Line 6 FM4 or Maxon AF9...?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Mad Subwoofer, Dec 18, 2002.

  1. You guys think I should buy a cheap used Filter modeler or spring for a damn fine AF9 re-issue? I know the Maxon box will be stellar and while the FM4 offers up many nifty features, it is still digital and that means creepy in my book. Still....some fairly cool tones I have found in the Line 6. I already own a terrific Mutron and a Korg G5 bass synth but if the Line 6 is unique enough I suppose I could justify buying one (my pal has a used one for me if I want it.) The Maxon however will be wet and squelchy and perfect. So....which one you think?
  2. Duke of Prunes

    Duke of Prunes Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Southborough, MA
    I'd go with the line 6. I haven't used it yet, but I've heard that the AF9 sounds a lot like a Mutron III, which I know you have. I think the line 6 might broaden your arsenal a little more. If you didn't already have the mutron and a ridiculous amount of other filters, then the AF9 would be the way to go.
  3. bassackwards

    bassackwards Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    I kind of like the new Digitech Bass-synth-wah better than the Line6. You might want to try it out if your going to go the digital route. It's a lot cheaper. Even though it doesn't do nearly as much, I found it more usable and easier to tweak. I wouldn't get the Maxon, it sounds like a weaker version of the Mutron and it's very expensive for what you get. I've got the plastic Maxon "Fire Blade" version of the AF9 and it's got the same guts, just in a plastic housing. It sounds better on guitar than bass. I'm partial to the Qtron+ because you can create many unique sounds by putting different effects in it's loop and it retains an excellent low-end.
  4. Cool...thanks you guys; good perspectives. I guess the irony is that I DO have both a Mutron AND a ridiculous amount of other filters.....just haven't really found "the" one, you know what I mean? I thought way back that the Agent 00Funk (you sell that ok Duke?) was going to be IT for sure but it ended up being to fiddely for me, kinda what I hear about the Q-Tron+? I think you are right about that FX loop tho' bassackwards...what is your experiance? You may also be right about the AF9 being a better guitar rather than bass filter. Not considering the Digitech at this point although I will when I see one. I am thinking "high-end" with these paticular boxes.

    I can score this Line 6 incl. the foot pedal for maybe around $155 usd which seems stupid cheap. Yeah, digital is evil but so far both Mutron models work well and that Q-filter is like having an Alembic SF-2 or Filter Factory in the way it can blend in a deep subharmonic with your original signal. I could never walk away from my vintage 'Tron and my DOD FX25 does the dub thang like no other box....any decent filter is going to cost me at least $175-$200.

    Ok...I'll rephrase this.

    FM4: 1)very useful and cool exp. pedal control of all parameters. 2) Truly unique and definitely funky; always a good reason to score a filter 3) stereo filter. 4) Cheap! 5) Digital. Boo.

    Q-Tron+: 1)Classic design 2) Unique and cool, designed by Mike Beigel! 3) FX loop 4) Great sound 5) Too fussy. Don't need another Agent 00Funk (Too hard to find "your" sound.)

    EH Bass Micro Synth: 1) Definitely a classic..has stood the test of time. 2) A million fat and greasy analog sounds; really something I could use. Better synth tones than the FM4 by far. 3) No presets but that's ok really. 4) Cheap EH build and expensive. 5) Bootzilla has one!

    Thanks you guys....serious GAS attack here so I appreciate yer help. For referance, I use a Korg G5 for synth tones, two 'Trons original and re-issue, a DOD FX25 and an EBS that I don't use much at all and could stand to replace if somthing better came along. Seems like allot but each does something unique. If I can find a new one that is distinctive enough..I'd buy it. Filters. Love 'em.
  5. bassackwards

