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Retro Synth FM


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Retro Synth's FM section isn't meant to be as complex as traditional, multiple operator FM synths. I feel pretty secure in assuming that they want to allow users the ability to create simple FM-esque sounds/textures without the amount of knowledge usually needed to program within that synthesis context. Really, that's the apparent philosophy of most Logic instruments and effects.


If you're looking for a more traditional FM approach, there's a lot of great free and paid third party options.

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Hmm. I'm wondering if it actually makes it harder.. I was wondering if there was some theory behind this design, or if it's simply an Apple thing, like you say.

The only free FM synth I know is Dexed. I have Dexed but haven't had the time to learn the Yamaha interface.

Are there any others?

I don't want to shell out for FM8 atm, here's hoping EMF1 is updated to four operators one day.

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The actual programming of the FM section is pretty simple - Harmonic gives you ratios that are perceived as pleasing and Inharmonic, well, not so much. The FM slider then adjusts the amount those settings affect the carrier.


I wouldn’t get my hopes up on EFM1 ever having a major design change and, honestly, it’s not unreasonable to think that future development for that or any of their other older synths is pretty unlikely. Retro Synth and Alchemy cover what those older synths did for the most part and seem to be the focus now.


As for free options, Dexed is the only one I can think of off the top of my head, but I’m not sure you’d find better freeware for classic FM sounds. My personal favorite is the new Arturia DX7 V as it takes Yamaha style programming, but greatly modernizes it and offers a variety of other waveforms outside of the standard sine wave (something Dexed doesn’t do, IIRC). The price isnt great, though, unless you’re getting it as part of their V-Collection. FM8 is great, too, I just never felt compelled to dig into it.

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