Fractal Audio's New FM3

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hippietim

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If I wanted to (tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, . . . . . ) to drill down the navigation tree to edit a patch - might as well use a GR-55


The initial tap, tap, tap, was just creating a signal chain from In1 to Out1. Other devices have these pre-wired but you can't change that. There's advantages to both approaches - the Fractal approach allows for more flexible routing on the grid vs. the simplicity of fixed connections. Moving around the grid is no more or less than any other product. As for the rest of the tapping, most of it was browsing the basic choice for amp (250+), cab (2k+), reverb, delay - if you're going to have a lot of choices, they need to be surfaced somehow (note that there are sort and filter features to make this easier as well). Pretty much all of the modelers have blocks that require multiple pages and they have a page prev/next button so this tapping would happen with most of them.

The main advantage to the Helix UX is that you can edit in the grid so all editing is basically one level. This is very nice and makes for some really easy quick edits. The problem is that this does not scale well with lots of options. You would be tapping way more if Fractal adopted the Helix UX paradigm and still maintained the same level of flexibility. A good case could be made for advocating that Fractal implement a grid edit mode that provides a core subset of parameters. There is a wish list forum for this sort of thing on the Fractal site. I think it'd be cool to have.
 

hvactech

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Yeah - I don't ever see myself going back to a rack unit for gigs. Helix is the best unit I've ever seen for the UI. It's not perfect, but it's still head and shoulders above everything else out there. Watching that video of the FM3 re-enforces why it's so much better.
Are you talking about just visually or how user friendly it is for adjusting or making patches? Because when it comes to making the patches I don’t find fractal or more or less difficult than the helix. I would say I agree visually but I almost always use the editor and the same applies for the ease of use between editors. Even when I had to adjust stuff from the screen on the fractal it was easy. I say this because if ui has deterred from fractal I’d give it a chance because it’s not hard at all.
 

Jarick

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To be fair, the AX8 algorithms were natively coded to run on a much more powerful TigerSHARC processor, then ported. The Helix was natively coded to run on the SHARC chips. To the extent that "there is a sonic difference", you have no way whatsoever of attributing that to "less complex amp modeling". The Kemper runs on a Freescale DSP chip that's supposedly not even as powerful as the TigerSHARC, yet it rates sonically with even the uber-powerful Keystone DSP in the Axe-FX III.

It's all about the efficiency of the coding, which none of us can really audit in any sort of informative way unless we work for the company.
Unless someone cracks the code open for both side, I'm going with math on this one. If you can dedicated twice as many amps for a processor as the competition, you are devoting half as many resources to the amp modeling, i.e. the model is less complex.

The Kemper is not doing component level modeling. You can't shoot an audio signal through an amp and trace the component circuit. It's doing some level of convolution which is completely different. Apples and oranges. That's why you need to shoot profiles for each adjustment to the controls.

I'm not sure why this is always so controversial. Line 6 appears to have chosen to model amps in such a way that it consumes less resources and allows for greater flexibility for the end user at a lower cost (perhaps at the expense of fidelity). Fractal appears to have chosen to model amps in a more detailed manner to allow for highest fidelity for the end user (perhaps at the expense of flexibility or cost). Kemper appears to have chosen to model amp in a unique way that allows for high fidelity and user creation of additional models (perhaps at the expense of control of the amp model).
 

mikah912

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Unless someone cracks the code open for both side, I'm going with math on this one. If you can dedicated twice as many amps for a processor as the competition, you are devoting half as many resources to the amp modeling, i.e. the model is less complex.

The Kemper is not doing component level modeling. You can't shoot an audio signal through an amp and trace the component circuit. It's doing some level of convolution which is completely different. Apples and oranges. That's why you need to shoot profiles for each adjustment to the controls.

I'm not sure why this is always so controversial. Line 6 appears to have chosen to model amps in such a way that it consumes less resources and allows for greater flexibility for the end user at a lower cost (perhaps at the expense of fidelity). Fractal appears to have chosen to model amps in a more detailed manner to allow for highest fidelity for the end user (perhaps at the expense of flexibility or cost). Kemper appears to have chosen to model amp in a unique way that allows for high fidelity and user creation of additional models (perhaps at the expense of control of the amp model).
Hoo boy. It would only be math if the models were coded with the same architecture. They aren't. You're comparing apples to steak knives.
 

Watt McCo

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For my "Fractal-curious" itch, @djd100 makes a very good case for a used II of some sort: https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?posts/28449807/

Though, honestly - where I need the convenience of modeling, I'm already making so many other concessions that I really don't care if its a little bit, or a tiny little bit off...there's usually some other big barrier to me getting great sound.
Hoo boy. It would only be math if the models were coded with the same architecture. They aren't. You're comparing apples to steak knives.
That's DI-bolic, er hyperbolic. It's not like, Cliff is some guy that just started to learn how to code this stuff when he came up with the Axe FX idea. It's not a bad guestimate, given the orders of magnitude we are talking about. Apples to oranges maybe.
 

nicolasrivera

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6,634
Line 6, Fractal, Boss, Kemper, etc are all different companies. They have different leadership, different buying power, different core values, different strategies, etc. Each company has their approach to evolving their product lines. I could come up with credible arguments for or against any of the approaches. Each of these companies is quite successful at selling these modeling gizmos.

