Creating an FM Psy lead
I would love to see some insights on creating FM psy leads, that typical agressive full-onish sound. I’ve made some such sounds with FM engines in Spire and Dune2 synths, but they don’t sound as granly and vicious as they are in “big guys” music. What are the important synthesis parameters, what kind of processing is used after the synth’s output, which synths would you recommend?
E.g. “Depth Of Emotion” by Dark Soho, the lead playing between 1:18 and 3:28. This is an FM sound isn’t it? I’ve also heard similar sounds in many other darkpsy/full-on tracks.
You are right, that lead sounds like an FM to me. Also, you’re right that Spire is probably not the best choice for this job (can’t say such about Dune), I think synthesizers like U-He Zebra or Xfer Serum would do this better.
Speaking the truth, I’m not as good in sound design as I would like to. So, to answer your question, I asked an expert to help — Tetarise. He is a music producer and sound designer, who dedicated his time and efforts to creating professional sound banks.
Tetarise’s sound banks for Spire at Reveal Sound store
From there Tetarise tells:
This is quite simple, and all about Pitch modulation. In order to achieve that sound, try to emulate FM synthesis using LFO modulation. Set LFO rate at high speed and offset the starting point to reduce the modulation range. Such method gives a pitch shift effect, most noticeable at lower notes.
Wave shape and oscillator settings aren’t making a big difference in this case, it can adjust the character of the sound just a little bit.
You can possibly make something similar in Spire as well, but it won’t sound as good as in Serum:
P.S. This post is a part of the weekly “Advice” series. I’m happy to advise on such topics as production, performance, management, marketing, and design in the music industry and beyond. Send me your questions, too.