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One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Jumpeyspyder » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:56 am

Dave B wrote:I was really shocked by Jumpey's synth - it sounded so obviously like an older Roland that I was confused - so a cunning bluff on his part. Plus it seems that a freebie plugin can sound just as 'real' as a 2 grand vco-based poly!

For the avoidance of confusion, it's the full fat hardware SK-88 Pro Keyboard I've got - not software!
Handy hardware access to filter cutoff and resonance was very useful in my deception (also some very mild overdrive and plenty of chorus from the onboard EFX)

Can't wait to listen to them all again :)
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Rich Hanson » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:02 am

As for Martin's title of mine (along the Blade Runner lines) - I wasn't consciously trying to do a Vangelis but I had recently been watching both Blade Runner films, so I guess it must have snuck in like that, but I can certainly see exactly what he means. Indeed, the sound of the first melody line is scarily similar to that at the start of Chariots of Fire, which I hadn't actually noticed!
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Ramirez » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:19 am

Rich Hanson wrote:As for Martin's title of mine (along the Blade Runner lines) - I wasn't consciously trying to do a Vangelis but I had recently been watching both Blade Runner films, so I guess it must have snuck in like that, but I can certainly see exactly what he means. Indeed, the sound of the first melody line is scarily similar to that at the start of Chariots of Fire, which I hadn't actually noticed!

I was also hearing echoes of "To The Unknown Man". Loved it!


I'm quite taken with the "Jetsons play Kraftwerk" description for my piece.
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Dave B » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:41 am

Sorry Jumpey, should have put a break in between those two statements to make it clear that I was talking about the Helm plugin.

In terms of synth choice, I almost went down the Alpha Juno route myself but decided against it as I would probably end up using sounds that I already knew and loved. And the idea was to push myself a bit out of the comfort zone.

I also dug out my Morpheus from storage. That was interesting but it became apparent that I would really need to spend a lot of time with it first to get the hang of programming it from scratch. If I'd had an editor, I might have given it a shot, but I just didn't have time for a 2 line lcd and a lot of head scratching when going through z-plane filters...

I'm happy with the Chromophone plugin though. I've used it for a few hits, strikes and thumps but never really given it a push to see what it's capable of. Most of my track was tweaked presets which is a bit naughty, but it did give me a variety of starting points for sounds. It reminds me of the old Korg Prophecy in some respects - which is probably because both are physical modelling synths.

And I'm quite happy with the track - it ended up being quite a bit better than I thought it would. So at some point, I'm going to re-work the arrangement and make it a bit more Alan Parsons-y.

:)
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Richie Royale » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:52 am

Dave B wrote:
Hopefully, Richie will now explain just what he did to his Juno to punish our ears like that! Was it just mad eq? Or something else?

I'll check the session when I'm next at the studio. I can't recall doing anything fancy though except cutting the top as there was a click or hiss or something like that.
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Rich Hanson » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:42 pm

I had been thinking of selling the MiniBrute but I've changed my mind after this.
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby blinddrew » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:45 pm

Just to provide a bit of context around track 6 (for the brevity if nothing else), I was really short on time for things this time around until I realised there was some nice serendipity at play.
We've just done a large colleague event at work (a couple of days in a big venue with 500 people, big screens, full AV rig etc) and to kick it all off I created a little speed-reading video (something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQsNMB0b3Nc). This needed a soundtrack, and it had to be custom to match the pace of words, so I pulled this together one afternoon. Midi drumkit into Reaper, 3 layers of taikos and 1of thunder drums from Xpand!2, bit of panning and delay to embiggen the sound. The synth sound is just one chord progression with four different pad sounds all automated to rise and fall at different points.
Think I added a bit of sub-boom on some of the drum hits as well if I recall.

I was pretty chuffed with myself when it all went dark at the event and that first drum hit came in. :)
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:05 pm

Ramirez wrote:
Rich Hanson wrote:As for Martin's title of mine (along the Blade Runner lines) - I wasn't consciously trying to do a Vangelis but I had recently been watching both Blade Runner films, so I guess it must have snuck in like that, but I can certainly see exactly what he means. Indeed, the sound of the first melody line is scarily similar to that at the start of Chariots of Fire, which I hadn't actually noticed!

