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FM Synthesis (techniques, anecdotes)


Guest skibby
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I wrote up an editor for it, which is just slightly less spartan than using those buttons.

 

About its midi buffer, yes it's small. This only turned out a problem for me when controlling parameters through sysex, so i had to regulate the data bandwidth in my editor program. After this had been taken care of, no problems at all.

 

 

what did you build it in? and what method did you use to regulate the data bandwidth? That is one of my side projects.

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Good info on the TX81Z! (I'll check the thing about Ceeland, just unearthed the cassette on Friday evening and listened to the A side before to go out ;-)

 

regarding its limitations and detailed specs, do someone know in what extent the DX11 is similar? Vintage Synth Explorer says it's "essentially" a keyboard version of the TX81Z so I guess there are some tiny differences.

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It has pitch envelope iirc, tx doesn't

 

I guess that brings a new world of possibilities, great thing to know.

 

It might have a built-in chorus too. I always get the DX11 and DX100 mixed up though. Also one or both of those two only have sine operators where the TX has 8 waveforms consisting of 4 different modifications of sine and triangle.

 

Yeah DX11 has a couple of onboard effects. Overall DX100 looks kind of basic in comparison.

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Yeah it has already been pointed out here that sine wave is the most interesting (or say "rich") wave to use for modulating the frequency of another. I've so much to learn with FM still that I guess I wouldn't play with other waves too soon.

 

The pitch envelope thing is different though, I'm sure it changes drastically the sonic possibilities for a FM synth, correct me if I'm wrong

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Yeah it has already been pointed out here that sine wave is the most interesting (or say "rich") wave to use for modulating the frequency of another. I've so much to learn with FM still that I guess I wouldn't play with other waves too soon.

 

The pitch envelope thing is different though, I'm sure it changes drastically the sonic possibilities for a FM synth, correct me if I'm wrong

I don't know about drastically but it's another thing to play with. I'd personally only use it for things like kicks, toms, and sort of koto sounds. I love the pitch envelope in FM7 but that's mostly because you can draw whatever you want in it and make things like acid arpeggios. Otherwise you can do simple pitch wobble with an LFO.

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yeah I was thinking about percussive stuff, but maybe also slow envelopes that you apply on modulator operators? could disturb the harmony of the sound though if a well defined tone is what you're after. Except maybe if the operator you're modulating has a very high pitch and a low volume? Well as I said I'm still at the entrance of FM world so let stop to speculate and go make a patch instead

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yeah I was thinking about percussive stuff, but maybe also slow envelopes that you apply on modulator operators? could disturb the harmony of the sound though if a well defined tone is what you're after. Except maybe if the operator you're modulating has a very high pitch and a low volume? Well as I said I'm still at the entrance of FM world so let stop to speculate and go make a patch instead

Only applying pitch envelopes to the modulators can be a really cool sound, especially if subtly applied because you can get nice fluttering effects as the phase goes in and out of sync. But I always thought that the pitch envelope in that synth only applied to the whole voice. And that's even the case in FM7. This is again the kind of thing I've assumed you needed modular software to do. I could be wrong for sure.

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what did you build it in? and what method did you use to regulate the data bandwidth? That is one of my side projects.

 

 

VB6 (I integrated the tx81z editor into my midiox interfaced sequencer program). The method is quite straightforward, after a message has been sent, wait a bit before sending the next one. So for example if you change a parameter by hand, don't send all values, just a couple at regular time intervals.

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Only applying pitch envelopes to the modulators can be a really cool sound, especially if subtly applied because you can get nice fluttering effects as the phase goes in and out of sync. But I always thought that the pitch envelope in that synth only applied to the whole voice. And that's even the case in FM7. This is again the kind of thing I've assumed you needed modular software to do. I could be wrong for sure.

PreenFM2 can do this :-)

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Only applying pitch envelopes to the modulators can be a really cool sound, especially if subtly applied because you can get nice fluttering effects as the phase goes in and out of sync. But I always thought that the pitch envelope in that synth only applied to the whole voice. And that's even the case in FM7. This is again the kind of thing I've assumed you needed modular software to do. I could be wrong for sure.


depending on the algorithm, different operators will serve as modulators, so basically what youre looking for is a unit that has individual pitch envelopes at the operator level. the fs1r has that.

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Ugh, thanks, my Monomachine lust has been flaring up lately. Might be time to sell my OT and pick one up.

even though the monomachine in some ways has an inferior external midi sequencer ability, the monomachine has something no other elektron gear has, really intuitive nicely designed single step chord input for external midi. Ive never used a sequencer that has something for poly note input this fluid/easy going

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Ugh, thanks, my Monomachine lust has been flaring up lately. Might be time to sell my OT and pick one up.

even though the monomachine in some ways has an inferior external midi sequencer ability, the monomachine has something no other elektron gear has, really intuitive nicely designed single step chord input for external midi. Ive never used a sequencer that has something for poly note input this fluid/easy going

 

Not to derail the thread too much, but that is definitely part of the draw for me. I thought you could only do this in the ensemble analog mode though? Still great, plus the fact that there seem to be JI-based ratio options for the chords. And can't you slide between them too?

 

The other sweet thing about the MnM is that you can parameter lock an entire LFO page which I find frigging mindblowing. With the OT you just get rate & depth for the 3 LFOs on one page. It's really easy to imagine making whole tracks in that thing when you can almost completely change the sound on every trigger. Maybe you run out of lock memory after a while though?

Anytime I listen to Quaristice, Buromaschinen, or Nikolas Lem I get the lust too. I should probably just get one to decompress from Max.

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doesn't the tx go down to 8hz in fixed mode? it's confusing setting the freq range but pretty sure 32 isn't the lowest.

Pretty sure you're right. I haven't turned mine on in a while but that's the number I remember too.

 

 

Yeah, you're right. I've confused numbers: you can't go lower 8Hz in 32Hz range. Pardon.

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one problem i have with fm is how to draw envelopes. the numbers dont seem to correspond to time in a way i understand. need spec sheets for the envelopes or the envelopes make no sense. then add the timescale controls. i mean what do the manuals for any of the yamaha fm synths say anything about how time is treated on these envelopes?

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one problem i have with fm is how to draw envelopes. the numbers dont seem to correspond to time in a way i understand. need spec sheets for the envelopes or the envelopes make no sense. then add the timescale controls. i mean what do the manuals for any of the yamaha fm synths say anything about how time is treated on these envelopes?

 

Yeah those 0-100 timings are not extremely intuitive but I find you get used of them after some time. It doesn't seem linear but anyway it can do very snappy as well as veeery long (or at least on the DX9 but I gues it's more or less the same with the other DXs)

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