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Axe-Fx XL+

IS QUALITY WITHOUT COMPROMISE POSSIBLE?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all you had to take with you to a gig or to the studio was a small box that you just had to connect up and you’d be ready to play within a couple of minutes? With everything you needed, with all the options you could imagine and with sounds that you can’t even begin to imagine yet? And all this in a quality that causes dropped jaws and looks of disbelief everywhere? We think this dream is possible. Science fiction was yesterday, now it’s 2015. The Axe-Fx II/XL+ is here. For you.

Axe-Fx II XL+ Sound Clips

WHAT IS THE AXE-FX II XL+?

The Axe-Fx II XL+ is a digital multi-effects processor for guitar: it can hold its own in any studio/recording/live situation and always stands out due to its high quality in every respect. Components, sound, variability, connections – all of them are the best there is. The Axe-Fx II XL+ is completely programmable with free routing of all effects and can be controlled externally in almost every way. Despite all this it is unbelievably easy to use, which soon makes it a central component of your sound. Whether used as a complete solution that replaces an entire rack full of equipment or integrated into such a rack, the Axe-Fx II XL+ can be perfectly tailored to suit your needs. Without having to make any compromises.

MULTI-CULTI

The Axe-Fx II XL+ is both a multi-effects device and a guitar preamp and thus a complete solution for all types of guitar signal processing. Many bass players also use Axe-Fx IIs and there have even been sightings of use with pedal steel guitars, cellos and clarinets. All the classic effects and many more besides are included and can be “wired up” pretty much any way you like.

The unprecedented power of the hard and software in the Axe-Fx II XL+ allows the simultaneous use of many effects, often in multiple instances. Two drives in parallel, two wahs working oppositely left and right, four equalisers at various points in the signal chain, all this going into two amps and four cabs, plus as much chorus, reverb and delay as you can stomach… The Axe-Fx II XL+ offers all of this and much more.

It is extremely hard to think of a guitar-based use that the Axe-Fx II XL+ is not easily capable of handling. But then again, that’s what it was designed and built for!

STATE OF THE ART

The Axe-Fx II XL+ has been designed without compromise to meet the highest quality standards in every respect. For every single hardware component the very best available option was chosen, without any bean-counters raising their hands to object at the costs. That is why it is so quiet, that is why it sounds so good and that is why using it is so much fun.

Truly authentic sounding, virtually latency-free audio signal processing requires advanced software programming and complex algorithms. And for such software to do its job properly it needs a suitable hardware environment to work in. The Axe-Fx II XL+ therefore contains not one, but two of the most powerful Analogue Devices DSP chips that money can buy. Only such a high-performance hardware platform is good enough to support the superior software of the Axe-Fx II XL+, as powerful software requires powerful processors.

Whereas with many other products the quality of a component is often decided by someone in the purchasing department, with a controller looking over his/her shoulder, things are different with the Axe-Fx II XL+, where optimum performance and the best possible sound are the goals, regardless of cost. And while programming the algorithms the work is not finished when the effect sounds more-or-less like the original, but when it sounds exactly the same and when all the criteria concerning variability and musicality have been met.

All this means that from the low-noise input through the A/D converter and the unique algorithms to the numerous outputs, the signal chain is completely without compromise and will never impede your creativity in any way.

STUDIO – LIVE – RECORDING

Whether in the studio or live, the Axe-Fx II XL+ is optimised for every situation. The multitude of connections leave nothing to be desired. It can easily be integrated into both analogue and digital studio setups, as well as complex live rigs. Alternatively it can be used as a super-versatile stand-alone solution.
The Axe-Fx II XL+ has more connections than you could shake a stick at – the back of its 2U rack housing is covered with them. With some of these sockets you can even select on a preset to preset basis where in the signal chain they should be placed.

In principle all you need is a guitar and some way of amplifying everything, assuming you don’t want to use the headphone jack. For many guitarists the Axe-Fx II has thus become the “big replacer” – plug in the power cable, guitar in at the front, XLRs out from the back to the PA and you’re ready to go in just a few seconds. It’s the live performer’s dream come true!

