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Can you remember it all??

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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby The Elf » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:53 pm

It's all about layering, mate. The K1 on its own sounds pathetic, but layer it with other synths and... magic happens! Try something like an analogue string pad on a decent synth - sounds fine-ish. Now sneak a K1 string into the mix - heaven! Same principle as the new Prophet X, I suppose.

It's one of those things you have to hear for yourself. Maybe I should make up a couple of examples...

Yep, the K1 is pretty duff on its own. I bought and sold a K1R before I realised this trick. Now I have to borrow one when I can. I really should land one of my own.
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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby desmond » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:01 pm

I did like the string sounds on the K1 (I also had a K1r, bought from my local music shop - although I had to return the first one, as all the sounds had reversed cymbals in them - seriously, I'd pick a string preset, and I'd get reversed cymbals in there. Something seriously wrong in the wave chips, I think!)

It was great as an inexpensive way to expand a MIDI setup (in a similar way to something like a D110 or Proteus) but I don't miss it. Although I kind of regret not sampling some of the sounds before selling it on, just to be able to recreate some old stuff.

K1 modules are very popular in the MIDI accordion world, apparently. That's where mine went, poor little thing... :headbang:
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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby BillB » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:59 pm

Eddy, no criticism from a fellow synth obsessive, but I am curious. What do you do with three SY85s and an SY77 which (I have read) contains the AWM equivalent of an SY85?
I mean, that adds up to SY340! 8-)
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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby BillB » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:09 pm

The Elf wrote:Now sneak a K1 string into the mix - heaven!
Elf, do you think there is something particular about the K1 sound / frequency spectrum, or could this approach apply to the combination of digitally generated waves (eg FM) with analogue strings?
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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:43 pm

BillB wrote:Eddy, no criticism from a fellow synth obsessive, but I am curious. What do you do with three SY85s and an SY77 which (I have read) contains the AWM equivalent of an SY85?
I mean, that adds up to SY340! 8-)

Heh fair question.

The SY77 I bought mainly for its FM capabilities - I have no interest in the AWM waveforms unless they are used as operators in an FM sound. It came out when I was 19 (and a poor student) and I lusted after one so much it hurt, so when one popped up on ebay a few years ago for £150 or so, it was a no-brainer. I'd have bought it just to own it. As it happens, the FM sounds it makes are pretty darn useful so it has a place in my current setup.

I bought my first SY85 for £1500 as soon as they came out. I got it on HP and paid it off using the money I earned gigging with it. That board still works just fine (Yamaha even upgraded the motherboard in it for free for me back in the day, as I reported a bug in the OS they didn't know about).

The SY85 is, in my opinion, the most under-estimated digital synthesizer ever made. The filters sound absolutely amazing and it's capable of absolutely huge sounds. The fact it's got the build quality of a tank while remaining portable is a bonus.

As real-world examples of the thing in use:

  • The big fat breathy string-like pad and the distorted lead synth in the intro to https://soundcloud.com/eddy-deegan/01-chasing-rainbows are recorded 'as is' straight from the SY85
  • That same pad is used extensively in the background to my contribution to the Parting Glass project as well https://soundcloud.com/eddy-deegan/the- ... laboration (the further you go into the track, the more pronounced it is, and it's an absolutely gorgeous sound to my ears)
  • 99% of this track is a straight direct-to-stero recording from the SY85 sequencer: https://soundcloud.com/eddy-deegan/a-touch-of-class (the only part that isn't is the harpsichord in the last few bars of the end section)
  • The track https://soundcloud.com/eddy-deegan/raven is 100% a direct-to-stereo recording of the the SY85's onboard sequencer (the fidelity of the recording isn't that wonderful, but that's not the SY85s fault). Even the guitar part is the SY85. Recorded in Replay 16 on the Atari ST and transferred to the 4Mb sample RAM over MIDI (it took ages to transfer!), then played as a drumkit with guitar samples on each key IIRC.

I bought the second SY85 many years later for £300 from one of those 'we resell junk you don't want any more' shops in case my original ever stopped working, and I was given the 3rd for nothing because word got around how much I revere them :D

I've little doubt I'll end up with a 4th at some point. Probably more too :tongue:
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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:29 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:[*]99% of this track is a straight direct-to-stero recording from the SY85 sequencer: https://soundcloud.com/eddy-deegan/a-touch-of-class (the only part that isn't is the harpsichord in the last few bars of the end section)

Image

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:


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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby blinddrew » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:58 pm

Somewhat randomly, can anyone else tell from the mouth shape that the person in Martin's gif (I know not who it is) is pronouncing the last word 'gaaaad'?
It struck me straightaway and now I'm strangely fascinated.
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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby desmond » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:00 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:Recorded in Replay 16 on the Atari ST and transferred to the 4Mb sample RAM over MIDI (it took ages to transfer!)

Heh, I remember this well - I used an RM50 (drum module that uses the same engine as the TG500, the rackmount version of the SY85), and had the sample ram in it, and I also used the MIDI SDS using Replay 16 and a cool SDS tool for the Atari at the time called SampleC...

