Blown away by fractal audio’s amp modeling

RR628

New member
I had a line 6 helix rack mount and tbh for the money it kicked ass but I just tried a FM9 pedal today in person and it blew me away

The line 6 from what I remember sounded really good for some amp models but some of the evh/6505 amps sounded like ass and unusable due to the high end

It also had a electronic feel to it and the way the pick attack reacted didn’t feel like a tube amp

The FM9 sounded and reacted like a actual tube amp 100%. Not only are all the amp models I tried on point but the 6505 sounded just like my real amp , feedback and everything (lol).

Ive been pretty adamant about staying analog and pure this whole time but the amp modeling from fractal pretty much kills the need for any real gear if I’m being honest

I really want to pick up a used fm3 now and use it for almost everything tbh

How does their modeling sound that real on these things ?
 

jchrisf

Active member
I love my FM3 more than my tube amps. Through a power amp and into a 4x12 I can't tell the difference. Through headphones is glorious too.
 

RR628

New member
I love my FM3 more than my tube amps. Through a power amp and into a 4x12 I can't tell the difference. Through headphones is glorious too.
I feel like a lot of people playing at bedroom volume probably don’t invest in good headphones.

I had a friend that had a line 6 pod and used it with Beats 😂. Get monitor headphones dude wtf.
 

4406cuda

Well-known member
I have an AXE-FX III. I love it and use it for everything. I still have my BE-100 Deluxe. I plan on keeping it and use it for the occasional informal jam.
 

Bro KV

Well-known member
Had an AxeFX3 and really liked it, honestly it can do too much for me. Felt like I spent more time on the laptop tweaking settings. Bought a Herbert, sold the AxeFX3 and bought a 5153 EL34 100w. Recorded they sound just as good, in person, they can’t give you the tube amp feel.
 

ZEN Amps

Well-known member
People I really respect swear by Fractal and/or Kemper. Personally they leave me cold and uninspired. And this is going in with an open mind and doing countless hours of comparisons.

How does their modeling sound so real? Loaded question - I don’t feel it does, but again it’s all down to preferences. As with many things there is still a demand for authenticity and realism from pros and enthusiasts alike. For those that dig the sound of digital emulations then lucky for them, it’s a smaller more convenient platform with endless tweakability.
 

RaceU4her

Well-known member
Ive been pretty adamant about staying analog and pure this whole time but the amp modeling from fractal pretty much kills the need for any real gear if I’m being honest


ive never played a new modeler but this is what im afraid of myself, what will i do with my house full of shit? :LOL:
 

easstudios

Active member
Love the Fractal stuff - I think they usually sound dead on to the real deal. There are some drawbacks that bug me, but it’s kind of what you sign up for when you enter their ecosystem.

here’s their 5150 vs my block letter:


Gotta say though, I find a lot of other options to be just as accurate with the convenience of using as a plugin and often having a more realistic layout/control set. I love the range of amps Fractal have, and their modelling is always bang on for me (besides them modelling a Jubilee clone rather than a real one, and a really early Uberschall rather one closer to the circuit most people have).

Just as an example, I did this a couple of days ago - Fractal’s JCM800 is dead on but I couldn’t be bothered to reamp both guitar tracks and go back and forth dialling it in to match. The others are already close enough and way more convenient:

 

easstudios

Active member
People I really respect swear by Fractal and/or Kemper. Personally they leave me cold and uninspired. And this is going in with an open mind and doing countless hours of comparisons.

How does their modeling sound so real? Loaded question - I don’t feel it does, but again it’s all down to preferences. As with many things there is still a demand for authenticity and realism from pros and enthusiasts alike. For those that dig the sound of digital emulations then lucky for them, it’s a smaller more convenient platform with endless tweakability.
Honestly I feel like the sound is already there and closer than most of us can reliably tell (when dialled in properly).

The issue is that you basically have to surrender many of the most fun aspects of playing a real rig. You lose the amp in the room sound, the ability to combine bits of gear and land on weird unintended interactions, the hands on control of switches and knobs. Navigating menus (or using a mouse) just plain sucks compared to plugging real stuff in.

The other thing, much like using real drums instead of programming, is that you’re always chasing to sound real and it’s tough to convince your brain it’s good enough. Use the real thing, and it’s done. It’ll always sound real.
 

Ventura

Well-known member
Had an AxeFX3 and really liked it, honestly it can do too much for me. Felt like I spent more time on the laptop tweaking settings. Bought a Herbert, sold the AxeFX3 and bought a 5153 EL34 100w. Recorded they sound just as good, in person, they can’t give you the tube amp feel.
Exact reason I bought and sold each and every one of my Fractal units.

Four times over :doh:
 

mnemonic

Active member
I still have and use my axe FX II regularly. I’ll go though phases, sometimes only using my tube amps (with axe FX only for effects), then sometimes using the axe FX only. Currently I’ve been using the axe FX only, I have a rectifier patch that I tonematched to my real rectifier and a mark IV patch, both of which I find very inspiring to play.

