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Fractal Audio Systems FM9 In-Depth Review: Impressive. Most Impressive.
- Published on Mar 29, 2023 veröffentlicht
- Today in Plague Scythe Studios, it's high time we dug deep into FAS's biggest and (now 2nd) baddest floorboard modeler on the block - the FM9!
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Listen to Siderum: siderum.bandcamp.com/releases
00:00 - DEMO: Ambient "Kitchen Sink" Tone
01:58 - The FM9 Turbo Shakeup
07:38 - Perfectly Balanced, As All Things Should Be
08:34 - The FM9 VS. FM3 VS. AX8 Hardware
13:54 - Why the FM3 Wasn't Enough For Me
21:20 - Navigating the FM9's Layouts
24:23 - FM9's Input / Output Scheme
27:05 - DEMO: 5 Cable Method w/ Slaved Amp Stack & FOH Outputs
28:40 - FM9's Variable Impedence Instrument Input
30:57 - DEMO: Vintage Pedals w/ Variable Input Impedence
32:31 - The Rabbit Hole of Expanded Block Counts
35:14 - DEMO: Instant Pitch Block Channel Switching
36:02 - Dual Amp Blocks & The BEEG Signal Chain Grid
37:18 - DEMO: Pedals into Stereo Vintage "Combo" Amps
39:26 - Scene Switching Dropouts: There's Not an Easy Answer
40:48 - DEMO: Channel Switching Dual Amp & Cab Blocks in Mono & Stereo Scenes
43:34 - DEMO: 8 Rhythm Tones in One Preset w/ Dual Amp & Cab Blocks
47:01 - FM9s are Like Onions
49:15 - DEMO: Double Tracked and Layered Tones w/ Dual Amp & Cab Blocks
51:04 - FM9 is bae
Comments • 92
Gen 3 Fractal stuff and the amount of work Cliff puts into updating it constantly is mind blowing. Nothing else compares to it. So thankful these exist.
120 % agreed! Cliff the mastermind.
good to see a new video ryan .. stay strong and thank you for the content ... we never take it for granted
Best guide to the FM9 anywhere online, the perfect overview! Exactly what I needed to know, amazingly comprehensive. All questions and concerns about everything from switch layout to onboard editing, I/Os and routing options answered brilliantly. Awesome playing in the sound demos and super-creative patches. Thanks so much for putting this together.
I love the Southern Burn so much! What a glorious stereo noise ❤
I just got my FM9 Turbo last week, and what you said about having to kind of rewire your brain to unlearn working around prior limitations is so true. I thought coming from an Axe FX II Mk 2 wouldn't seem as jarring as it has been when jumping up to the FM9. It is overwhelming, but in all the best ways possible. Thank you for your awesome examples of the things that this unit is capable of, and I appreciate your thorough dive into the daunting capabilities of the FM9.
I always wondered how good polyphonic pitch in a AXE FX device is. Any thoughts on AXE FX pitch shifting in general?
Amazing deep-dive! Love your channel!
EDIT: I just remembered! You did the best TC Mimiq demo EVER!!
Dude, I'm definitely in that 95% that would never use the Axe FX III to its full capacity. I'm like Lynyrd Skynyrd...I'm a simple man...lol!
I like how compact the FM9 is without being too small. Seems perfect for the stage, whether playing in a band or even solo gigs. My big question is are the quality of the amps in FM9 the same as the Axe FX III? I've never played through either.
Thanks for the rundown.
All the modeling from FM3, FM9, and AXE 3 should be the exact same minus the update time released like when the fm3 was late to the game regarding updates. Other than that just pure amp sounds they’re the exact same
I think your reviews are the most detailed (in a useful way) reviews I found. A lot of thanks to you.
I have had my FM9 for a couple of weeks now and it is as amazing as you detailed here. Nice summary and great examples.
Good to see you back man
Any chance of a video explaining what the fractal line can do to control midi? I’d love to see a deep dive with a few examples.
My AX8 video on the subject shows a number of examples. I used Cubase to send MIDI to the AX8 to not only change the presets and scenes, but my Amp Gizmo's switches (and by extension, my real Mark IV's channels) as well.
