Cause and Effect Sound Design in the FM Matrix Part 2
In part two of this in depth look at the FM matrix, Johnny describes how to make a rhythmic bass patch from scratch.
In part one of this month’s series Johnny went over how to more efficiently use the operators in the FM matrix. In today’s tutorial, he continues to tackle the FM matrix while making a really nice bass preset.
One of the points of emphasis in this series is the cause and effect of the operators. Because FM synthesis relies heavily upon the modulation of operators through carriers, the idea of cause and effect becomes very important. In a subtractive synthesis (like Sylenth1 for example) you only have the option of choosing a wave form and effecting that wave form through a filter. So the cause and effect of your actions are fairly straight forward. However, in FM8, you have to choose a wave form in an operator, choose where to route that operator too (filter, output etc.) and then you need to decide if you’re going to cross modulate the frequency of your operator using whats called a carrier. This is why less is truly more in FM8 when modulating an operators’ frequency in the FM matrix, especially if you are using multiple operators. If you crank everything up to a hundred and are using multiple operators, you are going to end up with a really unusable sound that can often times sound thin. I know it seems backwards, but without getting into the math behind frequency modulation synthesis, just trust Johnny!
Remember, next time you start tweaking values in FM8’s FM matrix, try dialing back the values a little bit and see if it actually makes your sound bigger. You might be surprised.