Making a Hard Edge Techno Bass Synth with FM8
A sound like this can be tough to categorize because it can be used in so many different types of projects. Follow along with this east tutorial and learn how to make a hard edge techno bass synth with FM8.
Making a nice hard edge techno bass synth with FM8 is both easy and difficult, because you can quickly find great new sounds but it’s tough to quit before going too far. Knowing when to stop working in the FM Matrix is something that is more intuitive than technical, and learning how to apply and tweak various parameters throughout the synth after this is an art form. Sometimes it is best to just start with one of the many presets that FM8 offers in the FM Matrix menu and then begin experimenting with different waveforms and pitch values until you find something useful and catchy. This is exactly the approach we will be taking in today’s lesson.
First, I selected the 1C 5M #17 patch from the factory preset menu at the top of the FM Matrix panel. This saved me a lot of time routing my operators. As you can see in the image below that gave us a single operator routed to the main output strip and the rest of the main operators are simply being used as modulators. I then selected various waveforms and pitch values to make this techno bass synth with FM8.
I then used the Link feature on the Envelope window to set up all of the envelops the same, which was actually just extending the release curve a bit to avoid any clicking when notes are played.
The next step was to set up the Master window. First, I set the synth to operate in Mono mode and turned on Portamento to allow for gliding between notes. Then I increased the total number of Unison Voices to 8. This made it possible to take advantage of both the Detune and Pan sliders. I also increased the levels of both Analog and Digital Quality for more character.
A few small changes were made on the Easy/Morph window. Pay close attention to the settings here, because although they appear to be minute changes, they do make a difference to the overall sound.
A total of five effects were added to finish shaping the sound. First, Overdrive was added to give the sound more edge. Then Shelving EQ and Peak EQ were added to help accentuate certain frequencies. A Phaser was inserted to provide additional movement, and Reverb was used to give the sound a little more space to move around in. Make sure you do not overextend the sound to far from the center of the stereo spectrum with panning or effects, as you can encounter phase cancellation issues later on if it is not balanced and centered. It can also cause issues with muddiness in the mix.
The last thing I did was to activate the Arpeggiator to get a sequence going that could help show off this new techno bass synth with FM8. Now just one note played and our sound comes to life!
Below is an audio sample of what it sounds like next to some drums and another synth. It should give you a decent idea of how it can be used.
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