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Firmware 10.00 for the Axe-Fx II has been released. Below are the release notes.
Click here for the complete list of Release Notes for the Axe-Fx II.
10.00 Release Notes:
NOTE: THIS IS A MAJOR FIRMWARE UPDATE, PARTICULARLY IN REGARDS TO AMPLIFIER MODELING. THIS FIRMWARE MAY, AND LIKELY WILL, CHANGE THE SOUND OF EXISTING PRESETS. YOU SHOULD AUDITION ALL YOUR PRESETS AFTER INSTALLATION AND CHECK FOR PROPER OPERATION AND TONE. AN AMP MODEL CAN BE RESET BY TEMPORARILY CHANGING THE AMP TYPE AND THEN CHANGING BACK TO THE DESIRED TYPE. THIS WILL LOAD THE MODEL WITH DEFAULT PARAMETERS.
WARNING!!! THE RESPONSE OF THIS FIRMWARE IS SIGNIFICANTLY MORE DYNAMIC THAN PREVIOUS VERSIONS. USE CAUTION WHEN AUDITIONING OLDER PRESETS AS THE INCREASED DYNAMIC RANGE CAN CAUSE CLIPPING OF THE AXE-FX OR CONNECTED EQUIPMENT AS WELL AS SPEAKER OR HEARING DAMAGE. FRACTAL AUDIO SYSTEMS, LLC ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR DAMAGE TO EQUIPMENT OR HEARING CAUSED BY USE OF THIS FIRMWRE AND ITS INTENDED EQUIPMENT.
- Implemented “Multi-point Iterative Matching and Impedance Correction” technology (MIMICTM P.A.F.) to amp models. MIMIC applies analytic signals to an amplifier and captures the fine nuances of each amp at various points in the circuit and corrects each model vs. its theoretical implementation. In some cases the difference can be substantial, in other cases the difference is minimal. This depends on the layout of the amp and the various parasitics involved. MIMIC has the advantage of applying these corrections at the appropriate location in the amp model rather than as just an output EQ so that the various controls of the model behave virtually identically to the actual. For example, the Modern modes of a Dual Rectifier are highly sensitive to Master Volume with the tone becoming thicker as the MV is increased. MIMIC preserves this behavior rather than just getting louder as the Master Volume is increased. The equalization correction portion of MIMIC processing can be turned off in the Advanced menu tab of the Amp block, if desired. Note that the nonlinear correction and other aspects of MIMIC are integral to a model and cannot be turned off. In many cases the equalization correction can be subtle and many not be immediately audible when switched on or off.
- Updated numerous amp model details in light of MIMIC’s identification of deviations between the models and actual amps.
- Added 35 cabinet models from the first of our “producer packs”, created at Wellspring Sound and Mad Oak Studios. These models are custom blended IRs using multiple mics on the cabinet. Hand-tuned by the producer, these IRs are ready- to-go with little additional EQ required for mix-ready results. The first 30 of the IRs are guitar amp cabinets and the last five are bass amp cabs. The individual IRs from each mic will also be available as a separate download.
Also added several artist IRs including two from James Santiago and one from John Petrucci of Dream Theater.
- Increased the number of User Cabinet slots to 100 (plus one scratch-pad location). Note that the upper 50 are saved in a different area of memory and are not dumped or restored when doing a system dump/restore. A “Scratch-Pad” location has also been added. This dummy location can be used to receive cabinet data but is not saved to non-volatile memory. This allows auditioning IRs without overwriting any of the user slots.
- Amp models now default to a starting Master Volume setting when selected. Also, the proper setting for non-MV amps is now a Master Volume setting of 10.0. Non- MV amps, therefore, will default to a value of 10.0 when selected. If more MV drive is desired for non-MV amps, the new MSTR VOL TRIM parameter in the Advanced GUI page can be used to increase (or decrease) the Master Volume. The starting MV value for non-MV amps is roughly the “sweet spot” for the amp. This is the point where the power amp starts to contribute to the tone and feel of the amp. Decreasing the MV will typically cause the amp to get brighter and less compressed and increasing the MV will cause the amp to get more midrange focus and more compressed. As always, your ears should be your guide.
