In Focus: Fractal Audio Turbo Series

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In Focus: Fractal Audio Turbo Series

Fractual Audio Turbo
Words by Harry Connell

Fractal Audio are no strangers to expanding your sonic horizons, now with more power than ever.

The new Fractal Audio Turbo series features new versions of beloved models like the FM3, the FM9 and the AXE-FX- but this time with over 10 percent more DSP on the FM3 and FM9, and over 25 percent on the Axe-Fx III… wow.

More digital signal processing means more freedom and playability, allowing the user to push the limits with the amount of presets, and take these three models further than their predecessors.

Read more features, columns and interviews here.

FM3 Mk III Turbo

This all-in-one amp modeller, foot controller and effects processor features the Fractal Audio Cygnus X2 amp modelling, which was initially designed for the Axe-Fx III. 

The FM3 recreates the sound and feel of real tube amps, boasting an incredibly impressive range, with everything from warm overdrive to absolute face melting distortion.

Upon first glance, one of the major differences between its older counterpart is the much larger LCD display units above the three footswitches, which are the same as those used on Fractals FC6 and FC12 mark II models. 

This is a pretty good upgrade for the gigging musician, as added visibility and useability would certainly come in handy while performing on stage. 

Aside from that though, the real change lies under the hood, with a new CPU chip allowing for that extra 10 percent of processing power mentioned earlier, and if you fancy yourself a bit of an FX junkie, you’ll benefit greatly from the freedom to get more out of the unit.

For many players that are transferring presets between the Axe-Fx III, FM9 and this one, that 10 percent could be the difference between having to compromise multiple blocks to fit it on there at all.

Some more notable features include 4×4 USB Audio capability for Mac and PC, a steel chassis to withstand the rigors of touring and high-quality signal path for low THD and noise floor.

FM9 Mark II Turbo 

The FM9 boasts four DSP cores and is Fractal Audio’s most powerful floor unit they’ve ever produced, with this architecture placing it in a bit of a sweet spot between the Axe-Fx III and the FM3.

Featuring a whopping nine foot switches, the turbo version of the model expands on this already impressive feat with larger displays, which allow for twice the viewing area of the standard FM9. Apart from that though, this model looks essentially the same on the outside, but again takes it a step further with that extra 10 percent DSP when compared to the older model. 

The FM9 features a very impressive list of tech features, borrowing from the award-winning Axe-Fx III, just like the aforementioned FM3, with that industry-leading Cygnus X2 modelling, and what results is an extremely high-quality sonic performance and signal integrity.

According to Fractal Audio themselves, no other modelling technology delivers the same levels of accuracy or realism as the Cygnus.

The two amp blocks each have four channels that can run any of the 325+ vintage, modern and original models—featuring everything from clean, to crunchy, to modern distortion. 

The amount of tones on this bad boy is definitely one of the factors that makes it stand out too, with many that are useable without adjustment, and straight up gig ready right out of the box, which is a massive bonus. 

From accurate recreations of some of the all-time classics, to exciting originals, the FM9 is stacked with hundreds of incredible stomp box and studio effects. 

There are over 57 drive pedal models, and a large quantity of delays, choruses, flangers, and other modulation effects, as well as over 50 different reverb types from classic spring to real spaces and beyond, as well as multiple compressors, filters and EQs.

The FM9 has a number of inputs and outputs for whatever set up you need, the primary stereo output has both XLR and ¼” outs, with a headphone jack, and two additional stereo outputs (one XLR and one ¼”) can be used as aux outs or sends. 

All ¼” outs feature Fractal Audio’s “Humbuster” technology that greatly reduces the noise of any ground loops, and USB provides 8×8 computer audio and MIDI interaction with a DAW, Fractal-Bot and more.


Last but certainly not least, the latest in the line of legends just got a whole lot bigger.

The new turbo version of the Axe-Fx III packs a punch with an extra 25% DSP and proves why it’s the world’s most powerful processor for guitar, bass and other instruments too. 

The original model took the industry by storm, as it was the first device for musicians that put an industrial grade DSP into a consumer product, in turn allowing for an incredible amount of detail and realism that outshone its peers, which the Fx II then further expanded on. 

Two 1.25 GHz, floating-point “Keystone” DSPs make up the main audio engine, and they are the most powerful DSPs available, delivering over twice the performance of those found in the previous models.

To feed these, Fractal have coupled 4GB of PC1600 DDR3 memory, with hundreds of megabytes of flash memory. 

Did I mention it also features twice as much preset memory? 

Fractal Audio Axe Fx

This absolute weapon stores 1024 presets, with each being the equivalent to an entire rig—these can be as simple as just an amp alone, or as full on as a pedal board and multi-amp rack system.

Another new feature is the IPS display, which offers greater viewing angles and a livelier appearance, which has 30 times the resolution of the previous model.

Contrary to the mainly static displays seen in other products of a similar nature, the Axe-Fx III features moving knobs and graphs, allowing for more visual feedback.

Expanded inputs and outputs allow for more flexibility, it features two instrument inputs, one on the front and back with auto-switching capability (inserting a plug into the front input jack switches the unit to front input operation, while removing switches the unit to the rear). 

An extremely versatile FX processor, the Axe-Fx is able to reproduce the classic sounds of a number of stomp boxes, and Fractal Audio have expanded the number and types of effects available. 

For local Fractal Audio enquiries, visit Independent Music.