Should I buy the FM9 when I own a Kemper

ucnick

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,575
Sure. Why not? I would. I have a Kemper Stage, and also a Helix. I'm pretty far back on the FM9 list, having gotten in line on 9/4/21. Maybe next summer for me. :thud (me when I receive the invite)

The way I see it, if you can swing the $$, you can sell it if you don’t want to keep it, probably at a profit, judging from order backlog.
 

dlc86

Member
Messages
320
In my testing this is what my experience was. I was comparing a Kemper with Dirty Shirley profiles from Tone Junky, the FM9 with it's two different models of the Dirty Shirley amp and my actual Friedman Twin Sister amp (two Dirty Shirley circuits in the same amp) with a 112 cabinet with a Celestion creamback speaker in it. The Kemper profiles sounded like my real amp. I had to dial the gain way back (1.5 or 2) on the FM9 to even get in the ballpark.
Not my experience at all.
Any chance you're running the guitar into the attenuated input on your real amp?
If so you need to set the input trim to 0.500 in the fm9 amp block to replicate that.
 

JasonE

Member
Messages
732
Not my experience at all.
Any chance you're running the guitar into the attenuated input on your real amp?
If so you need to set the input trim to 0.500 in the fm9 amp block to replicate that.

There is no attenuated input on the Twin Sister amp. It has a single input on it.
 

Occam

Member
Messages
4,339
To the OP, why not grab a used FM3? They are bottoming out in price, I have seen headphone version FM3's for ~$875 which is a complete steal. I think on Fractal site they are $999 which is also an excellent price. This would at least give you all of the amp/cab/FX tones to check out while you wait for FM9 to compare vs. your Kemper. You could certainly decide by then if the FM9 even makes sense and you could flip (or return) the FM3 with minimal $$$ loss. I would consider it a rental of sorts.
Can't those only do 1 amp and a time? One of the features I want is to run two amps in stereo.
 

TimH

Member
Messages
6,402
I can’t say it’s the same experience I’ve had with my III/FM9 in comparison to the amps I’ve owned/played through….which are all high gain amps. The Mesa’s are quite spot-on as is the 6160 (5150), Ecstasy, Legacy, Friedman’s…

That said, the Master Volumes are all cranked pretty high in the models, which definitely leads to them having a lot more gain than they would at normal levels. I end up backing them all down to between 2-4 because it makes the amps mush out. If I didn’t know that going into it, I’d assume they had way more distortion/gain going on than the real amps. While I’ve done some pretty crazy things to myself over the years, assaulting my ears with a Dual or Triple Rec with the Master on 10 is not one of them. :roll

Bingo! The master volume is the issue when it comes to gain. Turn the masters down and the gain will go way down.
 

cardinal

Member
Messages
5,653
Is this true? The reason I ask is during my comparisons between the FM3 and Helix, I noticed that I had to turn the gain up on the Helix to get a comparable level of gain.

In @Guitarjon 's recent blind test, I could see that he also had the gain higher on the Helix than the Axe FX, but the actual amp gain looked closer to the Axe FX settings.

I know that the real amp wasn't an actual BE, and I don't think the two models used necessarily matched each other either, but on the face of it it does look like Helix may be "under-gained" rather than the Axe FX being "over-gained".

That being said, both may well be in tolerance compared to the original amp they modelled.
IME it varies by model and perhaps it's our amps that vary, I dunno. The Brit 800 sounds dead on to my 2204 with the same settings and gain IMHO. The 6160 and 6160+ actually have less gain than my 5150 and 6505+. Some of the Plexi/1959 amps seem to have more gain than the 1959s I've owned.

Some of the sims (Marshalls IME) turn into fire breathing behemoths if you boost it with the OD level at 10, so particularly with those sims keeping the OD level back to 6.50 or so seems more accurate to the real amp/OD pedal. Other sims (the 6160s) seem to respond to OD levels the same as my real amps.

But in all cases you can work with it IMHO without crazy deep diving. Just have to be able to pinpoint what you're hearing.
 

jlpete87

Member
Messages
20
I bought a Kamper Stage in February 2020 and kept it until the end of October of this year (I bought an FM9 at the end of September; got on the waitlist 30 minutes after the announcement). I really enjoyed the Kemper, but after trying to make my own profiles of my Friedman JJ Jr and not having much success (I live in a condo, so you can imagine how well this would go) and also just trying to keep finding more profiles, I ended up just accepting the fact that I enjoy the FAS workflow more and being able to build sounds from a blank slate. I ended up selling the Stage. I also settled on a few York Audio IRs, so I'm not going down that rabbit hole either.

