The Sound of the 80s, FM/PM, DX7 and More

A lot of them used FM/PM synthesis back in the 80s. Mainly the Yamaha DX machines. Al Jarreau, Chicago, Simply Red, Michael Jackson (he used it a lot), Depeche Mode, Level 42, Sting, Tangerine Dream etc. they all used sounds, typical for FM/PM in those days.
But to respond even here to some emails: in the workshop we are not going to reproduce the music of the 80s. We are going to analyse some famous presets and we are going to talk about how to reproduce these presets using contemporary techniques. And we are going to really understand how FM/PM works and how to create exactly the sound you might be thinking of. (and yes, the rumours are true: some people you "may" know will contribute to the workshop as well :)).If you´d like more information about this free workshop, here you´ll get it:
Have a great day and a good time!
Thanks to the discussions with and the help of a lot of people (sound designers, producers, musicians, people from companies - not to forget my friends) I´ve changed the concept a little and the name completely.
I call the workshop
"The Power of FM/PM"
and the name tells you a little about the content and the changes. The workshop will be a little less concentrate on the pastm but is going to concentrate a lot on actual sound design and actual gear - without forgetting about the glarious beginnings in the past.
More abore the content you learn in the introductury video:

Have a great day and a good time!
The first Workshop is nearly produced and will be online 31 May 2016. A detailed content will be published then (also here on this forum).
As there is only one week left to register for the workshop, a general overview shall be given already now:
Workshop 1, part 1: DEXED – a quick tour across the GUI
DEXED – the file management with exercises and “homework”
DEXED – envelopes, part 1 with exercises and “homework”

FM/PM basics – What is FM? What is PM? Differences?
FM/PM basics – more basic terms
FM/PM basics - creating certain wave forms, filter simulations
FM/PM basics – ratios and modulation strength
FM/PM basics - exercises and “homework”

Patch analysis – plucked strings with exercises and “homework”

Participation is free. You just need to register. Even without having registered you can follow the workshop, but there won´t be any personal coaching then.
Just follow the link to register:

Have a great day and a good time.
It is done again! The Power of FM/PM, Workshop 1 is online.
Watch it! Enjoy it! Join it! And here´s the timeline:

00:00 Introduction
00:51 Column 1
00:53 The VST DEXED
01:20 Download and Installation
02:00 Overview
03:35 The Operator
04:10 The Algorithms
04:28 Managing Files and Cartridges
09:00 Handling the Hidden AppData Folder
09:40 HOMEWORK 1
10:00 Managing Single Presets
13:00 Data Transfer VST --- Hardware
13:46 HOMEWORK 2
14:12 The Envelopes
19:19 Special Behaviour (of the Envelopes)
21:52 HOMEWORK 3
24:18 Column 2
24:20 Some Basic Terms
26:13 First Modulations
27:55 FM or PM????
30:07 Carrier and Modulator
30:45 Ratio and Amplitude
31:35 Creating a Saw Wave
32:50 Creating a Square Wave
33:28 Rule 1
33:45 Modulation Amplitude
34:54 Rule 2
35:17 Filter Simulation
35:51 HOMEWORK 4
37:40 Column 3
37:42 A Plucked String
40:55 Ratio 1:3
50:55 HOMEWORK 5
51:40 HOMEWORK 6
52:05 Some Notes and the End

Have a great day and a good time!


hate is always foolish…and love, is always wise...
I'm not sure if its a good idea to put everything in one big video, since the typical youtube user tend to have a rather short attention span.
Thank you for your comment. I agree with you in that the typical YouTube user doesn´t watch a single video for nearly an hour. But my concept is somewhat different, as is my target audience. First of all, this series of workshops is going to be about 7 hours - all in all. Every workshop is meant to be watched in smaller pieces, partly divided by these "homeworks". And it´s no tutorial, it´s a workshop. I got the idea in a discussion I had with a watcher of my CrusherX series on "VSTs in depth". He told me he watched my 30-minutes-videos that way: in pieces of about 5 minutes - reproducing the seen - watching the next 5 minutes and so on. Next thing to mention: if made shorter workshops, I would have to either not dig so deep or make about 40 single videos, only some of which reaching the end of a kind of "chapter", logical development etc. And last but not least: The people I am thinking of when I am producing these workshops, are people who really want to go deep, who love details, who are not at all in a hurry and who love asking the question "why?" "why?" "why?" repeatedly (this I have learned from my 9 grandchildren, when they were about 4-5 years old. Their mothers - my 5 daugthers - hated it, but I loved it.).
Again: thank you for your comment!
Have a great day and a good time!


