• We would like to remind our members that this is a privately owned, run and supported forum. You are here at the invitation and discretion of the owners. As such, rules and standards of conduct will be applied that help keep this forum functioning as the owners desire. These include, but are not limited to, removing content and even access to the forum.

    Please give yourself a refresher on the forum rules you agreed to follow when you signed up.

Ares vs Cygnus - if it was perfect - how can it be better now?

Scott Peterson

Global Moderator
Moderator
Cliff is nothing but driven; you can love him or hate him, but the man is not afraid to tear it down and build it again.

He has always had epiphanies; It used to be a running joke that he'd bang his head and develop new ways to rework his modeling algorithms.

Just speaking from the standpoint of an admitted massive fan of Fractal Audio since 2007, Cliff is beyond committed to improvement. Even if he nails it, it is never good enough for him. He's never been one to sit back and leave it set 'because that's how we do it.'

He challenges himself to do it better. And he does it.

People hate on Fractal Audio for stuff like the OP notes - if it is so perfect, how can he keep improving it?

The answer is obvious but missed: because he can.

Really that's it.

Just one man's opinion.
 

PlanetSmasher

New Member
Cliff is nothing but driven; you can love him or hate him, but the man is not afraid to tear it down and build it again.

He has always had epiphanies; It used to be a running joke that he'd bang his head and develop new ways to rework his modeling algorithms.

Just speaking from the standpoint of an admitted massive fan of Fractal Audio since 2007, Cliff is beyond committed to improvement. Even if he nails it, it is never good enough for him. He's never been one to sit back and leave it set 'because that's how we do it.'

He challenges himself to do it better. And he does it.

People hate on Fractal Audio for stuff like the OP notes - if it is so perfect, how can he keep improving it?

The answer is obvious but missed: because he can.

Really that's it.

Just one man's opinion.
Overdriven, really. I'll see myself out...
 

reclavea

Power User
Cliff is nothing but driven; you can love him or hate him, but the man is not afraid to tear it down and build it again.

He has always had epiphanies; It used to be a running joke that he'd bang his head and develop new ways to rework his modeling algorithms.

Just speaking from the standpoint of an admitted massive fan of Fractal Audio since 2007, Cliff is beyond committed to improvement. Even if he nails it, it is never good enough for him. He's never been one to sit back and leave it set 'because that's how we do it.'

He challenges himself to do it better. And he does it.

People hate on Fractal Audio for stuff like the OP notes - if it is so perfect, how can he keep improving it?

The answer is obvious but missed: because he can.

Really that's it.

Just one man's opinion.

Make that 2 men's opinion... :innocent:
 

electronpirate

Moderator
Moderator
This is a long argument. 'It can't get better'. 'I'm happy where it's at'.

I've been happy with where it's at since a few FW updates on the Standard. Even then, with a little study, skill, and trial and error, you were still miles over the competitors.

The question always seems to be 'it doesn't sound as good as my tube amp'. There was some truth to that to start out with. It improved with the Ultra, but IMO it was put to bed with the III. Frankly, the Standard sounded better than most tube amps, but that is opinion.

Here we go: If your ultimate goal is to sound exactly like your preferred tube amp, and the Axe somehow came up short (insert 'amp in the room content'), then I considered this myopic. I have never had a problem getting dynamics, punch, and beauty out of the black box. Add all the goodies in there, and the concept of 'not quite there' seemed so ridiculous that it was not worth mentioning. In the end, are you making music, or consumed with being someone else's tone.

But FAS continues to improve. This is the culture of the company. The fact that we are appreciative of updates, yes still effusive over newer updates is a sign of progress. Naysayers and 'haters' will tell us that we are delusional; but a single stroke of strings should tell them all they need to know. True internet culture at work here...it's doesn't matter what it is, it matters whether you can influence others to join in your scorn.

Rock on FAS. Still the best there is.

R
 

FPFL

Experienced
The false quest for perfect, "are we there yet?" debate is both the wrong frame and an unhelpful one. We are not just chasing something that existed, we are beyond what existed. There is no measure for that other than "How much do we like it?"

The Fractal platform does a dozen things that are anything from very expensive to literally impossible with tube amps and it does them with ease.

The baked-in assumption that there is Plato's Perfect Plexi and if we only imitate 100% all will harmonize was never true in the real world in the first place. While some are wasting years looking for that, we are doing things Plexis could never do and doing them better. I couldn't care less if its 97% or 98% exactly some guy's actual Plexi. He is still dealing with all the problems I left behind a decade ago. He is not my hero. I don't want his rig.
 
