FS1R a little at a time

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.

FS1R a little at a time

Postby 23 » Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:38 pm

I made a decision last year that I was going to plunge head first into FM synthesis. Take a serious dig into the no mans land of sound design and synth programming. In all honesty, my expectations were for it to take me at least 5 years before I readily had a truly firm grasp on it's workings and being able to develop what I wanted on an assured whim.
In investigating FM beasts to prey on, the FS would stand out for me far beyond all the other things I investigated, and so with the FS I would go.

My motivation was high at first, but quickly fell into a sea of frustration.
Unlike with subtractive synthesis, it truly was obvious that just some quick reading wasn't going to set me on my way.

About 7 to 8 months into it, I've made considerable head way with what I could do with the most simple algorithms and when sticking with sine waves. It still looks like my time table for a firm grasp is probably dead on, but it's nice to at least be capable of generating some results that I KNOW will occur rather than falling upon them by simple dumb luck.

One thing that has gotten me at this point was the many dismays I've seen people voice about FM synths lacking a filter. Now granted, the FS is capable of subtractive based actions, but in all honesty, at least thus far, I've truly been finding little need to activate the darn thing. The ability for filtering actions literally having been built in to the workings of FM itself.
Actually, full on, the more time passes, one of the things that's began to occur is that I move further and further away from looking at the FS like an of my other synths. It's operation is RADICALLY different as are the principals behind it. However, much why I decided to take the plunge, I have found that the capabilities can VERY QUICKLY begin entering into realms that would have required fairly significant subtractive architectures and waveform generations that I literally would have never dreamed of being able to get out of an analogue subtractive synth and could have only hoped to have been able to find static forms of for sample based subtractive purposes.

Which has brought me to thinking.......why all the complaints?

I'm going from the philosophy here that FM is going to be attractive to a particular type of mindset, and with that mindset is going to come an acceptance of learning a new system that may take some time to get a grip on. At this point, I'm VERY early on in the game, and already, a hefty amount of the arguments I've heard against FM are beginning to make little to no sense to me.
This either means that my philosophy on the types that would be attracted to FM is wrong; or there is something that I am missing.

Figured I'd pose the question to you all. Why is it that so many are frustrated with the lack of subtractive tools on most FM synths?
User avatar
23
Active Member
Active Member
 
Posts: 593
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:19 am
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Gear: TB-303, MC-505, MC-09, V-Synth GT, FR-777, FR-XS, MFB: Synth II, EMU Proteus 2500/CS, FS1R, Supernova II, Fusion 6HD, ER-1 MKII
Band: 23, A23P, Piss Ant

Postby xpander » Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:52 pm

1) most people are dumb as a bag o' rocks.
2) its different
3) it doesn't sound like analog.
4) lerning is harrd.

pick up Chowning's FM Theory & Applications - By Musicians For Musicians, it is a great resource. the keys to FM/PM is understanding how it generates spectra, and how to meaningfully set ratios between the operators, and how to change spectra over time by using envelopes. once you get it, it's really easy and you can sit back and enjoy the hate that it incurs! that's a plus in my book!

hating a synthesis technique is funny!

FS1R, SY99, and DX7 owner. :twisted:
User avatar
xpander
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
 
Posts: 1541
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2007 7:15 am
Location: los gatos, california
Gear: UltraProteus, Xpander, 200e, Minimoogs, Radias, Prophet VS, PolyEvolver, Arp 2600

Postby wiss » Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:19 pm

not to hijack, but I think this your 1st post that some how doesnt relate to the TB-303


my only answer is that people dont want to work for their sounds
"All we used was the explosion and the orchestra hit. The Fairlight was a $100,000 waste of space."
User avatar
wiss
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 2138
Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2006 10:03 pm
Location: Chicago
Gear: it's all being sold to fund new gear

Postby Altitude » Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:19 pm

23 wrote:why all the complaints?


I think you may have answered that question:

23 wrote:About 7 to 8 months into it, I've made considerable head way with what I could do with the most simple algorithms and when sticking with sine waves


Almost as long as it takes between conception and birth and thats a LONG time (any parent will tell you :))
User avatar
Altitude
Expert Member
Expert Member
 
Posts: 1220
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 7:25 pm
Location: Michigan

Postby micahjonhughes » Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:22 pm

I've loved FM since getting a DX27s a long long time ago. Over the years I've had various incarnations of 2, 4 and 6 operator FM synths.

I never really though that they were hard to program. Even when I did not know what I was doing at all experimenting always turned up interesting results. After a time I gained an intuitive feel for programming, but it did take time.

