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Wish FX Bypass Fade-In/Out Time

Dr. Dipwad

Inspired
This request is slightly similar to my request for crossfading channel-changes (HERE) but is simpler and can stand alone.

As with that other request, there are some well-thought-out details included in this post. Please read carefully.


THE REQUEST:

To all effect blocks other than Amp and Cab, add a new parameter next to its Bypass Mode parameter. The new parameter is called "Bypass Fade-In/Out Time" and has a value 0-1000ms (linkable).

When this parameter is set to "0" the effect would work as it currently does: When toggling the Bypass State to turn the effect on or off, the change would happen instantaneously.

BUT, when this parameter is set to anything larger than "0," toggling the effect on or off would cause it to fade in or fade out over the desired number of milliseconds.

That way, when you turn on a Distortion Stompbox in front of your Amp, you don't immediately hear a drastic change in timbre and volume. Instead, the change fades in over a short time, creating a smoother transition.

Finally, when you deactivate the effect, the mix should fade out and then bypass the effect when the fade is complete. That way you aren't wasting CPU cycles on an effect whose Mix is currently set at 0%. When you reactivate the effect (or switch to a Scene which has the effect set active) then the effect would first re-enable at a Mix of 0%, and then ramp the Mix up to 100% over the desired time.


WHY FADE-IN/FADE-OUT IS BETTER:

Smooth crossfades between one timbre and another is a more-musical kind of transition. If they have the option, humans nearly always prefer a smooth sonic transition over an abrupt one. That's why DJs don't abruptly change from one track to another; they always crossfade them. If humans liked abrupt transitions better, they wouldn't do that.

For a guitar-player, the smooth crossfade makes a more polished-sounding performance. For example, if the difference between your rhythm sound and your lead sound is that you turn on a Fuzz Face in front of the amp for the lead, a 500ms fade-in for that Fuzz will allow you to...
(a.) push the "effect on" button for the Fuzz on the 3rd beat of the measure before the solo,
(b.) slide ("glissando") a note upward during the 4th beat as the Fuzz is fading in, and,
(c.) land the first note of the solo on the downbeat of the first measure of the solo, just as the Fuzz becomes fully-active.

Which is very, very cool.


RESPONSE TO ANTICIPATED OBJECTION:

I expect that someone will reply, "Wait, you don't need a new feature for this; you can already do it. All you have to do is hook up your MFC-101 to transmit a CC# with a value of 0 for off and 127 for on. And then you hook the corresponding External Controller to the Mix param of the effect block, and add Damping."

My response is: Yes, that would do something similar. But it's not the same, and it's not as good.

Here's why:

Bypass State for a stompbox is one of the things people love to associate with Scene Changes in the Axe III. That way when you change Scenes, all your effects toggle to the correct on/off state for that scene. It would be especially nice to hear them all fade in and fade out, when you hit that Scene Change footswitch.

But if you try to rig up the Mix param to a CC# as described above, there is no way to store the on/off state as part of a Scene. So you wouldn't be able to hear the effect fade in and out during Scene changes.

Currently you can choose either smooth fade-in/out for your effect, or you can control your effect with Scene Changes. But not both.

Why should a user be forced to choose?

UPDATE: Yek correctly notes,
You can when using a Scene Controller. E.g., in Scene 1 the Mix value would be 0 and in Scene 2 it would be 100, through the Scene Controller. And its modifier menu would let you apply damping.
...and this seems like a usable workaround.

It only has two (admittedly small) disadvantages, when compared against my proposal:
Disadvantage #1: Yek's proposed workaround would not automatically disable the effect to save CPU overhead when the ramp-down to 0% was complete...unless there's some way to do that with the Scene Controller, too. Obviously you can use the Scene Controller to toggle an effect on/off; but I'm not sure how you could time it so that it would wait until the ramp-down time was complete.
Disadvantage #2: My proposal involves a "Bypass Fade-In/Out Time" param, with a value 0-1000ms, which is linkable. That is, you can use an Expression pedal or other external controller to change the fade-out/in time. Yek's proposed workaround would, I think, lack that capability.

COMPETITIVE BENEFIT:
Smooth crossfading between timbres is something that requires a supremely adaptable guitar effects processor, and nobody's done it previously because they either didn't have the attention to detail, or didn't have the power & flexibility in their processor's OS & CPU.

But Fractal is famous for attention to detail, and the OS and CPU of the Axe III are, so far a I know, unsurpassed in power and flexibility.

