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Thread: Synthesizers (and other pro audio stuff)

  1. #101
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    YOu have a Pro 3?


  2. #102
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    Yeah, I bought an SE (and about 80 other synths) when I found out my Karp 2600 pre-order wouldn't be fulfilled. I figured it would fill a hole, as I didn't have a flagship VCO mono that can save presets, and it seemed more up my alley than a Matrixbrute or a Sub37. It's pretty awesome.

  3. #103
    Registered: Oct 2007
    Location: Angelwatch
    Finally a topic I can relate to. XD I'm into keyboards and synthesizers since I was a child, mainly focussing on ROMplers and virtual analog synths.

    Here's my current gear list:

    Yamaha S90 ES
    Yamaha PLG150-AN board
    Yamaha AN1x
    Yamaha QY100
    Yamaha QY70
    Korg Kross 2
    Korg X5DR
    Quasimidi Sirius
    Roland V-Synth XT
    Waldorf Rocket

    Synths that I owned before:
    Yamaha S80
    Korg X5D
    Roland JP-8080
    Roland JV-1080 (only for a few weeks)

    Synth that I currently have temporarily:
    Waldorf Kyra

    Mainly doing trance and related electronic music, sometimes rock, pop, whatever I feel like.

  4. #104
    I've been trying to make a drone sound, but keep getting sidetracked. Instead I started playing with VCV's Scope module: the least sufferable sounds sometimes produce the best visuals -- and vice versa. Here's one of my failed drone attempts (together with visuals and subtitles):

    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    One reason your video may not be working is you've set the audio output to ASIO, which recording software often doesn't have access to. If you set it to direct sound to come out of your speakers/earphones, then the recording software can capture it.
    Thanks, that also solved the problem of VCV not wanting to share.

  5. #105
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    so are we doing more synth stuff? whats next

  6. #106
    Fart sounds?

    ...or not.

    I'm going to make a last attempt at not getting sidetracked before moving on.

  7. #107
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Quote Originally Posted by PigLick View Post
    so are we doing more synth stuff? whats next
    Aja's list is where everyone can see it, but don't worry, I can get this.
    The next two things he listed were an airy sound, then a cold sound.
    Somewhere down a bit he also listed a piano voice, and I brought up a guitar voice (specifically steel guitar, but probably any guitar would do), which is a bit more concrete.

    Anyway, for airy... I made two voices that could fit that description, but the first one (Lonely Pyramids) probably fits better, so that can be my official entry:
    Lonely Pyramids -
    Aqueous Dark -

    And for cold, I came up with this:
    Clear Waters -

    I'm kind of tired now. I can edit in a description of how I made these later.

  8. #108
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    This one is gorgeous. Which synth did you use?

    I got a bit caught up in the krell patch and then going back to work made me super busy, but I'll try to get caught up this weekend.
    The krell one is really testing me as I'm not so used to the nested modulation of modular. THis is a good thing, but I'll admit I'm looking forward to returning to the comfort of subtractive synthesis.

  9. #109
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Sorry, I made them in Absynth because that's what I know best. I'm making patches on it all the time even without a contest.

    One thing I really like is that you can draw your own waves by hand, and now I want to do that all the time to get exactly the amount of buzz or hum that I want.

    Yeah I love how that Aqueous Dark patch came out. It's like you're deep underwater as some benign but massive and incomprehensible aura passes by.

    It overlaps two oscillators, the first a really broad shallow sine wave (it was supposed to be a wavetable morphing 2 wave forms, but now I see that I apparently didn't set the timing, so it just stays on the sinewave; but it's okay because it sounds good) going through an 8-pole LPF with the cutoff at about 4K. And the second Osc that really gives it its character is a lopsided sinewave I'd made earlier that alternates a wide wavelength with a thin one (screenshot below). Nothing special about the envelope; the attack is a bit delayed.

    It goes through a 3x panning delay* with a -6db dropoff each retrigger that I think really gives it the ethereal quality Then there's a sinewave LFO on the filter cutoff & resonance cycling every .5 seconds at ~60% attenuation for both, and a second LFO cycling every 1.2 seconds that's wobbling the pitch .17 cents. I always put a tiny amount of pitch wobble on most patches I made, even if it's nearly beyond hearing, I think so it doesn't sound too clean or stable.

