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Axe-Fx III 16.00 Beta 4 "Cygnus" Firmware - Public Beta

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Jan Geerts

Experienced
I used to think that too, and as a result hated fuzzes, but I learned it's just an acquired taste.
nothing acquired on this part. First time I heard Hey Hey My My I was hooked. Makes most metalbands sound like banjo combo's. Or 21th Century Schizoid Man. Or Hendrix live. Love at first hearing.
 

aens

Experienced
I’ve done hours of dialing in on the SLO 100 an amp that I’ve owned. I totally love 15.01 it was easy to achieve the amp feel and sound for me. However 16.0 is off in so many ways. It does sounds tube like, but is sterile and neutral with less defined lower mids and less harmonics. The real amp had a certain power sag with artifacts of Harmonic distortion character. I’ve went back and forth between 15.01 and 16.0 trying to start from scratch by a rest and just can not achieve the feel or sound. With 16.0 I’ve played with some other amps what have been verified and like the changes. Hopefully my voice is heard and Cliff goes back closer to 15.01 with the SLO 100 ✌🏻
Just making sure you tried this first:
  • reset the amp block
  • try the amp with stock settings first. It might’ve changed drastically with the new FW, so advanced or even basic tweaks might not give you same results as before
  • check amp block volume and master volume, these can trick you easily
  • if it doesn’t sound good to you, try tweaking the advanced parameters one at a time to get closer

Can’t say anything about the SLO model since I’ve not owned the real thing.
 

guitarnerdswe

Fractal Fanatic
Just making sure you tried this first:
  • reset the amp block
  • try the amp with stock settings first. It might’ve changed drastically with the new FW, so advanced or even basic tweaks might not give you same results as before
  • check amp block volume and master volume, these can trick you easily
  • if it doesn’t sound good to you, try tweaking the advanced parameters one at a time to get closer

Can’t say anything about the SLO model since I’ve not owned the real thing.
+1

I'm a big Soldano guy and use them for 2/4 of my main sounds. I don't think anything negative happened to them. Still sound glorious!
 

Arni61

Member
Just making sure you tried this first:
  • reset the amp block
  • try the amp with stock settings first. It might’ve changed drastically with the new FW, so advanced or even basic tweaks might not give you same results as before
  • check amp block volume and master volume, these can trick you easily
  • if it doesn’t sound good to you, try tweaking the advanced parameters one at a time to get closer

Can’t say anything about the SLO model since I’ve not owned the real thing.
For this reason you should wait for the final cygnus firmware. I very much hope that fractal will take the time to carefully revise every single amp. A deterioration with different amps compared to the firmware 15.01 would be disappointing
 
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johnnypig

Inspired
@Covrea It says in the OP that it will change the sound of amps but it's good to test and find weirdness. Hopefully resetting the amp block will do the trick.
The SLO is still great to my ears... It doesn't seem like anything changed too drastically other than Cygnus overall dynamics, more thump on single notes and refined highs.
 

NaturalScience

Inspired
Finally tried it out since the Tucana is done and I've sort of settled on that as one of my main amps these days. Definitely an improvement but I did dial everything back in from scratch.

In the past, I always felt like my tones through my Matrix and 4x12 cab weren't hitting me in the gut as hard as they should. Maybe this was because I would often revert back to the Hiwatt as my favored amp, and that thing had a low end that could vibrate the walls. But by juxtaposition, it made my otherwise preferred amps sound weak. The previous update with all of the added impedance curves definitely helped in that regard. 16 sounds like another step in that direction. The low end on the Tucana is meatier in ways that I couldn't achieve before with just eq. Rhythm playing on the neck pickup is chunky but not muddy, and sliding into a solo on the low E is more satisfying now. I've noticed improvements on these items in past firmwares, but this one is easily the most evident.

Can't wait to see what the updated /13 models sound like too.
 

yek

Legend!
I’ve done hours of dialing in on the SLO 100 an amp that I’ve owned. I totally love 15.01 it was easy to achieve the amp feel and sound for me. However 16.0 is off in so many ways. It does sounds tube like, but is sterile and neutral with less defined lower mids and less harmonics. The real amp had a certain power sag with artifacts of Harmonic distortion character. I’ve went back and forth between 15.01 and 16.0 trying to start from scratch by a rest and just can not achieve the feel or sound. With 16.0 I’ve played with some other amps what have been verified and like the changes. Hopefully my voice is heard and Cliff goes back closer to 15.01 with the SLO 100 ✌🏻

Compared 1-to-1 with FM3 version (= Ares 15):

old version: more bass, muddier

new version: less bass, more presence and clearer in mid and upper frequencies, more natural/balanced
 

MSS

Experienced
My experience with the recto2 was the same. I didn’t like it. I removed the eq I had (I had a 130hz bump) and started from scratch. I also had to lower 240hz in the Mesa 5 band I use. I’m pretty happy with it now. It sounds pretty awesome!
 

IronSean

Experienced
For this reason you should wait for the final cygnus firmware. I very much hope that fractal will take the time to carefully revise every single amp. A deterioration with different amps compared to the firmware 15.01 would be disappointing

They are carefully revising every amp and testing them. That's what you're seeing right now: a BETA test thread where people are trying out the new firmware, looking for any potential issues, and reporting their feedback so it can be fixed before final release. If you don't want to do the testing then you should wait for the final firmware.
 

R.D.

