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WAFFLEHOUND
Apr 26, 2007

A DOG THAT FUCKING LOVES WAFFLES




If you are reading this thread, then you are interested in the wide and wonderful world of grinding poverty synthesis! Synthesizers are instruments that produce sound through various means by combining frequencies, often from an analogue input but these days using just about anything as a sound source, from raw electricity to cats meowing (granular synthesis is weird). As instruments, they require amplification and beyond musicianship such as learning to play a keyboard you need to program them, otherwise known as "synthesis".

Synthesis involves taking one or more signal sources (or waveforms) which are usually just simple waves such as sine waves, square waves, sawtooth waves, etc. and running them through a series of modulators to generate a sound you like, which you then proceed to listen to in satisfaction and do nothing musical with! It's a fascinating process. There are many different ways in which a signal is modified, and there are a lot of great resources out there for learning synthesis which can give a far better overview than I can in this post. There are, however, a few things that are important to know since the terms are thrown around frequently in this thread:



Oscillators are the sound source, what generates the original raw signal that is modulated by the other bits. These often have a unique character to them depending on the type of signal they put out. Sometimes they can need tuning if it's older, sometimes they're controlled by a digital voltage source which means they're less in need of tuning, sometimes they're literally just bits of software. None is inherently "better" than the other.

Filters are arguably the most important thing at giving a synthesizer its distinct sound, these allow you to cut out certain frequencies and make other frequencies more resonant. These can range from simple low/highpass filters that cut off everything below or above a certain point, to formant or comb filters, which mimic human vocal chords or apparently the acoustic properties of a stairwell, respectively. These are also love or hate things to a huge degree, with lots of different sounding filters out there some people will always be drawn to certain sounds and repelled by others. If you're interested in buying a synthesizer beyond just the entire thread saying "You should by X" (where X is a Minibrute) then you should definitely look into some examples of the raw filter sound.

LFOs or "low frequency oscillators" are a slow waveform that is designed to modulate something else rather than be a sound. The best known example of this is making an LFO control a filter to make instant dubstep, though they're capable of so much more than that and can be used to make all kinds of neat sounds. They're something you've sort of got to explore to find out how you like to use them, but a large number of synthesizers have them so it's important to know they exist.

Envelopes are what "shapes" the sound. Without them you'll likely end up with a long lovely sounding drone and becoming a superstar in the modular synthesizer community. Every synth to my knowledge has these (though you can't always control them in drum machines) and in general if someone says something has a "snappy" envelope they mean it can close really fast, such if you're trying to play notes rapidly in succession.



It's important to also know the difference in types of synthesizers out there. Broadly speaking, these are Modular, monophonic, polyphonic, drum machines, and maybe it's fair to say other random things. There's a lot of overlap between these synths, but I'll try and give a breakdown of each kind.

Modular synths are basically the synth world's version of heroin. Generally bought module by module wish finished synths easily costing upwards of tens of thousands of dollars, these synths are designed to let creativity be the only constraining factor. If you want to route your LFO to an enveloped sound of a chicken clucking coming in to a $300 line input from a ¢30 garage sale radio, then this is where you want to be. These things are sexy looking, fun to play with, and capable of sounding like almost anything. They've got a pretty fun community around them, though there's a bit of an unhealthy cat obsession.

A huge percentage of the user base simply uses them to make what is affectionally referred to as "robot farts" as opposed to anything most people would call musical, but some well known artists use them to great effect. Trent Reznor's "How To Destroy Angels" album is basically a love letter to modular synths.

Monophonic Synthesizers are synths that generally play one note at a time and definitely don't play chords. These are also going to be the cheaper (that doesn't mean worse!) options for people starting out who want to get into hardware synths. These are where your popular dance basslines, a lot of the ripping leads, etc. come from. Usually they feature one or two oscillators and focus on making that sound good. Their range is way less limited than this might lead you to think, they're capable of an astronomical amount of sounds.

I should also mention here that there are some semi-modular monosynths, which can be patched like a modular synth (and sometimes into a modular synth) but not expanded, and in places their architecture is frequently fixed. Recently Korg re-released the MS-20 as a miniature version of its old self at a fraction of what they used to go for. If you really want to dive balls-deep into synthesis and don't mind a steep learning curve, there are worse places to start.

Polyphonic Synthesizers are the home of lush chords, big spacey pads, and over-drafted bank accounts. These feature tons of oscillators, lots of routing options, stereo capabilities, and are quite complicated to learn to program. They also tend to be very expensive if you want anything analogue, and even the digital ones (which sound very very good and you should not rule out just because they're digital) are still not cheap. Certain digital polysynths can turn up on the used market relatively cheaply, some of which are quite good. Unless you're an accomplished keyboard player you might not want to jump into polysynths right away, and it's often a good idea to get the hang of polyphonic synthesis using a VST (software synthesizer) before dropping the cash on one of these.

Drum Machines are boxes that generally lack a keyboard but instead are set up to sequence drum patterns. These are a strange breed of machines, some of which have total cult-like status (such as the Roland TR-808, pretty much the sound of hip hop and a few other genres). There's currently a bit of a resurgence of drum machines after a relatively lacklustre couple of decades since the 80s, though the raining king seems to be the Elektron Machinedrum, a digital drum machine with a stunning amount of power behind it that's got some serious capabilities for live use.

