The green buttons select different editing pages. So how does FM7 measure up to the original DX? When something in synthesis is good, even if it goes out of fashion you can be sure it’ll be back. It happened with analogue, and for the past couple of years it’s been happening with FM.
10 of the best FM plugin synths
The green buttons select different editing pages. So how does FM7 measure up to the original DX? When something in synthesis is good, even if it goes out of fashion you can be sure it’ll be back. It happened with analogue, and for the past couple of years it’s been happening with FM. FM7 offers polyphony of up to 99 notes, though high polyphony values increase CPU overhead. However, the multitimbrality situation is different. And if you’re an inveterate DX Preset collector, thousands are downloadable from the Net.
There are also two extra ‘operators’ that can interact with the others. One other element has the appearance of an operator, and is unexpected in an FM synth: Your computer’s keyboard can also be used polyphonically.
Smaller LCDs show the harmonic content and waveform of the current Preset, which is attractive and sometimes informative during Preset editing. You can even fold up the Editing window and keyboard when not needed, with two dedicated buttons. The Library Screen The central Editing Window can behave in one of several ways, depending on what you’re doing.
Yamaha operator 1 is FM7 operator F, 2 is E and so on. A choice of ‘Aggressive’ or ‘Cautious’ randomness is available, oddly, in Preferences. Perhaps there wasn’t room anywhere else for this setting!
However, Randomise works quite well, often producing results worth saving and refining. Something similar appeared on later Yamaha instruments, allowing you to edit an FM Preset like an analogue patch.
The Easy Edit screen allows you to make quick yet significant changes to a Preset’s timbre and response. Note the Stereo Width slider; all operators can have a pan position, and this control spreads them across the stereo field. FM7’s envelope generators are sophisticated and flexible, but in Easy Edit there are two simplified envelopes, Timbre and Amplitude, each with standard attack, decay, sustain and release parameters. There’s also an ‘Effect’ window, with 12 preset effects settings.
Overall, the two synths sound identical, with two major differences. At the time of going to press, we hadn’t got to the bottom of this. The DX7 offered 32 preset algorithms; you could switch operators on or off, but couldn’t otherwise modify algorithms. The FM Matrix. You create algorithms here by activating operators shown in their ‘off’ state, apart from Operator F , clicking the background grid to make connections, and setting feedback, level and pan.
The screen above shows a completed algorithm, the one for ‘Ufftzz’, which is mentioned in the ‘Sound Stuff’ box. While this all might sound like the start of something rather complicated, in practice it isn’t. This gives FM an air of modular synthesis — but there are factory algorithms if you don’t want to dabble! These include the original DX7 algorithms, though they are not labelled as such.
Here you can easily choose which operators will be in the algorithm, by clicking on boxes while holding down the Option key. Then it’s necessary to determine which operators will be carriers and which modulators. Dragging as you click increments the output level of the modulating operator being sent to the carrier, making its effect more obvious. The bottom row of the FM Matrix functions as an operator ‘mixer’. Just click, then drag to increase the operator’s level. Pan position is set in the same way operators working only as modulators don’t need to be heard independently — they are only there to affect the sound of the carrier — but modulator output can be heard if desired, another departure from classic DX FM.
The Operator Feedback control is located immediately above each operator box. Not only can operators feed back on themselves, they can feed back on other operators.
The FM Matrix provides an extremely neat and effective method of algorithm creation. The only negative points are that the value dragging can be fiddly boxes and numbers are small and that the method for turning the audio input ‘operator’ on and off could be better.
If you simply turn on the ‘Operator’ box in the Matrix to enable the audio input, nothing happens; you have to turn on the audio input in an Audio Settings window first. All operators have identical controls, though operators X and Z each have an extra page of parameters.
The FM Matrix is visible whichever operator you’re editing, unless you toggle the display to show the operator’s graphic envelope. An operator editing window, with the graphic envelope display showing on the right. At the bottom left of all operator windows is an Amplitude Modulation grid. Many modulation sources are assignable in the main Modulation Matrix, but to save you from constantly swapping screens, the part of the Modulation Matrix specific to each operator is thoughtfully reproduced here.
Next to the Amplitude Modulation grid is the operator waveform display. You can only change waveforms by grabbing the tiny number underneath it and dragging up or down. Much more complex waveforms can be generated as part of the FM process, and interesting sounds can be created even without FM, simply using the operators in parallel, with no modulation. For example, if you play middle C roughly Set the Ratio to ‘2’, and the operator will sound an octave higher One application of this in classic FM synthesis is to simulate the unpitched hammer or tine attack in acoustic and electric piano patches.