Sounds great. The next gen will have larger scribble strips and maybe a better UI like a QC type touchscreen and more power. What speakers are you using with your FM9? I finally got mine and will use some JBL MKII studio monitors.
Great video buddy. I can’t really thank you enough, because you and Leon Todd gave me the juice I needed to commit myself to getting better at utilizing all that Fractal has to offer. I’ve been using Fractal for 7 years, but about 2 years ago I made huge leaps in tone sculpting thanks to your informative content. I’ve since made the jump to Axe Fx III and I hit the ground running. It all started with my curiosity of trying to mimic the Fortin stuff with my Axe Fx II, and now I feel like there’s nothing in the modern metal world I can’t achieve tone wise; and it’s all within this Fractal ecosystem that I had available to me all along, I just needed that little nudge. Thanks again, and keep it coming 💪🏻
only thing "missing" from the fm9 you could say is the toneprint function which i find useful for making acoustic sim IRs
I jumped on a used Axe FXIII for $1.5k and haven't looked back. This gen is amazing
Fantastic, thank you for taking the time to show us the magic of this unit,just on waiting list here in the UK, again awsome man x
Absolutely love your attitude and rundown. I just got my order invite yesterday for the FM9T and cannot wait to get it.
I was in a waitlist for a year for QC got it and absolutely hated it.
It was all hype and no thanks to Rabea I went through the process and finally got one…
I have been a hardcore fractal guy since I put my Mesa Triple in the closet.
I love the options FAS gives its users and all of the tweakability is musical.
With the QC if you changes any aspect of a capture it fell apart.
It also wasn’t even that intuitive.
The reason I sold
The unit want because I wasn’t willing to wait for them to get it right, it was because of customer support and the Devs…
I asked them why they hired an R&D team to rehash all of their proven tech - they got mad at me for asking and sent me a nasty email. The guy that sent the email was fired when I complained about it but still… you pay 2k$ for a product and it should be loaded with your proven tech. Especially when you’re calling it your flagship modeler - to end all modelers.
Anyways, I love fractal and I love your video. I’m subscribed.
Thanks for putting the time in to make this video
Nobody does this like you, such good content! I mean TBH a lot of times I come for those filthy demos just to here great playing and tones, for real I probably will never own one of either of these. But besides that I end up soaking up so much more just listening to you intelligently talk about the different characteristics, features and what not. I'll be damned if every time I come here to veg out and I end up walking away with a raised IQ and feeling refreshed because of it, LOL. Diggin' it Ryan thanks Man! Take care buddy! :)
This seems overwhelming but also a candy factory for guitar tone 😋
I've been on the FM9 waiting list since August 5th. I am sure I have a long way to go, but I do own a first release Mesa Boogie Mark IV (1990 release) and a custom one-off Red Plate Hand built amp, (Most people never heard of them) so I guess I'll be OK. But, please hurry Fractal Audio!
Great video and super detailed. i enjoyed your Mark IV video also...Well done!
If they could add an EQ match block then I would be straight into this thing.
A very good presentation of this FAS product! It almost makes you want to buy the product…and I have. :) Thanks!
Thanks for posting this, perfect timing as I got mine 2 days ago... turbo version, still in the box!
For my wishlist I want more doom amps available. Sunn, Matamp, Laney, hell more Oranges like the Dual Dark
@Plague Scythe Studios you're a man after my own heart Ryan
A thousand times this. Sprinkle in some genre appropriate pedals like a Blue Box, HM-2, Super Fuzz and my Fractal wishlist is basically complete.
Awesome video Ryan. I am on my 2nd fm9. Sold the last one to fund my Mesa JP2C, except this one is the turbo model. This will be a keeper now I have my jp2c. I will be using this sometimes to switch my jp2c cahnnels via midi. I need to dig deep as far as playing direct with no amp. I may use a standard cab with a solid state power amp. I know its in there, I just need to have a direct to pa tone that does not sound like a blankets on my tone. Any ideas?
I was really happy with my AX8 until I got the FM9. What a great step up!!
