Fractal Audio Axe Fx Review with Video Demo

music recording gear

Fractal Audio Axe Fx Overview

The Axe-Fx is a breakthrough guitar amp simulator and studio effects processor. Unprecedented computing power is dedicated to driving its highly detailed algorithms that deliver the sound and feel of real tube amps as well as a suite of breathtaking, world-class effects. The unit’s rugged 2 RU steel chassis is designed to easily withstand the demands of touring and comes equipped with all the essential professional I/O options.

Ultra Advantage

The Axe-FX Ultra utilizes a faster processor with more memory than the “standard” Axe-FX. This allows the unit to run more instances of effects simultaneously. The Ultra also adds an arpeggiator, synth effects, vocoder, looper, multi-band compressor, ring modulator, quad chorus, diffuser, resonator, crossover and more complex delay and pitch based effects.

Amps & Effects

Ultimate Amp Collection

The Axe-Fx is peerless in its ability to sound, feel and respond like a limitless array of guitar amplifiers, ranging from vintage clean and overdrive types to the most brutal modern high gain variety. Fractal Audio’s tube amp algorithms accurately recreate the nuances of the circuit down to the component level. This includes the varying frequency response of the amps they’re simulating. Unlike conventional tube modelers where the frequency response is static, the Axe-Fx gives the guitarist a true dynamic experience.

Critical power amp characteristics like sag, damping factor, and transformer response are accurately modeled in painstaking detail. This and the fact that they are user-modifiable parameters puts the Axe-Fx in a league of its own – It also affords the player the ability to get that cranked amp experience at any volume!

Pristine Effects

The Axe-Fx’s onboard effects (amp simulations aside) are in a class with the finest multi-effects and dedicated processors available. A full arsenal of reverb, delay, drive, compression, pitch-based effects, intelligent harmony and more are included. Up to 12 simultaneous effects instances can be routed in series or parallel for the ultimate in flexibility. All effect types have deep editing functionality and can be bent to the user’s will with editable parameters that most processors don’t allow access to.

Axe-Fx Features

A Virtual Studio Full of Effects

50+ Amp Models · 39 Cabinets · 10 Microphones · 17 Drive Models · 12 Reverbs · Dozens of Delays · Modulation · EQ · Pitch · Intelligent Harmony · Tremolo · Wah · Compressor · Gate · Precision Tuner · Swappable Tone Stacks · Two Rigs at Once · Custom IR Player · Effects Loop · And too many more to list!

Studio Quality Components

Top-of-the-line, 24-bit Cirrus Logic converters assure signal purity. Our proprietary analog front end features no electrolytic capacitors in the signal path, only high-quality film types. The output signal path likewise has no electrolytic capacitors. High-performance Analog Devices® op-amps are used in all signal paths. All this adds up to an extremely low noise floor (better than -105 dB).

Processing Power!

A state-of-the-art, dual-core processor equips the Axe-Fx with more raw computing power than many desktop computers. With the ability to process 2 Billion floating-point instructions per second, other gear can’t even come close to the power of the Axe-Fx. In addition to being able to process multiple instances of super high-quality effects, the unit can run two completely different rigs simultaneously.


Easy Interface

The foundation of the U/I is a simple grid which represents the signal path. Effect/amp “blocks” are laid out in the grid (in series or parallel) in the same way a guitar rigs signal path normally takes. Each block can be selected and recalled for editing. A high-quality rotary encoder and quick access keys along with a graphical LCD makes routing and editing easy and intuitive. No cryptic menus or single line alphanumeric displays to contend with. Real-time monitoring of controlled parameters is also provided.

Studio or Stage

The Axe-Fx is uniquely suited to excel in the studio or in a live environment. With the choice to have power amp, microphone and cabinet simulations either enabled or disabled on a per patch basis, the unit works equally well in a direct recording environment, as part of a rack rig with a power amp and cabinets, in the loop of an amp or as a dedicated effects processor. The Axe-Fx also has a mode optimized for use with Atomic Amplifiers’ Reactor Series amps.

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