• We would like to remind our members that this is a privately owned, run and supported forum. You are here at the invitation and discretion of the owners. As such, rules and standards of conduct will be applied that help keep this forum functioning as the owners desire. These include, but are not limited to, removing content and even access to the forum.

    Please give yourself a refresher on the forum rules you agreed to follow when you signed up.

FM9 pre-delivery questions from a Helix user

JN99

Member
I started my modeler journey about 5 1/2 years ago with a side-by-side between AX8 and Helix and ultimately went with Helix for its ease of use, especially directly on the unit. I thought about getting the FM3 but decided to stick with Helix. Tried the QC but, no thanks...

Now, I'm up for purchase on the FM9 waitlist but trying to understand a few things I use in my setup with Helix that I've grown accustomed to and gotten comfortable with over the past several years, to understand if/how they can be done on the FM9.

I'm in a gigging band and use the Helix live. I'd say about 85% of the time I use a snapshot to select the rig (amp/cab or IR/drive), and then Stomp mode for kicking effects on/off and for a solo setting (multiple effects assigned to a single fs). The other 15% I'm using snapshots exclusively within other presets. So, my questions are on how I'd apply this main use case to use the FM9 similarly:

1) Scenes vs. Snapshots - I use Snapshots a lot as mentioned above, and control parameters with them on the Helix. From what I understand that (parameter) is achieved with scene controllers and channels in the FM9. A bit more complex perhaps, but gets me the same results provided I need no more than the 4 scene controllers available in a preset. Does every block have channels, e.g. I could use channel B on a Delay to effectively change parameters from how they are set in the block's channel A? I rely heavily on the bypass function, turning blocks on and off in different snapshots. Is it accurate, as I think I read somewhere, that bypass isn't an option in scenes on the FM9? In other words, I cannot have an effect on in one Scene, off in another? I'm sure it's possible, Scene Ignore, Controller Switch?

2) Footswitch assignments. On the Helix, I mostly use my main preset with 4 snapshots to "select the rig", then switch to pedalboard mode to control effects as noted. In that case, I take advantage of the multi effects assignment to a single foot switch for my solo boost, effectively engaging 2 (or 3 in some cases) effects for the solo settings. Does the FM9 support this same type of multi assignment to its footswitches?

3) Footswitch mode. As noted above, I often switch between snapshot (or hybrid Snap/Stomp) and Stomp on the Helix. As I understand it, I can set the footswitch layout to be whatever I want in the FM9. Is that a per preset layout? Could I emulate my Helix setup and switch between a scenes mode and stomp mode in the FM9? Can the layout be set globally?

I'm eager to order my FM9 but need to wrap my head around some of its workflows and how I'd use it before taking the plunge. I realize this is all covered in manuals, FAQs, and the like but it can still be unclear without a unit in front of me, so hoping for some quick layman's explanations and info here. Thanks!
 

ectoplasm88

Inspired
I've been using Fractal products for a long time and I also used a Helix for about 3 years then ended up switching back to Fractal about a year after the FX III was released. I think most Helix users will miss something they really liked about preset design and/or performance options of the Helix. Ultimately though I think you'll be able to achieve everything you are curious about. I just got an FM9 myself and I suggest you check out the OMF9 layouts. I think as a Helix user you'll like the flow. The Fractal default layout schema is really great too but I think for the kind of tap dance you describe when performing that layout will be pretty close to the same feel.

Scenes do store the bypass state of a block and also the channel selected of the block. You said you rely heavily on bypass so in the respect scenes will function mostly like the snapshots do. You are also correct you could have the B\C\D channel loaded with the same block type but with different settings dialed in or a completely different block type.

I think for your solo boost scenario you will easily be able to set that in a scene. You could also use an external switch or pedal to trigger your boost. With an external controller you can assign it to all sorts of parameters so a pedal could increase the gain on one block, dial up your delay, etc. I don't know what the limit is on the number of parameters a controller can be assigned to but probably a lot. You know about the scene controllers to so those are also another option.

The layouts are global but regardless of whether you load the factory default or the OMFD they are starting points and you can modify them. Let's say in the effects (Stomp like mode) mode you don't care about the tap tempo assignment you could replace it with another effect block. One of the layouts is setup as a per preset layout so this one can have preset specific assignments. Like maybe you just care about scene 1, 2, and being able to toggle one effect you can have a switch assigned for each of those so its a scene/stomp combo for that preset.