- Tweaked power amp modeling slightly to increase even-order harmonics. This makes most models “sweeter”.
- Improved triode modeling removes “glare” from distortion yielding greater clarity and string separation. Note that the Triode Hardness parameter operates differently than before and also defaults to an appropriate value when the model type is selected. Existing presets are automatically updated upon recall.
- Improved power tube modeling gives more punch and pop, especially to tones that rely on power amp distortion. Additionally this provides a more dynamic response, better touch sensitivity and improved pick attack.
- Amp block power supply modeling now models AC rectification and resulting supply ripple (if Pwr Supply Type is set to ‘AC’). The power supply type can be selected between AC and DC with the Pwr Supply Type parameter. The line frequency can be selected with the AC Line Freq parameter. Note that high values of Sag along with low B+ Time Constant values can cause “ghost notes” when the supply type is AC (as in a real amp). Lower B+ Time Constant values will make the amp feel “faster” but too low can cause ghost notes.
- Added Tube Type parameter to amp block. This allows selecting Tetrode (i.e. 6L6, KT66, etc.) or Pentode (i.e. EL34, 6BQ5, etc.) power tube types. The type defaults to the appropriate value when a model is chosen but may be overridden by the user.
- Improved “Drive Stack” accuracy in Amp block. This allows for near exact control behavior for the Drive control over the full range of operation.
- Added “Dynamic Presence” control to Amp block. This models the output transformer leakage inductance that results in a brightening of the tone when the power amp is pushed. This control is set to a default value when the model is selected corresponding to the real amp, if applicable. Increasing this value results in a brighter response as the virtual power amp is pushed. When playing softly or at lower gains, the influence of this control is lessened. Note that this only affects the power amp modeling and is dependent on the degree of power amp overdrive. This control can also be set negative to cause the tone to darken when playing hard. This control can also be used to help “dial in” the sweet spot of an amp model. As the MV is increased an amp becomes more liquid, compressed and easier to play. However, the highs may get overly compressed causing the amp to sound too dark. The Dynamic Presence control allows you to get the desired power amp drive and liquid feeling and then bring the highs back without affecting the rest of the spectrum.
- Added “Dynamic Depth” control to Amp block. Analogous to the Dynamic Presence control, this increases or decreases low frequencies when the virtual amp is being pushed. While real amps don’t display this behavior, it is a valuable tone-shaping tool.
- Added “Character” and “Character Frequency” to Amp block. These two parameters control a powerful “inverse homomorphic filter”. When playing softly this dynamic filter has little effect on the sound. As the amount of distortion increases, the influence of the filter increases. The Character Frequency control sets the center frequency of the filter while the Character control sets how pronounced the effect is. For example, to darken the tone when playing harder, one might set the frequency to 10 kHz and the amount to -5. Setting the amount to +5 will make the tone brighter when playing hard. The amount defaults to zero whenever an amp type is selected.
- Dynamic Presence, Dynamic Depth and the Character controls allow the user to craft the final tone in a very musical way without sounding artificial. With these controls the axiom “a little goes a long way” is applicable. For example, if you find the tone too harsh, reduce the Character Amount slightly. If you want a little more “girth”, increase Dynamic Depth a bit. While these controls will cause the tone to deviate from perfect accuracy, they allow the user to make adjustments that would be very difficult to accomplish in an actual tube amp. Furthermore these adjustments can be used to reduce “flaws” in the actual amp’s design, i.e. too much low end flub, etc. without adversely affecting the feel and naturalness of the tone.
- Added “Thunk” control to amp block. This parameter allows adding “weight” to tones by simulating the very low-frequency interaction of a speaker cabinet with the guitar. Higher values simulate closer proximity of the guitar to the cabinet.