Samplers are also super popular as drum machines, and while not strictly synthesizers they're pretty well loved and widely used for percussion by synth fans. These just play drum samples adjusting for things like pitch, envelopes, time-stretching, etc. and can often be played live like an actual drum by hitting on pads. The MPC line is venerable and well respected and certainly is a good place to try and get some experience with a hardware sampler.

Other random things like grooveboxes, 303s, Monotribes, and other synths don't quite readily fall into the categories above, even if they technically do. Grooveboxes are hardware units designed to let you compose an entire track on, from synths to drums to effects, and sometimes samples. There haven't been too many new out on the market lately, but what's been around since the 90s or early 2000's is still generally very good and totally fun to play with. Don't expect to turn out ultra-perfect tracks on them, but expect to have a ton of fun. These are generally not recommended as first synths because they often don't have super intuitive interfaces and a lot of them use more outdated tech/don't sound fantastic, but you can definitely make learning on of these a project and do some really really surprising things with them, like this weird dude who has basically mastered the Yamaha RM1x.

Other synths are strictly speaking monosynths with a specific sequencer built in, such as the Monotribe, Volca Bass, or Roland TB-303 where their sound is less defined by the specific oscillators and envelopes and more by the sequencers. They're much more restrictive, strictly speaking, but they've also got a certain element of fun added in by those restrictions and frequently they've got strong recognizable "sounds" (particularly the 303 or its clones, which can be picked out from a mile away).



So you want to make the plunge into buying your first synth? Awesome! There are two important things to do when getting your first synth: Deciding what features you want, and deciding how much you want to spend. Once you've got your wish list and budget, pick which one you're going to pay attention to, because it very likely isn't both. Keep in mind that the synth world has a very healthy aftermarket, which means that if there's something you want there's a good chance you can save a decent bit of money getting it used. Craigslist is also a good place to check if you live in a major metropolitan area (though some amazing steals can be had in rural areas). In the past a bunch of people in this thread have got into synths by grabbing something local and cheap, which has traditionally been a great way to get into it/learn what kind of synth you don't want to buy. Currently we're living in sort of a renaissance of synthesizers, with cheap analogues flowing out of every orifice and most of this thread is going to recommend one synth to you regardless of what you're looking for:



The Arturia Minibrute has become the kind of gold standard for the intro to synthesis. It's a cheap synth that sounds good, does that popular "grinding electro-house bass" really well and goes for about $500 US new. These really are fantastic little bits of equipment, and one nice thing about them is they've got a very direct hand-on interface, making them very easy to learn and it's the kind of thing you'd probably want to keep even if you got more into synthesis.



The venerable Microkorg. A lot of people in the past have gotten one of these as their first synth, since they used to be the only cheap option around. Don't. There's tons on craigslist for a reason. I'm not saying they're incapable of sounding good, but they've got the least intuitive interface imaginable and in general their sound is not really well liked. Using the "synths from every orifice" example above, this is the anal secretion of the modern synthesis world. Some people in this thread might disagree and point out that these sorts of things are subjective (this synth is objectively terrible), and some people in this thread can use them really well. But just resist the urge.


The Korg MS-20 Mini is Korg's recently(-ish) released recreation of its much beloved MS20 synthesizer. It's semi-modular, which makes it much harder to dive right into then the Minibrute, but it's a pretty well loved synth, especially if you want to push yourself right from the get go. A bit more expensive than the Arturia synths, it'd probably be best if you got your hands on one to try out before buying it.

WAFFLEHOUND fucked around with this message at Mar 19, 2014 around 06:22

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WAFFLEHOUND
Apr 26, 2007

A DOG THAT FUCKING LOVES WAFFLES


The Cleaner posted:

You need gear, and LOTS of it.

The more gear and hardware synthesizers you can own, the better. More = better. Repeat that like a mantra. Also the more expensive, the better your music will sound. Really, 100% analog is the easiest way to sound best. The more options and choices you have, the easier you will be able to create fully written structured songs.

Try and get a hold of some hardware samplers from the late 80's/early 90's as well. Really easy to load sounds and to program. Just force yourself to learn on them. If you really want to go for digital sounds and to program your own synthesizer presets, nothing beats a Yamaha DX7. Fast learning curve and easy-to-program interface.

If budget is a constraint, some of the cheaper-yet-professional synths out there can be found on buchla.com

Just remember, have fun man.


I'd like to give a shoutout to tehshulman for his thread name suggestion of "Synthesizer Megathread: The megafaggot pro zone"

e. found something worthy of this space:

CAT rear end now!!! posted:

a man falls through the earth and into parisian catacombs. taking a torch from the wall he spies row upon row of skeletons. grasping the nearest by the shoulders, he shakes it madly, yelling "my nigga have u tried buchla"

Mods please move this thread to TCC

WAFFLEHOUND fucked around with this message at Sep 7, 2014 around 21:44

Your Dead Gay Son
Jan 1, 2006

I'm Gay


I miss the pictures.

So I need something to record my synths with. I guess just get one of those 8 track thingies? I don't want to use my computer because its in another room and poo poo.