I suggest checking out some of the great videos out there. Leon Todd and the AxeFX tutorials guy (user name on her is just "Chris") have tons of really good demos. Oh of course Cooper Carter and the G66 team. If you checkout those youtube channels you'll get a ton of good accurate info. I probably just butchered it but I do really think you'll be impressed with what you can accomplish it's just a much different approach often than the Helix.
 

chris

Legend!
I started my modeler journey about 5 1/2 years ago with a side-by-side between AX8 and Helix and ultimately went with Helix for its ease of use, especially directly on the unit. I thought about getting the FM3 but decided to stick with Helix. Tried the QC but, no thanks...

Now, I'm up for purchase on the FM9 waitlist but trying to understand a few things I use in my setup with Helix that I've grown accustomed to and gotten comfortable with over the past several years, to understand if/how they can be done on the FM9.

I'm in a gigging band and use the Helix live. I'd say about 85% of the time I use a snapshot to select the rig (amp/cab or IR/drive), and then Stomp mode for kicking effects on/off and for a solo setting (multiple effects assigned to a single fs). The other 15% I'm using snapshots exclusively within other presets. So, my questions are on how I'd apply this main use case to use the FM9 similarly:

1) Scenes vs. Snapshots - I use Snapshots a lot as mentioned above, and control parameters with them on the Helix. From what I understand that (parameter) is achieved with scene controllers and channels in the FM9. A bit more complex perhaps, but gets me the same results provided I need no more than the 4 scene controllers available in a preset. Does every block have channels, e.g. I could use channel B on a Delay to effectively change parameters from how they are set in the block's channel A? I rely heavily on the bypass function, turning blocks on and off in different snapshots. Is it accurate, as I think I read somewhere, that bypass isn't an option in scenes on the FM9? In other words, I cannot have an effect on in one Scene, off in another? I'm sure it's possible, Scene Ignore, Controller Switch?

2) Footswitch assignments. On the Helix, I mostly use my main preset with 4 snapshots to "select the rig", then switch to pedalboard mode to control effects as noted. In that case, I take advantage of the multi effects assignment to a single foot switch for my solo boost, effectively engaging 2 (or 3 in some cases) effects for the solo settings. Does the FM9 support this same type of multi assignment to its footswitches?

3) Footswitch mode. As noted above, I often switch between snapshot (or hybrid Snap/Stomp) and Stomp on the Helix. As I understand it, I can set the footswitch layout to be whatever I want in the FM9. Is that a per preset layout? Could I emulate my Helix setup and switch between a scenes mode and stomp mode in the FM9? Can the layout be set globally?

I'm eager to order my FM9 but need to wrap my head around some of its workflows and how I'd use it before taking the plunge. I realize this is all covered in manuals, FAQs, and the like but it can still be unclear without a unit in front of me, so hoping for some quick layman's explanations and info here. Thanks!
i'm streaming on youtube now, if you want me to show you some things

https://www.youtube.com/axefxtutorials

i've ended for now, but there's always next time :D
 
Last edited:

Admin M@

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
From what I understand that (parameter) is achieved with scene controllers and channels in the FM9.

I wouldn't jump into Scene Controllers until looking over all you can do without them. They're more restrictive in the end and should be a last resort. For instance, if you're using four scenes, set those blocks you wish to have change to channels A, B, C, and D in those scenes and then you'll have four fully independent scenes. When setting up, you can use FM9-Edit to copy/paste channels, which makes it easy to set up at the beginning.

As for bypass, you have several strong options. Every scene normally maintains full control the on/off state of every block. When you load a scene, it will engage or bypass effects accordingly, but you still have complete freedom to manually "twiddle" the bypass/engage with foot switches at any time. Advanced: a global option called "SCENE REVERT" determines whether those "twiddles" are reset or remembered when you change scenes. A recent add on called "SCENE IGNORE" allows designated blocks to operate outside of the Scene system, so their scenes and channels are ONLY under manual control.

You can't assign multiple effects to one footswitch using the "native" FC functions, but there are ways to do this, for example, using a Control Switch as a modifier to operate multiple effect Bypass switches at once. Like Scene Ignore, though, this disconnects Scene Control of those effects. It's better to just make more scenes, in my opinion.

