Fractal Audio already has very decent presets in the FM3, which is one of its strong points. Previous versions of Axe products had some give and take among the critics, when it came to the presets and tone quality, but few are complaining about Fractal’s latest offerings. Consequently, when you get presets that sound even better (more polished, a greater 3D result and they cut through the mix better), then there’s not much to complain about. Fremen Presets offer exactly that, and I want to address the Acoustic Simulation (€ 12.99) and Rock Mental (€ 25) packs specifically. There is a demo for each product below, although each is merely a sample of all the offerings within each pack.
First, all the presets and cab IR dumping are easy to do and straight-forward (and Fremen Presets provides an instructional video on those procedures if uncertain). Second, there is enough variety among the presets, each with several renditions (scenes) that there’s something for everyone. Third, unless I missed it, there does not seem to be any acoustic simulation on the FM3, of its 300+ patches. There’s certainly some very nice sounding cleans, including a super glassy Eric Johnson preset, but nothing premade to make your electric sound like an acoustic – and this was the primary interest and reason for acquiring that pack.
The Acoustic Simulation pack comes with 111 presets (and 110 IRs), created with a host of different guitars and pickups in order to address what would accommodate most musicians, including referencing five different acoustic guitar sounds. The result is multiple presets using a specific IR from the acoustic sources, and with each preset having six scenes (neutral, scooped and high, detuned, chorus, delay and enhanced). I did not try every guitar I owned and with every preset, but thought using a piezo on a piezo preset sounded quite decent, and split humbuckers were good in their own right. However, playing single coils via a Strat-like guitar was surprisingly nice sounding and authentic.
Now, as stated, the FM3 already has excellent sounding modern rock and metal sounds, and so, this pack was more out of curiosity and how much better can they sound than the stock presets. Fremen Presets not only sound superior, in that they cut through with more detail, but the engineer made a point to have them sound different from those on the FM3. In other words, a Fremen Preset may be for a MESA/Boogie amp, but it was tweaked enough (EQ, etc.) so that it has a different flavor than the preset on the FM3. This is useful, since I could tweak the FM3 preset if desired, yet have a completely different sound with the same amp through the Fremen Preset. Some of these presets were created and based on some of the developer’s favorite guitar players, including Vai, Plini, Townsend, etc. This set includes 65 presets and 29 user cabs, all with multiple scenes, e.g., rhythm, crunch and lead. The speaker sims are of high sufficient quality that you can use them direct to a mixing desk or FRFR monitors, etc.
Overall, these presets are very cost effective and professionally done (very clear with mud removed), equaling the quality of the ‘artist’ presets offered through Fractal (viz., Steve Stevens, Devin Townsend and Pete Thorn). And so, Fremen Presets knows tone, as can be heard in the accompany demos. I’m new to the FM3, and so, my opinion is based on comparing the Fremen Prests to that of the stock presets in the FM3, and not relative to other third-party presets (which I have not experienced). Nonetheless, if you think the FM3 presets sound good, you will be very pleased with Fremen.