Computer Music issue 216 - FM SYNTH POWER - May 2015

VIDEO for EVERY TUTORIAL, 40+ VST/AU plugins for FREE, 500 samples and more, with Vault download for whichever format you choose.


GOOGLE PLAY (Android, Chrome for PC/Mac)
ZINIO (PC, Mac, Android, iPad)
**(NOTE: Dead Man's Chest video only available with Print & Apple Newsstand editions)


If you think that FM synths are too advanced for you to program, or are only good for cheesy 'synth marimba' patches, then it's time for you to discover true FM Synth Power! In this huge guide, you'll learn that it's not rocket science to create sophisticated sounds as we take you all the way from the very basics right to advanced practices, helping you to achieve full mastery of this often misunderstood synthesis technique.

Over 12 pages with 11 videos, we'll cover…

  • How FM works and why - without frying your brain
  • Crafting the classic bass, bell and piano sounds that FM is famous for
  • Our ten favourite FM synths for the job - along with freeware options
  • Going deeper into your bass patches for huge, modern sounds
  • Advanced FM percussion sound design techniques
  • Other FM-alike techniques such as Filter FM and Phase Distortion

…and loads more

Here's one of this huge feature's videos to get you in the mood.

FREE PLUGIN - Vengeance-Sound Scope

• Put your audio signals under the microscope with this all-in-one PC/Mac monitoring toolkit from the legendary Vengeance-Sound! Scope is a comprehensive visualisation suite equipped with three main analysis functions: Scope mode brings you a professional oscilloscope display on which to view your audio signal's waveform; Spectrum mode provides insight into its frequency content; and Stereofield mode gives you a full goniometer to observe its stereo width. The onboard level meters keep track of signal properties such as dynamic range, RMS level, peak level and K-metering.

• See how Scope works in the below video, and check out the plugin's full spec to see more.

FREE SAMPLES - VIP Series: Brodanse

• 500 royalty-free WAVs from the rising stars of house and techno. Fresh from starring in cm212's Producer Masterclass, we commissioned brothers Scott and Austen Smart to produce this hand-made collection of one-shots and loops. What we received is a full-on hoard of expertly crafted drum hits, bass loops, chord stabs, drum loops and more. Get this pack completely free with this issue via download (or on the DVD included with the print edition).


• This recent release could be the most comprehensive filter plugin ever made - so it's an essential piece of kit for electronic producers. Get the complete lowdown on all of The Drop's features and hear 'those' filters in action across 8 videos. Here's one to get you started.


• A brace of video techniques for crafting perfect techno beats, basslines, and more. We'll take you through the genre's particular sound-design techniques, explore how it comes together musically, and get you in tune with techno's idiosyncratic philosophy. Across our ten videos, we show you how to replicate the style using modern software and production techniques, and all using the free CM Plugins that you get with the magazine!


Steinberg's über-DAW is back, with a tweaked name and a glut of new features. Get straight up to speed with new features like Render in Place, VCA Faders and MIDI tempo detection, as well as the updated MixConsole and Chord Assistant. We'll also show you production tricks and techniques for Cubase Pro 8's new included plugins.


Alex Eveson has released tracks on some of the most respected, forward-thinking DnB labels out there, but for his latest project, Dead Man's Chest, he's turned the clock back, taking on a 90s jungle slant. But Alex hasn't left modern software behind - this 90-minute in-studio video reveals how he works with Ableton Live, manually editing audio samples to create delay effects, pads and more, and processing the lot with some choice plugins, showing how his retro-inspired track Liquid 94 was created along the way.

Here's the first half of the video - to see more, get the print or Apple Newsstand copy of cm216!


  • Designer Sounds: InsideInfo gets to work on a six-oscillator "one-finger chord" pad - hear it and create your own complex, evolving take on it with this step-by-step tutorial
  • Dr Beat: Are your programmed drums both busy and boring? Ronan Macdonald gives us a masterclass in linear drumming, to create funky, mix-ready beats
  • Geek Technique: Owen Palmer gives us a fresh take on placing mix elements on the sonic stage using careful sound design and crafty reverb tweaks
  • Music Theory: Dave Clews shows you how to locate the Neapolitan Sixth chord on your scale, and where to put it in your chord progressions


  • Dada Life: We sit down the class clowns of electronic music to have a serious conversation about their attitude… and their music, plugins and production techniques, of course
  • Propellerhead Software: The company's new cross-platform collaboration mission discussed with two of the Props' head honchos
  • Rodriguez Jr: His top five picks of music production software


iZotope Iris 2
Rob Papen Raw
u-he Presswerk
Tone2 UltraSpace
AudioThing Phase Motion
Acoustica Mixcraft Pro Studio 7
HoRNet Multicomp Plus
MeldaProduction MDrumLeveler
Tracktion Master Mix

PLUS 18 more reviews


• Every issue of Computer Music comes with CM Plugins, an exclusive collection of pro-quality VST/AU instruments and effects for PC and Mac. Check out our full CM Plugins list and the CM Plugins FAQ for more info.


***Producer Masterclass video is not currently downloadable. Apple Newsstand readers can watch it directly inside the app via internet streaming. Print edition includes Producer Masterclass on the DVD. Other digital formats inc. Zinio & Google Play do not include Producer Masterclass video.

cm216 is on sale now in the UK, Apple Newsstand and Zinio. Overseas dates for print edition are roughly: USA + 4 weeks after UK / Australia +8 weeks / Europe +2 weeks / South Africa +6 weeks / Canada +4 weeks.

See more issues in our cmbackissueslist

Computer Music

Computer Music magazine is the world’s best selling publication dedicated solely to making great music with your Mac or PC computer. Each issue it brings its lucky readers the best in cutting-edge tutorials, need-to-know, expert software reviews and even all the tools you actually need to make great music today, courtesy of our legendary CM Plugin Suite.