Native Instruments Tutorial

FM8 Explained

20 Tutorials (3hr 11min 51sec)
Own it Forever
$25 $30 Download
Access the Entire Site
$15 Get Your Pass


  • image description

    Tutorial 1



    Native Instruments FM8 is one of the most powerful and versatile soft synths on the market. It's primarily a frequency modulation synthesize,r but it can also be used as a subtractive and an additive synth as well. Over the course of these tutorial videos we're going to look in-depth at every page and every parameter leaving no stone unturned, so that by the end you are an FM8 expert!

  • image description

    Tutorial 2



    In this video we'll launch FM8 in stand-alone mode and make sure the audio and MIDI settings are set up correctly. We'll then take a brief tour of the synth, examine every page and I'll explain in general terms what everything does.

  • image description

    Tutorial 3

    The Browser & Attributes


    In this video we'll learn how to navigate the browser effectively and find the sound we're looking for. We'll learn how to import SYSEX files (I'll explain what one of those is!) and we'll also look at using attributes to categorize our patches effectively and make them easier to find in the browser.

  • image description

    Tutorial 4

    The Master Page


    The Master Page contains a lot of global settings which will come in really handy when we come to designing our FM8 patches. In this video we'll go through every knob and button on the Master page so you know exactly what each one does.

Effects and Arpeggiator

  • image description

    Tutorial 5



    FM8 contains a whole suite of effects which we can use to process our patches. In this video, we'll explore each effect and I'll explain what every parameter does. We'll also look and learn how to call up effect templates as well as saving our own templates.

  • image description

    Tutorial 6

    The Arpeggiator


    This is one of the most fun aspects of FM8. In this video we'll learn how to use the various perimeters of the arpeggiator to produce many different rhythmic patterns from melodic broken chords sequences to squelch 303 style lines to retro Chiptune riffs!

Hard and Easy

  • image description

    Tutorial 7

    Introduction to Expert Mode


    In this video we'll take our first look at expert mode. We'll establish the fundamental principles behind FM synthesis and learn how we can use operators as carriers and modulators to alter the timbre and amplitude of our sound.

  • image description

    Tutorial 8

    Easy/Morph Page


    In this video we'll learn how we can use the Easy/Morph page to radically change our patches as well as other peoples. By using the simple parameters in Easy/Morph, we can make changes to complex sounds in a matter of seconds. We'll also take our first look at the X Y morph pad.

Operators and Envelopes

  • image description

    Tutorial 9

    Operators Pt. 1


    In this video we'll return to expert mode and take a closer look at our operators. Explore in depth everything our standard operators, A - F are capable of, how we can route them using the FM matrix and we'll also take an in depth look at operator X.

  • image description

    Tutorial 10

    Operators Pt. 2


    Continued from Operators Part 1.

  • image description

    Tutorial 11

    Envelopes Pt. 1


    In this video we'll take our first look at FM8's very sophisticated envelopes. We'll see how we can use them to create innovative warping textures and looping patterns. We'll also have a look at the envelopes in FM8's Keyscale page.

  • image description

    Tutorial 12

    Envelopes Pt. 2


    Continued from Envelopes Part 1.

Advanced Synthesis and Routing

  • image description

    Tutorial 13

    The Modulation Matrix & LFOs


    In this video we'll explore the modulation matrix. We'll see how we can route modulation from a variety of different sources to our operators and how we can use LFOs to control parameters and give our patches a more natural performance feel.

  • image description

    Tutorial 14

    FM8 as a Subtractive Synth


    FM8 is not just an FM Synthesizer. in this video we'll take an in depth look at Operator Z and learn how we can use FM8 as a powerful subtractive synth.

  • image description

    Tutorial 15

    Routing External Audio into FM8


    In this video we'll see how by using FM8 as an effect plug-in within our DAW, we can use FM8's suite of effects to process external audio. We'll also see how we can use external audio to module FM8's operators as well as using operators to modulate our incoming audio.