Last edited:

phil92

Experienced
well, while it is much, MUCH more than that, the Axe FX's goal is to model multiple guitar and bass amps as accurately as possible. So of course there's the obvious question of how accurate it is (I'd say "very", based on my limited experience).
And this discussion doesn't seem to spark nearly as much controversy when it comes to the effects inside the Axe FX. We guitar players in particular seem to be a very stubborn and reactionary bunch; there is technology available today that is beyond the wildest dreams of any guitarist from the 50s or 60s yet we cling to, by large, the same tone ideals.

I can only answer that question for myself; guitar and tube amp (or Axe FX's models thereof) form a synergy, a unity, become one instrument, and this interaction, when the tone and "feel" of the amp seems to influence how your fingers feel the strings is just glorious when everything comes together.

So far I only experienced this with actual tube amps or the Axe FX. No other modeler, none of the various plugins or stand alone software.
 

phil92

Experienced
...

In the end, are you making music, or consumed with being someone else's tone.

well, both to be honest. I have been down the Brown Sound Rabbithole; built a 12000 series Metro, lay down transformer and all, virtual variac, tweaked and biased, NOS tubes, fiddled with the tonestack to get that 2.7k to pop, got zapped bad a couple times... I think I had that amp more open than closed.
At the same time I worked on my right hand, my partial palm muting, my pick attack, dissected his licks, the shuffle and the swing.

I will go through phases with the Axe that I do a similar thing. But it's so much easier to get stuff to sound right, so I only spend a fraction of the time on tweaking.
 

JoKeR III

Power User
As someone who refuses to compromise on tone, and swore I'd never go back to a modeler, FAS has made me eat my words. I've said before, I will use whatever gear provides the best tones period. If any of the amps and pedals I own, or have owned, gave me the tone I was looking for, I would use them. Doesn't matter the weight, pieces of gear involved, the inconvenience, maintenance, setup, tear-down or endless nitpicking over mic positions- I will use the product(s) that give me the tone I'm looking for. The Axe III has yet to fail to provide me with anything I need or want in a tone. There is no way a mic'd amp can sound or feel any "better" than the Axe III. I've tried numerous combinations of gear and it's simply not possible, end of discussion (You can debate Amp-in-the-Room all you want, I ain't goin' there).

Anyone who's asked about what I use are very surprised. I show them the Axe III and that it's going straight to FOH and some look around for the other stuff I have to be using. I've also had friends bring their amps over, or used mine since they "don't use modelers". After I create the tone they're getting from their amp(s), the typical response I get is them shaking their heads. I've converted some, still others are "too cool" to give up the Strymon loaded, boutique overdrive, amp-behind-the-stage realm - even if they admit the Axe III sounds better to them.

I'm personally grateful for FAS' continuing commitment to developing and providing the best possible product on the market. The things we get for free are simply mind-boggling!!
 

Doc Rock

Inspired
While I agree with the concept of continuous improvement, I think there is a flaw in the basic premise. What we had yesterday, or the day before, or even today, is NOT "perfect". It can't be. There is no defined standard against which we can measure any parameters. The flaw in the argument is that there is no one single amp sound for any given amp: for example: my MusicMan HD 212 130W will sound just that hair different from yours, and different again from the one I was loaned while mine was getting fixed. I noticed the difference because I was used to playing the one I'd had for years. I still have it. My other amps (yup, I have a few) also sound unique to themselves, and subtly different from others of the same make and model. Then there is the different way I play, on different guitars, etc etc - you get the idea.

So all I'm saying is that there is no such thing as perfect, each of us has a different "ideal" sound and feel, and previous incarnations of the AxeFx sounded great, but there will ALWAYS be ways in which the amazing Cliff can improve it. Some may be subtle, some may be dramatic, and some of us may not notice any difference. It all depends on our individual baselines...!
 

phil92

Experienced
While I agree with the concept of continuous improvement, I think there is a flaw in the basic premise. What we had yesterday, or the day before, or even today, is NOT "perfect". It can't be. There is no defined standard against which we can measure any parameters. The flaw in the argument is that there is no one single amp sound for any given amp: for example: my MusicMan HD 212 130W will sound just that hair different from yours, and different again from the one I was loaned while mine was getting fixed. I noticed the difference because I was used to playing the one I'd had for years. I still have it. My other amps (yup, I have a few) also sound unique to themselves, and subtly different from others of the same make and model. Then there is the different way I play, on different guitars, etc etc - you get the idea.

So all I'm saying is that there is no such thing as perfect, each of us has a different "ideal" sound and feel, and previous incarnations of the AxeFx sounded great, but there will ALWAYS be ways in which the amazing Cliff can improve it. Some may be subtle, some may be dramatic, and some of us may not notice any difference. It all depends on our individual baselines...!

well, there must be some commonality between our baselines if we agree that there has been continuous and incremental improvement, right?
 

Purplestrats

Inspired
Cliff is nothing but driven; you can love him or hate him, but the man is not afraid to tear it down and build it again.

