4 Essential FM Synthesis Tutorials for All Levels - Pyramind

FM Synthesis Tutorial Roundup

Frequency Modulation, also known as FM synthesis can be an intimidating type of synthesis–even for experienced sound designers. In this post we’ve rounded up some of our best tutorials on the subject for those of you looking for techniques and suggestions as you tackle shaping your sounds with frequency modulation.

What is FM Synthesis

Definition: the frequency of one sound wave (called the “carrier”) is modulated by the frequency of a second wave (called the “modulator”).

Born in the sonic labs of the CCRMA at Stanford University (Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics), FM was the brainchild of John Chowning, a professor and researcher there in the 1960’s, then was patented and implemented into usable instruments in the mid-1970’s.  Originally designed to send voices across the airwaves, some of the initial work on FM synthesis is what created the FM radio spectrum!

In some cases, the modulator acts like an LFO – it’s a wave that we don’t hear directly but we hear the result of its effect on the behavior of the audible wave.  However, with other cases, the Modulator is actually audible as well and takes on the name “Operator.”

1. Essential Tips for Using FM8

In this first video, Pyramind mentor Jor van der Poel shares 6 tips that will make your life easier when using Native Instrument’s FM8. These tips and pointers will help improve your approach to learning this powerful synth, and help you create more complex sounds.

2. FM Synthesis in Alchemy

Pyramind mentor Jor van der Poel talks about various ways you can use FM in Alchemy.

3. Combining Additive & FM in Alchemy

Jor van der Poel shows us how to combine additive synthesis and FM within Alchemy. This is a must-watch tutorial for Alchemy users looking to improve their workflow and expand their sound design knowledge.

4. FM Synthesis with Reaktor Blocks

Interested in other types of synthesis? Check out our articles on the subject HERE.

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