There was one posted in the last thread but I can't remember it to save my life. It was like 400 dollars or something.

Your Computer
Oct 3, 2008


I want to talk grooveboxes, as I think it'd be fun to have one. How do they compare in 1) ease to use 2) drum sounds and 3) ability to play more than just a short loop?

I've looked at the RM1x before, but I haven't seen any of those in ages now. I just found an ad for a MC-505 however, but it's a bit more expensive. Any good?

WAFFLEHOUND
Apr 26, 2007

A DOG THAT FUCKING LOVES WAFFLES


Your Computer posted:

I want to talk grooveboxes, as I think it'd be fun to have one. How do they compare in 1) ease to use 2) drum sounds and 3) ability to play more than just a short loop?

I've looked at the RM1x before, but I haven't seen any of those in ages now. I just found an ad for a MC-505 however, but it's a bit more expensive. Any good?

I've looked into them as well, I haven't heard much positive in the way of the MC- series other than the 808 and 909, but I know a couple of people here (tehschulman and renderful, I think?) have them. The RM1x seems to be kind of the gold standard in part due to how cheap it is, not to mention that its sequencer is meant to be great. Don't count out the Electribe boxes either, I know the ESX is meant to be a hugely favoured sketch box for lots of people, and among psytrance nerds it's not uncommon to see one sitting around the studio (or front and centre) of some pretty well known producers because it can sound genuinely good at times.

Honestly, the Elektron boxes seem to be the closest thing going right now. Thanks to p-locks the A4 is actually a pretty decent groovebox, since with the effects sends it can sound much more "complete" than, say, the Monomachine. If I was going to put the time and money into an actual groovebox right now though it'd probably be an SD ESX, I've heard some really neat things come out of them whereas the RM1x seems to have one weird gloved British dude who can make them sing and everything else is kind of "Welp, that's a 90s groovebox"

Your Dead Gay Son posted:

I miss the pictures.

Too many pictures relative to the text. But here you go.





WAFFLEHOUND fucked around with this message at Mar 19, 2014 around 02:34

Race Hate Kramer
Sep 4, 2011

"Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a fucking fork up your ass."


Hello, I want to talk about the best ways to learn synth programming!

I have found an important point that is oft forgotten is studying your history!

Electronic music and its history is almost wholly chained to the technology and hardware of the time, and an understanding of the evolution and techniques of the genres and sounds will enrich your musical palette.

Find some genres you like and trace their origins, you'll probably find some really cool old scenes and gain practical knowledge.

Ragga Jungle is one of my favorite genres now thanks to this.

Radiapathy
Dec 3, 2011

Snooping as usual, I see.


Nice OP, OP.

Your Dead Gay Son posted:

So I need something to record my synths with. I guess just get one of those 8 track thingies? I don't want to use my computer because its in another room and poo poo.

There was one posted in the last thread but I can't remember it to save my life. It was like 400 dollars or something.
Probably thinking of the Zoom R8 or R16.

net work error
Feb 26, 2011



Meow-nophonic synth.

Your Dead Gay Son
Jan 1, 2006

I'm Gay


Radiapathy posted:

Nice OP, OP.

Probably thinking of the Zoom R8 or R16.

Yeahhh that's the stuff. Thanks!

ejstheman
Feb 11, 2004


renderful posted:

I think that is honestly a very weird metric. What percentage of guitars do you think are used to make a track? 1%? Less? Making and recording tracks is certainly not the pinnacle of music. (totally not arguing, even though this posts reads as aggressive )

It's not a super fleshed-out idea... I'm mostly thinking of the common advice to pick one thing and learn it really well, as compared with the common marketing theme of "push button on new $$thing$$ to make awesome!" It would be great to have a sort of objective measure of "to what extent is this a toy?" that would be comprehensible to newbies, as opposed to me just guessing whose judgment to trust from a position of almost complete ignorance.

FLX posted:

I'm pushing those numbers up! Give me one of them BEAMZ and I'll do ... something with it! Here's my weekly track, in which I mangle some analog sounds and then add a pinch of ROMpler brass to sweeten it up again just a little:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3HKP_TR_z8

Also, this new OP talk reminds me that the iOS music thread needs a new OP badly. But the whole iOS music App universe has exploded and I feel like I've lost track of a lot of things.

Wanted to import this to the new thread both for exposure and to reply to it. I think it's worth finding another way to do whatever the hell BEAMZ actually does, like writing a script for a theremin-style MIDI controller or something, just to spite the "Music is so easy anybody can do it! Give us your money and suddenly become awesome!" marketing bullshit.

Dotcom Jillionaire
Jul 19, 2006

Social distortion


I was going over a list of things I've swapped in and out of the studio over the years (gosh has it been that long?) and in order to inspire some controversy, I wanted to give a quick list of what features specifically led me to swap out those synths for better shinier toys:

Behringer XENYX 1204FX Mixer: This was actually a pretty nice desktop mixer with built in effects! I have a rack mixer I run all my synths in to now but I would probably get one of these again for on the go jams

Akai MPK49 MIDI Keyboard: As far as MIDI keyboards go this Akai was one of the better ones. Lots of controls on the face and a good keybed but it was heavy as gently caress and once you try a 61 key keyboard 49 keys just feels stale

KORG microKORG Classic: Ahh the classic Microkorg. Let me be frank, it is a very good sound engine packed in quite a small space. Plus a vocoder to let you sound like Chromeo or Daft Punk. As with most synths, the presets aren't great, and reprogramming the presets became tedious due to how the editing panel works. Connect this thing to a BCR2000 or Remote SL or software programmer and you'll be in business, otherwise it's completely uninspiring.

x0xb0x TB-303 clone: Hands down my favorite 303 clone. Sold it off because I will be building a x0xi0, the x0xb0x's bigger brother.

