Help me decide - 5150 Iconic or Fractal FM3

PowerTube44

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Okay, so I've been on the fence about the 5150 Iconic half stack for a few months. Now there's another monkey wrench to toss in the works. I've long been an admirer of Fractal gear. I've never been willing to spend the money on an Axe-FX, one reason being that I haven't been able to plug into one and try it. But the videos sound incredible.

I'm looking at the Fractal FM3. It has the same sound technology as the Axe-FX in a smaller package. The videos I've heard sound amazing, but there is ZERO chance I'll get to actually try one anytime soon.

I've tried the 5150 Iconic, but I'm not completely sold on it. It can nail the "brown" sound, but I want more versatility than that.

My choices are:

5150 Iconic half stack

-or-

Fractal FM3 across my Marshall JCM 2000 half stack in 4-cable method.

The Fractal stuff, to my ears, blows away most other modeling I've ever heard. I'm sure I can get very decent early EVH tones out of it.

What do you all think?
 

PelliX

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Try the Fractal, man. Without that, you have no comparison. Neither really tickle my fancy, but I'd be learning towards the Fractal myself!
 

PowerTube44

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Try the Fractal, man. Without that, you have no comparison. Neither really tickle my fancy, but I'd be learning towards the Fractal myself!
That's very unlikely to happen. You have to order directly from Fractal and there's not a store I can go to and try one. I definitely wouldn't want the hassle of buying and returning one, either.

So I think the 5150 will be the one. I may decide later on down the road to treat myself to an FM3, though.
 

Torren61

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I saw Dweezil Zappa at a relatively small venue and he was using the Fractal and he sounded great. And why the 5150? The reviews I've seen comparing a SLO 30 with the 5150 is that the SLO sounds much better.
 

PowerTube44

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I saw Dweezil Zappa at a relatively small venue and he was using the Fractal and he sounded great. And why the 5150? The reviews I've seen comparing a SLO 30 with the 5150 is that the SLO sounds much better.
I haven't found one comparing the 5150 Iconic to an SLO. Do you have a link?
 

saxon68

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FM3 is awesome. I got one local from FB marketplace, the dude had the original shipping cartons and everything, he was only selling to buy the big rack unit, well recoup some costs since he’d already bought it.

I paid $900?
 

ricksdisconnected

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tough choice here.
the iconic demos ive seen all sound amazingly great.
te frac is amazing as well.

the iconic is yet another amp to chase a few more tones.
the frac would put a end to your pedal needs for a loooong time.

the iconic seems to kinda have its own thing going on
but the frac you can take most of your tone from amp to amp.

i know a few guys here in Atl that when the FX II came out they sold
all their amps because they said they really didnt need them at this point.
 

Jason Funk

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A real amp is always nice… but I loved the Fractal FM3. I thought Helix, AT5, etc were great but I was seriously amazed by the FM3 the first chord I strummed. Amazing. How organic it was was incomparable with the others. I sold mine to buy the FM9 and that’s right when the chip problems started… so still waiting lol. I think the only drawback of the FM3 was the lack of versatility due to only having three stomps. Best of luck on your decision, I’m sure you’ll be pleased either way.
 

PowerTube44

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Yeah, I see that the FM9 is still on back order. One thing that's influencing my decision is that the FM3 is the "entry level" as far as Fractal goes. I'm sure it's nice, but I've seen some reports that it doesn't have quite the processing power that might be needed at some point. If the FM9 were available right now, I "might" consider upping the budget and getting one.

But I also have to toss this out. I'm at the point where I'm tired of constantly tweaking devices. The Boss GT-100 isn't in the league of Fractal, I know, but even with it, I've spent countless hours making fine adjustments and dialing in tones. Sometimes you just want to plug in and play.
 

saxon68

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If you’re one of those guys with a bunch of pedals usually then you may run out of DSP.
Personally, I use a digitech drop pedal and the FM3 and I don’t feel constrained. I’m not usually doing a ton of effects, and They’ve got addon units to add another 6 or 12 buttons if you need / want.
 

Moony

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Apples and Oranges to me.

The EVH Iconic is a budget friendly hybrid "real" amp.
The Fractal FM3 is a modeling amp device.

The EVH may hold up its value a bit better talking about 10+ years (if it lasts that long, don't know about the built quality).
It's plug and play.
If you've already tried it and had the feeling that it lacks flexibility I would skip it.
 

Michael Roe

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Get the FM3 and just run it into your FX return of your JCM 2000.
I have the Axe FX 3. I was going to get the FM initially but ended up selling a piece of gear and just took the plunge for the big guy.
Best purchase I have ever made.
Like you said, you have heard them and they sound great......They DO!
The FM3 is a little stream lined and that's what made me go with the AF3. I didn't want to go down the road and regret not getting the "Best Modeler on the planet".
If the FM9 were available that would be a much better choice over the FM3.
The nice thing about the Fractal gear is that the resale value is very high.
 

ibmorjamn

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I played the I conic 40w combo for a few minutes and was impressed. However I didn’t spend enough time to try to get any other tones it just sounded good to me.

I have never played the Axe effects but the prices make them out of reach to me unless I was making money with it.
 

PowerTube44

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Apples and Oranges to me.

The EVH Iconic is a budget friendly hybrid "real" amp.
The Fractal FM3 is a modeling amp device.

The EVH may hold up its value a bit better talking about 10+ years (if it lasts that long, don't know about the built quality).
It's plug and play.
If you've already tried it and had the feeling that it lacks flexibility I would skip it.
I love the core tone, and in fact, I love its core tone better than my Marshall. I'll do effects through a Boss GT-100, most likely.
 

PowerTube44

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I think it'll be the 5150. I love modeling and the FM3 is one of the better ones I've heard, based on the videos. But to me, where modeling really shines is still in effects. The amp modeling is very close, but not quite. With most modelers I've heard or played, a couple of amps will be totally nailed, while the rest sound like a halfhearted effort.

Let me offer an analogy. I can impersonate Elvis, like a lot of people, just closely enough so that you'll know who I'm trying to impersonate. But it's certainly not good enough to fool anyone into thinking it's the real deal.
 

PowerTube44

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What about selling the Marshall and replacing it with the Iconic then?
If, and I stress IF, I find after a few months that the Marshall never gets turned on again, I might go that route.

But I somehow doubt it, and I especially doubt that I would part with the 1960A cab.
 
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