Fractal Audio Systems was founded in 2006 to create the revolutionary Axe-Fx line of preamp/effect processors. Guitarists everywhere have since embraced Fractal technology. At Fractal, we are dedicated to quality without compromise in the pursuit of “eXtreme digital technology.”
Shortly after the advent of the electric guitar and the amplifier, guitar players began to experiment with altering the basic sound of their instruments. Amplifiers soon began to incorporate reverb and then tremolo and overdrive. Never satisfied, guitarists yearned for even more sonic possibilities and the effect pedal was born. These consisted of wah-wah, distortion and other simple effects. Although crude, folklore has exalted these early pedals to the point where some feel they were endowed with almost mystical properties. With the introduction of the integrated circuit in the late 60’s, designers realized more complicated effects. By the 1970’s a myriad of pedals were available: Chorus, phaser and flanger effects became ubiquitous.
As technology marched on and IC’s became ever denser, a new paradigm was thrust into the spotlight: digital. Digital effects, it was promised, would offer far superior performance: zero noise, nearly infinite delay times, pristine reverbs, and more. Soon the multi-effect was born. In a single rackmounted unit the guitarist could have the equivalent of a dozen different effect pedals. Competition was fierce with each manufacturer trying to one-up the other by cramming more and more into their boxes. Ultimately, and unfortunately, this led to digital’s demise. As engineering gave way to marketing, many soon began to question the Emperor’s new clothes. Pricing pressures and cost cutting forced engineers to use low-grade components and inferior algorithms, and the quality of the effects suffered. Grainy, cheesy, noisy. No doubt many have heard these terms when referring to digital effects. Soon, many guitarists rebelled against digital effects and analog pedals have now enjoyed a renaissance. Old analog pedals are prized and sought among vintage collectors. Musicians ditched rack processors in favor of a board full of individual pedals.
But in fact, digital technology is quite capable of delivering all of the benefits that were originally touted. Now, more than ever this promise is realized with superior sound quality, the convenience of multiple simultaneous effects, programmability and superior control. With the Axe-Fx line of products — and now beyond it with new offerings — we have hopefully restored digital to its rightful place as the superior solution to guitar signal processing. Every aspect of every one of our products is designed with this in mind to deliver the ultimate in sonic quality. We thank the many musicians, unsung heroes and guitar superstars alike, who now stand behind Fractal at the dawn of a new age in guitar tone and technology.
Fractal Audio Timeline
|Dec-2018||Fractal Audio Systems’ next gen foot controllers, the FC-6 and FC-12, begin shipping.|
|Feb-2018||Fractal Audio Systems begins shipping the X-LOAD LB-2, a reactive load box ideal for both live and studio applications.|
|Jan-2018||Fractal Audio Systems announces the new Axe-Fx III.|
|Dec-2017||Fractal Audio Systems wraps up
a record-breaking year with a gift of free cab packs to all its customers.
|Oct-2017||QUANTUM v9 firmware for the Axe-Fx II and AX8 is released with
a new model of speaker compression, new effects, and more.
|Jul-2017||The EV-2 begins shipping, a compact version of our
award-winning Expression/Volume pedal.
|Aug-2017||Fractal Audio participates in musician workshops. By now, the
list includes Dweezil Zappa, John Petrucci, Plini, Intervals, Animals as
Leaders, Adrian Belew, and many more.
|Jun-2017||The artist roster has grown to include Keith Urban, Don Felder
(The Eagles), Lyle Workman, and many more
|Jan-2017||The AX8 has been awarded top honors by every major guitar
magazine, matching its big brother the Axe-Fx.
|Jun-2016||FX8 Mark II begins shipping, sporting a host of design
improvements and block compatibility with the Axe-Fx II.
|Jun-2016||The artist roster has grown to include Joe Satriani, Andy
Summers, Robert Fripp, and many more
|Apr-2016||The 24th Cab Pack is live in our store! This model has
launched an entire industry of producers selling IRs for guitar.
|Jan-2016||The EV-1 expresion volume pedal is shipping. It combines a
high-quality expression and analog volume into one top-quality product.