Roland MC-202: Another fantastic Roland monosynth. If i had more classic Roland stuff to interface with it I might have kept it around, but sadly using the sequencer takes a lot of patience, you can't route in or out a lot of more modern gear without some fancy CV interface, and I prefer the SH-101.

Elektron Monomachine MKII SFX-60: Elektron makes some bad rear end boxes. The Monomachine was purchased because of the different sound engines it featured (SID, FM, digital, wavetable, and more) and that you get 6 different tracks to play with. For a synth this deep the Elektron interface ended up being a bit of a burden (though I really like the UI on the Machinedrum) and to me the sound was very cold and digital. I've heard some real magic come out of a Monomachine, but I'll be damned if I could make it happen.

Yamaha RX5 drum machine: Very retro 80s drum machine from Yamaha. I'll be honest, I liked the look and the features on this thing more than I liked the sounds, but the sounds were still pretty good for something from this era. Having individual outs for each drum, individual volume faders, and lots of tweakability on the sounds was a great selling point. If I still had one I'd probably try to adapt an external controller like a BCR2000 for making changes to the sounds. I found the UI and programming for this drum machine less than inspiring.

Future Retro Revolution: My second favorite 303 clone (sound wise). The real gem of the Revolution is the sequencer and the on board features (overdrive circuit, not-too-terrible dedicated effects, audio in, cv integration). For a 303 clone it's a big honking unit though. Sold off in favor of the smaller Future Retro Orb sequencer.

Novation X-Station 49: Bought this as a multipurpose keyboard controller plus VA synth. With the built in effects turned on you could produce some pretty good synth sounds (for a cheap VA that is). Worked pretty good as a controller for other gear too. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I could have a Remote SL Zero as my control surface for my hardware and scrap the terrible keyboard the X-Station featured. After a while I also came to really dislike how the unit sounded.

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest: This is probably the deepest instrument I've ever laid hands on. Beautiful sounds, even the built in drum hits. Could be used as a synthesizer sound source as well as a drum machine. So many possibilities with the Tempest! However being able to get lost in tweaking 1 drum sound for hours on end does not help in any way with recording or finishing a complete track. The Tempest is the k-hole of drum machines.

MFB-503 Drumcomputer: Cool design, meant to be an OK emulation of some classic 808 and 909 sounds. In expensive and small, which is good. Was not fond of the sounds or the programming.

Rodec Restyler: I liked the concept of this external filter with envelope follower, in practice I had no idea what i was doing.

Akai MPC 2500: I've got an MPC 1000 and love it to bits. I figured I could upgrade to a 2500 and make it more of a centerpiece in the studio (has a few more controls on the face, full MPC pad layout too). Downsides were the machine is huge and heavy as gently caress and I would have to drop $120 on the 2500 version of JJOS if I really wanted to get anything done. Back to the MPC 1000 for now.

Dotcom Jillionaire fucked around with this message at Mar 19, 2014 around 03:57

Sizone
Sep 13, 2007
Philosophy degrees add inches to your penis


gently caress the ASR-X. Knew the thing would be a boondogle, that's why I had the sense to keep passing on them last year. Think 2014 is going to be a year of poor synth judgment for me.

A Winner is Jew
Feb 14, 2008

Shabbat shalom motherfucker!

One thing I'd like to mention (and I haven't until now because I've been living in synth shame) is that anyone buying an after-market Minibrute needs to be very careful about the keyboards on the early production runs. Supposedly they've fixed the issue, and anyone who can show proof of purchase (new purchase, not used) can get it fixed for free minus shipping, but certain keys (particular middle C) have the tendency to break the plastic holding the rubber stopper that keeps the key from bouncing around when it's released, and keeps all the keys flush.

(Not mine, but I have a similar issue)


Now because of this all Minibrute keyboards have had their warranty extended for an additional 2 years (so 3 years total), but from what I understand you need to be the original owner for that to be in effect.

Don't let this dissuade you from buying one since they make some of the best robot farts around for dirt cheep, but if you want one used just get the microbrute instead since it's almost the same thing (actually the sequencer is pretty good on it which the mini doesn't have) and you'll pay about the same for a used minibrute.

e:

As far as cost to knob ratios go, the best thing in the world to get is one of these:

32 knobs for only $150, so at under $5 a knob it will leave you with plenty of cash to spend on a modular system!

A Winner is Jew fucked around with this message at Mar 19, 2014 around 04:29

net work error
Feb 26, 2011


tehschulman posted:

MFB-503 Drumcomputer: Cool design, meant to be an OK emulation of some classic 808 and 909 sounds. In expensive and small, which is good. Was not fond of the sounds or the programming.

