FM3 is Fractal Audio’s latest product based on its Fractal Axe-Fx III system, this time in a compact pedal format that reminds you of Line 6’s Helix range…
The FM3 is based around a 3-Core “Griffin” DSP with one ARM an two SHARC+ cores. It’s the same engine as the company’s flagship Axe-FX III rack system, with the same colour display and front-panel controls as the rack.
Unlike the Line 6 Helix, the FM3 only has three onboard footswitches with variable-colour LED rings and mini LCD displays, so not quite as many as the Helix range. What you do get, though, is the Axe-Fx III ARES amp modelling with 265+ models, plus the entire library of 2,200+ speaker cab impulse responses and a further 2,000+ user locations! All that goes makes for a pretty serious piece of kit for players looking for a portable virtual guitar rig.
The FM3 includes drives, delays, reverbs, compressors, EQs and modulation plus an onboard looper. Presets are built from blocks on a 4×12 grid. Eight scenes per preset let you engage or bypass your chosen effects, switch the effect channels and also adjust your levels and so on.
On the I/O side, the FM3 has an input, stereo outputs, headphone out, MIDI in/out/thru and 48kHz SPDIF out. There are also stereo TRS inputs, a ground lift switch and Humbuster (low noise) output. A 4×4 USB audio interface is built in, too.
If you want one, the annoying thing is you need to join the waiting list, via firstname.lastname@example.org. So while the features sound enticing, the FM3 is not as accessible as the Line 6 products it is up against. Will this be an issue for potential buyers? The price is a more expensive than the Line 6 equivalents, too.
Of course, the proof will be in the sound quality and ease of use. Fractal Audio already has a pretty decent track record in both those areas. One to watch.
RRP – USD 1399 or USD 999 when ordered direct