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Laserjet 4P
Mar 28, 2005

What does it mean?


Fun Shoe

Welcome to the "How do I (re)create a particular sound" Megathread. Yes, we all know about the vast archive of knowledge at Sound On Sound, but this only covers so much. Read it anyway, since it's interesting literature and it may give you several "a ha!" moments when you figure out what the use of a certain button or knob is.

The Idea
You heard a sound and want to know how it's made, or your don't have the fancy huge $10,000 synthesizer your idol has and want to look for something that can do the job

OR

You have a bunch of interesting ideas in terms of programming synthesizers and making certain kinds of noise?

If one of these descriptions fits you, welcome to this thread.

The Rules

Requests
If you have a request on how to program a certain sound, provide an example.

Either use one of the many services available to put up a snippet of an mp3 file that contains the sound, or refer to a good quality Youtube clip (no cellphone camera recordings).

http://www.putfile.com/
http://www.zshare.net/
http://www.rapidshare.com/
http://www.divshare.com/

Important (aka making an rear end out of U and ME)
Do not assume people will know the song. Like nobody might've heard of that obscure underground hiphop group somewhere in the Detroit slums, there are also people who never heard the B-side live version of Famous Track by Prog Rock Supergroup or Ridiculously Famous Messiah Complex DJ.

Do not assume people will do the job of searching for a song for you. Also, do not assume everyone to understand immediately what you're talking about when you say "well, that one chord sound" - specify the exact time when it is heard in a track for the first time, or a timerange. If you have a 30 second mp3 and the sound kicks in at 0:12 plus it sounds like a bass, that's generally enough information. If you have 2 nebulous sentences and a misspelled arist name, no song title, you fail. Take the effort to thank people if they give you a description that works, let us know if you have made any progress.

Also, not every sound can be found in a particular synthesizer, so learn about stuff like equalizers, compressors and effect devices, since they may just provide that extra the synth doesn't.

Any response
Be complete. Be correct. Make sure your description either assumes an initialized patch or a soundalike and fill in at least the most important details. Make sure your description actually works (test it on your own synthesizer). If it's bullshit, you'll be told so. If it's a softsynth, post a screenshot on Waffleimages.

Offers/Programming tricks
Your programming tricks depend often on some detail. You do not have to specify numerical values in 6-digit accuracy - switches are on or off, and you can write the values of an ADSR as 0, 10, 5 (0%, 100%, 50%) or sketch the general curve of the thing using MS Paint or an equivalent. Use screenshots for software synthesizers. Image hosting (no silly, we can't read your C:\My Documents\User\Pictures\ folder) can be found at ImageShack or Photobucket.

Drawing diagrams is not rocket science, and for all I care you take screenshots in Word. Put up your results in audio form if it's possible; otherwise you're describing a juicy steak without letting anyone take a bite from it.

Drawing stuff
For screenshots - save as jpg or png in high quality, MS Paint mangles these things like a dog. Alternative: http://www.getpaint.net/ or http://www.gimp.org/ (but that may be a bit overkill).

For drawing diagrams, you can use Inkscape, or if you have Word, use that to do the job.

Recording music
If you're a luddite and have no computer, or you have one but only use it to post on messageboards, here's what you can do. Up there you already saw hosting services. No way your 100 mb wave file is going to fit in there, and even if it does, it's useless.

You can use Audacity ( http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ ) to record your examples or remove the silent bits. You can also use this to save as mp3 - you'll need to install the so-called LAME encoder, then. A different method is to use this separately - you save the .wav in Audacity and then drag it into something like RazorLAME too. This has as an advantage that it can do multiple wave files in a row and you don't need to hit Save and wait every time.

Take a little time to figure out how it works, it's not complicated - and you can reduce your 100 mb .wav file to a mere 12 mb or so.

Educational Tools
The Reason 4 demo version works for 20 minutes, a time I've found generally sufficient to tweak a sound until it matches and then take a screenshot. Also, it works on a Mac.

The Synth1 synthesizer has a clear, no nonsense UI and is free to download.

Both are excellent educational tools; if you have anything else, please suggest it.

Go.

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Laserjet 4P
Mar 28, 2005

What does it mean?


Fun Shoe

What you'll encounter most of the time is something that can be solved with subtractive synthesis. This is like sculpting - you start with a block of granite (a waveform with a lot of upper harmonics) and carve away (using a filter) everything that doesn't resemble Michaelangelo's David.

Basic filter explanations:

Lowpass filter: like the door of a crowded, loud club. Open it and you'll hear the music, close it and you'll hear muffled sounds and bass only.

Highpass filter: like cheap earbuds. Put 'm on and you'll hear the music, leave 'm lying in the room somewhere and you'll hear nothing but chatter and noise

Bandpass filter: combine a highpass and lowpass and you'll only have a bump left in the middle.

Subtractive synthesizers use so-called basic waveforms as a starting point. The most famous of these are the saw wave and the square wave. The reason for this is that they're really easy to make from an EE's point of view, and they provide a good basis to start from.



Tutorial One: Fun Stuff With A Saw Wave

For this tutorial I'll be using Synth1 (see the starting post) Most of the settings can be copied 1:1 on most other synthesizers. The on-board effects are really simple - delay, chorus, phaser, reverb, distortion. It's got a no-frills GUI and it's easy to see the settings at a glance.

When Synth1 is installed the default preset is the "Synth1 brastring.". Since there are no actual menus or tabs - you really see what you get - you can mimic the settings of the screenshot. This may seem like a cockblocking move from my side, but it forces you to turn knobs, to listen to the effect, and to actually do poo poo instead of zapping through presets.



Put the knobs and sliders in the position you see here. To save it, click Write, choose Bank 9, Program 1 in the pop-up that appears and name it "Init Saw". Do this if you want to be able to follow the rest of the tutorial; it saves me from taking screenshots for every minor alteration.

The result can sound like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z56Y_7OyWI - DJ Jurgen - Better Off Alone)

Right now we're not using the filter. You see that LP24 is lit up but the FRQ slider is set to the maximum. Think of a filter as a milling machine for frequencies - when the cutting bits are not touching the piece, nothing happens.

Let's emulate some more stuff:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM0E46C5uno (Da Hool - Meet Her at the Love Parade)

Reset to Init Saw. Here's the extra things you should do:
- set the filter to BP12
- switch the Tempo Delay button to ON
- play while moving the FRQ knob with your mouse.

After applying the extra stuff and playing with it for a while, return to the original Init Saw preset so everything's back in its original position. You see two buttons next to the Program display:



By clicking UP, then DOWN, the original preset is loaded again.

A single saw wave with a bandpass filter (or EQ - that's possible too, since equalizers are a kind of filters) is also used here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7T49_LPt-8 (Benny Benassi - Satisfaction).

Reset to Init Saw. Here's the extra things you should do:
- set the filter to BP12
- set Play mode to Legato
- put the portamento knob at position 40
- find something to sidechain with (since that's more a matter of mixing than of synthesis, see the Electronic Music Megathread)

But wait, there's more!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYTlHLHFoNw - (Coolio - Too Hot)

Reset to Init Saw. Here's the extra things you should do:
- set the filter to LP24
- set Play mode to Legato
- set Key Shift to -12
- set Portamento to 25

Play low notes, and you'll have the typical 90's gangsta rap bass.

Let's stay in hip hop territory for a while, and move to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=862a14CDUN0 (Dr. Dre. - The Chronic (intro))

Reset to Init Saw. Here's the extra things you should do:
- set the filter to LP24
- set Play mode to Legato
- set Key Shift to +12
- set Portamento to 40

Play high notes, and you'll have the typical 90's gangsta whistle!

