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Axe fx II XL+ quieter than Axe fx II XL?

naka2112

Inspired
Is the recent upgrade only a sharper display, or is the new Axe fx II XL+ quieter too? In particular, I am referring to the largely unavoidable HISS one gets when using the 4cm. This happens when the axe is in front of a tube amp on a higher gain amp.

I am not talking about HUM, and I do know about humbuster cables. I also know about setting the pad etc. :)

I want to know if the HISS is less of a problem with the new Axe fx II XL+.

Thanks in advance
 

asdfasd

Regular
I still don't understand people referring to the XL+ as an 'upgrade'. I've even read of people selling their XL to 'upgrade' to an XL+. The XL+ only exists because a controller chip was EOL. If it's slightly quieter as well as having the different chip, then cool. People seem to put a lot of value into the '+' symbol.

Anyway, end of unrelated rant. 8)
 

ztevie

Veteran
I still don't understand people referring to the XL+ as an 'upgrade'. I've even read of people selling their XL to 'upgrade' to an XL+. The XL+ only exists because a controller chip was EOL. If it's slightly quieter as well as having the different chip, then cool. People seem to put a lot of value into the '+' symbol.

Anyway, end of unrelated rant. 8)
Its the same regarding Mark I and Mark II.
Some people I've heard say they would never consider a Mark I since it's so outdated and can't compare to the new modern Mark II. And they don't even use MFC.
When explaining the Mark I, II and XL models all sound the same they look at you in disbelief.
So yeah, what you call things make quite an impact.
 

asdfasd

Regular
I'm guessing that they designed a better input for some of their other more recent projects, and when they had to open the hood on the XL (because of the display chip), they made a few more board changes on the XL+. Somebody like me would never notice, one way or another. But the best thing for low noise is an active pickup (op amps are magic).
I'd be surprised if they'd done this, because you'd think they would have advertised it somewhere. From all accounts the only change was the controller chip for the LCD.

From the horse's mouth:

The controller chip for the LCD was EOL so we had to design a new LCD. Since this controller chip has a different protocol this requires different firmware to communicate with the LCD. So we had to call the product something different as it requires different firmware files and we didn't want people having to refer to the serial number or something like that to figure out which file to use.

One idea was the Axe-Fx II XL Mark II but we figured that would be really confusing. So eventually we came up with XL+. Functionally the XL+ is identical to the XL.
(Emphasis mine).

There you have it. The only reason the XL+ even has a different name is because the different LCD controller chip requires different firmware and Fractal didn't want people to load the wrong file. If not for this all of the XL+ units would still be called XLs, and no one would have known the difference. Would have been cool, because people wouldn't have felt the need to 'upgrade' from an XL to.. another XL. Which is exactly some people are doing now - changing between two functionally identical, interchangeable units. Man, the value people put into that little '+' symbol! Insanity.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
I'd be surprised if they'd done this, because you'd think they would have advertised it somewhere. From all accounts the only change was the controller chip for the LCD.

From the horse's mouth:



(Emphasis mine).

There you have it. The only reason the XL+ even has a different name is because the different LCD controller chip requires different firmware and Fractal didn't want people to load the wrong file. If not for this all of the XL+ units would still be called XLs, and no one would have known the difference. Would have been cool, because people wouldn't have felt the need to 'upgrade' from an XL to.. another XL. Which is exactly some people are doing now - changing between two functionally identical, interchangeable units. Man, the value people put into that little '+' symbol! Insanity.
No, the XL+ is slightly quieter. It has some minor improvements to the front end electronics. It's not a difference we feel is worth crowing about as the XL is already very quiet.

The data bus is also slightly improved which yields a small reduction in base CPU usage.

And finally there is power up/down pop protection on the outputs.

We could've made a big deal about these things but they're minor and not significant improvements over the previous models. They're just little tweaks. We had to redesign the board for the new LCD so we took the opportunity to tweak a few things.
 

JJunkie

Forum Addict
Hi there

My speakers pop when the XL+ powers off. When you say pop protection do you mean that there is still potentially a pop but its not a type of pop that could damage speakers at high volume?
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
Hi there

My speakers pop when the XL+ powers off. When you say pop protection do you mean that there is still potentially a pop but its not a type of pop that could damage speakers at high volume?
Pop protection on power off requires turning the Level knob(s) all the way down. If you don't you'll still get a little pop but not enough to damage speakers.
 

asdfasd

Regular
No, the XL+ is slightly quieter. It has some minor improvements to the front end electronics. It's not a difference we feel is worth crowing about as the XL is already very quiet.

The data bus is also slightly improved which yields a small reduction in base CPU usage.

And finally there is power up/down pop protection on the outputs.

We could've made a big deal about these things but they're minor and not significant improvements over the previous models. They're just little tweaks. We had to redesign the board for the new LCD so we took the opportunity to tweak a few things.
Fair enough! Thanks for the reply.

The only bummer is that the XL+ was announced only 2 and a half months after I bought my XL. Doesn't affect my usage of the unit whatsoever, but just a bit of a downer that my resale value probably decreased at that point. Not your fault at all, by the way. The chip being EOL was out of your control and I think you've done everything right here. Just unlucky on my part I guess.

In terms of firmware updates, will the XL be supported for the same amount of time as the XL+? Or is it likely that the XL will be phased out first?
 
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