Hardware FM or FM8 softsynth?

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SYNbiotic
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Hardware FM or FM8 softsynth?

Post by SYNbiotic » Sun Jul 22, 2007 4:47 pm

So I'm about to take the plunge in the FM world. Being a child of the 80s I'm very familiar with the DX7 sound and I have a basic understanding of FM synthesis.

I'm into synthesis, not patches that sound like other instruments, and I enjoy building sounds from the ground up.

I've noticed you can get a Yamaha TX802 pretty cheap on eBay, and higher end synths like the TG-77 and FS1R are still under $500. If I bought one I'd use my computer as a sequencer and to program the synth.

The FM8 softsynth has been getting rave reviews and sells for the same price as hardware.

So my question is, since FM is pure digital is it still worth it to get a FS1R in light of great software like the FM8? The workflow of FM8 is obviously better than the hardware with a software editor, but are the sound capabilities and quality better?

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Post by DGX305 » Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:24 pm

FM8 is much much easier to navigate and can also integrate well if you ever decide to get Kore. Having said that I still have my DX5 for nostalgic reasons.
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Post by DIGITAL SCREAMS » Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:31 pm

Ive just bought an FS1R having owned a DX7MKIIFD for a couple of years.

Hands down, the FS1R is the best FM synth ever made. It sounds totally awesome. Im really suprised at just how good the onboard effects sound.

I can program FM well enough....its just that I rarely have th etime these days to do it. I use the FS1R as a glorified DX7 preset machine + formant synthesis. The machine comes with 1500 presets, 1200 of which are all the classic DX7 presets. The sounds cover everything.....no real need to program. I would only entertain the thought of FM8 if I thought 'I wanna program my own sounds'......and with FM synths....Im more than happy to use and tweak what is allready available.

The whole hardware and software debate is for you to decide. FS1R will always hld its value and possibly go up a bit. FM8 will be superceeded at some point or become unsupported on ur 16 core computer in 5 yrs time. Given the choice, I always work with hardware and find the limitations useful sometimes.

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Post by matamoris » Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:40 pm

i have an sy77 and fm8. i would let fm8 go before the sy77. when i A/B'ed DX7 sysex dumps on both, I found that they sounded better on the sy77.
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Post by Soundwave » Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:44 pm

FS1R is nice but FM7/8 (don't like FM8 as it adds nothing new) best FM synth ever don't bother with DX/SY hardware just get a half decent MIDI controller with at least 16 knobs as one set of operator controls can also be used for the other five.

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Post by JSRockit » Sun Jul 22, 2007 6:12 pm

This is easy... do you like software or hardware better?
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Post by 23 » Sun Jul 22, 2007 6:20 pm

From if it's sheer sonic capability you're looking at, not much is going to touch the FS1R.
However, at the same time, even when using an editior, you'll have a much easier time programming FM8.

Capability wise, you have a pretty wide assortment of things, but like I said, you'll be hard pressed to top out the FS.

I'd really say it's a question or not of whether the extra umph you'll get from the FS is worth the programming headache to you (and that's with an editor in tow).

Generally speaking, I'd recommend people more towards a non FS.....when it comes down to myself however, well I went the FS route (and don't regret it a bit).

The SY is also interesting in that it allows samples to interact with the ops.....sorta ala Roland's FXM system, but more complex.

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Post by CS_TBL » Sun Jul 22, 2007 6:58 pm

-> FM8 <-

And that's coming from someone who has a DX7, FS1r and SY77 .. :P

Why? (in a nutshell)

* once you've worked with a matrix for operator routing, you don't want to go back to 'ordinary' pre-fab algos, in which you must think in advance which "future-proof" algo to choose.
* FS/DX has 1 feedback, SY77 has 3, FM8 has 6, one for each operator, and that's excluding the fact that you can route any op back to the input of another op. So imagine you have a [a]->->[c]->[d]->[e] structure, then with one slide of the mouse you can route [e]'s output back to [a] again.. which is some kinda feedback again eh.
* great effects
* more operator waveforms than the SY and FS combined.
* flexible filter(s) (more flexible than the SY and FS)
* oodles o' polyphony!

What's FM8 lacking tho: (in a nutshell)

* FM8 doesn't have the a phase parameter for op.waveforms, such as the SY has
* FM8 doesn't have the global keyboard microtuning the SY has (which is very practical for grand pianos)
* no samples as operator, such as the SY has, tho in all honesty, I never managed to get anything practical out of that, other than advanced noise. But that's personal eh.
* FM8 only has a global pitch envelope, nothing per operator, other than on/off.
* chorus could be much better/richer
* there are some bugs, yes..

