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A bit stumped by Ares on Axe-Fx II XL ...


Forum Addict
In the past, I have never backed down from a firmware update. I'm a late adopter (never use any beta) but I usually find the upgrades worth working for (i.e. adjusting my presets).

This time, with the latest Ares, I followed my usual recipe : I waited for a stable release, I installed it and I adjusted all my presets in my home studio. I didn't do it at full gig volume, but I never had to in the past. Everything sounded great, especially through headphones, and I leveled all my presets to the same approximate perceived level. So far, so good.

Then, at rehearsal, the first half went really well, and my tones were great. But in the second half, as we were progressing through more songs and therefore more presets, it started to sound like total crap. Muddy, fuzzy, too much gain, no definition. My last 7 or 8 presets sounded so horrible, I thought seriously about reverting back to Quantum (which I may still do).

But before I try to fix it (or go back to Quantum), I thought I'd check if any others faced a similar result.

I'm wondering if it might be ear fatigue at rehearsal? Or maybe even ear fatigue during my session of preset adjustments, which could have led me to treak my presets to their current sad state?

We record our rehearsals, so I'll be able to do some forensics, but I'm a bit stumped because I never screwed up my presets that badly during a previous firmware update.

Just fishing for anyone with similar struggles and potential solutions..


Forum Addict
To me Ares has more gain and fuller bass you will
Likely have to adjust all your presets
At band volumes ie less bass more mids less gain as most real amps would require IMO


New here
What amps were you using? I've had to revisit majority of my voxy class A presets since Ares. I've had more difficulty managing gain on Ares than Quantum, and with that gain comes fizzy and sharp highs. I don't put input gain over 3 anymore for those amps, where it previously was around 4.5 - 5. I low cut on the cab around 90-100, and high cut around 6000 - way lower than I've ever done it before. Also had to revisit drive pedals, favoring more transparent blocks like the FET boost now - along with fiddling with the mix knob. I used to leave it around 90-100%, now I think the highest they're set is 65%.

I'm at the point where my cleans sound pretty nice, but I'm still not completely happy with my gain stages for gigs.

FWIW, I notice ear fatigue a lot more over the last month or so. Although that could be because Ares has me playing and tweaking more, so it could just be coincidence :D
I also found the Ares a bit muddy on the bass strings so I also switched back. No Worries I love ,my Axe FX just couldn't find the right settings with Ares.

dr bonkers

Fractal Fanatic
the 5150 Block amp has quite a bit more gain in Ares 1.03 than it did on Quantum.

Each model was affected differently in the update.


Downgrading the hardware is not a problem, its just a firmware update. However, if you have saved your presets in a newer firmware they often won't work at all with the older firmware and you will need to restore them from an older backup.


Fractal Fanatic
I had a similar experience to the OP. With Ares, my presets generally (not all, but generally) lost definition in the low end and sounded muddy, fizzy, and all the other less-than-meaningful adjectives.. Many, if not most, just sounded like crap. They sounded so bad, I originally thought something had gone wrong with the update. I tried reworking the worst of them from scratch and got back to the level of satisfaction I had with Quantum. I concluded that Ares, while perhaps superior overall, requires major rework of existing presets. I decided the effort of reprogramming 200 presets was not worth the end result, so I went back to Quantum; which I am more than happy with.

If I were starting from scratch, I'd use Ares.


Hi been a while,
I think Ares is cool
but after being sick for a while I just do not have the patience to mess with the presets in Ares
what are the step in order do need to go to begin downgrading never do that before?
running Mac OS 10.13.6
at the moment I have Axe edit at 3.14.5
and Fractal Bot 2.11.1
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