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Good Modern FM Hardware Synths
Old 29th November 2009
  #1
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mamero's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Good Modern FM Hardware Synths

What are some good modern FM synths? I have an old TX-802. It sounds okay but I never use it because it's difficult to program. It would also be nice to have a built in filter or midi sync features. Syncable LFO etc. What are some of your nominations for best modern FM synth? Hardware only please. I was thinking about selling the TX-802 and putting the money into a Waldorf Microwave XT. I've read it does FM synthesis and knobs for programing are a big bonus.
Old 29th November 2009
  #2
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamero ➡️
What are some good modern FM synths? I have an old TX-802. It sounds okay but I never use it because it's difficult to program. It would also be nice to have a built in filter or midi sync features. Syncable LFO etc. What are some of your nominations for best modern FM synth? Hardware only please. I was thinking about selling the TX-802 and putting the money into a Waldorf Microwave XT. I've read it does FM synthesis and knobs for programing are a big bonus.
the MWXT isn't gonna sound like a yamaha FM synth but it will sound very fvcking good. i love my XT. nothing sounds like it to my ears and it is fun to program and an inspiring instrument. it does have FM abilities but limited compared to a dedicated FM synth.. but it does have a lot of things no other synth has so it's kind of apples and oranges ya know.

i have a yamaha FS1r which is pretty much their last FM synth and it's a beast but is no fun to program at all but is very very reward sonically. there is a free editor for it that works great on mac/pc and that helps a lot.

you can't go wrong w/a MW XT. fantastic synth.
Old 29th November 2009
  #3
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clusterchord's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamero ➡️
What are some good modern FM synths? I have an old TX-802. It sounds okay but I never use it because it's difficult to program. It would also be nice to have a built in filter or midi sync features. Syncable LFO etc. What are some of your nominations for best modern FM synth? Hardware only please. I was thinking about selling the TX-802 and putting the money into a Waldorf Microwave XT. I've read it does FM synthesis and knobs for programing are a big bonus.
keep the TX-802. youll be sorry down the road, if you rid of it. nothing has the exact metal character of these early fm synths.

add FS1R. its a modern take on FM. it got 8+8 operators, plus "analogue" style filte,r and very nice mulit fx. all this together results in very new, original soundscapes. maybe one of the most interesting synthesizers of the late 90s/early00s.



by all means, i love my XT. phenomenal synth. and probably my first choice of all three i mentioned. but get it bcs of wavetabling, not for FM itself.
Old 29th November 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 15 years
If you want control over the sounds take a look at the nords.

G2 or nord lead 3.
Old 29th November 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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Farshad's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yamaha SY/TG 77.
Old 29th November 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Deleted 46dc28f
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ignatius ➡️
i have a yamaha FS1r which is pretty much their last FM synth and it's a beast but is no fun to program..
I just picked up a Mackie C4 Pro for cheap, and this guy will create a control template for my FS1R(cause I can't be arsed to do it myself)for a decent price: Mackie Control C4 TrueLayouts Design

It's the type of hardware interface the FS1R should have come with.
Old 29th November 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Oli
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemoon ➡️
If you want control over the sounds take a look at the nords.

G2 or nord lead 3.
I was going to suggest a NM1 as well. It has a more gritty character than the G2. Knobs are great for tweaking FM stuff.

The FS1R is cool too. However, in some ways the originals FM kit is still very good.

I still think overall, one probably has to put up with difficult programming for FM synthesis. Knobs help with the tweaking, but it's just not as easy to intuit as subtractive or additive synthesis.

BTW, I have a NM1 and G2, and FS1R, and TX7 on the way. I'm hoping the software editor for the TX is OK. Oh, I'm trying to build an MB-FM with analogue filters as well. That's kind of cool too, in its own way.
Old 29th November 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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synthRodriguez's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I believe the Yamaha SY99 was the end of the road for true FM synths with a keybed. I find it to be a very capable unit and it fills a sonic hole in my synth collection.

