The FM3 Launch (for me) has been one of the worst experiences of my music career

Messages
733
I’m sure Cliff is fuming reading through this thread. He doesn’t take any type of criticism kindly.
He’s surely much more upset about paying orders-of-magnitude more time and money dealing with bugs than estimated, than hearing the same stuff he’s heard plenty of already. Despite my harsh take on it, I really feel bad for him.
I don’t see that. I mean, the supply chain issues are beyond their control true. But as a Technology Executive for a Fortune 100 company, I can tell you that Fractal has a management problem.

The big problem I see is the performance of FX8, AX8, and FM3 teams. If Cliff is going to promote empowered, self sufficient teams then his job is to give the team the support and resources it needs to succeed. Sometimes that means intervening and even restructuring or restaffing the team if they cannot get their $hit together.

You have three attempts at building autonomous teams that have been failures. The core Axe FX products seem to have always been under Cliffs command and have done well. Everything else has fallen apart at some point. He lets the teams collapse... the hallmark of a weak manager. Failure is an important learning experience, complete collapse as we have seen and may be seeing again with Fractal is not good.

A good manager knows the difference between a team that has experienced failure and a team that is failing.

I think Cliff is a brilliant engineer who does not have the skills to manage other engineers and grow them.

This is not to knock Cliff. It is actually quite common. Brilliant engineers start a company and have no idea of how to manage it. Just look at Apple, same deal. Cliff needs to bring in someone who knows how to manage a tech company so that Cliff can do what he does best.
This assessment seems reasonable. The trickle truths were revealing in this regard. Seasoned pm’s don’t set an expectation, and only *after* failing to meet it - rinse and repeat several times more. They’ll get past this on reputation alone. Neural on the other hand doesn’t have that wiggle room, as this is the debut- pull crap like this and the pitchforks come right out.
 

ColdFrixion

Member
Messages
5,736
I get the "not all versions of the same physical amp sound the same" argument. Different tolerances in pots, different stock tubes, etc. but one of the big selling points of the FAS stuff is it is supposed to be super accurate to the amps modeled. FAS has had release after release and many of these releases the amps are made to sound "better" than the previous firmware. So were the original models that far off from the ones in the latest rev. and what then of those original models, are they inaccurate now?

While there have been improvements to the modeling algorithms, most of them are minor touch-ups rather than broad strokes at this point, in my opinion. With Kemper, on the other hand, Christoph has noted that there's virtually no room for improvement to the profiling process, unfortunately.
 

themightyjay

Member
Messages
893
To all of the people saying I should buy a DI interface: reamping is crucial to what I do.

To all the people saying I'm crazy for letting a piece of equipment affect my work livelihood: you just criticized every music professional in the industry.

That’s a very strange response, pretty much every high end modeller will let you reamp, especially if you have an interface.

Hell it seems that the FM3 is pretty much the only one that can’t at the moment.
 

belcebu69

Member
Messages
237
But its an amp AND an interface!
The FM3 is not an amp,
at all,
it is just a fun box pretending to sound and behave like amps,
and when it works I am sure it is fun for what it is, but will not sound or feel like the amps it emulates,
buying a reliable amp , multi fx or pedals of choice AND a separate interface will be much safer for someone stating that “ his career” is not going well due to an FM3 not working properly..(whatever that means...)
 
Messages
733
The FM3 is not an amp,
at all,
it is just a fun box pretending to sound and behave like amps,
and when it works I am sure it is fun for what it is, but will not sound or feel like the amps it emulates,
buying a reliable amp , multi fx or pedals of choice AND a separate interface will be much safer for someone stating that “ his career” is not going well due to an FM3 not working properly..(whatever that means...)
D03E80A6-D3E9-4EB9-9F3E-38BC0A03AAAE.jpeg
 

CaptNasty

Guitar Geek
Messages
1,027
If you think the Fractal forum is toxic now, you should have been there back in the early days. It’s SO much more tame and inviting now. Most of the folks, even the “it” crowd, are very helpful and kind. It’s a far more tolerant environment, especially with regard to conversations about competing products. Cliff is a good guy and has greatly calmed his online persona. He’s been very helpful, even to ME, when I’ve had questions. That’s saying something if you remember our interactions early on. I’d cut him and the company a little slack here. They’re having a rough time due to circumstances mostly beyond their control.

Doesn’t mean the FM3 isn’t a problem child.
That is like saying, “it’s all good. The dog only bites occasionally”. The dog still bites and that turns some people off.