But the classic 4x12 look and amp feel are possible too: simply turn off the power amp and cabinet simulation and play through a valve power amp and a real cab. The direct feed to the mixing desk can still use the power amp and cab simulations.

You can even use the Axe-Fx II XL+ as a preamp and to simulate stomp box effects such as drive pedals, then go into your tube amp and simultaneously use the Axe-Fx II in the effects loop of the amp, for example for delay and reverb effects.

In the studio the Axe-Fx II XL+ can be connected to the digital world via S/PDIF, AES/EBU or USB.

PURELY DIGITAL

The Axe-Fx II XL+ works entirely digitally. Its central heating system consists therefore not of tubes, but of two high-performance processors. The way tubes and the other components of tube amps work has been comprehensively researched and is well known. Now, in the year 2014, it is quite possible to calculate and reproduce every aspect of such processes – provided the right hardware and the correct calculation methods are employed. Of course, it is still anything but easy – as the rather less than satisfactory efforts of many other companies have proven and, indeed, unprecedented amounts of research were necessary to achieve the simulation quality of the Axe-Fx II. But those who have heard what it can do and have experienced for themselves how directly it follows your playing know one thing for sure: the hard work has paid off. And vacuum tubes were yesterday…

EASILY PROGRAMMABLE

The Axe-Fx II XL+ allows the setting of every single parameter in every block to be saved so that you can recall them exactly at a later date. And not only that – the placement of the effects and the way they were wired up is also saved. Even with all this variability the Axe-Fx II nevertheless offers amazing user-friendliness and ease of use. In its XL+ version it has 768 user preset slots, with each one capable of storing a completely wired-up guitar rig with all the bells and whistles and all the required settings.

Straight out of the box 384 of these slots are taken up with factory presets that either demonstrate the various different amplifier models or provide examples of complicated routings that you can then integrate into your own patches. For every single preset slot there is a backup that allows you to restore either the most recently saved backup version or the works sound. This means you can experiment as much as you like without having to worry getting to a gig and finding your sounds have disappeared.

Many effects blocks have two completely independent channels (X/Y). Switching between X and Y allows more versatile use of presets, thus reducing the number of different presets you actually need in any given situation.

ROUTING WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS

In the Axe-Fx II XL+ you can place any of the almost 80 effects blocks freely within a 4x12 grid system, meaning you are not limited to a few variations that the manufacturer thought would be enough for you. If you want to send your guitar signal into a cabinet first, then through two delays and two amps in parallel and finally into a wah, just go ahead. It’s no problem. The signal levels are automatically adjusted internally, so there is no need to worry about ohms and voltages and the like – your virtual amp will not explode if you feed its input with the output of another virtual amp.

The stereo effects loop can also be placed anywhere within the routing grid, making it an easy job to integrate the unit into a larger rig.

As for the internal signal flow, the Axe-Fx II XL+ has four completely separate stereo paths, enabling highly complex setups with different signal processing for each path. Here again the Axe-Fx II XL+ requires no compromises from you, but rather offers a platform that can set your creativity free.

COMPLETELY CONTROLLABLE

Almost every parameter in the Axe-Fx II XL+ can be controlled in a number of different ways, be it automatically via MIDI, manually via an external controller such as an expression pedal, via internal controllers such as the built-in oscillators, via time-based controllers or via the intensity or pitch of the notes you are playing.

In the studio MIDI automation is often useful and we know some solo entertainers who program the required sound changes into the MIDI data of their backing tracks to enable automatic program changes when performing live.

A simple touch wah (the louder you play, the more it wahs) is easy to set up, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps you would like to have less reverb when you play low notes? Or maybe you fancy a seamless blend into another amp with a completely different sound when you play further up the neck? Or how about creating a super-dynamic amp that automatically turns up the master volume when you dig into the strings more? All of this and much more is no problem at all!