So, you see, the most bog-standard simple synthesizer preset can already give you a platinum hit .

Laserjet 4P fucked around with this message at 22:24 on Jul 21, 2012

Laserjet 4P
Mar 28, 2005

What does it mean?


Fun Shoe

Tutorial Two: Fun Stuff With A Square Wave

Time to make our second preset that we'll use as a jumping point. I've highlighted the changes you have to make from Init Saw. It's really simple



Save this preset as Init Square in Bank 9, nr. 2. If you accidentally overwrite your init saw preset, slap yourself, the screenshot says it all.

Let's play something!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSTjEENQkwA

(all the non-percussive stuff is literally that - square waves)



As I mentioned, the saw and square waves are really easy to make, and for purely digital systems, square waves are so ridiculously easy - after all, it's nothing but zero, one, and so on. This can be done by using a clock or by using the saw wave and deriving a clock signal from it.

Let's emulate stuff again!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEGRfTQY55I (Veracocha - Carte Blanche 2008). For the bassline and the melody there's both pretty much untouched square waves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGPibfYnB5c (The Prodigy - Everybody In The Place)

Reset to Init Square. Here's the extra things you should do:
- set Key Shift to -12
- Move the "Det." knob (oscillator 1) to 30
- play while moving the FRQ knob with your mouse.

Det. stands of course for "detune" and has an effect that's similar to the supersaw on the JP8000 - it creates several copies of the oscillator and detunes 'm against eachother. Other synthesizers that do not have this feature may have to use the Unison option.

Reset to Init Square. Here's the extra things you should do:
- set Key Shift to -24
- play with the FRQ button

Play low notes. You'll hear something weird - namely, the sound seems to lose its pitch. You can't really hear anymore which note's being played. If you listen to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kv6Ewqx3PMs (Mr Oizo - Flat Beat) you may find some similarities. Of course, since this track was made with a synthesizer with a different character (Korg MS-20 IIRC) plus the postprocessing going on, it doesn't sound entirely the same.

Don't reset. Here's the extra things you should do:
- set filter ADSR to 0 - 75 - 12 - 0, and the Amount (amt) to 20.
- set FRQ (let's call it cutoff frequency from now on, because that's what it is) to 35 and resonance (res) to 75.

The result should be something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lZNpdD6vD4 (Gat Decor - Passion, sound shows up at 1:00).

This dry, hollow sound has something in common with the signature Klubbheads bass sound (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6d_zFGRZE1I - Klubbheads - pick basically any track at the end of the 90's, really) but that one's made in another way.

===========================================================

(start derail, 2012 update: It's called the "donk" and is made with FM synthesis. Screenshot is of Native Instruments FM8, but any 4-op or 6-op FM synthesizer or plugin offers this algorithm.

Algorithm 5 on 4-op synthesizers:



or any of the 6-op algorithms that has the above as a subset (feedback loop not required).


which is basically anything that's not 18, 24, 25, 30, 31, 32.



You have 2 operator "pairs" - A&B and C&D. A and C are the same, B and D are the same. The only difference is that:

B has an offset of 5Hz up and panning of -30
D has an offset of 5Hz down and panning of +30

Basically it's unison (which is duplicating the synth note by a number of times and detuning each copy separately) plus a little stereo spread, but the end result is most likely put through some saturation, bass boost, and compression to make it slam.

(end derail)

===========================================================

Variations on this sound (with added chorus or with filter modulation) appear in dubstep and speedgarage.

Later, more.

Laserjet 4P fucked around with this message at 22:52 on Jul 21, 2012

Agreed
Dec 30, 2003

The price of meat has just gone up, and your old lady has just gone down



I'm clueless when it comes to synthesis, though I do like loving with my guitar's signal to get synth-like tones from it. I am very impressed with what you've got going on here so far and I really look forward to what's to come. Thanks!

the wizards beard
Apr 15, 2007
Reppin

4 LIFE 4 REAL

This is much appreciated, thanks.

sithael
Nov 11, 2004
I'm a Sad Panda too!

Thanks, i saw your thread on some other board (musicians-friend?) looking for synth programming tips and was hoping it'd come over here. How about some generic tips on choir-voices (without formant filters) or (breaking your rules but you'll know anyway) the two main synth parts from your BOC-type song off ADD volume 1?

Ohms
Jun 5, 2008


This thread is amazing. Nothing but gratitude for the OP.

Laserjet 4P
Mar 28, 2005

What does it mean?


Fun Shoe

sithael posted:

stuff
Noted, but first I'll explain a little bit more about the basics so the complex parts are easier to understand. .

Tutorial 3 - Modulate Him, My Robots!

Until now I've given you instructions to turn the knobs manually. This is pretty much okay in a lot of cases, and by binding the knobs of a controller to one on the screen it's even nicer to do this, but it's not always necessary.

Some synthesizers have something called a modulation matrix. Some synthesizers are modular. Some synthesizers have virtual patchcords, and others have hardwired modulation. Thing is, what the hell is this stuff? What do they mean with modulating the filter with an envelope?

What it boils down to is this; when you play a note on your synthesizer or any other instrument, you're used to the sound either fading in or starting immediately. When you release the key, it either fades away or it quits immediately. Obvious, right? No, not really.

I've recorded piano, strings and organ. If I open the wave files in an audio editor, it looks like this:



The red outline shows the average volume over time. Yes, the third example is a little bit screwed up, but that's because the organ went through a rotary speaker.

When I zoom in on the piano part, I see this waveform.



Basically, this is the waveform that is repeated over and over again - just every time at a slightly lower volume. Like moving the cutoff frequency manually, I could move the volume manually - if I'd strike a key I'd yank the slider or knob up there at full volume and then I'd slowly turn it down. Theoretically, I should be able to take that bit of waveform, repeat it all the time, and then I'd only have to modify the volume - I wouldn't need the gigabytes of samples if I could just get the volume level right. If you graph the volume level of the sound against the time, you'd get that red line.

But this is for volume. Maybe we can generalize this a little bit. Instead of turning the volume ourselves, we'll use a little robot that is much better in yanking up the volume slider. This robot is called an envelope generator.

By itself it does nothing. It doesn't make sound. What it does is that it turns certain knobs (that allow to be turned) for you, at your exact command. It can do this really fast, or really slow - or linear or with a curve. The envelope generators of a Minimoog could go from nothing to full volume in 1.5 milliseconds.

Our robot has in this case 4 parameters that allow me to draw a line.



Our parameters describe the time it takes to go to the highest value, the time to die down to a certain level, the height of that certain level, and the time to fade out to zero again. With these factors, I can mimic those red lines of several instruments.

Strings take a while to get to full volume - e.g. the time to reach the maximum (Attack) is greater than zero (actual value depends on synthesizer - some synthesizers can take 20 seconds to get to that top value!). Varying the A makes you go from organs (0) to accordeons (a bit) to strings (longer) to soundscapes (really long).

When I hold the key down, the strings keep playing at the same volume. There is no real fading out, so I can set that time (Decay) to zero, and the same volume as the highest volume means the S is cranked up to the maximum.

When I release the key - (imagine a bunch of violin players, not all of 'm stop at exactly the same time) the sound fades away - e.g. the time to go back to zero (Release) is greater than zero.

If you look at Synth1's regular Brastring preset you'll see on the filter and amplifier ADSR knobs that the A and R values are nearly at the center.

Pick the Synth1 Brastring preset Here's the extra things you should do:
- turn the amplifier "A" and "R" up to 100
- turn the filter "A" and "R" up to 100.