Other than all that, FM8 has the potential to become your only plug-in, next to a sample-player.

check these:
http://pub.unreal64.net/boor/CS_TBL-mut ... et_fm8.mp3
and
http://pub.unreal64.net/boor/mil.mp3
for some stuff made with FM8!
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Post by JUGEL » Sun Jul 22, 2007 7:19 pm

CS_TBL wrote:check these:
http://pub.unreal64.net/boor/CS_TBL-mut ... et_fm8.mp3
and
http://pub.unreal64.net/boor/mil.mp3
for some stuff made with FM8!
this is why I don't ask people about FM online anymore... better off finding a friend that knows...

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Post by 23 » Sun Jul 22, 2007 7:31 pm

CS_TBL wrote:-> FM8 <-

And that's coming from someone who has a DX7, FS1r and SY77 .. :P

Why? (in a nutshell)

* once you've worked with a matrix for operator routing, you don't want to go back to 'ordinary' pre-fab algos, in which you must think in advance which "future-proof" algo to choose.
* FS/DX has 1 feedback, SY77 has 3, FM8 has 6, one for each operator, and that's excluding the fact that you can route any op back to the input of another op. So imagine you have a [a]->->[c]->[d]->[e] structure, then with one slide of the mouse you can route [e]'s output back to [a] again.. which is some kinda feedback again eh.
* great effects
* more operator waveforms than the SY and FS combined.
* flexible filter(s) (more flexible than the SY and FS)
* oodles o' polyphony!


The FS might as well have a feedback loop per OP. I mean when it comes down to it, the FS is really more a 16 OP FM synth, with 8 voiced, and 8 unvoiced. Each voiced OP has another OP right behind it, in essence, you can treat this like a feedback loop if you like. Where Operator waveforms are concerned, again, this is another pretty crazy area to think about when you start thinking about how the FS is structured......it's sorta like with the Novation, THERE'S A h**l OF A LOT more (potential) OP waveforms than it looks like on the surface. (Again, go back to considering the arch of the FS. If you were to render it down to an 8 OP deal, and then consider the results of unvoiced OPs on voiced OPs to be nothing more than additional OP waves, you end up with a number of waves available that I can't even bother fathoming to count.)
Filters were left out of the original DX with good reason. That a filter was used for in traditional subtractive synthesis could be accomplished via other means. In regard to the FS, I must confess, typically speaking, I turn to filter usage out of laziness, NOT because I was hitting some sort of FM/nonsubtractive barrier.

I do agree with you on that FM8 is a great and capable piece. But it's a FAR FAR FAR cry from being able to achieve the timbral spectrum of the FS.

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Re: Hardware FM or FM8 softsynth?

Post by xpander » Sun Jul 22, 2007 8:31 pm

i have the FS1R, SY99 and a DX7IIFD... the SY and FS1R are really different in terms of capabilities, the SY99 is a 16-part multitimbral machine with sample data for traditional substractive synthesis and workstation goodies while the FS1R is a 4-part multi machine with an even more bizarre synthesis engine including of course formant shaping stuff.

its all software in the end... behold window captures of the FS1R Editor (free):

Image


Image


Image

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Post by Soundwave » Sun Jul 22, 2007 9:59 pm

I know the formant waves on the FS1R have a little more to them but I've read its really a hit and miss affair with the formant sequencing which should have been developed a lot more. You do get 30+ waves on the FM7 (some of which are formant) whilst not quite the same do give you a scope beyond any DX/SY and even the FS1R to some extent, the MIDI control on the FM7 is very extensive and the twin filter is much more versatile than the AN1X filter on the FS1R.

I think the FS1R will always have the niche for complex formant type sounds but for your typical FM the FM7/8 really has it in the bag especially when using external audio as a operator. 8)

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Post by 23 » Sun Jul 22, 2007 10:46 pm

Soundwave wrote:I know the formant waves on the FS1R have a little more to them but I've read its really a hit and miss affair with the formant sequencing which should have been developed a lot more. You do get 30+ waves on the FM7 (some of which are formant) whilst not quite the same do give you a scope beyond any DX/SY and even the FS1R to some extent, the MIDI control on the FM7 is very extensive and the twin filter is much more versatile than the AN1X filter on the FS1R.

