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couple of comments/questions

Nelson Baboon
I've now had my essence fm for a few days. it's the second one that i owned, and am trying to remember why i sold it the first time.....

i apologize for the lengthy post, but maybe one inspiration for thinking out loud here is that i think that this synth doesn't get as much 'airplay' on the forums as it deserves. It is so powerful, and sounds so good - it's right up there (imo) with some of the more expensive digital synths available currently. I can't say really whether some of my 'issues' are common to others - but (i don't want to single out other brands/models) i think that it is so superior to some that are more popular, i have to wonder why that might be.

I suppose i have one very general question. I'm not new to synthesizers and electronic music at all. But I am not as well 'educated' as some, especially when it comes to things like fm synthesis. One of the amazing features of the EFM is that you can get so far without an understanding of fm synthesis. Now, i'm not talking about a basic understanding of what it is, but more of an understanding of how it actually works to create sounds, and how one can develop a reasonable sense of how changing THIS parameter here will lead to THIS timbral change, without trying to learn somewhat randomly. I think that the EFM has one of the best random sound generators i've ever used. I'm evaluating it by the % of time that one gets interesting results (and fortunately, or unfortunately, how mesmerizing that can be within the EFM sound engine).

this isn't a problem with some of the other synthesis types. Subtractive synthesis - not that it's easy to consistently get interesting sounds (music isn't easy in that sense, since one wants to develop one's skills), but the basic concept, in the connection between the changes one makes, and the results - they aren't that abstract, and one can practice pretty quickly with a new synth and coordinate that general subtractive understanding with the quirks of that particular instrument and start pushing the synth knowledgeably into areas that one likes.

Off the top of my head - even more esoteric synthesis types like granular synthesis are easier to understand, i think. While it contains the additional variable of the type of sample used, live vs saved sample, etc - one gets a reasonable sense pretty early on (i think) of how its going to work, and there isn't a huge gap between the setup of a sound, and why it's sounding like it does.

but fm? it's kind of a mystery to me. I can get great sounds out of the EFM, and will spend a good part of this weekend trying to extend my comfort with its structure - the manual recommends starting a 'sound' in performance mode. That makes sense in the abstract, so i'm going to work on that.

but - trying to articulate it - why if i change this parameter, or make this change to the algorithm, etc, does it affect the sound in just the way it does? Maybe the EFM makes things too easy (kind of a silly question, but i almost wonder that makes things more difficult in the long run) by allowing you to create great sounds without really understanding fm.

so maybe one question i have is - is there good reading material that doesn't get too academic that explains to the fm beginner (i'm a beginner in understanding it, though i've explored synths for many years, and in fm going back to the tg77 when it was still sold new) how to approach the algorithmic end (which i suppose is the core element of fm sound construction) and how changes affect the sound in various ways. Are there any tutorials that lead you along like this?

I suppose that the somewhat related request is - given the more difficult aspects of fm sound construction - i'd love there to be a more directed EFM tutorial about this. Like 'let's start with blank patch, with a certain goal, and create these types of sounds....and an explanation (to the degree possible) of why this oscillator type with this kind of modulation sounds like a bell and not a coyote scream.

I also think that there could be a more extensive troubleshooting section that will help beginners. I ran into one issue last night (lol - because i remember running into it with my first one before i had that 'duh' moment). some of this stuff is easy because you see the answer and realize that it's obvious.....but sometimes you need some initial help in getting to that obvious point. Like I'm embarrassed to say that i spent an awfully long time trying to figure out why, when editing a voice, I sometimes saw the filter option, and sometimes I didn't. Then, of course, 'duh' when i realized what the answer was.

in any case - this is a wonderful instrument, and I wish Kodamo great success.
I asked a similar question on the fb group and got some good links, maybe they’ll be helpful for you.

I looked up the dx7 manual and found that to be really interesting as well.

I’m really new to fm, this is my first fm synth so this may be information that you have already acquired and may be looking for more in depth articles.
Nelson Baboon
hey thanks. just saw this (is there a way to get email notifications of responses?). i'll check them out.