Power User
Compared 1-to-1 with FM3 version (= Ares 15):

old version: more bass, muddier

new version: less bass, more presence and clearer in mid and upper frequencies, more natural/balanced

I gotta give this a try .... It seemed like I could never get a good sound w/ the "stock" SLO Cabs ....

THANKS !
 

yek

Legend!
Took me all of 6 minutes to throw this Cali Leggy preset together. I realized after reading the post clarifying which Legacy was which that I initially only tried the model they made of Vai's head, not the original Legacy. The Cali Leggy is pretty dead on with how I remember the original sounding/feeling.


Here ya go Mud, enjoy. I even used a stock cab.

(Edit- that's a Digitech Freqout doing the feedback notes. There's a loop for it built into the preset but won't affect anything else about the signal chain. Also, I'm using an Ibanez JEM with Evolutions, which are VERY midrangey and VERY Vai-ish all their own)

@RevDrucifer

Love my FreqOut, how natural it sounds and fades in. One of the last remaining pedals in my possession.
 
So my opinion as a guy who plays extreme metal.

The palm mutes in the axe always had a certain something about it that is very hard to explain, I think the lack of "thump" made it sound less like a 90's a record where people would have a bunch of palm muting, basic palm muting on the low E. The previous firmware kinda makes me think more, technical death metal sounds of the 2000's.

As for is the sound tighter or looser, imo it is actually tighter even though there is more perceived bass. Not sure how as I'm not a wizard like cliff, but it's true. When I do machine gun trem picking, notes seem to just sound the way they should?

It's really hard to explain but this update is massive.

I have only played the herbert model so far of the high gain amps because I was way into how the bassman sounded with the new sonic drive I spent all day unable to change amps and try some of the high gain stuff because the tones were so good and so enjoyable to play.

I think the big thing with this update you can't hear, is how it feels to play. It is more inspiring it is more fun. It just rocks???

Other people I heard have the same experience I have where through their FRFR setup, there seemed to be lacking thump and attack compared to a real tube amp. That feeling is pretty much totally gone for me personally. When I dig into to palm mutes it reacts exactly how you expect it to after using tube amps.

I wish I could explain it better but it's not easy haha.

I think something that might become a negative for some people, is now that amps sound more like the real thing, that might mean extra work is required in doing actual recording. Like you will have to do more things that sound engineers do to your mix than you had to before, because real amps require that sort of thing when mixing. Eq cuts and stuff like that.
 

Uberthrall

Member
I much prefer the SLO in Cygnus.
I definitely agree here. I've been a Fractal guy since 2012 (Ultra, Axe 2, Axe 3 and FM3), and I've never cared particularly for any of the Soldanos. With the Cygnus update every one of them I've tried sound fantastic. A whole bunch of things sound even better than Ares, but to me the Soldanos might be the most improved in the entire lot.
 

qjawz

Inspired
I am head over heels with the feel and response of this. Game changer for real. Been playing nonstop. The Dumble and tweeds have me head over heals. The IIC+ is twice the amp model it used to be. I cannot put my guitar down.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
So my opinion as a guy who plays extreme metal.

The palm mutes in the axe always had a certain something about it that is very hard to explain, I think the lack of "thump" made it sound less like a 90's a record where people would have a bunch of palm muting, basic palm muting on the low E. The previous firmware kinda makes me think more, technical death metal sounds of the 2000's.

As for is the sound tighter or looser, imo it is actually tighter even though there is more perceived bass. Not sure how as I'm not a wizard like cliff, but it's true. When I do machine gun trem picking, notes seem to just sound the way they should?

It's really hard to explain but this update is massive.

I have only played the herbert model so far of the high gain amps because I was way into how the bassman sounded with the new sonic drive I spent all day unable to change amps and try some of the high gain stuff because the tones were so good and so enjoyable to play.

I think the big thing with this update you can't hear, is how it feels to play. It is more inspiring it is more fun. It just rocks???

Other people I heard have the same experience I have where through their FRFR setup, there seemed to be lacking thump and attack compared to a real tube amp. That feeling is pretty much totally gone for me personally. When I dig into to palm mutes it reacts exactly how you expect it to after using tube amps.

I wish I could explain it better but it's not easy haha.

I think something that might become a negative for some people, is now that amps sound more like the real thing, that might mean extra work is required in doing actual recording. Like you will have to do more things that sound engineers do to your mix than you had to before, because real amps require that sort of thing when mixing. Eq cuts and stuff like that.
Exactly. If you've been playing tube amps for years you recognize these qualities.

I can't please everyone. So what I do is try to replicate a real tube amp as accurately as possible as that is the gold standard. Cygnus is demonstrably more accurate. I have the math and measurements that prove it.

IMO it makes playing the amps more enjoyable. It may make recording require some more work, just like you would with a real tube amp. I don't know as I haven't tried that.

For now if you don't like the changes go back to 15.01 or try some of the advanced tweaks. One of the things that Cygnus models more accurately is bias excursion and, in general, there is more bias excursion than before. You may not like the sound of bias excursion but it is part of what makes a real tube amp sound and feel the way it does. So one tweak to try is to reduce Master Bias Excursion or any of the individual bias excursion parameters.

The other thing with Cyngus is the power tube bias. The previous firmware biased the virtual power tubes a bit hot in comparison to real amps. This was necessary because of the algorithm to prevent unwanted crossover distortion. The new algorithms are more accurate and, as a result, the power tube bias matches the real amps. If you want that old sound increase the Power Tube Grid Bias. Try around 0.6 to start.
 
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