So, by adding this feature (and the crossfading-channel-changes feature), Fractal could fully embrace the smooth-timbre-transition idea...at a time when nobody else's processors have the ability to do it. It would be yet one more competitive advantage for Fractal.


BIG THANK YOU...
I realize this was a long post. For those who read to the end, thanks for taking the time.
 
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lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
Wouldn't adjusting the dampening time on a controller assigned to something like effect mix or level accomplish essentially the same thing ?

I have things like effects mix, or the transition from a slow to fast setting, smoothly adjust over time with the dampening parameter on a number of patches. Basically stuff I want to smooth bring in without needing to manually sweep an EXP pedal, I just have it set where I hit the switch and it adjusts at a speed/rate of my choice over a given period of time.
 

yek

Moderator
Moderator
lqdsnddist:

I addressed that in the section titled, "RESPONSE TO ANTICIPATED OBJECTION." Please review.
You can when using a Scene Controller. E.g., in Scene 1 the Mix value would be 0 and in Scene 2 it would be 100, through the Scene Controller. And its modifier menu would let you apply damping. This already works on the II. On the III however Damping has been replaced with Attack+Release, offering more control.
 

Dr. Dipwad

Inspired
Yek:

You can when using a Scene Controller. E.g., in Scene 1 the Mix value would be 0 and in Scene 2 it would be 100, through the Scene Controller. And its modifier menu would let you apply damping. This already works on the II. On the III however Damping has been replaced with Attack+Release, offering more control.
Thanks for your reply. You're right, that's a pretty good workaround. (I've edited my original post to reflect this.)

It only has two small disadvantages, when compared against my proposal:

Disadvantage #1: Your proposed workaround would not automatically disable the effect to save CPU overhead when the ramp-down to 0% was complete...unless there's some way to do that with the Scene Controller, too. Obviously you can use the Scene Controller to toggle an effect on/off; but I'm not sure how you could time it so that it would wait until the ramp-down time was complete.

Disadvantage #2: My proposal involves a "Bypass Fade-In/Out Time" param, with a value 0-1000ms, which is linkable. That is, you can use an Expression pedal or other external controller to change the fade-out/in time. Your proposed workaround would, I think, lack that capability.

But I admit those are mere quibbles. Thanks.
 

yek

Moderator
Moderator
#1: disabling (bypassing) an effect does not save CPU. Only removing the entire block (which is not possible through scene switching) would increase CPU.

#2: correct. The III does have more damping time, but it can't be attached to a modifier.
 

Dr. Dipwad

Inspired
Yek:

Thanks for your reply. (Dude. You are always so informative.)

#1: disabling (bypassing) an effect does not save CPU. Only removing the entire block (which is not possible through scene switching) would increase CPU.
I totally did not realize that. I always assumed that CPU burden was dropping slightly whenever I turned off a bunch of effects in my chain.

Actually, what you are saying here -- that an effect is using just as much CPU when bypassed as when active -- seems odd to me.

I realize, of course, that CPU has to be set aside to allow them to be turned on again. (One can't add infinite blocks to the grid merely by setting them to bypassed as soon as you add them.) Nevertheless, I always thought the CPU was working less hard when the effects were bypassed. (After all, those signals are no longer having to be processed, right?)
 

Moke

Fractal Fanatic
I totally did not realize that. I always assumed that CPU burden was dropping slightly whenever I turned off a bunch of effects in my chain.

Actually, what you are saying here -- that an effect is using just as much CPU when bypassed as when active -- seems odd to me.

I realize, of course, that CPU has to be set aside to allow them to be turned on again. (One can't add infinite blocks to the grid merely by setting them to bypassed as soon as you add them.) Nevertheless, I always thought the CPU was working less hard when the effects were bypassed. (After all, those signals are no longer having to be processed, right?)
Yep, That's how that works. They are constantly processing so that when they are asks to unmute, there is no gap. Otherwise there would possibly be a gap, much like X/Y creates, or a clicking or popping sound? Some blocks (like the drive block) seem to use a little less CPU when not being used.
 

Dr. Dipwad

Inspired
Hey, @yek (or @Moke, or any other interested parties):

I just realized another reason I'd like to have this WISH, and not just rely on Scene Controllers to achieve the same result.

Here's why: I want to have two kinds of footswitches on my foot controller:
- Scenes 1-6 (on the bottom row)
- Effect on/off States (on the upper row)
...and I want the on/off states for the stompboxes to illuminate properly to show which ones are at Mix 0% (off) and which ones are at Mix 100% (on).

