Fractal Audio has unveiled FM3, an amp modeller and multi-effects processor unit. This compact device is informed by the brand’s acclaimed Axe-Fx III rack, boasting a wide selection of amp emulations, speaker cab IRs and effects algorithms. Here are the details:
Layout and controls
FM3’s layout borrows from the Axe-Fx III. Onboard, you’ll find the same full-colour LCD display and familiar front panel controls. The unit’s main controls, however, are three footswitches – each with variable LED rings – that can be assigned to different tasks in each of the eight different switch layouts.
Amp modelling and cab sims
At the core of FM3 is Ares Amp Modelling, a technology extracted from Fractal Audio’s Axe-Fx III. Ares is touted to capture the sonic subtleties of real tube amps, and this is applied to FM3’s 265+ amp models.
The amp models serve up different clean and edge-of-breakup tone options, as well as “everything from warm, touch-sensitive overdrive to face-melting modern distortion”, according to the brand.
FM3 also ports over Axe-Fx III’s entire speaker cab impulse response (IR) library, which comprises more than 2,200 factory options and over 2,000 user-storage locations.
Effects and presets
On the effects front, FM3 comes with a bevy of algorithms, including drive pedals, delays, reverbs, compressors, EQ, modulation effects and even a looper.
Presets on the device – much like other Fractal processors – are formulated from blocks on a 4×12 grid. There are eight “scenes” allocated to each preset, which can “engage or bypass effects, switch effect channels, adjust levels and more”, according to the brand.
To supply enough power to its various functions, FM3 relies on a three-core Griffin DSP with one ARM and two SHARC+ cores. FM3 also features a dedicated graphics processor, which takes the load off the DSP, allowing it to focus solely on audio tasks.
FM3 is also designed to work with other Fractal Audio products. With a FASLINK II port, you can connect the processor to a maximum of two Fractal Audio FC-12 or FC-6 foot controllers.
There’s also an intriguing Modifier system, which provides you with real-time sound changes when manipulating the device with the onboard/remote controllers, switches or expression pedals.
Lastly, FM3 comes with a wide range of rear connections, listed below:
- Low-noise instrument input
- XLR stereo main output
- Two additional stereo I/Os
- Headphone and SPDIF outputs
- 4×4 USB Audio
- Two onboard switch/pedal jacks
- MIDI In & Out/Thru
Lists at $1,399 ($999 direct price). Availability TBA. More info at fractalaudio.com.