The sound takes a lot longer now to build up and get brighter. It also takes a lot longer to fade away. This building up and fading out slowly is the basis of a lot of soundscapes, ambient sounds - so called "pad" sounds.

Thing is, an envelope generator (generally) traverses the graph of the knob position only once and it (generally) returns to zero when it's done. So, there's another robot which is called an LFO (low frequency oscillator). That's true - it's the same kind of thing which makes the actual sound, only, it doesn't.

The LFO robot repeats its task endlessly and continues long after we've released the key. Also, while the envelope starts and stops at zero, an LFO can dip in the negative numbers.

Synth1 gives us a bunch of waveforms for the LFO:



Our envelope can have bumps and is more complex than a simple LFO wave. This can be remedied with some synthesizers (Massive, Zebra), but not this one.

What you also see is a button called "dst". As I explained, an LFO or envelope does nothing by itself - it doesn't make a sound. It needs a knob to change - a destination. Since it's the LFO or envelope doing the work, it's called the source- short for modulation source.

So with the destination and the source, we have it - right? Not entirely. What's lacking is how high and deep the peaks of an LFO can be, or how high the maximum value of an envelope is. For that, we've got the "amount" knobs.

Since we haven't made a lot of sounds, let's play something again!

Choose your Init Saw preset in bank 9 and make the following changes:

- look at the LFO part of the screen. It contains LFO's 1 and 2 which are basically mirror images of eachother.
- switch the LFO (1) button to on (it turns yellow)
- click on the waveform display and choose the triangle wave
- keep clicking on "dst" (or click the light in front of the text "osc 1,2"
- set the LFO 1 amount (amt) to 10.
- set the speed to 50.

Things then look like this:



When you play, you hear a rather annoying sound.

Turn up the LFO 1 amount. The annoying sound turns into a siren.

Turn up the LFO 1 speed (spd). The siren gets impossibly fast. Turn down the LFO 1 speed again quickly - you might've heard this used as an effect in some trance/dance tunes, or on a fairground.

Turn up the LFO 1 speed to about 75 and turn the amount down to 5. What you hear now is generally referred to as "vibrato" - changing the pitch at a reasonable, human speed.

Let's not forget the envelope after all of this, because all we could do with an LFO, we should be able to do with an envelope, right? Not entirely.

When you can choose the destination of what's being modulated, you get a synthesizer with a modulation matrix. Right now we've been using the LFO for the pitch.

Synth1 has all of its envelopes hardwired. This means that you don't get to choose source and destination - the destination has already been determined and what you get is how much influence (the "amount" knob, everywhere) it exerts on a knob position. This is why the envelopes are named filter and amplifier - they're connected in an unbreakable manner.

Most of the time this is pure convenience. You don't want a sound continuing day and night, you want it to stop playing when you do. So, for volume, there's an envelope. Consider that in modular synthesizers, oscillators are making sound all the time - their volume is set to a merciful zero, otherwise you'd be living in cacophony. Thing is, you don't even need a real "amount" knob for volume - you always go up to maximum and let the master volume control deal with it.

edit: more to come but right now I'm really tired

Laserjet 4P fucked around with this message at 22:55 on Jul 21, 2012

Vanmani
Jul 2, 2007
Who needs title text, anyway?

You're the man, Yoozer. I've been messing around with synths for a couple of years now, and these are probably the most easy to follow laymans terms I've seen describing their programming to date.

Wicked Sushi
Mar 12, 2005

Devil-child wake up and eat Chef Boyardee Beefaroni

Great thread, Yoozer. I will try out those tutorials you have posted later today for sure. I always wanted know how to make my own sounds, as I feel a little bit guilty when using basic presets. I have a request on how to program the lead synth you can hear throughout this sample: http://www.zshare.net/audio/19993792b78342eb/ I showed this sample to my friends a while ago, they had no clue what it is, I have no clue what it is, so I'm wondering if you have any ideas.

Altoidss
Jun 7, 2007
Curiously Strong

Oh, I love you Yoozer.

Right now I'm having trouble creating nice sounding bass lines.

My favorite one is in this song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8d6JhOmcRE

The main sound kicks in at 0:37, which I assume is just a saw or square wave, then as distorted and compressed as possible, yeah?

The bass hits at 0:45. How did they get such a nice, distorted bass without it sounding terrible? Every time I try to use anything other than a pure sine wave for a bass line, it sounds all rumbly and bad.

I think all the other sounds in the song are easy enough to make.

Got any tips on that bass drum? Crookers have some hard bass drums that I'd like to emulate, and I don't want to just SAMPLE them, that's no fun!

cum in my meowth
Dec 30, 2005


This one's killing me 'cause it's so simple but I just can't reach it. It's the blip synth that starts at 3:22 and just goes EBG http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtK2ApmBUw4 It sounds like detuned squarewaves but my attempts with stacked subtractors are off.

an actual cat irl
Aug 28, 2004



http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=yEup7_MP9TM

Could anyone tell me how to achieve that ringing quality found on the lead part of this track (starts a about 1:40)? I've tried experimenting myself and, whilst I can make decent sounding leads, I can't get anything that has that ringing, crisp sound....

nugget of poo
Dec 26, 2003



moron posted:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=yEup7_MP9TM

Could anyone tell me how to achieve that ringing quality found on the lead part of this track (starts a about 1:40)? I've tried experimenting myself and, whilst I can make decent sounding leads, I can't get anything that has that ringing, crisp sound....

I got pretty close with the following Thor patch (in Reason):



The crucial factors to note here are:
  • The oscillator: the Multi Oscillator in Thor gives you lots of square waves at once and handles all the detuning for you, thus producing a really lush sound
  • The amplifier envelope: note the short decay, zero sustain, and short release - this gives us a plucked, ringing sound.
I added a little delay, too, and I got a really nice sound. Try it out

EDIT:

moron posted:

Brilliant, thanks! I've managed to get something pretty bang on...if anyone's interested, I can upload the patch in Virus TI format?

You're welcome! *sigh* only in my dreams do I have a Virus TI

nugget of poo fucked around with this message at 12:13 on Oct 6, 2008

an actual cat irl
Aug 28, 2004



nugget of poo posted:

I got pretty close with the following Thor patch (in Reason):...

Brilliant, thanks! I've managed to get something pretty bang on...if anyone's interested, I can upload the patch in Virus TI format?

Laserjet 4P
Mar 28, 2005

What does it mean?


Fun Shoe

cum in my meowth posted:

It sounds like detuned squarewaves but my attempts with stacked subtractors are off.

Unison detune in Reason is pretty meh, but stacking too much of it can make the sound muddy. Try this:



Altoidss posted:

The main sound kicks in at 0:37, which I assume is just a saw or square wave, then as distorted and compressed as possible, yeah?
Nope . This becomes sort of obvious when you hear the sound at 2:05.

What you do is the following; pick a noisy sample (like a cymbal). Open it in your softsampler. Move the loop points really close together and let it loop.



You have to look for the right loop points. With a bigger loop, you get a more complex waveform that'd take ages to make in any FM synth - forget subtractive in most cases, even, but it won't kick that hard. With a smaller loop, you get something that resembles a basic waveform, but the pitch will go up, so you have to play lower notes or transpose it.

I personally recommend ShortCircuit for these duties on the PC. IMHO, it has a really great transposing algorithm that avoids aliasing (which is what you get when you play the loop too fast on a lower quality sampler. Even Ableton's own Simpler suffers from this for the higher notes, but since this is reasonably simple bass duty, Simpler (or NN-19) should be able to do the job.

quote:

The bass hits at 0:45. How did they get such a nice, distorted bass without it sounding terrible? Every time I try to use anything other than a pure sine wave for a bass line, it sounds all rumbly and bad.