Interested in hearing what you didn't like about the 503 specifically. I've considered getting one before but always find mixed reviews, also the lack of midi out is kind of annoying.

Dotcom Jillionaire
Jul 19, 2006

Social distortion


net work error posted:

Interested in hearing what you didn't like about the 503 specifically. I've considered getting one before but always find mixed reviews, also the lack of midi out is kind of annoying.

The bass drum and the snare were probably the best part (which is most likely the sounds people want decent emulation of the most). For it's size and the fact that it has 3 outs (1 for BD, 1 for snare, 1 for mix) it is a pretty OK toy. Lack of MIDI out is one thing, but I probably wouldn't be using the sequencer on the 503 to control other gear. For me it really came down to there being too many button combinations to remember when programming or switching between drum sounds (I can be irrationally stubborn about these kinds of things at times). If you can find one for a good price I'd say go for it but otherwise I'll stick to samples for now.

Your Dead Gay Son
Jan 1, 2006

I'm Gay


I need drums. I know it. Problem is, I really need a drum machine/sequencer to program them, my brain is too dumb to make use of drum sounds on a keyboard, especially since I don't have a recording device atm and trying to just use the sequencer + lfo on the microbrute isn't cutting it.

I'm leaning toward elektron stuff since it all looks like it'll work with my workflow brainflow. I like the blofeld... I think. It almost feels too deep, my microbrute feels so safe. It's like paddling around in the shallow end, compared to the black abyss at the end of the pool with the diving board and the roving vacuum.

Your Computer
Oct 3, 2008


Any tips on dealing with friends and family asking to hear music you've made? I don't think they'd understand if you told them you're just really fond of robot farts

Your Dead Gay Son
Jan 1, 2006

I'm Gay


Just tell them this is the kind of "music" you make:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh2-P8hG5-E

See if they ask again.

VoodooXT
Feb 24, 2006
I want Tong Po! Give me Tong Po!

Your Dead Gay Son posted:

I like the blofeld... I think. It almost feels too deep, my microbrute feels so safe. It's like paddling around in the shallow end, compared to the black abyss at the end of the pool with the diving board and the roving vacuum.

I've never used my Blofeld for drum sounds, but honestly, it's not that difficult a synth to wrap your head around, and this is coming from a guy who's just had it for about a week and really dove head first into robot fart noise making. Compared to my Virus C, the Blofeld is a Microbrute.

Also, guys, convince me not to buy a JD-990.

Your Dead Gay Son
Jan 1, 2006

I'm Gay


VoodooXT posted:

I've never used my Blofeld for drum sounds, but honestly, it's not that difficult a synth to wrap your head around, and this is coming from a guy who's just had it for about a week and really dove head first into robot fart noise making. Compared to my Virus C, the Blofeld is a Microbrute.

Also, guys, convince me not to buy a JD-990.

I just get lost in all the modulation stuff. I also don't play with it enough. I have the oscillators, filters, and lfos locked down I think.

A Winner is Jew
Feb 14, 2008

Shabbat shalom motherfucker!

Your Dead Gay Son posted:

I need drums. I know it. Problem is, I really need a drum machine/sequencer to program them, my brain is too dumb to make use of drum sounds on a keyboard, especially since I don't have a recording device atm and trying to just use the sequencer + lfo on the microbrute isn't cutting it.

I'm leaning toward elektron stuff since it all looks like it'll work with my workflow brainflow. I like the blofeld... I think. It almost feels too deep, my microbrute feels so safe. It's like paddling around in the shallow end, compared to the black abyss at the end of the pool with the diving board and the roving vacuum.

I was in the same boat, but I have a wife so dropping a grand+ on anything Elektron or Dave Smith makes was out of the question. I picked up the sparkLE to replace my RM1x and the sounds are really, really good for VA however I got it with the deal they were doing at Christmas which was all the additional sounds for free so YMMV there. The sequencer on it is really nice (up to 64 steps X 64 patterns X 4 banks per song), and the only thing lacking from it is chord triggering which is the only thing I miss from my old RM1x. That might be something they update in the future with the software which is something I have to say they've been great at doing since the larger Spark that it's based on came out a few years ago but who knows.

Originally I planned on also getting a volca to cover any analogue drums I'd need, but I'm waiting for an actual demo of the Rhythm Wolf looks since all I'd need analogue for drum wise is for base, snare (the god awful snare on the beats is why I haven't gotten it yet), and hats. The fact that is has a "precision" sound and a simple bass sound is just icing on the cake for me.

Rotten Cookies
Nov 11, 2008

"Everybody relax. I'm here."


New thread! Great OP, Wafflehound!

Can people chime in on their favorite effects to use on synths and whatnot?

My uncle let me plug into his Space Echo (RE-201) and holy balls was that fun. I mean, I totally get the love for those things but not for what they go for. This particular one was really nasty and had all sorts of wow and flutter (as I've read it's called) which was cool in my book, but I'd like if it was dialed back a bit. I've known that Boss made a pedal for it, the Boss RE-20, and I'm wondering if anyone has experience with these and can compare? Because god drat, if I could get that in a lil package for ~$150-200, I'd be golden.