INTUITIVE INTERFACE

For all its variability and complexity the Axe-Fx II XL+ is nevertheless easy to use – we know of a good few devices that can do less but are harder to operate. Every effects block has a start page with the most important and often-needed controls. Most of the time just using these parameters will give you the sound you are looking for, especially as many effects blocks have a range of standard types to choose from. For example, if you choose the Cry Baby setting in the wah block, all the parameters will be set to make the wah sound like that original. You can now leave it at that and have a first-class Cry Baby wah pedal at your disposal, one that sounds just like the real thing. However, you are still free to adjust a whole host of parameters as you wish.

The Axe-Fx II XL+ doesn’t force you to start tweaking parameters that you don’t understand. Instead it keeps things simple, but still allows those who wish to do so to adjust whatever they want to. Complexity on demand, if you like. This means that no one needs to be afraid of using an Axe-Fx II and good tone does not require a degree in rocket science.

The four quick control knobs on the front panel simplify the editing of sounds and can be assigned to whichever effects you like to allow 'on the fly' editing.

SCARY SOUND QUALITY

Anyone who has searched through 1000 satellite channels for something worth watching knows that quantity doesn’t always relate to quality. Sometimes, however, you can find a large number of good things together. Some people, for example, really are rich, beautiful, intelligent and healthy. In this respect the Axe-Fx II XL+ is rather like having two proverbial birds in the hand.
The simulations in the Axe-Fx II are scarily close to the real-life originals on which they are based. Every single amp model in the Axe-Fx II is a unique masterpiece of sound quality. Nobody would be surprised if there were therefore only a handful of amps to choose from – but the astounding reality is over 200 top-quality amps plus over 150 fantastic cabinet simulations! Quality and quantity – combined without compromise in the Axe-Fx II XL+.

The proprietary techniques such as G3 Amp ModelingTM and MIMICTM even go so far as to authentically simulate the various circuitry quirks and “faults” of the original tube amps. The measured voltages and frequency response at various points in the circuit are stored in the Axe-Fx II and continuously compared with those produced by the simulation. This even allows the simulation of parasitic elements that were not intended by the makers of the original amp, but that still have an audible impact on the tone produced, resulting in an amp simulation that is just like the original, warts and all.

On top of all this, the Axe-Fx II XL+ offers the playing feel and directness of a real tube amp. The unbeatably low latency of only 2 ms equates to a distance of 68 cm from the loudspeaker.

UPDATES

Although the Axe-Fx II XL+ is already extremely highly developed, Fractal Audio never stop working to find ways of doing things even more effectively. Firmware updates with extended and improved effects, new amps and cabinets and much more are released regularly.

In line with the customer-friendly policy at Fractal Audio, these updates are always provided for download free of charge, so that your Axe-Fx II XL+ will always be the best possible Axe-Fx II XL+.

AXE-FX II XL+ AND ITS PREDECESSORS

Meanwhile various models of the Axe-Fx II have been released.

Axe-Fx II (original)

  • Dual TigerSHARC Processors
  • 384 Presets
  • 100 User Cab slots
  • RJ45 port for connecting the MFC-101
  • Mechanical encoder for the Value Dial
  • Jacks for MIDI IN and OUT/THRU
  • Single "Pedal" jack

Axe-Fx II Mark II

  • EtherCON port for connecting the MFC-101

Axe-Fx II XL

  • FASLINK™ jack for the connection of an MFC-101 MK3 via traditional XLR microphone cable
  • Separate jacks for MIDI IN, OUT, and THRU
  • Two Pedal jacks
  • The primary Value Dial employs an optical encoder with a lifecycle of over one million turns
  • 'Secret Sauce III' instrument input circuitry with even lower noise floor
  • 128 MB flash ROM preset storage with room for 768 Presets und 1024 User-Cabinets and plenty of space for future expansion
  • Increased preset size allows more X/Y blocks and a greater number of simultaneous effects
  • Built-in recovery firmware
  • Downwards compatible with Axe-Fx II Mark I/II presets via Axe-Edit software

Axe-Fx II XL+

  • Brighter, sharper display
  • Even lower noise floor

Axe-Fx II / XL+ Downloads

  • Firmware & Presets
  • Drivers
  • Axe-Edit
  • Fractal-Bot
  • Manuals
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Axe-Fx II XL PLUS - Quantum v6.01
Nov 30, 2016 - Zip Archive
NOTE: Please disconnect MIDI/MFC/Pedals during firmware updates.

