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

reclavea

Power User
"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.

Just leave it in IMHO ...there’s so much slang, word play in todays semantics and is a given. Human nature to help express and convey their experience ...yet everything should be taken with a “grain of salt” per se.

I don’t think it can be suppressed anyway.

Even when I see “Best this or best that” it does attract attention ....but subjective.

Exchanges can home in more detail.

I think just expect the semantics and form an educated take.
 

dumbeat

Inspired
Just leave it in IMHO ...there’s so much slang, word play in todays semantics and is a given. Human nature to help express and convey their experience ...yet everything should be taken with a “grain of salt” per se.

I don’t think it can be suppressed anyway.

Even when I see “Best this or best that” it does attract attention ....but subjective.

Exchanges can home in more detail.

I think just expect the semantics and form an educated take.

I agree with you in part, but since we're dealing with 1. Science and 2. An attempt to recreate an analog device in the digital domain, there is no room for semantic looseness.

Its not like saying "its the best cake ever made" just because it tastes good.

This context demands responsibility in terminology in order to function within the discussion and be valid more than just an expression of enthusiasm.
 

reclavea

Power User
I agree with you in part, but since we're dealing with 1. Science and 2. An attempt to recreate an analog device in the digital domain, there is no room for semantic looseness.

Its not like saying "its the best cake ever made" just because it tastes good.

This context demands responsibility in terminology in order to function within the discussion and be valid more than just an expression of enthusiasm.

Agreed with regard to quantifying measurements and values. It it should have tight parameters for discussion.

But the op’s post seems very general.

The problem too is no two instruments and amplifiers sound the same after completion. One can’t help expressing perfectness if it applies to his past experiences and recall.

Even the “standard” of what is “THE” sound or tone is a moving target maybe?🤔
 

phil92

Experienced
Agreed with regard to quantifying measurements and values. It it should have tight parameters for discussion.

But the op’s post seems very general.

The problem too is no two instruments and amplifiers sound the same after completion. One can’t help expressing perfectness if it applies to his past experiences and recall.

Even the “standard” of what is “THE” sound or tone is a moving target maybe?🤔

yes, I was very general on purpose. It's not about duplicating the sound (and feel) of one particular amp. It's about getting the characteristic and essence of a tube amp right, so right as to fool anyone. And that makes it a moving target as our listening improves and grows more educated; as we develop an ear (and vocabulary) for details that we may have missed ten years ago.

I tried to move it to another level, because sometimes a change of perspective makes things easier to see. That's why I used the film example;
in VFX we try to make our images look so real, the audience believes them. Sometimes more successful, sometimes less. But as the years go by, the audience isn't fooled as easily as it used to be. Ray Harryhausen made Ulysses fight a skeleton army using puppets he staged one image at a time. The audience believed it (to a point). Now we need massive amounts of computational power because we render every hair on an army of apes. Or we (digitally) lay waste to Chicago as The Rock fights a massive mutant alligator.

And there's another parallel: algorithms evolve because they have to. Because we are trying to get closer to mimicking reality. 20 years ago hardly anything we rendered had Subsurface Scattering; a volume property that has a portion of the light enter the volume to be diffused and exit again. It seemed good enough at the time. Not anymore.
So we are constantly looking for what's missing. For elements and phenomenons we are not yet depicting correctly (or at all). Take fluorescence: surfaces appearing brighter and more vivid than they could possibly be. Until you take into account wavelengths in the invisible part of the spectrum. Fluorescent materials will convert these wavelengths to visible ones, resulting in an apparent "energy gain". No renderer I know currently considers this. But I'm sure it will happen.

Same as the chug.

Will it be perfect? No way. We'll find the next phenomenon, the next nuance.
 

phil92

Experienced
well, anyway. I just spotted quite a few posts along the lines of "uh, they said it already was perfect a year ago, now it's supposed to be even more perfecter??" tha got me aggravated so I wanted to address it

personally I'm down with the Cygnus!
 

Stratoblaster

Fractal Fanatic
Modeling tubes isn't straightforward, that's for sure... There's been tons written on the topic:
Just a few places to look. Research is on-going. I would be surprised if Cliff didn't publish some articles at some point.

That's one aspect: "Does the math exist to model this behavior"?

The second aspect is "Do we have enough compute and the right algorithms to turn this into a real-time system?"

Both are hard. I'm glad people are working on it!
Awesome links, thanks for them...I recognize one of the authors in one of the papers mentioned above as I've read several papers on guitar amp modeling but haven't read/found the ones you've listed...great reads...this stuff is always very interesting.
 
My issue is, if we are incrementally getting towards perfection, why are some updates so vastly different than their predecessors? I’d think the difference from 97% perfect to 98% perfect would be more nuanced.
See, I totally understand and agree with your question, but I think the underlying premise may be tops turvy - that being , I don’t find these updates VASTLY different at all, quite the opposite, I find them to be as you said, incrementally nuanced. Improvements to be sure, but no update I’ve heard since buying the axe fx iii did it chance my mind at all about the quality of replication and sound of my Mesa Rigs...and that was two years ago.