hate is always foolish…and love, is always wise...
The workshop is filled up with different stuff that can standalone easily, like for instance the getting into dexter while the FM part could be usefulness wise more verbose, I think expanding the creating analog/subtractive waveform part and putting it together with filter type FM sweeps would make ppl. more eager to watch the next lessons, since this is something ppl. already know from their analog/VA type Synths. Other than that, I would move the "how it works" explanations to the expert lessons, since they tend to be boring for inexperienced users. You don't have to know about the harmonics to use most of the techniques, this would enable the viewers to use FM more intuitively.
The oldschool FM part, where you recreate a sound by separating it into different aspects of the sound, could be alot more elaborated and put to an extra lesson as well, since it's only partly interesting for ppl. that don't want to recreate semi real sounds.
Hm, interesting aspects. Thank you. I´ll think about it. I have to consider how it fits in my long-term concept of online presence (which is not only focussed on gaining a lot of views/followers etc.) however. But I´ll surely consider your opinion. Again: Thanks a lot! Have a great day and a good time! Rolf


hate is always foolish…and love, is always wise...
It's less about followers but rather to make ppl. understand that FM is an indeed predictable and intuitively programmable form of sound synthesis.
Thank you for 15 hours of watching my Workshop (part 1) !
I am already producing workshop 2. The date of release is set to Monday, 18. July 2016 (One week later than originally planned, but it is a fix date now,)
Have a great day and a good time!
Workshop 2 is online.
1 hour, 23 minutes and 18 seconds long, 50 pages of script and hours and hours of work – hard, but I loved it!!! -
1 day earlier than announced the second workshop is online now:

I thank you very much for watching workshop 1 (more than 20 hours of watching! I´m very glad about that.)
In this actual workshop 2 I can shortly intruduce a dear guest at the beginning. I´m happy about that as well.
Well, here is the timeline:
0:00:00 Introduction
0:02:04 Thank you, John Harrison!
0:02:38 Column 1
0:02:45 Envelopes (again)
0:02:45 Stage Skip
0:03:38 Echo
0:04:42 Delayed Notes
0:05:30 ADSR Simulation
0:06:07 Algorithms
0:06:45 Groups of Algorithms
0:08:00 5 Basic Constellations
0:08:56 HOMEWORK 1
0:10:03 Algorithms Spreadsheet
0:13:09 Constellation: Feedback
0:23:16 HOMEWORK 2
0:26:02 Constellation 2: Modulators in Series
0:38:42 Constellation 3: Parallel Carriers
0:42:01 Constellation 4: Parallel Modulators
0:46:26 Keyboard Rate Scaling
0:48:45 Keyboard Level Scaling
0:50:35 Column 2
0:51:00 Upper and Lower Sidebands
0:52:45 FM Rule 3a
0:53:25 Reflecting Sidebands
0:55:42 Amplitudes of Sidebands
0:57:32 FM Rules 3b and 3c
0:59:12 Inaudible Carriers
1:00:32 Structuring by Ratio
1:03:50 Column 3
1:03:55 Whitney Houston and “Piano 1”
1:06:03 The Thud of the Hammer
1:08:55 Some Words about Piano Strings
1:11:14 The Body of the Sound
1:21:45 Some Words at the End
Have a great day and a good time!
FM Workshop. I´ve just started producing Workshop 3. I´m dealing with some special problems right now (and how to explain them without maths). For example the occurrence of sidebands (partials) with lower frequencies as the fundamental at modulator frequencies of twice the carriers and higher, which according to the “original” FM formula wouldn´t be possible at all. But it´s going to be a workshop for sound designers (not mathematicians) and will contain some useful methods of making use of FM synthesis as well as some analyses of famous DX7 patches (by Brian Eno this time). I´ll try to publish it all in January 2017.
For those who don´t know yet:
You can get an overview about all 8 parts of my FM workshop here:

Have a great day and a good time!
The Power of FM/PM, Workshop 3 is online.

