FM8 Tutorial

FM8 Explained®

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20 Videos | Length: 3hr 11min 51sec
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Chapter 1 : Basics

  • Introduction 2:22


    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!

  • Overview 8:50


    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.

  • The Browser & Attributes 7:50

    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.

  • The Master Page 13:07

    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.

Chapter 2 : Effects and Arpeggiator

  • Effects 12:43


    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.

  • The Arpeggiator 11:43

    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!

Chapter 3 : Hard and Easy

  • Introduction to Expert Mode 9:35

    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.

  • Easy/Morph Page 10:25

    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.

Chapter 4 : Operators and Envelopes

  • Operators Pt. 1 10:32

    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.

  • Operators Pt. 2 7:00

    Operators Pt. 2

    Continued from Operators Part 1.

  • Envelopes Pt. 1 7:14

    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.

  • Envelopes Pt. 2 10:31

    Envelopes Pt. 2

    Continued from Envelopes Part 1.

Chapter 5 : Advanced Synthesis and Routing

  • The Modulation Matrix & LFOs 15:13

    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.

  • FM8 as a Subtractive Synth 9:43

    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.

  • Routing External Audio into FM8 8:59

    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.

  • The XY Morph Pad In-Depth 9:13

    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.

Chapter 6 : Sound Design

  • Boards of Canada-esque Pad 8:39

    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.

  • Synth Drums in FM8 11:32

    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.

  • Dubstep Bass in FM8 Pt. 1 8:55

    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.

  • Dubstep Bass in FM8 Pt.  2 7:45

    Dubstep Bass in FM8 Pt. 2

    Continued from Dubstep Bass in FM8 Part 1.

Product Overview

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.

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