I'm happy with my AX8, I'm happy with my AX8, I'm happy with my AX8 (in the fetal position right now)
Didn't get my invite till a week ago for the turbo and its coming tomorrow. Can't wait! And yes I was one of those that felt this pain since I had an album I wanted to record and the fractal was like the only one that really checked all the boxes I wanted haha. So I settled for the fm3 up until this point lol... Also you had me worried for sec with that thumbnail. I was like "Oh no whats wrong with the Turbo?" XD
Unfortunatly it's extremely expensive in Europe, almost twice the price of an FM3 (bought at release, it's a lot more expensive now) and more expensive than my axe-fx ultra that i bought in 2010/11. I'd really like one, especially for the 2 amp option, but i think i'll wait for an updated FM3 turbo or FM4?
The FM9 is fantastic.
took em long enough, but they seemingly nailed it. they got the useability of a helix floor combined with the insane amount of models and settings of the axe3. for my use, i'm sticking with helix cause of the lower cost of entry, and i really appreciate that native exists as a plugin version of my hardware. but i can definitely see the appeal of this thing. it's definitely the most complete package of all the top end modellers.
I bought a Helix first, then got an FM 3 so sold the Helix. Sold the FM3 and bought another Helix. Not that usability is an issue for me but still. The Helix interface kills compared to anything Fractal. There's really no comparison. If the tones were where the were a decade ago in the Line 6 stuff, sure, I'd have stayed with the Fractal but the difference in tone is marginal. Not being bound to a computer based editor and being able to adjust things on the fly, without hands (such as with Helix) or just from the unit's display instead of reaching for the manual every time I had to use the the FM3 interface makes much more sense. I never needed the manual for the Helix until I wanted to find something specific.
@Ronnie Parfait the only thing that's really missing from the helix is a poweramp sim and an engl savage/blackmore model. i own a blackmore, and right this minute i am trying out the brainworx engl savage plugin in a helix native sandwich, and while i'm pretty sure the modelling of the brainworx stuff isn't fundamentally better than the helix stuff the savage is just the perfect amp.
probably gonna buy that plugin, cheaper than getting an axe FX just for the savage model haha.
I’d have to agree with you. I’ve been a Helix user since the release and loved it. I did receive my FM9 over a month ago and love it just as much, but honestly I coulda stayed with the helix and be just as happy (don’t tell my wife). The helix FX mainly the delays are top notch, people gave it such a bad rap from jump mostly because of the crappy presets but after I learned how to dial in my tones it couldn’t be beat. Compared to the FM9 using it live nobody has got there and said “what’s changed your tone is different and sounds so much better”. The Helix is still the number 1 “game changer “. 🤘🏼✌🏼
What a great review, have my fm9 turbo coming next week!
Just got my purchase invite today, and I can't wait to have it in my life rig. Upgrading from AX8.
I guess we can thank Helix for the FM9 UI.
amazing video you did here. this should be pretty much 1st video on fractal website for fm9.
I just got my fractal fm9 Turbo this past Saturday and I'm waiting to open it up on Christmas Day. 😎 Would you believe it's been over a year on the waiting list. 😳
I hope you are well. While I'm on the waitlist for the FM9 I took the time to assemble a 'Southern Burn' preset from your demo at 37:00 on my Axe Fx II. Your videos are some of the most descriptive and thoughtful content in the Fractal realm on YT. ...Plus the licks are gnarly. I appreciate you.
I'm obsessed with my FM9 Turbo. It is my dream guitar device.
yes or no, does this thing sound noticeably better than the AX8, or is it more of feature/effects/etc and some sound improvement?
Thanks for your presence man,.Very interesting soundscape in video, and nice review on FM9,.. I vill look into it and see Keep rocking man Love Cheers💚
Plague Scythe is premium gear content!!!
RE: DEMO: Ambient "Kitchen Sink" Tone
Has anyone made this in the FM3? but would like to know which blocks need to be removed. Cheers!
lol @ Linux comparison...has been my mainstay for yrs. BOSS has been my go- to for multi-fx & modulation....I've been waiting forever for something like this. A killer piece of gear...pretty sure I need one. Cheers from Vancouver Island Ryan
Great video. I'm still on the waiting list. Maybe I can borrow your FM9, you have so many Fractal stuff, amps, etc, that you won't miss it 😂🎸💯. Next video: review of the new PRS stomp boxes.