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Axe-Fx II XL PLUS Preset Banks A, B and C
Dec 2, 2016 - Zip archive containing A, B, C individual bank files, plus "All Banks" file - Use with Quantum 6.01 or later.

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Axe-Fx II XL Firmware - Quantum v6.01
Nov 30, 2016 - Zip Archive
NOTE: Please disconnect MIDI/MFC/Pedals during firmware updates. 

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Axe-Fx II XL Preset Banks A, B and C
Dec 2, 2016 - Zip archive containing A, B, C individual bank files, plus "All Banks" file - Use with Quantum 6.01 or later.

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Axe-Fx II Original / Mark II - Quantum v6.01
Nov 30, 2016 - Zip Archive
NOTE: Please disconnect MIDI/MFC/Pedals during firmware updates.

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Axe-Fx II Preset Banks A, B and C
Dec 2, 2016 - Zip archive containing A, B, C individual bank files, plus "All Banks" file - Use with Quantum 6.01 or later - COMING SOON

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Axe-Fx II USB Setup (167) for OS X
Jun 21, 2013 - Required for Axe-Fx II USB Audio and MIDI-over-USB functionality under Max OS X. Requires 10.5.7 for MIDI-over-USB and 10.7.4 for USB Audio.

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Axe-Fx II USB Driver Setup for Windows
Jun 6, 2014 - Required for Axe-Fx II USB functionality under Windows. Requires Windows XP SP3 or newer (x86 or x64).

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Axe-Edit for OS X
Nov 16, 2016 Version 3.10.0 - .dmg file.
Requires OS X Version 10.6.8 or newer.
Requires Axe-Fx II Firmware version Quantum 3.0 or newer.

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windows-8

Axe-Edit for Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista
Nov 16, 2016 Version 3.10.0 - .exe file.
Requires Win 10, 8.x, 7.x or Vista (x86 or x64) or XP.
Requires Axe-Fx II Firmware version Quantum 3.0 or newer.

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Unsupported Legacy versions of Axe-Edit for older Axe-Fx II firmware versions and Ultra/Standard can be found at a 3rd party web site: http://archive.axefx.fr.

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Fractal-Bot for OS X
Jun 15, 2016 Version 2.8.0 - .dmg file.
Requires OS X Version 10.6.8 or newer.

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Fractal-Bot for Windows
Jun 15, 2016 Version 2.8.0 - .exe in a zip archive.
Requires Win XP or newer.

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Axe-Fx II Owner's Manual (All Models)
Jul 29, 2014 - Version 15 (PDF File). 

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Axe-Fx II XL MIDI THRU Guide
Jul 30, 2014 (PDF File).

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Axe-Fx II Beginners Guide
(PDF File). 

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Axe-Fx II/XL Firmware Update Guide
(PDF File). 

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Axe-Fx II Scenes Manual
Dec 6, 2012 - Version 1.02 (PDF File).

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Axe-Fx II Tone Match Manual
Apr 24, 2012 - Version 1.06 (PDF File).

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Axe-Fx II Cab IR Capture Guide
Nov 3, 2011 - (PDF File).

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MIMIC™ White Paper
Apr 5, 2013 - (PDF File).

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Fractal-Bot Manual
Mar 28, 2014 - Version 2.0 (PDF file).