    bassackwards Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    I have to say, I really didn't want to like the Digitech, but I played with one for over an hour and I ended up liking it better than the FM4. Even though the FM4 does more stuff, I thought the Digitech Synth-wah had better more analog-like sounds and is easier to tweak a usuable sound out of (for me, anyway). I'm sort of anti-digital (not completely, but I favor analog) but I gotta admit I'd probably buy the FM4 at that price you mentioned if it included the foot controller. I don't find the Q-tron+ difficult at all. I think some people don't like it because it does have the potential to make some horrendous noise, if set wrong. You gotta love the effects loop, though. I've tried everything in the effects loop and the only things I don't like in the loop are phasers and other filters, or anything that can cause an inconsistant volume level because it messes with the way the Q-tron envelope works. Flangers, lite choruses, octave stuff, and of course distortions sound utterly awsome in the Qtron+. You get endless possibilities and can acheive very synth-like sounds. With a synth, you're stuck with the one type of distortion that's built in to the synth. With the Q+, you can change between all your favorite fuzzes, distortions and, ODs. Oh yeah, it's also good to run a compressor in the Q-loop to fine tune the envelope opening. I like the Q-tron+:) .
  6. yeah...that loop sounds totally great. I 'spose if I can score the FM4 for cheap I'll go for it. I know the Digitech will be good, I am already sold from what I have heard on it. I just don't want another redundant filter.
    Duke and I both owned a very well built and designed Chunk Systems Agent 00Funk; While it was a fantastic sounding box it's many variables made it difficult to find and hang onto a sound that would work from night to night IMO. This is what concerns me about the Q-Tron+. Too many knobs.....too deep a box maybe? I have heard this a few times. You seem to dig yours though? Tell me more....ez to use or no?
  7. bassackwards

    bassackwards Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    I think it's easy. It's only got 2 more switches than the AF9 (boost and response speed) so, it really shouldn't be too intimidating. It should be easy for any filter junky to get a good sound out of. You do have to be a little exact on the peak and gain knob settings but those are usually the only 2 knobs I ever touch. Sometimes I switch the mode knob between lowpass and mix. But that's about it.
  8. Actually...I haven't had the best of luck with ANY filter having an attack or reponse knob. I just like my playing style to dictate how fast or slow the filter reponds. You can certainly get some nifty SPFX with one; I use my EBS as an "attack delay" which is very synthy. I love the simplicity of my Mutron's response is always smooth and predictable. I need consistency, not a filter that I have to "second guess" all the time. Just nit-picking, I know...
  9. bassackwards

    bassackwards Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    That's cool. To each his own. I'm a knob-tweaking-mental-masturbator so my tastes are going to be different. I just recomend trying one with different stuff in the loop if you get a chance.
  10. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I just picked up an early '80's Ibanez UE 303 B multieffects pedal, which features an AF9 plus a compressor and chorus/flanger, all in one unit. I think the AF9 circuit has the best sound of all the filter/synths I've tried. I own a BassBalls and a DOD FX25B, and I've played through the E-H Micro Bass Synth and QTron+; the reissue MuTron; Boss T-Wah, Bass Synth, and Autowah; and the Digitech Synth Bass Wah. I haven't tried the FM4 yet.

    The UE 303 B/AF9 is the first filter I've used that doesn't kill the bottom end. I haven't used it in a band yet but at home it sounds plenty deep and clear. When I run my Boss Bass Overdrive and Octave pedals into the front I can get tones that are very reminiscent of the E-H Micro Synth.

    The compressor is great for evening out transients, and there's an FX loop between the compressor and chorus/flanger. The chorus doesn't have the lushness of my Boss CE-2 and the flanger isn't as weird and watery as my Boss BF-2, but they both sound good on bass and provide a slight volume boost when engaged. The whole thing is powered by a built-in AC cord and is small and light. I remember seeing Tony Levin in an ad for the UE 303 B back in the '80s.

    I like the versatility and programmability of digital FX (I've thought about getting a Boss GT-6B or Digitech BNX3) but the funky warmth of a good analog filter is hard to beat. The Ibanez has helped me get some sounds that have been in my head for years, and its dynamic sensitivity is remarkable. You should be able to find a UE 303 B for about the price of a new Maxon AF9-it's worth checking out.
  11. Duke of Prunes

    Duke of Prunes Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Southborough, MA
    If I had $155, I'd go for the line 6. It's definitely unique and for that price, very worth it.
    Another thing I'm going to look into is Rastop Designs. He hand makes all the pedals and it looks like he's willing to do just about anything. I think stevekim was having him make a ring modulator, which also looks cool. Check 'em out.
    And by the way, I did sell the Chunk. ;)
  12. pudgefactor


    Mar 28, 2002
    Depends what you are looking for, but I'd recommend the AF9. I've tried out both several
    times. I think the Line 6 FM4 is sounds decent and has a lot of options, but I think the AF9 is an
    awesome sounding filter. It easily beats the FM4 as a LPF, HPF, and BPF.