It has ROM waveform capability along with the true FM synthesis, so it's really two synth engines in one unit. Wouldn't want to part with mine.
Old 29th November 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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Alesis Fusion
Clavia G2/G2X
Old 29th November 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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Jake's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think any journey for a modern hardware FM synth begins and ends with the FS1r. It's a hard synth to get into, but that will be true for any true FM synth.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Oli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seen-da-sizer ➡️
Hey, I'd completely forgotten about that one. Is it any good? Seems there would be potential there.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
It's not an all-rounder but the Elektron Monomachine has several good FM machines ...
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
From my experience with FM synth unit.... Nothing can win TX816 or another TX series in term of sonic character. The modern unit didn't have that character may be from the old D/A converter from '80 If you want FM sound so bad my opinion...
get the old TX series!
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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Illustrious's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by seen-da-sizer ➡️
I'm about to put both my Yamaha AN200 and DX200 up on eBay within the next day or two. I switched to the Korg Legacy Analog Collection and FM8 to replace those in my set-up.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkonkkrete ➡️
It's not an all-rounder but the Elektron Monomachine has several good FM machines ...
+1 on the Monomachine. Also, I could be very wrong, but doesn't the Nord Lead 3 have a 4 op FM mode?

The Waldorf Q is another synth that you may want to look into, as it has very flexible routings for audio rate modulations. For instance, all of the LFO's can go into audio range, and all of the oscillators give you a free choice as to their FM source. On top of all that, most of its filters (barring the PPG model and the analog filters on the Q+) can receive FM. As a result, the Waldorf Q can get you some REALLY complex FM timbres. Keep in mind, though, that the FM as implemented on the Q is of an exponential variety, and not linear. Despite that, the last Q+ factory bank to be released had some very very nice digital sounding FM sounds on it.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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Franz Schiller's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Perhaps the Alesis Fusion does this too, but the Alesis Ion & Micron have 3 operator FM abilities. Not as wild as a FS1r, but it can be tweaked real time, with multiple waveforms, and can deliver the nasty...if you know what I mean.
Old 30th November 2009 | Show parent
  #18
41517
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake ➡️
I think any journey for a modern hardware FM synth begins and ends with the FS1r. It's a hard synth to get into, but that will be true for any true FM synth.
indeed.. awesome synth engine... but you NEED a software editor.
Old 1st December 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Deleted 46dc28f
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfalk ➡️
indeed.. awesome synth engine... but you NEED a software editor.
Or this:

Old 1st December 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfalk ➡️
indeed.. awesome synth engine... but you NEED a software editor.
there are free ones that work perfectly on mac and PC.

FS1R Editor English Version - Download -

i edit from the front panel at times and it's not that bad but i only do it when i'm tired of looking at the monitor.
Old 1st December 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 10 years
Blofeld vs. MWXT?

Does the Blofeld sound like the Microwave? The Waldorf site says:

"Not only that, the Blofeld includes all ROM Wavetables from the mighty flagship Waldorf Wave as well as Microwave II/XT. Plus, lo and behold, the desperately requested "Upper Wavetable" from the good old PPG Wave! But, for the first time in the history of Waldorf and PPG, each of these two oscillators can have its own wavetable."

This doesn't necessarily mean it will sound like the Microwave, though, right?
Old 1st December 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Deleted 46dc28f
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by ignatius ➡️
there are free ones that work perfectly on mac and PC.

FS1R Editor English Version - Download -
That is a great editor. Take san is the man.
Old 1st December 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi PHi ➡️
Does the Blofeld sound like the Microwave? The Waldorf site says:

"Not only that, the Blofeld includes all ROM Wavetables from the mighty flagship Waldorf Wave as well as Microwave II/XT. Plus, lo and behold, the desperately requested "Upper Wavetable" from the good old PPG Wave! But, for the first time in the history of Waldorf and PPG, each of these two oscillators can have its own wavetable."

This doesn't necessarily mean it will sound like the Microwave, though, right?
It sounds more like a Q/MicroQ than a Microwave II. The Blofeld is essentially a MicroQ with the addition of drive stages, a PPG filter model, new wavetables, and an optional sampling feature.
Old 1st December 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi PHi ➡️
Does the Blofeld sound like the Microwave?
no.
Old 1st December 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Deleted 46dc28f
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi PHi ➡️
Does the Blofeld sound like the Microwave? The Waldorf site says:

"Not only that, the Blofeld includes all ROM Wavetables from the mighty flagship Waldorf Wave as well as Microwave II/XT. Plus, lo and behold, the desperately requested "Upper Wavetable" from the good old PPG Wave! But, for the first time in the history of Waldorf and PPG, each of these two oscillators can have its own wavetable."

