FM Synthesis

Whats everyone know about FM synthesis? Which synths are your favorite? Any techniques? I’m pretty versed with fm synthesis and have some tips to share just want someone to start the conversation.

I use sytrus. Don’t do too much with it mostly just for a sub or Reese bass. I normally just turn nobs till something works. I understand how the little modulation grid works and all but I can’t get the effect filters to do anything

1 BigUp

Yeah I use Ableton but Sytrus seems awesome, I like how it can do Ring modulation and FM. That matrix is super confusing though. Sytrus and Operator are nice cause you can draw in the waveform with the 64 harmonics. Fm8 is awesome cause of the waveforms they give you and honestly thats it in my opinion. I have trouble recreating the formant waveforms from Fm8 to Operator which is what gives that solid tick that a lot of people are doing here in Fm8. In Sytrus you can drag in a single cycle wave and have it recreate it to the best of its abilities, super sick. Hold on still figuring out how to upload samples to here.

Something I’ve found beneficial, although might sounds redundant from the other posts. Literally experiment so much to the point where you have tried every different ratio list for each algorithm with different bands or kinds of distortion with other effects. Something I’ve found to work magic with fm synthesis is Chorus.

The thing I’ve noticed is that every FM synth is a little bit different. I notice that FM8 is a generally stronger in the high end than Operator, but Operator has a lot of benefits, including generally low CPU usage.

I find the matrix to be pretty easy. It’s just a grid and whatever lines up modulates that so if I take a sine and a saw in one and 2 and turn on 2 in row one they mix. If I turn on 1 1 some funky stuff happens with the sine wave cuz its modulating itself. Turn on 2s volume and I have a sine and a saw wave at the same time. That’s about as deep as my understanding goes :stuck_out_tongue:

Some general things i’ve learned (some obvious and some not)

  1. Squares have odd harmonics 1 3 5 7 and so on and saws have all of them 1 2 3 4 5 +.
  2. The space between harmonics is what gives hollowness or the ticks of a saw.
  3. So the carrier frequency determines if you want a hollow sound or a saw style one with the spacing of the harmonics. Usually you want more than just a sin carrier.
  4. Ratios for carriers vs. Modulators. 1:2 1:4 1:8 1:16 1:32 1:64 are all octaves and will produce hollow sounds and/or screetch sounds prominently with distortion.
  5. Instead of layering two octaves of my bass I duplicate it in an instrument rack and just take only the carrier frequency and jump it usually from 1-4 depending on the timbre I want.
  6. You really only need 3 operators to achieve a high quality sound if you can paint in harmonics in, the 4th stack just changes either vowel movement or some other timbre (not for all cases). Crossfading B/D is always better than just giving B’s volume a pulse too.
  7. The ratios between the perfect octaves all vary in the sense that there are double the amount of possible ratios every time you pass an octave. Meaning you can have dissonant partial hollow partial grime saw tick sounds and the timbre possibilities only go up as you climb octave. (example: Rather than starting with a ratio of 1 start with 4 cause then you have 3 different transitional timbres rather than well technically none if you start at 1 because 2 is the next.)
  8. Always try different algorithms and ratios while you have distortion on and keep changing the style or band of the distortion and try different distortions with the same algorithm.
    Sorry for this little rant also came here to organize my thoughts and get opinions.

I use a TX81z.

I like to use Abletons operator mapping as a guide to experiment in FM8 otherwise, I keep just making the same modulation schemes over and over. I figure they are good systematic starting points.

1 BigUp

Thanks a ton man, great advice.

I should start using Operator more. I’ve had it for years and have used it, but I haven’t gone DEEP into it. It sounds good. I will as soon as I finish this degree.

Yeah the rock amp plug in is one that I usually leave it on while I fuck with FM. Just to hear how it sounds fully distorted. You can get a lot out of simple waves and tasteful placement of your distortion and eqing in the chain. I’m sure that’s been explained here before.
Let me know what you think it’s about 75-80 percent complete. Bear with me for some of the repetitiveness also it’s not really the bro steppyness that I’ve found popular in this site but everyone seems pretty open here

rip the waveforms from fm8 and use them in sytrus

yeah man great work that’s awesome :smiley: You should try to finish that :smiley: