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Synthesis / Sound Design

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    Analysing Metallic Percussion

    Synth Secrets

    The task of synthesizing convincing metallic percussion defeated many synth giants — you only need to listen to Kraftwerk's weedy cymbals on 'The Model' to be persuaded of that. So why is it so difficult? We find out...

    Techniques May 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 0302 header artwork.

    Synthesizing Drums: The Snare Drum

    Synth Secrets

    If you thought synthesizing realistic bass drums was complex, that's nothing compared to snares. So how is it that the analogue snare sound is so well known? And how do you go about creating it? We find out...

    Techniques Mar 2002
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    Figure 1(a): A patch to synthesize the bass drum.

    Practical Bass Drum Synthesis

    Synth Secrets

    Moving from last month's theoretical bass drum synth patch to its practical application on affordable analogue synths, we also take a look at how the world's most famous drum machines produce this fundamental rhythm sound.

    Techniques Feb 2002
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    David Vorhaus

    Electronic Music Pioneer

    One of the original pioneers of electronic music in Britain, David Vorhaus has remained at the cutting edge of the genre for over 30 years.

    People Feb 2002
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    Bass Drum artwork header image.

    Synthesizing Drums: The Bass Drum

    Synth Secrets

    Ever wanted to synthesize unpitched membranophones? No? Well, you might if you knew that bass and snare drums are of this percussion type. We show you how...

    Techniques Jan 2002
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    Figures 1,2 and 3

    Practical Percussion Synthesis: Timpani

    Synth Secrets

    Building on the theory of what makes up the sound of timpani, this month's Synth Secrets reveals how to synthesize realistic kettle drums using a Korg MS20 and a Yamaha DX7.

    Techniques Dec 2001
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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: A simple six-oscillator synthesizer.

    The Theoretical Acoustic Guitar Patch

    Synth Secrets

    Having explained last month the reasons why analogue synthesis of guitar sounds should be well-nigh impossible, Gordon Reid puts the theory to the test...

    Techniques Sep 2001
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    Synth Secrets Aug 2001 header image of acoustic guitar being played.

    Synthesizing Plucked Strings

    Synth Secrets

    Having dealt exhaustively with the mechanics of brass instruments and how to go about synthesizing them, we turn to instruments that use plucked strings to generate their sound, taking the complexities of the acoustic guitar as an example.

    Techniques Aug 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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    Brass Synthesis On A Minimoog

    Synth Secrets

    Last month we looked at how analogue modules can reproduce the sound of a real trumpet. All very well if you own a wall-sized modular system — but what if your means are more limited? Gordon Reid adapts theory to practice with a Minimoog.

    Techniques Jun 2001
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    Figure 18.

    Synthesizing Brass Instruments

    Synth Secrets

    Gordon Reid builds on the acoustic theory of wind and brass instruments he introduced last month, and explains how to produce a convincing analogue trumpet sound.

    Techniques May 2001
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    Figure 1(a): The stretched string.

    Synthesizing Wind Instruments

    Synth Secrets

    Gordon Reid embarks on a journey to synthesize convincing woodwind and brass. This month, he considers how these instruments make their sounds in real life.

    Techniques Apr 2001
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    Figure 15: Part of a formant synthesizer constructed from multi-mode filters.

    Formant Synthesis

    Synth Secrets

    Ever heard a synth talk? If you have, it's due to formant synthesis. Gordon Reid explores the theory of analogue formant synthesis, how it relates to the human voice and modern digital synths like Yamaha's FS1R.

    Techniques Mar 2001
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    Figure 14: Modelling an acoustic space using analogue modules.

    From Springs, Plates & Buckets To Physical Modelling

    Synth Secrets

    Onboard effects may seem like a relatively recent synth innovation, but even old modular synths offered analogue effects. Although they were basic, the freely patchable nature of modular synths allowed them to be used to create convincing acoustic instrument sounds — thus effectively physical modelling. Gordon Reid explains how.

    Techniques Feb 2001
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    Figure 1: [top-left] A paraphonic synthesizer. Figure 2: [bottom-left] A fully polyphonic analogue synthesizer. Figure 3: [right] Octave divider boards.

    From Polyphony To Digital Synths

    Synth Secrets

    This time, Gordon Reid explains how various analogue synth manufacturers attempted to create workable polyphonic synths by employing digital technology.

    Techniques Jan 2001
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    Figure 1: [top-left] A simple monosynth. Figure 2: [bottom-left] A four-note broken chord played on a low-note-priority monosynth. Figure 3: [top-right] A four-

    Introducing Polyphony

    Synth Secrets

    Having explored the way monophonic and duophonic analogue keyboards work, Gordon Reid puts away his Minimoog and Odyssey and descends into the complex world of polyphonic synths to a flourish of complex jazz chords.

    Techniques Dec 2000
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    EMS Synthi 100.

    All About EMS: Part 2

    Exploration

    In the final part of our two-part Retrozone, Gordon Reid charts EMS's further achievements, the reasons for their decline in...

    Music Business Dec 2000
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    Figure 3: [top] Creating a. Figure 4: [bottom] The chromatic scale generated by the configuration in.

    Duophony

    Synth Secrets

    Gordon Reid discovers that two's company, as he investigates how manufacturers stretched the capabilities of analogue monosynths to offer the magnificent total of two notes at a time...

    Techniques Nov 2000

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