Making Psy Trance with FM8 Part1: The Arp
This video tutorial from Jonny shows off the Arpeggiator feature and ease of sound design in equal measure. To really tap into the energy of Psy Trance music, the arpeggiated element(s) need to be simple yet interesting, and the instruments need to capture the attention of your audience by being unique enough to set it apart from the rest of the tracks being played in the set list. Basically it comes down to variety, balance and evolution over time and FM8 is a great synth to make it all happen. With such a fine line between very different sounds, the slightest modulation in the FM Matrix routing assignments combined with subtle changes in the arpeggiation programming can result in truly magical Trance music moments. This is what Psy fans are after, a psychedelic journey through your sound designer’s mind.
This particular sound is so big, so wide and so full of character before it is run through the arpeggiator, that it makes programming the sequence quite easy. Probably one of the most important things to be aware of when setting up the sequencing is to make sure that you are allowing enough of the sound through via the Note Length parameter. Too short, and the sound cannot develop and the run feels broken or jerky. Too long, and the notes may run together. As with most things in Trance music production, balance and moderation are key.
Taking your time can pay off big time when applying effects to a sound like this one. Accentuating and attenuating the right frequencies with EQ units can brighten or darken your sounds as needed. Reverb and Delay effects can provide much more room for your sounds to develop in over time, which is one more key element for a successful Psy Trance arp element. Don’t forget you can easily automate any of the parameters within FM8 in your DAW. Although this may seem daunting at first, you can easily identify the right parameters controls in your DAW by setting your automation tool to ‘listen’, ‘follow’, ‘latch’ or ‘write’ and it will take notice of any parameter changes made in the synth. This is much easier than trying to scroll through the seemingly endless, and somewhat cryptic, list of choices that FM8 provides.