FM Synth in the style of the Elektron Digitone™ Synth Engine
I love FM, but I do not understand it…
I was researching Hardware-FM-Synths, because I would like to start my outboard equipment journey and I found the small elektron model:cycles, which I thought was quite a powerful “toy” - then I decided to have a look at the elektron digitone. I watched all tutorials and walk-throughs from loopop, cuckoo, red means recording, etc… After that I read the manual, because you do that before a purchase, right?
And while reading I thought, maybe I should build the engine in VCV to understand it.
So I did that - to the extent, that all eight algorithms, the envelopes, the modulation, the filter and even the polyphony, LFOs, Arpeggiator and the effects are nearly identical - the sound is obiously different, but the engine is working great so far.
I built the engine core first, but you don’t have to touch it, everything is controlled via the control section (image above). 2 LFOs, which are synced to a master clock, 4 FM-OPs with 24 preset ratios each arranged in 8 Algorithms with 2 FM-Envelopes with a very unique assignment. Feedback, Wave-Folding (Harmonics), Filter and Amp, everythings with true 8 voice polyphony. The stereo summming is in front of the effect section with chorus, delay and reverb.
The Input Section has the ability to switch between external Midi with a switchable arpeggiator (modelled like the original one, the note seq can shift individual steps and gates) or a sequencer (I chose the DivSeq here, I find it very musical, but you can exchange it for whatever). The arpeggiator and the sequencer are rotating around in the 8 polyphony channels, so each note can fade out. The clock is for triggering the arpeggiator, the sequencer and the delay- and LFO-times.
Finally there is a master section, with a master fader and a preset selector. The first four presets are set, with the first patch being the “Init”-Patch. Most of the controls of the control section are mapped in the preset selector.
All modules are free.
FM Synth.vcv (423.2 KB)
If you want to set the algorithm images in the control section (which I absolutely recommend!) download the following images (made by myself, background → pixabay.com, illustration → photoshop) and put them in a permanent location. Then set the 8face on the left of the image panel to R/W-Mode. Load image 1 into the panel, press the first button on the 8 face, load image 2, press the second button and so on.
I hope everything works for you, and you’re having fun creating awesome noise!
If there are any questions, please feel free to ask. (And reading the Digitone Manual will help a lot!)