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How To Make Your Own Drum Sounds In FM8

In this article, I will guide you through the process of making your own Drum Sounds In FM8.

The plugin used in this tutorial will be FM8 since it is the most used frequency modulation synth. Also, I will try to explain in details every single tweak I do in a way why am I doing it and what it does.

Synthesized drums can also be made in subtractive synth, but it’s harder to shape the final sound into something punchy and gritty. I will explain how to create your own kick and snare. So let’s begin with the kick.

First of all, we will initialize the patch so you can start from the beginning by clicking file and then new sound.

Now we have the operator F acting as a carrier. We will leave it like that, but adjust its volume envelope in a shape of a kick drum. We will have fast attack and short decay with low sustain for punch effect. I also lowered ratio a bit on 0.7500 to add more lower frequencies to the kick.

Lets also change the pitch envelope. When kick drum is hit, his pitch goes from being up to down very fast. We will replicate this in FM8 pitch envelope menu. Make sure you turn up amplitude envelope knob so you can apply pitch change. I have also set the carrier value to 100 just for the sake of loudness. You can now already hear the sound shaping into the kick.

We will introduce the operator E now, which will also act as a carrier. Volume envelope will also be pretty much same like on operator F, but ratio will be 1.8000 because we are now adding some higher frequencies to the sound. You can use spectrum in upper right corner to help you visualise frequencies.

Lets add the operator D which will also be carrier. Same envelope but 3.5000 ratio with -50 offset so we level the frequencies more.

Now we got the basic kick, we are done with carriers. Now turn on the operator C and route it into D and E by around 20. We will get more full sound. I have set the ratio on 1.2000 but try to do it by the ear how you want it to sound. Also put operator F to modulate itself for more punchy sound.

We will try some effects now. Add some tube amp and overdrive for a little bit of distortion, reverb for space and shelving EQ to boost lower and higher frequencies. We are now done with the kick.

We will create a snare now in FM8. Principle will be the same, but we will aim at more higher frequencies, since basically snare is kick with higher pitch ( if your need more punch in the snare, you can always layer it with kick which has higher pitch).

Drum Sounds In FM8

Initialize the patch and fire up operator F through the X with value 100. Leave the ratio on 1.0000 but change the envelope. Route X through output. Operator X will be used as saturator and distortion. Lower the cutoff in noise section and turn up the amp knob. Level on saturator should be about 75.

Now we will set the pitch envelope similiar to the one on the kick, since it is based on the same principle. Only difference is that we will leave the overall pitch a bit higher up since it is the snare.

Lets introduce the operator E also. Route it through X but set the ratio to 2.4000, with the same volume envelope as the operator F.

Now lets add some highs using operator D. Set ratio to 4.0000, offset to -150.00 and route it through the X. We can now hear the metallic kind of snare which is great for layering with other drums. For more characteristics I’ve routed operator D into E for 28.

We got the basic snare, but just for even more punch we will put EQ and remove all the lower frequencies, but boost 200 hz for more power and energy.

And that is it, we just synthesized our own kick and snare drum sounds In FM8. This is just basic idea, you will need to process them furthermore. I am always using FM drums for layering with other drums. I think it gives more techy sound to the music, especially neurofunk. You can also work with this in 140 BPM and then pitch it up by moving it to 172, which will give your drums energy and punch.