I don’t think they’re as plug-and-play, easy to dial in for high gain stuff as the real amps, plus it’s a totally different workflow vs an amp with a basic eq and some pedals, and can be pretty jarring when that’s what you’re used to. IMO they take more fiddling and more knowledge of how to work the advanced parameters but what I love is how much flexibility you can get out of them. Getting rid of one little annoying frequency or making the tone just a little bit tighter is quick and easy for me, without having to mess with external gear, juggling boost pedals, extra noise, ground loops, etc.

I thought about getting the III but all the hyperbole I see about how it’s more realer now and super easy to dial in and feels right and you don’t need the advanced control anymore, is pretty much word-for-word what the fanatics said about every major firmware update for the II.

I will say that I use a stereo power amp and a 4x12 and 2x12 cab, I’ve never been interested in studio monitors, FRFR, or headphones. I had to use headphones back in college with my pod XT way back then, I’ve since tried it every now and then and hope to never have to do that again.
 

ZEN Amps

Well-known member
The issue is that you basically have to surrender many of the most fun aspects of playing a real rig.
Agreed - this is a massive, massive part of the equation. Having fun and being inspired trumps everything, and frankly translates to better music being made. I've seen it countless times when working with guitar players, their eyes light up when playing through a great tube rig.

I thought about getting the III but all the hyperbole I see about how it’s more realer now and super easy to dial in and feels right and you don’t need the advanced control anymore, is pretty much word-for-word what the fanatics said about every major firmware update for the II.
Ha yeah this, and did you notice that the Kemper did 'perfect' captures 10 years ago - until the Quad Cortex thing came along and started doing it more perfectly? You can be sure that when the Axe FX4 lands, it'll make the 3 look and sound like a toy - it's the way these things go.

ive never played a new modeler but this is what im afraid of myself, what will i do with my house full of shit? :LOL:
I wouldn't be too worried - better than a room full of Pods, Helix's, Spiders and Katanas!
 

Elric

Member
Honestly I feel like the sound is already there and closer than most of us can reliably tell (when dialled in properly).
Great post. I think you hit on a lot of it with the user experience being so superior with tube/analog.

For tones, I agree… esp for recordings and micced, I am sure most people here claiming the sounds are not there would actually fail a double blind test. The user experience is completely different, though.

The digital stuff will continue to evolve but it is completely viable right now and in some ways better If you can get over the use model.
 

PDC

Well-known member
There are 2 guys who play full time in my area who use Fractal and their live tones are just incredible. I do know that each of these guys will readily stipulate that their tones are the result of hours and hours of tweaking the drill-down menu parameters - the stuff 90% of users never get to. I don’t know how it ‘feels’ to play when feeding the monitors and Front of House with no amp or cab. It may have that ‘sterile’ feel that you just have to get used to. But again, these guys’ live tones are killer.

I do think if you feed any full-amp ‘simulated‘ signal (AIB pedal / Fractal / Kemper) through glass tube power and into a 4x12 with dedicated ‘guitar’ speakers, it can really bridge the gap. My favorite rig right now is my BE OD DLX pedal feeding my Non-MV 1973 Marshall 50 watt. As you bring the power section of the Marshall into play, the sound and feel is just incredible.
 

hellzington

Active member
I own a ton of amazing amps but I decided to buy a brand new Fractal Axe FX III Mk II Turbo a month or so ago. Although I have a UA Apollo Twin X Quad and good studio monitors, I really wanted to be able to get that "amp in the room" sound and feel, so I bought a Mission 2x12 FRFR to go with it.

I have to say, I'm very impressed. I'm not getting rid of all my amps -- to me, they're not mutually exclusive; just two different tools that both have positives and negatives -- but the Fractal sounds great through the Mission 2x12. The Fractal is very sensitive to pickups: the gain levels change with hotter or cooler pickups, just like a real amp; and rolling the volume down reacts just like a real amp, which I hadn't experienced in previous modelers I had tried. I also really like being able to adjust the grid bias, variac, power supply, speaker compression, etc. It makes for some awesome sounds: I have a variac'd JCM 800 with the master cranked through two cabs, one with Greenbacks and the other with G12T-75's and it sounds insane. The effects are all studio-quality and the reverbs and delays sound far better than any Line 6 products I've tried in the past. The UI is also very intuitive and set up just like a real rig, which makes it easy to use.

Perhaps my only "complaint" is that most the amp models are a bit "hot." Meaning, they have way more gain on tap than the actual amps. For example, my 2550 on the lead channel with the gain at 6 is equivalent to about 4 on the Fractal's Jubilee model. To combat this I usually lower the Input Trim parameter to .7 - .8 which usually brings it in line with the real amp.
 
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