- Added Bias Tremolo to Amp block. This is a true bias tremolo and works by varying the bias of the virtual power tubes. The tremolo action is therefore different than other types of tremolo and the amount of tremolo varies with a multitude of variables, most importantly the tremolo is “self-ducking” and decreases at higher signal amplitudes. Note particularly that bias tremolo is a somewhat crude tremolo circuit and it’s interaction with the power amp depends on many things including damping, bias, etc. On some amps high values of bias trem depth can result in excessive crossover distortion. On other amps the amount of tremolo can vary greatly between loud and soft playing. All this, however, is part of the allure of bias tremolo as it results in a particularly “organic” sound. Control of the bias tremolo is afforded by the Trem Freq and Trem Depth parameters. A modifier can be attached to Trem Depth to facilitate engaging and disengaging the tremolo via footswitch or for other applications.
- All Mesa Mark lead models have been reworked and renamed for clarity. The models and their respective settings are as follows:
USA LEAD: Pull Bright off, Mid Gain off.
USA LEAD BRT: Pull Bright on, Mid Gain off.
USA LEAD +: Pull Bright off, Mid Gain on.
USA LEAD BRT +: Pull Bright on, Mid Gain on.
- Note that the models are modeled with the amp’s Pull Shift knob disengaged. To replicate the function of the Pull Shift, set the Depth to zero. Also note that the gain of these models has been increased by about two as most people set the Drive knob higher than the setting used in the original models. You can fine- tune the gain using the Input Trim parameter in the Advanced menu. Also note that the Presence control (as in the actual amp) is neutral when set to 5.00 (noon). Turning the knob CCW decreases the amount of presence and vice-versa. By comparison, most amps are only able to increase presence and the control is neutral when set to zero.
- All Recto models have been reworked. Note that the Orange Modern and Red Modern models have no negative feedback and therefore the Presence control is a Hi Cut control. The operation of this control is reversed as compared to the actual amp. If the amp’s Presence control is fully clockwise the corresponding setting of the model’s Hi Cut control is fully ccw. Also note that the model’s Hi Cut control has about twice the range of the actual amp so fully ccw on the amp is equal to about noon on the model. As noted in the paragraph on MIMIC, the Modern modes are highly sensitive to MV setting. Higher MV settings result in more midrange focus while lower MV settings produce a more scooped tone. It is recommended to experiment with the MV setting to achieve the desired tone while compensating for the level increase/decrease with the Level control.
- Completely reworked 65 Bassguy model. This amp has a very peculiar feedback circuit that was not fully modeled before. The feedback is now fully modeled yielding the unique voice of this legendary amp. For best results it is recommended to reset the model by selecting another model and then reselecting the desired model.
- Reworked Euro Blue and Red models based on a Bogner Ecstacy 20th Anniversary amplifier. For best results it is recommended to reset the model by selecting another model and then reselecting the desired model.
- Fixed incorrect inter-stage coupling cap in Wrecker 1 model. Also increased maximum MV value slightly as this was a little low.
- Completely reworked PVH 6160 model based on “Block Letter” EVH 5150. This model has been renamed “PVH 6160 Block”.
- Added “PVH 6160 II” model based on a Peavey 6505+.
- Added “Solo 100 Clean” model based on the clean channel of a Soldano SLO100.
- Added “USA Pre Green” and “USA Pre Yellow amp models based on Mesa Triaxis LD2 modes. Note that these were modeled with the Triaxis Presence control at maximum as this control is actually a hi-cut control. Also note that the mid control in the model has far more range than the preamp. At a value of 5.0 the responses will match but the amount of mid cut on the Axe-Fx is greater.
- Added “CA3+ Clean” amp model based on channel 1 of a CAE 3+ SE preamp. All three channels are now modeled.
- The ODS-100 models were redone and matched to a Dumble Overdrive Special, S/N 0213. This particular amp is a 100W “HRM” version. The lead channel was matched with the preamp bypass (PAB) engaged which bypasses the input tone stack. The lead channel was also modeled with the Drive control at approximately 7.0. The Input Trim parameter can be used to increase or decrease the drive. Note that the clean channel has a bright cap on the Master Volume. This causes the tone to get brighter as the MV is reduced and vice-versa.
- Renamed FOX ODS to FOX ODS I (see below).
- Added “FOX ODS II” model. This model is the same as the FOX ODS I model but with the “MID” switch off.
