Native Instruments FM8 Basics
This is one huge video, with a ton of information to take in. Especially if you are new to FM8! So definitely bookmark it and watch it more than once. It’s a great way to get a jump on getting started with this powerhouse synth. As he points out early in the video, FM8 uses frequency modulation synthesis rather than the more popular subtractive synthesis so it is a probably a new approach to designing sounds for many people using it for the first time. Each of the main windows is explained in detail to give you a better working knowledge and understanding of the FM8 basics you need to know to be productive in your sessions.
He starts by showing the Browser window how to preview presets and use the attributes filter system. This is not only a great way to navigate and select sounds, but presets can also be a great source of inspiration and can even be used as a starting point for new sounds that you make. One to think to make note of is that you can use the Attributes window to add keywords/attributes to the sounds you make in FM8, as well as meta data such as artist information, and save them as presets that can be added to your library. This is one of the FM8 basics that will make your life a little easier when using this synth.
The Master window is where the voicing controls are found. You can also tweak detuning, panning, bpm, portamento and other parameters that are usually considered to be master controls. The Expert window is actually broken up into several different view options. This allows you to look closely at not only the FM Matrix, where the routing of operators takes place, but also at envelopes, modulators, spectrum analyzer, etc. These are the series of windows that provide access to the main parameters used to actually generate your sounds and fine tuning their behavior.
The Effects window is where you can choose from a variety of effects to further process your sound with. From overdrive and amp simulations to more complex effects like the PsycheDelay unit, this window is where a lot of fun is had! If you are taking in all of these FM8 basics for the first time, make sure you spend a good amount of time in this window experimenting on a wide range of sounds to become better acquainted with your options, what they do and how they interact with each other.
The Easy/Morph and Arpeggiator windows are left out of this tutorial, as he considers them to be a step beyond the FM8 basics, and the video is already quite long without them. The Easy/Morph window is where you can make changes to the main amp envelope, as well as the timbre envelope and even a unique LFO panel. But this is also where one of the most powerful and amazing tools is located, the Morph Matrix. Here you can literally morph between different versions of a sound or between completely different sounds, which unlocks a whole new side of sound design for many users. The Arpeggiator window is where you can access FM8’s step input arpeggiator sequencer. Needles to say, this is a great feature and you will probably get a lot of use out of it once you begin to master the many advanced features tucked away here.
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