It's pretty drat hard to determine the actual timbre of the bassline until about 3:00. What you hear there is a saw wave that's been rounded - sort of like this:



quote:

Got any tips on that bass drum? Crookers have some hard bass drums that I'd like to emulate, and I don't want to just SAMPLE them, that's no fun!
Kicks are hard, and I know they're not my forte so I was just lame and bought one of the Vengeance sample CDs. Kick synthesis is sort of a field of study on its own (especially since what happens with mixing can make or break it), but instead of using a single sample - layer. Pick a deep sinewave as the sub, pick a sample where you've cut the bass bits out for the click, and layer a 909 kick sound with its click removed on top of it. You've got to keep tail, body and attack in mind - and feel free to apply compression in the wave-editor itself (or render the kicks) so you end up with a single simple sample again.

And of course, mono - not stereo.

Wicked Sushi posted:

I always wanted know how to make my own sounds, as I feel a little bit guilty when using basic presets.
Don't - if they do the job in that case and aren't too obviously used already. (this is why several producers jump on new synths when they're released - a single signature "oh poo poo, wow" preset like in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgBblzHhqfg (Rank 1 - Sensation Anthem 2003, preset: "The Dome", Access Virus B/C, starts at 1:14) or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foxFjWKJXaE (Marco V - Godd, preset: "Impact", Access Virus B/C, starts at 1:39 and there's some Scissor Sisters song where it's awfully blatant if you own a Virus, but I can't find it at the moment.)

quote:

I have a request on how to program the lead synth you can hear throughout this sample: http://www.zshare.net/audio/19993792b78342eb/ I showed this sample to my friends a while ago, they had no clue what it is, I have no clue what it is, so I'm wondering if you have any ideas.

These are the hardest of sounds to do - mainly because (yeah, I know what I wrote back there) they're the result of an evolution. When you hear the entire track and the sound changes from something to something like this, it's a lot easier to find out what it is. Furthermore, sounds like this are made by not consciously programming for a certain direction. I'm thinking that I'm hearing something FMish in its origins, so using Synth1 isn't exactly ideal. For all intents and purposes, it could be a sample of a kick drum that's transposed up drastically - this would explain the slightly inharmonic sound and the click at the start.

Eh, I got nothing.

Laserjet 4P fucked around with this message at 22:58 on Jul 21, 2012

Yojimb0
Oct 11, 2004


Me and my friend have been wondering about this one since we first heard it...

Miles Dyson - Anthem

The mmmwa mmmwa sound first heard at 00:56. You can hear something similar in this song too:

Martijn Ten Velden - I Wish U Would (Hook 'n' Sling Remix)

Pretty much the first note you hear... I'll be so stoked if you can figure this out man

Laserjet 4P
Mar 28, 2005

What does it mean?


Fun Shoe

Yojimb0 posted:

Me and my friend have been wondering about this one since we first heard it...

Miles Dyson - Anthem

The mmmwa mmmwa sound first heard at 00:56.
It's a chord sample (but it's rather unrecognizable from where it's taken from - only with a filter over it, controlled by an envelope. I am reasonably sure that there is a bit of a bitcrusher or ringmodulator on it, too. I don't know of many synths that allow you to control the bitcrusher with an envelope (which is what has happened here, too)

My recipe:
1) play two F-minor chords (that's F-G#-C, first inversion), one an octave above the other with Synth1's Brastring preset (with filter and envelope attack set to 20 or so).
2) hold the chord for a while and resample it.
3) load it up in a software sampler
4) use the filter envelope to create the initial basis of the "mwa". This involves experimenting with the right attack and decay values.
5) put a bitcrusher over it. Ideally, in Massive, you could even assign an envelope to the bitcrusher's crush value so the mmmwa effect would be even more pronounced.

Here's what I ended up with:


Here's what it sounds like:
http://www.theheartcore.com/megathread/dyson_mwa.mp3 (okay, the F-minor chord here was just one of 'm, but I played octaves for the end result so it's less work if you do it right the first time).

edit: fixed link, all mp3s and images are in the "megathread" folder in case I gently caress up again.

Laserjet 4P fucked around with this message at 22:59 on Jul 21, 2012

stun runner
Oct 3, 2006

by mons all madden


Dude, thank you so much for this. I've checked out the sound on sound thing but it's a little advanced for me, honestly. It's informative but honestly I think it's a little too deep, I feel like there's a middle ground between only using presets and learning the science of string vibration and how it applies to trance music.

I've said this before but you're unreasonably good at explaining these things in a way I can understand them and build upon them. Really dude, start a blog, I'm positive there are plenty of non-goons who'd love to see these tutorials.

GET MY BELT SON
Sep 26, 2007



There are so many sounds through the years that I've always wondered about. I'll have to get sampling on my next day off.

Fantastic thread idea btw.

WanderingKid
Feb 27, 2005

lives here...

cum in my meowth posted:

This one's killing me 'cause it's so simple but I just can't reach it. It's the blip synth that starts at 3:22 and just goes EBG http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtK2ApmBUw4 It sounds like detuned squarewaves but my attempts with stacked subtractors are off.

Lets break it down into steps. First lets start with what we know:

1) It is almost certainly derived from a single square wave or a combination of square waves in a high register. They are not tuned far apart (doesn't sound dischordant) and if there are multiple squares they are all tuned to the same octave.

2) It is monophonic and there is non linear portmento on it.

3) Sound is staccato with a fast attack and the sound stops abruptly. Therefore it probably has a short amp decay, extremely short amp release and extremely short amp attack.

4) Filter/Envelope is definitely non linear.

First port of call - to make this sort of sound we want a synth that has really fast envelopes. Fast filter modulation is the important part of this sound since the timbre is very easy to make on any synth that can generate multiple square waves. I picked a minimoog emulation called Minimonsta. It has really really fast envelopes and the best thing? You can recursively modulate the filter -> envelope! This means you can change the 'shape' of its attack by having it modulate itself.

I'll cut to the chase. Here is my best attempt after 15 minutes of dicking around:

http://media.putfile.com/temp-9

Theres a touch of tape delay (Voxengo Analog Flux) and a stereo convolution reverb on it (Pristine Space using 2 impulses freely available on noisevault. These are 'Lexicon PCM91 Studio A - Direct Guitar.wav' and 'Lexicon PCM91 Plates - Dark Plate-Classic Lexicon!.wav)

Because of the way Minimonsta's routing works you can't see everything thats going on in this screenshot so heres the fxp which I think you can use in the demo. Either way, you should probably buy it because its a great synth.

Quincy Smallvoice
Mar 18, 2006

Bitches leave


great thread and fantastic initiative Yoozer

Yojimb0
Oct 11, 2004


Yoozer posted:


My recipe:



Here's what it sounds like:
http://www.theheartcore.com/music/dyson_mwa.mp3 (okay, the F-minor chord here was just one of 'm, but I played octaves for the end result so it's less work if you do it right the first time).

Dude that is awesome I am so trying that out when I get home... Thank you so much. One thing though, that link appears to be broken....

WanderingKid
Feb 27, 2005

lives here...

As a general tip, I would discourage 'stacking' and 'layering' synth sounds to create complex sounds at first. This is just something I see alot of because many people do it with samples (especially one shot drum samples). The reason why I discourage it is because you don't really learn the mechanics of your synth by doing it and theres only so much sound shaping you can do with layering. Furthermore, layering can also introduce many issues like phasing problems and if you aren't paying attention then it can be hard to figure out where the problem is.

