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FM8 Demystified

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Mathematics
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189 posts since 10 Sep, 2015, from You haven't unlocked this character yet

Postby Mathematics; Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:46 pm FM8 Demystified

Original Post: Lately, I've changed gears in genre and started producing Dubstep and EDM for the practice. Does anyone have some really great free resources that you have come across, for sound design with FM8. The sounds I'm looking at making are primarily for Dubstep but open to cinematic sound effects as well.

EDIT: I've consolidated the resources here at the top, to make this a useful thread for the clueless and those interested. I'll try to maintain it as long as I can. So far, here are the best FREE resources: (I was going to include paid but those companies can pay for their own marketing...besides, I've discovered a super easy way to craft a great reference library using FM8, an oscilloscope that can display a static wavetable, and a spectrum analyzer...I explain how down below on this same post)

BOOKS
http://www.loscha.com/scans/FM_Synthesi ... ations.pdf

VIDEOS (Tutorials)
https://youtu.be/vMxqeGErSzA
https://youtu.be/XLPkS547kQU
https://youtu.be/Rw9peWUkP_Y
https://youtu.be/oT8HPEdr00M
https://youtu.be/1p675bxQwFg

VIDEOS (FM8 usage and specific sounds/ideas)
https://youtu.be/N5Y0N5BbCqo
https://youtu.be/36c-DMf9Wjk

PATCHES (free)
http://hsjp.eu/downloads/Dexed/Dexed_cart_1.0.zip

MY SUMMARIZED TIP (if you have no workflow/no idea)
I can say, it's almost ideal to use an o-scope and spec-a while first starting out. I used MMultiAnalyzer from Melda Productions but you can use whatever free spectrum analyzer and oscilloscope you want but the o-scope MUST have the ability to display a static wavetable of the signal, not a scrolling wavetable. Let me explain why I suggest these two tools: I notice that I pay attention in maintaining a modulated signal with less random spikes in the wavetable, as it appears in the o-scope, when I increase the amplitude of the modulator(s). This allows me to find limits faster and discover whether I need to invert the phase of the modulator signal or reverse of the limits of the modulator such that it goes from max to min instead of min to max. This gives me better results and there's less guessing as to the quality of the output signal. The spec-a is used to see where there's a buildup of harmonics...again, for quality control check. So here's my basic workflow:

With FM8 on an init patch, have the spec-a open, play a tone, and as you add modulators, map it's amplitude adjustment to a knob or slider. Look at the spec-a to see what harmonics are introduced then switch to the o-scope to see if the signal is strong and smooth while you sweep through the amplitude change. Keep repeating this for modulators in series, parallel, and feedback. What you want to watch out for is noise, and static wavetable images that you would have a hard time drawing by hand...shall I say, a signal for which the function that best approximates the complex curve. In other words, a wavetable that you can't make out an overall shape to. In other words...if you blur your vision, you still can't make out a shape. Of course, you could very well use your ears but I find it hard to discern the quality of the signal from just the sound alone. Another thing to watch out for, is to maintain a clean morphing shape throughout the sweep, with no static during the morphing, unless that is the sound you want but I find that noise in between frames to be a low quality patch. For you Dubstep guys, I guess the final limits of the sweep could end up on a wavetable frame that ends on noise but again, if that's what you want then by all means, have at it. A final patch, I consider good, would be one that when you morph or sweep through the amplitude of modulation, is such that every frame is one you could interpret the basic shape from with no noise throughout. That's it for my 2 cents. Again, I'm not audio design engineer but I have studied audio because it was inherent to my field of study in math and physics; thus, excuse my lay terminology.

One last suggestion...save your money for gear or plugins, not presets. While deconstructing presets is helpful in seeing how a sound could be made, you'll quickly find a variation of that sound can be made several ways. I'm not discouraging spending money to have a small library of presets that you could use as starting points for creating new sounds, because I'm guilty of that. I'm merely advising you to hold off before giving into the greed.


