FM Synthesis References/Recipes for Cello or Double Bass

Hi folks, I have an interest to create a long drawn double bass or cello sound. I’m aware of the Spitfire Lab packages and might check that out later since I’m on linux.

I tried playing with the Mutable Instrument clones and as good as they are, their GUI/knobs confuses the beejesus out of me and have not got the sound I want. However, I saw a few tuts where FM synthesis can create bow/pluck/blown/bell sounds so I’d like to play with basic VCOs and EGs etc to create these sounds. I might even use Dexter as a laboratory.

In so saying, are there any definitive resources out there that describe the creation of these specific sounds with FM synth recipes and algorithms?


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Dexter is indeed the way to go, but you can also try the phase distortion oscillators from Animated Circuits. I got some really nice cello like sounds out of those. Here they are -

Have a go with the Bowd setting on Audible Instruments Macro Escillator - with a bit of modulation you can get a very nice cello sound, esp when you use 2 in parallel.

Try Southpoles CornrowsX for a version of Mutable Instruments Braids (macro oscllator) with all of the controls broken out to separate knobs. :smiley:

Hi @Omri_Cohen. Do you mean SLIC or COSMIC?

@veryfungi. I do like CornrowsX, somewhat more intuitive than Braids/Plaits clones.
But still twiddling knobs :confounded:

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proper response incoming, but love this thread already!

Hi, thought I’d do a little experiment with two of my favourite tools - which incidentally can also be used in VCV Rack via the Audio outputs - Calf’s Analyser and Robin Gareus’s x42-scope.

I downloaded a double bass background tutorial from Philharmonia Orchestra on Youtube and ran it through said mentioned tools. I noted down the root and first 4 harmonics of the sample E string played in the clip. The root was E2 as expected but

the first harmonic was B2. The second harmonic was E3.

This baffles me a bit as a stringed instrument should have all the partials as harmonic. But they were
E2(root), B2, E3, G#3, B3. But B2 is 1.5 times the frequency of E2 thus is an inharmonic partial - do I have this assumption right?

Regardless, I used 5 separate sine oscillators in VCV and adjusting the levels got - as Roger Waters once said of later Pink Floyd works - a pretty fair forgery. x42-scope gave me the shape of the envelope though I could have used an envelope follower to work one out.

So the question is, if a stringed instrument is only harmonic could those B2 and B3 be due to sympathetic resonance of the other strings?

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the ‘programing techniques’ (chapter 6) might have some good info!


Thanks very much @matthew.d.gantt, looks interesting. Will have a deeper read.

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Well, Cosmic has more features, but both will work. There is also an FM oscillator from Animated Circuits. It can also do great things…

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Amazing stuff!

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