    * Edit: technically multitap. I don't think it retriggers unless/until you let up on the key, but it seems to change the sound even if you do hold it down. It has 50% feedback, which adds to the effect. And it also has its own filter setting which I think damped it even more.

    Edit2: Here's a screenshot of the dominant osc wave. It's a really expressive sound! I just kept shaping the wave until I arrived at this.
    Last edited by demagogue; 15th Jul 2020 at 06:22.

  10. #110
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    I'll comment on people's patches and submit more of my own later, but for now here's the list for everyone's reference. I stuck Piglick's suggestions in there too before the ones I suggested that would likely be very difficult (I'm personally looking forward to musical white noise).

    • a bell tone
    • a monophonic drone
    • a generative melody
    • a krell patch (you’d have to look this one up)
    • create airy sounds
    • create cold sounds
    • best impersonation of a piano
    • squirty saw wave 70's fusion lead tone
    • bass tone of doom
    • musical white noise
    • bass tone of funk (I added this one)
    • a car engine
    • a human scream
    • a bird song
    • the sound of water

  11. #111
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    i think the piano sound one would be quite difficult as well, i find emulating acoustic instruments through synths hard, with the exception of distorted guitar sounds. I'll get onto airy and cold sounds tonight.

  12. #112
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    My guess is that a truly realistic piano sound would require a lot of acoustic knowledge and likely an insanely complicated patch, so maybe that challenge should just be a piano-ish sound that's interesting.

  13. #113
    I'm already far behind, but will still try to do the full list as a personal challenge (and have also long wanted to try "pure" modular synthesis (as opposed to Reason)). I also made it a personal challenge to use only basic VCV modules (i.e. the ones that came already installed -- although with a a few exceptions) as it seems both better for learning and closer to the hardware equivalence (and easier for others to recreate) -- and since I just started learning VCV, going through the full list will probably take quite some time. There are otherwise a lot of extra plugins to download, which I'm avoiding as much as I can. I did download a very simple reverb module, though (I don't know if it's possible to emulate it!?). Am I perhaps limiting myself too much?

    My drone is starting to shape up, so I might actually post that one at least. Ideally, I want to add some kind of very slow LFO (for slower variations), but haven't yet figured out how to do that, so I might skip that, post, and move on.

    I haver other, higher priority projects I need to switch back to soon, so I might not get back to this in a while.

    And again, thanks for a great thread and great content.

  14. #114
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    yeh its actually nice to be creative and appreciate each other for a change

    dema i like yours, the 2 airy ones gave me a kind of church organ vibe for some reason.

  15. #115
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Quote Originally Posted by qolelis View Post
    And again, thanks for a great thread and great content.
    I made this thread as an antidote for stepping into the cancel culture / coronavirus threads. I'm pretty happy that it's led to this cool patch workshop, so thanks to Dema and Aja for that

  16. #116
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Here's my piano patch. I looked at a few existing piano patches just to get the main idea, and the main message I got is that, except for the envelope always having the same rough shape, they looked very different & there doesn't seem to be much system to it. The waves can't be too jagged/buzzy, they should have rounded peaks and valleys, but not too broad, and 2~3 oscillators work better than one. But aside from that I couldn't find much consistency.

    So I made a clear patch, gave it two oscillators, and just kept playing with their wave shapes until I got something piano-like. I put a LP filter at about 3K, and a quick open with an envelope at the start, and the slightest pitch wobble to make it sound like an old beat up piano. There's a waveshaper on the first wave with just a sine wave that boosts its body a bit. And a multicomb effect at the end, which just sounds like reverb to me, and I wanted reverb.

    Here's what I came up with. It sounds best in a low-mid to mid-register. At the end I put in a few high notes where it's still recognizably pianoish, but it only holds up to a point.

    Looking Glass Piano:
    Last edited by demagogue; 15th Jul 2020 at 06:23.

  17. #117
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Also: you know you've been synthing for too long when you look at those curves for COVID-19 cases in different countries and one of your first thoughts is imagining what they would sound like as waves. XD

  18. #118
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    That's really nice. It's an electric piano sound I'd actually use (I don't like EP sounds much).
    I think the filter envelope is really important to getting the right feel.

  19. #119
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    wow thats a great electric piano sound dema

    also slow down boss!

  20. #120
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    ok so whilst trying to make an airy sound i think i pre-empted the musical white noise

  21. #121
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    Great piano(-ish) sound. Not perfectly like a piano, but very enjoyable and similar to one in the overall feeling and structure. You have set the bar.

