Imaginando has released FRMS the consonant free hybrid synthesizer that ties Granular up with FM and shoves it through a Subtractive sound engine.
In a clear and unfussy interface FRMS offers 3 synthesis engines in a stack of 4 layers per voice generating up to 8 voices of polyphony. It’s packed full of modulation with 4 LFOs, 2 envelopes and a modulation matrix per layer. Each layer also has its own filter and a send to the Delay and Reverb effects. There’s a lot of sound and movement you can put together in this thing.
The Granular engine can utilise the in-built sample library or take audio directly from your inputs. It slices the audio into thousands of grains which you can then manipulate and play with. The FM engine has 4 operators and 8 algorithms but works differently to how you might expect. It uses a layer as an operator and so you have your 4 operators but you don’t have to have FM selected for each layer. You could use the Granular engine as an operator, or a regular subtractive waveform and feed that into the FM algorithm for some unusual results. In the Subtractive engine there are 4 of usual waveforms and also 5 types of filter.
In all gets interesting in the layers. There’s a lot of cross-modulation, the FM operator thing, and using oscillators to modulate grains and folding everything back in on itself. You can combine engines into huge, evolving and complex sounds or modulate between them to take things into other directions.
There are two Performance modes: Keyboard and Chorder which do pretty much what you’d expect. MPE support is included to you can start to push parameters around with your MPE compatible hardware. There’s also a 5-mode arpeggiator to play with.
So, lots to play with in this virtual synthesizer. I like how the interface is split and can actually show you two layers at once with tabs keeping together all the various editing pages.
FRMS is available now for Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android and you can run the desktop version on up to 5 machines per license. The introductory deal is €59 or you can sign up for a €11.90 rent-to-own option for a year.