I picked up an Ensoniq DP/4 lil while back, and the thing is fun, if not cheesy at times. I guess like most things, the presets are nothing to write home about. But I do love mixing up phaser/flanger/chorus/echo/reverb or whatever. (Wishing I got the DP/4+ version with the hybrid xlr/line/instr inputs). It is good for vocals and keys, as I like to do.

I sometimes use a black russian Big Muff on my stuff. It really tends to destroy it. Sometimes it comes out cool. Like this song I made with just that pedal and the itty bitty Casio keyboard seen in my picture.



For shits and giggles, here's my setup. I don't believe I've posted it before.

The most colorful one in there is my first keyboard I ever got, a used Casio WK-1800. I painted it up and it's my gigging keyboard. It can somewhat "synthesize" in that you can alter the ADSR for a given sound, but that's about it. Good enough for live shows with bad sound for my shock rock group. At home, I use it for the cheesy drum beats programmed into it. On top of that is the itty bitty Casio mentioned before. A fun novelty that I try to shoehorn into whatever. The big green monstrosity is a digital piano that I rescued. It's a Casio AP-21 that a local school was throwing away (because high school kids trashed the case) The custodians didn't mind if I took it, so I did. I built it a new case out of plywood and stained it a kick-rear end dirty-ocean green. I also turned it so all the jacks/plugs were accessible from the top instead of the back. Being a piano player, I really appreciate the weighted keys and overall feel of it. I use it as a MIDI controller for other poo poo when needed. There's a panasonic tape recorder that I started using to record stuff into, only to be played back into my interface to get that ~*AnAlOgUe SoUnD!*~ Then there's my Korg R3. It is a synth. I sort of really don't like it, but it's done what I've asked of it (which is just the most basic lead/bass stuff, with a lil bit of poly synth in there). I just don't like menu diving. And with this there are pages and pages to go through. But I still like it better than soft synths. Then there's the DP/4 on the right and the Presonus Firepod I record into.

And what do I play it through? An old-rear end Kustom bass amp I got from an old guy on Craigslist. Thing kicks rear end for keyboards. (I've only previously played through guitar amps or, when live, PAs and neither felt right to me. This is solid state, meant to handle low frequencies, and has some built in reverb, tremolo, and vibrato, and I like it.)


What do I wish I had?
-Some sort of drum machine for when I'm playing with myself () Considering the Volca Beats, Korg Electribe, or the upcoming Roland TR-8. Machinedrum is cool, but I don't think I could afford it. Frontrunner is the Volca because it's cheap as gently caress and seems to fill its function easily and with everything I want accessible right at the front of the panel. EDIT: ^^^ Hey there, friend!
-To replace my R3, I guess a synth that can do poly, and at the switch of a button do mono. Also, have most functions accessible by a front panel.
-Sweet moves for the stage


Anyway, new thread, so I'm shamelessly showing my synthing, and things that go along with it. Now I've shown mine. Can I see yours?

Your Dead Gay Son
Jan 1, 2006

I'm Gay


Wow, kick rear end studio Rotten. I love the write up. All your gear has a story, which makes it as awesome as it is.

My poo poo ain't that great... So here's a blown out picture because I'm lazy.



Ensoniq ESQ1 is the master platform for the Blofeld. Microbrute up on the case with the Behringer 1207FX mixer. It's something like that. DP4 underneath, with an unused switch.

I like the DP4, but I'd love to get my hands on a space echo too. I like the tape deck idea, sounds neat. I want novelty poo poo like that hanging around, and I constantly see it at my local electronics recycling store.

(The cookies are Samoas, aww yeah.)

Rotten Cookies
Nov 11, 2008

"Everybody relax. I'm here."


Your Dead Gay Son posted:

Wow, kick rear end studio Rotten. I love the write up. All your gear has a story, which makes it as awesome as it is.
Ensoniq ESQ1 is the master platform for the Blofeld. Microbrute up on the case with the Behringer 1207FX mixer. It's something like that. DP4 underneath, with an unused switch.

I like the DP4, but I'd love to get my hands on a space echo too. I like the tape deck idea, sounds neat. I want novelty poo poo like that hanging around, and I constantly see it at my local electronics recycling store.

First, thanks! Second, whatup DP/4 buddy? Your space seems a lot cleaner than mine. Jealous on that. What's meant to go on that second tier, though?

About once a week or so, I go to one of the many thrift shops around the area. It feeds a few habits at once, and on the cheap, too. The tape recorders are less than $5, and work alright for what I'm doing (dirtying up some sounds.) I also go with the dream that I'll find some amazing treasure marked for $0.99

Also, you gonna finish those samoas?
E: edited before I could point it out!

Rotten Cookies fucked around with this message at Mar 19, 2014 around 06:44

Your Dead Gay Son
Jan 1, 2006

I'm Gay


Haha I want another keyboard up there. I used to have the stand at standing height, which let me use a piece of plexiglass I had for the top shelf. Let me see the poo poo I was tweaking under neath. It's too short now so I just kinda hangs out.

I want a moog sub 37. Ooo yeah. Too bad I can't buy anything until I make at least 8 tracks. I'm so bad at this.

I got tagalongs, samoas, and thin mints. The only cookies worth buying.