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forum

axe change

wiki

Axe-Fx Sound Clips

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Setting up the Axe-Fx II XL, MFC-101 and SP-1

Firmware 19 highlights

Cameron Ccv 2D

Friedman HBE

Firmware History

  • QUANTUM 6.0 >

    Advanced quantum mecha­nics - this time it’s all about fine tuning. Read More
  • QUANTUM 5.0 >

    Quantum 5 is once again an up­date that ma­kes it feel ‘like a blan­ket has been pul­led off’ or ‘as if the win­dow has just been clea­ned’. Read More
  • QUANTUM 3.0 >

    For the first time the Axe-Fx II and its cool younger brother, the AX8, have been further developed in parallel. Read More
  • QUANTUM 2.0 >

    And now, once again, there is reason to celebrate: Quantum 2.0, the new firmware for the Axe-Fx II, is here. Read More
  • QUANTUM 1.0 >

    In terms of sound and playing feel, has the Axe-Fx long-since caught up with its real-amp counterparts?  Read More
  • FIRMWARE 19 >

    For some, F19 might be the name of a jet fighter so stealthy that no-one has yet set eyes on it. Read More
  • FIRMWARE 18 >

    Now there is G3 - the third gene­ration. And this time there’s no need to buy a new device. Read More
  • FIRMWARE 17 >

    In 1796 Carl Fried­rich Gauss us­ed al­geb­ra to prove 17 points. Read More
  • FIRMWARE 16 >

    We'd like to apolo­gise for the late appear­ance of this article. There is, howe­ver, a simple expla­nation. Read More
  • FIRMWARE 15 >

    Is set to go down in history as the version in which the amp models were no longer distinguishable from the originals. Read More
  • Firmware 14 >

    Yet another update? Yet more amps? Everything is even better again? Read More
  • Firmware 13 >

    23.2.14: Exactly three months ago we presented Firmware 12. Today we are taking a look at what Firmware 13 can do for us. Read More
  • Firmware 12 >

    23.11.13: It’s just over two months since Firmware 11 landed and Number 12 is here already. Let’s see what Cliff’s been working on this time. Read More
  • Firmware 11 >

    10.9.13: Firmware 11 is marked by the simultaneous release of the long-awaited Axe-Edit 3.0 for PC & Mac. Read More
  • Firmware 10 >

     6.4.13: Firmware 10 has just been sent down from heaven. It's the biggest and most wonderful change ever. Read More
  • Firmware 9 >

    6.12.12:  Firmware 9 has just been sent down from heaven. It's the biggest change you've ever 'scene'. Read More
  • Firmware 7 >

    8.8.12:  Number 7 concentrates on the preamp and poweramp stages and some fantastic new amp models. Read More
  • Firmware 6 >

    24.4.12: In the film Jurassic Park scientists recreated dinosaurs from some samples of ancient DNA. Read More
  • Firmware 5 >

    28.1.12: The newest firmware version is all about dynamics and playing feel. A fantastic update. Read More
  • Firmware 4 >

    29.12.11:  Fractal Audio's Mastermind has once again spent his Christmas doing what he loves best - making happy Axe-Fx users even happier. Read More
  • Firmware 3 >

    15.11.11: Cliff Chase just can’t help himself and keeps on improving the World’s best guitar processor. Read More
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Great Factory Presets

Build a Preset for Live

Great Clean Tone

Great Lead Tone

Great Crunch Tone

Live Blending Clean and Lead Tones

Four Cabs at once

Tone Matching an Acoustic

Sound on Sound with Reverb Hold

Firmware 15 Highlights

Review - Montgomery

Review - Music Radar

Axe-Fx II XL+

Axe-Fx-II-XL-240

Sales price: € 2699.-
Sales price excl. VAT: € 2268,07
VAT amount: € 430,93

Owner's Manual

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Amp Tone Beyond

h amps

While the G2 Amp Modeling of the original Axe-Fx II was already unbelievably good, the recently released G3 Mode­ling™ Tech­nolo­gy re­pre­sents the pin­nacle of over a de­cade of R&D, with major break­throughs in both preamp and power amp mode­ling. G3 with Vir­tual Vacuum Tube™ and MIMIC™ (Multi-Point Itera­tive Matching and Impe­dance Correc­tion Tech­nology) crea­tes an unri­valled level of rea­lism in amp mode­ling. And with on­board Tone Matching, the Axe-Fx has the built-in capabi­lity to match the sound of your live amp or re­cor­ding to unpre­ceden­ted levels.

