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Adapting an Axe-Fx II preset to the AX8

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
First order of business after I spent some time noodling with the factory presets was to move over a few gigging patches. I started with the main patch. I can, and often do, spend all night on this patch with my humbucker-equipped PRS. Its bones are in the Trey A patch I used to maintain, but its drifted in the past few months from a strictly Trey A tone clone patch to something that's really just "inspired" by.

It's also a "kitchen sink" patch. There's a lot going on in here. I don't always use everything in the course of a night. There's a lot of free jams in the stuff we do so what gets turned on depends greatly on the mood and what everyone else in the band is doing. For example: I'm rarely using the rotary block these days. Thinking about dropping it in favour of maybe some chorus or a mu-tron type filter block (which I had in there this summer, but dropped in the fall because I wasn't using it much).

Here's the preset as it exists in my Axe-Fx II XL+:

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 10.20.39 PM.png
Looking at the "essential" bits I decided I could live without two drive blocks. I rarely stack them because I play a hollowbody guitar most of the time and the gain gets away on me (I'm not Trey when it comes to controlling that squeal). I do use them both, independently though, throughout a typical night.

I already knew I could lose the rotary.

I probably don't need the pitch block -- I use it for +1 octave fun stuff in the outro solos of a few songs near the end of a night. Total gimmick stuff that just makes me smile. For now, I'll roll without it.

I don't need the second pitch block in front of the wah block, most likely; it serves up a fixed octave below for "train song" type solo sounds, which I only use sparingly when we cover Use Me.

The second delay block is a long delay with fairly high feedback for on and on and on type sound layering. I'd like it there, but it's a "comfort block". If I'm being honest it has limited applicability in our sets and jams.

So let's see what we can do with all of this in the AX8. This is my first iteration:

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 10.20.33 PM.png

I only have one expression pedal for the AX8 right now so we'll leave the volume block behind. I mainly use the one on my guitar anyways. I kept both delays for now. The drive blocks are down to one instance but the X side is the low gain drive and the Y side is the high gain drive from my AFII patch.

After playing around with it a bit tonight, I'm likely going to lose the second delay block in favour of X/Y settings on a single block. And I'll bring back the second pitch block that does the -1 octave down fixed harmony blended in with the dry guitar -- I'm realizing I like that enough for solos that I want it there.

I also need to order a second EV1 because I miss the volume block after all. Comfort block, but one I've grown used to zeroing out before I leave the stage apparently. Funny what we do and don't notice after we've done it for a long time.

The easy access to X/Y switching on the AX8 is making it really a no-brainer to stack things on to one block where, in the Axe-Fx II, I would generally use two if I had CPU to burn. I generally find I have more blocks to spare than MFC switches and I can use scenes to switch states without burning a lot of fixed switches for block types on the MFC. Not so on the AX8. It's an absolute pleasure to do X/Y switching on the unit so stacking things in to one block now is really comfortable.

For footswitch setup I'm going with:

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 10.44.19 PM.png
When I double stack the delay settings in to one block, I'll add a switch for the pitch block to do octave down stuff.

That's Day 1 with my new AX8 coming to close. It's proving to be a stellar sounding unit with lots of thought having gone in to how to make it operate extremely efficiently given its size.

I'm also jones-ing a bit for an external MIDI controller for the AFII right that'll let me long-press to switch X/Y state on blocks. Darn. :)
 

Smittefar

Fractal Fanatic
Cool walkthrough

It also answered my question about whether I could fit all the blocks I want into one preset. I am think Wah-comp-2x drive-chorus-amp-cab-delay. That would basically be everything I need. I could live with only one drive block, but two would be great.
 

yek

Moderator
Moderator
Yes, that will fit.

Also, if you like the EQ-characterictics of a certain Drive type but don't need the gain, you can copy the High Cut and Low Cut values of the Drive type, and use a PEQ with those values instead. Saves a lot of CPU load.
 

Barmaleus

Experienced
Guys, I am new to this - does the CPU number take into consideration all of the blocks in the preset - including the grey ones? Or it only reflects the active blocks' CPU usage?
 

jmillion

Inspired
Yes, that will fit.

