Working with Sidechained Audio in FM8
This enlightening tutorial shares some very clever pro tips from OhmLab on how to use audio samples creatively as sidechained audio in FM8!
With the recent release of The Ultimate FM8 P.A.S.S. Collection Vol. 1, we thought it would be a great idea to share how some of the sounds could be used, as this is a new approach to sound design in FM8. First off, the set contains a bunch of really nice pads, atmospheres, soundscapes AND some very unique audio samples as well. This tutorial will walk you through the steps of how you might want to use the presets and audio samples together to create truly original sounds, full of much more texture, character, depth and interest than would ever be possible with synthesis alone. Believe it or not, each one of the patches and samples were designed specially so they can all be used together with the FM8 Morphing Matrix, too! So there is no end to what you can create. Let’s jump into this one and see what we can make.
First off, I want to let you here the patch we will be using from the new collection. It’s called Martian Surface and it’s a classic retro future sci-fi atmospheric soundscape that works well across a few octaves, each note offering something slightly different from the last.[audio:https://www.fm8tutorials.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Martian-Surface.mp3|titles=Martian Surface OHMLAB]
And here is the audio sample we will use as our sidechained audio in FM8, called Morphing Air, also from the new collection.[audio:https://www.fm8tutorials.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Morphing-Air-OHMLAB.mp3|titles=Morphing Air OHMLAB]
To set this up so you have complete control over the sample via the FM8 interface, you will first need to import the audio track into your project. Then you want to Send it to a new Auxiliary Channel via a Bus (as shown in the image below). You will also want to set up that Send in Pre-Fader Mode so we ca dial down the volume on the sample itself. This way it will not play outside of FM8. You can also turn down the volume of the sample on the auxiliary channel. This sets the stage for our sample to be used as sidechained audio in FM8.
But simply routing a sample into FM8 is kind of boring and a little too easy. We are going for something more interesting and unique. So to change things up just a little I have stretched this sample out to be more of a deep drone. It’s gone from only being a few bars long to being nearly thirty. That should work alright to layer with our preset as sidechained audio in FM8.
You can see, in the image below, that Bus 1 was selected as the sidechain option in the upper right-hand corner of the window. But to get it to kick into action you need to turn on the IN Operator unit in the FM Matrix and route it somewhere. Once you have routed the sidechained audio in FM8 you will either hear it affect other sounds or simply layered, depending on how you want to use it. For this example I have chosen to rout it into other Operators, as well as into itself for a subtle feedback effect as well. The end goal being that this atmospheric soundscape will become fuller, deeper, hopefully more haunting with a windy element that comes across as some serious pressure (this is a Martian surface soundscape after all).
Here is a small audio sample of the same exact note from the above example being played exactly the same way, except now the audio sample has been worked into the mix. No other processing of any kind has been applied.[audio:https://www.fm8tutorials.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Sidechained-Sample.mp3|titles=Sidechained Sample]
It’s really a huge difference, and should get you thinking of all of the possibilities you’ve been missing out on with this amazing synth. The Ultimate FM8 P.A.S.S. Collection Vol. 1 is currently up for grabs over on the ADSR Marketplace, and will forever change the way you think about sound design and sound manipulation with FM8!