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Synthesis / Sound Design

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    The Secret Of The Big Red Button

    Synth Secrets

    After more than five years, Synth Secrets reaches its conclusion (and conclusions!). Will we ever look at synthesis in quite the same way again?

    Techniques Jul 2004
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    More Creative Synthesis With Delays

    Synth Secrets

    In the penultimate instalment of this long-running series, we delve deeper into what can be achieved with just a few delays and some creative routing...

    Techniques Jun 2004
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    Roland XV & JV Power User Tips: Part 4

    Programming Masterclass

    In the final part of our series on Roland's family of sound modules, we show you how the more advanced synthesis parameters can breathe life into your patches.

    Techniques Feb 2004
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    Roland XV & JV Power User Tips: Part 3

    Programming Masterclass

    We show you how to edit and save your synth's Patches, and help you maximise the effects potential of your multitimbral setups. Plus there's advice on troubleshooting thorny panning problems, and tips on automating levels without changing your individual sounds.

    Techniques Jan 2004
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    Roland XV & JV Power User Tips: Part 2

    Programming Masterclass

    We untangle the intricacies of the XV file system, as well as track down some useful software utilities and web sites for Roland synth users.

    Techniques Dec 2003
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    Roland XV & JV Power User Tips: Part 1

    Programming Masterclass

    Ubiquitous though Roland's long-lived range of sound modules appear to be, not many users get the best out of the vast synthesis and processing potential they offer. So here's how to coax circus-pony tricks out of your studio workhorse.

    Techniques Nov 2003
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    Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 3]

    Synth Secrets

    When trying to copy a real piano with an analogue synth, if one patch doesn't quite do it, two just might...

    Techniques Jan 2003
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    Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 2]

    Synth Secrets

    How did they make that sound on a subtractive synth? We continue to dissect the analogue 'Acoustic Piano' Performance from Roland's 1986-vintage JX10.

    Techniques Dec 2002
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    Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 [Part 1]

    Synth Secrets

    As explained last month, synthesizing the sound of an acoustic piano is difficult, but it can be done reasonably realistically, as the 1986-vintage Roland JX10 shows. We find out how Roland managed it...

    Techniques Nov 2002
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    Figure 1: Synthesizing a cymbal using the Nord Modular.

    Synthesizing Bells

    Synth Secrets

    Having come up last month with a reasonably realistic cymbal patch, it's time to take the principles of synthesizing metallic percussion one stage further, and produce bell sounds. But there's more to this than you might think...

    Techniques Aug 2002
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    Practical Snare Drum Synthesis

    Synth Secrets

    Last month, we revealed just how hideously complex the sound-producing mechanism of the snare drum can be. Nevertheless, synthesizing the sound is not as hard as it seems, as we find out with the aid of a Roland SH101...

    Techniques Apr 2002
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    Synth Secrets Nov 2001 artwork image of timpani and percussion.

    Synthesizing Percussion

    Synth Secrets

    Synth Secrets turns its attention to the synthesis of percussion instruments, beginning with pitched drums.

    Techniques Nov 2001
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    Synth Secrets Oct 2001 Parker Fly electric guitar header image.

    A Final Attempt To Synthesize Guitars

    Synth Secrets

    Having proved that subtractive synthesis of an acoustic guitar is completely impractical, Gordon Reid tries his hand at the electric variety, and deconstructs some past attempts to emulate the sound via analogue means.

    Techniques Oct 2001
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    Figure 1: Top panel of a Roland SH101.

    Roland SH101 & ARP Axxe Brass Synthesis

    Synth Secrets

    Gordon Reid concludes his attempts to adapt an idealised analogue brass patch so that it can be programmed on real synths. This month, he looks at the Roland SH101 and ARP Axxe.

    Techniques Jul 2001
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    Figure 1: [top] A simple synthesizer. Figure 2: [bottom] Applying this control voltage to the oscillator frequency would result in a short burst of vibrato.

    Modulation

    Synth Secrets

    In this month's instalment of his series on the basics of subtractive synthesis, Gordon Reid considers the magic ingredient that makes all the other elements sound interesting...

    Techniques Feb 2000
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    An Introduction To VCAs

    Synth Secrets

    Having laid bare the inner workings of oscillators, contour generators and filters, Gordon Reid turns his attention to something which at first sight seems entirely self-evident. Can the humble voltage-controlled amplifier really hold any Synth Secrets?

    Techniques Jan 2000
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    Figure 1: A swelled brass loudness contour.

    More About Envelopes

    Synth Secrets

    Gordon Reid reveals some of the limitations of the 'classic' ADSR envelope with reference to a practical synthesis example, and explains some of the different types of envelopes found on 'classic' analogue synths, from AR envelopes right up to highly flexible digitally controlled EGs.

    Techniques Dec 1999
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