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FM9 vs Axe Fx III - the sound

unix-guy

Legend!
Just tossing this out for discussion amongst those of us with both an FM9 and Axe Fx III: have you done a side by side comparison of the same preset to see what the results are?

My initial impression (done very non-scientifically) is that my main preset using 59 Bassman model seems to have a little different bass response and a little more breakup on the FM9.

But I was swapping cables back and forth between both units and my Matrix amp and not entirely sure how well I was level matched.

I plan to do some more comparisons with a better setup later.

Any one else find differences?
 

Rex

Legend!
My impression (using an A/B switch at the guitar, with both my Fm9 and my Axe-Fx III being fed through identical lengths of identically-constructed cable, and both units feeding two channels of a mixer into a single pair of studio monitors): no difference.
 

OrganicZed

Experienced
I have done the side by side comparison and can hear no difference. I fully expected that to be the result, but it was still nice to hear / play it for myself. For audio monitoring I was using Adam A5x monitors and swapping the XLR cables from one unit to the other.

Since they sound the same and the FM9 can easily handle the presets that I use when playing out, this will allow me to use the FM9 as my live rig and keep the Axe-Fx III at home for practice, recording, etc. It is going to save me a substantial amount of weight as the FM9 with two expression pedals weighs a lot less than the Axe-Fx III, power conditioner, rack case, FC-6, pedal board, and expression pedals.
 

RevDrucifer

Power User
I have done the side by side comparison and can hear no difference. I fully expected that to be the result, but it was still nice to hear / play it for myself. For audio monitoring I was using Adam A5x monitors and swapping the XLR cables from one unit to the other.

Since they sound the same and the FM9 can easily handle the presets that I use when playing out, this will allow me to use the FM9 as my live rig and keep the Axe-Fx III at home for practice, recording, etc. It is going to save me a substantial amount of weight as the FM9 with two expression pedals weighs a lot less than the Axe-Fx III, power conditioner, rack case, FC-6, pedal board, and expression pedals.

That’s the exact route I’m going and why I got an FM9. I was initially more than happy to gig with the III/rack/board, but now I can minimize it to just a pedalboard and a couple cabs (stereo onstage but FOH gets a mono signal).

I started planning out the pedalboard last night and realized I forgot to order an EV-1 when I ordered the FM9, derp!

I was hoping to score a spring-loaded ME EP-1 used, but it seems everyone who gets them spring loaded holds onto them! Cool thing is, I think a pedalboard I built years ago will be the right size for the FM9 and the two expression pedals. Still not sure if I’m going to add a Freqout to this rig or not. I use it all the time with my III, but I’m also generally playing that through studio monitors and not cranked very loud.
 

Joe Bfstplk

Axe-Master
I was hoping to score a spring-loaded ME EP-1 used, but it seems everyone who gets them spring loaded holds onto them!

I must be the exception that proves that rule, then. Had one for about 3 weeks. Sold it to get a springless one.

Cool thing is, I think a pedalboard I built years ago will be the right size for the FM9 and the two expression pedals. Still not sure if I’m going to add a Freqout to this rig or not. I use it all the time with my III, but I’m also generally playing that through studio monitors and not cranked very loud.

Gotta love reusing things instead of having to update them....
 

unix-guy

Legend!
How they should sound different? Same route in the cpu limit of the fm9 or fm3 too has to sound the same.
Unless all the modeling is identical then there is the possibility of a difference.

I've seen nothing that states they are identical, although I'm sure they are very similar.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
My impression (using an A/B switch at the guitar, with both my Fm9 and my Axe-Fx III being fed through identical lengths of identically-constructed cable, and both units feeding two channels of a mixer into a single pair of studio monitors): no difference.
Cabling was definitely different: Axe Fx III using < 6" George Ls to connect and FM9 using 6' generic cables.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
I got together with my engineer in his studio today.

After spending 2 hours unsuccessfully trying to get an aggregate device working with the Axe Fx III, the FM9 and his Apollo interface we finally just used the Axe Fx as the interface to record a pair of DI tracks.

We then re-amped the DI with the Axe Fx, changed the session to use the FM9 as the interface and re-amped again.

We did some minor level matching and then compared the tracks.

Neither of us could really make out any quantitative difference between the recordings.
 

Deadpool_25

Power User
Generally speaking, I’d expect Cygnus to sound like Cygnus assuming all else is equal. And according to Fractal the FM9 shares the same signal path as the AxeFX III.

They should, and most likely do, sound exactly the same. My guess is any differences are caused by the user overlooking some detail or from expectation bias.
 
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