I'm quite taken with the "Jetsons play Kraftwerk" description for my piece.

Rich: it just goes to show that subconscious influences can sometimes play a big part in our creations (shame that lawyers manage to make money out of it though ;) )

Ramirez: glad you like my description. I can now reveal that yours was my favourite track, largely for its experimental yet controlled nature. At first its soundscapes sounded very retro futuristic (hence the Jetsons reference), but as soon as those robotic electro drums came in Kraftwerk instantly popped into my head. Lovely combo! 8-)

Dave B: on a fresh listen I should have realised that your delicacy of touch was due to physical modelling. The sounds are all delightfully 'new' and fresh', with a hint of FM, and plenty of metallic overtones. Lovely!

blinddrew: Very filmic approach, and I can just imagine the impact in a darkened room with a video presentation :thumbup:


I shall now listen to all the other tracks again to learn more about the capabilities of these synths.

Thank you all for a delightful listening experience! :clap:


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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Rich Hanson » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:08 pm

That must have sounded pretty good over a PA

ETA: aimed at blinddrew as if it wasn't obvious. Got Ninja'd by Martin :D
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby blinddrew » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:12 pm

When we first played it on the day before it was awful and I did have a whole 'my god, what have I done?' moment. But they hadn't sorted all the delays out at that point, once that was done the whole mush cleaned up. There was a healthy kick to it all. :)
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Richie Royale » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:35 pm

My track was constructed with sounds all sourced from the Juno and then some heavy reverb and delay from some outboard.

The drum parts were re-shaped having sampled them in using Cubase's envelope shaper which helps give more punch to the kick and snare. The snare is two different samples at different pitches which helps with the drum roll part making sound more natural.

Parts were EQ'd and there is some bus compression on the drums and probably some on that sub-bass. The only modulation effect is on a organ/pad that has a bit of rotary/Leslie effect on it that at one point was making my speakers visibly move at a very low frequency, even though the sound had no low end. It was resolved with a steep HPF.
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Rich Hanson » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:46 pm

The only effects I used were delay (which is rather obvious :D) and reverb (probably IKMultimedia's CSR Hall although I can't remember off hand), plus there was a bit of flanging on the 'hi-hat' to give it a bit of movement.

One of my favourite techniques is to set an arpegiator running relatively slowly and then using delays to double or quadruple the speed (you can hear them building up at the very start), sometimes with autopan before the delay. I used Logic's arpegiator rather than the MiniBrute's own as its MIDI sync leaves a little to be desired.

Most parts were built up line by line - I sequenced the lines and then audio recorded them straight and then with various quantise settings with small tweaks to the pitch and filter and riding the mod wheel where appropriate. The pad parts are spread across the stereo field to give it some width.

The melody lines were all played in by hand.
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby IAA » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:55 pm

The pad parts are spread across the stereo field to give it some width

I thought that was well done, nice.

On my track, track 5, all FX were the P6’s - they’re surprisingly good I’ve found, such that I’ll often use them rather than my other fave plug ins - soundtoys.

I really enjoyed pushing the P6 it’s great to program and that really helps when you’re after “that sound”.

Nice one Dave.

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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:07 pm

Rich Hanson wrote:I had been thinking of selling the MiniBrute but I've changed my mind after this.

Yep. I re-evaluated it after hearing your Synth Challenge rack - most impressive results!


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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Rich Hanson » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:03 pm

*blushes*
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby MarkyC » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:43 pm

I must admit I was most impressed with the overall finishing of so many of the tracks this time out. Anyone mind sharing their thoughts on their mastering.
DaveB, I really liked the sense of space in yours, tell me the secret recipe please!
I’m not sure if I’m over thinking my approach, did you guys just get the levels rite and take it from there, be really interested.

Oh goodness you do learn a lot doing these OSC things, more than just your synth! I got stuck on the bass part (still don’t like it) and then ended up focusing on that and nothing else much to the detriment of the whole thing. Ended up I hate the blasted track and won’t listen to it for quite some time.
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby MarkyC » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:06 pm

Actual - apologies slightly obsessed with mastering at the moment (and my inabilities) - it may be just great sound choice and arrangement that made you guys sound so good :oops:
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Folderol » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:51 pm

Well certainly some surprises there, and as for people making out they're rubbish - PAH :lol:
I'm Impressed that BillB got my one - especially as I usually have lots of reverb, and this time I used barely a sniff, to try and throw people off.

