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Everything you've always wanted to know about: Resetting an Amp

yek

Legend!
To reset or not to reset an amp...
That's an (ongoing) question, especially after new firmware has been released.

In this article I try to explain why a reset of the amp model is something desirable or even necessary, how to do it, and what's important to know.

About the AMP block

Amplifier models (aka “amp types”) are available through the AMP block. Here you select the type that you want. An amp model presents itself in the AMP block through its typical name, and its specific settings.​
Some of these specific settings are displayed in the AMP block. Some of them are hidden from the user. They are (probably) part of a table which gets interpreted by the firmware upon loading an amp model, together with the appropriate amp modeling algorithm. All parameters are discussed in the owner’s manual and in the wiki.​
Disclaimer: the description above is a very simplified version of what's happening in the AMP block.​

Why would you want to reset an amp?

Resetting an amp means that settings in the AMP block are returned to their correct default values for the currently selected amp model.​
Why would you want to reset an amp?​

A) Because YOU changed things:

You can adjust settings in the AMP block. Not only basic stuff like volume, gain and tone, but also many parameters that go much deeper. You can extensively tweak the sound and feel of the amp model to your liking. This is a unique feature of Fractal Audio’s amp modelers.​
If you tweak the more advanced settings, you deviate from the default parameter values specific to that amp model. By resetting an amp you make sure that the correct default settings for that amp model (hidden and visible) are put back in place.​

B) Because FRACTAL AUDIO changed things:

Fractal Audio continually improves its technology through firmware updates. These firmware updates include improvements to the underlying algorithms and to specific amp model settings, based on those algorithms. This poses a challenge for handling existing presets.​
Changes to the core amp modeling algorithms are always applied, so the sound may change. There’s no way around this, meaning that there’s no support for older versions of core algorithms. If you want to stick to older algorithms, do not update the firmware.​
Specific AMP block settings, whether visible or hidden, are sometimes updated to new default values automatically when updating firmware that includes amp modeling improvements. And sometimes they are not (not automatically), because some users want to keep existing values. The firmware comes with release notes that inform you about this. In general, there’s NO NEED to reset an amp after updating firmware, unless the release notes say so.​
Resetting an amp makes sure that the correct default settings for that amp model (hidden and visible) are put back in place. For example, to get a clean start, or to compare settings and sound.​
Disclaimer: the description above is a very simplified version of what's happening in the AMP block.​

What happens when you reset an amp?

To accomodate users, Fractal Audio provides several methods to reset the amp, each with a different outcome.​
The reset methods for the AMP block are:​
  • soft reset
  • hard reset
  • reset in the editor’s Manage Presets tool
These methods are explained below.​

SOFT reset (re-select)

A “soft reset” means that you select another amp type in the AMP block and then re-select the previous amp type again. Or just select the current amp type again in the editor. This is referred to as a "soft reset".​
When doing this, the amp model will be loaded again with most of its parameters returned to their default specific settings. It applies to the current amp channel only. The preset needs to be saved afterwards.​
Whether the basic gain and tone controls are left untouched, OR also return to default when performing a soft reset, depends on the value of TONE CONTROL DISPLAY in the SETUP > GLOBAL menu:​
  • when set to AUTHENTIC: a soft reset will also return Drive and Bass / Middle/ Treble and Level to their default values
  • when set to IDEAL: a soft reset will leave the existing Drive and Bass / Middle/ Treble and Level settings alone
The list below describes what happens when performing a soft reset, page by page (last checked in February 2021):​
  • Authentic / Ideal page — everything default, except: Bass/Mid/Treble (unless TONE CONTROL DISPLAY is set to AUTHENTIC), Input Drive (idem), Overdrive (idem), Level (idem), Input Select, Mute, Balance
  • Preamp — everything default, except: Boost Type and Boost Level
  • Power Amp — everything default
  • Power Supply — everything default, except: Tremolo Frequency
  • Speaker — everything default
  • Speaker Drive — everything default, except: Speaker Compression, Speaker Time Const, Output Mode
  • Input EQ — everything default, except: Input Type and Q
  • Output EQ — everything default, except: EQ On/Off
  • Dynamics — everything default, except: Master Bias Excursion, Out Comp Type.
A soft reset guarantees that your AMP block settings are in line with the latest modeling defaults, while preserving your basic gain and tone settings (depending on the TONE CONTROL DISPLAY setting).​

HARD reset

If you want each and every parameter of the amp model to be returned to its default value, without exceptions, you need to fully reset the model, on the hardware or in the editor. This is referred to as a "hard reset" or "full reset". It applies to the current amp channel only. The preset needs to be saved afterwards. A hard reset lets you start 100% fresh, a good way building a new preset.​
On the hardware, select the AMP block, press EDIT, press RESET (soft knob A). This resets the current channel only.​
In the software editor:​
  • select the AMP block, select the Block menu at the top of the editor and select Reset Channel, or
  • right-click the AMP block (the context menu appears), click Edit and select Reset Channel, or
  • select the AMP block, and press CTRL-I (Windows) or Command-I (Mac).
Note: removing and adding an AMP block on the grid is NOT the same as a hard reset.​

