Fast way to create a simple bell using Vital FM (frequency modulation)

I have been experimenting with bells for a while using different methods in Vital to create them. So far, the easiest way I have found is using the Vital FM (frequency modulation) function. Rather than using a LFO to modulate Oscillator I have use a wavetable in OSC 2 to oscillate OSC 1 by setting the FM OSC 2 function in OSC 1.

The free Vital preset is available here

Watch the Part One of the Video here. Part 2 is also now available.

What is the FM OSC 1, FM OSC 2 & FM OSC 3 function?

FM has a ‘carrier’ frequency which outputs the sound and a ‘modulator’ which modulates the carrier to create a new sound. Vital uses FM when an LFO modulates the wavetable. The LFO (low frequency oscillator) is not audible as it is tuned below 20Hz.

The FM function in Vital sets an oscillator to be modulated by the another oscillator so you can use a wavetable to modulate another wavetable rather than an LFO. So for example if you select a wavetable in OSC 1 and set the function to FM OSC2 you are telling Vital to oscillate OSC 1 using OSC 2. So OSC 1 is the carrier and OSC 2 is the modulator.

You can have 2 Oscillators being modulated by 1 carrier or you can chain them together e.g. OSC 1 is modulated by OSC 2 and OSC 2 is modulated by OSC 3. This may sound complicated but using it to create a bell is very simple!

How to create a Vital Synth Bell using FM

To create the bell, OSC 1 will be the carrier and uses a simple sine wave. OSC 2 is the modulator and is set to a Quad Saw. There are 2 key points to create the sound.

  1. Set OSC 1 to FM OSC 2. This setting is a function found in the drop down box under the Phase Distortion knob.
  2. Turn the volume level of OSC 2 to 0 so it is not audible. Its role is just to modulate OSC 1.

What Next?

Have a look at Part 2 of the video for other ideas e.g.

  • Adding filters to help shape the sound. Experiment with key tracking, band pass filters and comb filters.
  • Add white noise to create extra ‘shimmer’ or create your own shimmer with a real or synthesised sample.
  • Add harmonic or inharmonic waves in OSC3 and modulate them with the Quad Saw in OSC 2 (Set OSC 3 Phase to FM OSC 2).
  • Add chorus and delay to give a more unnatural ring effect, or some distortion, compression and EQ to adjust the feel.
  • Add Macros so you can quickly adjust the parameters to taste.
Part 2 Next week
How to Create an FM Bell Part 2