I'd love to understand more of the theory but FM Theory & Applications has become a hard book to find. Anyone have one to loan?
User avatar
micahjonhughes
Active Member
Active Member
 
Posts: 702
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:27 pm
Location: Chicago

Postby xpander » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:02 pm

micahjonhughes wrote:I've loved FM since getting a DX27s a long long time ago. Over the years I've had various incarnations of 2, 4 and 6 operator FM synths.

I never really though that they were hard to program. Even when I did not know what I was doing at all experimenting always turned up interesting results. After a time I gained an intuitive feel for programming, but it did take time.

I'd love to understand more of the theory but FM Theory & Applications has become a hard book to find. Anyone have one to loan?


try a large library- especially a university library. algorithmic FM isn't difficult to program at all once you know the underlying ideas and functions. but learning the fundamentals of how complex FM works- which in turn teaches you the simple ratio tricks for creating typical useful harmonic sounds- isn't light reading. once you get over that giant speed bump, its smooth sailing.

check out the FS1R, too, it is really strange outside of FM and into the formant synthesis stuff. plus, the editor for mac (including intel-based) and windows is free. :D
User avatar
xpander
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
 
Posts: 1541
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2007 7:15 am
Location: los gatos, california
Gear: UltraProteus, Xpander, 200e, Minimoogs, Radias, Prophet VS, PolyEvolver, Arp 2600

Postby Soundwave » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:02 pm

The first thing that confused me with FM (apart from envelopes) on my first DX7 was what algorithms to use for the type of sound I was after. After getting my head around the simple additive style tones achievable when stacking multiple modulators at different volumes and harmonics (which just sound like boring organ sounds) the rest of the sounds animation is all in the envelopes. At the end of the day you’re rarely working with more than 3 stacked operators and the remaining operators you treat as a different sound altogether (like layering a ROMpler) or a detuned version of the first stack (like a 2 VCO’s you’d detune for a chorus effect on an analogue). It’s annoying however on Yamahas when you want to change algorithms for a different effect because all your settings would be set up for operators in the algorithm you are already in, its this reason that unless you know how the patch was put together from scratch its hard to know where to tweak a preset the familiarity soon overcomes this but the FM7's user algorithms blow this wide open. You could kinda think of FM as an efficient additive synthesis where just your controlling the effect of 6 basic elements rather than every single harmonic but its not like analogue where a random tweak can reveal (or loose) an unexpected sound as you have to have an idea of the type and sound you want when you start and keep tweaking until you get it. Getting into atonal sounds like for percussion can be a little hit and miss but there’s almost infinite scope in timbre as long as the modulators levels aren't too high and spoiling things. FM is not about immediate twiddling like on a simple analogue but more a patient analytical logical approach which is why I can program the software version with a mouse (or my Regalwerk now) better than from any DX front panel.

Analogue is Captain Kirk and FM is Mr Spock. :wink:

Anyhowz the FS1R has the same filter as the AN1X (less polyphony when used) and the FM7’s twin filter with exception of E-mu’s Z-plane is beyond most hardware synths I know of. It’s a shame Yamaha didn’t develop the formant sequencing on the FS1R as its quite a virtue of the machine.
User avatar
Soundwave
Senior Member
Senior Member
 
Posts: 888
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:36 pm

Postby felis » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:10 pm

The frequencies that are available depend on the ratio of modulator to carrier. The frequencies that are actually heard depend on the envelope which controls the modulators amplitude. Until you reach the point where all envelopes are at the sustain phase, there's really no need for a filter.

My main complaint about yamaha style FM has always been the lack of modulation options to use on the modulators. The envelopes are good for the initial attack transients, but will (usually-depending on programming) quickly decay to a steady state sustain. After that point, you can use an lfo on the modulator to get a filter sweeping effect, but that's about it.
That's why FM always had the reputation that it was best for percussive sounds. You can get the effect of long filter sweeps by using slow envelopes, but so much more could be possible.
felis
Junior Member
Junior Member
 
Posts: 188
Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 8:44 pm

Postby Soundwave » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:11 pm

double post oops! :oops:
Last edited by Soundwave on Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Soundwave
Senior Member
Senior Member
 
Posts: 888
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:36 pm

Postby xpander » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:19 pm

Soundwave wrote:
...

Analogue is Captain Kirk and FM is Mr Spock. :wink:

Anyhowz the FS1R has the same filter as the AN1X (less polyphony when used) and the FM7’s twin filter with exception of E-mu’s Z-plane is beyond most hardware synths I know of. It’s a shame Yamaha didn’t develop the formant sequencing on the FS1R as its quite a virtue of the machine.


continuously editable user-defined algorithms was unquestionably the logically evolution of FM synthesis. i still need FM8, sounds cool, expert mode looks sick & slick.

when i bought my FS1R, i told my lay friends that i bought a "nerd's synthesizer."

