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How would you characterize the leap from v15.x to v16.x


Just as the title asks, how would you all summarize the leap from v15 to v16 Cygnus? Is it a huge leap? Or more of a solid step skipper kind of release? (Thinking like moving two steps forward)

Greg Ferguson

Fractal Fanatic
It’s a pretty big deal. The sound of the amps improved enough that Fractal believed it warranted a whole new firmware revision. They don’t do that lightly as it is a lot of work.

Test it for yourself. Back up your system, install the new firmware and play with some of your more simple presets and see how they sound. If you don’t like it reinstall Ares.

I’ve been following along with the Cygnus beta, and it takes about 10 minutes to backup and install and be on the new beta. The difference is subtle on some amps and major on others but it’s always been an improvement in realism and playability.

In my opinion, this is the game changing version I’ve wanted. I can replace my amps with my modeler and be happy.


Individual tastes will vary the responses. Install it, play it, and decide for yourself. If Beta FW scares you, then wait, but decide with your guitars and your ears what the difference(s) are.

Greg Ferguson

Fractal Fanatic
(Thinking like moving two steps forward)
I was thinking about that statement.

Cygnus is currently like two steps in one firmware change. The change from 14 to 15 was the usual step, where there were a lot of refinements and the realism incrementally improved, but Ares (15) to Cygnus (16) is a major change inside the preamp modeling which then flowed into the power amp modeling, resulting in a much improved realism that affects the overall sound of a preset.

Some of my presets needed some changes to volume but the Preset Leveling tool made that an easy tweak. The bigger disturbance was some of my less favored presets suddenly started sounding better and I spent some time tweaking them and then had to move them to a position of greater prominence in my "List o' favorites". And, I started cycling through different guitars listening to how their character really shines through because the amp models sound so real. Switching to my FM3 really reveals the difference because I have the same presets on both and Ares, while it's really good, sounds like a modeler and Cygnus sounds like the real amp.

Cliff really knocked it out of the park with Cygnus and already has an addition that he's excited about to add to it, so when it releases it'll be like three steps forward.


The way I think of it relates to people. V15 was like having a friend that will tell you everything you want to hear. The relationship is low maintenance and it was easy to get along with. V16 is like having a real friend. One that will tell you everything you need to hear, even if you don't want to hear it. The relationship is higher maintenance, but you can trust it because it isn't BSing you. Even though it is not as easy to get along with, if you stick with it, it can only grow into something better.
I feel that with V16, there is a real relationship between by guitar and the amp models. The amps react to my playing and in turn, I react back, sometimes in unexpected ways. The amp models feel like they want something from you, they aren't just there to submit. For this alone, it is worth the update I feel.

Andy Eagle

Power User
It destroyed my presets so I'm in the middle of redoing all of them. I do however see the potential and the feel is a little better. I'm sure it will be an improvement in the long run but right now it's a slow process . I have to audition them all in their intended circumstance.
It changed the sound of most of my presets. I've had to work on them a bit after the change. The change was good though. Some of these amps do in fact sound more realer as has been mentioned ;) if that was even possible.

It may be called chug by some but there is a new depth to the sound. I like it. A lot.

Todd McMullen

I agree with the above statements but would also add that dialing in more difficult amps (2C++, Splawn etc. ) are much easier. I thought 15.01 was truly the best and really didn't want to upgrade but Cygnus is definitely another step towards tonal nirvana.
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