This doesn't necessarily mean it will sound like the Microwave, though, right?
It most certainly will not sound like an XT, unfortunately. Just as well though, 'cause it's a buggy piece of junk.
Old 1st December 2009 | Show parent
  #26
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aeonlux's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I can't comment on the Alesis Fusion as an FM machine because I have never used one. On paper, it certainly seems capable enough.

My picks for a "modern" FM machine are:
  1. Yamaha FS1R
  2. Clavia Nord Mod (G1 or G2)
  3. Korg OASYS PCI

The OASYS PCI is a PCI card that only runs on now-"obsolete" versions of the Mac and Windows OS. For most, that will make it too much a PITA to consider. That said, the various FM implementations, combined with the onboard effects and overall routing/layering make it a powerful FM machine indeed. Of course, you also get all manner of polyphonic physical modeling, virtual analog, PCM, and so on, synthesis options as well.

The Clavia G2 has modules dedicated to FM, whereas the G1 does not, even though the G1 can still do FM by wiring it up. I have a G1, and I prefer its sound over the G2 overall, but especially when considering the bit of grit and such when doing FM timbres. The Nord Mod environment is fun to do FM on because you can do straight-up FM, or create hybrid architectures with additional processing. It is also fun to mangle the control signals to create "lo-rez" FM sounds.

The FS1R sounds incredible to my ear, and I am so glad I finally got one. The combo of FM with the filtering, formant control, and excellent effects means that this box can do many "classic" sounds as well as more modern timbres. One thing it won't do is sound just like an 80s FM synth, so if you are looking for that kind of character, then hang onto that TX802.

I'd hang onto that TX802 regardless. Get a software editor for it to make programming near-painless. It can deliver the goods, offers good poly, and can layer and multi in a way that will yield really satisfying sounds. There's no need to have it make outdated sounds - FM can be evergreen, always ready to yield something new, and decidedly synthetic. With its multiple outs you can add some analog filtering, dirt, and/or modulation to get hybrid sounds you won't get anywhere else.


cheers,
Ian
Old 1st December 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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Westlaker's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by T71 ➡️
It most certainly will not sound like an XT, unfortunately. Just as well though, 'cause it's a buggy piece of junk.
Most bugs fixed in latest OS updates. Used modules can be bought for well under $500. As value-for-money, the Blofeld is a remarkable deal, surely near the top of the VA market. It doesn't do full-scale FM, but it can produce some beautiful FM style timbres (bells, EPs, etc.).
Old 1st December 2009 | Show parent
  #28
41517
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ignatius ➡️
there are free ones that work perfectly on mac and PC.

FS1R Editor English Version - Download -

i edit from the front panel at times and it's not that bad but i only do it when i'm tired of looking at the monitor.
i also edit from the front panel... but i'm one of those "do things the hard way" type of guys the mackie control panel looks hot tho.
Old 1st December 2009 | Show parent
  #29
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franz Schiller ➡️
Perhaps the Alesis Fusion does this too, but the Alesis Ion & Micron have 3 operator FM abilities. Not as wild as a FS1r, but it can be tweaked real time, with multiple waveforms, and can deliver the nasty...if you know what I mean.


The Fusion FM is much different than the Ion/Micron.
It's what you might consider 'advanced FM'.
Full fledged 6 operators, with unlimited algorithms. Any operator can modulate any other operator or feedback to itself.
There are 6 operator types to choose from. The display pages remind me a bit of FM8. One difference from traditional FM is that instead of setting 'ratios' between modulator/carrier, you're working with semitone intervals instead.
You'e got eight envelopes and eight lfo's that can be assigned to the usual destinations. It's pretty clean sounding, but can be pushed into the expected FM mayhem.
Old 1st December 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Oli
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by T71 ➡️
Or this:

Nice looking kit, that is. Very similar idea to a DIY project I've been meaning to get around to. The control surface is similar format to a G2, which I've always liked, but with more knobs.
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