Getting Started with your Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II (Mk I, Mk II, XL and XL+)

A quick bootstrapping guide to get users new to Fractal Audio’s superior hardware for musicians up and running. This guide focuses on the older II-series of units: the MkI, MkII, XL and XL+.

Software you’ll want to download:

  • Drivers – You’ll want the corresponding Windows or macOS drivers to match the operating system you’re using. You’ll need these before Fractal-Bot or Axe-Edit will work, so install them first.
  • Fractal-Bot – This handy tool helps you install new firmware and keep backups of your unit. You should make a backup before every new firmware install.
  • Axe-Edit – The interactive software editor for the Axe-Fx II product lineup. Don’t like the green screen? This is your salvation.

PDFs you’ll want to read:

  • Manuals – Fractal stopped printing manuals several years ago. Everything is distributed in PDF format now. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the download links as well as some short, focused guides for doing things like re-amping and capturing IRs of real speaker combinations.
  • Yek’s Guide to the Fractal Audio Amp Models – This is a comprehensive, ever-expanding, guide to every single model in the Axe-Fx II (and beyond) product. It provides details about the in-real-life amp the model is based off of, seminal recordings made with that amp, suggested IR pairings and suggested settings and tweaks to explore. It is invaluable.
  • Yek’s Guide to the Fractal Audio Drive Models – Like the amp model guide, this is a similar guide but for the drive block and all the drive models in the block. Incredible reference.

Websites you should know about:

  • The Fractal Forum – The official forum hosted by Fractal Audio. You can get a ton of advice from like-minded Fractal users here. It’s friendly and welcoming. I’m iaresee on the forum.
  • The Fractal Audio Wiki – This of this as a supplement to the manual. It’s a user-contributed documentation set that’s ever-growing and expanding. It’s the first place I go when I have a deep question about an amp model or an effects block.
  • Axe-Change – A Fractal-owned site for sharing presets and IRs.
  • Old Firmware – A long-time Fractal user maintains an archive of all the old firmware releases for all the Fractal products. If you want to roll back and can’t find the firmware on the main Fractal Audio site any more, this is where you’ll be able to get it.
Written on August 12, 2018