After a short “column 1” with the rest of the functions of DEXED, this workshop 3 deals with a lot of “practical FM-theory” stuff, like changes of pitch and fundamental, special sounds, refining the system of C:M ratios etc. The third columns is dedicated to Brian Eno and one of his violin DX7 patches from 1987. A detailed analyse of the patch leads – hopefully – to experiments of your own. See the timeline for more details.
Have a great day and a good time!

0:00:00 Welcome
0:00:49 Column 1 DEXED
0:00:49 The LFO
0:01:15 AMD and PMD
0:01:54 AMD and PMD Sensitivity
0:04:20 LFO Delay
0:04:42 LFO Sync
0:05:30 A Keyboard Split
0:07:39 Column 2 FM Practical Theory
0:07:39 Fundamental, Pitch and Ratio
0:11:11 Calculating the Pitch, Part 1
0:14:32 Ratio and Pitch: A (too) simple Rule
0:15:00 Ratio and Pitch, a bad Surprise
0:16:10 Sub-Carrier Frequencies with DEXED
0:17:16 Sub-Carrier Frequencies with NI´s FM8
0:17:49 Sub-Carrier Frequencies with u-he´s Bazille
0:18:12 Sub-Carrier Frequencies with ImageLine´s Sytrus
0:18:38 Sub-Carrier Frequencies with Korg´s Volca FM
0:19:40 5,000 spectra
0:20:30 Irregular Frequencies: The Principles
0:24:52 Refining the System of Ratios: practicle Pitch
0:27:30 Pitch and Ratio: A Summary
0:31:20 System of Ratios, Refinement 1
0:31:50 Real Pitch and Perceived Pitch
0:33:17 The Sound of the Lonely Fundamental
0:40:45 Distances between the Fundamental and the First Upper Partial
0:43:25 System of Ratios: Next Refinement
0:43:33 Harmonicity
0:51:45 System of Ratios: Refinement again
0:52:53 Harmonicity and the Rule of the LCM (lowest common multiple)
0:55:25 Subordinate LCM
0:58:00 Column 3 Brian Eno´s Violin Patch from 1987
0:58:00 Complexity of the Patch
1:02:31 General Structure of the Patch
1:03:38 The Carrier
1:05:42 Modulation Chain 1: Operator 2 and Feedbacvk
1:11:49 Modulation Chain 2: Operators 3 and 4
1:17:52 Modulation Chain 3: Operators 5 and 6
1:28:27 Some Words ant the End
After a quite long break – I apologise for that – my series about FM and PM synthesis continues. Workshop 4 is available now:


In column 1 of workshop 4 I introduce ImageLine´s FM/PM/RM synth “Sytrus”, compare it and its sounds to DEXED and talk about transfering data between DEXED, Sytrus, the DX7 and the Korg Volca FM.
In column 2 I talk about second order frequency/phase modulations, about modulating with waves others than sine waves.
And in column 3 I analyse an orchestral FM preset in Sytrus.

0:00:00 Introduction
0:02:50 COLUMN 1
0:02:50 Sytrus, the GUI (Overview)
0:03:20 The Main Tab
0:04:12 The Matrix
0:13:09 The Line Editors and Envelopes
0:17:55 Sytrus and DEXED (compared)
0:22:34 Comparing Modulation Envelopes
0:30:08 Transfering data between Sytrus, DEXED, DX7, Korg Volca FM
0:35:28 COLUMN 2
0:35:28 Second Order Modulations
0:37:00 Ratios, Ratios, Ratios
0:38:48 Calculating Second Order Spectra
0:42:10 Miraculously Occuring Partials
0:47:00 More Ratios
0:51:16 Bringing It All Into a System
0:52:46 Developing an Extended System of FM/PM Sounds
1:28:18 Column 3
1:28:18 Analysing an Orchestral FM/PM Preset
1:55:00 Some Words At the End
1:56:29 The End

Enjoy your day!

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