I want them to be properly illuminated if I switch Scenes from a scene where Effect X is on, to another Scene where Effect X is off.

And I want them to be properly illuminated if, in a particular scene, I manually turn Effect X on or off.

And whether it's a Scene-change that turns them on or off, or whether it's a manual footswitch, I want to hear the crossfade over the desired time.

Now, it seems to me that if this WISH was "granted" in the firmware, this would all work perfectly, just as it currently works for the instantaneous on/off toggling of effects using the current firmware.

But if I want to set up crossfading using Scene Controllers without a firmware change, how difficult will it be to make the lights on the footswitches reflect the on/off state of the effect?

As far as I know there's no logic to say, "When this effect's Mix is at (or ramping towards) 100%, turn the light on; but when it's at (or ramping towards) 0%, turn the light off."

Yek/Moke/anyone, am I missing something here? Can this footswitch-integration be accomplished without the firmware WISH being introduced?
 

Dr. Dipwad

Inspired
Any follow-up on my last question? ^^^

In particular, does anyone know whether this problem (not having your footcontroller indicate the on/off states of your FX blocks if you opt to fade them in and out using Mix %, Damping, and Scene Controllers) can be worked around using some FC-series controller magic?
 

yek

Moderator
Moderator
LEDs would be an issue, yes.

But that would also be the case in your proposal. Meaning that additional programming would be needed to determine exactly when a LED should turn on/off.

But there are more obstacles. Some effects do not have a MIX parameter and therefore can't be switched as you describe. And the effect block that would benefit the most from your proposal (Drive) has a MIX parameter that works differently from other effect blocks: MIX at zero is not equivalent to 100% bypass, so it still impacts tone.

Personally I don't see the benefits or need. Current pedals, like overdrives and distortions of which there are many thousands, should be able to do it already, but nobody has asked for it and nobody has implemented it. And we also have other ways to accomplish it in Fractal gear. Also, discussions in the past 6 months show that players are focussed on very fast switching, rather than fades.
 

Dr. Dipwad

Inspired
LEDs would be an issue, yes.

But that would also be the case in your proposal. Meaning that additional programming would be needed to determine exactly when a LED should turn on/off.

But there are more obstacles. Some effects do not have a MIX parameter and therefore can't be switched as you describe. And the effect block that would benefit the most from your proposal (Drive) has a MIX parameter that works differently from other effect blocks: MIX at zero is not equivalent to 100% bypass, so it still impacts tone.
Yek,

Thanks for your reply.

Honestly the way I envisioned the feature, if implemented, would be as a second Mix signal path, parallel to the whole effect block.

If the effect was set to toggle on/off instantaneously, it would flip immediately to a complete bypass. No need to engage the second signal path and mix it with the first.

But if it was set to fade out, it would slide from 100% to 0% over some designated period of time, and as soon as 0% was reached, it would then flip to a complete bypass. If you toggled it back ON, it would first flip from bypass to engaged, and then slide from 0% to 100%.

And all of that would be all separate from the existing Mix % parameter, which is internal to the effect, and unrelated to the "FX Bypass Fade In/Out" feature.

Thus the LED would track the on/off toggle state of the effect, as it does now...with the difference that, when the toggle state changed, the LED would immediately change state and the on/off state in the grid would immediately change, but the sound would fade in or out (for up to 1000ms) after that. If someone were to tap the button twice (200ms apart, for example), the LED would change simultaneously with the button taps, but the sound would start sliding towards the new mix, get part-way there, and then start sliding back the other way as soon as the second button-tap occurred.

Personally I don't see the benefits or need. Current pedals, like overdrives and distortions of which there are many thousands, should be able to do it already, but nobody has asked for it and nobody has implemented it. And we also have other ways to accomplish it in Fractal gear. Also, discussions in the past 6 months show that players are focussed on very fast switching, rather than fades.
I know, I know. I understand where you're coming from.

And I know I sound like a "broken record" on this topic. (I apologize if it comes across as overly-insistent.)

But let me say this in defense of the idea: I think I've noticed something that you've missed, on this topic.

(I may be wrong! But hear me out....)

You said "Also, discussions in the past 6 months show that players are focussed on very fast switching, rather than fades."

And I agree with that. But have you asked why people are so interested in fast switching?

Isn't it because they hate the discontinuous sound when they switch from one channel to another, or one effect-state to another?

They hate "the gap," right? But why? Why so much focus on a gap that's already so tiny?

