News

Firmware 9


FIRMWARE 9 HAS JUST BEEN SENT DOWN FROM HEAVEN AND
IT'S THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU'VE 
EVER 'SCENE'

WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT?
What's changed this time? More than ever before:

  • Three handfuls of new amp models – a music shop would have to build an extra room.

  • The fantastic Scenes feature that offers yet another way of organising and recalling sounds.

  • The relevant update for the MFC-101 has simultaneously been released.

  • The newly improved dynamic processing has brought the Axe-Fx II so far ahead that it won't be long before the first vintage amps start throwing themselves off the nearest bridge.

MAKES GUITARISTS GLAD – AND WITH GOOD REASON
As you can see, the journey for all glad guitarists is continuing and this time the path is leading us through boutique amp land. Many of these amps are no longer on sale or cost an arm and a leg, but that's of no consequence if you happen to own an Axe-Fx II. Firmware 9 brings us the following amp models, recreated in the finest virtual detail:

  • Suhr Badger 30W

  • All 3 channels of the Splawn Quickrod

  • Marshall Silver Jubilee 100W (the amp with Slash's tone)

  • Splawn Nitro with KT-88 power tubes

  • An improved Plexi named “FAS Crunch”; more dynamic, more open and with more gain

  • Two Rock Jet 35

  • Fuchs ODS-50

  • 1968 Fender Band-Master

  • 1964 Fender Super Reverb

  • Fender Vibro-King

  • Gibson GA17RVT “Scout”

  • BadCat Hot Cat 30R

  • Supro 1964T

  • Both channels of the Cameron Atomica

  • Fender 5E3 Deluxe Tweed

PERFECT EVEN IN THE TINIEST DETAILS
The power amp simulation has once again been reworked, this time specifically to improve dynamic response. The modelling of the transformer/plate interaction has been significantly improved and now provides better feel and more punch. More overtones are now produced when playing softly and controlled feedback has never been easier to produce. The cathode follower modelling has been greatly improved. This part of the virtual amp also now reacts just like its physical counterpart, varying both compression and distortion.

THUMP-THUNK
...or to put it less technically: the amps now have more punch and more “thunk”. This behaviour is controlled by the COMP parameter in the amp block. As COMP is increased you may need to reduce the amount of drive. The presence control also now behaves exactly like the real presence control of the modelled amp, once again making the models even more authentic. The phase-inverter modelling has also been further improved. To allow for different tastes the global menu now offers the choice of Version 9, 8 or 7 power amp modelling.

SIMPLY SIMPLER
All these options need to be controlled, of course, and there's been plenty happening on this front too. The layout of the amp parameters has been optimised for better handling and all the switches in the amp block are now controllable via modifiers. 

PICK ATTACK
The new PICK ATTACK parameter adds a kind of leading-edge transients controller to the amp block and allows pick attack to be increased or reduced. 

BEAUTIFUL SCENERY
Every preset in the Axe-Fx II now contains eight “scenes”. What are they for? Well, let's imagine a classic effects board just like everyone used to have (and some, of course, still do). Some effects are placed in front of the amp, some in its effects loop and each of them can be turned on or off individually. Now, you will certainly want to turn several on or off at the same time occasionally, for example when you go into a solo and need drive and delay, but no chorus. The guitarist used to have a couple of options in this case:

CIRCUS ARTIST WANTED
...he could learn to stand on one leg and preferably grow an extra pair as well, so that he could stand on three pedals at the same time (this gets more complicated as the number of effects increases though). ...or he could buy a programmable switcher to remotely control the effects in the signal chain. Such switchers usually have recallable presets and for each preset the on/off state of each effect can be set.  

UNBELIEVABLE SCENES
The new scenes feature in the Axe-Fx II works just like one of these switchers. For any scenario you can set which effects are on and which are bypassed. But of course you also get the Fractal Audio bonus when compared with a classic switcher: the relevant X/Y state of each effects block as well as the output level of the patch can be individually saved for each scene. The above-mentioned example is easy to achieve: in scene 1 the chorus block is active while delay and drive are bypassed. In scene 2 the chorus is bypassed, while the delay and drive are active. Perhaps you'd also like to change the amp block from X to Y and increase the output level? No problem.

A CHANGE OF SCENE

Changing between the eight available scenes within a preset can be done with the 'A' knob on the front panel or via the MFC-101. The simultaneously released Version 2.15 firmware provides the MFC-101 with ten new options in the IA switch list: Scene Increment, Scene Decrement and direct Scene Select switches for each of the 8 scenes. You can find more detailed information on this in the release notes for the download.

COOPER CARTER VIDEO
This video by Cooper Carter explains how the various scenes-functions work.

{jomwebplayer type=youtube video=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQXpI2t6A_Q}

TONE MATCH
The Tone Match mode that was introduced in Firmware 6 as been further improved. The internal resolution has been doubled and is now adjustable. 

MORE AND BETTER
Of course, the Axe-Fx II is not just an amp modeller, sorry, the amp modeller: we recently posted Pfälzer’s Review of the Axe-Fx II used as a multi effects device and there have been numerous improvements on this front, too:

  • The pitch shifter has been made more accurate and now recognise complex chords with virtually no latency at all. A small side-effect of this is that the tuner has also become more precise.

  • A new compressor type, 'Pedal 2' has appeared with a completely new algorithm that is smoother and pumps less. The mono delay now has a time offset parameter, allowing the right wet signal to be delayed by up to 100ms to widen the effect.

  • Most of the effects blocks now require less CPU usage thanks to programming improvements. Countless other detail improvements and the correction of one or two bugs mean that this is, once again, the best Axe-Fx II of all time.

MANNA FROM HEAVEN
As always the update is free for every Axe-Fx II user and can be downloaded here. The existing version of Axe-Edit cannot (yet) edit Version 9 sounds, but may be used for installing the new firmware. A new version of Axe-Edit that is compatible with Firmware 9 is in the final development stage and will be released soon.

NEW SOUNDS
Once again we must remind you that every improvement is also a change. Therefore it is always a good idea to check your sounds between updating your device and playing your next gig.      

SCENE MINI MANUAL