|Nov-2015||The Edge of U2 is officially added to the Fractal Artist roster.|
|Nov-2015||Announcing FAS-FX Reverb, the first VST/AU plugin from Fractal Audio Systems.|
|Sep-2015||QUANTUM firmware is announced for the Axe-Fx II, representing
a milestone in amp modeling technology through Realtime Spice (RTS).
|Apr-2015||FX8 Multi-Fx pedalboard processor begins shipping .|
|May-2015||Fractal Audio Systems launches its own line of Cables for use
with its products
|Mar-2015||Fractal Audio Systems named in a Wall Street Journal article
about the skills of ‘concert technicians’.
|Mar-2015||Axe-Fx II Firmware 18 with “G3 Amp Modeling” is
|Feb-2015||Fractal Audio announces the AX8, an all-new Amp Modeler /
Multi-FX pedalboard and the company’s first all-in-one floor unit
|Feb-2015||Cab Lab 3 IR Mixer and Tools, including the first plugin from
Fractal Audio Systems, is launched.
|Feb-2015||The Axe-Fx II XL becomes the XL+, with improved display and
even lower noise floor.
|Jan-2015||EV1 Expression/Volume Pedal begins shipping.|
|Oct-2014||A special “Thank You” to Fractal Audio Systems
appears in the liner notes of U2’s Songs of Innocence.
|Oct-2014||FX8 Multi-FX Pedalboard is announced.|
|Apr-2014||Fractal Audio releases Cab Pack 4 -Universal Noise Storage
studios, the first cab pack in UltraRes™
|Mar-2014||MFC-101 Mark III ships, allowing 2-way MIDI and power over a
single XLR cable using Fractal Audio’s proprietary FASLINK™ connection.
|Feb-2014||UltraRes™, our patent-pending IR technology, dramatically
increases speaker sim quality without added latency or CPU use.
|Jan-2014||The Axe-Fx II XL is announced, featuring expanded memory and
numerous other improvements.
|May-2013||Fractal offers the first in its CAB PACK series of
professionaly produced Speaker Cab IRs.
|Apr-2013||Axe-Fx II Firmware 10 introduces MIMIC™, a revolutionary
improvement to amp modeling.
|Apr-2013||Fractal-Bot is launched, offering a standalone, lightweight
MIDI utility for Fractal products.
|Oct-2012||Alex Lifeson adopts the Axe-Fx II, thrilling the many Rush
fans who work at Fractal Audio.
|Oct-2012||Axe-Fest West, featuring 2 days of Fractal-related
presentations and performances draws record crowds to the L.A. Amp Show.
|Jun-2012||AxeChange, our preset and cab sharing web site is launched.|
|Jul-2011||shop.fractalaudio.com is launched.|
|May-2011||Fractal Audio Systems announces Axe-Fx II, the long-awaited
successor to the Ultra.
|Oct-2010||The MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller is released.|
|May-2010||Fractal Audio Welcomes Steve Vai AND John Petrucci to its
artist roster this month.
|Apr-2010||The artist roster has grown to include Steve Stevens, Tosin
Abasi, Adrian Belew, Chris Broderick, Devin Townsend, Neal Schon and many
|Sep-2009||By now, the Axe-Fx has won every top award from every major
|Apr-2009||Four new artists become the “cornerstones” of our roster:
Dweezil Zappa, Chris Traynor, Pete Thorn, and Larry Mitchell.
|Sep-2008||The Fractal Audio Systems forum is launched.|
|Jun-2008||Axe-Fx firmware 5 draws major attention with dramatic
improvements to amp modeling.
|May-2007||Axe-Fx Wiki is launched.|
|Apr-2007||Axe-Fx Ultra is announced.|
|Jan-2007||store.fractalaudio.com is launched.|
|Dec-2006||The first firmware update is released, establishing what will
become Fractal’s commitment to product evolution.
|Nov-2006||fractalaudio.com goes live.|
|Mar-2005||The first internet forum posts about “an AxeFx”
appear, stating “This guy Cliff built it from scratch and did all the