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Question for Fractal about plugins

jiagap

Inspired
I currently use the Waves GTR3 in Logix X Pro - it is quite a hoot. I love the fact that you can tweak after the track is recorded. I would LOVE a Fractal Version of this to use in Logic. No, I do not like the idea of buying in pieces - how about a version that corresponds with whatever hardware you have purchased through Fractal? Eg., if the AX8 - then everything in one's plugin set would match so you could get similar recorded and live patches???

Anyway, I am intrigued.
 
I can ya'll right now I really doubt its a plug version of Axe FX. Now that I really think about it, I bet its an AU/VST editor for Axe FX, FX8, and AX8.
I just cant see how they can replicate the amp modeling within software. Too many corners to cut, and as you all can tell, no software out today even comes close to Axe FX.
 

parlopower

Inspired
I can ya'll right now I really doubt its a plug version of Axe FX. Now that I really think about it, I bet its an AU/VST editor for Axe FX, FX8, and AX8.
I just cant see how they can replicate the amp modeling within software. Too many corners to cut, and as you all can tell, no software out today even comes close to Axe FX.

Errrr.... the amp modeling of the Axe Fx ---IS--- software!!!! The sound of the Axe is created entirely by software algorithms, nothing else. You can run these algorithms on any platform.

There are only two things to consider to port Quantum modeling over to a VST/AU/AAX Version:
- The computer you want to run it on needs enough horsepower. That could still be a problem, I don't know how the current line of Intel CPUs performs in such specialized DSP, but this will certainly not be a problem anymore in 3 to 5 years with the permanent increase in processing power.
- You need a good input stage so that the Quantum algorithms have a good signal to work on. I have made the test, I recorded some dry guitar tracks first through the 500 kOhm DI of my Steinberg UR28M audio interface, then through the 2.2 MOhm of a Universal Audio 2-610 preamp into the line in of the UR28M, and then through the Axe Fx II straight to the DAW via USB without processing. Then I reamped all three via SPDIF through the Axe Fx II with the same patches. Result: Axe Fx II of course the usual excellent quality. UR28M DI sounded WAY worse than directly through the Axe Fx II, the highs were rolled off, the life and detail was missing, night and day difference. UA 2-610 DI sounded awesome, it had even a bit more sparkle and life than the Axe Fx II direct tracks - not much, but noticable. So, a good input stage plays a major role, but is not something you couldn't get without the Axe Fx.

So, given enough CPU horse power and a decent DI, there is no reason why you couldn't get Axe Fx II Quantum quality from a plugin. The reason why all the Software modelers are worse than the Axe is because the algorithms are worse. Cliff is a genius in developing them, that's all (and that's a lot!!!). The Axe Fx II has no "magic hardware", it has just enough DSP power and high quality signal path, that's all. That's not said to belittle the quality of the hardware - but the hardware is just a platform for the algorithms, and if they suck, the tone sucks.
 
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RB_Guitar

Inspired
There are only two things to consider to port Quantum modeling over to a VST/AU/AAX Version:
- The computer you want to run it on needs enough horsepower. That could still be a problem, I don't know how the current line of Intel CPUs performs in such specialized DSP, but this will certainly not be a problem anymore in 3 to 5 years with the permanent increase in processing power.

The horsepower is already available considering the current CPU generation, the main problem is latency in real time processing. And piracy is an issue of course....
 

parlopower

Inspired
The horsepower is already available considering the current CPU generation, the main problem is latency in real time processing. And piracy is an issue of course....

Right, latency could be a MAJOR issue. If the DSP is so demanding that you have to increase the buffer to 256 or 512 samples, it will destroy the feel.
As far as piracy is concerned, as far as I know iLok 2 has not been hacked yet and very unlikely ever will be. So that would be an Option.
 

Strumzilla

Power User
I'm still expecting VST/AU for DAW integration of the existing hardware. I think we'll eventually get to where the native/host processing can be used, but it's a matter of both the chip makers and then Cliff being satisfied with all the concerns mentioned above. I'll be very happy for DAW integration. Anything beyond that will be icing on the cake.
 

RossE

Inspired
Been dreaming of an AXE II plugin for the studio........hoping for a low latency solution for studio-based rehearsal sessions. Bring it....I'm a buyer!!!!
 
Errrr.... the amp modeling of the Axe Fx ---IS--- software!!!! The sound of the Axe is created entirely by software algorithms, nothing else. You can run these algorithms on any platform.

There are only two things to consider to port Quantum modeling over to a VST/AU/AAX Version:
- The computer you want to run it on needs enough horsepower. That could still be a problem, I don't know how the current line of Intel CPUs performs in such specialized DSP, but this will certainly not be a problem anymore in 3 to 5 years with the permanent increase in processing power.
- You need a good input stage so that the Quantum algorithms have a good signal to work on. I have made the test, I recorded some dry guitar tracks first through the 500 kOhm DI of my Steinberg UR28M audio interface, then through the 2.2 MOhm of a Universal Audio 2-610 preamp into the line in of the UR28M, and then through the Axe Fx II straight to the DAW via USB without processing. Then I reamped all three via SPDIF through the Axe Fx II with the same patches. Result: Axe Fx II of course the usual excellent quality. UR28M DI sounded WAY worse than directly through the Axe Fx II, the highs were rolled off, the life and detail was missing, night and day difference. UA 2-610 DI sounded awesome, it had even a bit more sparkle and life than the Axe Fx II direct tracks - not much, but noticable. So, a good input stage plays a major role, but is not something you couldn't get without the Axe Fx.

