Fractal Audio's New FM3

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ejecta

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I think I am jumping into Fractal with the FM3, but this is all new world to me. Can someone help me with what a good rig would be (speaker, etc)? Do I just use it with my Suhr Bella, a pretty clean/neutral amp?

If I were you I’d try incorporating it in with your Bella before I went down the path of using an FRFR. Unless you have to have a way to keep you guitar volume super contained to via in ears or a wedge I would go that way.

BTW I use a Helix with a Suhr Badger 30 with a 1x12 on a stage where volume needs attention. It works great. I was using a modeler and wedge or in ears but we found that my Suhr set up worked just as well volume wise and I was happier with my tone and feel using my amp.
 

Watt McCo

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12,948
I think I am jumping into Fractal with the FM3, but this is all new world to me. Can someone help me with what a good rig would be (speaker, etc)? Do I just use it with my Suhr Bella, a pretty clean/neutral amp?
(1) you could use it into the effects return of your Bella, in which case you'll not want to include a cabinet model in the signal chain that feeds the Bella. Advantage: it still feels like playing "a real amp". Cons: every preset you use will be going through the same cab, so don't expect to go from great spanky combo amp tone to killer chugga half-stack tones. Some folks have to do a little experimenting with parameters in the power amp block when going into a tube power amp. Unless you're driving the Bella to the point that it is starting to distort/clip/significantly compress, I'd say it could be used as a "neutral amp".

You could go straight into the Bella input, in which case you'll probably find it best to just use the FM3 as a pedal board without using amp modeling - an amp into an amp usually sounds weird.

You could go into a solid state power amp feeding a guitar cab...similar to going into Bella effects return but using a truly transparent (high wattage solid state seems to be preferred) avoids the worry of the Bella adding it's own color to the amp modeled in the FM3.

Finally, you can do what a lot of people do and feed it into a full-range, flat response (FRFR) speaker. This is a term people use to describe stuff like PA monitors (Yamaha DXR10, QSC K10, Atomic CLR are all popular), or near-field studio monitors . Advantages here are the sound coming out of the speakers sounds very similar to what's going to be coming out of the FOH in a live situation. You also can use speaker cab simulations this way, allowing you to choose a cab that is most appropriate to the amp being used in the preset. The downside is that 99.5% of speaker models capture the sound of a speaker cabinet with a mic or two on it. Hearing that sound through an FRFR is like monitoring your guitar through FOH, or in a control room in a studio with your cab in an iso booth, which is a very different experience than hearing your guitar coming directly from a traditional guitar cab being fed directly by an amp.

Some people do a combo of the last approach and one of the former approaches, where they split there signal in the modeler and have one side with speaker simulation that goes to FOH, and the other side without speaker simulation feeding some form of a poweramp/guitar cab on stage.
 
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Those complaining about the lack of switches are probably not aware of the power and flexibility of the FC switches. Even if you only programmed in 3 scenes, that should be more than enough for most. Make one hold for tuner, one hold for effects. How many switches could you possibly need for one song? If you need more, there's outboard hardware.

I'll use my III and FC12 for sure, but I don't see what I couldn't also accomplish with the FM3. But if I need more, I can always throw the FC12 in front of the FM3. Cool to have an awesome little grab-n-go/backup rig in a lightweight format.
 

Fractal Audio

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So I’m really not putting on my line 6 fanboy hat (and I’m on the waitlist as well), but it bothers me a tad that Fractal talks about *porting* models from the III to the FM3, and that they’re not porting everything. That sounds like a limitation to me.

Line 6 is redoing the HX core of its software expressly so they don’t have to port. Model once, run on any modeler.
The Axe-Fx III, FM3 and the other products in development all use the "Ares" architecture. This is a portable client-server architecture that allows easy porting of effects and models between hardware platforms. When we ported the Axe-Fx III models to the FM3 it involved nothing more than copying the file.

We created the Ares architecture three years ago and all new products use it. It's a comprehensive hardware and software paradigm that allows any number of clients to communicate with a DSP server. The architecture supports multiple DSP cores. Clients can be located on the same core, a different core on the same IC, a different IC on the same board or on completely different hardware, i.e. an editor running on a PC or a foot controller. For example on the FM3 the UI is a client running on the ARM core.

