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Possibility of adding more CPU

6stringscott

Inspired
I run out of CPU not because I try to use so many effects at once, but I want to have them in the same patch for changing scenes. I try to use a few carefully cultivated patches, and often play a show or rehearsal with a single patch. It's mainly an issue when using 2-amp 2-cab patches and one or two drives. Then I have to make bigger compromises like a very simple sound with reverb, or get the permutations of flanger/delay/termolo tones for variety but skip out on reverb altogether. So this discussion is more than just idle curiosity. I would be interested in a field-replaceable CPU upgrade of my unit, but not of buying a second unit. I'll just make it work with the awesome platform I have now until there is a way to make it awesomer. But I won't be one of those jumping on the bandwagon to buy a new unit just because it's available. I expect to use the AxeFX II XL for a long time.
 

vangrieg

Forum Addict
I hit the CPU limit all the time, it's actually very easy if you use scenes. Not to mention that it's not possible currently to have a 4-amp setup without a gap while switching X/Y states. So I'd certainly welcome more power. I totally wouldn't mind paying twice as much for a more powerful AFX.

That said, it's not something I can't live without, and I guess the market for a $5K Axe would be small. Most people consider current price high. If you ask me, it's not high at all. A Dual Rectifier is a ridiculously expensive piece of hardware, AFX isn't. But theres no point in asking me, I'm not the market.

There may be technical challenges as well - latency was mentioned, theres also heat and who knows what else. And all that has to be overcome for sales of a few thousand units. In addition, FAS is currently going in the opposite direction, to the lower end of the market, where the volumes are. So I imagine it's not their top priority, dont have high hopes, and sleep well (apart from hitting F5 on kicktags.com that is).

If Analog Devices came up with a more powerful TigerSHARC, this could change maybe. And maybe I'm all wrong trying to guess what FAS are thinking - they came up with AX8 which seems like a totally weird concept from my perspective, so what do I know...
 

Coil68

Inspired
Something I found on the gear page -


" Here's another Cliff quote..........


If you use two processors you double the latency for a given block size. So either you live with increased latency or decrease the block size. Decreasing the block size, however, increases function overhead thereby reducing function efficiency.

When adding more processors you quickly approach diminishing returns for real-time processing. Four processors would be the limit IMO. For decent latency you would want your block size around 64 samples which would mean 16 samples if using four processors. At 16 samples per block your function overhead is going to start increasing rapidly.

There's no substitute for raw number-crunching power (despite what some marketing folks would rather tell you).

For off-line processing (i.e. audio post-processing) you can increase the number of processors nearly without limit."


I guess we'd want to see a next generation DSP architecture that could say double what a single TigerSharc in the AFXII does now to make a new board design, coding, etc. worth it.

Just a beta level geek here speculating...
 

sgilsinger

Inspired
Something I found on the gear page -


" Here's another Cliff quote..........


If you use two processors you double the latency for a given block size. So either you live with increased latency or decrease the block size. Decreasing the block size, however, increases function overhead thereby reducing function efficiency.

When adding more processors you quickly approach diminishing returns for real-time processing. Four processors would be the limit IMO. For decent latency you would want your block size around 64 samples which would mean 16 samples if using four processors. At 16 samples per block your function overhead is going to start increasing rapidly.

There's no substitute for raw number-crunching power (despite what some marketing folks would rather tell you).

For off-line processing (i.e. audio post-processing) you can increase the number of processors nearly without limit."


I guess we'd want to see a next generation DSP architecture that could say double what a single TigerSharc in the AFXII does now to make a new board design, coding, etc. worth it.

Just a beta level geek here speculating...
I don't know the technicalities of how the system would need to be designed,but it would be nice if you could choose to purchase one or multiple CPU modules to increase the capabilities of the Axe.If you are happy with what you have that's great,most of my presets have multiple amps and cabs with effects and eight scenes.I prefer to run in stereo high res and my CPU is usually around 90 percent.At some point more powerful or additional processors are going to become necessary to handle the advanced capabilities of the Axefx.In a perfect situation there are 48 blocks on the grid and they should all be able to be used if one chose to.You can look at the pedalboards of most professional guitarists and those using the Axefx typically have multiple stomp boxes along with their MFC.(Petruccci,Vai,Zappa...etc.) if the processing power were there,they could probably do away with most of that.Maybe the technology isn't there yet.I still love my magical black box.
 
The Axe II was released in 2011 in May I believe, so it's been 4 1/2 years... I don't mind spending a few grand every 5 years if things like added cpu's and other improvements are made... being able to double the blocks used in a preset is something I bet a majority of people would like to see, I who don't even use that complex of preset's find that I run out of cpu sometimes, if we doubled the blocks in a preset that would eliminate the issue for me, heck not even double even 50% would eliminate the issue with me and probably others..... You could always wait to purchase the Axe III after it's been out for a few years so you don't have to update every 2 years as well:)
If you don't mind spending a couple of grand then you don't mind getting a second AxeFx, problem solved :encouragement:
 

electronpirate

Moderator
Moderator
In a perfect situation there are 48 blocks on the grid and they should all be able to be used if one chose to...You can look at the pedalboards of most professional guitarists and those using the Axefx typically have multiple stomp boxes along with their MFC.(Petruccci,Vai,Zappa...etc.) if the processing power were there,they could probably do away with most of that.Maybe the technology isn't there yet.I still love my magical black box.
I respectfully disagree.

