NGD: Fractal FM3

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by Deadpool_25, Apr 15, 2020.

  1. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Get the axe fx iii then. If you find you want to downsize later, that's money back in instead of extra money out.
     
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  2. MatrixClaw

    MatrixClaw Whoaaa No Way!!!

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    Can confirm and I'm not even a tweaker. I sold my Trem-O-Verb in favor of the FM3. It was so close there was no point in having both, but the FM3 is far more tweakable to get the ideal sounds out of it. I've owned 7s for years but never really been happy with any tone I've gotten out of them, I always go back to 6s for tightness - the FM3 is the only "amp" I've ever been satisfied with on a 7 string (and it sounds great with a 6, as well!).
     
  3. Kyle Jordan

    Kyle Jordan Ace of Knaves

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    I just went through nearly the exact debate under very similar circumstances.

    I chose the III.

    Money being no object, unless you hate rack units or just badly want the pedal form factor, the III is the clear winner in my eyes. Not so much for the extra raw power, but for specific things like more cabs per patch, dual amps, and the higher DSP reverbs.

    The four cab spots is the biggie for me. My long held position is that the speaker cab section is where digital needs to work on. It was the Achilles’ Heel of all the other digital amp things I tried. Because of the number of cabs, tweakability, and general quality, I don’t feel that about the III. Granted, you can mix IRs elsewhere and send them to the FM3’s cab blocks for a similar idea. I just like having more available.
     
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  4. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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    Starting work on a new pedalboard setup for the FM3 and FC6.

    21D5A671-579E-425F-8E88-9209D48192B9.jpeg

    Faaaar from done with this. The pic is just a super preliminary layout before the real work begins.
     
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  5. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    I like the skins. Makes me think of the retro tech in Alien movies.
     
  6. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    While I agree that the cab section is the next avenue for improvement, just piling on more IRs is not it. I can use ML Sound Lab MIKKO to mix together up to 9 different cab/mic combinations with lots of controls for each and IMO it does not improve significantly going beyond 2. So to me the FM3 cab block is more than sufficient, especially with all the other controls it offers like getting a bit of sweetening from a preamp, proximity effect etc.

    The cab block on the Quad Cortex with its two movable mic position/distance is much more intuitive to work with but Fractal will probably never make that sort of thing in current gen since it would require overhauling their whole IR system plus all the work to capture the IRs to blend in the first place.
     
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  7. Kyle Jordan

    Kyle Jordan Ace of Knaves

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    And for me, I'm kind of the opposite.:lol: I cut my teeth with Wall Of Sound, and didn't start getting results I liked until I began using 4 or so cabs/IRs together. I've carried that over to the III and am very happy with what I can get combined with the other great Cab block options.

    But yeah, the next step will definitely have to be something more than just a mess of IRs as we can do that now. I'd like to give the Ox a whirl sometime as that's supposed to be more than IRs, but I have no idea if that's true.

    And I really hope Fractal has something brewing for the IV and it's interface/interaction. I don't have a major issue with using the III itself and I really like Axe Edit, but just looking at demos of the QC really shows how well Neural did at the interface and what can be done.
     
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  8. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    For sure. Even for the Axe-Fx 3/FM3 they could improve a lot of little things to make it much better to use. "go back to previous block" feature would be a huge improvement as I really hate the "spam Edit to cycle blocks" thing.
     
  9. Elric

    Elric SS.org Regular

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    Yeah. The rack Axes will make you feel like you have unlimited tonal power. It literally feels like you can cop any tone you have in your head. It is super addictive and can make other rigs feel really limited once you get used to it. Some people seem haunted by unused horsepower or something but I'd rather never bump my head against the limits of a rig.

    The II is like that too, TBH. I know it is like super sexy to have a III or FM3. I do have a III, but have been playing my II more lately because I have a Synergy Syn-2+Axe II setup I built after getting the III. That rig is freaking insane. My biggest fear for that setup is that one day either the PSU/Screen/Data wheel will go on the II or an OS update will come out killing Axe-Edit and rendering all of my presets on the II uneditable. :lol:

    If the Axe IV drops and I get the itch to follow along, I would be in a quandary because that 3U thing on the III is so unwieldy... I'd be looking at a rack case upgrade if I decided to move the III into the II's spot.

    Anyway, if you can tolerate the form factor, the rack stuff is amazeballs.
     
  10. RevDrucifer

    RevDrucifer SS.org Regular

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    I think we’re still a few years away from an AxeFX IV. With the III MKII expanding it’s memory, it seems they’re more interested in developing the III for a few more years to come.

    Unless they wanted to directly attack the UI stuff in the form of a new unit, I’m hard pressed to see how they can advance the III on any other front, especially in the context of the modeling/sounds. I got mine a year and a half ago and I would have been happy with it then if it never got updated again (well, after the pitch block update).

    Given Fractal’s history with UI stuff, I’m not so sure they’d be willing to create a whole new flagship with the current modeling but a new fancy UI.

    That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if a floor unit bridging the gap between the FM3 and the III came out, like an FM9 or FM12, before a new flagship.
     
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  11. RevDrucifer

    RevDrucifer SS.org Regular

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    This sums up why I love my III so much. Those exact things; fine tuning an tone to get exactly what you want out of it without compromising.

