6 Essential Tips for Using FM8

  |  Caiti VerBrugge  |  

Pyramind mentor Jor van der Poel shares 6 tips that will make your life easier when using Native Instrument’s FM8. These tips and pointers will help improve your approach to learning this powerful synth, and help you create more complex sounds. 

Tip #1 - FM Matrix

Jor demonstrates how the FM matrix works, and notes that you can achieve more complex sounds by feeding modulators into each other.

Tip #2 - Envelopes

You can use envelopes in FM8 to control the amount of modulation being applied to a carrier over time. Jor recommends drawing smaller envelopes and using higher modulation amounts in the FM matrix. This way, you make more room to change the envelope and evolve your sound.

Tip #3 - Offsetting Oscillators

FM8 gives you the ability to offset the frequency of individual oscillators. This can add movement to the sound, and create a wobble or detune effect.

Tip #4 - Understanding Ratios

Ratios in FM synthesizers can be intimidating to wrap your head around at first. As a ratio doubles, the sound goes up an octave. If you change a ratio from 2 to 4, for example, the sound is moving up an octave. Jor recommends experimenting with ratios, especially odd ones.

Tip #5 - Using the Morph Square

FM 8 contains a morph square, which allows you to make 4 totally different sounds in one patch. Each sound lives on one of the 4 corners of the square. You can then morph between these sounds, leading to more unique results. 

Tip #6 - Modulation using MIDI Learn

The modulation system within FM8 can be somewhat limiting. Jor demonstrates how you can get around this and modulate more parameters using FM8’s MIDI learn function in Logic.


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