FM synth is an incredible tool for anyone in the music industry and is a powerful form of synthesis that guarantees the production of clear sound output.
There are various FM synthesizers in the market, making it a bit tricky when selecting the best. For you to choose the most ideal, there are things you need to consider, includes; the sound quality, brand, cost, and features. The following article will provide you a guide on what to look for when choosing the right FM synth, the best FM brand synth, and a review of the five best FM synthesizers you should consider.
5 Best FM Synths On The Market
What is FM Synthesis?
The idea behind FM synthesis was initially invented in 1967 by John Chowning at Stanford University. Later the concept was licensed and commercialized by Yamaha Corporation. In 1983 Yamaha released the DX7 as the first FM synthesizer. The patent by Stanford University on the FM synthesis expired in 1995, allowing Yamaha to use the technology freely.
FM synthesis stands for Frequency Modulation Synthesis and is an incredible tool used in the music industry. It is one of the most important and useful types of synthesis. It is a digital form of synthesis that involves two-oscillator concepts that includes a modulator and the carrier.
The modulator modulates the timbres of a carrier without using filters to create new frequency information in the developing sound. In this concept, you only get the output from the carrier, and MIDI sources like a keyboard typically control its pitch.
FM synthesis can create sounds of harmonic and inharmonic nature. For the synthesizer to create a harmonious sound, the modulator should be in a harmonic relationship with the carrier. A consonant sound implies that the sound grows progressively with an increase in the frequency of modulation. In enharmonic tones, the modulator has rates that are non-integer multiples to the carrier.
How to Choose the Right FM Synth?
There are many models of FM synthesizers in the market, for an individual to choose the best FM synth, the following are some of the factors to consider.
The best FM synth features are essential things that you should look out for when buying one.
The two main elements that you should look out for are the memory and the MIDI implementation. A higher ROM capacity is better as it will enhance in saving and expanding sounds. However, it’s good to note that the more features you need, the higher the synthesizer’s cost.
Different synthesizers have different user interfaces. The FM synth interface has a significant influence on how well you interact with it and the resulting sound. The usability and aesthetics of an FM synth are the two essential traits you should consider when assessing the interface.
Choose a synth that has an interface that is more program-friendly, and that is easy to use. The look might be non-factor to some, but if it matters to you, choose the one with an appealing look with inviting controls.
There are many brands in the market, but it is advisable to go for the best FM synth brand that is well known and has excellent reviews in producing great quality instruments.
Everyone likes an instrument that produces excellent sound. When looking for the best FM synth, consider the quality of sound a synthesizer provides.
Some synth has the capability of creating particular sounds and textures while others can combine several sound styles. Therefore if you need a specific sound, you should consider a particular synth.
The weight of the best FM synth is an essential factor to consider. If you want an FM synth that you can move around with, you should opt for a lightweight synth that you can easily carry.
The price of the best FM synth varies a lot. The prices are mostly dependent on the features and brand of the synthesizer. Therefore, you should first determine your budget and buy one that is within your budget. The FM synth you choose should give you the value of your money.
Top 5 Best FM Synth Reviews
- 3-voice polyphonic synthesizer for perfect sound
- Excellent motion sequencing feature
- Easily imports DX7 patches
- Its FM synth is portable and robust
Watch out for
- Has a low voice count
Korg Volca Digital FM synthesizer machine links classic sounds formally found on the grove machine with the current dance music. It has a super and straightforward FM sound editing. The sound editing is made possible by the accessible modulators knobs. As a result, it equips FM enthusiasts with a menu that fully utilizes the edit parameters.
Korg Volca FM comes with a 3-voice polyphonic synthesizer that reproduces perfect sound. As a result, it made people aware of the FM synthesizer. With its 32 algorithms and six operators, it can load files that use the format of SYS-EX/SYX commonly found on Yamaha DX7 models.
This machine has an onboard chorus effect that is as a result of it synchronizing two units of Volca FM that enable the user to clone any sound program that has a sequence of data.
- onboard multi-effects and unique additive synthesis
- The machine is robust, quality, and portable
- User friendly and produces quality sound
- It has internal speakers and can use AA batteries
Watch out for
- It has a primitive MIDI specification
With its new multi-touch control, Yamaha REFACE Synth enables you to operate with ease this powerful FM synthesizer. The machine can recall, store, and edit 32 voices with its onboard memory.
It has a robust four-operator sound FM engine that has an onboard multi-effects and unique additive synthesis. As a result, the machine is capable of adding depth to your sound.
It’s equipped with a 32 memory that enables you to recall and store your patches. With the help of its phrase lopper, when using this machine, you can capture your song’s ideas with ease.
Additionally, the machine uses six AA batteries for five working hours, making it reliable. The inbuilt USB port allows you to connect to IOS or computer devices.
- The user can manipulate the FM sound with ease
- A unique and brilliant sound
- Efficient audio inputs and MIDI tracks that make the machine to integrate with other gear well
Watch out for
- The eight synthesizers make this product not ideal for beginners
Digitone FM synth is a prime and an excellent source of new timbres and sounds. With its all-metal and icy perfection, it also has an accessible FM synthesis that makes it unique.