  • image description

    Tutorial 16

    The XY Morph Pad In-Depth


    The XY Morph Pad is a feature of FM8 which allows us to morph between different settings and can be a fantastic tool for creative sound design. In this video we'll explore the possibilities of the morph pad and learn which perimeters can be morphed and which can't.

Sound Design

  • image description

    Tutorial 17

    Boards of Canada-esque Pad


    FM Synthesis is often associated with very harsh digital sounds, but FM8 can also produce very warm analog-like tones. In this video we'll use FM8 to create a warm, detuned, Boards of Canada-esque synth pad.

  • image description

    Tutorial 18

    Synth Drums in FM8


    FM8 is a really versatile synth. As well as melodic synths, FM8 can also produce percussive drum like sounds. In this video we'll create a synthesized Kick, Snare, Hi-Hat and Tom all using only FM8.

  • image description

    Tutorial 19

    Dubstep Bass in FM8 Pt. 1


    FM8 can produce some very hard, aggressive, abrasive and complex sounds which are perfect for Dubstep. In this video we'll make five devastating bass patches as well as a sub bass patch.

  • image description

    Tutorial 20

    Dubstep Bass in FM8 Pt. 2


    Continued from Dubstep Bass in FM8 Part 1.

Unleash the true power of Native Instrument's FM8 virtual synth! FM8 master Al Swettenham breaks this monster synth down, step by step, so you can grasp the amazing power and creativeness of FM synthesis.

Al begins with the important basics such, as an introduction to the synth, a detailed overview and how to use the main Browser & Attributes page as well as the Master page. Next, Al jumps into FM8's powerful effects and arpeggiator and introduces you to "Expert Mode" as well as the "Easy / Morph" page. Al then reveals the Operators and Envelopes sections, advanced synthesis and routing and finishes up with custom FM8 sound design.

If you use Native Instruments FM8 for your productions, get the most out of it and see how truly powerful it really is. Tune-in to the wonderful world of FM synthesis... Watch "FM8 Explained" today.

1. When did you start dabbling in music?

I've been dabbling in music for as long as I can remember in one way or another. As a toddler, my Dad used to sit me at the piano while he played and I'd just bash the keys! But it was in my early teens that I first started trying to write electronic music and learning to program MIDI. I wasn't great at it then but I really enjoyed it and I knew from then on that all I wanted to do was music. When I was 14 I made a CD of my own self made house tunes and persuaded them to sell it in my local record shop down the road. The tracks were pretty basic but I sold all 20 copies!

2. What training have you had?

I did an A-Level in Music Technology, it was pretty retro; we were recording onto analog tape with a Tascam MSR-16 and there were usually only about 8 or 9 channels on the 16 channel desk actually working at any given time! Then I did a BA (Hons) in Popular Music Production at the University of Huddersfield, they were a lot better equipped! I also spent a year working as a trainee studio engineer at ICC Studios, a great recording studio down on the south coast of England. That was really where I cut my teeth, learning to use with Pro-Tools and SADiE. It was hard work but also great fun. ICC was also where I learned the people skills necessary to be a studio engineer. Helping musicians feel comfortable and relaxed so they can give a great performance is a vital part of the job and those skills have come in very handy when working with vocalists on my own music.

3. When did you get into recording?

I first got into recording when I did my A-Level, before that I was really just making crude general midi tracks using a really basic version of Cubase called Cubasis AV. That was a really important step on the road to becoming a producer, before then I didn't really know how to use EQs and compressors effectively. Given that most of my experience up to that point had been teaching myself how to use various bits of software to write dance music, getting some proper training in micing up guitar cabs and drum kits, all using analogue equipment was really valuable.

4. People you have worked with/for?

I'm one third of Rebel Sonix, audio visual bass merchants based in Brixton, London. I joined after having done a few collabs and remixes with them over the last year. I've also worked with Adam Freeland, most notably on a dubstep remix of the James Bond theme for the launch of the videogame Goldeneye Reloaded. I've remixed several tracks by FeralisKinky, the UK's first ever white, female raga vocalist, and I remixed Delirious' last ever single before they broke up, which was a real honour since I remember going to their gigs as a teenager! Other artists I've worked with include Whiskey Pete, Adam Fielding, Steve Leach, Tom+Olly and You And What Army. I get approached quite a lot to do remixes and collabs and I try to do as much as I can, with the inevitable consequence that I'm always really busy!

