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I design a lot of freaky, scary and otherwise haunting sounds for films and I thought it would...

I design a lot of freaky, scary and otherwise haunting sounds for films and I thought it would be fun to share a killer FM8 horror synth tutorial with all of you – just in time for Halloween!

This type of sound is ideal for all sorts of visual media projects, but it is also a very cool sound to use in many different kinds of modern music. From dark Dn’B  and Psy Trance to Dubstep and Industrial this FM8 horror synth will add a chilling edge to your songs. It does well across several octaves, on one end it provides a deep resounding bass pad while offering a shrill stabbing accent at higher octaves. The added layer of a haunting breathy spectre that almost eludes detection actually accounts for a large part of the atmosphere in this synth.

This FM8 horror synth starts with the FM Matrix, where Operators C, D, E and F are all fed back into themselves before being routed into Operator Z which is a filter rather than a normal oscillator. Operator B is set up to modulate, in equal measure, each of the four operator mentioned above. Operator A is basically being used as a low end presence support oscillator, and is modulated by Operator Z. Operator Z is also routed into Operator X, which is a noise and saturator oscillator. This is where the haunted wind element comes from. Operators X and Z and then sent to the main output strip to generate the majority of the sound heard in this synth, each panned slightly in opposite directions to widen the sound considerably. Operator A is kept in the middle of the mix so the bass presence can cut through and be heard consistently across octaves.

FM8 Horror Synth Tutorial by OhmLab 1

The various envelopes are managed on the Expert Env window. As you can see in the image below, Operators A, C, D, E and F are all set up the same. Operator B has a much longer attack and Operators X and Z are both unique to themselves.

FM8 Horror Synth Tutorial by OhmLab 2

In the Master window, the total number of Unison voices of our FM8 horror synth is increased to three, Detuning is turned up and so is Panning. The Analog and Digital Quality sliders are also turned up, and can be tweaked to your liking depending upon the needs of your particular projects.

FM8 Horror Synth Tutorial by OhmLab 3

The Easy/Morph window is the next stop in designing this FM8 horror synth. Here the Amplitude and Timbre Envelopes are tweaked a bit to round out the delivery of the sound.

FM8 Horror Synth Tutorial by OhmLab 4

The last step in the process of making this FM8 horror synth is to add a few effects. A Shelving EQ and Peak EQ are used to shape the sound to accent the frequencies that carry most of this sound’s character forward. Reverb provides more space for the sound to develop in, and Chorus/Delay adds more depth, width and a bit of motion to the synth.

FM8 Horror Synth Tutorial by OhmLab 5

Below is an audio sample of this FM8 horror synth in action to give you a better idea of how it will work in a project. There is no processing of any kind applied outside of FM8 and what has been shown here in this tutorial.

[audio:https://www.fm8tutorials.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/FM8-Horror-Synth.mp3|titles=FM8 Horror Synth]

If you have a tutorial request or would like to share one of your own with the rest of the world, please drop us a message before you leave today. We are always happy to help. Thanks for stopping by!

Cheers,
OhmLab

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