Release year: 2021
Developer: Tracktion Software
Developer site: tracktion
Platform: Intel only
Interface language: English
Tablet: cured (install and run) | MORIA
System Requirements: macOS 10.11 or later
VST2 / AU / AAX
Description : Tracktion has released its long-awaited FM synthesizer plug-in F, em, a powerful hybrid four-timbral instrument with 11 fully editable operators.
FM synthesizers are back in 2020. There have been many new releases, be it hardware or software based on FM. It is noteworthy that developers are trying to break the curse of classic FM synthesizers by making them simpler, but at the same time much more flexible. From the classic DX-7 design to new concepts with new waveforms, filters and more.
The developer of the plugin is known to many. Wolfgram Franke, former Waldorf developer and Stroke Machine Groovebox (iPad) designer, is responsible for this new FM synthesizer. F.’em, yes, strange name, is a hybrid four-timbral synthesizer that can work as an FM, VA and sample-based instrument. They follow the same path as Korg. Not only classic FM sounds, but also VA, etc. The synthesis engine consists of four layers, each equipped with a massive FM matrix and four effect slots.
The FM Matrix is the heart of the plugin. Here you can create your own algorithms using up to 11 operators without fixed algorithms. So you can pass any wave operator to any other wave operator back and forth. Three types of operators are available: waveforms (sinusoidal, VA, or other specific waveforms), multiple-sample operators, or noise.
Each operator can be frequency-modulated in its own way. In the waveform operator, you also get hard sync, which means that in the event of no communication between the operators, the plugin can also act as a VA synth. So clean FM, VA or sample-based patches are possible, or a colorful mix, which is much more interesting.
Of course, each operator has its own pitch and LFO level, as well as its own pitch and level envelope. Without this flexibility, it wouldn’t be an FM synthesizer. It then includes two filters with an overload cascade, freely routable in series, in parallel, or anything in between. Filters in FM are now commonplace and are good tools to make FM synthesis even more flexible.
Apart from the usual modulations in operators, F.’em also has modulators for the entire engine. 2 streaming LFOs with freely editable shapes, multiple tempo-synced, 32-stop looped envelopes, randomizers, X/Y pads… give you plenty of room for complex moves. All are routed and controlled by a modulation matrix of up to 32,200 elements and a modifier matrix of up to 32 modulation algorithms. In addition, you have keyboard level scaling for each operator.
Numerous patches from well-known sound engineers are available for immediate enjoyment of the game, all neatly sorted in the patch browser.