Focus on making good sounding single patches before you get into ensemble patches. Even after 3 years I find myself rarely making ensemble patches. Even on my Xpander and Virus B, I rarely ever use multi mode and a I rarely ever layer synth sounds in FL Studio.

Other than that, think it through logically. Familiarise yourself with linear and non linear changes in pitch, envelope times, filter cutoff etc so you know roughly what they sound like. I do this with an LFO set to control pitch or filter cutoff or whatever and you should be able to hear it clearly. After a while, you will begin to tell when portmento is linear or not or when filter -> amp envelope attack is non linear. You may not be able to tell the extent of it, but it gives you a place to start experimenting which is closer to where you want to go. Good luck.

Laserjet 4P
Mar 28, 2005

What does it mean?


Fun Shoe

Yojimb0 posted:

Dude that is awesome I am so trying that out when I get home... Thank you so much. One thing though, that link appears to be broken....

Whoops. Fixed.

Yojimb0
Oct 11, 2004


Yoozer posted:

Whoops. Fixed.

Oh poo poo, it's on now... I think I'm going to try and mess with ring modulation and the bit crusher to get it a little bit brighter... thanks again man.

How about that trademark Klaas bassline?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8Y9p24PfCM

Starts at 1:01. I'm not sure if there are two synths at work here, or if he just has his filters set up really cleverly.

Laserjet 4P
Mar 28, 2005

What does it mean?


Fun Shoe

Tutorial 4: More about modulation

Previously I've written about the LFO and envelope, but I want to write a little bit more. In the waveform diagram of tutorial nr 3 showing the piano, strings and organs lies the first key towards recreating a sound.

Look at the volume, or listen to it (in case the sound appears in a mix - opening it up in a wave editor is then pretty much futile).

The volume is the most obvious point to start, because it's the easiest to set up. When you have that right, the rest becomes a matter of determining if there are any filters thrown over it and what the source of the sound consists of.

Things you should do first
- load up the Init Saw preset you've made in the previous tutorial
- turn the "Mix" knob entirely to the right
- choose the Saw waveform in oscillator 2. I'll tell you why later on.

It should then look like this:



Let's take a look at the little brother of our buddy ADSR - in the case of Synth1, the modulation envelope (m. env).



In this situation, the A and D buttons do nothing. The first thing we should do is switch the modulation envelope on so it actually does something - the little green LED should be lit if you click on the m. env button.

It still won't do anything. Why not? Let's formulate a rule: the iron rule of modulations:

Source (our robot) --(has to know)--> Target (which knob to do stuff with) * Multiplier (the amount knob) + Offset (does not apply here).

In a so-called hardwired synthesizer, we only have a few robots who either have a single target or only a few. The term "target" is also referred to as "destination" on some machines. In a modular synthesizer, we're nearly free to choose any kind of module to act as our robot and any kind of target provided that this target offers an input.

In this case, nothing happens because our multiplier's zero. Move the amount knob to the right - you see the value says "+63". Listen to the sound if you hear anything change.

Hm. No. Wait - right at the start, very short and subtle, we can hear a click. How'd that get there?



Right now, with A and D set to zero (remember that attack and decay represent a timespan), we've got the line in the second graph, but it's really really narrow - this is what causes the click.

Let's walk through each of these. The attack is set to zero, so use your mouse to slowly increase the decay.

graph 1) Our sound turns into an 8-bit arcade lasergun! With shorter attacks, this is used on synth brass sounds to give it a bit more punch.

Set both attack and decay to 80 or so.

graph 2) We get some kind of a sweeping sound. This was used for http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb9wEQ7A-lg - (De Bos - On The Run) . If you play short notes, it kind of sounds like it (and again a record that sold pretty well using only a single oscillator and a stupid gimmick).

graph 3) This seems kind of useless but can add a bit of extra twang to a sound.

graph 4) The downside of this is that setting the decay to max doesn't make it go to infinity. However, this can be remedied easily by thinking out of the box a bit.



In this graph, setting the attack to zero makes the sound dip to the negative amount (the dotted line is actually our zero) immediately. The decay time means it's going back to zero, which means going up.

By making the amount negative, you get a rising tone with a constant pitch, solving the problems in graphs 3 and 4. Also, this is one half of the THX sound ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhdR5WYzrhQ ) - the other half looks like graph 1 with a longer decay . Detecting the pitch of the sound is the second easiest thing to do, so by listening - do you hear things wobble, try an LFO, do you hear things rise or fall or twang, it's an envelope) you can solve that part of recreating the sound.

This is also a way to experiment. Sometimes people tell you to just tweak the knobs at random (that's if they're either lazy or not able to tell what you should do). Doing this at random doesn't give you much info - as you saw, the mod envelope decay and release don't seem to do anything but that's because you forgot to randomly switch it on and give it an amount. Tweak parts of the synthesizer until you're confident knowing what each part does.

The reason the modulation envelope is so limited is that most of the time you're using the above envelope graphs with positive or negative amounts. For more complicated duties, there are multistage envelopes or stepsequencers, which I'll treat in another tutorial.

Yojimb0 posted:

How about that trademark Klaas bassline?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8Y9p24PfCM

You're correct - it's 2 synths, again one simple square wave with portamento enabled and one more regular synth bass sound (one oscillator on saw, one oscillator on square set to -12 semitones, envelope like in graph 1 on the lowpass filter).

Laserjet 4P fucked around with this message at 23:02 on Jul 21, 2012

Jzf_K
Sep 1, 2002
JS

Great Thread. Ok, one from me...

I'm trying to get something that sounds like that "stab" chord that comes in at 14 secs in this clip (and is repeated throughout the song):

Grum: Go Back (Le Castle Vania Remix):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVZv...feature=related

I'm using Logic and found a synth pad that sounds a little bit similar, but with much less attack...

Whermylasers
Mar 21, 2006


Ive been messing around with this synth in reason and its called the Digital Head Hunter, basically( pardon my terms I don't know how to properly describe it)it phases the synth line from a really strong attack sound to a weaker one and then finally into a low pass filtery sound and moves in that kind of order. I want the synth only to sound like the low pass filtery part, Ive been messing around with thor to get it but I can't quite do it. If anyone has some suggestions.

Laserjet 4P
Mar 28, 2005

What does it mean?


Fun Shoe

Whermylasers: Do you have an audio snippet or a screenshot of the thing? Or even the file itself? (I suspect it's a Combinator). We can't do much with just descriptions

Jzf_K posted:

I'm trying to get something that sounds like that "stab" chord that comes in at 14 secs in this clip (and is repeated throughout the song):

It's probably sampled, and if you have the full version of Logic, I'd look at Sculpture and see if there's a preset for a 6- or 12-string guitar. Add a bit brightness by boosting the EQ and cut away the lows and you should get close.

sithael posted:

How about some generic tips on choir-voices (without formant filters)

This requires parallel resonant bandpass filters. Synth1 doesn't have these - but Thor does! The neat thing about the filters in Thor is that you get actual values in Hz. This, combined with the little table here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formant

and a patch like this in Thor:



means you can construct something vocal-ish. A formant filter is, after all, nothing more than a clever way to integrate two of these bandpass filters in one box, where the "gender" or "vowel" knobs moves the peaks and the mix for each filter in preset ways.