The Ares architecture is even processor agnostic. The Axe-Fx III uses TI DSPs while the FM3 uses Analog Devices.

The Ares architecture was a huge undertaking with the ultimate goal of faster product development and easy synchronization of multiple product lines. It allows me to work on algorithms and new models and the engineers can then easily port those to the other products.
 

bdrepko

Silver Supporting Member
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2,948
So I’m really not putting on my line 6 fanboy hat (and I’m on the waitlist as well), but it bothers me a tad that Fractal talks about *porting* models from the III to the FM3, and that they’re not porting everything. That sounds like a limitation to me.

Line 6 is redoing the HX core of its software expressly so they don’t have to port. Model once, run on any modeler.
The FMS is does not have the same processors as the AXE. It does not have the same resources, that is why it is not $2400. There have to be tradeoffs for smaller and cheaper versions. Trust me, I would love to buy a $1000 unit that does everything that the flagship does.
 

football

Gold Supporting Member
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1,772
(1)
You could go straight into the Bella input, in which case you'll probably find it best to just use the FM3 as a pedal board without using amp modeling - an amp into an amp usually sounds weird.

If you happen to know how to go straight from FM3 into the front of an amp input (guitar to FM3 input, then FM3 output to amp input) please let me know.

Saw that the main outs of FM3 are XLR (not 1/4 or combi jack). Maybe if doing the scenario I described it's supposed to use a 1/4 inch send output?

I generally use an amplifier with four cable method, but did a fly gig recently and used a Fender Twin with no loop. Curious how that would work with this new Fractal.
 

guitarno

Silver Supporting Member
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I think I am jumping into Fractal with the FM3, but this is all new world to me. Can someone help me with what a good rig would be (speaker, etc)? Do I just use it with my Suhr Bella, a pretty clean/neutral amp?

I also use a Suhr Bella. Great amp with lots of clean headroom. I currently run a Helix right into the front Input and it works great. I used to use a HX effects and was having some minor noise issues running it in the Bella'a loop (nothing wrong with the Bella's FX loop), and I was advised by the head of Suhr (who is a member here) to just run it into the front input. The Bella has so much clean headroom that it works great that way.

I'm sure you could run the FM3 up front or in the Bella's FX loop. I also run into a pair of mid grade powered studio monitors (Presonus Eris 8's), and direct to the PA for performances.
You could definitely start just with the Bella and go from there. You'll have to experiment with which input to use, and whether to turn cabs / IR's on or off. Let your ears be the judge. Actually the Bella can sound surprisingly good with the cab/IR turned ON while running through a guitar cab. It depends on the patch, IR, and volume level you're playing at. Again, just let your ears decide what sounds right.
 

Jarick

Silver Supporting Member
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Those complaining about the lack of switches are probably not aware of the power and flexibility of the FC switches. Even if you only programmed in 3 scenes, that should be more than enough for most. Make one hold for tuner, one hold for effects. How many switches could you possibly need for one song? If you need more, there's outboard hardware.

I'll use my III and FC12 for sure, but I don't see what I couldn't also accomplish with the FM3. But if I need more, I can always throw the FC12 in front of the FM3. Cool to have an awesome little grab-n-go/backup rig in a lightweight format.

I wonder what the average number of switches that people would use on a regular basis would be?

There's a lot of people who could get by with no switches and just use their volume knob, others who could just do one switch for clean/dirty or a boost or something, others where 3 is just right, and some may need a dozen. Depends on how you like to use it.

I totally get the power and functionality of the new FC switches and I think it's great, but there's still the question of how much tap dancing you want to do while you're playing? Or for those who are playing and singing? Do you want to hold one switch to access the second bank and then tap again to select the patch?

It would require more organization and possibly more presets to accommodate the needs of the song. So rather than one preset with scenes that could cover everything, maybe you have to have half a dozen with different layouts. And now you have to memorize those layouts. And if you tweak one patch, you have to go across and tweak the rest.

