11 Operators configured through a freely assignable matrix with FM, VA and sample-based sounds, multimode filters and a complex effects engine. Did we miss anything?
Tracktion is very excited by this synthesizer. It’s all about the face-melting leads, explosions in sound design and raucous journeys through FM synthesis. If all feels a very long way away from the electric pianos, bell sounds and clangs that we normally associate with FM synthesis – and that’s no bad thing. Judging by the intro video, this thing is going to start a riot:
So, what do we have here? F.’em has 8 wave operators, 2 sample operators, noise and an “outrageously deep” modulation matrix. So it starts off as a virtual analogue synthesizer combined with sampled instruments and rapidly descends into Frequency Modulated chaos and coolness as you start patching the oscillations into each other. Each oscillator can become the modulator of another and through the FM Matrix you can create amazingly complex sounds and possibilities.
F.’em has 4 layers, each one offering a complete FM synthesis engine with its own arpeggiator and effects. The layer tabs sit at the top of the interface where you can quickly mix the levels, panning or mute/solo them.
All the action happens in the FM Matrix where you can quickly drag operators into each other for modulations and feedback loops. Each operator has its own page of synth controls that covers waveform, pitch and level LFOs and envelopes. The two filters also form part of the FM Matrix which means that you can choose how they interact with carriers and modulators for some very unique results.
At the bottom of the Matrix you’ll find an EQ section, arpeggiator, effects and then a whole other modulation matrix that uses more regular functions like LFOs some quite ridiculously complex envelopes which look like lots of fun.
There’s a lot going on in F.’em and it can become overwhelmingly complex. Tracktion has tried to keep things under control through the interface that feels very analogue synthy rather than too focused on the FM. The overview video seems to spend most of its time talking about the preset browser which is where you can enjoy the power of the synth without all that tedious mucking about with ratios and feedback settings. With 11 Operators to play with maybe the presets is the best place to start.