So, given enough CPU horse power and a decent DI, there is no reason why you couldn't get Axe Fx II Quantum quality from a plugin. The reason why all the Software modelers are worse than the Axe is because the algorithms are worse. Cliff is a genius in developing them, that's all (and that's a lot!!!). The Axe Fx II has no "magic hardware", it has just enough DSP power and high quality signal path, that's all. That's not said to belittle the quality of the hardware - but the hardware is just a platform for the algorithms, and if they suck, the tone sucks.


Ok, so what you are saying is lets say a pretty decent Mac or PC in 3-5 years can handle it. Well, my point still stands that "right now", a plug in will more likely be an editor for DAW's.
 

Zwiebelchen

Fractal Fanatic
Ok, so what you are saying is lets say a pretty decent Mac or PC in 3-5 years can handle it. Well, my point still stands that "right now", a plug in will more likely be an editor for DAW's.
That's wrong. Modern CPUs are more than powerful enough to handle the workload.

I remember Cliff saying that a modern off-the-shelf i7 CPU would be superior to the TigerSharcs, but the reason why DSPs are used in audio equipment is long-term-maintainance, not actual processing speed.

The product lifecycle (and product support) of a DSP is 10+ years. A general-purpose CPU on the other hand is legacy after just one or two years. Which would mean that Fractal would basicly have to change the Architecture of the Axe every time Intel decides to drop a legacy CPU from their production line.

EDIT: Found it!

Modern Intel CPUs are incredibly powerful and can easily replace a TigerSHARC. A Core I7 would probably be faster than a TigerSHARC. However...

There are host of problems with using general purpose CPUs for something like an Axe-Fx. Some of these have been pointed out already. Power, heat, support, etc., etc.

One of the biggest issues though is lifespan. DSPs usually have a guaranteed lifespan, typically at least 10 years. CPUs are obsolete in two years. If you design the latest I7 into a product you won't be able to buy it in two years. So by the time you finish your product design the CPU is obsolete. They keep changing the sockets and the voltages and the bridge chips and everything else. It's a moving target. Not a big deal for computer makers, they're making millions of them with short design cycles. In the quantities that modeling products sell it's simply not sustainable.
 
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Strumzilla

Power User
That's interesting. I always thought the issue was the multiple processes that a host CPU has to handle and audio manufacturers want a more dedicated platform. Makes me think that unless Fractal created a team solely dedicated to host CPU software modeling and the equivalent, they would be overwhelmed by the rapid turnover inherent in CPU architecture. Dedicated architecture is still how a lot of the big companies model their platforms - UAD, Avid, etc. Still looking forward to whatever "it" is.
 

AndyTNBD

Inspired
Putting it into perspective - component level modeled synthesisers have been very common in VST-land for years now. Look at plugins such as Diva by uhe or even our (FXpansion's) DCAM Synth Squad and Strobe 2.

A VST version of the Axe modelling is definitely possible.

And looking at the general CPU market, there hasn't really been that much of a development in the past two or three years. Xeons are of course ultra powerful, but the difference in processing power between a 2nd gen i7 2600K Sandybridge and a gen 4 i7 4790K Haswell isn't that big - according to benchmarks, perhaps 30-35% increase.

Where things get interesting is with instruction sets - the newer generations have AVX instructions that the older generations don't. So you see a performance increase there with anything that actually uses those instructions.

And latency isn't really an issue today. Grab a Focusrite Scarlett card, and you can get down to 32 and 48 sample buffer sizes. Easily low enough to not ruin your feel.
 
That's wrong. Modern CPUs are more than powerful enough to handle the workload.

I remember Cliff saying that a modern off-the-shelf i7 CPU would be superior to the TigerSharcs, but the reason why DSPs are used in audio equipment is long-term-maintainance, not actual processing speed.

The product lifecycle (and product support) of a DSP is 10+ years. A general-purpose CPU on the other hand is legacy after just one or two years. Which would mean that Fractal would basicly have to change the Architecture of the Axe every time Intel decides to drop a legacy CPU from their production line.

EDIT: Found it!

I am not disputing the possibility of doing it, but I am disputing an Axe FX plug in that this thread was created for. When I first read this thread, I had high hopes, but after a while, and seeing the release of the AX8, it logically makes much more sense for Cliff to release a DAW editor in AU/VST format.
 

theo

Experienced
What benefit would there be in having a vst daw editor?

I don't understand what functions that could provide over axe edit.
 

theo

Experienced
Forgive me if I'm wrong. But can't I already automate my axe fx with midi commands straight from the DAW?
 

hippietim

Fractal Fanatic
Forgive me if I'm wrong. But can't I already automate my axe fx with midi commands straight from the DAW?

You can. Assuming it's all standard MIDI messages then you'll be ok. But if anything ends up being SysEx stuff I think you'd rather have a layer above that (the VST) rather than directly firing SysEx. The reason is that the SysEx format can and will evolve and the VST plugin could isolate you from changes between revisions.

Then there's the idea of having an integrated experience for managing your Axe-FX. A number of hardware companies are adding this sort of support such as Bricasti for their killer M7 reverb.
 

mobizoid

Inspired
I sure hope it is a DAW VST so I can edit and make changes to my axe right inside Ableton Live. I also hope the editor allows us to make changes to front panel settings like global and I/O settings etc. This is one thing that is missing in the current Axe-Edit software. And also more advanced MIDI implementation for the on board synth, sequencer and arp...(drop down note and time menus) would also be great, while I am wishing. LOL
Besides that if it is a full blown Axe Fx vst effects unit and amp/cab sin for the computer, I for one am gonna be a little choked that I spent so much money on the hardware version.
 
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