Firmware 6


However, in the year 2012 recreating classic guitar tones from old recordings is no longer science fiction, but science fact. The new Tone Match block makes it possible.

The newly-developed Tone Match technology can 'clone' virtually any desired tone. However, in contrast to the approaches of other manufacturers the original amp does not need to be in the same room – a simple recording of the tone is enough. This solution is extremely flexible: it is now possible to recreate the amp sound from a recording without even knowing what kind of amp was originally used to get the sound. All that is needed is a recording of the guitar being played alone.

The resultant sound remains freely editable within the Axe-Fx II, with all the well-known advantages that that provides. And the best bit of all is that the process is very easy: the first step is simply to get as close as you can to the desired sound, either with the same (virtual) amp or one that provides a similar basic sound. The second step makes use of the new Tone Match block, which, alongside the normal guitar signal, “listens” to the reference signal you want to emulate. If the amp you want to recreate is in the room with you, this signal can come from a microphone, but, as mentioned above, equally effective is a recording of a guitar tone, for example from a CD. You then just play a few notes and the Tone Match block does the rest. You can even export the result as an impulse response file and save it as a user cabinet!

This completely new technology has enabled Fractal Audio to bring the existing amp models even closer to the originals in their behaviour, feel and sound and to improve preamp and power amp simulation even further.


  • Whilst the general modelling quality has been further improved, details have not been overlooked. Most of the amps are now exact replicas of their originals. This even goes so far as to mean that, where possible, most knobs now behave exactly as they would on the original amp, allowing almost 1:1 position comparison.

  • Many of the amp models have been completely overhauled based on the new amp matching technology. Most of the tone stacks have also been reworked as a result of these matching studies.

  • Ex Axe-Fx Standard and Ultra users who miss the old “Supertweed” model can cheer up again, as it is now back in the programme and available from Version 6.0 onwards in the Axe-Fx II.

  • It can almost be taken for granted that a couple of new amps have been added to the palette. One of them is a model of a Blankenship Leeds boutique amp.

  • The amp block now has a “Fat Switch” under the MID knob that shifts the centre frequency of the tone stack downwards, thus making the tone noticeably fatter.

  • A new “Definition” knob allows changes to the fundamental character of the amp ranging from vintage to modern.

  • The Cab block now has a delay control that can provide up to 1ms of delay in the signal. This allows interesting comb filter effects when using stereo cabinets or two cabinets in parallel.

  • The Synth block now has a third voice.

  • The Looper block has been drastically improved. It now has a stereo mode (with a 30-second loop time) and allows playback at double or half speed. Quantisation allows perfect timing and when stacking recordings the last layer can be deleted.

  • The tuner now has mute options, allowing a delay or reverb to continue to sound or a loop to carry on playing while tuning. The tuner display now incorporates a rotating “Magic 8 Ball” which stops turning when the note is perfectly at pitch, allowing more intuitive and more accurate tuning.

  • As if all this wasn't already enough, the MFC-101 firmware has also been overhauled. The new Version 2.0 offers (amongst other improvements) the ability to synchronise both devices, so selecting a patch on the Axe-Fx II automatically updates the selection on the MFC-101 and vice-versa. The same applies to Axe-Edit.

  • When renaming patches the four Quick Control knobs can now be used to speed up the process. Knob A selects only upper case letters, while knob B takes care of lower case. Knobs C and D cover numbers and cursor position respectively and the Y button inserts a space.

  • On top of all this there are the usual small improvements that are too numerous to mention in detail here. For the full run-down, check the release notes included with the firmware download file.

  • Axe-Edit, the editor for PC and Mac, has also been overhauled and modified to make use of the new possibilities. This time then, we really are looking at a major update, one that brings the combination of Axe-Fx II and MFC-101 up to a whole new level.

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