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FM3 FAQ

hippietim

Fractal Fanatic
Where can I find the FM3 Owner’s Manual, Fractal Audio Blocks Guide, and Fractal Audio Footswitch Functions Guide?
https://www.fractalaudio.com/fm3-downloads/

Can the FM3 load presets from the Axe-Fx III?
Yes. Using FM3-Edit, you can load Axe-Fx III presets on the FM3. Recognize that the FM3 has a lower CPU limit, so large presets will need to be edited before they will run on the FM3. Also, the FM3 has a slightly smaller grid size of 12x4.

Can the Axe-Fx III load presets from the FM3?
Yes, the Axe-Fx III can open FM3 presets directly with no known issues.

How many Amps, Cabs, etc. can I have in each FM3 preset?
The FM3 works on the same flexible grid architecture as our other products. The “inventory” for each preset includes one Amp Block and one Cab Block, plus a very large inventory of Effects and other blocks. (See the Fractal Audio Blocks Guide for details.) Also, keep in mind that the Amp and Cab Blocks each have 4 channels per-preset, and that the Cab Block can load up to two cabs per channel.

How many blocks can I have in a preset?
It really depends on the blocks you select. Some, like Volume and Filter, have a low demand on CPU resources whereas others, like Amp and Reverb, have a high demand on CPU resources. There are many factory presets that have over a dozen blocks. The manual includes tips to conserve CPU.

Are the Amp block controls in the FM3 the same as the Axe-Fx III?
Yes with just a few minor differences, the FM3 has all of the parameters of the Axe-Fx III (Built in “bias trem” was removed to conserve CPU, but bias trem can be added with the Tremolo block if you need it.)

Can I run the Reverb block at high quality?
Yes! It takes more CPU resources than Normal mode, however, and the latter sounds excellent while still conserving CPU.

Can the FM3 do tone matching or IR capture?
No, Tone Matching and IR capture are limited to the flagship Axe-Fx III. However, if you own an Axe-Fx III, you can export your tone matches and IRs as USER CAB data, which can easily be loaded in the FM3.

The FM3 only has 3 foot switches. What can they do? Is that enough?
The Footswitches use the same system as the FC controllers, which makes it extremely flexible. Each switch has a separate Tap function and Hold function, and you can assign any switch to anything from a long list of options. Then, all of this is multiplied by the “FOOTSWITCH LAYOUTS” feature. A layout is like a “preset” for up to 12 switches, and there are eight layouts plus one “master layout menu”. So that’s 108x2=216 different switch functions you can choose from on one FM3! Next, the VIEWS feature makes the FM3 like a virtual FC12. You can change to up to four different views for different switch functions without even changing the layout! Then any footswitch can also be overridden on a per-preset basis for special circumstances. And don’t forget that the FM3 supports connecting one or two FC6 or FC12 foot controllers as well.

What about expression pedals and external switches?
The FM3 has two pedal inputs. Each one can host your choice of either one expression pedal or up to two footswitches. You can also connect up to two FC controllers, and each of those allows another four expression pedals AND four external switches.

I want to use a real cabinet on stage but I want to go direct into the PA, does the FM3 support this?
Yes. You can do this by utilizing the separate outputs on the FM3. Section 4 of the Owner’s Manual covers many different setup options.

Can the FM3 connect to a tube amp via the 4 cable method? Does it have relays for switching an amp?
The FM3 Owner’s Manual SETUP section provides a step-by-step guide on how to do this. The unit does not have onboard relays but it can transmit MIDI messages to a 3rd party amp or relay switcher.

The main outs are XLR but I need to connect to 1/4" inputs. What should I do?
The easiest solution here is an adapter or a cable that goes from XLR to 1/4". If you don’t have this, however, there’s another option. Out 2 has 1/4" jacks, and in the SETUP:I/O menu, you can set Out 2 to copy Out 1.

Does the FM3 have performance screens like the Axe-Fx III?
Not at launch, but these might be added via a firmware update.

Can I record directly to my computer via USB?
The FM3 is a 4x4 USB audio interface for audio playback and recording. You can reamp via USB as well. See Section 3 of the Owner’s Manual for details.

What does it mean that the FM3 loads UltraRes IRs in a truncated format?
The FM3 will load UltraRes IRs (rather than rejecting them) but these are loaded in a truncated format equivalent to standard resolution IRs. UltraRes processing is not applied. Full support for UltraRes IRs might be added via a firmware update.

In FM3-Edit, how can I tell what text will fit in the footswitch Mini-Displays while I am editing scene or preset names?
Click the 10!!! This handy button shows you what portion of the text will be visible in the mini-displays.

How is the FM3 different from the AX8?
There are MAJOR differences here. The amp modeling is vastly improved, reflecting years of R&D that went into the Axe-Fx III. The Cab block has many new features as well. The blocks library is expanded, with more blocks and more options inside those blocks. All new effects like Optical Compressor, Shimmer Verb, 8-Plex, Quad Pitch (and many more) were not available on the previous generation of Fractal Audio products. The onboard foot controller uses the new “FC” paradigm, adding features and flexibility that the AX8 could not offer, plus the option to expand with additional FC Controllers. The new front panel interface is vastly improved, with all of the controls of an Axe-Fx III. The next-gen editor also takes advantage of the new “client server” model to offer seamless synchronization, 4k/5k monitor compatibility, and much more. As of this writing (Jan 2020) the FM3 is also at the beginning in terms of firmware updates and will see further updates and improvements.

