The FM3 boasts the same colour display and front-panel controls as Fractal’s flagship Axe-Fx III, plus three onboard footswitches with variable-colour LED rings and mini LCD displays, all of which can function as tap and hold, or be customised to take on different switching tasks with eight different switch ‘layouts’.
As well as the interface, Axe-Fx III ARES amp modelling is also built into the FM3, with 265+ models, plus the entire library of 2,200+ speaker cab impulse responses, and 2,000+ user locations.
Effects include drive, delays, reverbs, compressors, EQs, modulation effects, an onboard looper and more.
A 3-core ‘Griffin’ DSP with one ARM and two SHARC+ cores promise serious DSP horsepower.
Structure-wise, the FM3 operates as per other Fractal processors, with presets built from blocks on a 4x12 grid. There are eight scenes per preset to engage or bypass effects, switch effect channels, adjust levels and more.
There’s also a Modifier system to make real-time sound changes with onboard or remote controllers - up to two FC-12 or FC-6 foot controllers can be connected - plus a full-screen tuner and two global EQs.
Connections include input, stereo outputs, headphone out, MIDI in and out/thru and 48kHz SPDIF out; there are also stereo TRS inputs and Humbuster outputs, plus 4x4 USB audio and FM3-EDIT functionality.
There’s an obvious point of comparison to Line 6’s HX Stomp here, but the price is the key differential, with the FM3 clocking in at $1,399 list price ($999 direct price).
We’re still awaiting info on the availability of this one, but prospective USA or Canada purchasers can join the waitlist by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
One guitarist who may be drafting an email as we speak is John Mayer, who was clocked using the Axe-Fx III live during a performance at Coachella over the weekend.