THE NEW FIRMWARE 5 BRINGS WITH IT A WHOLE HANDFUL
OF INNOVATIONS. THIS TIME IT'S ALL ABOUT
DYNAMICS AND PLAYING FEEL.
THE BEST FX-II UPDATE OF ALL TIME
The new version 5 firmware brings with it a handful of innovations and this time it's all about dynamics and playing feel. The feeling among many users and the creator himself is that this is “the best update since the Axe-Fx II came out”.
While other manufacturers make do with filters to roughly imitate the behaviour of a tube amp, the strategy from the very beginning at Fractal Audio has been to develop exact simulations of the various parts of the circuit. As this concept has been further developed the individual parts that are being digitally simulated have become ever smaller, right down to component level.
TAKE A LOOK INSIDE THE TUBE
Firmware 5 now takes us into the tube itself. By modelling the grid conduction inside the tube and going further than physics would allow in real life, the “kaboom” of a powerful tube amp can not only be achieved but, if you like, surpassed as well.
The changes made to the virtual tubes in both the preamp and the power amp now give you the ultimate dynamic stimulus.
TO TUBE OR NOT TO TUBE
The power tube grid conduction parameters are also user-adjustable, whereby those who don't feel the urgent need to fiddle about here need not worry: it has never been this easy to get a fantastic, completely authentic-feeling sound from your Axe-Fx II. Simply selecting an amp model is usually enough, often you won't even need to adjust the tone controls!
THE ICING ON THE CAKE
The new 'Dynamics' menu page in the amp block covers all the parameters that relate to amp dynamics. The high-frequency resonance controls have been simplified to make adjustments easier. To take advantage of all these improvements all of the amp models have been suitably revised.
As every improvement is also a change, your presets will quite probably sound different (better) after performing this update. Take the time to audition them. Despite the large number of improvements the basic sound will probably not have changed too drastically though.
AND APART FROM ALL THAT...
Speaker motor modelling has been added to the cabinet block. This models how the speaker suffers and changes the tone at high power levels. Together with the far-reaching dynamics changes in the amp block this provides an indescribably good paying feel. For this reason alone we recommend that you plan a little extra time for this firmware update: you won't want to switch your Axe-Fx II off afterwards...
The enhancer block has been improved and now sounds more natural. It is now not only useful for making stereo fields wider, but also for making mono signals sound like stereo. It has also been made mono compatible, so there are no longer any phase problems when summing a stereo signal to mono.
The noise gate has also been overhauled and now makes use of dynamic filters.
The compressor block now has further options in the 'Sidechain Select' parameter.
As always, many small bugs have been removed, meaning that thanks to Firmware 5 we can safely say that this is now the best ever Axe-Fx II. And of course, every Axe-Fx II that we are currently delivering has the very newest firmware pre-installed.