Building A Better Cabinet

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Speaker simulation is the essential counterpart to great amp modelling. The Axe-Fx II XL+ uses IR convo­lution tech­nology to simu­late the detai­led tonal nuances of great guitar spea­kers, with over 150 fac­tory "cabs" and 512 user memory loca­tions so you can down­load or cap­ture your own cabs for unli­mited sonic poten­tial.

Great Effects & Features

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The FX proces­sing capabilities of the Axe-Fx II XL+ are among the fi­nest you'll find any­where. It covers the most sought-after pedal and rack­mount units, all capa­ble of deli­vering the great musi­cal perfor­mances you would ex­pect from their real world coun­ter­parts. Over­drive, Dis­tor­tion, Fuzz, Wah, Wham­my, Chorus, Flan­ger, Pha­ser, Tre­molo, Uni­vibe, Delay, Re­verb, Harmo­nizer, EQ, Comp­res­sion. They're all here, plus many many more. Effects are as easy to use, and sound every bit as ama­zing, as the mo­dels they are ba­sed on.

ARTISTS

The Axe-Fx II has long since become a firm favourite among professional musicians. Here is a short list of some of the artists using the Axe-Fx II.

GLOBAL BLOCKS

When you have found your perfect settings for a particular amp or effect you can easily save it as a global block. Then when you want to use that particular effect again in another preset just link the effect to your global block and it’s set just the way you like it.

IRs

In addition to the over 130 factory cabinet simulations there is space in the Axe-Fx II for up to 100 user IRs, so you can always have a giant collection of cabinets with you.

LOOPER

The built-in looper can record for up to 60 seconds and can easily be controlled in a number of different ways. Many innovative features such as the quantising option make recording and using loops in a live situation much easier than you might expect.

WHO ELSE

If you are interested in the Axe-Fx II XL+ you are by no means alone. Here you can read what our custo­mers are saying about the Axe-Fx II.

axe fx blocks

Exquisite Effects

The Axe-Fx II XL+ is known for its ultra-realistic recr­eations of classic stomp boxes and rack processor effects. Effect models can be dialed in with a single knob to make all requi­red settings for great sound in seconds, or tweaked at the deepest levels with exten­ded para­meter options and a comple­tely modular app­roach to vir­tual rig de­sign. Effects inc­lude tape, ana­log "bucket bri­gade" and vintage digi­tal delays, “script" and "block" logo pha­sers, 'vibe and many many, more. Com­pa­red with the first Axe-Fx, many of the effects have also been upda­ted and en­han­ced on the Axe-Fx II XL+, offe­ring new sounds and useful features.

The Axe-Fx II XL+ also offers the industry's most flexible routing and real time control, with options for both MIDI and a great range of internal sources: sweepy LFOs, dynamic envelopes, a sequencer, and more.

  • 30+ Drive Pedal models
  • Shimmer, Crystals, etc.
  • Rotary Speaker
  • Limitier/Gate
  • New "true" Tape Echo
  • Dozens of Delays including analog, digital, tape, multitap and more
  • Phaser & Uni-Vibe
  • 7 Filter types
  • Front-end Noise Gate
  • Vocoder
  • Tone Match
  • Whammy
  • Fixed and Intelligent Harmony
  • Panner/Tremolo
  • Compressor (pedal, studio, and multiband)
  • Built in Looper
  • 19 Reverb types
  • Totally customizable Wah with its own models
  • Flanger and Chorus
  • Graphic & Param. EQs
  • Mono Guitar Synth

And many more...