The new FM9-Turbo from Fractal Audio Systems is an all-in-one amp modeler, effects processor, foot controller, audio interface—and more—designed for professional stage/studio use and personal enjoyment. With four DSP cores, the FM9 is the most powerful floor unit ever produced by Fractal Audio, and it features a impressive list of technologies and features from the award-winning Axe-Fx III, FM3, and FC Controllers. These include Fractal Audio's industry-leading Cygnus amp modeling, UltraRes™ speaker simulation, a suite of their famous stompbox and studio effects, expandable FC foot switching, incredibly flexible I/O, 8×8 USB audio interface capabilities, a world-class Mac/PC editor, and more.
The new FM9 brings many of Fractal Audio's most exciting features to a new, larger floor unit. The unit is remarkably easy to use, with intuitive and comfortable controls, plus the same large, full-color main display as the Axe-Fx III and FM3. Nine on-board footswitches, each with its own vari-color LED ring and mini LCD display, provide both tap and hold functions that can be customized to control countless aspects of your rig in realtime.
The FM9 features the same audiophile signal path design as the Axe-Fx III to provide extremely high quality sonic performance and signal integrity. Physically, it is built tough, with a rugged 16-gauge steel chassis and protective endcaps that double as feet.
The FM9 has numerous inputs and outputs for a great range of different setups.
Analog inputs include Fractal Audio’s “Secret Sauce” 1/4″ instrument input, plus two separate stereo pairs of balanced 1/4″ jacks for use as “aux” ins or “returns.”
The main stereo output is equipped with both XLR and 1/4″ outs, plus a headphones jack. Two additional independent stereo outputs — one XLR and one 1/4″ — can be used as “aux” outs or “sends.”
All 1/4″ outs feature Fractal Audio’s Humbuster™ technology to help reduce the noise of any ground loops.
Three jacks each each support one external switch or pedal like the Fractal Audio EV-1.
A FASLINK II port allows you to connect up to two additional Fractal Audio FC-12 or FC-6 foot controllers for extra “real estate” on the floor or remote control.
Digital I/O includes 48k SPDIF in and out.
USB provides 8×8 computer audio and MIDI interaction with Fractal-Bot, FM9-Edit, a DAW, and more.
The Sound of Fractal Audio
Legendary Amp Modeling and Speaker Simulation
The centerpiece of the FM9 is “Cygnus”, the latest version of Fractal Audio’s critically acclaimed amp modeling technology. Cygnus uses our proprietary SpectrumTrack™ technology, which improves the response of amp models across the entire range of input levels, especially for amps with cascaded gain stages. The result is truer and more dynamic “voicing,” plus exceptionally satisfying “chugs.”
The FM9’s two amp blocks each have four channels which can run any of 280+ vintage, modern, and original models covering everything from pristine clean, to edge of breakup, from crunchy overdrive to modern distortion to insane gain.
The FM9 also includes the entire Ultra-Res™ speaker cabinet collection from the Axe-Fx III, with 2,200+ “Factory” cabs including selections from the today’s best producers, plus 1,024 “User” locations for loading your own Impulse Responses (“IRs”).
A Suite of Stompbox and Studio Effects
The FM9 is an outstanding multi-effects unit, packed with hundreds of incredible stomp box and studio effects, with accurate recreations of many classics, plus exciting originals. Our effects have been vetted and endorsed by the world’s greatest guitar players.
Selections include 57+ drive pedal models, dozens of delays, numerous choruses, flangers, phasers, tremolo, and other modulation effects, 50+ reverb types from classic spring to real spaces and beyond, multiple compressors, wahs, EQs and filters, a 2-minute looper, an entire suite of pitch effects including detune, harmony, and virtual capo, plus rotary, synth, “plex” effects including shimmer, and many more.
One of each of the available block types of the FM9 is shown below. Note that almost all of these can be used multiple times in every preset. A complete count can be found in the Blocks Guide.
The Power of Impressive Presets
The FM9 is the most powerful floor unit Fractal Audio has ever created with a four-core DSP architecture. Its presets—created on a “grid” from “blocks” as shown below—can utilize an impressive number of blocks to provide capabilities rivaling or surpassing those of a gigantic analog rig.
FM9 Preset Examples (Screen Captures of Factory and Custom Presets)
Tuesday Tone Tip with Leon Todd
Firmware 21.01 for the Axe-Fx III adds the Paragon Wah type. Leon Todd explores some fun musical ideas with this new wah type.
In Frank's Fractal Sunday I will showcase the fantastic Fractal Audio Factory Presets. Today I will show you the presets #196-200. At the end of the video I play a modern version of the famous Jazz standard "All The Things You Are". Have fun ?.
With a USB connection to a Mac or PC, the FM9 works as an extremely high quality 8×8 audio interface for playback, recording, and re-amping. This lets the FM9 double as the heart of a portable recording studio.
USB channels are mapped for maximum ease of use. For example, to record the processed main outputs of the FM9, just record USB inputs 1/2 in the computer. To record Out 2, use the next pair of USB inputs. You can also record input 1 — perfect for capturing a DI to re-amp. You can also record either of the stereo “aux” inputs to record an outboard device, effect, mixer, or virtually anything else.
Computer playback is also easy and flexible. Computer outs 1 and 2 play back directly at the main outs of the FM9, where they are mixed with processed audio from your presets. USB outs 3 and 4 play back at the second output of the FM9. This makes it possible, for example, to have processed guitar at one stereo output and backing tracks at a second output. Computer outputs 5 and 6 address the “Input 1 block” of the FM9, providing an easy way to route DI signals to the unit for recording. The last pair of USB computer outputs work with a special “USB” grid block. This can also be used for re-amping or other creative effect processing in the DAW, like a virtual plugin.
The USB connection also provides USB-over-MIDI, which can be used to allow a DAW or other application to send MIDI commands to the FM9, and is also used for two-way communication with companion applications, Fractal-Bot and FM9-Edit — a world class software editor/librarian included free.
Fantastic Foot Control
The nine onboard footswitches of the FM9 are based on Fractal Audio's popular FC-6 and FC-12 controllers. All of Fractal Audio's FC-based products, including not only FM9 but also FM3, are extremely flexible and remarkably easy to set up and use.
Each switch provides independent tap and hold functions, which can be customized to do different things on eight different switch “layouts.” The variable-color LED ring and mini LCD display make it possible to instantly assess the functions and state of each switch.
Out of the box, the FM9 is ready to use, with a layout for selecting from any of the onboard presets. A single “stomp” takes you to “Scenes mode” and an extra switch provides both Tap Tempo and Tuner. Meanwhile, the “Master Layout Menu” provides access to effect switches, Looper controls, and more. FM9 even comes with a built-in option to use the popular “OMG9” style setup based on the FM3 and FC-6.