FM8 emulation

I was trying to think of a way to create something similar to FM8, for those familiar with it, but I can’t seem to understand how (or if) it would be possible. At least, the matrix, which seems to be the most complex stuff.

I was looking at the Bogaudio’s Matrix88, but can’t come up with a workflow that would allow oscillators to modulate themselves, while modulating other oscillators, etc.

Any tips?

I have heard that it is difficult to properly emulate the DX7 with regular FM Modules, because they were actually doing something a bit unique with those chips that wasn’t pure FM, but I don’t know how true this is. I suspect the FM8 builds on DX7 type sounds and circuits, or might be more of a sampler.

Maybe someone who has spent some more time with this can offer their insights?

But FM-OP is a beautiful sounding module in the VCV Rack standard library that could be a building block for such an idea, and Dexter I think has some promising DX7-esque arrangements while breaking out the different operators.

Dexed is a DX7 clone with source available “Dexed is free software and is licensed on the GPL v3”


Efficient virtual instrument (VST3), but ugly GUI (in my high opinion).

:warning: Requires VCV Host paid module (or VCV Rack 2 Pro) to use it from your rack.

They’re similar (but commercial) named F.'em. I’ve tested the 7-day unlimited trial: it’s an excellent 11-operator FM synthesizer, but its price is very abusive: $179. I’ll consider it, but under 100 euros.

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Linking old thread:

And this:


You might have better luck with this;

or this;

And looking at their graphical envelope and amplitude controls, you could use this;

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…Interesting, Jens Peter, thanks for the info about Algomorph! :ok_hand: :wink:

Voted :+1: / Like about MindMeld ShapeMaster (& ShapeMaster Pro). :wink:

woahhh cooool

The Bogaudio 88 Matrix is a good place to start indeed.

The diagonal knobs set the feedback level for each operator, and other knobs set each OP volume going to each OP FM input. It is not the same presentation than FM8’s matrix, but the functionality is there. The last two output are for master output, but you could absolutely imagine using a bigger matrix and add filters, etc etc. FM is really good with effects in the FM path (delays, chorus, distorsion, filter…) I quickly tried this with PigeonPink (I love this FM Operator, in case you don’t know it, try it), and Shapemaster for enveloppes, and used the 7’th enveloppe for pitch.

Here is the super limited attempt, but already giving a nice sounding FM vibe ! Mini FM8.vcvs (49.9 KB)


Wow, didn’t know that it was this expensive. I got it last year at some plugin store with a discount for like 20 bucks.

[Edit: it was 30 bucks but came with free AudioThing Things Texture]

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Yep, it’s very expensive! but for 20 bucks, be sure I don’t hesistate! I’m waiting for Black Friday (or similar), wait and see… I loved the demo/trial version, though.

@demcanulty technically the DX7 used phase modulation not FM, although it sounds very similar. That’s maybe what you were referring to? I found all the algorithms online once and built a few patches using FM Op, but one thing I couldn’t find was which ratio to use. Apart from that, it should be fairly easy to patch. I haven’t looked at FM8 for years, so can’t remember what it does!


Almost everyone uses phase modulation. Dx7 did, Fm Op does, kitchen Sink does…


Aha, so ‘FM’ is a total misnomer really?

Sort of? The VCV VCO has true FM. I have a paper comparing FM and PM, but I’m out of town right now so can’t find a link.


Thank you all for the info and suggestions. Got lots to read (and learn).

@Jens.Peter.Nielsen I saw that thread you shared, but it was a bit confusing for a beginner like myself and then, of course, these threads spread out like “roots” in all directions and it gets even more confusing, but I will definitely take a look at that one as well. Thank you so much for the AlgoMorph suggestion. Installed it and played with it a bit. Seems like a good plugin. Still trying to figure out how to really use it, but the video you shared is a good starting point

@ScreenSlave I will take a look at those 2 options. I have the ShapeMaster already so just have to look at the other two.

@TanaBarbier Will download your patch and see what I can do with it. Really appreciate you sharing it

Ah, thanks, I had in the back of my mind that something was a bit different with the DX7 from my basic understanding of FM! Much appreciated for the clarification.

Would be interested in reading it if you remember when you get back, I’ve never gotten the implementations straight in my head. But, in the meantime, safe travels!

I googled it. There should be a TOC here that makes it easy to find GitHub - squinkylabs/Demo: A collection of code and articles of interest to VCV users and developers..

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