He has always had epiphanies; It used to be a running joke that he'd bang his head and develop new ways to rework his modeling algorithms.

Just speaking from the standpoint of an admitted massive fan of Fractal Audio since 2007, Cliff is beyond committed to improvement. Even if he nails it, it is never good enough for him. He's never been one to sit back and leave it set 'because that's how we do it.'

He challenges himself to do it better. And he does it.

People hate on Fractal Audio for stuff like the OP notes - if it is so perfect, how can he keep improving it?

The answer is obvious but missed: because he can.

Really that's it.

Just one man's opinion.

Reminds me of Paul Reed Smith in that way, never says "ok that's good enough."

The big difference of course, I can't post on a PRS message board and expect Paul himself to give an answer. It really is extraordinary.
 

Thomas Obester

Inspired
Cliffs surname is Chase, right ?

So IMO, it´s his destiny to "chase" as good tone as possible /,,/

Just a joke, love this products and community !
 
  • Wow
Reactions: jon

Wojciech Bator

New Member
As we grow more educated, listen more closely, we may perceive details we were unaware of before. What we didn't consider a relevant component of the sound or feel may now appear obvious.
100% agreement here. This is so true when refreshing some nostalgic things, like video games I've played as a kid near 2000. They feel like a total crap right now, well maybe except Heroes III, it's always great ;) We just get used to what we have and establish ourselves to utilize it well for our needs. Then comes the new - like Cygnus right now and it turns everything upside down. Good sounding amps (like 5150 or Recto) are too fat and require tweaking. Nice ones like 6505+ get a new life and sound great.

I remember showing the Axe FX III to my friend guitarist (5150 owner) and while the virtual amp sound was very close, it totally lacked the punch of a real setup (column + amp + hot tubes), it felt flat. Now they added the punch, it still requires tweaking, but I feel it is a great addon and direction. It moves Axe from mostly-studio to all-around-great gear I think :)

I'm a very happy customer after recent updates
 

Purplestrats

Inspired
100% agreement here. This is so true when refreshing some nostalgic things, like video games I've played as a kid near 2000. They feel like a total crap right now, well maybe except Heroes III, it's always great ;) We just get used to what we have and establish ourselves to utilize it well for our needs. Then comes the new - like Cygnus right now and it turns everything upside down. Good sounding amps (like 5150 or Recto) are too fat and require tweaking. Nice ones like 6505+ get a new life and sound great.

I remember showing the Axe FX III to my friend guitarist (5150 owner) and while the virtual amp sound was very close, it totally lacked the punch of a real setup (column + amp + hot tubes), it felt flat. Now they added the punch, it still requires tweaking, but I feel it is a great addon and direction. It moves Fractal from mostly-studio to all-around-great gear I think :)

I'm a very happy customer after recent updates
HEROES 3, the GOAT!
 

Purplestrats

Inspired
I estimate the time I spend standing in front of this setup is 20% practicing guitar, 50% noodling around tweaking tones and enjoying myself, 30% playing Heroes 3. lol
 

Attachments

  • IMG_1341.jpg
    IMG_1341.jpg
    1.7 MB · Views: 16

johnnypig

Inspired
@wulftone JoS is pretty awesome, however it's always funny to me that regardless of the method, the conclusion of the papers is always an approximation attempting to make up for not having enough dsp power.
Essentially they are long papers describing better wave shapers.
WDFs are cool and cpu friendly... Native Instruments has used them successfully in analog filters ala Monark, but the creme de la creme is the accuracy of SPICE ala "faspice" that does less approximation and advances monte-carlo whole circuits where individual parts have meaning and interraction (memory).
It's extremely difficult to pull off, hence the absurd number of patents on tube simulation in the last ~40 years and 16 major firmware revisions on Axe.
So far Fractal has pulled off fooling guitarists on low frequency, narrow bandwidth systems better than anyone has before so the door will never close on improvement.
 

jyflorida

Experienced
Cliff is nothing but driven; you can love him or hate him, but the man is not afraid to tear it down and build it again.

He has always had epiphanies; It used to be a running joke that he'd bang his head and develop new ways to rework his modeling algorithms.

As opposed to when I bang my head and then have to sweep up loose brain cells!
 

dumbeat

Inspired
"Perfect" and "Exactly" are common terms used by Fractal users to express happiness and reassurance that they did not dump their great Tube amps for nothing. But everybody knows that the world of Modeling and Digitizing an Analog phenomena is an eternal Chase since nothing can ever be exactly like something else. Just ... well, different.
Sometimes better for certain applications and sometimes not as gratifying. The term "Exactly" and "Identical" should certainly leave the vocabulary in order to keep the discussion intelligent and real... No offense, im in Awe of Fractal stuff and use it a whole lot.
 
Top Bottom