The example doesn't sound really as choir-like as could be - I've found more success with using two wavetable oscillators, slightly detuned for a chorusing effect.

quote:

or (breaking your rules but you'll know anyway) the two main synth parts from your BOC-type song off ADD volume 1?
The melody is an FM8 preset called Sad Sally, using FM8s own reverb and EQ cutting away everything below 200 Hz.

The bassline is a preset from the huge collection of DX7 sounds called 4_POLE RES where FM attempts to emulate a resonant filter, closing. I sort've figured out how to do this but it's a bit different from the actual preset. You don't even need 6 operators, 4 is enough. The algorithm looks like this:



It really really helps if you have FM7 or FM8 or something like it - makes the job a dozen times easier, because of the way you can control the routings.

To liven FM sounds up a little bit, don't choose whole numbers for the ratios - try it 0.5013 instead of 0.5 adds charm. Don't do this if you want your sound to be as cold and glassy as possible, though.

Laserjet 4P fucked around with this message at 23:04 on Jul 21, 2012

WanderingKid
Feb 27, 2005

lives here...

To make convincing vowel sounds out of a subtractive synth you need at least 3 highly resonant filters (and preferably alot more). You can do it with two but the range will be really limited and the articulation wont be that clear. I wouldn't even bother trying to make choir sounds with a subtractive synth that has only 1 resonant filter unless that synth has some proprietary gimmick up its sleave that helps make convincing vocal sounds. Mostly it seems impossible because many people try to make choir sounds on synths that really don't have the tools to be able to do it properly. If you have the right tools its not very hard.

I have made a few choir patches on Virus B with two filters so I'll post clipits when I get home from work if theres any interest in this sort of thing. They only sound like choirs in 1 octave though so it is a somewhat frail illusion and may well illustrate why you need a filter bank to do it properly.

Check out this thread for some samples of string/vocal sounds made on a Nord Modular. You can use any synth as long it has alot of resonant filters and it helps to have a real choir sample that you can use to model from.

WanderingKid fucked around with this message at 10:42 on Oct 8, 2008

Laserjet 4P
Mar 28, 2005

What does it mean?


Fun Shoe

Tutorial 5: Just The Two Osc Us

Short review of what's been done right now:

- we've experimented with the basic saw and square waveforms
- we've used an ADSR envelope to modulate the volume
- we've used an LFO to modulate the pitch
- we've used a simple envelope to modulate the pitch

We've been doing this with a single oscillator, though - to keep things simple.

One of the key things to learn to recreate sounds is to look beyond volume changes and filters, and figure out the actual source. To do this, it helps if you have a good idea of what all various combinations sound like.

Things you should do first
- load up the Init Saw preset you've made in the previous tutorial
- turn the "Mix" knob to the center (it says 50:50)
- set the waveform of oscillator 2 to a saw wave.
- set the fine knob of oscillator 2 to 00 cent.
- save this preset to program 3, bank 9 as "Double Saw".

Things look like this:



When you play it, it sounds a little bit weird - the original saw wave seemed to have some raw power, but this one is nasal and lacks a bit of the original charm.

When there's 2 humans singing or playing the violin, not only are their instruments not equal, they're not exactly in tune and they don't start at the same time either. Digital synthesizers don't have this problem, which causes this result.

Move oscillator 2's fine knob to +1. (fine stands for fine tune - it works in units of cents - 100 cents is 1 semitone, and "coarse" tune or shift or pitch works in units of semitones). Hold a low note.

It sounds almost like there's an extra note rising and falling and rising again, and the effect resembles something called a flanger, just a lot more subtle.

Move oscillator 2's fine tune to +10. If you hold the note while doing this, you hear the rising and falling go faster. This sound was used in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8e-vgQSqNtA (Van Halen - Jump). Astute listeners who have the higher quality version of this song may notice a subtle blip at the start, so if you feel like it, switch on the Modulation envelope, set Decay to 29 and Amount to +5.

Switch the modulation envelope off again, and move the Fine tune to + 30. Our sound is gradually going into trance territory, and it starts to get ugly around +50 which nearly brings it to the lead sound in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP61zwp2nO8 (Tiesto - Flight 643).

Basic usage: for synth brass and strings, +10 is good enough - for stuff more in the direction of what's used for trance, +30 does the job.

What it looks like:


What it sounds like:
http://www.theheartcore.com/megathr...tor_beating.mp3

and as you could find out in the filename, the wavering effect is called "beating" and this principle is used to tune pianos.



Tutorial 6: Filtering sound from the vapor of nuance

I temporarily halt my research into oscillators to pay attention to something we haven't done much with, yet, namely, the filter.

Things you should do first
- load up the Double Saw preset we've made
- set oscillator 2 fine tune to +30

Generally, these brighter sounds are heard in particular parts of the songs (the so-called climax), but not all the time. So, let's mellow things down a bit and make it look like this:



Listen to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhjlWvKSFCo (Barthezz - On the Move) and you'll notice that the sound we are playing appears at around 0:30 in this video. Two things are changing:

- the cutoff frequency (the FRQ knob) is moving up slowly
- the filter modulation amount is moving up slowly
(the third possibility, not used here : increasing the decay time)

Slowly opening (moving the cutoff frequency up) lowpass filters is a staple of electronic music and the effect works. Every. drat. Time. Either over a particular instrument or the entire track (like in 0:16 of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnTrZYHK_II - Kylie Minogue - Wow). If used well, it's the sonic equivalent of the A-Team taking up the welding gear to build some kind of insane machine or the training scene in Rocky - awesome poo poo is going to happen pretty soon.

Consider this moving an important tool in your toolbox to add a little variation. When you listen to earlier eurodance (1993-1994 etc.) you notice that they almost never try to pull this "open the filter" bullshit, so they're forced to be a bit more creative with chords or effects or songwriting, which is also why their structure resembles bog-standard pop music more than trance does.

Things you should do
- save the sound with the original settings of the filter as bank 9, nr 4, Trance Saw.



Tutorial 7: Detroit, That Lovely City
Back to oscillator detuning again. With the filter taming things down a bit for us, we can go back to looking at the tune of the oscillator.

Many of the sounds used in electronic music are sort of related to eachother. The synth brass and strings on older vintage machines, replaced by sample-based emulations in the 1980s are the ancestors of the sounds you hear in dance. After all, does the "Jump" preset we've made differ so much from the lead sound in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_mbeGQUniQ (Gigi D'Agostino - L'Amour Toujours)? No, not really.

Let's explore some of the possibilities with our trance saw.

Things you should do first
- load the sound you've made in tutorial 6; nr. 4 Trance Saw.

Set oscillator 2 fine tune to zero. We're going to work with coarse tuning now. Set oscillator 2 coarse tune (that's the pitch knob) to +7. Play a C-minor chord. We now get a nice Cm7 chord for free. Add a simple 909 kick, a bit of reverb and a delay and just by moving the amount and cutoff of the filter buttons, you can fill your evenings with classic Detroit.

Of course, we're innovators, so after that, we move the pitch to +12 and play a C-minor 7 chord (that's C-Eb-G-Bb). More Detroit

This sound is a true workhorse, moreso when you choose a more mellow filter (a 4-pole lowpass, also called 24db lowpass) instead of the 12db/2-pole one.

Only a few combinations for pitch are used, generally, which are +(cents) for detune, fourths (+5 or -7), fifths (+7 or -5), octaves (+12, -12) and in rare cases, more than that which comes in handy with the so-called "Club Organ" sound popularized by http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcAXJkKYBtA (starts at 0:16 - Robin S - Show Me Love, original version).