Also, if you like the EQ-characterictics of a certain Drive type but don't need the gain, you can copy the High Cut and Low Cut values of the Drive type, and use a PEQ with those values instead. Saves a lot of CPU load.
I was blown away when I saw what the Hi-Cut was for the TS-808 Drive type. I've been using the PEQ at your recommendation as a boost in general, but now I may dress it up a bit more. Great thinking.
 

paulasbell

Inspired
Hope I'm not hijacking this thread, by interjecting my question/problem.
I'm a longtime AxeFx2 user, who recently bought the AX8 for some fly gigs, and in hopes of using it on home gigs, instead of the AxeFx and MFC. So far, however, I'm having difficulties shoe-horning some of my not-especially-complex presets into the AX8.
There have been some presets that initially exceeded 100%. Of course, I heard the bizarrely flanged, grungy amp tone that typically accompanies that. Started by setting Reverb to "Normal", eliminating Rotary, etc. Didn't initially help, even when CPU was around 80%. I suspected the CPU overage may have corrupted some blocks, so using AX8-Edit, I laboriously rebuilt one or two presets from scratch, entering all the parameters from looking at the AxeFx front panel. (Ugh...)
In some cases, I eventually was successful in paring the preset down to a good-sounding preset. But in a couple of cases, I have a 70% CPU preset that still sounds awful. I'm starting to wonder if the fact that I've got a number of modifiers in my amp blocks might be part of the issue?
I'm about to start utterly rebuilding new AX8 amp blocks, parameter by parameter, and building totally new presets from scratch. But I thought I'd check with some more seasoned (and likely SMARTER) AX8 users, in case someone had been down this same road before, and had suggestions.
TIA, guys!
 

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
I laboriously rebuilt one or two presets from scratch, entering all the parameters from looking at the AxeFx front panel. (Ugh...)
Whoa. You know AX8-Edit and Axe-Edit will run at the same time, right? If I need to go brute force I'll just open them side by side (I have to make them a little smaller to get the side by side on my old iMac's screen) and dial in the AX8 preset on AX8-Edit while looking at values in Axe-Edit. Have to be careful to remember which window is for which device, but it's much easier than looking and device screens.

But, it's pretty rare I have to brute force convert like that.

For presets that'll convert readily I use FracTool.

And if the preset on the Axe-Fx II is definitely going to push the AX8 beyond its abilities I'll just export every block from the preset in Axe-Edit and then copy the .blk files over to a folder under the AX8-Edit settings folder and then rebuild the preset as multiple presets in the AX8 using the .blk files. I generally skip the AMP and CAB blocks when I do it this way and dial those in manually.
 

paulasbell

Inspired
"You know AX8-Edit and Axe-Edit will run at the same time, right?"
No, I didn't, and am grateful to hear about that. (I confess that, while writing my post, I thought "Hey... I wonder if some smart person will inform me that I could have them both open, side-by-side on my Mac".) So that's already a help.
And yes, I actually DID start w/ converts using Fractool. That appeared to work well, but when I started having my problems, stripped the presets down to around 70%, and STILL had digital ugliness, I started wondering if something in the Fractool process had caused corruption of some sort.
Then, I tried just creating a new preset, block-by-block, as you described. STILL had problems, even reading around 70%. That's when i started going brute force...;)
I'll keep experimenting....
 

paulasbell

Inspired
Again, Ian, thanks for pointing out that both Axe-Edit and AX8 can remain connected and open simultaneously. That helped a bunch, and allowed me to cobble together a couple more presets, by copying over parameters when necessary.

However, I'm still deeply puzzled by a couple of issues. For example, I've tried numerous ways to assemble a preset which when entirely assembled, shows a 72% CPU. That's less than a number of WORKING presets, that I've created. Yet, this 72% one does the digital-flanging thing which I've come to associate with a CPU issue. Taking out, say, the Reverb block brings it down to perhaps 55%, where it works. But adding ANY reverb block back in then hits the wall.

