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Synth Programming question - EG's & LFO's Perhaphs a magazine article??

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Synth Programming question - EG's & LFO's Perhaphs a magazine article??

Postby Binks » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:14 pm

Hello all..

I'm not scared of getting my fingers dirty in synth programming.. I have a number of different hardware synthesizers, and to a point, I know how to dabble a little bit on them all..
But dabble is about as far as I get.. I know what lots of the abbreviations all stand for, and I know the basics of flow diagram in how they produce their sound, its more getting into the nitty gritty that confuses me..


I'll use my Ms2000 as an example..

I have oscillators -> Filter -> Mixer -> Amp
as the basic building blocks of putting a sound together..
I have an envelope generator on the amp, and i totally understand what this is doing.. my first query is what is the envelope generator on the filter doing?
I dont understand how this works..

Moving on, I'm fairly sure most synths have similar facilities.. on the virtual patch system, I can then patch this filter EG to something else (like cutoff/pan/osc pitch).. again, I dont understand in my head what this is actually doing..

Anyone help??

I have a feeling this will generate a few more questions..

Hopefully someone at the mag might like to get their teeth into an article on modulation routings, and how it all works.. (or rather, what its all doing)


Rob





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Re: Synth Programming question - EG's & LFO's Perhaphs a magazine article??

Postby stinkfinger » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:22 pm

the envelope generator on the filter envelope will be opening/closing the filter in accordance with the voltage of the envelope.

in the patch section you can use the voltage of the envelope to control any number of other functions as you wish just by patching it in.

as an aside, you said you have several synths you play about with, for now i would just stick to one until you have the basics down.

EDIT. ps. there are about 1,000,001 articles on basic synth programming on the web, far be it from me to speak for SOS but the subject is probably not suitable for their particular target audience.
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Re: Synth Programming question - EG's & LFO's Perhaphs a magazine article??

Postby MarkOne » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:32 pm

If you think of the envelope generator as a device that creates a voltage envelope with a number of stages (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) when applied to the oscillator those names are pretty obvious creating obvious attack, decay, etc characteristics.

If you apply that control voltage to the filter frequency then you can control the filter dynamically as the note is played. A slow attack opens up the filter slowly, and so on (think of how a manual filter sweep sounds and think that the EG is applying that every time you press a note). At the extreme the sort of classic synth 'quack' sound is one of the possible outcomes.

applying the envelope to pitch will result in the pitch changing in line with the shape of the envelope, maybe frequency sweeping up fast during the attack phase, staying constant during the sustain phase, and dropping off slowly during the release.

playing with a versatile patchable synth is the best way to figure it out, because basically IMO there's no substitute in analog synth-land to mucking about and seeing what happens :)
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Re: Synth Programming question - EG's & LFO's Perhaphs a magazine article??

Postby Binks » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:33 pm

Thanks for a speedy reply

So then.. if i'm right in thinking...

If I put a slow attack and slow release on the filter EG, it will open and close the filter is a slow fashion..
(I always thought that if I set up a filter, it was just that.. I hadnt realised it would be moving about as per EG.. Does that then mean.. If I hold the note, once its got to the end of the envelope, it will start over again??

Ok and as for the patching bit.. does that mean what ever the EG is doing, will make the destination.. cutoff for instance do the same thing?? (in this instance, I thought cutoff was to do with the filter.. so if I have cutoff setup in the filter section.. what's it then doing in the patch section.. if its changing.. what was the point of me setting it in the filter section??)

I am actually trying to just get an undrstanding of the MS2000 at the moment, I think if I can figure this one out, it will instantly help on two similar synths..

Rob


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Re: Synth Programming question - EG's & LFO's Perhaphs a magazine article??