Some synthesizers save a bit on their interfaces and combine the coarse tune with the fine tune, like Massive or Absynth - after all, the fine tune is stuff happening behind the comma, so you can read +19.500 as one octaves (+12) plus 7 semitones plus 50 cents detune. In Reason it'd look like this:



Switching semitones and octaves directly without typing or pressing a tiny spinner button is a handy option, though.

Laserjet 4P fucked around with this message at 23:06 on Jul 21, 2012

Laserjet 4P
Mar 28, 2005

What does it mean?


Fun Shoe

Tutorial 8: Variety Is The Spice Of Life, Episode 1

Until now we've been working with regular saw waves and a square wave. While adding the filters already makes a difference and detuning one oscillator helps quite a bit, too, there are several ways to give the sound a little bit more variation.

The options we have for this in Synth1 are the following:

For all waveforms:
- detune
- sync
- ringmod
- FM

For the squarewave:
- pulsewidth

For everything:
- unison

Let's start with detune and unison first.

Things you should do first
- load up the Init Saw preset you've made earlier.

The first thing I'm going to show you is the basis of the Supersaw on the Roland JP8000/JP8080/SH201, the Hypersaw on the Virus TI and it appears in several other machines and plugins too.

Move oscillator 1's "det" (detune) knob to 30 or so. Play. With the lessons we've learned in tutorial 6, adjust the filters like in the screenshot. To add a little polish, do the following:

- switch the arpeggiator on, set type to up, range to 1 oct, beat to 16 and gate to 90 or so.
- switch the tempo delay on, default settings are OK
- switch the chorus/flanger on
- add a reverb effect using Live, FL Studio, Cubase or whatever you're working with.

It looks like this:



and sounds like this:

http://www.theheartcore.com/megathr...h1_supersaw.mp3 (from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z9_TvA-nWU at 3:45, Armin - Communication (part 1, Quake mix))

Save this preset as nr. 5, bank 9 under the name "Supersaw 1".

Now, Synth1 happens to have the detune option (earlier versions didn't, however) - so do the aforementioned synthesizers - but not all synths have this, and our earlier preset, nr 4 Trance Saw made in tutorial 6 only has 2 oscillators which do sound neat detuned but lack that extra buzz.

Let's see how we can compensate for the lack of detune. Set oscillator 1 detune back to zero again. Enable Unison and set detune to 60, spread to 10-15 or so, and pitch to 0.



Play. See if you can hear much of a difference - yes, the detune effect is a bit stronger, but not unpleasant.

Another effect besides slowly opening the filter is adding a second oscillator, an octave higher. Select the saw wave for oscillator 2, turn Mix to 50/50, and set oscillator 2 pitch to +12.

With the regular supersaw, oscillator 2 (a single wave) has to fight against several saw waves of oscillator 1, so it's a better idea to set the mix a bit in favor of oscillator 2. With detune, we've got no worries about that because the actual multiplication of saw waves takes place afterwards - if you get 5 copies of oscillator 1, you get 5 copies of oscillator 2, so watch the volume carefully.

By opening up the filter completely and making the detune a bit more extreme you can already cover several of the Vengeance Sounds.

Things you should do first
- reload preset nr. 5, Supersaw.
- switch the arpeggiator off
- set Play Mode to legato and set the portamento to 30 or so
- scream YEAAHHHH and play this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiXbRBS5Z58 (Usher - Yeah)

Not bad for a free synth, huh?

Pulsewidth

This is an option Reason's Subtractor sadly lacks (or well, you have it - sort of, but not what I'd call usable).

Things you should do first
- reload preset nr. 2, Init Square

Use your mouse to move the p/w knob (right below the Mix knob). You hear the sound changing. What does this knob do, actually? Well, this.



quote:

The NES board supported a total of five sound channels. These included two pulse wave channels of variable duty cycle (12.5%, 25%, 50%, and 75%), with a volume control of sixteen levels

quote:

[Game Gear technical specifications] - Audio: 3 square wave generators, 1 noise generator, the system has a mono speaker, but stereo sound can be had via headphone input

quote:

The [Commodore 64] SID is a mixed-signal integrated circuit, featuring both digital and analog circuitry. All control ports are digital, while the output ports are analog. The SID features three-voice synthesis, where each voice may use one of at least five different waveforms: square wave (with variable duty cycle)

That's quite useful!

Since we have selected oscillator 2, we can now use either the LFO or the modulation envelope. Bigger synths have these features for each oscillator - more basic synths only have this for a single oscillator. For hardware synths, it's simply cheaper - for software, it makes daily use less complicated.

Let's use the modulation envelope first, and do this:



Attack to zero, Decay to 90, Amount to +63.

If you've ever owned a Commodore 64, you know this sound (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcNYUAU1dz4 - Rob Hubbard - Dragon's Lair II).

Add a bit of realism:

- switch LFO1 on
- set destination to oscillator 1, 2
- set speed to 70
- set amount to 3

Save it if you want to, but I don't. It's a good idea to store any homebrew presets in another bank, for instance bank nr 8.

Who needs a SIDStation with this? Nobody, that's who!

Now, trick nr. 2 - this is how the Juno-60 got such lush strings.

Things you should do first
- reset to bank 9, preset 2: Init Square.
- switch LFO 1 on
- set LFO 1 speed to 66
- set LFO 1 amount to about 60.
- set LFO 1 destination to p/w
- waveform should be triangle, but that's selected by default so that's okay.

Play.



You hear that it almost sounds like we've detuned stuff - but we haven't, and we're only using a single oscillator. Groovy!

A nice variation if you're feeling experimental

Set things up like this:



Unison pitch is at -12, the rest of the values only have to resemble it a bit. You can change the effect to a.d.2 (a? distortion 2) by clicking the text that's currently a.d.1.

And this is what it sounds like:

http://www.theheartcore.com/megathr..._dnb_hoover.mp3

In Episode 2, we're going to look at FM, ringmod and sync.

I'll also try to add screenshots for Reason's Subtractor and Thor.

Laserjet 4P fucked around with this message at 23:09 on Jul 21, 2012

Laserjet 4P
Mar 28, 2005

What does it mean?


Fun Shoe

Tutorial 9: Variety Is The Spice Of Life, Episode 2

After deconstructing the volume and trying to find out if you're hearing any filtering, you end up with the oscillators itself, and that's generally the hardest part. As you could see, fine and coarse detune could already change the character of the sound by giving it animation or overtones.

To make things worse (or better, depending on what you want to do), a lot of synthesizers no longer only have just basic basic waveforms but use other sources like samples (single-cycle or full-sized ones) and wavetables. Reason's Subtractor is a good example of this.

The reason for this is obvious - when you start removing harmonics from a basic waveform, what happens is rather predictable. To get more harmonics, you generally use sync and ringmod (oscillator FM is not common at all).

Oscillator sync

Things to do first
- choose the Init Saw patch.
- select the saw waveform for oscillator 2
- set oscillator 2 fine tune to 0 ct.
- click the Sync button

It should look like this:



Turn the Mix knob to 0:100 so that you only hear oscillator 2. Oscillator synchronization (sync) works with a master/slave oscillator system. If the master oscillator has finished its cycle - in case of a saw wave, this means going up once and resetting - the other oscillator is reset in its cycle.

It looks like this:



Now, use your mouse to move the oscillator 2 pitch button. You get a metallic effect.

Set the pitch to +10. Play something. The sound is rougher compared to the regular saw wave and causes a buzzing effect in the higher notes (aliasing), and this becomes more noticeable when you set it to +20. If you combine this with the filter settings in tutorial 6, you get a nice basis for an electroclash bass sound.