- Added “BRIT JVM OD1 GN” AND “BRIT JVM OD2 GN” models based on the Green modes of a Marshall JVM410. The existing models have been renamed to “BRIT JVM OD1 OR” and “BRIT JVM OD2 OR” as they model the Orange modes. Note that the Red modes of this amp are simply boosted versions of the Orange modes and can be reproduced by engaging the Boost switch or increasing the Input Trim parameter.
- Added “VIBRATO-LUX” model based on a 1963 Fender VibroLux.
- Added “BRIT 800 MOD” amp model. This model is based on popular modified Marshall JCM800. These mods make the amp “heavier” and less strident.
- Added “NUCLEAR-TONE” amp model based on a Swart Atomic Space Tone. As with the actual amp the bias tremolo is particularly effective.
- Added “BLUDOJAI” amp models based on a Bludotone Ojai. Both clean and lead modes were modeled with preamp boost (PAB) engaged as the owner prefers this. To disengage PAB change the tonestack type to Skyline.
- Renamed “SUPER TREM” model to “SUPREMO TREM” to avoid confusion with other models.
- Removed Mid Freq parameters from Speaker tab of amp block. MIMIC renders these controls irrelevant and better results are obtained by using any of the EQ resources.
- Fixed Hi Cut control in Amp block not working properly for some amp types.
- Removed all Motor Drive processing in cab block if Motor Drive is set to zero. This is subtle but there was a tiny bit of coloration before even when the Motor Drive was off.
- Removed redundant parameters from Amp block Advanced tab. Moved Amp Voicing to Advanced tab. Also removed grid excursion parameters. These parameters can still be accessed via Axe-Edit.
- Changed outermost bands in all graphic EQs to shelving types.
- Added Lowcut and Hicut parameters to Filter blocks. These are first-order filters that can be used alone or in conjunction with the higher-order filter. To use them alone set the Type to None. Setting the parameters to their minimum or maximum values, respectively, removes the filters from the signal path.
- Improved Tone Match block accuracy, especially for low frequencies.
- Added “Start Both” to Tone Match block. Pushing the UP button starts both channels of the acquisition engine simultaneously. This is useful when matching real-time sources like amps or other modelers since starting both acquisitions at the exact same time enhances accuracy. Note that both should be stopped at the same time as well by using the Enter button.
- Improved mid-frequency accuracy of Rotary block.
- New Looper feature “Trim” allows the user to trim the start and end points of the loop. Use Nav keys to select either Start or End and then turn the value wheel to adjust the trim. Modifiers can be attached to Start or End by hitting Enter when either one is selected. Also, this new page will show a playback indicator and drawing of the loop waveform.
- New Looper parameter “Play Immediate” (on Page 2) determines if playback starts immediately after user presses “Record” to finish a recording. This allows flexibility to allow a user to record a loop and save it for later as opposed to always starting playback immediately (note that even if this parameter is set to OFF, the user could still press “Play” to finish a recording and have it start playing immediately).
- User can now press “Overdub” to finish a recording and it will immediately go into Play w/Overdub mode.
- Modifiers can now be attached to Looper Play, Reverse, and Half parameters. These can be attached on Page 2. The state of the parameters is indicated but cannot be changed from this page, only from Page 1. NOTE: Modifiers are IGNORED if Record mode is ON. This prevents the user from having to de-attach and re- attach modifiers when recording new loops.
- Improved all Drive models based on Tube Screamer circuit (Super OD, T808 OD, T808 OD Mod, Full OD, BB Pre, Eternal Love and Zen Master). Also reworked the Esoteric ACB, Esoteric RCB and Bender Fuzz models.
- Improved preset switching latency.
- Fixed FX Loop LVL 1 parameter getting corrupted during scene recalls.
- When in the Type page of the Amp block, the A,B, and C Quick-Control knobs now control Drive, MV and Level, respectively. This allows for quicker auditioning of the various models.
- Added LFO smoothing to Chorus and Flanger blocks when using discontinuous LFO waveforms (i.e. square, saw, etc.).
- Added Fetch Backup Patch and Fetch Factory Patch functions to Utility menu. These functions can be used to recall individual presets from backup or factory memory.