Other tips from KVR members:
yul: "experiment with only two operators routed to the output..."
Mrj1nx: "The easy/morph page is gold. One way to think of FM is additive, the pitch of the modulator shines through, so to imitate a sound, look for the biggest peaks in the original sound and have a modulator be at each spot...What I did was to deconstruct a few patches that helped a lot. The unison with spread is also gold."


Contributors To Resources:
sfxsound3
twolegstoneworks
Chris-S
and me, Mathematics
Last edited by Mathematics on Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:36 am, edited 8 times in total.
yul
KVRian
 
784 posts since 26 Sep, 2002, from Montreal, CANADA

Postby yul; Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:04 pm Re: FM8 Demystified

My recommendation is skip the tutorials and experiment with only two operators routed to the output... Then maybe youtube but that would be after step 1.. good luck
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Mathematics
KVRist
 
189 posts since 10 Sep, 2015, from You haven't unlocked this character yet

Postby Mathematics; Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:53 pm Re: FM8 Demystified

That is a good suggestion. Interestingly enough, I started that way and quickly progressed to using all the operators and some advanced routing and macro mapping. I just want to see if anyone has specific resources they've come across that greatly helped. I would consider myself an almost-intermediate user now.
dune_rave
KVRian
 
1003 posts since 22 Jun, 2006, from Hungary

Postby dune_rave; Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:20 pm Re: FM8 Demystified

Not free but you can check this:
https://www.pluginguru.com/products/toxic-fm8/
http://www.youtube.com/user/softsynthportal?hl=en
Plugin preference: U-he, Rob Papen, KV331, Lennardigital, GForce, NI
DAW preference: Reaper, FL Studio
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mrj1nx
KVRist
 
256 posts since 29 Nov, 2015

Postby mrj1nx; Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:40 pm Re: FM8 Demystified

A few tips:
The easy/morph page is gold. One way to think of FM is additive, the pitch of the modulator shines through, so to imitate a sound, look for the biggest peaks in the original sound and have a modulator be at each spot. There is a series on askvideo/macprovideo, have not seen all of it though. What I did was to deconstruct a few patches that helped a lot. (Im more into dx7 style FM patches than modern/edm) The unison with spread is also gold.
sfxsound3
KVRist
 
413 posts since 30 Mar, 2016

Postby sfxsound3; Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:09 pm Re: FM8 Demystified

FM7 patches in syx format:
http://hsjp.eu/downloads/Dexed/Dexed_cart_1.0.zip

Contains great basses, bells, percs and fx.
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Mathematics
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189 posts since 10 Sep, 2015, from You haven't unlocked this character yet

Postby Mathematics; Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:18 pm Re: FM8 Demystified

Thanks for the response and the suggestions; I'll look into those.

Here's a little tip from a little research and experimentation. A useful tool I have is from Melda called MMultiAnalyzer which I used to study the actual additive synthesis...which really yields the addition of harmonics to the original carrier wave when modulators (operators) are placed in series, on a basic level; because there's nothing really fancy about parallel modulators when you don't have a complex signal to begin with. I guess I could have used a chain of free plugin analyzers but this particular plugin has multiple tabs that allow me to switch between, oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, sonogram, and other things like stereo imaging, collisions, and deharmonization; albeit nice, they serve other purposes. Quite a useful tool for experimenting with FM8.

I agree, that deconstructing patches is great but it doesn't really help to interpret what's happening under the hood; meaning, what exactly is a certain setting actually doing to the carrier signal. I kind of have a handle on what's happening with operators in series, parallel, and feedback but I guess it just boils down to memorizing specific basic signal flows and then experimenting with variations of combinations of adding more operators in series, parallel, and feedback. I guess one could hope to get lucky with a unique sound.

I guess, I should also mention that as I'm trying different signal paths, I am actually switching between the oscilloscope and the spectrum analyzer. There is one thing that I forgot to mention about this analyzer tool. It actually takes several samples, based on the frequency tone played, and shows you a period from the zeros. That is really sweet. So, depending on what note you're playing, it will show you the wavetable, or for you Serum guys, a single "frame." Quite an efficient workflow for seeing what you hear so that you get a clean, non-distorted sound. I'm not an audio engineer but have studied audio because it was inherent to my degrees...so, excuse my lay terminology.