Optional:
- use filter settings in tutorial 6
- set oscillator 2 pitch to +28
- set mix to 75:25
- set play mode to legato
- set portamento to 20
- play! (Bodyrox - Yeah Yeah)

Another option offered is to use the oscillator 2 noise waveform, and you then get a very bright sound you'd normally associate with pure FM synthesis, but I think this trick doesn't really work on actual analog synthesizers - they don't have a pseudorandom noise generator that generates the same pattern of noise!

Let's animate things a bit:

Things to do first
- choose the Init Saw patch.
- select the saw waveform for oscillator 2
- set oscillator 2 fine tune to 0 ct.
- click the Sync button
- set mix to 50:50.

Our previous experiments didn't use modulation; this one will. Let's try the modulation envelope and set it like this:



Attack to 0, decay to +115, amount to +50. Oh yes, and oscillator 2 pitch to -08.

Let's listen:

http://www.theheartcore.com/megathr...sc_sync_mod.mp3

This was a fragment from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLa1bWCc8bQ (Jean Michel Jarre's Revolutions Part II - the Laserharp), but oscillator sync also appears in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbDAxFBD7ag (Van Halen - Why Can't This Be Love), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPAfKGQZttU (Shamen - Boss Drum , 0:33) and of course http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ygqew4RxIg8 (No Doubt - Just A Girl).

This stuff just sounds a bit more exciting with saw waves for some reason.

Oscillator FM

Actual FM synthesis is something completely different and you could write a crapton of tutorials about it (and still not get it). For one thing, FM synthesizers don't really have a lot of knobs, and if you thought that it was sort of frustrating that the modulation envelope did nothing until you switched it on and gave it an amount - well, FM synthesis (in the Yamaha DX-sense) has even more of these dependencies.

Both Synth1 and Subtractor offer us a very limited way to do FM.

Things to do first
- start from our old friend, Init Saw (I'm trying to make you, dear reader, comfortable in starting from a blank slate)

Let's use the following settings:



Oscillator 1 is set to sinewave, we've directly jumped into using the modulation envelope, attack 0, decay 86, amount +32.

When you play, you're taken back to the time of the Genesis, or PC games using the Soundblaster 16 with the OPL-3 FM chip.

If you jump back a bit to tutorial 3 where we mimicked a siren using the LFO on the pitch - well, FM is nothing different, just a lot faster. A whole lot faster.

Regular LFOs are called LOW frequency oscillators because their range is from 0.1 to 20 Hz (with some synths doing 50 Hz). FM synthesis generally starts at audio rate, e.g. at 200 Hz or so, but FM synthesizers allow you to start from zero if you want to.

Move the modulation envelope amount to +38. Our sound gets more pronounced and metallic. Move the modulation envelope decay to 50 or so and if you play low notes, you get something that resembles those early house bass sounds. The bass in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K7fL5s_1ac (Technotronic - Pump Up The Jam) is an example.

Try other waveforms on oscillator 1 now, and you'll see why FM is usually done with sinewaves. By

Oscillator Ringmod

Ringmod is one of the weirder sounding effects, and it's not used that much (unless you count the Daleks in dr. Who ). Its use in synthesis is to allow you to make clangorous, weird sounds.

Let's set things up like this (as basis, again, Init Saw)



Oscillator 2 fine tune is +08 cents.

When you play, it sounds like this.

http://www.theheartcore.com/megathr...th1_ringmod.mp3

It sounds a little bit like PWM, only combined with volume - and the additional effect that the wavering gets faster with higher notes. Things get weirder when you move oscillator 2's pitch up and down.

It's too bad Synth1 doesn't have a sinewave for the second oscillator, because ring mod is far more useful for that (bell sounds, if you don't have any FM synths, can be done very well with ring modulation).

Here's a nice trick:
- set oscillator 2 waveform to triangle
- set oscillator 2 pitch to +43
- set oscillator 2 fine tune to +1
- set amplifier ADSR to 0, 94, 15 and 99
- play!

This sounds a lot like this sound here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExftoivJ_EU (Last Ninja - Commodore 64). With this and our earlier learned tricks about pulsewidth modulation we're pretty capable of doing chiptune sounds!

Laserjet 4P fucked around with this message at 23:11 on Jul 21, 2012

Pussy v. Sperguson
Apr 28, 2003



I haven't had the chance to go over all of your posts yet, Yoozer, but I just wanted to say thanks for providing some tremendously helpful stuff. It's appreciated!

Altoidss
Jun 7, 2007
Curiously Strong

I've got two more sounds for you Yoozer!

First, do you think the strings at the drop (1:15) of White Knight Two synthesized or sampled? If they're sampled, where can I get them?

Second, how do you get the main riff at 0:08 of this? I know that the song was made using stock Logic gear plus Camel Crusher. I've gotten fairly close using two square waves in Analog in Live plus Camel, but I can't really recreate those weird harmonics.

unixbeard
Dec 28, 2004



nice tutes man, #5 should be "Just the two osc us"

I've got one too, the second bass in this http://www.psyninjas.org/archsnippet.wav (you can hear the whole track here http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=rvc77Uxr9Ow)

it's not the actual sound I'm particularly concerned about, i'd like to know how they got it so massive without overpowering everything else or muddying up.

bassguitarhero
Feb 29, 2008



Thanks for this, it's absolutely amazing. I'm saving a copy of all of this so I can choom up, sit down and try and take it all in. First glance makes my head hurt, but I am going to come back to this again and again until I understand it.

Laserjet 4P
Mar 28, 2005

What does it mean?


Fun Shoe

Altoidss posted:

I've got two more sounds for you Yoozer!

First, do you think the strings at the drop (1:15) of White Knight Two synthesized or sampled? If they're sampled, where can I get them?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S3MizD39fk < those would probably work, I think. Where to get them? Either the authentic machine with the disks itself, or a sample collection that has these - maybe they're in http://www.zero-g.co.uk/index.cfm?Articleid=916 (Zero G Nostalgia) or you could ask http://130.94.182.158/Mirage/ but basically any old library should do the job. There's just little demand for small lo-fi strings .

As for the other sound, using this got me close:



Thing is, one distortion is not like the other and it's pretty hard to find the actual matching one, but by EQing things a bit before they go in you can do quite a bit.

By playing the F-note and then holding it for just a fraction of a second while you also play the F an octave higher, the sound will "slide" correctly - just make sure you release the high F when you play the low one again, otherwise the portamento time will kick in again.

This is what I made it sound like:

http://www.theheartcore.com/megathr...er_bassline.mp3

unixbeard posted:

nice tutes man, #5 should be "Just the two osc us"
Done

quote:

I've got one too, the second bass in this http://www.psyninjas.org/archsnippet.wav (you can hear the whole track here http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=rvc77Uxr9Ow)

it's not the actual sound I'm particularly concerned about, i'd like to know how they got it so massive without overpowering everything else or muddying up.

Sub-bass. Try layering the usual synth bass with a sine or triangle waveform (unfiltered, really simple envelope) set an octave (or maybe even two) lower. Cut everything else that doesn't belong there out of that range. This may help, too : http://emusician.com/tutorials/emusic_bottom_fishing/ but since it's more a mixing matter, you might want to ask Rivensbitch for that

Laserjet 4P fucked around with this message at 23:12 on Jul 21, 2012

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tylertfb
Mar 3, 2004

Time.Space.Transmat.

How do I make the string synth sound like in this: http://mp3.juno.co.uk/MP3/SF325889-02-01-01.mp3 It sounds vaguely detuned to me but I have a wooden ear so who knows.

tylertfb fucked around with this message at 19:39 on Oct 18, 2008

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