W424
Oct 21, 2010


A Winner is Jew posted:

As far as cost to knob ratios go, the best thing in the world to get is one of these:

32 knobs for only $150, so at under $5 a knob it will leave you with plenty of cash to spend on a modular system!

A counterpoint, I got rid of mine because I was using it to control a bunch of stuff and the only way to keep track of mappings was a stack of printouts. I switched to this, Novation SL Zero MkI (the MkII only has a single screen) mainly because of the dual screens.

Lately it's been a life saver for live shows, I used it to control Resolume for backing video and the vocal FX at the same time. But it's also great for just programming synths (amp and filter envelopes go nicely to the faders etc). The editor is painless, does sysex etc. The "drum pads" are atrocius but so what.

Das MicroKorg
Sep 18, 2005

Vintage Analog Synthesizer


Wow, new thread moving fast! Great OP, but I will still recommend the classic MicroKorg to people

I'm currently making a video series for modular synth beginners by the way, in which I try to explain the very basics of (mostly Eurorack) modulars. There are ten videos already. Maybe it's useful to some people: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?li...xYiuiz-3N8HZyf_

ejstheman posted:

Wanted to import this to the new thread both for exposure and to reply to it.  I think it's worth finding another way to do whatever the hell BEAMZ actually does, like writing a script for a theremin-style MIDI controller or something, just to spite the "Music is so easy anybody can do it!  Give us your money and suddenly become awesome!" marketing bullshit.
It's a tricky situation for innovative or unusual music gear. I have the feeling that the old and/or more advanced synth users are very conservative and thus don't like changing workflows too much. So they won't even give your new thing a try, because it looks so different. And the new "musicians" want something cheap, easy to use but also something that has proven itself in one way or the other. So I understand if new manufacturers push the "become Jay-Z in half an hour" line. I don't know if this actually works for the Beamz, because it's just so over the top in every way. But I'd assume that marketing it as a professional niche product wouldn''t make it sell better either.


Edit:

Your Dead Gay Son posted:

I need drums. I know it. Problem is, I really need a drum machine/sequencer to program them, my brain is too dumb to make use of drum sounds on a keyboard, especially since I don't have a recording device atm and trying to just use the sequencer + lfo on the microbrute isn't cutting it.

Have you checked out the Korg ER-1 or EMX/ESX. They are cheap, really easy to use and sound very good in my opinion. Waiting for the rhythm wolf is a good idea as well though. Of course you could also get an MPC and load it with samples and add a Volca, MFB 522 or 533 or a Vermona DRM-1

Das MicroKorg fucked around with this message at Mar 19, 2014 around 08:20

W424
Oct 21, 2010


I modded my Monotron yesterday, added gate,pitch,lfo rate and cutoff CVs (managed to break one jack that was supposed to be used for LFO reset) and a pot to calibrate the pitch. It's hella wonky at the moment, I can get about an octave of tracking at a time and some other weirdness (cutoff CV affects pitch somewhat etc). I've not much experience with electronics (some guitar wiring and circuit bending) and lovely tools but it's a start.

wayfinder
Jul 7, 2003
How fast is he?



Unbelievably.

I guess I'm going to be the voice of reason in this thread, recommending staying away from synth hardware in favor of ITB solutions. Sup!

minidracula
Dec 22, 2007

boo woo boo

In on page one of the new synth thread!

I don't own any physical synths (yet!), just VSTs and such, but I lust for much.

MrLonghair
Nov 2, 2004





Hey fellow minimalists

If you spot an Edirol digital mixer for a good price, buy it! It's the core of my rig, takes care of mono inputs wonderfully, handles reverbs and echoes decently, digital IO and fine treatment of output along with parametric EQ thanks to its digital nature.

MrLonghair fucked around with this message at Mar 19, 2014 around 11:40

ynohtna
Feb 16, 2007

How does that sound?

code:
INT. WIGGLIEN'S BEDROOM STUDIO - DAY

Synthesizers, equipment racks, cables and cats fill the room.


                                  WIGGLIEN
          This is the fuckin' American Dream.
          This is my fuckin' dream, y'all!
          All this sheeyit! Look at my sheeyit!
          I got… I got MODULES! Every fuckin' make.
          I got modified drum machines!
          I got gold Moogies. Motherfuckin' KOR-gies.
          I got I Dream of Wires. On repeat. I DREAM OF WIRES ON REPEAT. Constant, y'all!
          I got cats! Synth cats! Mixing it up with synth cats.
          Smell of cat piss? I SMELL OF CAT PISS!
          That ain't a fuckin' instrument; that's a fuckin' art piece. My fuckin' spaceship!
          U.S.S. Enterprise on this poo poo. I go to different planets on this motherfucker!
          Me and my fuckin' wigglers here, we takeoff. TAKE OFF!
          Look at my poo poo. Look at my poo poo!
          I got my blue Book-lahs. I got my fuckin' META-SONIX.
          I got cables; I got different colours.
          I got them tapes. Look at that poo poo, I got tapes. I got reels!
          Look at my sheeyit! This ain't nuttin', I got GARAGES of this poo poo!

SOLINA GOMEZ giggles, nonplussed. She and OAKLEY BENSON push Wigglien onto his bed.
Softly, then more vigorously, they thrust a patch cable in and out of his mouth.


