Making an Edgy FM8 Modern Bass
Everything you hear, besides the drums, in the final example of this sound is produced by the FM8 modern bass that we will be making in this walkthrough. It is not very often that you find a bass synth instrument that works just as well across so many octaves, and with such character preserved at every step. The sacrifice we make to allow for this is the loss of the very low end note range, where things quickly become muddy and washed out. So if you are looking for a mid-range bass that can surprise people with some robotic sounding high notes thrown in there to keep things interesting, then this one is for you!
Starting with the FM Matrix, you can see that the routing is quite interesting. There is both feedback and modulation used to create the edginess of this FM8 modern bass, while subtle influences from both envelopes and pitch variation provide the motion in the sound as it develops. The width is primarily coming from the two sawtooth operators panned in opposite directions. The Sine wave operator is kept in the middle, which is what provides the stability.
A sine wave pattern has been used for the filter envelope (Operator Z). This gives this FM8 modern bass a gentle pulse, which can be modified as you see fit for you own uses.
Here you can see that the main oscillators have all ben set up with the same envelope curve to ensure even and consistent delivery.
The master pitch envelope is set up with a blip pattern to introduce a subtle pulse to the FM8 modern bass that is slightly more apparent than the influence from the filter’s envelope curve.
A formant driven LFO is assigned to modulate Operator F, which is the source of the grittiness and enhances the distorted edge that is being formed.
The synth is set to run in mono polyphony mode, so only one note can be played at a time. The total number of unison voices is increased to a total of 6. The sound is then spread out a bit through the use of the detune and pan features. Portamento is turned on to allow for gliding between notes. And some analog and digital quality are added for character. All of these additions combine to complete the core sound of our FM8 modern bass.
The last step is to set up some effects to round out the sound. Overdrive and Tube Amp units are added to enhance the edge and distortion of the FM8 modern bass. A Shelving EQ and a Peak EQ are used to accentuate the high and low frequencies for more punch and crispness. The Tremelo effect is used to give the sound more motion as it develops and the Chorus/Delay unit extends the sound and give it a bit more depth.
Below is a small audio sample of this FM8 modern bass alongside some simple drums. Both the low and high pitched synths sounds are coming from the bass we just made and there has been no processing besides what has been shown in this walkthrough.[audio:https://www.fm8tutorials.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/FM8-Modern-Bass.mp3|titles=FM8 Modern Bass]
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