So...what I look for is a "non-jumpy" frame. To get that, I notice that there are certain percentages in signal amplitude for feedback you can't go past but you can add them and they add in parallel but they induce higher harmonics as if the a signal was added from another operator but only the highs and then the lowers when pushed but then you get into noise territory when the harmonics appear to go past the Nyquist limit of the sample rate used. It kind of reminds me of the laws in electromagnetism, specifically Faraday's Law but what is actually induced is a specific slappy hum, not a magnetic field. I guess the electromotive force would be that clean buzzy sound that resonates nicely in the inner ear. This analogy is starting to break down very quickly but yea...MMultiAnalyzer with FM8 is a great combination. I think it helps if you at least have some high school physics or studied audio because then it's easier to predict how something will sound and look like but it's not necessary...it just helps a little I guess.
Last edited by Mathematics on Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:06 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Mathematics
KVRist
 
189 posts since 10 Sep, 2015, from You haven't unlocked this character yet

Postby Mathematics; Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:19 pm Re: FM8 Demystified

sfxsound3 wrote:FM7 patches in syx format:
http://hsjp.eu/downloads/Dexed/Dexed_cart_1.0.zip

Contains great basses, bells, percs and fx.


Nice. Thank you for that. I'll check that out.
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twolegstoneworks
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1389 posts since 12 Jun, 2003, from Denmark

Postby twolegstoneworks; Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:37 pm Re: FM8 Demystified

John Lemkuhl did some great videos on FM8 years ago. Well worth a look-through.

https://youtu.be/vMxqeGErSzA

https://youtu.be/XLPkS547kQU

https://youtu.be/Rw9peWUkP_Y

https://youtu.be/oT8HPEdr00M
music // twolegs // geometriae
sounddesign // twolegstoneworks
Kinh
KVRian
 
903 posts since 25 Aug, 2012

Postby Kinh; Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:55 pm Re: FM8 Demystified

Theres a few on youtube. Dont have link but look up adsr or seamlessl.
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Mathematics
KVRist
 
189 posts since 10 Sep, 2015, from You haven't unlocked this character yet

Postby Mathematics; Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:01 pm Re: FM8 Demystified

twolegstoneworks wrote:John Lemkuhl did some great videos on FM8 years ago. Well worth a look-through.

https://youtu.be/vMxqeGErSzA

https://youtu.be/XLPkS547kQU

https://youtu.be/Rw9peWUkP_Y

https://youtu.be/oT8HPEdr00M


Ah yes...these are good ones. He definitely puts effort. Thanks!
This page will hopefully serve well for future FM8 sound designers.
sfxsound3
KVRist
 
413 posts since 30 Mar, 2016

Postby sfxsound3; Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:29 pm Re: FM8 Demystified

Kinh wrote:Theres a few on youtube. Dont have link but look up adsr or seamlessl.


SeamlessR
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Chris-S
KVRAF
 
2332 posts since 10 Nov, 2013, from Germany

Postby Chris-S; Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:13 am Re: FM8 Demystified

Google "chowning fm theory and applications".
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Mathematics
KVRist
 
189 posts since 10 Sep, 2015, from You haven't unlocked this character yet

Postby Mathematics; Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:36 am Re: FM8 Demystified

Chris-S wrote:Google "chowning fm theory and applications".

Awesome suggestion! :tu: :hyper:

Edit: Here's the PDF version of the book.
http://www.loscha.com/scans/FM_Synthesi ... ations.pdf
Last edited by Mathematics on Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Chris-S
KVRAF
 
2332 posts since 10 Nov, 2013, from Germany

Postby Chris-S; Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:46 am Re: FM8 Demystified

Yeah, that's the original doc by the FM inventor. A bit mathematical, but your nickname suggests you have no problem with it. :hihi:
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