5. Why are you so good at training people?

I've spent more than 10 years now learning about studio recording, computer composition and sound design and music production. As a producer I never stop learning because I'm always trying to improve my own production skills. I'm comfortable working in a diverse range of genres as well as a diverse range of software and plugins. I also believe I'm clear, concise and articulate (a trait I've absorbed via osmosis from my parents who are both teachers.) But most of all I'm really passionate about this stuff, music production is my life and when I discover something new I get really excited and want to tell people (just ask my wife!)

Products by Al

  • image description
    tutorial video

    ABSYNTH 5 Explained

    The true power of the incredibly deep ABSYNTH 5 virtual synth by Native Instruments is fully explored and revealed by NI super user Al Swettenham. If you use this mega synth, you owe it to yourself to unlock its true capabilities, features and functions. Tune in with Al now!

  • image description
    tutorial video

    FM8 Explained

    Unleash the true power of Native Instruments FM8 virtual synth! FM8 master Al Swettenham breaks this monster synth down, step by step so you can grasp the amazing power and creativeness of FM synthesis. LEarn the ins and outs as well as how to create popular sounds using Native Instruments FM8.

  • image description
    tutorial video

    Making Trap with Reason

    Reason super user Al Swettenham is back with another series and this time it's all about Trap! Join Al as he shows how to use Reason 7 to create all the characteristic genre tropes of this hugely successful genre of bass music as he creates a track from the ground up.

  • image description
    tutorial video

    MONARK Explained

    Do you use REAKTOR 5's ensemble MONARK in your productions? Groove 3 resident trainer Al Swettenham is here to show you the ins & outs of this monophonic subtractive synthesizer, as well as how to use it creatively.

  • image description
    tutorial video

    Patch Design in Thor

    Do you use the mighty Thor virtual synth in your productions? Well, Reason wizard Al Swettenham will show you some cool ways to get huge sounds out of Thor in this power packed micro series.

You might be also interested in

The All-Access Pass gives you just that, instant online access to every single video tutorial currently on the site and any ones that get added during your membership.

The true power of the incredibly deep ABSYNTH 5 virtual synth by Native Instruments is fully explored and revealed by NI super user Al Swettenham. If you use this mega synth, you owe it to yourself to unlock its true capabilities, features and functions. Tune in with Al now!

Music theory master Eli Krantzberg has heard your requests for an in-depth series all about MIDI orchestration and has delivered big time. This series is designed for those of you who want to create realistic symphony orchestrations using todays awesome symphonic virtual instruments. If you want to compose for film, TV or just to get what's in your head outside for all to hear, this collection is for you.

World-class remixer extraordinaire Timothy Allan is back with a series that will reveal all there is to make a huge, modern sounding electronic dance track right in your DAW. He starts with his remix of the classic dance track "Fine Day" in raw, multi-track form, and starts from the bottom up, showing you all of his trade secrets along the way.

FM8 Explained is rated 4.0 out of 5 by 3.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Tutorials ! Loved this tutorial, very well explained, makes difficult concepts easy to understand.
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Can't handle this guys voice. I really tried to get thru this one. But the guys' voice just gets on my nerves after a while :( I managed to get thru the absynth one, but couldnt do this. Great teacher, but the voice is truly hard to listen to. It kind of sounds like he's panicking. An update would ensure my subscription.
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You get all you need to master the FM8! As I wrote in the title you get all you need to master the FM8. The course does a good describing of FM synthesis too. Recommended!
Date published: 2016-05-10
  • y_2017, m_2, d_19, h_14
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_0.0
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_0, tr_3
  • loc_en_US, sid_16420, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_groove3
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.1.0
  • CLOUD, getContent, 22.88ms