Trifonic: Using FM8s Morph Square to Create Sweet Leads

10 Jan

Building on some previous posts on FM synthesis (Pt. 1, Pt. 2, and Pt. 3), in this video Brian demonstrates how to use the Morph Square feature in FM8 to generate dynamic, rocking lead sounds.

Best of all, you can download the patch that Brian uses in the video below.

Also, if you like the drum sounds in the video, you can find the Wave Alchemy Drum Tools sample pack from whence they came here.

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  • Morphido

    Hi Brian, nVery nice to see cool features about FM8. It’s incredible how deep you surf inside each instrument.nI haven’t FM8, but I think there’s no other FM Synth better, what’s your opinion about Live’s Operator or any other Logic synth or NI synth with FM capabilities?nDrum Tools have good quality, and I’m sure we love which libraries you use for your daily work (and which loop libraries you usually take ideas).nThanks for sharing this video and cool patch :) nnmorphido

  • general fuzz

    Solid! Did you create that patch from scratch or did you use a preset as a starting point?

  • Anonymous

    FM8 is my favorite of the popular FM synths, because it’s layout is easy to navigate and it can import DX7 patches. Operator is excellent, but I don’t like it’s layout as much. I’m not into envelopes that are scaled all weird. The difference between .5sec and 50sec visually doesn’t look much different in Operator and the other Ableton instruments for that matter… but that is just a personal preference I guess. EFM in Logic is nice because it is simple, but you can’t do the more complex modulation paths that you can do with FM8 and operator.nn FXpansion’s Cypher is pretty awesome too! I don’t think it’s main purpose is for FM… but it can do audio-rate FM modulation but in a more analog style. Cypher is just amazing in general. I think I’ll do a video about it soon ;) nn

  • Anonymous

    This patch was from scratch, it is actually a pretty simple patch. I tend to keep my patches as simple as possible. I’ll leave the cool complicated patch making to Richard Devine and Autechere :D

  • Ovaltine Vortex

    As always this was a very nice tutorial, but I’ll admit that during this video I was a bit more interested in the pad sounds than the lead. Maybe you should do a tutorial sometime on those really nice pads that keep on appearing everywhere in your music.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the suggestion. I think that is a good idea, the pads and ambient sound layers are some my favorite sounds to create and I’ve been neglecting them a bit in these videos. If you haven’t already check out the video I did on Spectral Drone Maker… that gives some insight, but I’ll do a video where I show other techniques. That being said, it mostly comes down to reverb and more reverb haha!

  • bbell

    wow… every single one of your videos inspires me to create more electronic music. nnthanks for sharing these great ideas… most producers try to keep their production a secret

  • Anonymous

    Thanks! I never understood the point of being secretive about production…. after all underneath the production there is music ( I hope!). If the musical ideas aren’t extremely strong… no production trickery, synthesis idea, glitch plug-ins or Neve console are going to make it better :D

  • bbell

    for sure, but production keeps getting easier and easier. Going from cutting tape 40 years ago to auto beat mapping in ableton (along with its many other features) it seems like anybody can make a well produced song these days with a little help. Also with genres like dubstep and dnb which arent really music heavy (few notes like 1, b2, b3, 5 and maybe a b5 and a b7) the production aspect seems to be THE feature that the population likes.nnnBut in the end you are right, its the music underneath that makes it a good song/album/producer.nn

  • RSC82

    Many thanks for sharing your deep knowledge of music production Brian! Everyone of your videos is bang on! I’ve learnt so much fella.nnI read somewhere you’ve worked with BT? Is that true? n

  • Anonymous

    Thanks RSC82! Yes I did work with BT a few years back on many of his projects behind the scenes. I’m credited on the ‘This Binary Universe’ album and a few other things, but we no longer work together.

  • Tusk

    thanks for these tutorials, Brian. Do you think you’ll ever get around to some tips on dynamics and plug-ins? Especially in regards to grouping and creating bass and drum busses, ducking, sidechaining and how they all glue together over a mix? This is an area that i find hard to get definitive knowledge on in regards to bass heavy electronic music. Any tips and help would be most appreciated, as this is the area where alot of my productions fail to breathe and move.nThanx again

  • Anonymous

    Hey Tusk, I’ll see what I can do. I tend not to do too much trickery other than busing things together for easier macro type adjustments… I do lots of automation though. Side-chaining and ducking is useful way to get things to interact and carve space, but I tend to do it lightly. I really think automation is the key to getting things to sit right and to dynamically change over time. That being said automation too early in the writing or production process can really weigh down your session and make it a pain to change anything.

  • Tonebreaker

    Brian, how much of your sound design is done with a clear cut sonic destination in mind vs. creating a sound and kind of ‘figuring it out’ along way. In my own productions, I tend to start building a patch with a very basic idea in mind like, “Harmonic Pad” but the process beyond that gets very experimental and sometimes ends in a much different place than intended. Do you try and adhere strictly to the task at hand for progressions sake or do you allow yourself some room to wander and be suprised?

  • Anonymous

    Hey tonebreaker thanks for the comment. I tend to have a very fuzzy destination in mind, but with lots of room for exploration. I work best when I have freedom to explore. I take the same approach with writing music. I’m not one of those people that can imagine a whole song in my head and then make it. I tend to just go with an idea that is inspiring and trust my instincts until I have a rough sketch…. and then over-think it and obsess over the details for a year :P

  • Tonebreaker

    Man, I feel your pain. On more than one occasion I’ve sat in front of my DAW for 3 hours writing a track element… Only to decide that it’s trite, contrived and completely out of context for the vibe of the track. What I’ve forced myself to start doing is yanking the clip from the track and saving it into a scrub directory. Every now and again I’ll dig through that directory and if I listen to the clip out of a tracks context and it still doesn’t cut it, I will then axe it. Designing inventive and well thought out sounds is challenging… But that’s also why it’s so rewarding when you finally craft a sound that you truly believe to be ‘Sick.’nnAs always, love the blog and your music. Keep it up.