Having hung out over there for a while, I can tell you they are cleaning up a lot of the posts with toxicity. They are deleting or editing posts... which I have no problem with. But if you are not there at the right moment you will miss a lot of the drama.

You have people with first hand accounts of being treated poorly recently and you have people who have seen it happen.

Add to that the “seeing eye dog” post AdminM@ felt the need to create. They know they have a problem and that post proves it. You don’t write that post if everything is peaches and cream. What is telling is that Matt not Cliff made that post. Had Cliff created a post to “call the dogs off” it would have been far more effective. But Cliff is one of the attack dogs so that is not going to happen.

The “seeing eye dog” thread is not the first thread of its kind created by Matt. I recall two similar posts for the FM3 alone. There was a similar appeal for the FCs. I also recall similar threads for other products. This does not paint the picture of a reformed culture.

Yet another example of why the “makers” should not run the company. Too emotionally invested.
 
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MikeMcK

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,787
Steve Jobs was moved out of CEO and into a tech centric individual contributor role in the early years. Even there as an owner he wreaked havoc.

He was driven out of Apple.

Even when Steve returned and took Apple over the top, he was much more tech and vision than operations. He built a team around him to deal with what he did not do well.

Put another way, a guy who is a genius with circuits, software, and algorithms is typically not going to know much about organizational theory or operations.
Bingo. And even if they have the capacity, focus is key. I had a friend who made a lot of money in the mid-90's personally investing in tech startups before VC & PE money were more common. At the time, paper was still a big part of how design work was done.

I remember him telling me that he would meet leaders in their offices just so he could check out what documents were handy. He said, "If I'm in a president's office and see source code or schematics or IC data sheets handy on the desk, I'm out, because that company will fail. And so far, I've been right every time."
 

gtr37

Senior Member
Messages
7,505
That is like saying, “it’s all good. The dog only bites occasionally”. The dog still bites and that turns some people off.

Having hung out over there for a while, I can tell you they are cleaning up a lot of the posts with toxicity. They are deleting or editing posts... which I have no problem with. But if you are not there at the right moment you will miss a lot of the drama.

You have people with first hand accounts of being treated poorly recently and you have people who have seen it happen.

Add to that the “seeing eye dog” post AdminM@ felt the need to create. They know they have a problem and that post proves it. You don’t write that post if everything is peaches and cream. What is telling is that Matt not Cliff made that post. Had Cliff created a post to “call the dogs off” it would have been far more effective. But Cliff is one of the attack dogs so that is not going to happen.

Yet another example of why the “makers” should not run the company. Too emotionally invested.

people have told them to get a PR or Customer service person for years
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
10,966
A month or so ago Cliff blew me up a little on the FAS forums for using a Captor instead of a "real" reactive load box when I posted a direct Amp vs. Kemper vs. FM3 comparison. So nice of him to do, being that I just dropped $1000 on one of his products, that I waited a year to purchase, and that still isn't working correctly for some customers... I digress.

I ended up getting a Suhr RL, I have wanted one anyway or a TAE (FAS reactive load is out of stock) and ended up with the Suhr. Running the same tests the results were the same. The Kemper sounds like the Amp modeled.

I get the "not all versions of the same physical amp sound the same" argument. Different tolerances in pots, different stock tubes, etc. but one of the big selling points of the FAS stuff is it is supposed to be super accurate to the amps modeled. FAS has had release after release and many of these releases the amps are made to sound "better" than the previous firmware. So were the original models that far off from the ones in the latest rev. and what then of those original models, are they inaccurate now?

Read that post and he is right, the Captor is not going to be any good for accuracy. I don't think he presented his point in any unreasonable fashion. I can tell a difference in sound between my amps direct to speakers, into the Fryette PS2 I had or the Bluetone Loadbox I own at the moment. If even these reactive units don't match the exact feel of X amp into Y speaker at Z volume then it's clear that lesser loadboxes will be even more off the mark.

Now that of course does not mean that your Captor won't sound and feel good to you or that the tone with the higher end loadboxes or attenuators won't be good, it just won't be 100% the same as going direct to the speaker. It's a compromise most are willing to make so they can run their favorite amp direct into cab sims or get it to a volume/tone combo they can use.

Remember that most "it sounds/feels exactly like tube amp X" comments come from Fractal device owners rather than Fractal themselves. When I owned the Axe-Fx 2 there were several times that I thought it sounded as good as it gets and then they release a firmware that makes it even better in some subtle way. It's one of those "I did not know what I was missing" things because even something that is not completely accurate can sound really good.

