King of FM is the brand new synth app from Matthew Fecher and Audiokit.

The long awaited follow up to Audiokit’s FM Player, King of FM packs in all of the features found in two of their most popular recent apps, VHS Synth and Saga Synth.

Multiple tab workflow, built in effects, Hundreds of sampled sounds that you can blend together to create new ones and a cracking sequencer built by veteran iOS developer Cem Olcay.

This is a proper full fat release from Audiokit that is at least as good as VHS Synth and Saga Synth – and they were both fantastic.

What sets King of FM apart is that this time around, AudioKit are giving this one away for free. No in app purchases, no subscription nonsense.

It’s completely free for iPad, iPhone and Apple Silicon Macs.

This is without question one of the best free Apps of all time.

Why is this free?

AudioKit have got form when it comes to giving amazing apps away for free.

Back in 2018, they released Synth One which took the iOS music making world by storm, offering the ‘pro’ Synth App experience for free. Apple themselves liked it so much they installed it on every iPad in every Apple Store in North America. 

Matthew describes King of FM as a follow up to Audiokit’s FM Player synth (another popular release from a while back) and it’s quite a different beast from that app. 

Like Saga Synth, VHS Synth and Digitalism 2000 before it, the secret sauce here is that King of FM allows users to blend two different sampled sounds together simultaneously.

The sounds on offer here are incredible. King of FM features hundreds of sampled sounds from the legendary Yamaha DX7 DX7II, TX81z, and SY77 synths. You can access each of these sounds on their own if you want, or you can meld two together, add effects, tinker with LFOs and create complicated sequences until you’ve created something altogether different and unique. 

Easy to get to grips with

King of FM AudioKit

“The sounds on offer here are incredible”

When you open King of FM, your first port of call will no doubt be the presets. Tapping on the menu at the top will open the presets menu. As always these are a great way to get a feel for what this App can do. You have over 150 factory presets split over two menus to get you started here. These sounds range from some very playable leads and pads to some great sounding sequencer patches.

When you’re ready to dive in and do some tweaking, tapping one of the four buttons at the top left of King of FM’s interface will take you to one of 4 tabs; MAIN, PCM, EFX and the SEQUENCER tab. 

On the Main tab, you’ll find various mostly self explanatory controls, like volume and limiter knobs, as well as some effects. A couple of effects on this tab to look out for are the ‘Pro Verb’ reverb and Stereo Widen effect.  

The PCM tab is where you can mix and match your two different sounds. Tap the menu, pick a sound, audition it right from the menu then repeat the process for the second sound. You can control how much of each sound is outputted with the Mix knob and you have separate ADSR controls under each sound, though you can link these to one set of controls.

The EFX tab is where you’ll find King of FM’s main effects. All of these effects are tempo synced, either to your DAW when used as an AUv3 or to the tempo you set inside Kin of FM itself. Vintage Chorus, Distortion and Tremelo are all fairly self explanatory, but the filter LFO and assignable second LFO can completely transform your sounds.

“Like the sequencer found in Saga Synth, this is excellent”

On the last tab you’ll find an excellent step sequencer, designed once again by veteran iOS developer Cem Olcay. Like the sequencer found in Saga Synth, this is excellent. There’s an on off toggle, you can adjust the number of devisions with the rate control. There is a gate control plus you can change the number of steps in the sequence up to 16.

You can also choose whether the sequencer will be applied to both of your chosen sounds together, or just one, which is great. And there’s a really handy Lock Sequence button. If you create a sequence you like the sound of, but want to hear how it sounds using a different preset, hit this button then change sounds and the sequence will stay the same.

Apple Silicon Macs

“It’s really nice to see AudioKit make King of FM free to Mac users as well.” 

Over on Apple Silicon Macs, King of FM in standalone works exactly as i’ve described above. And listen, we were all REALLY excited when Apple announced that iOS apps could be installed on newer Macs and all equally dissapointed when the vast majority of iOS developers just didn’t bother taking part, or continued to keep desktop versions of their stuff seperate at higher price points. It’s really nice to see Audiokit make King of FM free to Mac users as well. 

You can use King of FM in GarageBand and Logic Pro as an instrument plugin, though AudioKit are keen to mention that using the plugin in this way isn’t officially supported. Having said that i’ve tested it in GarageBand for Mac extensively and didn’t run across any issues.

Plenty of Presets

I was lucky enough to be invited to create a bank of presets for King of FM.

“…they’re all currently observable trans-Neptunian objects”

The lovely old school, dreamy feel of a lot of the App’s sounds coupled with that amazing sounding built in reverb I mentioned earlier inspired me to create some space-y sci-fi style patches. I then enlisted my son to listen to and them name based on what planets/moons/asteroids they reminded him of. In case you were wondering, they’re all currently observable trans-neptunian objects.

An Important Release

Hyperbole aside it’s pertinent not to understate how important of a release King of FM is. 

Yes there are other free synth and instrument Apps on iOS, but King of FM is something altogether different. This is a full fat, fully featured app that is on par AT LEAST with many premium synth apps. 

It’s accessable, sounds incredible and comes packed with enough sounds and editing features to keep even the most synth savvy sound designers happy for hours. 

King of FM is available right now for iPad, iPhone and Apple Silicon Macs.

A great sounding and easy to get to grips with synth App, AudioKit could have charged for this. And a LOT of people would buy it.  For free, This is a no brainer - go and grab it right now and get stuck in! 
A fully featured synth App for free
Very approachable and intuitive for beginners
Huge sound design potential
MacOS support is very welcome
Nothing to see here!