I had a very strong suspicion track 4 was by log, but not certain enough to eliminate the other (wrong) ones.

Also very interested in the way people used the kit and assembled the result.

I apologise for using Yoshimi again, but I really did try hard with alternatives. The QS 300 was a nightmare having to try to read the screen by torchlight (yes, really). I absolutely {b}must{/b] get around to fixing that backlight. I really don't know how I ever had the patience to program the SY 35 - totally anti-inspiration that one.

On the software side, I tried AMS (a patch cord style modular emulation), but was spending more time working out how to make the patch links than actually getting any sound. Finally, I tried Phasex, which is rather like a knobby modular, and that was the problem - acres of knobs, just total information overload for me.

On a minor technical note, although Yoshimi has a plugin mode, I always use it stand-alone, driven by a software MIDI sequencer.

The final recording is made in a single multi-track pass. I build tracks up by using my hardware synths as dumb keyboards, so playing 1 or 2 tracks at a time, while replaying the others, or very occasionally a click track.

Mastering (such as it is) I do within Yoshimi itself. It has a surprisingly sophisticated built-in mixer setup with multiple routing and three levels of effects.
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Logarhythm » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:53 pm

Well the great reveal is indeed most interesting!
Anyone else find it slightly heart-warming that Richie's earth-shaking bassline came from an analogue?

Having had several listens through the entire playlist I confess to not being particularly happy with my piece - it just sounds a bit ragged and unfinished, which it is :tongue:
Ran out of time despite skiving on the Friday before deadline, but decided it wasn't ok to renege on a charity thing I'd committed myself to for the rest of the weekend and wanted to submit something. Although I'd rather have been doing this than riding a long way around Cheshire in the rain and wind...
The Helm plugin quite impressed me - only downloaded it just before starting the piece and used it as a learning exercise, so there are quite a few sounds that are modified presets rather than proper programming. Still, for a free plugin it was impressively flexible. It's actually kind of donationware so I'll definitely be sending some cash their way this weekend, and might even link them to the thread.
I think my main issue, aside from skill, is that I underestimated the time commitment required for the piece - recreating Wagner's orchestration and then making it work was quite a bit more than I expected, given how short and simple it sounds :lol:
I got fairly close to how I'd envisaged it in my head, but still needs work on levels, panning, a bit of eq in places and the fx - just threw a bit of reverb and delay at some tracks as it was horribly dry, but did not have time to properly finish it. Similarly, I'd planned to manually play a lot of the filter work in but ended up having to stick with the automated stuff I'd set up as a place holder using the LFOs. May try to actually finish it this weekend, having got this far.
As for the comments about it sounding almost classical, alas that is entirely due to the skills of Mr. R. Wagner - I'm barely house trained, let alone classically trained. As I mentioned to Dave when I submitted it, Wagner deserve the credit whereas I only deserve the blame :mrgreen:
For those who don't know the piece, it's from the end of Die Walküre - this is a good example of what it's supposed to sound like: https://youtu.be/Qx55EmiFadg?t=13439
And this is an arrangement that I was listening to when I had the idea that it could be made to work as something other than opera. Alas the pianist (Cyprien Katsaris) is again vastly more skilled than I am: https://youtu.be/dm9Y2Al6Eow
Whoever it was that mentioned the "wall of sound", it's partly the original orchestration, and partly just the scale of the layering I ended up with - this was my track page:
Image

Have to say I really enjoyed the OSC though.
This is the first piece of music I've ever shared publicly and it was a bit nerve wracking, but the fun of working on it and the general vibe around the challenge more than made up for it!
I think I remembered to thank him via PM, but nonetheless thanks again for organising this, Dave :thumbup:
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Re: One Synth Challenge II - The Filter Strikes Back

Postby Rich Hanson » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:09 pm

Shall we have a rest for a while, and then do OSC3? I already know what synth I'm going to use if we do (it's a digital/analogue hybrid)
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