Postby stinkfinger » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:44 pm

you can make envelopes retrigger on some synths, you'd have to check the specs of the ms2000, but in general envelopes are a single cycle modulator. if you want something to continually modulate thats where LFO's come in.

and yes whatever the envelope is patched to it will make it change in accordance with the voltage of the envelope. i dont know the answer to your last question as i have never used an ms2000, but if you can apply the envelope to the filter at 2 separate locations on the synth you probably just get a more severe affect on the cutoff frequency (but thats just a guess).
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Re: Synth Programming question - EG's & LFO's Perhaphs a magazine article??

Postby chris... » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:02 pm

Binks wrote:I'm not scared of getting my fingers dirty in synth programming.. I have a number of different hardware synthesizers, and to a point, I know how to dabble a little bit on them all..
But dabble is about as far as I get..
For general help on programing, check out the mega series SOS did a few years back. All the articles are linked here, going from last to first.

Have fun :)
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Re: Synth Programming question - EG's & LFO's Perhaphs a magazine article??

Postby stinkfinger » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:26 pm

unless you're going to try switching on bach again i think that synth series is a waste of time. we want to know how to make fat bass, screaming lead, wobbly fx, etc not waste time trying to perfect a wind instrument, we got samples for that.

just type in 'basic subtractive synthesis' into a web browser and get practising copying sounds you like. you'll have made at least 3 decent sounds by the time you've read all that.
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Re: Synth Programming question - EG's & LFO's Perhaphs a magazine article??

Postby Binks » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:33 pm

bach was just on the phone actually :)

I was aware of that series.. have most of those issues, but yes, I was aware it was all about perfecting stuff like the lesser spotted mongolian flute pipe and what not..
Although parts 3 - 8 might be worth a good read anyway.

I think my questions are more about modulation and stuff..


While I'm here actually.. whats "keyboard tracking" do?


Thanks all for your information so far..
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Re: Synth Programming question - EG's & LFO's Perhaphs a magazine article??

Postby The Elf » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:42 pm

Binks wrote:While I'm here actually.. whats "keyboard tracking" do?
Creates a control voltage based on where are on the keyboard you are playing. It's useful for opening up the filter as you play higher up the keyboard, for example.

It's worth working through the Mongolian nose flute examples et al, because, although the specific sounds may not appeal to you, the examples carry you past most of the control voltage applications of analogue synthesis.
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Re: Synth Programming question - EG's & LFO's Perhaphs a magazine article??

Postby stinkfinger » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:43 pm

you're taking the pi$$ now but seeing as i have a little time and folks have always helped me around here these elementary questions provide me with a rare opportunity to return the favour so here goes...

keyboard tracking allows the keyboard to track whatever target function. for example if the filter was tracked to the keybard the filter frequency would adjust in accordance with the keys, so higher notes would produce a brighter sound. you could say pitch is tracked to the keys always because the higher up the keys you go the higher the note you get.
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Re: Synth Programming question - EG's & LFO's Perhaphs a magazine article??

Postby Binks » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:55 pm

stinkfinger wrote:

keyboard tracking allows the keyboard to track whatever target function. for example if the filter was tracked to the keybard the filter frequency would adjust in accordance with the keys, so higher notes would produce a brighter sound.

Right.. I think that makes sense.. So keyboard tracking is just another way to modify with or without the filter EG

If both were in use, the sound would be dependant on where on the keyboard you were, but also with the Filter EG changing things further still anyway..?
Low end of the keyboard is going to keep the filter closed, where as higher up will open it.. but even at the bottom end, the filter EG could be opening it anyway with the way you have it set??

(I think I'm getting a bit more of the bigger picture now)


Thanks for the help

:)
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Re: Synth Programming question - EG's & LFO's Perhaphs a magazine article??

Postby stinkfinger » Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:04 pm

sounds like you've pretty much got envelopes and tracking.
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Re: Synth Programming question - EG's & LFO's Perhaphs a magazine article??

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:57 pm

Binks wrote:Hopefully someone at the mag might like to get their teeth into an article on modulation routings, and how it all works.. (or rather, what its all doing)

Use the main site search facility for 'Synth Secrets' You should find some useful stuff to help you towards the start of that series

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