I used the FM9 at a gig for the first time a month ago. Not only was it the first time I had ever used a modeler live, but I also ran both myself and our other guitarist through the FM9 (direct to FOH; used the wedges as monitors) and I controlled all switching. Pretty amazing! I'll be sticking with the FM9, as it far exceeds my needs.
 

hallissyc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
966
Constructive criticism / personal observation warning.

This is the exact reason why I personally couldn’t hack it in the digital world. I kept finding myself looking at the other devices thinking “mine does this, but that one does this other thing”. It became overwhelming for me and it took me away from playing.

Again, this is a personal experience / opinion I wanted to share regarding your position. If I was you, I’d go all-in on one device. Otherwise, it’s literally never ending and extremely expensive.
 

Gasp100

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
26,002
Can't those only do 1 amp and a time? One of the features I want is to run two amps in stereo.

You stated this was mainly for recording purposes. Can't you dry track a guitar and reamp it twice?
I was suggesting an FM3 in the interim because they are readily available at a great price and you can get your feet wet with the Fractal editor, tones, FX, etc.
I'm surprised people would rather sit and wait for 6 months than lose maybe $100 on personal resale (split over 6 months) to actually hear and feel what a Fractal product will sound like?
 

PBGas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,502
Love my new FM9 that came in a couple of weeks back! I was lucky to get one being so late on the first day. I've been super happy with all things Fractal for a few years now that I have owned them. It's a work flow that I really enjoy and feel very comfortable with.

I never bonded with any of the Kemper stuff at all and I have had both software and hardware issues with them when I owned them through the years since they were first introduced. It is a good product that has stood the test of time, regardless. I had some bad luck with mine and thus, I'm just not a fan.
 

JasonE

Member
Messages
732
Constructive criticism / personal observation warning.

This is the exact reason why I personally couldn’t hack it in the digital world. I kept finding myself looking at the other devices thinking “mine does this, but that one does this other thing”. It became overwhelming for me and it took me away from playing.

Again, this is a personal experience / opinion I wanted to share regarding your position. If I was you, I’d go all-in on one device. Otherwise, it’s literally never ending and extremely expensive.

From the posts I read, this is a very common thing now matter what digital device you buy. Some guys get caught up in this tone chasing with Kemper profiles. Others get caught up in trying to dial in things in the Fractal world, many on various platforms get hung up playing with different IRs. It goes on and on, insert your favorite modeler name and it is more of the same. I also see a lot of posts wondering if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

I try to get something going that I like the sound of as quick and easy as possible and get to playing. I have been able to do this with the two units I have and haven't spent much time tweaking beyond getting solo boosts setup and getting my delays and reverbs set where i like them. The rabbit holes can be avoided if you just limit yourself and get to playing. The only thing on the other side of the fence is more time spent to get back to where you are today.
 

RevDrucifer

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,233
I only spent a lot of time tweaking for the first few months I had my AxeFX III, but that was more about learning what it was a capable of than trying to find a tone I dug. I used to chase IR’s until I started using York’s and now the 44,000 I bought before finding York just sit in a file unused.

I can’t even think of anything that makes me feel ”limited” with the AxeFX III; outside of guitar synth stuff, there’s nothing that can’t be done with it…..and it’s not a guitar synth (though it has some pretty damn cool sounding synth stuff) The FM9 has it’s CPU limitations, but I got it for live use and have no problems getting the stuff I need from it in a live setting….running into a cab AND FOH.

I’ve been saying it for about a year now, but the quickest way to dial in a new preset is to start with all the amp knobs at noon and then find an IR that‘s already 90% in the ballpark. From there it’s just a couple twists of the amp knobs and you’re there.

Ballparking tones was probably the most relieving/time-saving thing I’ve done. I initially had it in my head that I’d dial in whatever I’d need for a recording and wouldn’t have to add any EQ in post or anything, but that’s a fool’s errand. Sure, that’s possible, but it just adds extra steps to a process that would take me 30 seconds to load up an EQ plug-in, make the adjustments and move on. I never know how a song needs to be mixed until I’m done layering all my BS on it and you can spend weeks dialing in a guitar tone just to find it’s not sitting just right in the mix. 9x out of 10 it just needs some top end to give them some life.
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
23,724
I try to get something going that I like the sound of as quick and easy as possible and get to playing.
Same here. I do minor tweaks over time and eventually "set it and forget it".

