Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II XL

Fractal Audio introduces the upgraded version of their popular amp and effects modeler - the Axe Fx II XL.

Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II

Related Feature:
Amp Modeling Software

This new model is scheduled for release in March of this year, featuring the same DSP and amp modeling capabilities as the Axe-Fx II but with more I/O ports, expanded memory and other upgrades.

Like the Axe-Fx II, the XL version features hundreds of virtual gear, for old and new amp models, speaker cabinets, stompbox effect and many more. It builds on this already critically acclaimed technology by expanding the unit's storage capacity and connectivity.

Originally introduced in 2006, the Axe-Fx continues to gain popularity, thanks to professional musicians that have put the unit to good use. Succeeding models helped establish the Axe-FX's reputation as a premium amp and effects modeler. Now the new Axe-FX II XL is tasked to continue the legacy of the original, and is meant to help retain their spot as one of the most sought after preamp and effects processor in the face of impressive challengers like the Kemper Profiler.

Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II

Here are the Axe-Fx II XL Features:

  • Built-in FASLINK port for connection to MFC-101 Mark III over conventional XLR cables.
  • Dedicated MIDI in, out and thru jacks (vs. shared OUT/THRU in the Mark II).
  • Two onboard PEDAL jacks (vs. one in the Mark II).
  • Primary value entry via optical encoder with a lifespan of 1,000,000+ rotations.
  • “Secret Sauce III” instrument input features an even lower noise floor.
  • 128 Mb of non-volatile Super-flash memory allows for storage of up to 512 presets and 512 user cabinets
  • Double-capacity preset size allows for expanded functionality including X/Y switching on more blocks and more instances of effects.
  • Built-in backup firmware allows recovery in the event of complications during update.
  • Backward compatibility with Axe-Fx II Mark I/II presets via Axe-Edit software.

The XL carries over Fractal Audio's G2 Amp modeling technology, which will benefit from the upgraded hardware. This technology models both the preamp and power amp including the tubes, transformers, choke, filter caps and more. The manufacturer describes the result as: "amazing: warm, yet tight bass, powerful midrange, silky highs, and the easy feel that makes playing a great amp so enjoyable, plus extreme control to dial in your own signature sound."

Interestingly, users have mostly good things to say about this technology, with only the price tag getting the most gripes. Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes from Animals as Leaders are some of the latest virtuoso musicians to be assimilated into the Fractal Audio camp. Speaking of price-tags, the Axe-Fx II XL will be available in March of this year, with a list price of $2,999.95.

Related Article:

guitar effects See our roundup of the best guitar effects - Single Pedals - Multi Effects - Guitar Processors.

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