Today I’ve made a pad synth in FM8 that might remind you of something from an ambient Squarepusher track like Tundra or Tommib. It consists of 3 carriers, enveloping, frequency modulation, low-pass filtering, and reverb. The patch is easy to create but requires a lot of listening and fine-tuning. These low-frequency sinusoidal components tend to interact with each in undesirable ways if you don’t mix them carefully.
The PATCH sounds like this…
F – A key synced sine wave, carried to the low-pass filter (Z) by 80% and modulating E by 20%. This tone has been transposed up an octave by moving the “Ratio” parameter to 2.
E – A key synced sine wave, carried to a low-pass filter (Z) by 70% and modulating F by 30%. This tone has been transposed up 2 octaves by moving the “Ratio” parameter to 4. This increases the amount of side-bands created by the frequency modulation. It also has 10% feedback implemented.
D – A key synced square wave, modulating E-F amount by 10%. Its “Ratio” has been moved up to 5.
C – A triangle wave carried to the low-pass filter (Z) by 40%.
Z – A non-resonant low pass filter carried to the output by 85%. The cutoff frequency is somewhere between 1 and 2 kHz. Carriers F, E, and C are collected here.
F – Main Carrier
This is the envelope of the main audible signal, a centered sine wave.
E – Carrier/Modulator
This is the envelope of the frequency modulation on F and the secondary carrier. This signal is similar to F except an octave higher.
D – Modulator
This is the envelope of the modulation operator, modulating E-F amount.
C – Carrier
This is the envelope of the third carrier. This carrier provides the brassy timbre you hear in the onset of the patch.
Z – Low pass filter
This is the envelope of the low pass filter. It starts immediately and the release is long enough to filter all carriers and modulators.
LFO2 is a triangle wave modulating the amounts for D, E, and F by 45 %. The rate is not synced but is about 3 Hz. Key scale and velocity scale affect the rate by 50%. Consider assigning the Mod Wheel to control one or more of these parameters.
Transpose – Transpose the entire patch an octave down (12 semitones).
Polyphony – 16 available voices.
Unison – 4 voices, detuned about 30% and spread about 60%.
Reverb – long bright decay, but not too wet.
1) D-F amount: X axis.
2) E-F amount: Y axis.
3) Filter Resonance.