Will FM ever be sought after ???

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monaro
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Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by monaro » Tue May 31, 2011 3:07 am

Hey there :)

As a synth collector/player Im curious as to whether FM will ever see the same popularity again that analogue is enjoying.
I've been collecting synths now for around 5 years.
In that time I've scored a few interesting bargains on different things but by far the most affordable and apparently unwanted synths are FM synths from yamaha.
You almost can't give these things away......which I love as I've now got around 10 of them ranging in price from $44 for a Roland d20 to $249 for a nice dx7.
The only ones I see pulling any real interest is the sy77 and sy 99 and even then it's not like people are climbing over each other to get one or are they reaching much more than $900 for the very best.

Once they were all the rage and people sold thief analogues for an FM synth but now it's seeming that it's the opposite.

So what to you guys think?
Will FM ever see a rise in popularity again?
Maybe music trends will shift to a point where they become relevant again?

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Re: Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Tue May 31, 2011 3:16 am

While analog love is certainly a trend, it's not a trend for imaginary reasons. As I've said in other threads, analog is loved because it is aurally pleasing and more similar to acoustic sounds.
FM is interesting, unique, and usable... but no one is ever thrilled with it's aural beauty. They are thrilled with its functionality, it's unique timbre, and various other aspects... but those aspects don't align with thousands of years of aural pleasure.
If some artist makes it big with an all-FM recording, or at least a recording that features an FM synth, then it's possible it might generate hype... but it won't have the staying power that analog has, because it's continued popularity is not related to genre or blind hype.
Every time I've ever owned an FM synth, I've enjoyed experimenting with that variety of synthesis. But, inevitably, it gets tedious to the ear because it is limited in scope, and while timbrally useful, it is not consistently beautiful.
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Re: Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by Dano » Tue May 31, 2011 5:02 am

10 yrs ago the Yamaha DX200 hit the market presenting DX7 FM in a more hands-on unit and although I have it and like it, I don't know how well they sold. I think FM7 did fairly well but my guess is that FM will never make a big comeback. I would also guess that even though most virtual analogs have some sort of FM provisions, the majority of people don't use it very often...just a guess though.

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Re: Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by tom Cadillac » Tue May 31, 2011 6:49 am

I'v got a DX200 - its amazing - lots of hands on control - I think the cheap the cheap idiot friendly groovebox package does it deservice and here we go - fs1r - probably the greatest sounding synth ever made! - again totally underpresented.

So yeah fm has the diservice of Yamaha only half trying to market it.
Its the purest form of synthesis and I'v never had any probs with the digital side. The DX200 gives scope for getting nasty and impure and the fs1r has some phenominal bass patches and mad organ sounds etc etc...
I used the 'dub bass 2' ? (sori at wk / no tech) patch all the time on one cd
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Re: Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by Jabberwalky » Tue May 31, 2011 7:18 am

They will....as soon as bell sounds become hip again

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Re: Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by boreg » Tue May 31, 2011 8:30 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:If some artist makes it big with an all-FM recording, or at least a recording that features an FM synth...
His name is Brian Eno :mrgreen:

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Re: Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by Alex E » Tue May 31, 2011 8:41 am

In the year 3021, the only model of synth we could consider 'vintage' now, that will still be working, will be the Yamaha FB-01, and there will be 3 of them left. One of them will be a priceless artifact kept at the smithsonian, and the other two will be owned by Brian Eno and Trent Reznor respectively, because neither man will ever die.
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Re: Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by AzureElectron » Tue May 31, 2011 9:14 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:While analog love is certainly a trend, it's not a trend for imaginary reasons. As I've said in other threads, analog is loved because it is aurally pleasing and more similar to acoustic sounds.
I see your point about analogue sound sometimes having the liveliness of the acoustic instrument but FM does a better job approximating the acoustic kind of sound because you have far greater control over frequencies and harmonics, especially with the more advanced FM synths.

IMO the analogue synths are loved because of the immediate control and spectacular sounds that are easy to achieve. FM needs more dedication and understanding, but the results can be just as wonderful. I devoted years to learning FM synthesis and I don't perceive the analogue synthesis to be anything greater than FM, just different. All the talk about the unique organic and fat analogue sound is rubbish. FM can do that well.
Automatic Gainsay wrote:Every time I've ever owned an FM synth, I've enjoyed experimenting with that variety of synthesis. But, inevitably, it gets tedious to the ear because it is limited in scope, and while timbrally useful, it is not consistently beautiful.
I disagree with the statement that FM is "inevitably tedious, limited, etc". This synthesis can be tedious to the ear, limited in scope but this can be said about any kind of synthesis, including the analogue subtractive. For that matter, the sound of my DX7 is timbrally useful and consistently beautiful.
Dano wrote:10 yrs ago the Yamaha DX200 hit the market presenting DX7 FM in a more hands-on unit
Another FM urban legend. DX200 is nowhere near being as hands on as the old DX7. It is not even fully programmable from its front panel. All you can do is tweak the exiting sounds a little but forget about programming your own patches from scratch without an external editor.

