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Sound Wave : Sound Design Challenge

Join us for a synthesis challenge, hosted by lecturer John Davies and online school co-ordinator Michael Denny.


This term’s brief is FM Synthesis. You’ll have just over an hour to explore FM techniques to generate, sculpt, shape and refine sounds in your chosen DAW.

Logic users will want to gravitate towards Retro Synth (using the FM Oscillator) or Logic’s dedicated FM synth, the EFM1.

Ableton users will head straight to Operator, or might even venture into Max for Live.

Yamaha’s classic DX7 FM synthesiser is the inspiration behind several third-party instruments:

• Arturia’s DX7V (available on Splice as a free trial / rent-to-own)

• Native Instruments FM8 (demo available here)

Digital Suburban Dexed (which is 100 free forever!)

Kilohearts Phase Plant takes FM synthesis into the future, but FM synthesis is possible using numerous other synthesisers such as XFER’s Serum, Logic’s Alchemy, NI’s Reaktor and Massive X... and many more!

Here are a few useful articles you might find useful:

What Is FM Synthesis (Splice)

An Introduction to FM Synthesis (Attack Magazine)

Frequency Modulation Synthesis (Apple)


The challenge will start bang-on 7:30pm (London time). You’ll then have until 8:45pm to produce a new 16 bar idea using sounds generated using FM synthesis - any genre, any style, no limitations!

*You’ll upload a 16-bar bounce of wherever you’ve managed to get to by 8:45pm then enjoy a well-earned break (whilst we download your tracks ready for playback).

At 9pm we’ll have a quick listen to what y’all manage to come up with.

Sensei Challenge:

More experienced producers wanting a bit of an advanced workout can elect to take the SENSEI CHALLENGE - build a track idea using only FM synthesis. (all elements in the track must be created using FM synthesis techniques - no other instruments, synthesisers, voices or external samples allowed, yikes!)


Links to the brief, the material you will need for the event and the folder to upload your work to can be found HERE (available at 7:30pm on the day).

Event Details

Start Times
  • 23rd May 2022, 19:30 BST (British Summer Time)
Address You will receive a link to this event in the confirmation email
Online attendees You will receive a link to this event in the confirmation email


Sorry, this event is for current, past and/or future students only.

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