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Fancy displays on products- Yay or Nay?

Rich G.

Experienced
I say nay-nay!

I'm seeing more and more products come out that have integrated touch screens. The screens are getting bigger. The graphics are getting 'prettier'. I say there's no need for fancier displays. In fact, there's no need for an on-board display at all for a few reason...
  1. The obvious reason: Nicer displays don't make things sound any better.
  2. There's nothing that makes a product look more outdated than a display. It's like comparing old CRT 27" TV's to today's 77" OLED TV's. I've seen processors go from LED based interfaces like the TC 2290 to sophisticated touch screens.
  3. Displays are another failure point. Removing them will make a product more reliable. Anyone ever had a display fail on them while the processor continued to work fine?
  4. Cost. Next to the processors themselves displays (and other interface items such as switches and knobs) probably add quite a bit to the cost of a product.
  5. They are subject to being discontinued. That's not to say other components aren't, but rather if the screen is discontinued then you have to redesign your product to make use of the new screen. That was the case of the AxeFX II and the II XL.
So how is one supposed to interface with a product if the on board screen is missing??... easy. Put all that control into an app that runs on a tablet or a computer. Pretty much everyone has a tablet these days. If you're spending $2k on a guitar processor, i'd be surprised if you didn't have 3 or 4 tablets sitting around. By pushing the interface to a tablet you leave it up to the user how nice of a display he wants to have. If you absolutely insist on having a display with your processor at all times, then Dual-Lock an old iPhone to the front panel. I use an X32 Rack at my gigs along with an older Nexus 10 tablet. I rarely work with the screen on the X32. Mixing Station running on the tablet does everything I need.

What prompted all this was seeing the Neural DSP's Quad Cortex. I was impressed by the nice interface screen... though it appears to be smaller than an iPad's screen. In just a few years the screen on the Quad Cortex will look old as some new screen technology emerges. And where will that new technology be?... in the latest tablets.
 

Rich G.

Experienced
And in ten years when no phone or tablet is compatible what are we to do? Screens ain’t going anywhere!
Dual Lock an old iPhone to the front panel.

Still using my more than adequate iPhone 5S daily. Replaced the battery once.

And in ten years we'll probably all be using the AxeFx V which will be compatible with the latest tablets. :)
 
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Kamil Kisiel

Power User
I agree, in general I prefer things that don't have screens at all.. it makes them more timeless. LEDs are also pretty good and easy to replace if they fail, and usually they don't look dated even after decades.

Of course once you reach a certain level of complexity, it's almost unavoidable that you will need some kind of display to organize all the available information and parameters. What's most suitable there really depends on the device.

Offloading all the display work to a tablet is nice, but it's hard to support for the very long term. In 10 years down the road it would suck if the gear was basically bricked because there's nothing around that can run the software any more. This can be mitigated somewhat by manufacturers publicizing the communication protocols and allowing third parties to develop the control apps.
 

Piing

Fractal Fanatic
I like fancy displays. As a matter of fact, I started programming my own touch display for my Axe-FX foot controller with fancy graphics. I even started programming the feature to display the image of the amplifier that you have selected at the Axe-FX



But my old eyes and brain got tired of so much programming, so now my two prototypes are on sale at the Classifieds section.

At home I keep using the $50 controller with 2-lines LCD display, and on stage I will use the BOSS SY-1000 as foot controller
 

AndyOrr

Experienced
The Quad Cortex is currently etherware. I think it’s smart to limit discussion on a potential competing product that doesn’t actually exist.
 

Bodde

Fractal Fanatic
The Quad Cortex is currently etherware. I think it’s smart to limit discussion on a potential competing product that doesn’t actually exist.
Why? It will exist in the near future. It's on pre order already. There are other modelling products being discussed in the lounge as well. Not sure why this is different?
 

Muad'zin

Fractal Fanatic
I like fancy displays. As a matter of fact, I started programming my own touch display for my Axe-FX foot controller with fancy graphics. I even started programming the feature to display the image of the amplifier that you have selected at the Axe-FX



But my old eyes and brain got tired of so much programming, so now my two prototypes are on sale at the Classifieds section.

At home I keep using the $50 controller with 2-lines LCD display, and on stage I will use the BOSS SY-1000 as foot controller
Nice! I do like me some good DIY stuff.