UltraProteus/Morpheus' z-plane filter is an instrument unto itself. how long will it take before i get bored of 255 morphable preset filter designs?
User avatar
xpander
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
 
Posts: 1541
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2007 7:15 am
Location: los gatos, california
Gear: UltraProteus, Xpander, 200e, Minimoogs, Radias, Prophet VS, PolyEvolver, Arp 2600

Postby Soundwave » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:23 pm

felis wrote:The frequencies that are available depend on the ratio of modulator to carrier. The frequencies that are actually heard depend on the envelope which controls the modulators amplitude. Until you reach the point where all envelopes are at the sustain phase, there's really no need for a filter.

My main complaint about yamaha style FM has always been the lack of modulation options to use on the modulators. The envelopes are good for the initial attack transients, but will (usually-depending on programming) quickly decay to a steady state sustain. After that point, you can use an lfo on the modulator to get a filter sweeping effect, but that's about it.
That's why FM always had the reputation that it was best for percussive sounds. You can get the effect of long filter sweeps by using slow envelopes, but so much more could be possible.


Thats why the FM7 is such an amazing synth! :wink:
User avatar
Soundwave
Senior Member
Senior Member
 
Posts: 888
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:36 pm

Postby felis » Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:28 pm

Soundwave wrote:double post oops! :oops:


We must have hit the 'submit' button at the same time. :lol: My post took forever to show up.

FM7/8 is a step up in programmability from yamaha's FM, but I'm really happy with the FM on the Alesis Fusion. You can set it up with pretty much no restrictions, and almost everything is available to modulate everything else.
felis
Junior Member
Junior Member
 
Posts: 188
Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 8:44 pm

Postby 23 » Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:11 am

Lot of interesting responses.

Cheers.


(And....this was not my first non TB-303 post. ;-)
believe it or not, I truly do touch the thing only rarely)
User avatar
23
Active Member
Active Member
 
Posts: 593
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:19 am
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Gear: TB-303, MC-505, MC-09, V-Synth GT, FR-777, FR-XS, MFB: Synth II, EMU Proteus 2500/CS, FS1R, Supernova II, Fusion 6HD, ER-1 MKII
Band: 23, A23P, Piss Ant

Postby carbon111 » Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:26 am

The main problem with FM (or PM if we're talking Yamaha synths) is not so much learning the new paradigm, which can be done with a little study and effort, but how awful the UIs are on just about every FM synth produced...the mighty DX7 had a two-line LCD and a value slider. The FS1R is a nightmare as well...at least from the front panel...what little there is of a front panel anyway ;)

The recent revitalization of FM (PM) as a useful synthesis method I think is largely in part due to softsynths like FM7 and the like, with their very accessible UIs that allow you to really get your hands dirty with the parameters as well as providing a ton of visual feedback as to whats going on...

Shame nobody ever made a cheaper version of the Jellinghaus knob-laden DX7 editor...
Best Regards, James
--
My New album "Persephone": https://carbon111.bandcamp.com/album/persephone

Carbon111 Website: http://www.carbon111.com

Carbon111 Blog: http://carbon111.blogspot.com
User avatar
carbon111
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 722
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 10:15 am
Location: Pacific Northwest
Band: Carbon111

Postby 23 » Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:31 am

carbon111 wrote:The main problem with FM (or PM if we're talking Yamaha synths) is not so much learning the new paradigm, which can be done with a little study and effort, but how awful the UIs are on just about every FM synth produced...the mighty DX7 had a two-line LCD and a value slider. The FS1R is a nightmare as well...at least from the front panel...what little there is of a front panel anyway ;)

The recent revitalization of FM (PM) as a useful synthesis method I think is largely in part due to softsynths like FM7 and the like, with their very accessible UIs that allow you to really get your hands dirty with the parameters as well as providing a ton of visual feedback as to whats going on...

Shame nobody ever made a cheaper version of the Jellinghaus knob-laden DX7 editor...


I wouldn't dare tackle the FS from the front panel. However, when you get to the point of using a softsynth, there really is little difference (in regard to programming) from using a software editor.
At least in regard to the FS, I fear to think what an adequate UI for the thing would have looked like. The paramater set is simply so darn high.
User avatar
23
Active Member
Active Member
 
Posts: 593
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:19 am
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Gear: TB-303, MC-505, MC-09, V-Synth GT, FR-777, FR-XS, MFB: Synth II, EMU Proteus 2500/CS, FS1R, Supernova II, Fusion 6HD, ER-1 MKII
Band: 23, A23P, Piss Ant

Next

Return to General Synthesizers

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 19 guests