Dr Manny Fernandez has been heavily involved in development and programming for Yamaha and is best known for his FM and Physical Modelling work through their glory years of new synthesis technologies in the DX7II, SY77/99, VL1, VP1, EX5, AN1x and FS1R. More recently he has been working with the Reface DX, Montage and MODX.
00:00 - Introduction
00:50 - Manny’s history
01:29 - Before the DX7
11:22 - The unpredictability of FM
14:58 - How do you do FM?
17:44 - How did you get to work with Yamaha?
24:56 - Birth of the Preset Industry
28:09 - The move to the SY
39:47 - FS1R and beyond
53:08 - Montage & MODX
58:03 - Where next for FM?
1:03:11 - Ending
Manny Fernandez - Biog
Dr Manny Fernandez has been involved with sound programming and synthesizer development for over 30 years. Initially self taught on an ARP Odyssey and Sequential Pro-One, he also studied academically on Buchla modular systems in the early 1980s. With that solid background in analog synthesis, he transitioned into digital synthesis with the release of the original DX7.
Manny has been heavily involved in development and programming for Yamaha and is best known for his FM and Physical Modelling work. He says he was “really fortunate” to be with Yamaha through their glory years of developing new synthesis technologies in the DX7II, SY77/99, VL1 & VP1, EX5, AN1x and FS1R. More recently he has been working with the Reface DX and Montage, doing development work for the various Montage firmware and feature updates, including the new real-time FM ‘SmartMorph’ AI control of multiple FM parameters.
Way back in the '90s, he also did development and factory programming work for Kurzweil (K2000), Kawai (K1, K4, K5), Korg (Wavestation, O/1W), Alesis (Quadrasynth), Ensoniq (TS10), Peavey (DPM3) and E-mu (Proteus 2000). He was also known for his work with Sound Source Unlimited and their many sound libraries.
Around 2005 Manny returned to programming to explore advanced FM techniques; for the last 15 years he’s been hacking every nook and cranny of the AFM implementation within the SY99, exploring the interactions of operator phase, multiple patchable feedback loops and ‘zero frequency” waveshaping. He has developed methods for creating FM models of analogue oscillator and filter behaviours along the way, as well as mimicking physical modelling and the abstract electronica of his college Buchla days.
Incidental music clips performed by Rob Puricelli using a Yamaha DX5. Closing musical clip performed by Manny Fernandez.
Interviewer: Rob Puricelli - Biog
Rob Puricelli is a Music Technologist and Instructional Designer who has a healthy obsession with classic synthesizers and their history. In conjunction with former Fairlight Studio Manager Peter Wielk, he fixes and restores Fairlight CMIs so that they can enjoy prolonged and productive lives with new owners.
Rob also writes reviews and articles for his website, failedmuso.com and has guested on a number of music technology podcasts and shows. He can often be found at various synthesizer shows such as SynthFest UK, where in 2019 he delivered a talk and demonstration on the history of the Fairlight in conjunction with producer Steve Levine.
About the Electronic Music podcast channel
On this channel we feature some of the pioneers of the industry, interview musicians and talk about retro and current gear.