People still love their stomp boxes. That WON'T change. Maybe they could replicate it in the Axe, but more likely they change from night to night, so bothering to dial in the new prototype from Zvex or wherever, (or they're USED to hitting that button for a boost) is wasted time.

I will STILL argue that if you use 48 blocks in ONE song, then you have way too much time on your hands on the stage. (And you'd need at least a 46 button MIDI controller to get to all that stuff on the fly..ouch.)

Phil is right. If you don't mind spending 5k, then 2 XL+'s should not make you blink...
 

vangrieg

Forum Addict
If you don't mind spending a couple of grand then you don't mind getting a second AxeFx, problem solved :encouragement:
Not necessarily. I don't mind spending some more money on gear but I most certainly do mind carrying another unit. One of the reasons to switch to AFX for me was to have fewer items, cables, and to get rid of most pedals. I still have two, and I hate this fact with a passion.
 
If you don't mind spending a couple of grand then you don't mind getting a second AxeFx, problem solved :encouragement:
Actually that isn't totally accurate... I still don't feel the Axe II XL+ has added enough for the purchase..... But even if it did, I don't want two Axe's, I am trying to downsize things never do I want to increase my gear "unless it's guitars":), when I was younger I had so much gear it was coming out my nose, these days I like small package, and just like when I invest in the stock market, I'm not one to just jump on things, I wait, plan, and then make my move, always works out better that way, so if the axe III or whatever it's called doesn't come out for another 3 years or 5 years I'm cool:) If it comes out next year I'm cool too, though I won't get it till it's out at least 1 year, wait for the bugs and other things to be worked out, again everyone has their style of doing things and that is partly mine, works well for me:) And sadly owning 1 Axe XL+ does not solve the issue of the Blocks over running the cpu, not that it's an issue for me often, but i'd like it to be less so I am assuming in the future that will be addressed:)
 

Tuco

Inspired
As others have mentioned, it's not a matter of just throwing additional processors into the . . . well, process. Coding would have to be upgraded to accommodate possible additional chips. I could be talking out my ass here, but I believe complex branching would have to be written into the firmware to accommodate either/or scenarios depending on the number and type of chips.
 

spikey

Veteran
Little tricks in the OS/firmware that Cliff knows better than anyone is the ticket. Add-ons to the motherboard (unless undocumented) is just wishful thinking. As always this is pure speculation because only the "man" knows for sure.
 

Funeral

Fractal Fanatic
Pretty much the same thing was asked about the Ultra and the Standard before the II came out. Leaning towards a big NO. :)
Axe-fx III...soon.
 

Stratman68

Fractal Fanatic
I guess old time R&R guys like me are getting very obsolete. In a post I started about CPU I mentioned my normal chain Comp\drive\amp\cab\chorus\delay\Reverb..................

I mean I do have some presets with 2 cabs or delay & Multidelay together and lately MBComp. But I am fine with my original chain. I know things have changed and I don't play out in cover bands anymore.

But I still play and record my own stuff everyday and the guitars sound fine to me....Fat & full.......an old dinosaur here. But I am fine with that..........:) It's all good....

BTW, when I say old time R&R I mean everything from Jimi to Steely Dan to Steppenwolf, Joe Walsh--to SRV, to Marvin Gaye, R&B , blues whatever,
etc, etc, etc.....
 
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sgilsinger

Inspired
i find it strange that people think the Axe CPU should be limitless.
I don't think anyone thinks it should be limitless, I don't see the point in designing something with 48 blocks that can't be used without overloading the CPU.The firmware has advanced to a point that there is not enough CPU to keep up with the ultra res and other advancements in firmware.I think Cliff has made an incredible product and continues to make it better all the time.I work in the digital imaging realm, and I was constantly upgrading computers with faster processors and large amounts of RAM to keep up with the large files I work with (1GB average). Photoshop requires a lot of memory and processing power to handle files of that size.I would think in today's technology there would be a way to add more processing power to a unit this complex.
 

vangrieg

Forum Addict
Well, the culprit here is, apart from FAS willingness or lack of willingness to do something about it, the CPU itself. On your PhotoShop PC (or Mac, whatever), Intel constantly releases new CPUs. This isn't the case with TigerSHARC and Analog Devices. For the latter, FAS is a rather small client I'd guess, the major application of these processors might be military or industrial things which are quite conservative and tend to stick to "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality.
 

chris

Legend!
I don't see the point in designing something with 48 blocks that can't be used without overloading the CPU.
The 48 spaces are for routing options. I don't know why anyone would think you'd fill all those spaces.

This is the same type of problem as "why aren't there blank spaces for user presets."
 
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sgilsinger

Inspired
The 48 spaces are for routing options. I don't know why anyone would think you'd fill all those spaces.

This is the same type of problem as "why aren't there blank spaces for user presets."
I understand it is for routing options and that probably no one would ever fill all 48 blocks.But the problem still exists that for all of this units capabilities there is a lack of processing power.I don't know if there are
faster processors available or affordable.When the Axefx2 came out there was no ultra res or G3 so the units processing power better fit its capabilitiesj. Now that these new advancements have come along (which is awesome) the unit maxes out on CPU more quickly..As for the person that said people would NEVER give up their stomp boxes,many of those same people said they would NEVER give up their tube amp but have.I am not knocking the Axefx,I think it is a great advancemt in this type of technology,and I love mine.I will probably never go back to tube amps.It would just be nice if technology could keep up with Cliffs advancements.
 
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