Making an FM8 Growl Synth - Part 1
Native Instrument’s FM8 is a highly expressive tool, which many creative artists have used to produce a signature sound that distinguishes them from their peers. One of the most well-known signature sounds in recent times is Skrillex’s human-sounding synth growls. In this series of tutorials we will examine the fundamentals behind Skrillex’s famous growl. Using four operators, modulation, and feedback, this FM8 Growl synth does an awesome job of recreating the characteristics of the human voice.
It should be noted first, that this type of synthesis is something that requires some patience, practice and skill to perfect over time. So do not be frustrated is you are unable to exactly replicate what is shared in the video at first. To start designing this FM8 Growl synth, turn on Operator D and assign a 10th Formant waveform. Operator E will be assigned an 8th Formant waveform. Then using the routing table in the FM Matrix, feed both Operator D and Operator E to the output.
Next, turn on Operator F and set it to PWM Ramp Mod, and turn on Operator C and set it to a Square waveform. In the FM Matrix, route Operator C to modulate both Operator D and Operator E. Then set Operator F to feedback on itself, and to modulate both Operator D and Operator E. Finally, make sure that all the oscillators on the FM8 growl synth have Key Sync enabled. This will help to ensure a consistent and even delivery of sound every time a note is played.
Now you can start using this popular FM8 Growl synth instrument in your own projects! Keep in mind that the vocal characteristics come alive by constantly adjusting the amount of modulation coming from Operator F to Operator D and E. You may want to map the modulation levels to a midi controller, or you could also set up some automation. However you choose to use this FM8 Growl synth, make sure you continue to experiment and keep searching for your own signature sound! One more tip before we leave you. You should explore EQ modulations as well to further enhance and accent the formant frequencies responsible for the human vocal characteristics of this synth.
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