Is the FM3 a USB MIDI device?
USB provides the FM3 with 4×4 USB audio capabilities when connected to a compatible Mac or PC for use with FM3-Edit, Fractal-Bot, a DAW or other audio applications. Note that the FM3 is NOT a USB MIDI Device. It uses “COMM over USB” channels for Fractal-Bot and FM3-Edit, but will not appear as a MIDI device in a DAW or other MIDI program. See Section 3: USB in the Owner's Manual for more about USB.

Do I need to use a buffer with the FM3?
The FM3 has a high quality buffer already so there’s no need for a buffer. FM3 Input 1 features Fractal’s “Secret Sauce IV” circuitry like the Axe-Fx III so it has a very low noise floor.

How do I play along with songs and backing tracks?
It’s easy! You can connect your iOS, Android, PC, or Mac via USB and play through the FM3 audio device. Note that you may want to go to SETUP:I/O : USB and turn down the level initially for USB 1/2.

What’s the USB-A connector for?
The USB A port of the FM3 currently has no function.

Does the FM3 support a 3rd MIDI controller similar to the Axe-Fx III?
Yes, it does support the same “Third Party MIDI Spec” with a different device ID (11h versus 10h). So, for instance, the SET/GET BYPASS command looks like "F0 00 01 74 10 0A id id dd cs F7" on the Axe-Fx III and "F0 00 01 74 11 0A id id dd cs F7" on the FM3.

What is a "First-Run" unit and why does it have no headphones jack?
Units from the first production run of FM3 have no headphones jack or circuitry. These units are functionally identical in every other way to later production units with a headphones jack (expected April, 2020). To reduce the wait for the many customers who don't care about this feature, we decided to offer these units at a reduced price rather than partially scrapping them.

What about Europe and the rest of the world?
As they did with the Axe-Fx II, AX8 and Axe-Fx III, Fractal Audio Systems will ship some quantity of units domestically in the USA and Canada before sending any units to its dealers in other countries. The details of this are communicated to the dealers and they can keep you up to date about when you can expect to be able to order the FM3.

How long will the wait be? When will I get my invitation?
See this post: https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/fm3-now-shipping.158414/#post-1890757
 
As of this writing (Jan 2020) the FM3 is also at the beginning in terms of firmware updates and will see further updates and improvements.

This has me the most excited!!! Nobody comes close to FAS product support in this market. FAS is on it's 12th major release for the AxeFx3 and that speaks volumes around algorithm advancements and feature releases that are just jaw dropping. Can't wait to see what the future holds for the FM3.
 

DaveO

Experienced
quick question, if the FM3 didn't have a buffer what would you recommend using? and how much of an impact would that be without using one?
 

hippietim

Fractal Fanatic
quick question, if the FM3 didn't have a buffer what would you recommend using? and how much of an impact would that be without using one?

Honestly, there’s so many buffers out there I would have a hard time recommending anything. Probably the nicest one I ever used was from Axess Electronics - they’re no longer around but those pop up for sale from time to time. I never really used a stand-alone buffer much, I usually had a Boss TU-2 as the first thing in my chain so that was my buffer.
 

MrCrossroads83

Inspired
Thanks for the great FAQ, hippietim :)

Ok, do I understand that correctly?

I can connect my iPad pro to the FM 3 and the audio output is then connected to the FM 3 in order to playback tracks on FM 3?

That would be so great if it works :)

I thought I have to connect my iPad via audio cable to the second imput of the FM 3.
 

hippietim

Fractal Fanatic
Thanks for the great FAQ, hippietim :)

Ok, do I understand that correctly?

I can connect my iPad pro to the FM 3 and the audio output is then connected to the FM 3 in order to playback tracks on FM 3?

That would be so great if it works :)

I thought I have to connect my iPad via audio cable to the second imput of the FM 3.

I haven't tried an iPad specifically, but my iPhone works great.
 

MrCrossroads83

Inspired
I haven't tried an iPad specifically, but my iPhone works great.
Really cool, do you an iPhone with lightning port?
I got the last iPad pro which physical headphone output (2017 series) as I needed the output in order to produce music with Beatmaker 3 without having latency due to bluetooth connection to headphones or bluetooth speakers.
 

honeypat

Inspired
How many Amps, Cabs, etc. can I have in each FM3 preset?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Do you mean that Amp channel 1 = Fender, 2 = CAE3+, 3 = Mesa Voogie
4 = Soldano be assigned on same block?...Mr. Hippietim.
 

voes

Fractal Fanatic
Vendor
How many Amps, Cabs, etc. can I have in each FM3 preset?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Do you mean that Amp channel 1 = Fender, 2 = CAE3+, 3 = Mesa Voogie
4 = Soldano be assigned on same block?...Mr. Hippietim.

Yes, you have 1 AMP block with 4 channels. Each channel can be any amp you want.
 
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