Just things to think about. I'm hoping that down the road they release an FM9 for those of us who would like more switches but don't want to separate pieces of gear.
 

phil_m

Ow! My eye! I’m not supposed to get pudding in it!
Gold Supporting Member
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14,170
Those complaining about the lack of switches are probably not aware of the power and flexibility of the FC switches. Even if you only programmed in 3 scenes, that should be more than enough for most. Make one hold for tuner, one hold for effects. How many switches could you possibly need for one song? If you need more, there's outboard hardware.

I'll use my III and FC12 for sure, but I don't see what I couldn't also accomplish with the FM3. But if I need more, I can always throw the FC12 in front of the FM3. Cool to have an awesome little grab-n-go/backup rig in a lightweight format.

I'm not complaining about it, but I personally like having more switches for immediate access to things. It's not necessarily about the number of effects I'd use in any given song, but just having access to change things on the fly if I need to. I still don't really do much in the way of using one preset per song. I tend to create presets that are kind of a pallet of tones, and then snapshots within that preset with specific combinations... Being able to go in and turn individual stomps on and is useful to me still. So I think if I wanted to use the FM3 as an all-in-one rig, I'd definitely need one of the outboard controllers. I personally have never really like having to use long presses for much of anything in a live scenario.
 

jayspencer

Member
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114
Those complaining about the lack of switches are probably not aware of the power and flexibility of the FC switches. Even if you only programmed in 3 scenes, that should be more than enough for most. Make one hold for tuner, one hold for effects. How many switches could you possibly need for one song? If you need more, there's outboard hardware.

I'll use my III and FC12 for sure, but I don't see what I couldn't also accomplish with the FM3. But if I need more, I can always throw the FC12 in front of the FM3. Cool to have an awesome little grab-n-go/backup rig in a lightweight format.
Plus as far as i understand, you can change layouts of the foot switches when you press one of them, which would give you access to the equivalent of a board with much more foot switches, for example, you step on FS3 for scene 3, and that also changes the layout for FS 1 and 2, so if you plan out your songs, should you actually need more than 3FS you can just take advantage of the layouts changes. I think most players won't need more than three once they understand how powerful they are, plus i think it was mentioned on the fractal forum that those switches may have NEW features that we haven't seen yet.
 
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I just signed up on the waitlist. Aside from searching one-off, is there a central location to read more about the Fractal effects (not necessarily in the FM3, just generally)?

I am a Helix user and have always wanted to see the Fractal side of things. I know the amp modeling would be a lateral move/upgrade, but I am not clear on the effects.

Want to do research to see if the FM3 could be an all in one for me, or if I should go the FM3/HXFX route if I decide to change things up.
 

Lord N

Member
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2,577
I just signed up on the waitlist. Aside from searching one-off, is there a central location to read more about the Fractal effects (not necessarily in the FM3, just generally)?

I am a Helix user and have always wanted to see the Fractal side of things. I know the amp modeling would be a lateral move/upgrade, but I am not clear on the effects.

Want to do research to see if the FM3 could be an all in one for me, or if I should go the FM3/HXFX route if I decide to change things up.
There is the fractal wiki on their website where you'll find a list of effects.
Depending on the number of effects the FM3 can run in the end, i don't think pairing it with Hx Fx is a good idea.
 

In Absentia

Member
Messages
7,780
The absurd logic is equating the lack of new firmware upgrades for a perfectly functioning modeler to a car that fails.

It isn’t functioning perfectly and you have lost objectivity. My reference is using your logic, not an extension of mine.
 

Watt McCo

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12,948
If you happen to know how to go straight from FM3 into the front of an amp input (guitar to FM3 input, then FM3 output to amp input) please let me know.

Saw that the main outs of FM3 are XLR (not 1/4 or combi jack). Maybe if doing the scenario I described it's supposed to use a 1/4 inch send output?

I generally use an amplifier with four cable method, but did a fly gig recently and used a Fender Twin with no loop. Curious how that would work with this new Fractal.
I'm guessing you can choose whether the xlr outputs are at instrument or line level, so you could probably use an xlr to TS cable (or adapter) and still use those. Alternatively, yeah, the "sends" of the two effects loops can also work as outputs to send straight to the front of an amp (or effects return).
 
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