    I guess it can't do 3/4's of what the FM4 can do, but it does much better what they can both do.
    Also, I'm biased cause I didn't find most of the sounds on the FM4 that useful for my tastes of playing.
  13. Yeah, I am having a hard time justifying this FM4. I like the Mutron emulations but I already have those. Seems to be a split on whether ther AF9 is good for bass or not....
    But those RASTOP A Super Divider and that EV filter..what a combo that would be. Anyone try any of his stuff? Sounds great.

    Sound bite;
  14. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I've got the old Ibanez, and for some reason it doesn't wow me. It's very good, but I still gas for other filters. I probably won't sell it. I'm using the Boss SYB-3 right now. It sucks, but I found 1 tone I like on it and it cost a lot so I'm gonna use it!
  15. Duke of Prunes

    Duke of Prunes Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Southborough, MA
    The thought of making my bass sound like a Clavinet makes me giddy. I think I want all of his pedals.
  16. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I've been using the Line 6 for awhile now.....there are alot of nifty tones in there........155.00 bucks is a good deal too.
  17. bassackwards

    bassackwards Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    This is a post on another forum from Zachary Vex. Z.Vex is the maker and creator of the Seek Wah which is modeled on the FM4. I just thought it was funny. Let me just say that I think a lot of his pedals are over-rated (especially the Wooley Mammoth bass fuzz) but he has some OK points:

    "Re: Line 6 FM4 vs a handful of individual boutique filters
    their rip-off of my seek-wah not only doesn't sound like a seek-wah, it's not even adjustable. you have to use the factory presets... some dude in a suit decided how your "seek-wah" settings were going to be set for your song. everyone who uses the fm-4 unlicensed illegal rip-off of my trademarked, copyrighted seek-wah is getting exactly the same sound.

    the seek-wah allows you to adjust each wah setting (all 8 of them) to an infinite number of possible combinations, which is what you need to make a seek-wah work with your songs. the lyin' 666 ripoff doesn't allow you to adjust squat.

    see, what they did was steal my name and product name, and use my history and my creativity to launch their stupid piece of offshore sh*t. they didn't even steal the sound of my pedal right. they didn't want the sound of my pedal... you have to understand how lyin' 666 works... they only want to use the good names of established manufacturers to sell their battery-eating pieces of offshore sh*t... they could give a flying f*ck if their products sound like anything at all. they ride on everyone's cape. and their justification? i've heard it straight from the president of lyin' 666's mouth (mr. mensch): "our lawyers say it's ok." yeah, sure, mensch... it's ok to build ripoff products when you can manufacture them offshore for a finished cost of about $15, promote them with glossy magazine ads featuring the good names of manufacturers you are stealing from without permission or compensation, and sell them for $250 fooling people into believing that these so-called "models" actually sound something like the real thing.

    there's a special place in hell reserved for mensch."
  18. bassackwards

    bassackwards Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    ....and then Mr. Vex continued in another post about why he doesn't sue:

    "do you know where their money came from?

    do you know how big their company is?

    and mine? do you know how small it is?

    if i compared myself to their company, simply in terms of manpower, and we stacked people on top of people, i'd be about one story high. and they'd be exactly as tall as the world trade centers before they fell.

    i won't play their game. but i won't hold my tongue, either. mr. mensch stepped in something, and i'm not going to stop saying that it stinks. and he should leave the room, forever.

    the room being the world of guitar gear, of course.

    he belongs in an enron-type company. he'd do well there.

    hell. mensch will fry and fry and fry in hell. i will dance on that man's grave. i'll kick the stone over."

    Please forgive me mods, you gotta admit this is some priceless s**t!
  19. Sheesh...what a grumpy Gus. Think I'll have to buy it now just to spite him.
  20. bassackwards

    bassackwards Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Ha Ha! Maybe if Mr. Vex didn't charge 2 kidneys and a liver for his pedals, he wouldn't have to worry about Line 6!