The idea stems from the simple truth that many of us suffer from GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and will often only superficially dig into what a synth can do. Modern synths - of any type - are tremendously powerful machines that are capable of so much, and yet some of us (me particularly) are a sometimes too quick to drop back to the obvious candidates for stock sounds (bass = Pro One, pad = Juno, lead = minimoog, etc).
So the idea of a One Synth Challenge is that we pick one synth and use that for a complete track. With plugins and/or multitrack recording, this is perfectly feasible these days and forces us to dig a little deeper into one of our synths and see just what it can and can’t do when pushed. So we announce a start and specify a submission date and invite all to take part.
Remember : this is just for fun. Whilst some people have produced some amazing tracks, some of us will produce silly skits as well so never feel that you can’t take part. This is as much about the process as it is the results. So go on - have a go!
The Rules :
- We will start a new ‘One Synth Challenge [x]’ thread - please post there to let us know you will be submitting an entry. Typically we run them for about 4 weeks or so
- Pick a synth - any synth to use one the track. Plugin, keyboard, rackmount - anything goes
- Modulars are welcome as well. Please do document the various modules you use
- Where multiple synthesis types are available (such as the Kronos, etc) it is up to your discretion as to whether you want to stick to a single type or combine them.
- Write / re-purpose a track (see note on copyright)
- Use your synth to play all melodic parts - Drums / percussion is optional so feel free to use drum machines/samples/etc as appropriate.
- Mix the track - there are no restrictions here so feel free to mix as appropriate. FX are also allowed so feel free to do strange warping with an Eventide.
- Once the track is mixed then please send a WAV version (rather than an mp3/aac, although FLAC is fine) to me by uploading it to a quiet corner of the internet and generating a download link, then PM’ing me the link. If you want to make this a Soundcloud link, then please do make sure you upload a full quality version and ensure that the track is downloadable. Please also include the model of synth you used to make the track and the name of the track in your PM.
- Once I receive your PM, I will grab the track and stash it locally. I will PM you back to tell you I have done so (in case you want to remove the file)
- Once the closing date is reached / all the entries are in, I will produce an anonymised Soundcloud playlist of the tracks. The idea here is that for a few days, we can listen to the tracks and have fun guessing who wrote what and what synth was used.
- After a few days, I will publish a full list of details about the various tracks - author, name of track and which synth was used so that we can see how good our guesses are
- The thread for each challenge will be sticky for as long as the challenge is running. After the challenge (more than likely when we start the next challenge), I will remove the Soundcloud playlist and post the details of the tracks for the challenge in this thread along with a link (probably dropbox) to somewhere where they can be downloaded. Hopefully, this means that we have a full history somewhere without abusing the Soundcloud free service
Note : Copyright has bitten us on a couple of challenges!
It’s not the end of the world, but it is a pain to deal with. For those who publish their work and copyright it (through Soundcloud - although other distributors may also cause issue), it seems that Soundcloud blocks tracks that it knows about (even in cases where it is a section of a track or uses different instrumentation) and the only way to reinstate them is to dispute the copyright claim (as we implicitly have permission). Whilst I’m not stating that each track should be a whole new track, please be aware that this could cause issues. If you are supplying a copyrighted track, then please let me know in advance and keep an eye on your PMs on the day after the deadline. If you plan to subsequently release the track then, again, if you let me know, I can shift the whole lot over to dropbox and avoid the issue. Finally, if you don’t want the challenge version of the track to be available, then let me know and I will remove it from the playlist / dropbox archive. No worries.
Other than that, it’s just a bit of fun so muck in and enjoy it. We have tried having a theme so if there is an appetite for that we can try theme-ing our submissions, but mostly we just go for it.
Finally, is there a prize? Yes - whoever guesses the most correctly will win the coveted title of ‘Smuggest member of the Forum’. At least until the next challenge. And I will personally - with my own money and everything - buy that person a KitKat and cuppa at the next Synthfest. Wow! It’s all to play for in my book.