dynamics, Delay, Drive, Filter, Flanger, Gate, MIDI, Multi Delay, Phaser, Pitch, Relay, Rotary, Reverb, Tremolo, Wah

Regarding transferring presets on the Axe-Fx II:

"Any blocks that have X/Y on the XL but not on the Mark II will not import the bypass state as that is stored differently. You need to manually adjust the bypass state after import." [2]

Switch between X and Y

Axe-Fx II — In the Edit mode of a block, press the dedicated X/Y buttons on the front panel.

FX8 and AX8:

  • Hold a switch (1-8) to alternate between X and Y. If the LED is amber lit, Y is active.
  • Assign one of the three F-switches to "Single X/Y" or "Sticky X/Y", then press the switch which has been assigned to the effect.
  • Switch a block between X and Y on the grid using a shortcut key:
    • AX8 — SHIFT + 2x EDIT on LAYOUT page, or 2x EDIT in a block's editing mode
    • FX8 — 2x EDIT on CFG screen

Scenes — The X/Y state of an effect can be set per scene.

Editors — Press the "X" key on the keyboard to switch a block between X and Y in the software editor. The X/Y state of each block is shown in the software editor, without needing to select the block first.

MFC-101 and other MIDI controllers — Most blocks have a dedicated MIDI CC for X/Y switching. These are listed in the manuals. Assign the CC to a switch to alternate between X and Y.

You can configure X/Y effect blocks to engage the effect in either X or Y mode. Example: ([3])

  1. IA Switch 1, ON message: DELAY 1 ON, DELAY 1 X (CC#47:127, CC#106: 127)
  2. IA Switch 1, OFF message: DELAY 1 OFF, DELAY 1 X (CC#47:0, CC#106: 127)
  3. IA Switch 2, OFF message: DELAY 1 ON, DELAY 1 Y (CC#47:127, CC#106: 0)
  4. IA Switch 2, OFF message: DELAY 1 OFF, DELAY 1 Y (CC#47:0, CC#106: 0)

Or use a MIDI controller's "group" or "linked switches" feature.

On the MFC-101 MIDI foot controller X is green, Y is red. If you prefer the default state to be green, use Y as the default state.

Note that not all effect blocks which support X/Y have a specific MIDI CC for that task. The FX8 lets you assign CCs to those, the Axe-Fx II does not. There's a way around this. Use a MIDI Monitor to detect the MIDI sysex command that switches the block between X/Y. Then program a switch on the controller using that data.

Visual indication

Axe-Fx II and FX8 — The current X/Y state of the selected block is shown in an effect block's EDIT menu (not on the Layout page).

AX8 — The current X/Y state of the selected block is shown at the bottom of the Layout page.

The visual X/Y state of effects blocks is shown in the software editors.

CPU usage

CPU usage is calculated using the current block state (X or Y). When switching an effect between X/Y, the preset's CPU usage may change.

Copy and paste X or Y

The "X" settings can be copied to "Y", and vice versa, on the front panel of the Axe-Fx II by pressing the X or Y button twice quickly. There's no equivalent shortcut on the AX8 and FX8 hardware.

The software editor can be used to copy and paste an entire block or just the X or Y settings within the preset or to another preset.

Swap X and Y

Swapping X/Y settings of a block requires use of the editor.

Block reset and X/Y

Resetting block settings on the hardware resets the parameters to their default values. This only applies to the current state: X or Y.

To reset the entire block, switch to the other state and repeat the process, or use the software editor to reset the entire block.

Modifiers and X/Y

If a modifier has been assigned to a parameter, it always applies to both X and Y. It's not possible to have different modifier settings for X and Y, the architecture doesn't allow this. [4]

Recall Effect and X/Y

The Recall Effect function (which copies block settings from another preset) always imports both X and Y settings. If you want to copy just X or just Y, use the software editor.

X/Y switching can cause an audio gap

When switching an Amp block between X and Y, there will be a short gap in the sound.

Read this: Switching between amp sounds

Compare sounds and settings with X/Y

X/Y switching offers an easy way to compare sounds when tweaking. Example:

  1. Go to an Amp block, state "X"
  2. Double-click "Y" on the front panel to copy the "X" settings into "Y"
  3. Select X or Y, and adjust settings
  4. Now alternate between X and Y to see and hear the differences

You can also do this in the software editor.

This also offers an easy method to quickly see non-default settings, by resetting one side to default settings.

An alternative approach to comparing sounds on the Axe-Fx II is to save a preset as a Snapshot in the editor. Select Revert to get the original sound back. Then drag and drop the snapshot file into the editor.

Crossfading sounds

Sounds do not crossfade when switching between X and Y. Use Scene Controllers to accomplish this.