I think the FS1R will always have the niche for complex formant type sounds but for your typical FM the FM7/8 really has it in the bag especially when using external audio as a operator. 8)
Formant sequencing on the FS did get fully resolved, however, it was third parties, and not Yamaha, that picked the ball up running. There's TONS of frames that hit up into a formant sequence, and ultimately, a lot of times it ultimately became as simple as sample something, have the sample anaylyzed, and then proceed to convert it into a formant sequence from there. It was this part of the process that Yamaha asssured to complete but never did.....ultimately, this part of the process did get completed.

In this regard, not only is a good amount of paramaters missing from the screenshots of an editor that were given here, but not a single screenshot in regard to the detailed workings of formant sequence creation were offered.

Again, if one were to fuse each unvoiced op with it's corresponding voiced op, thus making for an 8 OP FM piece, the amount of waveforms each OP is capable of heads way beyond the hundreds....in all honesty, I wouldn't shy away from saying thousands.
The closest thing I know to compare it to would be the Supernova's wave generation system. Where on the surface, you only had Pulse, Saw, and Dual Saw available, which was in and of itself fairly limiting. But then throw into account that Sine waves were actually there for example, but they required that the hardness paramater on a square wave be applied harshly. Pretty much, once not only the fact that each osc could independently serve as it's own master and slave osc, but factors like Sync Skew and Hardness were factored in as well, it quickly became evident that the amount of waves each Osc was capable of independently generating was actually FAR FAR FAR beyond the norm and not at all limited to the 3 waveform range it looked like on the surface.
This same type of outlook truly should be applied to the FS.

The trouble with the FS didn't come in capability. The thing was, and years later still is, pretty much unparalleled in regard to it's capabilities; HOWEVER, I'd almost go as far to say that it was not "A" programing nightmare, but that it was "THE" programming nightmare. Going from the Front Panel, fact of the matter was NOT every paramater was accessible (yes, even with all the menu diving) and at that, what was available was a nightmare to deal with. Further, the way things ultimately rolled out, there literally were two FULLY FEATURED editors that were developed for it. One for it's Fseq capabilities, and another for everything else. Both Editors, as I said, were fully featured, it wasn't as if one was a light handed editor....both were pretty darn indepth. Even if the two editors were to be combined, at the end of the day was you'd end up with even an editor that was so darn indepth/complex that it itself wouldn't exactly be immediately user friendly.

Ultimately, what did the FS1R result in? I really don't know what to compare it to as there simply hasn't really been anything commercially released that has it's abilities. I mean one really could squeeze some things out of it that would liken many to comparing the results to K2000/5000 additive like results, still other things screamed WaveStation Wave Sequence like results, still others more (Waldorf) Wavetable like results, other things threw out the notion of it being some weird sort of vocoder (I'm speaking in terms of result, as of course it had no external input), but then of course there was the more traditional FM like results that could be reached.
Realistic choir voices could be morphed in ways that screamed some sort of Additive process must be going on. Beats and rhythms could be rolled out that all remained in sync regardless of key played (unlike on the wavestation) screaming Wave sequence. The voice of some man clearly speaking into a hand held radio could be accomplished.....but is that a man? because how is that being morphed into a woman? Really all sorts of crazy and quite odd things. Number of things that would have one swearing samples were having to enter into the fray somewhere along the line (like I said, i.e. some guy talking). But of course analog type basses and leads, and crystalline bells also quite possible to accomplish.

TONS of capabilbilty, but like I said, all lying behind what may quite possibly be looked at as "The" programming nightmare.

I'll hit up a demo of the FS some time. Trust me, getting it to go not just a couple steps, but FAR beyond the capabilities of other FM based synths can quickly be shown.

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Post by CS_TBL » Sun Jul 22, 2007 11:43 pm

Let's say that the FS and FM8 head in two different directions then, and if you include the SY, then there are three different directions one can choose. The FS might be doing things FM8 can't, but at the same time, there're things in FM8 that the FS can't. The question is which things are relevant for SYNbiotic.

btw, on FM8: that IN operator (audio input), does that actually do anything at all in cubase sx3?
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Post by Wiglaf » Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:02 am

I think the FS1R is more than a FM synth, so it's kind of unfair in this comparison.

FM8 is much easier to use than a DX-series synth. I love it and use it all the time.

So, +1 for FM8. I would like to putz around with a FS1R one day, though, but again, as I understand it, it's more than a FM synth.
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