Sound Design Tutorial: Frequency Modulation Synthesis Using Native Instruments FM8

In this Sound Design video tutorial, Dubspot Instructor Evan Sutton explores basic frequency modulation synthesis using Native Instruments FM8 synthesizer and shows you how to create smooth techno and house basslines.

Sound Design Tutorial: Frequency Modulation

The synthesis method known as frequency modulation is capable of yielding an insanely huge variety of sounds. Unlike subtractive synthesis, where we are chipping away at a wave to sculpt a sound, FM allows us to grow a sound by building groups of harmonic and non-harmonic partials using fairly simple components. We’ve done a handful of tutorials on this topic, many with the goal of creating aggressive, broad spectrum sounds that are a hallmark of the heavy EDM sound.
For this tutorial, I wanted to explore the subtler side of frequency mod, using Native Instruments FM8 to create a smooth London house/techno bass sound that is sure to get the floor moving in that oh so sweet way.
This sound is a great alternative to a basic low passed 303 style bass and can add a great texture to the right kind of track.
Let’s get buttery. – Evan Sutton

Evan Sutton a.k.a. Astrolith is an electronic music producer, sound designer, and audio engineer, as well as teaching sound design and electronic music production at Dubspot. He is the designer/developer of Dubspot’s Sound Design program. You can hear Evan’s music and find out more about him at and

Sound Design

Become fluent in the language of sound design with this comprehensive program. This six-level Sound Design program uses Native Instruments’ Komplete as a platform for learning synthesis and sampling techniques. Starting with an introduction to the properties of sound, this comprehensive series of courses covers most common synthesis methods available for music production in the DAW of your choice.

Discovering the right sound is like finding a needle in the digital haystack. Learn the fundamentals to make this easier, and gain the depth of knowledge to make a good sound better. Factory content is great, but everyone has it – your mix needs something special.

What’s Included:

  • Sound Design Level 1: Introduction to Komplete 8
  • Sound Design Level 2: Synthesis with Massive, FM8 and Absynth
  • Sound Design Level 3: Sampling with Kontakt and Battery
  • Sound Design Level 4: Advanced Sound Design
  • Sound Design Level 5: Reaktor Ensembles and Instruments
  • Sound Design Level 6: Reaktor Programming

Open House: Sundays 11:00am and 12:00pm

Ask questions. Watch demos. Test drive workstations.

Anyone who comes by will have the opportunity to ask our instructors in-depth questions about our programs, curriculum and philosophy, and watch live music production and DJ demos. You can even sit down at one of our workstations and take it for a test drive. If you are still trying to decide what you are looking for, we suggest you stop by one of our Open Houses to learn more about the school, understand what the learning process at Dubspot entails and help you decide what is best for you. We can also help with scheduling details and payment options.