INTRODUCTION

 

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…

 

Possible Context

 

OPERATORS

 

1

 

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.

 

ENVELOPES

 

F – Main Carrier

This is the envelope of the main audible signal, a centered sine wave.

 

2

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.

 

3

D – Modulator

This is the envelope of the modulation operator, modulating E-F amount.

 

4

C – Carrier

This is the envelope of the third carrier. This carrier provides the brassy timbre you hear in the onset of the patch.

 

5

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.

 

6

 

MODULATION

 

7

 

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.

 

MASTER

 

Transpose – Transpose the entire patch an octave down (12 semitones).

Polyphony – 16 available voices.

Unison – 4 voices, detuned about 30% and spread about 60%.

 

FX

 

Reverb – long bright decay, but not too wet.

 

CONTROL

 

8

 

Parameter Assignment

1) D-F amount: X axis.

2) E-F amount: Y axis.

3) Filter Resonance.

 

Automation

 

9