Is this FM?

I just cant understand why there isn’t a proper FM groovebox in the market. Not like a DX200, something more complete, many 6op voices and full spec sequencer. The shittiest modern chipset can manage all that. And don’t tell me the old “FM is hard to understand” rubbish idea so many have been repeating for so long. Today’s kids can understand much more complex stuff than FFT.


It’s not that FM is difficult to understand, it’s that no one has made a really usable interface for it.

8 posts were merged into an existing topic: PreenFM 2

That would be an interesting synth for me too …

But how many FM enthusiasts are out there, who would buy one. FM-synthesis is a bit more complicated to get ones head around it compared to subtractive synthesis and this might be the reason, why so many musicians avoid a real FM synth in the first place.

But this said … since FM synthesis is very sensitive to modulation, an Elektron sequencer combined with a multi-operator FM-engine would be one of the most versatile sound machines on the market … :wink:

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That’s what I’m saying! They have teased the FM sound but never fully explored it.

Actually, I think I would enjoy an Elektron FM machine quite a lot !
Especially if it offers many kinds of crazy FX on top.

I’m really looking forward to playing with a machine that would enable to make sounds not existing already.
I guess plockable FM could bring this :tongue:

Simon !!! You would love this as well ! Please hassle the R&D :wink:

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I use FM in my modular and control various parameters by sequencing. It’s like p-locking, each “note” can have a complete different sound - I change them rhythmically - and this really can cheat ones ears as if more then one instrument is played - with one complex oscillator. I love this.

It would be heaven to have the opportunity to save such patches out to a memory!

It’s often the same problem, if people don’t want to go off-road and leave the main street - just keeping to follow the old tracks.

I hope I am not arrogant to say … FM is not difficult … it’s only a different approach … one has to open it’s mind and learn some - sorry for that bluntness - other “rules” to apply. There is absolutely no witch-craft required or alchemy.

Only disadvantage is, you can not switch it on and expect a pleasent sound from a blank program. That is absolutely different to a Moog-like synth, which may reward the musican with a great sound, directly by a single VCO and some filtering.

One thing I appreaciate of FM is that it’s not dedicated to simulate known traditional instrument sounds like from stringed or wind instruments. AFAIK there is no “natural” instrument applying something like FM. This said, FM opened up completely new sonic territory.

Unfortunately VolcaFM is a PAIN to work with. No velocity on note on, which is a huge thing for FM, since velocity is what drives timberal changes. Also it’s only 4 voices, 32 presets, and the keys on the device itself are unusable for someone with large hands. If the Volca FM was made in the size of the MiniBrute it would be a winner, but as it stands it’s unusable.

It’s a $150 toy. The whole goddamn internet seems to bitch and moan about the velocity thing, but it’s quite obvious that they put velocity on a fader to act kind of like a filter since the keyboard wouldn’t be velocity sensitive; kind of brilliant if you ask me. I’m not sure why everyone complains about the Volca FM like they expect it to be the crown jewel of FM synthesis. You can buy a DX7 for not much more and eliminate every one of those issues you mention, but for many of us it is far from “unusable”.


made me lol

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You could buy this cable and get velocity through midi:

It’s a lot of fun, especially since you can sequence all the parameters.

Yeah well I found I could do some pretty things directly on this little beast.
And if you add an OT you can greatly enhance it (even if it already has a 16 steps plocking sequencer + plockable arps).

I wouldn’t say it’s unusable, especially for the price. Have you tried one ? If not, you should, you may be convinced…
And I still haven’t tried sequencing the Sysex parts (= the algos !) from an iPad, this should bring it to another level.

3 voices is the most annoying limitation IMO. Still, a beautifully crafted and solid toy.

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In terms of current devices, the Prophet 12 update adding linear FM really opened it open even futher. Between that and the AK update, those two fantastic devices have so much sonic ground covered. IMO, the prophet 12 module controlled by the AK and run back through the elektron effects is pure bliss. It’s a great time for hardware.

Many would like to see (me included) small FM groovebox with a sequencer and full midi specs. Something like MM but smaller and cheaper.

Already happened: Yamaha DX200

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Thanks for the highly informative reply.

To me the beauty of FM is when you combine it with subtractive synthesis, cos with FM you basically have a completely customizable wave oscillator. You can generate the waveform you are going to filter from scratch, and not depend on preset waveforms, or wavetables. With enough operators you have infinite waveforms, with the plus that the behaviour of the wave’s components can vary over time and modulated by different controls. Also, as in modular synthesis, inter-voice FM opens up enormous possibilities. Up to date, only achievable on a modular rig, and the only portable equivalent I know is Nord Modular series, which sadly lack a proper tactile user interface. Of course you can use for instance a G2 and a Beatstep Pro or similar, but how awesome and useful would it be to have 1 device that accomodates various sequencer tracks with 6op FM voices, filters and LFOs with all the features Elektron boxes have? I would get a loan to buy that…

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The reason everyone makes a point of it is because Korg obviously went out of their way to impose limitation on the device for reasons other than cutting costs. It just seems dumb.