You can create your own layouts and switch between them at will.
 

JoKeR III

Fractal Fanatic
The biggest thing is to not compare or try to find similarities in the two devices or workflows. The FM9 will do everything you want but you will need to learn the FAS workflow without attempting to make it fit into what you're used to with the Helix. I came from Line6 and completely forgetting about how they do stuff was a huge step in getting my head wrapped around the FAS ecosystem.
 

JN99

Member
Thanks for the replies, and for the offer to demo some of this on the live stream Admin M@! You may see me at a future session. Basically, I think it's summed up with what Joker III said, which is more or less how I was thinking I would have to approach it. For me, it wasn't so much of comparing Helix to FM9 as it was just figuring out how to do what I want, which happened to be completely intuitive and natural for me on the Helix. I didn't really have to learn how Helix does things, it just made sense and was how I would have expected. I think on the FM9 it's going to require a little more time and effort and learning how Fractal does some of these things, which is okay, and ultimately the added flexibility and horsepower may actually simplify things for live use.
 

JN99

Member
Ok, I think I've got my head around how I'll approach setting up the FM9 but I have a couple more questions that I've still got as reading the manual without the unit still leaves me a little unclear on these.

1 - Layout per preset. Trying to understand if/how a different layout can be auto-loaded per preset (layout assigned per preset) and I don't think that's possible. What' possible is some modification of the layout with the per-preset switches (placeholders and overrides) but without the unit here yet, I can't quite figure out if this works. So, as an example let's say I have a layout with 4 scenes and 4 effects but I want 2 of the effects to be different for Preset B than Preset A. I'd like to be able to have that done automatically without having to change presets, then select a different layout. Possible?

2) Scene return. I'm not sure that's what it's called in Helix because it was a global setting, set and forget it kind of thing but it's different to the Scene Revert described in the FM9 manual, which I thought was going to be it. With the Helix, it's a very simple and, for me at least very handy feature I use heavily. I can set the snapshots to revert when stomped. So, playing snapshot 1, stomp on the fs for snapshot 2 to engage, stomping again and Helix reverts to snapshot 1. It's really more about footswitch behavior than scene behavior but I couldn't find anything in the FM9 manual. Edit - never mind, just found the Footswitch Functions Guide and found my answer there 👍
 
Last edited:

unix-guy

Legend!
Layout per preset. Trying to understand if/how a different layout can be auto-loaded per preset (layout assigned per preset) and I don't think that's possible. What' possible is some modification of the layout with the per-preset switches (placeholders and overrides) but without the unit here yet, I can't quite figure out if this works. So, as an example let's say I have a layout with 4 scenes and 4 effects but I want 2 of the effects to be different for Preset B than Preset A. I'd like to be able to have that done automatically without having to change presets, then select a different layout. Possible?
You can't have a unique Layout per preset, but as you mentioned per-preset switches can get you pretty close.

You can however a different one of global layouts load depending on the preset. Look into Layout Links for that. Basically any switch can be configured to load a given layout/view after triggering it's primary function.
 

chris

Legend!
You can however a different one of global layouts load depending on the preset. Look into Layout Links for that. Basically any switch can be configured to load a given layout/view after triggering it's primary function.
just to clarify this, Layout Links don't load "depending on the preset" but instead on the specific switch being used. so if your switch happens to have a Preset Change function, then that switch can load a specific Layout after it is pressed.

just making clear it's not that you load Preset 25 and Layout 2 comes up, it's that you pressed a certain switch - which happens to be Preset 25 at the time - and Layout 2 comes up.

using the Bank approach where the same preset switch can access different presets, it's a simple and great addition to the functions.
 
Last edited:

unix-guy

Legend!
just to clarify this, Layout Links don't load "depending on the preset" but instead on the specific switch being used. so if your switch happens to have a Preset Change function, then that switch can load a specific Layout after it is pressed.

just making clear it's not that you load Preset 25 and Layout 2 comes up, it's that you pressed a certain switch - which happens to be Preset 25 at the time - and Layout 2 comes up.
Good point - thanks for clarifying that.
 

