Sounded and felt great straight out of the box. I was a bit skeptical with it only having three switches but after a few minutes reading the manual and then a more few minutes experimenting, I found it to be really functional and clever. Best equipment purchase I've made.
Fractal Audio FM3Add to Wishlist
The new FM3 Amp Modeler/Multi-FX is a compact floor unit from Fractal Audio Systems. It features the company’s newest generation of amp modelling, speaker simulation, and effects processor technologies, all with the extreme sonic performance, features, and flexibility that guitarists have come to expectfrom Fractal Audio. The FM3 is powered by a 3-Core “Griffin” DSP with one ARM and two SHARC+ cores providing superior power in a compact format. A dedicated graphics processor allows the main DSPs to be focused on critical audio tasks.
The FM3 is housed in a durable steel chassis with protective endcaps. It features the same full-color display and familiar, easy-to-use front panel controls found on Fractal Audio’s flagship Axe-Fx III. Three onboard footswitches – each with vari-color LED ring and mini LCD display — provide both tap and hold functions, which can be customized to do different things on eight different switch “layouts”. In addition, a FASLINK II port allows the FM3 to be connected with up to two Fractal AudioFC-12 or FC-6 foot controllers, providing an exciting array of extended control options.
The FM3 features ARES Amp Modeling—the latest technology developed by Fractal Audio for the award-winning Axe-Fx III. ARES captures the subtle sonic characteristics of real tube amps, with 265+ models offering an impressive range of clean tones, elusive “edge of breakup”, and everything from warm, touch-sensitive overdrive to face-melting modern distortion. The FM3 also includes the entire speaker cab impulse response (“IR”) collection from the Axe-Fx III, with a stunning 2,200+ “Factory” choices and 2000+ “User” locations to store custom sounds from free or commercial packages. As a multi-effects unit, the FM3 includes a superb selection of Fractal Audio’s state-of-the-art effect algorithms: dazzling drive pedals, dozensof delays, reverbs, compressors, EQs, modulation effects, a looper, and more.
Like other Fractal Audio processors, the FM3 uses “Presets” built from “Blocks” on a “Grid” (4x12). Eight “Scenes” per preset can engage or bypass effects, switch effect “Channels”, adjust levels, and more. Fractal Audio’s flexible “Modifier” systemenables easy real-time sound changes with onboard or remote controllers, switches or expression pedals. A precision full-screen tuner, two global equalizers, and a convenient Tap Tempo function are also built-in.
The rear panel of the FM3 offers an instrument input with Fractal Audio’s proprietary low-noise analog circuitry, plus stereomain outputs, a headphone output, MIDI In and Out/Thru, and a 48kHz SPDIF out. A second stereo pair of TRS Inputs and 1⁄4′′ Humbuster outputs can be used as a stereo effects loop, or for auxiliary purposes, such as sending one signal with speaker simulation to a PA, while a second signal without speaker sims feeds a power amp and guitar speakers on stage. 4×4 USB audio rounds out the I/O capabilities of this pint-sized powerhouse.
FM3-EDIT, a full-featured software editor, is included free. The FM3 is also fully compatible with Fractal-Bot for preset sharing, easy backup and restore, plus firmware updates in the tradition of continual improvement that has become ahallmark of Fractal Audio Systems.
Above all, the FM3 was designed “by musicians for musicians” to deliver Fractal Audio’s uncompromising signature sound quality and rugged reliability in a compact, convenient, grab-and-go format that musicians are sure to appreciate and enjoy.
FM3 is a compact floor unit with three onboard switches.
Uncompromising sound quality and road-worthy reliability.
Easy-to-use front panel interface, plus free FM3 Edit software.
Features ARES Amp Modeling developed for the Axe-Fx III.
Hundreds of accurate models with real tube amp sound and feel.
2200+ Ultra-ResTM factory cabs and 2000+ user cab slots
- Impressive multi-effects capability based on Axe-Fx III.
- 3-Core “Griffin” Processor plus dedicated GPU.
- FASLINK II allows adding up to two FC-12/FC-6 controllers.
- Ultra-low noise instrument input plus XLR stereo main outputs
- Additional Stereo I/O Pair, plus headphone & SPDIF outputs.