    Quote Originally Posted by PigLick View Post
    ok so whilst trying to make an airy sound i think i pre-empted the musical white noise
    That white noise sounds musical (even if the noise itself might still be a little too prominent).

    I have finished my drone for now, so here it is:

    I'm working on something bigger (maybe as part of the next challenge (depending on how you define "melody")), so the set-up is prepared for polyphony, but in this case I'm using only one channel, playing one note only. There's more I wanted to do with it, but I'll save that for the bigger thing. The set-up might need a more detailed description, but I need to go to bed now, so I'll add that tomorrow (in short, the most relevant stuff happens at the top). If the video quality happens to be low, that's because YouTube is still processing it.

    Top left:
    I started with all four waveforms with the idea of getting a more complex sound (levels were tweaked until I had a mix I liked). CV for each is controlled either by white noise, black noise, or the first LFO to add more dynamics (and the LFO is itself changed by another LFO (because why not!?)).

    The volume envelope is maxed out for extra long sounds. A filter envelope would have been nice (applied to the cut-off frequency) for local changes, but I haven't yet figured out how to do that with what I have.

    Middle left & bottom left:
    The second LFO also controls delay settings. In this case, only one of the delays is used (VCV's delay module is not compatible with polyphony, so I had to add one for each channel). Delay settings are controlled either by the second LFO or by non-delayed sound (instead of just another LFO, with the idea of creating a more organic "randomness" or more complex pattern in regards to how the sound changes locally). The delayed sound also changes the LFOs (because I felt like it and it worked, so I kept it).

    Middle left:
    The second LFO resets itself, because I didn't want the full loop (the sound otherwise got too complex for what I wanted). I previously used a separate LFO for this, but the self-resetting worked too, so I went with that (reducing the total number of modules). The first LFO is reset every time a note starts playing (i.e. when the performer presses a key) for consistency.

    The third LFO controls the cut-off frequency on a global scale. It's reset when the very first note starts to play (i.e. at the start of a performance). The downside of this is that it would also get reset if the very first note is ever played again (although, if timed right (by the performer), this can be made seamless). Changing the cut-off frequency is the only global change (per channel) right now (I wanted more, but it was time to move on).

    Top right:
    In lieu of a mixer module with stereo positioning, I winged it by doubling all out-signals (the two main parts are the filtered, delayed, and the filtered, non-delayed), routing them to different mixers, each routed to either the left or the right stereo channel, and by tweaking the levels for each, I could control the stereo position. For a deeper sound, I doubled the signals again, mixed them together, and gave the result its own place in the stereo landscape. The fourth LFO adds a bit of extra dynamics, although the effect is kind of subtle.

    Bottom right:
    The per-channel scopes are fun to look at, but also provide visual clues when performing.

    Some effects are more noticable in the polyphonic case, with notes of different pitch behaving differently.

    Edit 1B:
    I forgot to mention the reverb: It being applied to only the left stereo channel is a leftover from earlier experiments (because... "dynamics"). It does give a fuller sound, but maybe the right stereo channel wants some to.

    Edit 2:
    Quote Originally Posted by PigLick View Post
    i think the piano sound one would be quite difficult as well, i find emulating acoustic instruments through synths hard, with the exception of distorted guitar sounds.
    Pretty much all of them seem quite challenging to me. That's why I'm here, though.

    Edit 3:
    On the subject of hardware, I have none, not even a simple piano keyboard, so I use my standard computer keyboard in VCV (it works, although some might call it awkward). I'm "in the process" of getting at least a simple master controller keyboard thing, but "these things take time, you know". I was going to joke about owning a "stripped down, highly customized version of the Zilch 1000 N-model", but decided not to -- and instead went for the meta-joke.

    Also, look, Renz, no double-posting: do I get gold star now?
    Last edited by qolelis; 16th Jul 2020 at 13:06.

  22. #122
    Here's an example of polyphonic use of my drone set-up:

    I did a few modifications to it as well to tone down the previously kind of jarring higher pitch sound going on earlier. The thing to the upper left is me trying to create a compressor/limiter replacement thing (since such didn't come in the standard package and requires downloading extra modules). When too many channels are activated, there can be a problem with clipping, so I had the idea to average the channels instead of summing them, but unfortunately the standard average module comes with only six inputs, while I need eight (or maybe more), so I had to try and solve that too. The mess I came up with worked for only a very specific case, so I disconnected it temporarily and instead just tweaked the volumes for this video only, which was easier.