Those Replay 16 carts were dreadful though... :headbang:
But hey, it was an awful lot cheaper than an S1000...
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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby The Elf » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:47 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:[*]The track https://soundcloud.com/eddy-deegan/raven is 100% a direct-to-stereo recording of the the SY85's onboard sequencer
Straight onto my 'keeper' list!!!

Brilliant - right up my street!
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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby Folderol » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:16 pm

He's not just a pretty face is he? hadn't spotted this one before, really enjoyed it.
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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:35 pm

blinddrew wrote:Somewhat randomly, can anyone else tell from the mouth shape that the person in Martin's gif (I know not who it is) is pronouncing the last word 'gaaaad'?
It struck me straightaway and now I'm strangely fascinated.

I suspect he's American ;)


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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby blinddrew » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:03 pm

Indeed, it's just never been quite so obvious to me on a gif.

Anyway getting back on topic, just listening to The Raven now, very work Mr Deegan. :)
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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:55 pm

Thank you for the lovely feedback all - the main point was to give some credence to my love of the SY85, but it's always nice to hear people like one's work. It's been too long (about 2 years I think) since I did anything new and I need badly to get more stuff recorded :D
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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby zenguitar » Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:52 am

Eddy, one of my long term projects has been to 'get my head around' FM synthesis. Obviously, the DX7 is a classic, and also has a great reputation for it's keyboard as a controller. But how does the SY77 compare? I seem to recall reading that it is a bit of a hidden gem, DX7 on steroids and a very good keybed too.

It would be useful and interesting to hear your opinions.

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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:36 am

You have to love a bit of FM synthesis really ... though as for 'getting your head around it' I've always found that when editing a sound, what you may have had in mind as the result is far from what you end up with, the smallest changes affecting the sound greatly. This of course is part of the fun!

Describing the SY77 as a DX9 on steroids sums it up quite well really. The keybed is virtually effortless to play - a really nice feel actually, and perfect for fast playing. I prefer it to the Motif keyboards (even the new ones, up to and including the Montage). I'd say the closest feel to any other board I've owned is the keybed you get with the 73-note Korg M3/Radias, but that's probably quite subjective, and in my case once I'm in the zone on a synth I don't really notice the feel of a keybed any more, it's all about the noises.

Given the similarity of the FM architecture, I'd choose an SY77 over the DX any day of the week. I'm pretty sure it can do anything that a DX can do plus of course you have the AWM section, onboard FX (which are not bad considering) and sequencer to supplement things as well as the more powerful FM section (same number of operators but more algorithms and variations of source waveforms)

It's also got two modulation wheels (in addition to the pitchbend) which is something I'd like to see on more synths. One is neutral when centred (thus has positive and negative throw) and the other is the usual neutral-when-all-the-way down - it's surprisingly useful for creative performance purposes though it's 50/50 that you'll grab the wrong one when you forget there are two :-)

Sound-wise, I like it a great deal. If I was an FM expert I suspect I'd love it like I love the SY85 - though it's less of a 'wall of sound' than the SY85 (hehe), it's a very different animal, has a certain something about it and does all the usual things you'd expect from a really good FM synth, plus a few you only get from an exceptional one (mmm... RCM and multiple feedback loops!).

I've still not spent as much time with it as I'm intending to, but I'm looking forward to creating some new sounds myself (and trying to recreate an amazing lead sound I had on the DX9 and haven't been able to get anything close to since) and using them in some new music. I can tell from the manual it's got a lot of depths to explore.

Build-wise it's not quite as tank-like as the DX7 but it's still a solid bit of gear. I suspect the weak points would be the screen/backlight and microswitches as both have suffered a little over the years on mine. I'm planning to replace the backlight on mine for sure - and may end up giving it some replacement switches as well.

Overall my feeling is that the presence of an SY77 pretty much renders the presence of a DX9 unnecessary.

(I've pondered trying to pick up an SY99, but I think that would be overkill given the other SYs I have floating around the place!)

Dave may well have more opinions all round of course ... and I'd be interested to hear them if he does :tongue:
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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:01 am

PS: You might find the FM sections of this an interesting read by the way, if you haven't found it already: http://www.herbert-janssen.de/doc/sy-prog.pdf
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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby Dave B » Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:21 am

I'm pretty much in agreement - the 77 is a great machine and a bit of a beast. The 99 is also worth having as it has some sample memory that you can use to drive the operators. So in theory it's a monster, but I suspect that only a handful of people ever really pushed it hard and the rest of us just loved playing it. For the time, it had a great Rhodes and a nice dirty organ that were eminently playable. And the rest of the stuff.

As to learning FM programming, my starting recommendation is always to get the dexedit plugin and go through that as it shows you in a very pretty way what all the controls do. And it sounds perfect. If you 'get' FM, you quickly can move on to something like the 77/99 and combining with AWM gets you much better sounds than FM alone. If you don't 'get' FM (and many people don't - I've only got a shaky grasp of it and only got that as I learned on an old CX5M computer with a 4op editor) then you've not wasted any investment in old hardware that may be fickle to shift.
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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby zenguitar » Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:17 pm

Thanks Eddy and Dave, really helpful. That PDF looks really useful too.

:clap:

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Re: Can you remember it all??

Postby minime123 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:04 pm

As a vintage synth dealer, I think I've had just about everything.
But only the ones I've kept are worth remembering.
:ugeek:
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