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FM Synthesis (techniques, anecdotes)


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You can test some 2 OP FM-strategies in VA synths a'la Nord Lead 2. Synth1 for example. To know sweet spot C:M ratios etc.
Also Sean Booth somewhere mentioned about modulating sine osc with pwm osc — it can lead to casio cz style resonant sounds (without any resonant filters).

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This thread made me finally try Dexed. I hated the experience so much that it kind of made me want to get rid of my Volca FM.

Some nice FM acid in this one :     

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In SURGE VSTi you can use its 2OP FM and 3OP FM oscs. You can do decent donk bass with them and also whole SURGE's engine has FM for it's 3osc + filter feedback algos so..

https://surge-synthesizer.github.io/

try it its free and open source

Basically it is Microwave XT clone

Edited by kausto
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On a SND Atavism binge. No matter how much I've learnt about FM, I've yet to patch anything barely similar to their shapeshifting high-pitched, super sharp bells / chords. 

All FM8, right ? Still obsessed by these sounds, would love to crack the code.

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 Remember reading it's a Yamaha FS1R they're using on this album. ( correct me if I'm wrong)

Edited by d-a-m-o
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regarding the FM part I would say yes both are 8 operators fm synth, FS1R bonuses are formants and various filters.

edit : wait is FM8 a 8 operators fm synth ? I'm not sure about that. Anyway it's probably way more flexible and easy to program than the FS1R

Edited by d-a-m-o
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On 7/8/2018 at 9:04 PM, Nil said:

I'm now seriously considering saving for a Digitone. I'm a software guy, and it's weird how I'm more appealed to digital hardware than analogue synths... while I guess I could do it all in the box, right?

Digitone is awesome. They did a great job massively simplifying FM while still keeping a lot of the versality that makes FM appealing in the first place.

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1 hour ago, kuniklo said:

Tetsu Inoue's "Inland" album is a masterpiece of FM synthesis. Recommended if you can find a copy.

Listening to it right now, absolutely lush.

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Regarding Mark Fell, from FACTmag interview, aside FS1R:

For example, I had a Yamaha TX81Z, which uses four-operator FM synthesis and had a few quirks to it. There was this mode, which rather than being multitimbral was like a multitimbral setup, but every time you press the note to progress to the next sound in the series of sounds that you specify. So every time you played a note it could produce not just a series of notes but a series of sound changes as well. So I just did loads of work with that, setting up simple sequences of sound changes and note changes that would go in and out of phase and things. That became one of the kinds of techniques that I still use today.

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For some mysterious reasons I can't find his paper / thesis documenting some of his compositional process (in which MF shares some patches too). While looking for it, I came across that https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/structure-and-synthesis (preordering soonish).

My previous post(s) weren't that much about the gear as much as the technique itself. I'm not even sure that the synth is that relevant here. I'd genuinely love to get in the ballpark of these sounds, not as an end-result but as a starting point to further (possibly vastly different) experimentation. 

FM with different waveforms than sinewaves is trivial, so is filtering modulator... so I'm much more curious about ratios etc. I gegnuinely want to understand 🙂

Pretty sure Razor / Lazerbassq could go in same sonic territories, but I can't help feeling like I'm a Gabor Lazar copycat whenever I use these.

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I think those SND chords - at least in the Atavism track you quoted - are more about them being 7ths and 9ths (or higher intervals), and also their shape like inverted or something, that gives them this distinct timbre, rather than relying on some specific FM algorithm or ratio to produce the partials. I hope I'm making sense here

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You're definitely making sense 🙂 I came to similar conclusion a few days ago. For instance, I had some success with bandpassed PWM chords with such intervals and fast staccato, getting strong SND vibes.
There's still something in the sound itself, these super fast moving harmonics for instance, I've yet to reproduce. Pretty sure it's about the craft rather than the tech 😉

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1 hour ago, Nil said:

You're definitely making sense 🙂 I came to similar conclusion a few days ago. For instance, I had some success with bandpassed PWM chords with such intervals and fast staccato, getting strong SND vibes.
There's still something in the sound itself, these super fast moving harmonics for instance, I've yet to reproduce. Pretty sure it's about the craft rather than the tech 😉

hope you'll demonstrate that for us at some point!

fell's fm classic sounds are really sweet but i'm still more intrigued and puzzled by his Ten types of elsewhere album! how tf he made those glassy sounds?! 

Edited by xox
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@IOS I can record something yeah, though it'll be more of a proof of concept thingie than a proper piece of music. It's sheer curiosity really, I would see no point in doing a SND impersonation 😉

@xox genuinely asking : if you have a more precise example I'm all ears. 

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10 minutes ago, Nil said:

 

@xox genuinely asking : if you have a more precise example I'm all ears. 

the incompeleteness tracks... i suppose it's a sample manipulation but i've never heard it elsewhere (ten types of...). sounds like a combination of granular, formant and comb filtering at the same time 

 

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Reminds me of old Leafcutter John’s records. Granular + comb filtering might definitely get you there. Plus, the right recording to boot with :)

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On 2/15/2021 at 6:55 PM, IOS said:

^^ Correct yeah, I remember Mark Fell mentioning that in an interview.

I saw them live at the medicine bar when they supported Ae at the time of this album and it looked like they had done the whole gig from a single Monomachine - sounded ace but I remember them walking back upstairs and stopping chatting to Rob carrying the said synth and nothing else. Wasn’t even in a flight case 😎

might have been a machinedrum though and I could have been mistaken. The kick through the album does sound very Elektron....

The sound system at the Medbar was awesome though. It had the perfect setup where too loud to be useable was still crystal clear, so this material was really at home. Some DJ sets got tiring but live acts in particular sounded probably as close to how the artists wanted their work to be heard - also live performances are probably a bit more concerned with the levels etc so once sound checked they stick with it rather than trying to crank it up.

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47 minutes ago, Grain Bastard said:

I saw them live at the medicine bar when they supported Ae at the time of this album and it looked like they had done the whole gig from a single Monomachine - sounded ace but I remember them walking back upstairs and stopping chatting to Rob carrying the said synth and nothing else. Wasn’t even in a flight case 😎

might have been a machinedrum though and I could have been mistaken. The kick through the album does sound very Elektron....

The sound system at the Medbar was awesome though. It had the perfect setup where too loud to be useable was still crystal clear, so this material was really at home. Some DJ sets got tiring but live acts in particular sounded probably as close to how the artists wanted their work to be heard - also live performances are probably a bit more concerned with the levels etc so once sound checked they stick with it rather than trying to crank it up.

Didn’t understand sorry

Snd used a monomachine? That was the 2008 tour supporting Ae i guess?

Rob was carrying whose monomachine? Ae’s or snd’s? 

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1 hour ago, xox said:

Didn’t understand sorry

Snd used a monomachine? That was the 2008 tour supporting Ae i guess?

Rob was carrying whose monomachine? Ae’s or snd’s? 

Lol.

yeah 2008, I thought SND used just a Monomachine as when they finished they took it off stage and on the way back to the VIP they stopped and chatted to Rob - Rob didn’t touch it, he was Monomachineless at the time.

 

could well have been an MD though as I said. I should have referred to Elektron box.

 

At the time I thought it was feasible as even though I really liked the set and Album it is quite minimal and probably didn’t need a ton of equipment to produce....

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On 2/20/2021 at 8:00 PM, xox said:

the incompeleteness tracks... i suppose it's a sample manipulation but i've never heard it elsewhere (ten types of...). sounds like a combination of granular, formant and comb filtering at the same time 

 

Leaked production photo:

Spoiler

image.png

 

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