Designing a Rhythmic Minimal Lead Synth with FM8

One of the great things about using this amazing FM synth for sound design is that you have so much flexibility because of the unique envelope system. This sweet tutorial from OhmLab will show you how to create your own rhythmic minimal lead synth with FM8.

Although the sound I am making in this lesson happens to be minimal, it should be noted that this same approach can easily be applied to any kind of sound. So whether you produce heavy death metal or bubble gum pop music, this tutorial in how to take advantage of the flexible envelopes to create automated sequences will be helpful. Once you have finished successfully recreating this sound, along with its rhythm, try experimenting with different waveforms, then begin adding feedback and more complex routing configurations, and then attempt to tweak the timbre panel to get completely new sounds of your own. This type of synth is ideal for using the morphing tool, too!

Beginning with the Expert Ops window, you can see that the routing of the Operators is as easy as it gets. Four are used in total and each one is simply routed to the main output, with the exception of Operator C, which is fed back into itself before reaching the output strip. Each oscillator is using a different waveform to achieve the desired sound.

Minimal Lead Synth with FM8 Tutorial by OhmLab 1

The real magic of this kind of synth is in the use and programming of the envelopes of each operator. As you can see in the image below, each one has a very different pattern, so each one is delivered and develops differently. It is very easy to hear each layer of the synth this way, and it is also what provides our rhythmic characteristics.

Minimal Lead Synth with FM8 Tutorial by OhmLab 2

The Master window is set up next. The number of Unisono voices has been increased to a total of three, and the Detune, Pan, Analog and Digital sliders have all been turned up.

The last step in this process is to add a total of four effects. Tremelo is used to give a slow overall motion. Reverb is used to provide more space for the sound to move around in. PsycheDelay and Chorus/Delay are both used to add depth and width to the sound, as well as enhance the rhythmic elements by adding a delay echo.

Minimal Lead Synth with FM8 Tutorial by OhmLab 4

Below is an audio sample of our sound, playing alongside some drums to give you an idea of how it can be used. Obviously it has a lot more potential than just being used in minimal music. No processing has been added outside of FM8 and what is shown here in this walkthrough.

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Category: FM8 Tutorials