FM8 is a really brilliant tool for synthesizing electronic drum kits. And because it’s using live synthesis, you can make all kinds of variations in the sound easily in ways that don’t work with sampled kits. Our friend Gustavo Bravetti is a huge fan of FM8 and has added it to his workflow in Ableton Live.
Gustavo’s such a big FM8 fan, in fact, that he’s made up a special FM8 drum kit setup exclusively for CDM, to share with y’all. Because Gustavo works in Ableton Live, he’s set them up in that environment:
The sounds are contained on an Ableton Live dj set, also there is a demo clip for each instrument.
Instruments are copyright free, clips are only intended to preview the instruments.
Let me know your thoughts about the FM8 electronic drum kit 1
File download: (zipped Live ALS file with presets; we’ll have a Koresound soon)
Here’s what it sounds like:
And just to demonstrate how much change you can extract from synth parameters, here’s a quickie "messed-up" demo I made just by changing synth and effects options in FM8:
Be sure to check out Gustavo Bravetti himself, too. He did an interview for CDM in which he shares all his tricks for using unusual alternative controllers, gestural gloves, and gaming devices for music making. He also talks about the scene in his native Uruguay. Liz McLean Knight did the interview:
How can you make the most of this FM8 kit? Here are some quick ideas, which I’ll follow up in the coming days:
If you don’t know your way around FM8, but you do have a copy, here’s your chance to explore. Try opening up the Effects or Easy panes and — it’s really okay — do some random knob tweaking. You’ll find you can make all kinds of interesting adjustments to the sound. Some of these synths sound especially nice if you open up their amplitude envelopes (try adjusting the Sustain level of the amplitude envelope).
If you don’t have FM8, by the way, you can download a demo for Mac and PC from NI’s FM8 site:
Next steps: Given the ability to morph synth parameters, it makes sense to take this FM8 kit a little further, both in Live and in Kore. In Live, a drum rack and some other controls could be really handy. In Kore, this FM8 kit could be a great basis for a full Koresound. I’ll be working on the latter, for sure, working on pulling some handy modulation parameters for the whole sound, with additional controls for each embedded drum sound. With the step sequencer and/or arpeggiator, we should be able to build a nice Kore/FM8 drum machine — and a Live/FM8 drum machine to go with it, for Live users.
If you come up with your own modified version, let us know and we’ll host your productions here.
Incidentally, in case you’re wondering, even as a user of Ableton’s Operator (also an FM synth), I really like having FM8 around. They’re really different in philosophy. Operator emphasizes simplicity, and it’s really a hybrid between an FM synth and an analog subtractive synth. FM8 has some terrific built-in effects, and more sonic depth — with accompanying complexity. Ultimately, I find I make different kinds of sounds with each, and I’m not giving up either one. I know Gustavo also works with Operator, so he clearly feels the same way.
That said, as much as I like FM8, this seems to lay the gauntlet down for me to go make the drum kit I’ve been dreaming of in Massive, my personal favorite NI synth.