Synth Tutorial: FM on the Minimoog Voyager


In this synth tutorial, watch Joe Hanley, the creator of Syntorial, as he demonstrates how to use FM on the Minimoog Voyager. This video is an excerpt from the Minimoog Voyager Lesson Pack for Syntorial, which contains 34 videos, totaling 2 hours and 22 minutes, and covers every inch of this analog classic.

In this video, I’ll be showing you how to use FM. Also known as frequency modulation on the Voyager. I’ll be going over how to make different bell tones as well as how to make an aggressive distorted tone.

Now, this following clip is an excerpt from the Minimoog Voyager lesson pack for Syntorial. Which has 34 videos, totaling two hours and 22 minutes, that go over every inch of the Voyager. And it’s free for all registered Syntorial users.

Now, for those who don’t know, Syntorial is video game like training software. That teaches you how to program synth patches by ear. It does this by combining video demonstrations with interactive challenges in which you program patches on a built-in soft synth. And the Minimoog Voyager lesson pack, adds 34 videos that show you how to take the things you’ve learned in Syntorial and do it on the Voyager.

I’ve made a special demo available for you guys to download. Includes 18 lessons and five Voyager videos by clicking the link that’s appearing on your screen now.

Now before we get started, you wanna initialize your synth. This will make programming a lot easier. And I recommend going to the webpage below and following these instructions right here in this box.

Now not only will show you how to use the Voyager’s built-in initialization function, but more importantly, it adds steps that will show you how to change the phase of the synth, so it matches what you hear. Because if you just use the initialization function, the inside of the synth turns into a very simple sound, but the phase of it doesn’t change obviously, which can be kinda confusing particularly for those of you who are a little newer to the Voyager or just newer to programming. So I recommend following these steps before you get started. Here we go.

Voyager FM. The FM is a little trickier to program on the Voyager, compared to Syntorial. The routing is fairly simple, oscillator three is our modulator, oscillator one is our carrier. So we wanna hear the carrier. We don’t wanna hear the modulator. So only oscillator one will be on. And then you simply just turn the FM switch on.

Now with Syntorial we’re doing sine waves. There are no sine waves in the waveform selection. We’ll do the next best thing. We’ll turn both to triangles. Now you’re not getting much yet. So we need to turn this frequency up and I like my favorite spot is around the sixth notch.

Start to hear some of that FM. You can get it in the other values, but it changes the overall pitch. This keeps, C sounding like C. Whatever note you’re playing, sounds like the note you’re playing.

Now I’m gonna increase our AMP release a little bit, just to give us a little bit more of a bell-like quality. Good.

Now, Oscillator three’s waveform knob, in this situation, it’s kinda like Syntorial’s FM knob. As you turn it up, you get a little bit brighter, go towards saw. You can go all way to about this notch here. Compare it to, little rounder. Little brighter. So it’s kinda like Syntorial’s FM knob. Go pass that, it starts to get dissonant.

Now, if I wanna change the overall range of my bells, I can turn both octaves up. And then we can take oscillator three’s octave and move it down. It gets a little dissonant but it’s a little bit more FM-ish. A little bit more metallic. Could even go down one further and it gets pretty aggressive. We’ll go back to four.

Now, one thing you might notice, is as I jumped from note to note, sometimes it takes a second for the pitch to kinda catch up. It kinda sound like… So it’s like the very beginning of your notes sounds sort of out of tune until it kinda comes together.

In some ways, this can be kind of cool, but if you don’t want it, what you can do a sort of mask it with a little bit of glide. So I’m turning the glide on. And now… now, if I’m intentionally bending between the notes, then you won’t really notice that accidental FM bend between the notes. So that’s how you can get your nice sort of bell like metallic tone with FM.

There’s another great use we can get from FM and the Voyager. And that’s really nice, aggressive, distorted tone. To do this, I’m gonna change oscillator one to square, oscillator three to about there a little bit above the saw, right at the saw graphic actually.

We’re gonna bring oscillator one back down to its regular octave, our default octave. And we’re going to bring octave three, one octave below that and then set its frequency back to zero. And here’s what it sounds like. Let’s turn glide off.

Really nice aggressive distorted sound. And you can adjust the wave. And I like it right around the saw. And you could bring oscillator three’s octave one lower to get even nastier. And then we can bring the frequency back up, if you want to add a little bit more of that metallic bellish-like quality to it. Really nice distorted tone.

Lastly, it’s really easy to come across a dissonant tone with FM. Set it to any random frequency, random wave forms, and you could come across as sometimes bizarre sound effects and dissonant sounds. So it’s a great way to create sort of experimental sound effects and things like that.

So your task is to create three new patches, one, a smooth bell tone like we did with the triangles, another, a nice heavy distorted tone. And then lastly, something just bizarre from a random setting of your choice.

All right, Well, thanks for watching. And just so you know, we’ve got a lot of other free videos like this available on Syntorial’s website. All you gotta do is sign up for our newsletter by clicking the link that’s popping up on your screen now, and we’ll send you a link to a page full of videos and articles.