I'm super interested in finally unraveling the mysteries of FM synthesis as part of my weeklybeats project. I have a rudimentary grasp of FM and can manage quite a lot of sounds I like, eg, nice simulated filtery lead and bass sounds, little percussive tinny sounds and probably enough electric pianos to last a life time but there are a few sounds which I really have trouble with.

Alex Mauer posted an AWESOME video of custom drum sounds and 2 or 3 of them have me stumped. The snappy kick an boxy snare in the first drum loop and the very poppy/finger snappy sound from 0:15 to 0:20.

Im guessing the kick and the snare are made with a pair of modulators going into a pair of carriers with FB on op 4 using only sine waves (as im pretty sure that is all the FB01 had) but anyone have any more specific ideas?

Any other FM fans in the house?

I've come to terms that FM synthesis is a form of wizardry.

Yah, I think a lot of stuff I have found on the internet is either really pretty basic "this is a modulator this is a carrier" type stuff or terrifying quantam math that would scare Spock shitless. Not much in the intermediate areas where I am.

These snares are great!

The pair algorithm is probably best, yeah. Max out the feedback as you suggested (or at least until you get a good crackly noise) for the snare part. Then, for the other pair, use a short, snappy decay (no or very little sustain) for the modulator and a slightly longer one for the carrier to get both a pop and a ringing tone for the drum part. Experiment with the decays, and also the carrier attack for the noise pair. I think a real snare starts rattling slightly after the initial pop on the skin.

I'm not sure how the bass drums are gone (I'm spoiled with note slides in TFM smile) but I guess you should focus on two operators as for the drum part of the snare. I hope that is of some help.

Love FM!  If I could find Virt's talk I would link it now...  But FM really is great.  The timbre is just so unique!  For a while I've been working on Genny FM rave DJ sets ala Hizmi, to no avail.  Perhaps that would be a good point to focus on in the coming weeks.  I would love to hear some FM tracks on WB, link them if you make them.  FM heads unite!

Love some good FM, wish I was better at programming some sweet lead lines and percussion though.

boomlinde wrote:

Tthe carrier attack for the noise pair. I think a real snare starts rattling slightly after the initial pop on the skin.

That is a great point, the rattle for a snare is springs streched across the bottom of the drum right? You hear the rattle when they snap BACK ergo they much be later than the initial hit, I never thought of that!

heart this thread.

Not that much later though... Probably <2ms in reality.

I think you are right. One thing I'm starting to suspect though, FM seems to be a very subtle art. Tiny alterations in envelopes can drastically change the sound, I feel more so then with subtractive synthesis

Agreed! When you have a chain of four operators, sound design can be a lot of trial and error, but I think it gets more fluent after a while. The effect tweaking has on the spectral content is not as naturally obvious to people as with simple filters, and there are no good metaphors to describe it.