Native Instruments FM8: Skrillex Squeals to Eno Atmospherics

Written by Elliott Clarke. Posted in Computer Music, Synths

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Image: Native Instruments FM8 soft synth

Published on December 17, 2012 with No Comments

Like its predecessor the FM7, Native Instruments FM8 is loosely based on the famed DX7 Frequency Modulation synth from Yamaha. Although the original hardware synth was a complex beast to program, the sounds it was able to create were far-reaching and popular, enticing legendary artists from Brian Eno to Herbie Hancock.

Image: Native Instruments FM8 soft synth interfaceFar from a simple emulation, the FM8 has 32 basic waveform shapes, 64-note polyphony, Filters, Envelopes, 2 LFOs with varying waveforms, plus 12 effects that make the FM8 a complete production tool for both musicians and sound designers. Thanks to its complex digital harmonic additions, the softsynth can be used to synthesize your own “real world” instrument patches.

Image: Native Instruments FM8 matrixAn extensive modulation matrix allows the original waveform to be effected by endless routing options, all presented in a user-friendly way within the FM8 user interface. An effects plug-in version (FM8fx) can perform the same mind-bending tricks on any audio source fed into it, giving almost infinite possibilities for other-worldly sounds and FX.

The complexity of FM synthesis is made simple with the inclusion of 1200 presets – including a number of effect rack, sound morphing and arpeggio presets – and FM8′s Easy Edit page, which allows various parameters to be altered automatically and simultaneously.

Image: Native Instruments FM8 soft synth presetsTempo synchronisation, looping, 32-stage enveloping, sequencer and versatile arpeggiator allow for incredibly musical sound development programming, and the FM8′s velocity & aftertouch sensitivity make it an expressive instrument when linked to MIDI as a conventional sound module.

The simple interface and preset options mean that getting a useable sound is almost instant – and it’s almost impossible to make a bad sound with the algorithms involved. However, the modulation matrix gives access to infinite rerouting possibilities, making FM8 a powerful tool for serious electronic music producers and sound designers.

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