Well, ask yourself what would happen if the "gap" was LITERALLY zero milliseconds. What would it sound like, then?

I think -- in fact, I betcha -- that people would still complain. Yes! Even if it was 0ms!

They would complain because going from a clean sound to a crunch sound will always sound abrupt and discontinuous, if you do it in the middle of a note.

It will sound abrupt because the timbres are so different. It will sound discontinuous, even if the volume doesn't jump.

The reason we guitarists reflexively put our scene-changes in between notes, rather than while a note is being held out, is because we hate that abrupt change. We want it to happen during silence, so that it's inaudible.

And if the gap goes away entirely, it'll reduce that abrupt change, but it won't eliminate it entirely.

So why do people keep asking an already-tiny gap to get smaller and smaller and smaller?

Easy: They are incorrectly blaming the discontinuous, abrupt change on the gap, alone.

(But in reality, the gap is only partly to blame! Eliminate the gap, and the abrupt change will still be there.)

The reason I think crossfaded Channel-Changes and crossfaded FX Bypass Changes are so great, is not only because it makes the "gap" effectively 0ms.

That, to be sure, is good. (And, note: something like the crossfading is the only way 0ms will ever happen without pops or clicks.)

But I'm so enthusiastic about these fading channels and bypasses, because a system like that would be better than a gap of 0ms. Yes, it's actually better than 0!

It's better, because it's a gapless, perfectly-musical, smooth change of timbre -- and I think THAT is what we all really want, when we're asking for the gap to be reduced.

In the end, I don't expect everyone will choose 1000ms or 500ms as their "Crossfade Time," if this feature were implemented. Big numbers like that are just examples.

I expect them to choose 50ms or 150ms or 250ms...whatever creates the perfect balance between smoothness and briefness. It's a psychological effect, and different folks might prefer different transition-times.

Regardless, I think it would be used in much the same way as Hi-Res cabs were used on Axe II. You use them whenever you can, because they sound better. You deactivated it when needed, in order to preserve CPU. But any time you have the CPU available, you prefer to use it, because it's just more musical.
 
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Smilzo

Forum Addict
Well, ask yourself what would happen if the "gap" was LITERALLY zero milliseconds. What would it sound like, then?

I think -- in fact, I betcha -- that people would still complain. Yes! Even if it was 0ms!

They would complain because going from a clean sound to a crunch sound will always sound abrupt and discontinuous, if you do it in the middle of a note.
If I change in the middle of the note it's my choice. I want the sound to change when I want it to change (for a riff, a rhythm, a solo...). I want to avoid pops and clicks and noise unrelated to my music, and that is the reason for the gap.
Cliff have to choose the best compromise for all. Zero gaps means that some algos will make noise. Longer gaps will guarantee no switching noise but also noticeable gap. So it has to be the least amount of time to eliminate the longest switching noise algo time.
Yes, switching time could be a user choice. But then I imagine people setting minimum fade time and then claim the unit is faulty because clicks and pops at loud volume!

If I remember correctly, the logic before 1.09 was: fade out, mute, fade in, all within 20 to 40 ms.
Cliff told us that for a simultaneous fade, it will double the load on CPU. So less istance of effect.

Last consideration, more system user parameters means more read/write and computation time. In real time even a mere couple of cycle is important.

synthesis: the solution must be guitar player friendly, click-less, and efficient.
 
This is a great idea and I am glad to see someone bring it up so thoroughly! The biggest area that this would be helpful for me is with the rotary. It takes time for the speakers to start their rotation, and time to change from one scene to another. I would like to see a solution around this. There may be an existing solution already, but as I've only had the III for a day, I have not found it yet. The one solution I am not crazy about, is using an expression pedal to modify the speed. Mostly because I just don't want to take up extra space on my board. I know I'm being selfish, but having a "fade in/fade out" seems much more appealing.
 

yek

Moderator
Moderator
The Rotary already ramps up/down when changing its speed. With channels and/or scenes you get great transitions.
 
There must be a setting I'm missing then, because at the moment, it comes in full force when engaging the effect, or switching channels.
 

chris

Legend!
There must be a setting I'm missing then, because at the moment, it comes in full force when engaging the effect, or switching channels.
turning the effect on is immediate. changing between channels with different settings should ramp.
 
turning the effect on is immediate. changing between channels with different settings should ramp.
It worked that way in the Axe Fx II, but does not appear to ramp between channels on the III.

Edit: BAH!!! Rookie mistake.I still had Axe Edit active when sampling before.
 
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