    Sure, there’s a learning curve with all the parameters, but I always find it so odd when people complain about that. Building a ‘perfect’ physical rig is a long learning curve just the same, except usually more expensive one and it lasts a lot longer. You’ve gotta take the time to figure out what you want, buy it all, learn how to use it, find out what works and what doesn’t, buy more shit, learn that shit, rinse and repeat until you’re finally at your final rig. Or you can spend a couple weeks with a unit that has everything in it, learn how to use it to it’s fullest capacity and be done with it forever.
     
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  12. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Yet this is the only time I see this complaint, in your posts :lol:. Not saying it wouldnt help, just saying it seems pretty isolated.

    Also wuddup 16.01 on the iii
     
  13. Kyle Jordan

    Kyle Jordan Ace of Knaves

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    The most major shift I’ve found so far is that I’m becoming more amp/model agnostic using the III. I’m hunting more for character and traits as opposed to names, because I can modify from the ground floor to tweak little thing more to my liking. For example distortion character wise, I have fallen head over heels for the Triptik and Tucana models. Those are starting to creep towards my top spots.

    There’s a kind of cool creative process here. Rather than “I want a Mark series w/V30 IR that uses a more neutral mic…” I’m thinking “What gets me a very sharp distortion that’s still pretty saturated and not crunchy or too colored after the amp?” That’s really opened up a lot of options for me.

    I had already moved away from wanting to buy some of the amps I had planned on eventually getting. I’m really starting to heavily look at things that give me the ability to very accurately control the distortion like the the Fryette GP/DI with both gain controls on the Ultra Lead setting, the Source Audio Ultra Wave, Gamechanger Plasma stuff, and even Reaxis because as awesome as the Triaxis stuff in the Axe is, Reaxis faithfully recreates the Tri and the ability to use Lead Drive 1 and 2 together. (Both are active and affect the signal on the Tri, the Axe doesn’t recreate this sadly.) Things like this are getting my attention now. Hell, I even find myself playing with the Drives and I fucking hate boosts.

    I may even bide my time and poach a UA Ox in the future to see if they’re genuinely doing something different there before I delve in to cabs, speakers, and mics.
     
  14. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    A lot of people including me just deal with whatever quirks they have with a device. If you do all your editing from Axe-Edit then you will never see most of the problems. That doesn't mean they should not be presented to the developer as a point of improvement (which I have) or discussed.

    There's a lot of other stuff in the Fractal UI design that don't work well or are inconsistent, the "go back to previous block" is just one thing that comes up all the time if you edit on the hardware.

    By comparison going back to previous block on Helix and QC is a total no brainer because the grid is always visible. QC cab and parametric EQ blocks are the only exceptions but even then you can always go back to the grid with one press whereas FM3 will let you go to edit view from multiple places and Exit takes you back to whatever you were in previously, which at least for me is 99% of the time the home view rather than the layout grid.

    Not having a dedicated button for the grid is another problem of the Fractal hardware UI, requiring a Home - Enter press every time. Then Enter opens a menu item in every other situation except layout grid which is another inconsistency. If I were to redesign this, Enter would edit a block and you would use the move block etc view to connect blocks together.

    "It's just a couple of buttons" or "you just have to use Edit button instead" is a poor excuse for having a bad setup for operations you do all the time. Those should be fast, efficient and not require an extra mental step to pick the right button. Sure, you can learn to live with them but why should you have to when the company could just make these things better, with pretty low development effort too?
     
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  15. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Dont you think it would already be implemented if it was that easy?
     
  16. narad

    narad Progressive metal and politics

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    How did you make your FM3 not look stupid?
     
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  17. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    Actually no. Fractal has been historically pretty bad at improving the UI behavior. Modeling updates, new models, new features for the amp modeling come in all the time but most of the existing UI does not change one bit until Fractal releases a new product. This based on nearly 10 years of using their products.

    It's not even the lack of people asking, you can look at the wish list threads on their forums and as you trawl through the piles and piles of "add model of thing X!" posts you will see plenty of sensible feature requests that have a development effort of about a day or two (coding and testing). While I don't have delusions that Fractal should implement mine specifically, there's definitely many things that would just make sense and improve the overall experience.

    I have no idea why they choose to ignore this stuff. One of the big ones right now is people asking for a Home view that is easier to read with the device on the floor. Makes perfect sense no matter how good your vision is. The effort do this would be low as it's literally "increase the font size of Home view" as a first level response and improve it further from there.

    My complaints about the UI stuff comes from a place of love. I love how Fractal units sound, I love all the features they have. I love Axe-Edit/FM3-Edit. I just really, really hate how they just don't put this kind of effort into competing on the UI front when relatively small effort would make a big difference. That's what's driving me towards Helix or QC.
     
  18. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    I suspect i'll see the i/o matrix wish before I see granular delay or the "simple delay", but at the same time Im grateful to get what we get. If the day comes that I need something else, I'll buy something else.
     
  19. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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    Skin and protection from Gear By Ceba.
     
  20. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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    Generally speaking, I’m kinda with @laxu on this one. Fractal products sound amazing and have a ton of great models. Although there are a few models I’d love to see added (Klon, Two Rock Traditional Clean, Dumble SSS or Two Rock SSS), and what I want the most is a full-power floor unit, I think the area that could use the most improvement is the UI.

    Their last major change in terms of UI was going from the AxeFX II to the AxeFX III and while it’s better and it’s not exactly bad to work with, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

    The Fractal modelers are great in all the important ways except for UI. The UI is merely “okay.”
     
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