In other words, between last year and this year, we’ve had many great updates..as appreciated as they are, (And I hope FAS policy remains the same in that constant need for self improvement and challenge, as that Shows the true quality and intrinsic richness of the FAS makers,) they wouldn’t have changed my decision to purchase it, even if it’s the first firmware And I had no internet to update

In any case, you reminded me of that adage, “practice makes perfect, but if there is no such thing as perfect, then why practice?” ..... the answer is: to strive for perfection

Only god can tell you if you made it or not , and that’ll take a while for that answer, so I can wait ....(self improvement isnt about the final product only, most of it is and about the journey / metamorphosis itslef”
 

CanadaJams

New Member
consider this: over a hundred years ago, the first moving pictures were shown to an audience in London. It was black and white, on scratched celluloid, there was no sound and it wasn't playing at the correct speed. Yet when a train seemed to race toward the audience, people are said to have fled in panic.
The illusion was "perfect" at the time because of what people were used to seeing.

Now compare that to any contemporary Netflix production...

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.

So yes, what appeared to be "perfect" a year ago may very well be approved upon today (that's why I don't use that term).
I for one am very happy Cliff strives for constant improvement and doesn't seem to tire pulling all of those amps out of storage to re-evaluate, re-tweak and re-confirm the algorithms.

When I bought the Axe FX I had no idea I would be getting all of those free updates.
Totally Agree...is there a document that specifically outlines all of the changes/improvements that Cygnus will provide over the current Ares platform?
 

xrist04

Fractal Fanatic
...is there a document that specifically outlines all of the changes/improvements that Cygnus will provide over the current Ares platform?
From the Release Notes.pdf:

Axe-Fx III Firmware Release Notes
16.00
  • New “Cygnus” amp modeling algorithms.
  • Added “Sonic Dist” Drive type.
  • Fixed popping when switching channels in Drive block in rare cases.
  • Fixed Studio FF Compressor 2 type not working properly if Knee is set to “Hard”.
  • Fixed Delay block maximum time limited to 8s regardless of entered time.
  • Fixed Amp block not updating properly when changing scenes if Scene Revert is on.
  • Various other fixes and enhancements.
 

yyz67

Power User
I consider major Axe FW updates like a logarithmic spiral (of which the golden spiral is one) converging upon a range of aspects of accurate tube amp modeling.

Thus even if each major FW is only 61.8% "more accurate" (in some area of modeling), over 5 FW iterations it would be 90% accurate and after 10 iterations it would be 99% accurate. Of course all fractals have this kind of scaling behavior.

Granted tube amp modeling has many subtle interactive and dynamic aspects so it's probably a mixture of additive and multiplicative improvements, some barely audible and others very audible depending on user.

GoldenSpiralLogarithmic_color_in.gif
 

DLC86

Fractal Fanatic
I consider major Axe FW updates like a logarithmic spiral (of which the golden spiral is one) converging upon a range of aspects of accurate tube amp modeling.

Thus even if each major FW is only 61.8% "more accurate" (in some area of modeling), over 5 FW iterations it would be 90% accurate and after 10 iterations it would be 99% accurate. Of course all fractals have this kind of scaling behavior.

Granted tube amp modeling has many subtle interactive and dynamic aspects so it's probably a mixture of additive and multiplicative improvements, some barely audible and others very audible depending on user.

View attachment 82213

"We'll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one's been"
 

FPFL

Experienced
Tube amps for me are a lot like Stockholm syndrome relationships. All the fighting with tube amps we did to get anything approaching the tones we wanted, so many pedals and cable spaghetti, the inconsistency, the bulk, the biasing, the not quite right tubes... all so quickly forgotten... I see tube amps as a hot, high maintenance and unstable ex. You'll always miss certain things about them, but you also left them for a reason.

I still own a couple tube amps, but if I'm honest they are emotional relics of a bygone era. I'd rather give away than sell, b/c it'd feel less dirty. I haven't gigged a tube amp since I got the Fractal Standard when that was still in production.
 

yyz67

Power User
"We'll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one's been"
I had no clue about the math (esp. Fibonacci stuff) in that song. They take Rush type rhythmic/lyrical nerdiness to a whole other level.

Hearing evolves.

I agree. Or I'd say listening can evolve/change (in addition to physical hearing). Listening is also relatively subjectively malleable day-to-day and based on priming and expectations.

Also, I might think particular tones in Ares were "damn perfect" (beloved favorites) for me which then get changed or "lost" in Cygnus (which did happen), while other tones in Cygnus might become new beloved favorites. I'm still letting my hearing/listening adjust.
 

DLC86

Fractal Fanatic
I had no clue about the math (esp. Fibonacci stuff) in that song. They take Rush type rhythmic/lyrical nerdiness to a whole other level.
Yup. They make really mind blowing stuff, first times I listened to some of their songs I almost thought they played random notes and tempos, but it was just a complex order I wasn't able to grasp at the time.
 
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