Comparing some singular aspect of their approach without considering the rest of their approach and the other critical aspects that empower and consteain them is not a logical way to debate.
Exactly, thats why overall Fractal Audio smokes everyone else period.
 

mikah912

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Isn’t that pretty much exactly what Jarick was saying?
Not at all. He's guestimating - to use Watt's word of choice - that if I can fit one of X on a chip with one product, but can fit 2 of X on the same chip on a different product....that means the former is more complex and detailed than the latter.

I'm simply saying we don't have enough information about either to assume they're both X. That's not to say Cliff is a coding n00b who can't make efficient models. That's to say we don't know either outfit makes the sausage. We just don't.
 

Jarick

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I'm just going on what's visible. Fractal seems to use about twice as much DSP as Helix in their amp modeling and exposes about 5 times as many parameters for amp adjustments.

Would you be insecure about using a less complex amp model? What difference does it make if you like the sound, the flexibility, and the price?
 

Mark Al

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838
Exactly, thats why overall Fractal Audio smokes everyone else period.
Not sure how your logic works and how you jump to that conclusion. It's a period for you, but far from being the case for the rest of the world.

I'm just going on what's visible. Fractal seems to use about twice as much DSP as Helix in their amp modeling and exposes about 5 times as many parameters for amp adjustments.

Would you be insecure about using a less complex amp model? What difference does it make if you like the sound, the flexibility, and the price?
Exposing more parameters is far from implying the amp modeling is more complex, using more DSPs doesn't imply that either. If those logics are true, I'd change all my linear or quazi-linear to quadratic algorithms, and expose tons of "paramters", to give you a super "complex" amp modeling. Will that convince your brain to perceive the tone as realer or with more magic harmonics? :)

The only judge here is your ear and playing hand.
 
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Guitardave

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Are you talking about just visually or how user friendly it is for adjusting or making patches? Because when it comes to making the patches I don’t find fractal or more or less difficult than the helix. I would say I agree visually but I almost always use the editor and the same applies for the ease of use between editors. Even when I had to adjust stuff from the screen on the fractal it was easy. I say this because if ui has deterred from fractal I’d give it a chance because it’s not hard at all.
Mostly what I look for is how the UI works for me in live playing situations. Is it slow and distracting it is to make routine tweaks as I'm playing on stage? I don't really worry about the patch creation part of things as there is no rush and I can use a software editor for that. Hopefully there will be some shortcuts/ways to do that with the FM3 but I have my doubts having already owned the Axe III. And I wouldn't use a Helix rack either - once you take away the touch editing with the Floor/LT then the ease of editing disappears.

Unless someone cracks the code open for both side, I'm going with math on this one. If you can dedicated twice as many amps for a processor as the competition, you are devoting half as many resources to the amp modeling, i.e. the model is less complex.

The Kemper is not doing component level modeling. You can't shoot an audio signal through an amp and trace the component circuit. It's doing some level of convolution which is completely different. Apples and oranges. That's why you need to shoot profiles for each adjustment to the controls.

I'm not sure why this is always so controversial. Line 6 appears to have chosen to model amps in such a way that it consumes less resources and allows for greater flexibility for the end user at a lower cost (perhaps at the expense of fidelity). Fractal appears to have chosen to model amps in a more detailed manner to allow for highest fidelity for the end user (perhaps at the expense of flexibility or cost). Kemper appears to have chosen to model amp in a unique way that allows for high fidelity and user creation of additional models (perhaps at the expense of control of the amp model).
It's controversial because it's all guesswork.

This whole idea that Fractal amp modeling has more detail and requires more processor power originally cropped with Fractal fans trying to explain the one amp "limitation" of the AX8. It also dovetailed into an explanation for why some people prefer the way Fractal sounds. The logic is simple to follow. Fractal sounds better because the modeling is more accurate and detailed. It's more accurate because it's more "complex" and of course a more complex model needs more compute resources. How do we know the model is more complex? Because it uses more compute resources. {Please tell me that other people see the circular reasoning going on?} And the entire argument is largely to prove the point that L6 can run so many amp models only because their amp modeling isn't as good.

Why not conclude that Fractal modeling was based on less efficient coding choices and/or they have some design limitations in how they can access the CPU resources? Again, all conjecture.

And really - what difference does it make? Use what sounds and works best to each of us.
 
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Dan Desy

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3,189
Not at all. He's guestimating - to use Watt's word of choice - that if I can fit one of X on a chip with one product, but can fit 2 of X on the same chip on a different product....that means the former is more complex and detailed than the latter.

I'm simply saying we don't have enough information about either to assume they're both X. That's not to say Cliff is a coding n00b who can't make efficient models. That's to say we don't know either outfit makes the sausage. We just don't.
Apples, steak knives. Complex, less complex. Fractal, Line 6.

Pretty sure that’s what it boils down to.
 
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