EXT. WIGGLIEN'S POOL SIDE - NIGHT

THE GIRLS walk over to a MINT VINTAGE YAMAHA CS80.
They sit down, start playing and singing a Britney Spears song.


                                  WIGGLIEN
                                  (agitated)
          What the gently caress you doin' with my sheeyit, y'all?
          What the gently caress? That ain't right!
          That's not what that's for!
          Stop that. You're out of control!

Startyde
Apr 19, 2007

come post with us, forever and ever and ever


Sweet baby jesus, new synth thread


Good! No Ensoniqs in OP? Awful.

Sizone posted:

gently caress the ASR-X. Knew the thing would be a boondogle, that's why I had the sense to keep passing on them last year. Think 2014 is going to be a year of poor synth judgment for me.

Welp—

me posted:

I've just had two poo poo themselves on me and parts aren't plentiful so I'm always wary for people looking for them.

Lots of DP4s hanging around, sup. Effects should have a spot towards the front because they're as important as the source material to the final sound. A stringer is a transistor organ square wave without some chorus.

Your Computer posted:

Any tips on dealing with friends and family asking to hear music you've made? I don't think they'd understand if you told them you're just really fond of robot farts

Be proud! When's our Stonewall??

sliderule
Mar 9, 2005
flashmob of one

From the last thread:

Startyde posted:

The WX5 isn't too bad and has direct MIDI out. The older ones need the hip-pack translator to poop out midi, so it's not just some glue logic.
If you can handle the contact sensitive pads, I couldn't, the Akais are way more available and the last couple incarnations do USB if you want. Their older ones are CV out of the instrument but AFAIK nobody's reverse engineered it yet.

I was actually looking for the electrical interface for the breath control in jack on a DX7. I can massage the signal out of a readily available pressure sensor if I know what kind of signal the port is expecting. I don't want to have to pay $HUNDREDS when I could rig something up for $TENS.

Flipperwaldt
Nov 11, 2011

Won't somebody think of the starving hamsters in China?


VoodooXT posted:

Also, guys, convince me not to buy a JD-990.
I have a JV-2080, which I think is a successor of that same line and I hate it. It's got great sounds but the way the voices are laid out really doesn't work for me at all. You know how the Blofeld has three oscillators mixed down going into envelopes and then into the filters and effects? Yeah, in the JV-2080 you've got envelopes, keytracking, filters per oscillator. Parallel structure all the way down to just before the effects. It's just so. much. work. Real time controlling parameters on the Blofeld with an external midi controller is a breeze because everything is just a cc. On the JV-2080, apart from a handful of parameters, everything is sysex that isn't documented in the manual.

You can definitely do awesome things with it, but I just couldn't wrap my head around it. Which means that in practice I'm simply not using it and thinking of selling it.

I'm guessing a lot of the same goes for the JD-990.


Also, for the newcomers to this thread: if you can get a Blofeld with properly working encoders for cheap, there's no reason not to. It's a fun and easy decent polyphonic (and "eh" multitimbral) virtual analog. Workflow is really nice and barely ever makes you feel like there's not enough knobs on the thing. Which is more than can be said for some of the other options. There's a reasonable range of sounds it does well.

Startyde
Apr 19, 2007

come post with us, forever and ever and ever


sliderule posted:

I was actually looking for the electrical interface for the breath control in jack on a DX7. I can massage the signal out of a readily available pressure sensor if I know what kind of signal the port is expecting. I don't want to have to pay $HUNDREDS when I could rig something up for $TENS.

oh, oh, oh. It expects a (from pre-coffee memory) cv from the ref given on the jack, -9V on tip, wiper is ring, ground is sleeve.

ynohtna
Feb 16, 2007

How does that sound?

sliderule posted:

I was actually looking for the electrical interface for the breath control in jack on a DX7. I can massage the signal out of a readily available pressure sensor if I know what kind of signal the port is expecting. I don't want to have to pay $HUNDREDS when I could rig something up for $TENS.

Off the top of my head, the BC1 eats -9V on the tip of the stereo plug, and returns it voltage divided on the ring.

I'll dig the CS-01/BC1's service manual schematics off a different laptop later if you want.

Edit: and on such subjects, don't forget, all you Ensoniq DP4 owners, that it's expression pedal input also accepts CVs.

ynohtna fucked around with this message at Mar 19, 2014 around 13:40

magiccarpet
Jan 3, 2005



There's a new APC 40 out.

https://www.ableton.com/en/blog/apc...ontroller-akai/

I... am not sure why one would purchase this. Faders I guess?

Dotcom Jillionaire
Jul 19, 2006

Social distortion


magiccarpet posted:

There's a new APC 40 out.

https://www.ableton.com/en/blog/apc...ontroller-akai/

I... am not sure why one would purchase this. Faders I guess?

It looks to be a quarter of the size of the original APC 40 for starters. It would make for a very nice multipurpose controller or a dedicated surface for just Ableton. I assume it only has USB on it though. If there were some MIDI in/out I'd really be jonesing to buy one.

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Oldstench
Jun 29, 2007

"Was there anything about the mission that hasn't gone as well as you hoped?"

"No."

Sup. Posting in the new synth thread.
~turns Scatter knob violently~

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