A hint may be that I occasionally see the CPU indicator hit 100% on this patch, then when I change scenes, or save, it goes down to 72% or so. But sometimes, it jumps back up to 100% again. I assume there's some sort of corruption that's being indicated?

I wonder if I should save presets I've got, and do a system reset of some sort?
TIA in advance for whatever suggestions can be offered...
 

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
Are you looking at the CPU meter on AX8-Edit or on the hardware? Look on the hardware. Spikes are more apparent there. There are many effects that use more CPU as you play. So it's best to check while playing as no signal through the unit can be okay, while signal passing can push it to overload.

Edit: Post preset if you want me to check it here.
 

Stratoblaster

Fractal Fanatic
I've been in the process of migrating from an AFX 2 -> AX8 this week and it's been pretty painless so far; it's nice to have both the AFX2 and the AX8 running in their respective editors while doing this (the block dump in AxeEdit is my new best friend).

Will have to break up my AFX2 'kitchen sink' presets to a few specialty FX presets but this is very manageable on the AX8. I'm thinking this all out now...

....and don't forget to copy the controller block; I was having a problem with migrating my Run Like Hell keyboard/synth/solo preset and it took me a minute or two to figure out why it was way off. I copied and arranged the blocks but forgot about the controller block.
 
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Stratoblaster

Fractal Fanatic
And if the preset on the Axe-Fx II is definitely going to push the AX8 beyond its abilities I'll just export every block from the preset in Axe-Edit and then copy the .blk files over to a folder under the AX8-Edit settings folder and then rebuild the preset as multiple presets in the AX8 using the .blk files.

I'm finding that's the easiest way to deal with some of my specialty presets (usually FX heavy) going from the AFX2 -> AX8; I've also moved the amp/cab blocks from my main presets using .blk files as well.
 

paulasbell

Inspired
Ian, I'm going to take you up on your kind offer to check a couple of presets. I've enclosed 2 very similar ones, which both read about 73% on my AX8-Edit, but in fact DO seem to peak the hardware meter itself, as you brought up earlier.
Could you just confirm that these in fact are over the limit on yours as well? If so, I'll just have to find some way to pare 'em down.
 

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paulasbell

Inspired
Ian, I've been messing around a bit more, and created a preset that seems to work. I did it by reducing Cab block to Normal Res, and bringing Reverb Echo Density to 2. None of which is really surprising... except that now that I barely squeaked under the wire with my edits, the CPU sez 64%. Bringing the verb echo density from 2 to 3 kicks it over into flange-crud-ville.
Is that expected, normal behavior? I've attached the now-OK preset...
 

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Rex

Legend!
...now that I barely squeaked under the wire with my edits, the CPU sez 64%...Is that expected, normal behavior?
Such a big drop in reported CPU is usually an indication that something has been disabled due to excessive CPU.
 

paulasbell

Inspired
Such a big drop in reported CPU is usually an indication that something has been disabled due to excessive CPU.

Doesn't appear to be, Rex. I've gotten familiar with that visual indicator, from when I originally ported some AxeFx presets over, using Fractool. One of the two presets I posted above was created by adding blocks, one-by-one. The other was a Fractool-ported one, which I tried to CPU-reduce, w/ the afore-mentioned changes in Reverb, cab, etc.
Could you explain your wording "big drop in reported CPU"? I'd like to understand a bit more what might be going on here...
 

Rex

Legend!
Could you explain your wording "big drop in reported CPU"? I'd like to understand a bit more what might be going on here...
By "big drop," I mean messing around with a preset that's running at the upper CPU limit (approaching 90%), then looking up to see that I'm running at 70% and wondering what the miracle was. The miracle is usually a disabled reverb block. :)
 

paulasbell

Inspired
By "big drop," I mean messing around with a preset that's running at the upper CPU limit (approaching 90%), then looking up to see that I'm running at 70% and wondering what the miracle was. The miracle is usually a disabled reverb block. :)
Oh... gotcha. Yeah, I wish that WAS what was going on here.
I'm assuming by your experienced response that something's amiss, when adding an integer of echo density in the verb block, or one modifier into the amp block, causes a 64% preset to go south?
 
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