Music-Society has announced the release of XM2, a freeware 2-operator FM (frequency modulation) synthesizer virtual instrument developed by LazyDog.
The instrument was made in SynthEdit, which is why it is only available as a 32-bit VSTi plugin for Windows based host applications. The release of a 64-bit version of the instrument seems rather unlikely at the moment, which is quite a shame since XM2 is one of the nicer freeware FM synthesizers we’ve seen lately and those of us who have made the jump to a 64-bit DAW won’t be able to use it.
XM2 is a simple 2-operator FM synthesizer sporting a basic frequency modulation synthesis engine coupled with a set of filters, a filter envelope and a couple of handy performance controls. The instrument is easy to operate, although the GUI could be improved a bit. The number display lacks contrast, so it’s a bit hard to read. Also, the three switches on the left side of the interface could do with a bit more brightness, just so that it’s easier to make out whether they’re switched on or off. Otherwise, the instrument looks really good and has that nice 80s digital synthesizer vibe.
Where XM2 lacks the most is the number of available presets. There are only ten presets included in the current version of the instrument (v2.0) and they’re not tuned properly, so the users who are not familiar with programming FM synthesizers probably won’t be having too much fun with XM2 as it is. The synthesizer is very easy to program, though, so it’s definitely a good starting point for anyone looking to make their first steps in the field of frequency modulation synthesis. A solid bank of 30-40 presets would make this instrument even more suitable for beginners, as they would then be able to reverse-engineer the available patches and figure out how an FM synth actually works.
Please note that you’ll need to register for a free user account over at the Music-Society forum in order to download your free copy of the plugin. The forum is now translated to English, making the registration process much easier than before (it’s a German forum for electronic musicians). The registration is definitely worth the effort, as the forum members release freeware instruments on a regular basis. The only real drawback here is that all of their plugins are made in SynthEdit and won’t work in 64-bit host applications out of the box.
XM2 is available for free download via Music-Society (forum registration required, 1.01 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit VSTi plugin format for Windows, made with SynthEdit).