It has a robust 8-voice synth that helps it combine subtractive synthesis and deep FM synthesis. With its Electron, Bridgit is easy to integrate your sequencer and digitone synth in your DAW.
This product has an ultra-digital feature that helps it to select multiple FM algorithms.
- High-quality sound with 128-note polyphony
- Seamless sound switch
- Has a user-friendly interface
- It can create up to 192 different instrument options
- The synthesizer is lightweight and weighs 42 pounds, making it portable
Watch out for
- The touch interface screen needs some skills to operate
- The color produced by super knob flashes can distract the user
The MODX8 synthesis engines are robust and allow the user to create unique sounds. This feature gives you unlimited potential when using it. With a unique design created to inspire your music-making, this synthesizes lightweight.
The MODX8 88 Key has a super knob that can continuously control 128 parameters in one performance. Additionally, with its seamless sound switch, you can comfortably change your performance without experiencing any cut off effects.
It has a total stereo note of 128 with AWM2 polyphony with an additional 64-notes of polyphony FM-X. These features make this synthesizer able to produce classic sounds and excellent playbacks.
Using this synthesizer gives you control over your motion sequences. As a result, you can completely control your synchronized tempo and assign them virtually to any parameter you want.
- More synthesis and sequences that it offers the user
- The design seems simple, but it has a robust control
- It is excellent in attaining the required sound
- Using the radio, you can sample different tones from the radio stations
Watch out for
- It is not that user friendly and requires some time to figure out how the synthesizer works
With this machine, you can connect the OP-1 to a computer then use it to quickly drag and drop to the selected .aif file directly that you want to use. You can also use the mic if you desire to sample your work. Some of the features that make this synth stand out are as follows.
The synth can do a tape recording work to create beats, sequences, tweak, and play. This machine can easily arrange your notes in various ways using the help of one of the four unique sequencers. With the help of the onboard microphone, you can sample your sound from the different available sources like the FM radio.
Plus, with 16-hour battery life, you can travel and use this product without worry.
Best Brand of FM Synth
There are many manufactures of FM synth in the market. Buying a synthesizer from a brand that has been operational for long is a surety of its quality. The three best brands of FM synth are; Korg, Roland, and Yamaha.
Korg is a Japanese company that has notably produced musical instruments over the years. It provides quality synthesizers that have stood the test of time. FM synthesizers from Korg are associated with the following unique features;
- Quality sound – Korg synthesizers produce spectacularly rich tones that are clear and easy to listen to them. Also, it generates an authentic sound that mirrors sound patterns of real-life sound.
- Seamless connectivity – What sets this brand apart from others is that it comes with this connectivity feature. It has USB and SD storage features that allow you to share your content easily.
- Distinctive Design – The instruments from Korg are uniquely designed with an easy to use interface. Also, they have an appealing look and a compact size, making them highly portable.
Roland has been in existence since 1972 and is a choice for many musicians. Roland Corporation is a Japanese company that dominates the music industry and has been a leader in the production of digital synthesizers.
The following are some of the distinctive features that attribute onto why you should choose Roland synthesizers;
- Latest technology- Roland’s synthesizers feature the newest technology. This brand’s products allow you to experience up to date innovations.
- Highly versatile- Ronald’s instruments are highly versatile. Its synthesizers can attach to accessories such as USB that enables you to enjoy a significant degree of convenience when using them.
- Variable tones -Synthesizers from Ronald Corporation are capable of generating variable tones. These synthesizers also can mimic many sounds that we make use of daily. Also, the sound produced is clear and easy to listen to.
Yamaha is the most popular and largest manufacturer of musical instruments. This Multinational Corporation, based in Japan, dominates the market. Their musical instruments remain a highly preferred option among amateurs and professionals. Yamaha synthesizers have the best build quality and have arguably the best quality sound in the industry. The following are some of the great features of Yamaha synthesizer that set them apart from other manufacturers;
- Comprehensive control-With Yamaha synthesizers, you can easily control the sound and make your song performance stand out.
- High-quality Sound – Yamaha synthesizers are capable of producing broad-spectrum quality sound. Its sound output mimics natural voices.
- Less complicated interface- Yamaha produces synthesizers with a user interface that is easy to use and can interact with ease.
Selecting the best FM synthesizer in the market is an uphill task for a majority of music lovers. Knowing and understanding your product better is essential for synthesizers’ buyers.
A digital frequency moderator is a very useful synthesis that involves the use of two –oscillators’ concepts that involve a modulator and the carrier. When selecting the best FM synthesizer, always take note of its features, cost, brand, sound quality, portability, and interface.
It is also good to note that their three best brands of FM synths, Korg, Yamaha, and Roland, have new and unique specifications that you might want to consider choosing. Also, going through the detailed list of the top five best FM synth reviews will assist you in making a quick decision on which synth best fits your needs.