Fractal's Latest and Greatest Firmware - winning yet?

  • (To the mods, I finally got around to registering my KPA. I suppose this post belongs in the private forum, but I can't post there yet.)


    I'm a Fractal fan, FM3 owner, and current and past AxeIII owner. I gotta say, their latest firmware is another step change improvement in modeling. It sounds really good, and it's fun to play. Wow, it's so good, and kudos for the rapid innovation. I played it for about an hour this morning and had a blast. Then I did what I always do - I plugged my KPA in to directly compare, side by side. And I found what I always find - Kemper is better. Kemper sounds better and feels better. Much better. Kemper wins.

  • I have a Kemper Stage and an FM9. I am an old Axe FX Ultra user too. I still have that unit as well. I honestly never feel blown away by their firmware updates. These units have been able to produce professional sounds since the days of the Ultra.


    The thing that they don't do well for me is that raw amp tone and feel. Every time I say that in a post anywhere but here, I get flack for it. I don't care. Their units have way too much gain in the amp models. Where this gets interesting is that they always tell me the models are exactly like the amps. The somewhere after that someone will say they make them do everything the amps do and more. Well, it isn't exactly like the amp then. They then try to use the excuse that even with real amps there are variations in component values that make no two amps the same. Well, I have plugged into multiple examples of the same amp and they all sound pretty darn close to each other. I am not trying to match the knobs number for number but when I own an amp that they have modeled and they don't sound or feel anything alike, they are different. I think it is the excessive gain that makes it not have the feel of a real amp like the Kemper does. I will take the Kemper every time for the raw amp sound and feel.

  • I gave up on the AxeFx II and the Fm3 after a relatively short honeymoon period on both.

    Look, they really are next level products in terms of tweaking to get new exciting sounds (the effects are of the highest quality).. but I want good raw amp tones, I'm old school, I want the midrange bark and the cutting upper mid response of a JCM800.. fractal can't do that yet. Maybe one day it'll get there.

    I used my fm3 live a couple of times and got lost in the mix. Interestingly I never had that problem with my Atomic Amplifire.

    I should mention that this is my first post here and I'm actually picking up my 1st Kemper tonight.. I'm excited and nervous at the same time :S

  • At this point in think I only really want more effects so I plugged my fm9 with cab and poweramp sim off into the front of my kemper using a poweramp profile and cab and mic sim. Was getting lovely sounds and then plugged the quad cortex into the front and it was pretty much the same. I know it's overkill and would be a lot to take to a gig with and when everyone from every camp would ask why wouldn't I just use 1, all I could say is that I could but then i wouldn't be able to adjust the sound every step of the way.

    I also sometimes think that I like the way the kemper profiles cabs and the it feels and sounds. I like treating it as a core amp function in a digital way and then having my extended range of effects slots to host my effects and pre amp tones. Cheers.

  • At this point in think I only really want more effects so I plugged my fm9 with cab and poweramp sim off into the front of my kemper using a poweramp profile and cab and mic sim. Was getting lovely sounds and then plugged the quad cortex into the front and it was pretty much the same. I know it's overkill and would be a lot to take to a gig with and when everyone from every camp would ask why wouldn't I just use 1, all I could say is that I could but then i wouldn't be able to adjust the sound every step of the way.

    I also sometimes think that I like the way the kemper profiles cabs and the it feels and sounds. I like treating it as a core amp function in a digital way and then having my extended range of effects slots to host my effects and pre amp tones. Cheers.

    It's not overkill for recording, but live (in my opinion) it'd be absolutely ridiculous. So much work in set up and so much real estate needed for so little benefit. All that tweaking and attention to detail is often (usually?) wasted by the room you're in.

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • It's not overkill for recording, but live (in my opinion) it'd be absolutely ridiculous. So much work in set up and so much real estate needed for so little benefit. All that tweaking and attention to detail is often (usually?) wasted by the room you're in.

    For sure its overkill for live but I could run the cortex into the front and it fits in my toaster bag so not too much tonworry there but if i wanted to add the remote and or use the fm9 too it would a lot to deal with. So many cool fun sounds tho... and some seriously slappin toans for dayzzz... lol