And in ten years when no phone or tablet is compatible what are we to do? Screens ain’t going anywhere!
Screens can go bust too. And haven't you heard Glenn Fricker? The Axe FX is a glorified iPad anyway, which like any modern smartphone, tablet or computer, will become obsolete when the next version comes out. Which he is kinda right about, because the moment the Axe III was announced there were whole hoards of users here selling off their old II's to get the III. Glenn's attempt at rage click baiting aside, does it matter that much to worry if you're going to be still able to use it in 10 years time? Do you still have the same rig you had 10 years ago? This applies to everyone by the way, not just us Axe FX users. Because there are tone chasers who burn through more pedals and amps and guitars on average in less time then the Fractal diehards did ditching their II's to get the III. Show them a new overdrive made from the exact specs of SRV's beaten up old tubescreamer and they will go shut up and take my money faster then I can type this.

Besides, if you really want to use an old obsolete piece of obsoleteware you will find a way. Keeping an old phone, tablet or laptop around if its that important shouldn't be a biggie. I can still install Win95 on an old PC if I wanted too. And then there's also emulators allowing you to run ancient OS systems.
 

lwknives

Experienced
I personally like screens a lot the bigger better screen on the Axe Fx III is much easier to edit on than the old Axe fx II one. As far as touch screens... I could take or leave them.
I dont think I would purchase a product that required a tablet or phone connection to edit, thats just an extra thing to go down at a gig.
I also dont own a tablet and dont plan on purchasing one!
 

Muad'zin

Fractal Fanatic
This thread should have been a poll. As obviously only the usual suspects and those who feel strongest either way will comment. A poll is easier to respond too.
 

lyricbread

Experienced
There are physical prototype units and they've provided as much as information (or more than) Fractal has about the FM3 at this point. That's like saying the FM3 doesn't exist.
There’s also a few product demos that have been released by the manufacturer. 👍🏻
 

Morphine

Inspired
Citing Glenn Fricker :tearsofjoy:

Just cause people sold their II's to purchase the III doesn't mean the II's are obsolete. Quite the contrary really. Plenty of professionals still working with the II.
 

solo-act

Fractal Fanatic
I'm not really into bright screens unless I'm editing, which I never do mid-set unless it's dead and I'm bored.

How about option for a live performance incognito mode that dims everything kind of like the Apple watch 5? You could still see the display, but only a footswitch, or knob turn or screen touch fully activates the display for full viewing/editing.

Displays can auto-dim. I had a Shure GLXD wireless that did that, but even at lowest dim you could still read the giant group display number from 100ft away.
 

NeoSound

Fractal Fanatic
Isn't it the pretty display that sales Helix'? Many boutique products sell by their looks because you order from a picture online. Of course it goes deeper than that for many who research and know what they want, but for some maybe not.
 

chris

Legend!
My main problem with touch screens is that the interface elements needs to be made bigger so a finger can touch just one thing. Too small and it’s hard to “aim” to grab things. Then each screen/menu has less objects, which means more pages, meaning things are harder to find.

To combat that, people “simplify” the gear so there are overall fewer options and things to adjust making it seem easier and touch-based. But you just artificially have less things to adjust and can’t get the sound you want.

A bit of a generalization but that’s what I see.
 

Rich G.

Experienced
Isn't it the pretty display that sales Helix'? Many boutique products sell by their looks because you order from a picture online. Of course it goes deeper than that for many who research and know what they want, but for some maybe not.
A favorite old saying that I've used here before in the forum... Most fishing lures are designed to catch fishermen.
 

AndyOrr

Experienced
Why? It will exist in the near future. It's on pre order already. There are other modelling products being discussed in the lounge as well. Not sure why this is different?
I guess I should have clarified. There may be some prototypes floating around but, unless someone actually has one to test and review, it’s probably in Fractal Forum’s best interest to monitor and limit discussions to what is actually known and can be verified independently. This isn’t a freedom of speech issue, it’s an integrity issue. Another well known forum receives significant ridicule for its constant bashing, unreliable information and inaccurate reviews.

As for why this is different, the other modelers that get discussed the most are widely in use. The Quad Cortex mostly exists in a rabbit hole on the Internet.
 
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