[sdiy] FM Synthesis, was: Yamaha PSS460 users?

Les Mizzell lesmizz at bellsouth.net
Tue Aug 13 02:49:35 CEST 2002

:> To me the ultimate FM synth is a Yamaha FS1R:

Actually, the Yammy FS1R has one of the most powerful synth engines out
there.  There's almost nothing you can't do with it. It can easily sound
like the "classic" earlier FM synths. The filters are quite nice, and open
up a complete world of other possibilities that sound nothing like FM. I've
been able to get extremely close to almost anything any "VA" synth can
produce, and then go miles beyond that.  I've been working with mine ever
since the unit was released, and haven't even scratched the surface good

This is one of the few "keeper' modules in my rack. It does too much that
simply can't be duplicated by anything else and with some hard work, can
produce some very unique sounds.

There's some problems with this synth as well though:

It's got the one of the worst user interfaces ever. If you really want to
dive deep into programming this thing, it's almost impossible without an
external editor, given the complexity of the beast. In fact, you can't do
much of anything with the format synthesis without an external editor.

The format synthesis feature is extremely powerful, and yet there's almost
no documentation from Yamaha on how it actually works, or what you can and
can not do with it. The presets using the format synthesis may be cheezy,
but they give you a small hint at the underlying power. How to harness that

I don't remember who, but somebody was working on a program that would do an
FFT of a sound, and then produce an Excel Spreadsheet of data that could be
converted into usable data for the format engine. Program was never
finished, but in theory it would have worked. Consider the possibilities of
that for a minute....

There's not that many editors available. Plus, with the lack of
documentation from Yamaha, even with an editor (even Yamaha's, which Yamaha
doesn't provide any support for!!!) it's still very much random hit and miss
with the format synthesis.

This is a diehard "tweak head" synth, which is probably why it didn't have
much staying power. As the genie of the lamp says, "Phenomenal cosmic
powers! Itty bitty living space."

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