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ROLI Equator - Expressive FM Tutorial

Synths, Tutorials

For a long time FM synthesis has been praised for it’s expressive capabilities, but until recently a lot of this power was difficult to use. After all, what’s the use of an expressive synth without an expressive controller? Enter, MPE Controllers.



FM in ROLI Equator

ROLI did a great job of creating an affordable “Multichannel Polyphonic Expression” controller, which lends itself for some really cool FM synthesis experimentation.

Because of this it shouldn’t be a big surprise that Equator features some fairly flexible FM capabilities.

In case you’re unfamiliar with FM, it stands for “Frequency Modulation”.

So if we were to say: “Today we’re FM-ing stuff!”

We actually say: “Today we’re Modulating the Frequency of Something with the Frequency of Something else”.

Now in the case of Equator (and most other cases) these “Somethings” are oscillators, which are no different from LFO’s, accept they’re way faster! (word of the day: Audio-rate Modulation)

To test this you can modulate the oscillator frequency with a regular LFO and then increase the speed (rate) of that LFO, you’ll hear the sound go from nice vibrato sounds into harsh FM overtones, cool stuff!

This effect is caused by the modulation being too fast for us to perceive the individual cycles, which happens at a speed of around 20-30Hz.

In this video we’ll explore how to control the interesting aspects of FM with our ROLI controller, more specifically we’ll control the FM Depth and the Rate of the modulators. Have fun!

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