People get way, way too hung up on if X sounds exactly like Y when the important question is if it sounds/feels good to you. I got tones I enjoyed playing from modelers made 20 years ago. Now one of my favorite amp sims is the ML Sound Labs Amped ML5 (Mesa Mark V) that is 80 euros (plus interface and computer of course!).

If I have complaints about Fractal, it's not on the tone/feel front. It's user interfaces (Axe-Edit is great, hardware UI/physical controls could be better), workflows, support for 3rd party controllers (e.g. MIDI knob controllers). I feel like they sometimes have this huge focus on making their modeling sound better or adding more sound options that they forget to do any quality of life improvements on the UI side until they release their next gen devices. I don't know how big their development teams are for different devices and development areas.

While Fractal could not predict COVID-19, it still sucks that it isn't out in the EU or has significant bugs about 6 months from when it started shipping in the US.
 

chrisjnyc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,060
So, here I am. 3 months without any music recorded because I was repeatedly told "just a week or so. Update is gonna fix it!"

None of the updates have fixed it, and I'm still not really able to record.

Curious on who told you a "a week or so" I dont recall anything from Matt, Cliff, or the other Fractal guys on a timeline.

Question for you... What would happened if the FM3 was damaged in shipping. Lets say the box was crushed by UPS. It would take a few weeks to open a claim and get UPS to pickup the damaged one, and Fractal would need to replace the unit. That could take some time if they dont have a supply on hand. It might not be 3 months, but in my scenario it could take 1-2 months. You wouldn't go out an get an app like S Gear or Helix Native, or a used Axe FX II? Seems like you had plenty of options to record\re-amp, but you chose to wait it out with the FM3.
 

Riq

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
78
Read that post and he is right, the Captor is not going to be any good for accuracy. I don't think he presented his point in any unreasonable fashion. I can tell a difference in sound between my amps direct to speakers, into the Fryette PS2 I had or the Bluetone Loadbox I own at the moment. If even these reactive units don't match the exact feel of X amp into Y speaker at Z volume then it's clear that lesser loadboxes will be even more off the mark.

I agree. I been through a bunch of load boxes (Torpedo's, Fryettes, Tone King's) and they certainly have their own impact on tone. I also think if you're trying to match your specific amp Kemper's are just the way to go. I thought the DC30 Ch2 FM3 model sounded great but even with the same IR's there was a significant difference between my amp the the model. Makes perfect sense with what he's saying regarding pot tolerances and I have a NOS Ef86 in there also. His model could be more accurate to their reference amp - but if your reference is your own amp he's right in that Kemper will likely make your happier.

I think if I wanted an all-in-one with great effects I'd still go with an FM3. I love my matchless but the 2x12 is so heavy and so loud.
 

Willowdale

Member
Messages
2,026
I have seen mostly really positive reviews on TGP for the FM3 ever since the pandemic level headphone gate issue got sorted. The latest FM3 Beta firmware releases seem to have fixed the USB issue for quite a few folks so far, but not all of course. This too shall pass...

Is this latest over the top s**t storm thread really all about a dude with a studio who doesn’t seem to know much about re-amping & doesn’t have a dedicated audio interface for his "studio":dunno

What’s the other stuff that the FM3 is said to be lacking at this point??? I have one but use my AFX3/Kemper the vast majority of the time. The few times I’ve used my FM3 it sounded great & had zero issues from what I could tell. Didn’t try recording with it though...I guess I’ll load the latest Beta, fire up Logic on my iMac & test it out.

It’s not surprising though that the AFX3 is a much better central hub for a studio than the FM3...seller’s remorse is a bitch:phones
 

Gearzilla

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,992
It should work as advertised. Period. But hinging your "business" on a single, buggy device seems more than a little short-sighted.

Fractal amp modeling is the best in class. To my ears, at least. That's the most difficult factor in the whole situation.
I think the challenge for Fractal is the competition has closed the gap rapidly the last few years, and arrived from a downward price point. It’s an especially difficult year for small business hiccups.

What’s the other stuff that the FM3 is said to be lacking at this point???

 
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gtr37

Senior Member
Messages
7,505
I think the challenge for Fractal is the competition has closed the gap rapidly the last couple of years, and arrived from a downward price point. It’s an especially difficult year for small business hiccups.




:messedup

the problem is the FM3 launch IMO has been a nightmare frim the beginning w parts allocated being sold by their supplier
The Lead engineer Greg leaving the team , mysterious missing air shipment up until the end there has been many unanswered questions

you are also looking at a product that should have had the same cab block and ultra res ,should have had the same performance screens After working on it a year

finally the engineers have been publicy thrown under the bus a few times ..which cant be good for morale
 




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