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EssenceFM

300 voice polyphony, unlimited sound layering and lots of advanced FM synthesis capabilities.


EssenceFM front panel view

All in a compact and robust metal enclosure, useable as a rack or table-top module.


EssenceFM front panel view


EssenceFM top view, showing the inputs/outputs



The EssenceFM is an FM synthesizer currently in development, whose pre orders will start on december 2019.

We aim to design a very powerful FM synthesis device, while making FM fun and easy to work with.

Altough power and ease of use are often hard to conciliate, we think we made this possible with an optimized user interface using a large 7" touch screen and physical buttons.

Everything in the EssenceFM is represented as graphically as possible to make it easier to see what happens as you edit a sound.


Quick'n'easy algorithm design

Graphical envelopes with preview



The EssenceFM is organized into 4 modes accessible with the buttons.


EssenceFM front panel view
  • Performance is ideal for orchestrations, polyphonic expression controllers (MPE) or very fat sounds.
  • Patch is where you layer Voices, split them across the keyboard, detune them and setup other behaviors like the arpeggiator
  • Voice is a 6-op FM sound with its envelopes, frequency parameters, filter settings and more.
  • Global provides everything else: display and MIDI settings, waveforms, scales, import/export from USB...

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Sound Demos

The following sounds are directly recorded from the EssenceFM prototype without any post-processing. Some recordings may have background noise coming from the recording equipment.

These sounds are not definitive. Final sound banks will consist of several hundred patches created by different sound designers to allow for a variety of styles. The EssenceFM can store approximately 3300 sounds in its internal memory.

Ethereal pad
Very wide, sitar-like pad
Layered marimba and sawtooth, with stereo delay
Guitar/rhodes-like patch with distorsion
Rythmic harp pattern with the arpeggiator, which is polyphonic
(up to 300 instances, same as the base polyphony)
Using the arpeggiator to make rythms
Rich flute ensemble sound
FM strings made of a single 6-op voice

Features

Design your own algorithms by creating links between operators.

Screenshot of an algorithm made of different connected operators
Draw waveforms with the touch screen or import them from wave files.
The EssenceFM has 24 fully customizeable waveforms.

Screenshot of the waveform drawing interface
Make complex envelopes easily by moving the points and defining their attributes (sustain, loop start, loop end...)

Screenshot of the graphical enveloppe for volume
Create layers and splits with advanced options like round robin,
exclusion groups and arpeggiator.

Screenshot of the patch page
Design exotic scales, early temperaments and microtunings.

Screenshot of the tuning page
Use the modulation matrix to shape the sound in every possible way.

Screenshot of the modulation matrix
Assign parts to different audio outputs and configure each effect DSP.

Screenshot of the routing page

Gallery

These pictures show the development process, they are not representative of the final product.


Prototype demo

Demonstration for the SynthFest. This was the first prototype, shown on June 2019.

Full Specs

Specifications may be subject to change until the product development is finished.

