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Combining my synths into a 4-voice monster mono synth

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Combining my synths into a 4-voice monster mono synth

Postby Ben Asaro » Sun May 20, 2018 1:21 pm

This (not so deep) thought just occurred to me as I am enjoying my Sunday morning coffee:

With all of my recent experiments since falling into the Eurorack/generative rabbit hole, there is one thing I haven't yet tried to do -- stack all four of my analog mono synths into a single stacked patch.

My mono synth voices (Moog Mother-32; SE/Doepfer/Make Noise/Expert Sleepers et al eurorack; Arturia MiniBrute; Dave Smith MOPHO) all sound great individually and when I only had the Boomstar oscillator I used it often with the Mother for a lead synth voice.

But I have yet to try combining and panning all four into a single patch. (Oddly enough, I do often stack my digital poly synths, especially with the TX7 as a base). So that's my plan for today. :D Whilst I think that it probably won't amount to much difference once I get past 3 oscillators (I will be running 5 oscillators, three of which can output multiple waveforms at once) -- it's really the panning of the sound that has me intrigued. I wonder if it will sound better in mono? Will it even be useable in stereo, or will it be so big, so wide, and occupy so much of the frequency spectrum that it will be useless in a mix? Will using a mix of MIDI and CV cause weird (or cool) latency issues? Phasing issues?

Part of what spawned this thought process is pre planning for my next album which is a concept album from the awesome 1970s movie, Logan's Run and the far-less awesome book by the same title. The move in particular has a fantastic soundtrack that goes from all-electronic to all-orchestral as the character's story arc progresses ... and the synth stuff is really thick, complex, and juicy.

Anyway, I digress. I will post my findings along with some sound clips.
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Re: Combining my synths into a 4-voice monster mono synth

Postby Dave B » Sun May 20, 2018 4:40 pm

I'll be interested, but would not be surprised if it doesn't sound any much better than individuals / a couple. I've heard some great old tracks done with just a single oscillator. Two is usually slightly better, but not essential - I've still heard meat from a single. There's a lot than can be done to really push a single oscillator and it will be slightly cleaner and less 'smeary' in some sounds.

We all tend(ed) to stack FM sounds - often with a sympathetic analogue sound - to get something better as FM is (imho) inherently thin sounding. It was a common complaint the in the 80s that artists had to use a TX816 to get their FM sounds to be heard in a mix (by stacking them up). But that's not a bad thing - you can more out of a couple of different sounds then just pushing one until it's overdriven.

Handy FM Hint : years ago a very nice - and knowledgable - chap told me to keep my eye out for the old Akai 1/2 rack exciter. He reckoned that as the exciter generated harmonics, it could 'push' FM sounds so that they were heard in a mix. I always meant to try that out. Alas, those units are incredibly rare over here. Ah well...
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Re: Combining my synths into a 4-voice monster mono synth

Postby Ben Asaro » Sun May 20, 2018 4:44 pm

Wonder if a BBE would do the trick. I have two mono 411s here.
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Re: Combining my synths into a 4-voice monster mono synth

Postby Martin Walker » Sun May 20, 2018 6:32 pm

Try them Ben, and then you can put Dave out of his misery :beamup:

I do however tend to side with Dave that stacking more and more synths won't necessarily make for bigger and better sounds - far better to have two synths complementing each other as far as frequency content and movement is concerned, rather than four or five fighting each other :headbang:


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Re: Combining my synths into a 4-voice monster mono synth

Postby Ben Asaro » Sun May 20, 2018 6:38 pm

Yup, this is purely in the realm of 'no harm, no foul.' :)
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Re: Combining my synths into a 4-voice monster mono synth

Postby Ben Asaro » Tue May 22, 2018 2:26 pm

Had a decent sized play with everything yesterday and my takeaway is as follows:

meh. :tongue:


I really think that the magic happens when you are working paraphonically (can you make paraphonic into an adverb?); for example, running the Mother 32's oscillators output into the MiniBrute, whilst simultaneously using the output from the M32's filter is magic; it's a thick, complex sound with a TONNE of bottom end girth and authority. Same holds true with the Boomstar Oscillation and any combination.

Running them discretely, however, doesn't sound like a layered sound to my ears; it's more like just blobs of sound sitting on top of each other like oil on water.

Another thing I noticed is how I am finding it harder and harder to coax a good sound from the MOPHO; now that I have a lot more experience with analogue synths, the MOPHO seems aimed straight at making techno/rave sounds -- it all sounds rather naff to me, and my favourite patch is the one I made with two simple square waves, slightly detuned, which I then run through the Moog or Arturia for flavouring.

When I first obtained the MOPHO, it was a life saver compared to soft synths -- the sounds were fresh and had a depth that soft synths didn't; I think the advances in the virtual synth realm are really starting to highlight the limitations of the MOPHO. For example, I would love some now-standard features on it like oscillator out, CV sync and CV pitch/gate/velocity in.
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Re: Combining my synths into a 4-voice monster mono synth

Postby Dave B » Tue May 22, 2018 2:34 pm

There are editors out there for the Mopho. Whilst dance may use those kind of sounds, I don't think that it was necessarily aimed at that market. I ended up getting the Tetra which I keep meaning to have a deeper play with. I was planning on building a small setup around it, but I think I've just re-designed it in my head to not include it. Oops.

But it may simply be that you don't like it's sound - that's fine. I have a problem with PRS guitars - they are lovely, but somehow don't appeal to me. Which is ok too. There's lots of other choices out there.

:)
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Re: Combining my synths into a 4-voice monster mono synth

Postby Ben Asaro » Tue May 22, 2018 2:38 pm

Oh, I have Patch Base for the MOPHO.

Truth be told, the manual flat out says, don't use the presets, but then it has this menu dive system ...

One of the reasons I wish it had some modularity is because I could then dissect the synth apart and see what it is I don't like about it -- is it the oscillators? Filter? etc.

I still use the MOPHO; after all, I have it and it's not an inexpensive box -- I just wish I gelled with it better!!
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