FM Synth Programming

Programming Guide                By Thor Zollinger, writer/musician/engineer at large.  2017

an imageLately I've been working on my synthesizers, mainly my Yamaha FM synths.

Ever wanted to program your FM synth to make a specific instrument sound?  I hunted on the web for a guide, but there aren't any.  Thirty years of FM synths and not one logical guide on how to program them...  

Why is that?

I decided to figure out a method myself and write a 'How-To' manual.  You can download the fourth revision of the guide below!  It took me months to put together, especially all of the patch examples for each style of synth.

It starts with 4-Operator FM synthesizers, moves up to 6 Operators, covers how to use the 8-Operator FM-X waveforms, then finishes off with a section on Formants and the Yamaha FS1R.  I've included at least a dozen programming examples in the main text, and there are dozens more in the Appendix.  

v2.  I improved the Saxophone FM-X patch and rewrote that part of the programming guide.  It's closer to reality now than it was, the Saxophone takes more high frequency components than any other instrument to sound right.

v3.  I also added in a section on the Christina1 voice patch, I finally figured out how to set up a very realistic voice patch on the FS1R!  I used Christina Aguilera's lower voice range as an example.

v4.  The section on four-stack algorithms has been expanded too, I finally figured out good uses for really complex harmonic structures.  The Piano is one of these, and I've been working on Yamaha VP1 patches which are even nastier to construct.  

v5.  Added in a section on how to create Analog wave forms with FM.


 Download  FM Programming Guide v4 9.43MB pdf