Reset in the editor’s Manage Preset tool

This method has been made available in the latest version of the editors.​
In Manage Presets, select one (or more!) presets, and use the context menu (right-click) to select "Reset AMP block".​
This will reset ALL channels of the AMP block in the selected preset(s), while maintaining the settings on the Authentic page of the AMP block, and automatically saves the preset(s) too.​
So why this option if a soft reset kinda accomplishes the same thing? Well, this method makes batch processing possible: resetting all channels of all AMP blocks in a bunch of presets through a single command.​
However, be aware that this method will reset the following AMP block settings:​
  • graphic EQ
  • speaker impedance curve
  • Input Select
  • Bypass mode.
Is “Refresh After New FW” the same as a reset?

The software editors provide a menu option "Refresh After New FW". This is NOT a reset command! It syncs the software with the hardware.​
The Refresh command is executed by the editor by itself after updating updating the device with officially released firmware.​
When testing BETA versions of firmware, the Refresh command may need to be executed manually to force the editor to sync with the hardware.​

Can you reset a single parameter to its intended default value?

No. A reset always resets the entire channel of the block.​
You may think that double-clicking a control in the software editor resets it to its default value but that’s not the case: that value is just a generic default value, not necessarily the correct value for the specific parameter and amp type.​

So what's the best approach after a firmware update including amp modeling?

Do nothing, unless the release notes with the firmware tell you to do something.​
If you are not sure, or if you want to make sure your AMP blocks settings (hidden and visible) are in line with the latest modeling defaults: perform a soft-reset of the AMP block.​
Want to start from scratch (for example when building a new preset): perform a hard reset of the AMP block.​
Veterans: do as you like.​
 
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yek

Legend!
Let's apply the above to the latest BETA firmware for the FM3 (4.00 beta).

The firmware brings the Cygnus amp modeling improvements to the FM3. This includes improved amp modeling algorithms and changes to the parameter settings of amp models.

The Cygnus algorithms (invisible to the user) are applied automatically. No user interaction (except the process of updating the firmware, of course).

This BETA firmware update probably changes other stuff under the hood, which is also not visible to the user.

However, it does NOT update all advanced amp block settings to the new defaults. Existing settings like Bias Excursion and Negative Feedback are not touched by the firmware, while these may not be the "optimal" new default values. This is easily verified by performing a soft reset and comparing the settings. There's probably a good reason for this, and this may or may not change in the final firmware version (I have no clue).

So, in the first post of the BETA thread, it's recommended to soft-reset the AMP blocks in existing presets to take advantage of the new defaults.

If all this is too much trouble, the solution is simple: don't participate in a BETA firmware release.
 

sean.e

Inspired
Is delete and then re-add of a block the same as hard reset, or is there state in the preset remaining that only a hard-reset will clear?
 

ScottyB

Experienced
Please post suggestions, corrections etc. and I will edit the OP.
Great post Yek!

In 'Soft Reset' section: This sentence looks to be missing 'reset'. Or something similar...
When set to AUTHENTIC instead of IDEAL, a soft reset will also reset parameters to their default values.

In 'Reset in Editor' section: (spelling)
This will reset all channels of the AMP block in the selected preset(s), while maintaining the settings on the Authentic page mof the AMP block, and automatically saves the preset(s) too.

This one is perfect: :)
Veterans: Do as you like.
 
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Immanuel

Member
This is all still puzzling for an Axe newcomer. My unit was updated to 16.0 before shipping, and I've updated it to 16.01 since and then installed the preview presets. I see nothing in the release notes about needing to reset the amp blocks, but for some reason the topic has been quite hot here on the forum.

some questions:
1) If one resets an amp block. Is there a way to just reset all amp blocks in one go, or do you have to do it for every single amp type?
2) Does resetting an amp type in one preset affect the settings for that amp in another current preset, or does it only change the default settings for the amp type, when it is added into a preset?

I mean, if you use authentic settings and have some three presets with a particular amp and nothing else, will those presets all sound the same as eachother after a reset?
 

Greg Ferguson

Fractal Fanatic
I'd say a good tactic for testing the amp block before and after a reset is to use the Snapshot tool. Take a snapshot, do whichever reset is desired, then take another snapshot.

Bounce back and forth between the two snapshots to hear the difference. Change to different screens to see what changes. Take another snapshot every time you tweak something so you can revert all the way back to pre-reset to the latest change, or any in-between states.

Save the preset when you're happy. Save the preset to another slot when you're happy and you're paranoid.
 
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