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FM Synthesis


If you mention FM synthesis to most producers you'll often see terror in their eyes. Whenever we talk about frequency modulation synthesis it conjours up images of lengthy algorithms and the inheretly difficult Yamaha DX-7. But FM synthesis really isn't that complicated and only requires a basic understanding of analog synthesis in order to understand how it can be programmed.

With frequency modulation operators are simply combined to recreate the typical analog style sine, square and saw waveforms. Once these are created, we mix these waveforms together to produce sounds much the same way as we do with analog. In fact, if you understand analog synthesis, FM is just as simple. And for Synthesis 2, we break it down and show you in a simple, practical way both how frequency modulation works and how to design sounds with its synthesis engine.

This tutorial spans 8 hours and is split into two discs. For disc one, we start with a special Sessions: a complete tutorial on the Native Instruments FM8, the most influential and popular FM synthesizer currently available. We introduce and decipher the bewildering array of parameters on offer to relate each parameter to the theory of frequency modulation. After Sessions, we then move onto Frequency Modulation Synthesis and discuss the principle and practice of Sound Design using this form of synthesis. Employing FFT analysis and oscilloscopes, we begin by explaining the basic principles of harmonics before moving on to discuss sound design within FM.

After the basic theory, we then show the practical applications of programming sound in Frequency Modulation by walking through and designing a multitude of different timbres, growing ever more complex as we progress. Although all of the examples are programmed on the Native Instruments FM8, these techniques can be translated to any capable Frequency Modulation synthesizer.

Runtime: Over 8 Hours

Module 1

An introduction to the DVD

Session 01: The Nav Bar: 24 minutes
In this first session, we begin simple by examining the Navigation Bar of the FM8 and discuss the available options.

Session 02: The Browser: 10 minutes
For the second session, we move onto to discuss the FM8 browser and attributes pages.

Session 03: Easy Page: 23 minutes
Here we examine the easy page and decipher each parameter available.

Session 04: The Effects: 30 minutes
In this session we discuss the effects section and the individual effects that are available within the FM8.

Session 05: The Master Page: 20 minutes
In this session, we look at the master page and decipher each of the parameters on offer..

Session 06: The Arpeggiator: 22 minutes
Here, we examine the arpeggiator and discuss all of its functions.

Session 07: The Operators: 25 minutes
In this session, we take a look at the operators, their parameters, the waveforms and the envelopes.

Session 08: The Matrix: 10 minutes
During this session we take a closer look at the matrix and how its used to design FM algorithms.

Session 09: X and Y: 20 minutes
For this session, we discuss the X and Y operators in the FM8.

Session 10: The Pitch Envelope: 10 minutes
We examine the pitch envelope and also the multiple envelope parameter page..

Session 11: The Modulation Matrix: 20 minutes
Here, we take a closer look at how to apply modulation to the FM8 operators.

Session 12: Keyscaling: 15 minutes
For the final session we examine the key scaling envelopes and also take a look at the spectral analyser.

Module 2

Session 01: Harmonics and Ratios: 15 minutes
Before using FM to its full advantage its important to understand the relationship of harmonics to mathematical ratios.

Session 02: Basic Waveforms: 30 minutes
For the second session, we examine how operators can be combined and the fundamental wave shaping processes required to synthesise the basic waveforms within frequency modulation.

Session 03: Ratio Waveforms: 25 minutes
We continue from the previous session on the creation of fundamental wave shaping within FM, this time employing ratios.

Session 04: Amplitude Modulation: 15 minutes
Here we investigate the importance of the amplitude envelopes on the operators and discuss their uses.

Session 05: Return to Ratios: 40 minutes
In this session, we examine the importance of ratio differentials and how they can dictate the sound in various ways.

Session 06: Synthesis Basics: 30 minutes
Here, we discuss the approaches for programming and sound design in frequency modulation.

Session 07: Programming FM Part 1: 20 minutes
In this session, we begin to program some timbres and show how to employ the previous theory in the tutorial to create useable sounds.

Session 08: Programming FM Part 2: 30 minutes
During this session we continue to design FM algorithms for sound creation.

Session 09: Programming FM Part 3: 40 minutes
For this session, we continue to show the basics of design and how sounds can be programmed within the FM8.

Session 10: The Final Approach: 25 minutes
We discuss further sound design principles within frequency modulation.

Coming soon...

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