Does FM synthesis terrify and frustrate you? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Frequency modulation (FM) synthesis is different from synthesis techniques that follow a subtractive model. And we are here to help, ourselves having gone from the early hardware units to FM’s glorious rebirth in software. Just take one of these webinars, and call us in the morning…

Frequency modulation (FM) synthesis was the tip of the spear in the digital audio revolution. And it wasn’t just a cheap date. FM synthesis presented a new paradigm, a way to choose the harmonics of a sound and then morph them. This humble approach to sound synthesis was strong in the early 80s, and it is still uniquely powerful today.

Frequency modulation was used to transmit radio signals for nearly half a century before it was misused to interesting effect, thus providing a new method of sound synthesis. Made famous by the Yamaha DX-7, the sounds of FM permeated all manner of pop hits in the 80s, not to mention becoming a mainstay of jazz and fusion records.

Join us for this week’s Knob Talk, Nobody Puts FM in the Corner. In this installment, we will trace the early history of FM synthesis, from radio transmissions to hardware synthesizers and on to the software synths of today. We will look at the fundamentals of FM and how to get some predictable results. We will then look at some of the current software tools and how to get the sound in today’s electronic music. Some of the answers may surprise you.

FM7 largely resurrected FM synthesis in software. For this Knob Talk, we will be featuring its successor, Native Instruments’ FM8. Considered to be the most complete FM software synthesizer, FM8 is capable of both emulating the classic hardware syntheizers and finding new places for FM to go to new places in the 21st century.

Whether you are a newcomer or an old hat, you will walk away with some new ideas and a renewed interest in this treasured synthesis technique. Please join us and contribute to the conversation.

You will learn/review:

  • Concepts of FM synthesis
  • FM algorithms
  • The operator (the basic unit of classic FM)
  • Working with envelopes
  • Feedback operators
  • Expression and modulation
  • Making classic and modern FM sounds
  • Effects suited for FM sounds

Instrument featured:

  • Native Instruments’ FM8

Sign Up Now

Nobody Puts FM in the Corner, a Knob Talk webinar
(Thursday, November 19th, 9–10pm NYC time)

This is a one-time payment.

Questions? Boom. Comments? Meow.


Knob Talks is a weekly webinar series on electronic music production topics. Each Knob Talk incorporates a multimedia presentation, demonstration, and open Q&A session on the topic of the week.

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