In FM7, however, you determine how many stages breakpoints an envelope has, up to 31! You can then control each stage’s level and position in time, and the transition, or ‘slope’, between each breakpoint. This latter feature is excellent: The combination of looped envelopes and Tempo Sync can result in remarkable moving, rhythmic textures with held notes and chords.
The latter two govern how the operator’s amp envelope responds to notes played or incoming velocity. As you’d hope, all operator settings can be copied and pasted to other operators.
Its noise output can even be routed, solo, to the Matrix ‘mixer’. Filter 2’s controls are the same, except that it has no Resonance control and its frequency is determined as an offset of Filter 1’s frequency. An Envelope Amount control governs cutoff frequency over time.
The filters can be used in serial or parallel but, interestingly, can also pass through stages in between. Also, remember that the filter requires something more than just sine waves as an input, so that it has something to filter! Mac OS 8. A variety of preset alternate tunings is provided by NI, and you can create your own. The Pitch page. Here we have the pitch envelope display, top right, creating a rhythmic pitch effect in this case, as you can see from the peaks in the envelope.
The red box indicates the section of the envelope that will loop. Beneath is the Microtuning display; you move the boxes above or below the central line that indicates ‘equal temperament’ tuning to define pitch offsets and create custom tunings. The preset tuning loaded is a ‘Wendy Carlos Harmonic C’!
The LFOs may even be modulated by other mod sources. The Analogue slider is great, but the Digital one didn’t do much for us. Analysing factory Presets is educational, and you soon get an idea of which operator combinations, level values, and envelope shapes you have to tweak to produce particular results.
One thing to remember is that you don’t have to use all operators, and that algorithms can be simple. For example, turn off all operators except E and F, arranging F as carrier and E as modulator. FM has always been good for basses, bells and electric pianos, and there’s no change on FM7. The factory basses include good, solid simulations of real, synth, sub and dub basses, variants on the classic FM electric piano abound — and bells, both tubular and tinkly, are well represented.
A selection of convincing organs is supplied in Bank 2. Guitars, both acoustic and electric, are also simulated rather nicely, and play well.
They don’t always sound ‘authentic’ as such, but accurately capture an instrument’s feel or timbre. We were never that impressed by the sound effects and drum patches supplied with older FM instruments. Favourite factory presets include: Bank 1 Preset 1, ‘Exciting’: You’ll be surprised by factory Presets that use looped envelopes to produce the sort of instant groove or rhythmic texture normally associated with, say, Korg’s Wavestation or Z1.
Many Presets feature effects, but often don’t depend on them. Disabling the effects on this rich, haunting pad does little to spoil it. Bank 1, Preset 61, ‘3Osc Filter Sweep’: It’s remarkable how ‘analogue’ some FM7 Presets are — check out this authentic sweep of the software’s modelled filter. Bank 1, Preset 11, ‘Stand Alone’: Bank 1, Preset 9, ‘Tronflute’: Bank 2, Preset 67, the mournful ‘Horn’, has similar qualities. You could alternatively be choosy: It initially seems that only one instance can be loaded into Pro Tools LE, but this isn’t exactly the case.
Of course, Yamaha FM synths were refined over the years, and computer editors soon became available for them, but still FM7 goes where no FM has gone before.
The sophisticated editing windows are light years ahead of the DX7’s minute LCD and membrane switches as an editing interface. But they didn’t stop us enjoying this synth, which is destined to make new fans for FM and rejuvenate the interest of past devotees.
FM7 has to be considered an outstanding deal at the price — and an outstanding instrument, full stop. Audio Input FM7’s audio input allows external audio to be fully integrated into the FM process, either as the modulator or being modulated.
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The FM7’s brilliant user-interface makes FM synthesis understandable, and for the first time, visually intuitive. To get you started, it ships with two patch banks of new sounds, a set of DX patches, and the factory and some additional presets from the original vintage DX7. The FM7 is not just a DX emulator in the form of another software plug-in.
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It scans your PC , identifies the problem areas and fixes them completely. The file is also referred as Native Instruments FM7.
WATCH: Native Instruments FM7
FM7 is available for Mac and PC, and functions as a stand‑alone instrument or plug‑in. On the Mac, Sound Manager, ASIO, VST, MAS and DirectConnect. Find great deals on eBay for vst dx7. Shop with confidence. The DX7 Collection – Documents, Sounds & Software PLUS FM7 VST. EUR ; Free Postage. Uninstalling Native Instruments FM7 (Windows 10 64 bit) almost every Steinberg plugin and expansion, Trilian, Komplete 10, etc etc etc etc.