Sound Engine
Synthesis type6-operator FM
Polyphony (FM Voice)300
Operator controlMultiplier (x0...x40) or fixed frequency (0...20Khz)
Quartertone & fine tuning
Key volume scaling (graphical)
LFO AM/FM
Waveform phase control
Waveforms24 interpolated, band-limited waveforms
Waveform editionFree drawing / import from wave file.
Operations : Flip X, Flip Y, Smooth, Set volume, Remove DC, Mix two waveforms, Crossfade, Maximize, Add harmonic
Envelope generator6-points graphical, logarithmic, 14 per voice (6x volume, 6x pitch, 1x filter, 1x pan)
Patch layer parametersVolume
Bottom/Top key
Bottom/Top velocity
Panning
Transpose
Tuning
Exclusion Group (8 groups)
Round Robin (32 slots)
Filter1 per voice, lowpass, resonant
LFO1 per voice, waveform + bitmask combination
Waveform offset, delay & attack rate control
Independant or synced
Max. Voices per patch128 layers/splits
Max. Total Voices3328 (26 banks * 128 voices)
Max. Total Patches3328 (26 banks * 128 patches)
Max. Total Performances256
Modulation matrix300 instances (1 per voice)
8 source/destination mappings per voice
Scaling and Offset parameters
Modulation matrix SourcesNote number
Velocity
Release Velocity
Aftertouch
Poly. Aftertouch
Pitchbend Wheel
LFO
Number of active notes on the same MIDI channel
Envelope (pan, filter, operator volume/pitch)
Random number generator
MIDI CC (any)
Modulation matrix Destinations Operator Volume
Operator Waveform
Operator Initial Phase
Operator Volume Envelope Global Speed
Operator Volume Envelope Segment Time
Operator Pitch Envelope Global Speed
Operator Pitch Envelope Segment Time
Operator Frequency Coarse/Fine
Tuning
Transposition
LFO parameters
Filter Cutoff/Resonance Filter Envelope Speed
Pan Envelope Speed
Sound engine internal resolution32-bit float
Tuning370-520Hz
Scales/Temperaments32 editable presets
Custom scales up to 32 notes, 0-1200 cents tuning, octave stretching
Transposition+36/-36 semitones. Global, per patch and per voice
DAC24-bit, 48Khz
SNR> 100dB
Audio latency< 2ms
Boot time< 3s
Arpeggiator1 per voice (300 total), 16 events, 128 steps resolution grid, 1-500 BPM tempo, syncable to MIDI beat
An event contains a voice ID, a note number, a duration and a volume. It can trigger notes or dynamically swap the FM parameters with another voice
Multitimbrality16 parts assignable to any MIDI channel
Supported standardsGeneral MIDI, MPE
MiscDX7 patch import (via SysEx, partial support)
Random voice generation
Effects
Effect Processors2 multi-effect processors with independant Send level for each part
3 modes:
Effect ListReverb (7 types)
Stereo Delay
Stereo Chorus
Distorsion (5 types)
Rotary
Bitcrush
Ring Modulation
Phaser
Equalizer (3 band, 24dB/oct)
Auto-Wah
Phase Shift
Internal Resolution48Khz, 32-bit float
Inputs/Outputs
Audio8x 6.35mm jack outputs, balanced, useable as 4 stereo pairs or 8 mono.
Stereo 6.35mm unbalanced headphones jack output
MIDIDIN (In, Out, Thru), RTP-Ethernet (AppleMIDI), USB device, USB host
USB host capabilitiesMIDI standard interface
USB mass-storage
USB HID-compliant mouse
Power inputDC IN 12V 2A
MIDI-RTP
Session typeAppleMIDI
IPUser-defined or using DHCP
PortUser-defined (default 5004/5005)
Network latency0-3ms (normal use)
0-1ms (display disabled)
Display
Type7" IPS capacitive touch screen
Multi-touch support
Resolution400*240, 16-bit (65536) colors
Viewing angle160° horizontal
160° vertical
(Calculated for text readability. Colors may change depending on angle.)
Refresh rateFixed, 60 FPS
Fonts5 types
Background5 types, customizeable colors
OtherAdjustable backlight brightness
Dim/Turn off the screen after a delay
Background pattern and color selection
Touch screen calibration
Blue level adjustment
Sound feedback on touchscreen
Key LED backlight enable/disable
Edition, Memory & Storage
ControlsTouchscreen, 14 Kailh mechanical switches, 7 Bourns rotary encoders, 2 volume pots (main output & headphones)
Virtual keyboardQWERTY, QWERTZ, AZERTY
Undo/Redo history1000 steps
Global memory protectionWrite protect option for Patches, Voices, Performances, Scales and Waveforms
Import/ExportPatches, Voices, Performances, Scales and Waveforms from USB mass-storage devices.
Supported filesystems: FAT32, exFAT.
Firmware upgradeVia USB
Misc
AccessoriesUniversal AC adapter, user manual, tabletop brackets
Size (EssenceFM)133 x 482.6 x 58 mm
Weight (EssenceFM)1.8 kg
Size (package)600 x 150 x 150 mm
Weight (package)3.5 kg (to be confirmed)
Standards ComplianceSee Safety Certification Standards page
Operating Temperature0 ~ 40°C
Power consumption~ 10W (to be confirmed)
Power adapterUniversal wall adapter, AC IN 100-240V