- 4x4 USB Audio, 2 onboard switch/pedal jacks, MIDI In & Out/Thru
The FM3 is a pretty great unit. However, there are some flaws that make it practically unusable as a live rig. -Switching scenes has latency, no matter which of the various googled fixes i employ. -The hold functions merely being enabled add even more latency. -Having different amps on different scenes/channels adds latency. The Axe III fix for this is to have 2 amps loaded and one bypassed on either channel, but the FM3 can only load a single amp. -Even with fixes for all the above in place, the latency is very noticeable. So, i can't use hold functions on left/right switches to bank presets, i can't have the center switch hold for tuner either, and still have latency. -Colour rings can't be changed for different active scenes/FX, and they turn off when you have the switch set to toggle and it's unselected. There's a few other things that annoy me, but not as much. Like, FM3 edit is slow and clunky and often s^$*'s itself, you're limited to a 2 channel third party pedal switch, finding the right screws to mount the unit to a board was very tedious. Would i buy it again? I'm not sure. It cost a small fortune and i didn't expect to have issues like this. Given my time again, I'd probably look a seriously at competitors, but I'm not sure if Neural and Line 6 have the same issues, or a completely different set of problems. I am pretty disappointed in Fractal. I expected much more for the money. I can only hold out hope that Fractal get their act together and fix these issues/features in a future firmware update. Independent offered some pretty good service. Even with the chaos involved in ordering the unit, they were super helpful and postage was only a few days to Canberra. Also, capture doesn't work on mobile devices (S8) when trying to post this review. I had to use a desktop.
This is all I need for live setup and home recording and will replace my old setup. Great modeller awesome effects. Furthermore, it is an audio interface. Compared to Neural DSPs QC, the power section is way more professional. After testing their flagship plugin Nolly, I believe fractal creates more realistic sounds. 3 buttons are more than enough because hold press functionality is designed smartly.
FM3 is an unbelievable piece of gear in an easy and convenient size. With the various channel and scene options this has more than enough power.
This beautiful little pedal has freed up so much space on my pedalboard & studio. My back is grateful that I don't need to lug a monstrous tube amp around, & my ears are in sonic heaven thanks to the exquisite sounds I can chop, chain & change around. It's making me a better musician & player, & is making creating demos such a breeze! I can't talk more highly of this brilliant pedal.
Let's get it on the table up front. I have been a tube amp Nazi for a long time and still am to some degree. I previously owned the AX8. Great unit but I ended up switching back to an analog pedal board with switcher because I felt the Drive blocks weren't quite there (everything else was great). So I wasn't convince the FM3 would be a big step up and I was also dubious about the FM3 only having 3 switches. How wrong was I. Right out of the blocks I could immediately tell the FM3 default sounds, in particular the Drive and Amp sims, are a major improvement on the AX8. As for the footswitches, three is all you need to go straight out and play a gig. This is because each switch can have 3 states (Toggle A, Toggle B, Hold) and each of these states can be assigned to any Scene, Function or Utility in the FM3. This is not the case in the AX8. Believe me, it's different. The only thing I've done is attach a small external Rolland unlatched switch for tap tempo/tuner switch. I could easily get away without it but it frees up yet another three more switch options which I may not even use. Finally, here's how I'm going to use the FM3 for live work (if this pandemic every ends): Guitar > FM3 > Comp > Phaser > Drive 1 > Drive 2 > Modulation Effects > Delay > Split Signal chain just before Amp block Signal chain 1 > Send 2 > Clean Combo Tube Amp on stage. Signal chain 2 > Clean Amp Block > Cab Block > Reverb > Output 1 > Mixer > FOH/In Ears Monitors Why am I using a combo tube amp on stage you ask? Simply because if I'm not using in-ears, I prefer the sound of an open back cabinet on stage and so do my band mates who get the wash from the rear of the cabinet. Why not simply mic the combo you ask? Because there's extra setup and tweaking of EQ's with a mic and running a line straight from the FM3 gives me a consistent in-ear and FOH sound. I'm am toying with the idea of still adding my favourite gain pedals in front of the FM3 and controlling them with a MIDI analog switcher such as the MorningStar ML5 but that can wait until later. Buy a FM3. If nothing else, they are a ton of fun but I feel they are an amazing unit.
FM3 is Absolutely awesome, i'm loving it. Independent music are great to deal with, very helpful.
I received my FM3 and FC-6 from Independent Music three days ago and this is my first experience with Fractal so still a ‘babe in the woods’ but am very impressed. Nice stock presets and easy to dial in the tones I am after. The quality of the sound is a significant step up from my previous modeller which was good but not great. The OMG9 layout is excellent and while it took a couple of goes to load it up it is intuitive and highly flexible.