Using FM8 Envelopes to Design Deep Flexible Instruments
Walking through the steps of this lesson is a nice reminder that often time less=more. And seeing the FM8 envelopes being used to create rhythmic sequences that end up affecting our sounds in a very deep and interesting way is inspiring. It shows that the simplest of sounds can be easily transformed into something full of character and help take your listeners on a sonic adventure with you. This patch is shown off in a few different ways and you should be encouraged to experiment further with the various features touched on in this tutorial. Start with swapping out some of the waveforms, or introducing some modulation to some of the operators. Whatever you decide to do, this particular sound is so simple at its core that you will undoubtedly stumble upon something very cool.
Starting out with the FM Matrix, you can see that the sound itself really is very easy to make. Widening comes form both the variations in pitch across the operators used, but also from the panning assignments made in the main output strip. The FM8 envelopes are used to shape not just the delivery of sounds, but also the development over time. And if notes are sustained, a rhythmic sequence ensues. Adding more voices to this instrument can result in a more powerful sound that can be a little more difficult to finesse, so there are trade-offs when you begin to deviate from the simplistic approach. Keeping the total number of unison voices to only two means that you have more control over the way the detuning and panning affects the sound.
The FM8 envelopes can also be a great place to further experiment with how this sound can work for you in your projects. As it is shown in the video, each of the envelopes is set up exactly the same. You can easily begin changing the mode settings or even the curves themselves to achieve much more complex and evolving sounds. Turning off some of the operators, especially operators A and E, can result in a drastically different character, while changing the routing values of the operators will change it in a totally different way. This is where automation comes in! Once you have moved out of FM8 and into your DAW, this patch is a flexible as you want it to be. Set up automation curves on various parameters throughout the synth to gain more control and take this sound in entirely new directions.
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