JN99

Member
The FM9 is now (finally) at its new home! Question on output/volume levels:

On the Helix it's recommended to bypass/disable the volume knob, essentially sending full signal out to FOH/mixer and then adjusting output level at output block, amp channel volume, etc. for leveling across presets. That's recently a change I made recently, previously I used the volume knob for tweaking. I read in the manual on the FM9 there are 3 Output Level knobs mapped to the 3 outputs, and maxing them is unity gain (similar idea to the bypassing the vol knob on the Helix I assume). Is there a way to do the same on the FM9, simply disable any of the output knobs to run full signal level out?
 

JoKeR III

Fractal Fanatic
Only Output 3 is at unity gain fully clockwise. Outputs 1 and 2 are basic level controls for the rear outputs and cannot be bypassed or disabled.

Use the Preset Leveling tool in FM9 Edit to get your presets as close to zero without tickling the red. Use the Out 1 and/or 2 control to send the appropriate amount of signal to FOH. I would never send FOH full level on any modeler the first time around. I usually begin setting the Output to half, then slowly increase the level using my volume pedal to ensure it's not too hot.

I have the convenience of playing at the same two places so I know the levels to send at each location. I typically use the Axe III live every week and have Out 1 set @ 50% with output 1 set to +4dBu. A friend of mine has used a Helix on the same system and needs the volume set to max to send the same signal level. If you do use +4dBu and it's too hot for FOH, simply set the output to -10dbV.
 

JN99

Member
What I found on the Helix was that the most consistent way to set and keep levels equal across presets and snapshots, something I had struggled to do before making the change, was the setting to bypass the volume knob and then to adjust levels with channel or output block level using a loudness meter (Orban). I did that to an average LKFS of right around -24db (2 guitarists in the band, and we both run Helix and made this change) and after a couple of tweaks based on what we were hearing at full band volumes in practice, never had to touch it again.

Having to rely on a volume knob staying in the same EXACT position after getting everything set was a recipe for failure. I'll have to experiment on the FM9 but not having a physical knob a part of the equation was a real plus IMO. Any minor tweaks needed for a given show we handle in the mixer, and in-ear adjustments done the same way for each or our individual mixes. No more volume adjustments on the Helix at all and no worry about the volume knob being "off" a little.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
What I found on the Helix was that the most consistent way to set and keep levels equal across presets and snapshots, something I had struggled to do before making the change, was the setting to bypass the volume knob and then to adjust levels with channel or output block level using a loudness meter (Orban). I did that to an average LKFS of right around -24db (2 guitarists in the band, and we both run Helix and made this change) and after a couple of tweaks based on what we were hearing at full band volumes in practice, never had to touch it again.

Having to rely on a volume knob staying in the same EXACT position after getting everything set was a recipe for failure. I'll have to experiment on the FM9 but not having a physical knob a part of the equation was a real plus IMO. Any minor tweaks needed for a given show we handle in the mixer, and in-ear adjustments done the same way for each or our individual mixes. No more volume adjustments on the Helix at all and no worry about the volume knob being "off" a little.
There is no option to disable it.

However, if you go into the Setup->Utilities menu on the front panel you can page over a couple pages and see the exact value of the knob in a few seconds...
 

DLC86

Fractal Fanatic
What I found on the Helix was that the most consistent way to set and keep levels equal across presets and snapshots, something I had struggled to do before making the change, was the setting to bypass the volume knob and then to adjust levels with channel or output block level using a loudness meter (Orban). I did that to an average LKFS of right around -24db (2 guitarists in the band, and we both run Helix and made this change) and after a couple of tweaks based on what we were hearing at full band volumes in practice, never had to touch it again.

Having to rely on a volume knob staying in the same EXACT position after getting everything set was a recipe for failure. I'll have to experiment on the FM9 but not having a physical knob a part of the equation was a real plus IMO. Any minor tweaks needed for a given show we handle in the mixer, and in-ear adjustments done the same way for each or our individual mixes. No more volume adjustments on the Helix at all and no worry about the volume knob being "off" a little.
If that's your approach and you'll never ever need to adjust the general output level, then your best bet is to turn the out knob all the way up and set the output to -10 dbV in the settings.
And to level presets you can continue doing the same by using the amp block level control (or any other level control in the various blocks)
 
Top Bottom