My first reaction was "WOAH Look at all the things he has on at once.....Why does this ambient track make me want to play SWTOR?"
Lots of good tones to be had. Can't wait until i can afford one
I was going to buy a helix at tax time, but the turbo is going for the same price, and I don't have to buy IRs for the fm9. I wonder how long the wait list is
I'm about a week away form being on the waitlist a year now... Obsessively refreshing my email all day every day until that email from Fractal comes through
Hey mate , I was 1 year and 3 weeks from pre order to delivery. You shouldn't have to much longer to wait. Its worth the wait , trust me. Its awesome.
I love the Intro ambience preset. Have you shared that? Would love to play with that. Cheers.
I will upload all the presets in the video to this folder when I get a chance later tonight or tomorrow.
Ive been on the wait list for about 4 months. I got my order number today from fractal and proceeded with placing my order, now how long until delivery? Should I go ahead and list my AX8 for sale or keep it as a backup. Taxes and shipping the FM9Turbo was just over &1800. Ouch but I could put a dent in that by selling the AX8. I can handle it but have a lot of gear already. Sell AX8 or Keep?
Signed up in the first week of release in Australia. Still waiting!
Maybe a stupid question but - does it have a wifi built in? I'm thinking it would be great if i could use axe edit on my ipad and do quick changes instead of being wired to a laptop all the time.
No Wi-Fi, but this is probably of interest to you:
Very thorough, thanks!
I have the oversized Nolly cab pack… can’t recall what it’s called exactly… could you do a video in the future showing the a/b’s of the cab pack vr your mic’s oversized slant?
I still have the cabs and amp… I just find that when I’m recording DI sounds great.
However, Al that said, I noticed a considerable difference in you A/b comparisons in this video.
@Plague Scythe Studios yeah, lol - after I posted it I thought of some of points… mainly the mic aspect.
There’s a very noticeable difference in the video… I suppose the wonderment for me was, how close can you get to that sound.
I have been using a axe2 for the last few years. Love it. When I uploaded the cab pack, it was really different from the onboard cabs. Certainly more realistic, but harder to record (im a novice home studio guy)
I was pretty blown away. By your mic’s sound. Certainly the best I’ve heard. My own personal taste of course.
I noticed it was a Neumann - never seen one used on a cab before.
I used a M49 (real) in a recording studio for vocals back in 2012 😎 love their stuff…
Loved the video, dood! always appreciate someone who has a real opinion. I find it hard to filter through the minutiae of a lot of these Clip-Sharers.
Seems like so many people are bought by the companies they’re reviewing…
Thanks for getting back to me!
An A/B of my cabinet vs anyone's IR pack will unfortunately not give either of us any really useful information. First of all, the miked tones in the video were in stereo, which has a huge impact on spacial and frequency response perception.
Major runon sentance alert!
Beyond that, I'm
1. using a different and very rare microphone (KAM Crystal, which is a Neuman TLM103 clone) pointed at a different spot on the
2. 70 Watt Mesa spec V30 speakers (and each speaker can sound very different from another of the same model) loaded into
3. This particular cabinet with all of it's imperfections which is
4. Set right next to a bedroom wall that is
5. Being driven by an FRFR Matrix power amp, and
6. Recorded straight into my 6i6 interface without other outboard preamp gear that I know Nolly uses. Way too many variables to tell us much of anything.
ordered mine today, thanks.
Seems about 3 times more powerful than the fm3
@Gods Reclamation same here, in fact for the use i make of it i dont think i will upgrade for a long time. I do like colllecting vintage multiefx so i gyess this one will join it in a couple of decades
I'm still happy with the fm3. Definitely works for my needs especially when I use midi switching for live usage
it is 2400€ in Europe, so my stance on it is "absolutely not". The QC is 1850
it’s a completely unrealistic price. Not even pro musicians will buy this thing. Only youtubers and rich ppl. Often the same person.
