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(FAKE) FM9 - The "real" AX8 replacement or the FM3?

Will you (or did you) buy...

  • Total voters

Axe Grinder


My fake photo-shopped prototype only!

Sorry, I was bored... But I can see a unit like this in the works, although maybe not soon. FM3 and Axe III are both genius, but not exactly what I am looking for. Key (hypothetical ;)) characteristics:
  • FC-12 Chassis (One with prototype handles was seen & mentioned in the past.)
  • Around 2X the price of the FM3, with potentially better margins for Fractal vs. FM3+FC6
  • From 2X to 4X (@Axe III?) the power of the FM3, 2X would be enough for dual AMP blocks
  • Better than FM3+FC6 modular, b/c the bigger chassis can cool the more powerful DSPs
  • FC-12 Dimensions are 20.2″ x 9.2″ x 3.5″. Big for some, but not for me. C'mon, you can handle it... :D
  • I really think this unit could INCREASE overall Fractal market share vs. just cannibalize FM3/Axe III sales. There is a sweet spot for many, MANY AX8 owners looking for an upgrade that is not quite exactly served by the other 2 units and would also pull many people from Helix, etc.
What are your thoughts, or what key characteristics did I fail to mention?
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How does it handle the heat from more processor power?
That heat is a biggie. Three to four times the power means, to a first approximation, three to four times as much heat to dissipate, and you've only doubled the surface area. We already know that heat is a limiting factor on processor power for the FM-3, and now we have the added complexity of distributing that heat evenly in a case that's twice as long.

There's also the issue of physical impact. Your design has the user stomping at the same level as — and only two inches away from — controls that weren't meant to be foot-operated. Placing a "roll bar" there would impede the user's approach from the left.

I like your idea in concept, but there are concrete reasons why Fractal didn't do dat.

Axe Grinder

How does it handle the heat from more processor power?
Well... :rolleyes: The bigger FC-12 chassis will surely dissipate more heat than the tiny FC-6 (FM3) chassis, but just how much I don't know. I have heard the Axe III has a fan, do you have one handy to confirm that? Even so, a fan and chassis vent opening on the dirty floor is a no-no.

If a unit like this comes out soon :), maybe it will add just enough DSP horsepower for 2 AMP blocks, which is enough for me. If this unit comes out later, say a year from now :(, then there may be better chip tech that could run cooler if it's necessary. Don't forget Moore's law - 2X smaller, cooler DSPs possible every 2 years.

Axe Grinder

There's also the issue of physical impact. Your design has the user stomping at the same level as — and only two inches away from — controls that weren't meant to be foot-operated. Placing a "roll bar" there would impede the user's approach from the left.
Rex - You bring up a major point. There would definitely have to be some type of barrier between the finger buttons and top row of foot switches, the roll bar could be tricky but maybe that or something else could work.

As for the additional DSP power and resulting heat, even a modest bump from the FM3 (=AX8) would be enough for me. Maybe at least get something that matched or slightly bested the technology of the 8-year-old Axe FX II? It doesn't seem like too much to ask, but then again I wouldn't be the one doing all the design work!

I don't own an AX8, but I would imagine that releasing a sequel to match the power of the Fx II would be enough to make most AX8 owners (interested in upgrading) fall out of their chair and pull out their wallet...

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I'm in...I don't have an AX8 (Axe-Fx2 owner) but frankly I though FAS would release something like that. I hoped for an AX9? Then the FM3 was released. Not for me unfortunately. Not going back tap-dancing. Been there done that.


Forum Addict
An FM9 will never happen, you've already got this layout with an FM3 and FC6. Remove 3 of those buttons (from your mock up) to make an FM6 and have full AxeFxIII capability and I'm in. With the ability to have up to 4 stand-in switches that would make 10 switches total. Hell while you're at it give me a guitar wireless unit in there too! One that can charge the transmitter. In the meantime I'm happy with an AxerFxIII and FC-12 thank you.
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Forum Addict
Apart from processing power (Which is likely impossible), why buy this if you can buy a FM3 and a FC6? I don't get it. Not only is that cheaper, but you essentially also get both, the small version (FM3) and the big version (FM9), that you can choose depending on the specific gig.

Btw, that FC6 screen is useless on the FM9. Just sayin.
I'd put AX8 like amp controls there ;)


New here
I'm on the Australian waitlist for the FM3. I think it'll be perfect for me as it is. I currently have a 5153 and really only use a couple of tones. I'm keen on the FM3 because it will open up the opportunity to play realistic models of Mesas, Friedmans, Marshalls, Oranges, Engls and Diesels. The ability to play all these amps and with various cabs is all I need. Overdrives and various EQ options are a handy bonus and all the delays and reverbs and assorted other effects are novelties that I'll probably toy with every now and then. I'd imagine I'm square in the middle of the target demographic.


Really you could get three more switches up where the FC LCD screen is so it could pretty easily be an FM12. If it had enough DSP to get two reverbs and two amps I would be on board.
That being said, I think the FM3 makes more sense for more people. Most people dont need that much power or that many switches for that much money.

Randall d

Fractal is going modular, so what I want is a small FC with less switches to integrate with the FM3. I will probably end up getting a third-party switch to add to the FM3 if I decide to pick one up, but I do get where you are coming from in respect to the larger chassis making room for the heat of more processing power; so there is that.
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