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Re: Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by Mino » Tue May 31, 2011 9:50 am

I think it may be, I'm looking for a FS1r, once I get the budget. For collecting, the huge DX1 will be sought after for sure.

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Re: Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by Black Tomorrow » Tue May 31, 2011 11:40 am

I think FM was just never given the full chance that subtractive was. It had several factors working against it. First, the user interfaces were just terrible. If the early FM synths were given a full set of knobs (one knob per function) then musicians would have probably explored the possibilities more fully than they did with that annoying single data slider. But instead, programming became too tedious, and cheesy presets became king. Then quickly became tired and cliche (DX Rhodes, how I loathe you). If user interface was more friendly (and if a frikkin filter had been included) we could have seen so much more potential, possibly leading to further development of FM synthesis... more operators, more routing flexibility, etc.

But I could be off base. My DX7 goes largely unused because it's so tedious, so I haven't dived into its full potential either.
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Re: Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by clubbedtodeath » Tue May 31, 2011 1:20 pm

I had a DX200, which added knobs for some of the FM functions. It was a nice little machine, but a real missed opportunity for Yamaha. It was capable of amazing sounds, and for me refreshingly different from subtractive synthesis - it even had effects and a filter.

And yet, Yamaha decided that you needed to use a software editor to access all the FM parameters. That killed it for me.

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Re: Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by paugui » Tue May 31, 2011 1:32 pm

I think you can produce really nice sounds with FM.
There are some really good demos on youtube of really nice pads obtained with the DX7.


I think a big difference to analogs is the availability, or at least I'd expect many more FM synths to have been produced when comparing with analogs, no?

Also, if FM starts being sought after, it shouldn't be that hard for Yamaha to produce a new FM synth for a low price, much cheaper than a poly analog with VCOs, and closer to the original FMs in terms of sound.


And "recently" the Nord Modular G2X came with a DX7 emulator and the Fusion also has FM synthesis, as well as Korg Oasys and Kronos with their VPM.


But indeed, it's a shame the interface some great FM synths have...
I haven't tried that much my Yamaha FS1r, but I think it sounds pretty good.
It's just a shame we have to use a software editor in order to program it, or else it's a nightmare... :(

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Re: Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by Ned Bouhalassa » Tue May 31, 2011 2:43 pm

Being an old fart and all, I remember when almost everything was done using a DX-7 - h**l, I had one! But I always found the tone much too abrasive on the ear after a while. FM is great for cutting through mixes, but on its own I just find it, in general, too bright. As for it being better at making acoustic instrument sounds because one has more control, I'd like to dissent. Having 'control' over more details in programming does not necessarily make for more 'realistic' sounds, and certainly doesn't guarantee that the sounds will be more musical. It's not like we really understand what happens in the chaos of the first 100 ms of a saxophone note (for eg), and that's OK.
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Re: Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by CS_TBL » Tue May 31, 2011 2:47 pm

An analogue synth has a sawtooth, which sounds like a sawtooth, and remains a sawtooth whether you play it low or high. Send it to a filter and some envelope, and you have a sound you can use.

In FM, you start with a sine. And before multiple sines FM them self into a sawtooth which remains in tact at low and high pitches, you're a few minutes away already. That is a disadvantage if all you wanted was a sawtooth. It's also a disadvantage if you have a crappy interface like the one on a DX.
However, if you want that slightly different sawtooth using an extra modulator, if you want specific aliasing on purpose, if you want the basic waveform to act on velocity and pitch, then FM opens doors to a new world, where analogue synths can't go, ever.

An essential difference is that analogue synths can be programmed by nearly any no-brainer. Count the number of parameters of a Juno106 (to name one), and everyone can understand them after an evening or two. To program FM synths beyond the basic sawtooths you'd better be a sound designer with a year o' 15 worth o' experience.
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Re: Will FM ever be sought after ???

Post by TheKeytarist » Tue May 31, 2011 2:58 pm

Like, the others said, if FM had been given a decent interface, it might not have gone out of style. To my knowledge, clavia is one of the (more?) notable companies that still includes some FM functionality in their Synths. interesting isn't it?
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