Megadeth, a HUGE band, uses the QC.
Fractal is unbeatable when talking about delays and reverbs. Amp sim are cold as hell (I had the Axe 3 for 6 months as a studio tool). Too digitally precise and 2D sounding. Even with external quality Ir's there is no way to make this machine sound alive under the fingers. That is a common problem with those amp modelers (even with profiler too). They sound good at first but once you start to ask for more feeling there's clearly a lack of sensitivity. I tried the Quad Cortex for 2 weeks and same problem here. The only one that is less cold is the Helix. Yes, I know that everyone is thinking "this guy is crazy" but that's what I discovered after a long testing period between digital machines. As I said before Fractal is the king of delays and reverbs. Same quality as expensive plugins. I definitely would buy and Fm9 only to use it as a fx processor. For now tube amps, even if used with attenuators and ir's, are far away from being dead. Digital has its own pros no question here but if you want a certain feeling tubes are still the way to go maybe in hybrid set up with digital fx.
Soo.....if you have the Fractal, why the amps? 🙏😎
To re-phraise, could you live happily with Just the Fractal? I had the ax-8. But could never decide if i was 100% happy 🙏😎.
OMG…Do you mean to tell me that that you can own both an amp and a modeler at the same time. I suppose next you will tell me that you can decide which one to use depending on the needs of the particular project you are working on. Wow…mind blown.
Why not both.gif
What do you think about the new ToneX?
About the three switches.
I think that the fact that FM3 has only 3 switches is actually an advantage over the FM9. Here's why:
The FM3 is the brain piece of a modular system. Need only three switches for a gig? There ya go. Need more? Connect more. You can have as many as you need. I never understood the argument "It only has three switches". You cannot cut the FM9 in half. I love that about the FM3.
Perhaps having it undivisable is slightly simpler and cleaner, if you don't care about saving space sometimes.
Btw, I think the fact that they lost the USB A port is a huge fail.
I know that the USB A does nothing yet, but It has so much potential, like porting presets between units or powering other devices and stuff... Which makes even more sense on the FM9, as it doesn't fit in a backpack!
I see that you have 2 FM9s there
One thing on input the documentation clearly states red does not denote clipping. It is simply signal noise floor. It’s why you want it to “tickle” the red on your hottest guitar when setting input pad or input sensitivity.
How does this unit sound like run in front of a amp. My amp doesn't have a effects loop.
FM9 Turbo is 2300 EUR such a disappointment. I will keep my Line 6 Helix LT and save a lot of money.
Very useful video, thank you so much, very much appreciated. However of some of the guitar parts played during demonstrating what FM9 can do were just terrible to me. Sorry for being honest, surely not my taste.
Didn't expect to hear about mentions of Linux, must resist standard btw phrase
Beeg bass is BEEG
Impressive. Most Impressive is YES or maybe but TOO EXPENSIVE is absolutely🤣
These retail for 2400 Eur in Europe.. just sayin....
That's the price including VAT and shipping. I'm sure there are import duties being passed on to the buyer as well. The List price in the US is before tax...but you still have to pay tax depending on which state you live in. Granted it's typically >10% compared to ~20% in Europe but it is not as big a difference as it seems on its face. Some internet sellers don't charge that tax, but I think that loophole is closing; not certain. In any case you're supposed to have a tax burden on top in most states. I just put in a fake order for NY state on an FX3 and it then adds shipping and state tax: Shipping $39.70, Tax $187.18.
TL;DR: it's cheaper in the states but not as much as you think.
@Tomas Obester hej ked si pozries g66 tak cena je uplne zavratna. V US to ide za 1600 USD a u nas pomaly 2400e. A cakas rok jak chuj kvoli wait listu. Ja som sa prihlasil minuly rok a v auguste mi dosiel email ze mozem objednat a ked som videl cenu tak som si povedal ze ostanem pri svojom kemperi.
whaaat ? to vazne ? za to som kupil fx3 mk2 + fc12 a 2x fractal expression pedal, vsetko s obalmi a kablami 😀