How to Make a 501 Style Mid-Range Lead Synth in FM8
This type of synth is getting a lot of play lately in a huge range of popular music styles and this helpful FM8 video tutorial will show you one way of making it in just a few minutes!
It’s almost impossible to keep track of the different artists who have begun to use this style of synth in their productions recently, but needless to say that it is super hot and an excellent addition to anyone’s sound design arsenal. This video does a good job of showing clearly how you can arrive at the sound yourself, and it’s pretty easy to follow along with, too. One thing to keep in mind with this sound is that it is full of drive and air, two things that you can easily take advantage of through some effects and modulation automation. Try applying a little delay or echo at the tail end of a note, or perhaps some extra reverb. You can also have fun experimenting with running this sound through Operators X and Z, the Noise and Filter oscillators.
This one starts out with the FM Matrix and setting up the Operators and the routing. Beginning with Operator D feeding back into itself before modulating Operator E (also feeding back into itself), which in turn modulates Operator F, which is feeding back into itself before being routed to the main output. Now with the default waveforms and pitch ratios, this sound is really nothing special at all at this point. So we need to get in there and make a few changes.
First, change the Pitch Ratio of Operator E to 0.8300 and load up a PWM Ramp Mod waveform. This adds some grit and character right away. Now we need to change the waveform of Operator F from a Sine to a Sawtooth. Now from here you can either create a couple more layers of the same sound and create small differences, like switch the waveform of Operator D from Sine to PWM Ramp Mod. Or, you can apply more voices to increase the width, depth and power of the sound.
This example also makes use of a plugin called Sausage Fattener, from Dada Life, which is a simple distortion/saturation tool. If you do not have this same plugin do not worry, as you can accomplish the same kind of effect using other similar tools found within your own DAW if you do not have a third-party plugin you prefer using. You may also want to introduce some noise to enhance the airy character fo the sound for a closer match to the sound hear in the example song featured in the video.
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