    In VCV, to not having to hold down each note while it's played, I hold it down, open any text input field (by right-clicking on any of the knobs), then release the key and close the input field. This makes the key release not register, because it's stolen by the text input field. If I want to stop the note from playing, I just press and release the key normally. This probably works only if you, like me, use your computer keyboard for note input. It's also only until I find a better solution.

    Is there a way to calculate an average using a function taking fewer inputs than you need? The limiting factor here is that I can use only addition or the existing average function (no other operators (unless they exist in the standard VCV package)). Hmmm, could a mixer module help? It has only four inputs, but might perhaps still be of use... I'll try that later.

    To compensate for earlier, time to double post (I don't want no stinkin' gold star)...

  23. #123
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    @qolelis, sounds like some computer room in the 1970s. Very atmospheric.
    Yes I think some good mixers will do what you want. MixMaster has one of the best mixers, and the larger one I think has like 16 channels. Also I think logic type modules can do things like signal addition or logic operations, one of which may be averaging. Also you can always use attenuators (VCA) to always contain any individual signal, the pitch or the loudness.

    I didn't really catch the logic of why you want to stick with only standard VCV modules when there are so many great modules out there. I'm not convinced it's actually better for learning. The thing is, different modules appeal to different ways of thinking and working. So what may be really hard to figure out on one module may be really intuitive on another. So I think the best way to learn is to try lots of different kinds of modules, and pretty soon you're going to start figuring out what style works best for your way of thinking, and then you start looking for those kinds of modules. The other thing to do is just watch lots of YouTube tutorials. Omri Cohen consistently makes great ones. That's my advice. But as this is art, of course there's no wrong way to do, so keep doing whatever is working for you.

    Anyway, Aja didn't add my idea of a steel guitar sound on his list, but I went ahead and made one today anyway (in Absynth). Here it is:

  24. #124
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    I didn't really catch the logic of why you want to stick with only standard VCV modules
    Yeah, to expand on that:
    First thing is that it's only an initial thing. If I stick with VCV long enough, chances are high that I will eventually go as far as to write my own plugins -- which is quite the opposite of my current stance. I did the exact same thing with DromEd back in the day: I started by learning and using all the basic tools, before looking at custom scripts, then moved on and eventually started writing my own scripts -- and the thousands of lines of code I wrote for one mission is quite the opposite of not using custom scripts at all, so, yeah, the restriction I put on myself was definitely just an initial phase while getting started. Restricting myself helped to really get into DromEd and to later write the scripts I needed (for things that actually couldn't be done without lifting the restrictions). Admittedly, it was also a bit of a sport, but that is besides my point.

    In the case of VCV, restricting myself (initially), helps me think in new ways, to really get into what VCV is about, and get closer to the innermost essence of what it is that I need or want. Not having access to everything at once helps me focus while learning the basics. The time scale can vary, though: moving on to the next level might come earlier for VCV, as the standard set of modules can seem quite small and lacking (with even standard tasks not being possible (at not only a first glance)) -- especially as projects with time get bigger and more complicated.

    A practical example of the essence aspect is the stereo positions problem I had: not just simply downloading a better mixer made me really think about what stereo position is about. A basic thing, perhaps, but later, that hands-on realization could become useful (even in seemingly unrelated fields). The same thing could be said about reverb: Although I did download a module for that, not having it available could have been motivation enough to learn what reverb really does to a sound (even if I would have ended up downloading the module anyway). After downloading the module, I no longer had the same motivation to learn more.

    Quote Originally Posted by faetal View Post
    I'm pretty happy that [the thread-start] led to this cool patch workshop, so thanks to Dema and Aja for that
    Ah, right, I was so excited about the workshop that I kind of forgot about the original subject. Oops. Is it perhaps time that we move the workshop to a new thread (or are people more comfortable keeping it here)?

    I remember my very first workshop, led by one Ewa Justka, in which they built synths out of vegetables. I never entered it, because I was too anxious, so this is actually my very first workshop.
    Last edited by qolelis; 17th Jul 2020 at 08:45.

  25. #125
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    I thinks its fine here personally

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