...the quickest way to dial in a new preset is to start with all the amp knobs at noon and then find an IR that‘s already 90% in the ballpark. From there it’s just a couple twists of the amp knobs and you’re there. Ballparking tones was probably the most relieving/time-saving thing I’ve done.

:agree

For my money, this is the way to go. It enables you to save a lot of wasted time chasing your tail, time that could be spent playing guitar.

So far I'm really enjoying the FM9. I wondered if I'd be able to get the gorgeous Jazz tone I dialed in on the FM3 tweaking the Studio Clean preset since the FM9 is running Cygnus and my FM3 is still using v.1.06. I used the same settings and not surprisingly it doesn't sound exactly the same. I prefer the FM3's preset but not by a ton. I haven't spent a lot of time dialing it in on the FM9, I just copied over the amp and reverb settings. I haven't looked at the IRs yet.

But even though I prefer the Jazz tone on the FM3, which to my ears is damn near "magical", it sounds great on the FM9, just not as full on the bottom end.

Overall I'm getting a sense of clarity on the FM9 that I didn't have with my FM3 (again, early firmware). The FM9 is the bomb and I wouldn't hesitate to get one whether I had a Kemper or not.
 
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RevDrucifer

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,233
Same here. I do minor tweaks over time and eventually "set it and forget it".



:agree

For my money, this is the way to go. It enables you to save a lot of wasted time chasing your tail, time that could be spent playing guitar.

This is what stopped me from adding PEQ’s and going crazy with the deep editing. Before, I’d find an IR that was closer to 75% and had to boost or cut certain frequencies, but then the tail chasing starts. Just set up a looper, play some open chords and some palm muted stuff and just scroll through the IR’s.

I’ve also been saving IR’s or IR combinations for specific stuff, like ‘Mesa Heavy’ or ‘Marshally Sh*t’, ‘EOB’, etc. Usually the ones I’ve saved will give me a good starting point if they don’t work right away.
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
10,783
I'd say you don't really need it, but at the same time I'm all for finding things that work better. If you can afford it, might be worth buying it, trying it and comparing it to your Kemper. Then you will find out what you like, what you don't like and whether it works for your needs.
 

ljholland

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,114
Having owned Helix, Stomp, Stomp XL, FM-3, Atomic, Headrush, and Kemper, I can say that I can get great tones out of all of them. You're not going to have any "OMG - this is the holy grail of tone!" moment from the Fractal. I think the real question is what features, effects, and user interface you gel with. If Kemper's interface seems intuitive for you to use and you are used to it, I'd stick with that. If you're someone that gets frustrated with settings and details and just wants to play, Fractal is not the way to go.
 

JasonE

Member
Messages
732
Having owned Helix, Stomp, Stomp XL, FM-3, Atomic, Headrush, and Kemper, I can say that I can get great tones out of all of them. You're not going to have any "OMG - this is the holy grail of tone!" moment from the Fractal. I think the real question is what features, effects, and user interface you gel with. If Kemper's interface seems intuitive for you to use and you are used to it, I'd stick with that. If you're someone that gets frustrated with settings and details and just wants to play, Fractal is not the way to go.

This is spot on. I find that they do a few different things but there are great tones in all of them. Another thing I would suggest beyond the user interface that can make a big difference is the routing. Look at the ins and outs and make sure you can hook the unit up the way you want.

What drove my purchase of the FM9 is that I saw the opportunity to combine two feeds into one. I have a few electric guitars that have Piezo systems in them. I was running my magnetic pickups through my Kemper and then using a Fishman Aura and some other pedals for the Piezo pickup and then to the FOH. The FM9 allows me to connect both to one unit and run two separate signal chains. I can then either run them out of separate outputs then to the FOH or use one output to FOH with both sounds in one cable. I first set it up for separate outputs but then changed it to just one. This eliminates gear to haul around so it provides a value to me that my Kemper did not provide.

I still love the sound of my Kemper and will keep that as well. I created profiles of my gigging amp and they sound as good as the amp with a mic in front of it. That has value to me as well.

IMHO, the user interface and connection types are a big differentiators in choosing a unit that will do what you want it to do.
 




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