FM8 finds its roots in the Yamaha DX7 synthesizer.


FM (Frequency Modulation) synthesis is the foundation of the incredibly popular Yamaha DX7 synthesizer, which ruled the '80s music charts and is best remembered for the clear, bell-like sounds accompanying any number of corny dance hits. Native Instruments pushed this idea to the limit with FM8 - and while it's not exactly our one-stop, desert-island sound plug-in, this thing has more useful sounds than you can shake from a rain stick.


FM synthesis starts with a simple sine wave but really gets interesting when a second sine wave is used to modulate, or process, the first one. Add up to eight of these waveforms (called operators), with different arrangements for how they affect one another (algorithms), add filtering and effects, and you have the foundation of FM8. The original DX7 had six operators and 32 fixed algorithms, but FM8 breaks these barriers with a virtually infinite arrangement of its eight operators. Compared to using a DX7, FM8 presents a vastly superior graphical interface that makes advanced programming a much more approachable affair.


The interface is divided into control panels, with dedicated panels for deep editing, effects, main controls, and the rather useful Preset Browser, which organizes the 960 included presets into categories and subcategories, making it easy to find, say, dark ethereal pad sounds or distorted industrial noise effects. It's part of the new Native Instruments Kore technology, and it's a productive organizational approach.


When it comes to sound, FM8 does not disappoint. Dense, rich, and dynamic, the presets sparkle with color and presence. Some of the distorted, guitarlike riffs that you can make are so much fun, we’ll probably hear them in a hit song sooner or later. As we expected, the old mainstays of FM (bells and electric pianos) shimmer and shine with vintage vibe to spare. Soundtrack composers will love the brooding character of the darker timbres buried in FM8.


FM8 offers intensely deep programming abilities, but it's easier to start with a preset and tweak to taste. There's an awesome feature for instantly whipping up bubbling, dynamic note and chord progressions; it's an excellent instant-gratification goodie for electronic and dance music composition. The effects section is utilitarian, with a downright dirty overdrive, swirling chorus, rad reverb, and slick phasing/flanging, among other offerings. We were somewhat perplexed at the omission of a compressor, and the speaker cabinet emulator seemed a little over the top for a synth plug-in. We must point out one major aesthetic gripe: The size of the overall interface text is tiny and cannot be adjusted.


The bottom line. FM synthesis old-timers will flock to FM8 in droves and enjoy the most flexible implementation of FM ever. The more mainstream Mac musician might find that Native Instruments' excellent Absynth ($339) offers more diverse sonic bang for the buck.


COMPANY: Native Instruments
PRICE: $339
REQUIREMENTS: 1.4GHz G4 processor or faster or Intel processor, Mac OS 10.4 or later, 512MB RAM
Awesome FM synthesis implementation. Broad range of presets. Creativity-enhancing arpeggiator. Universal binary.
Relatively high price. Tiny interface text.





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Первый нах

it is wondeful



Very useful



I've just started to play around with this synth and have to say that it's a great follow up to FM7.

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