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Synthesizers

  • 7256

    Sound Modules

  • 8198

    Synthesis / Sound Design

  • 8106

    Synth Secrets

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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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    Access Virus B synth module.

    Access Virus B & KB

    Modelled Analogue Synth Module, KB Keyboard & v3.0 Software

    The Virus modelled analogue synth has received a hardware upgrade to complement its ever‑evolving software feature set, and is now available in a keyboard version.

    Reviews 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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    Figure 1: [left] An irregular, non-repeating waveform.

    Envelopes, Gates & Triggers

    Synth Secrets

    You press a key on your synth. It plays a note. That's it, right? Wrong. We explain the role of envelopes, gates, and triggers in this deceptively simple process.

    Techniques Nov 1999
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    Of Responses & Resonance

    Synth Secrets

    As Parts 4 & 5 of Gordon Reid's series showed, even the simplest analogue filters mess with your sound in complicated ways. In this Part, he considers what happens when you make the design more sophisticated...

    Techniques Oct 1999
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    Figure 1: A simple low-pass filter.

    Further With Filters

    Synth Secrets

    Gordon Reid continues his series on the theory of subtractive synthesis by delving deeper into the amazingly complex world of the analogue audio filter.

    Techniques Sep 1999
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    Figure 1 [top] and Figure 2.

    Of Filters & Phase Relationships

    Synth Secrets

    Having dealt last month with the concepts of envelopes, oscillators and LFOs, Gordon Reid moves on to the subject of filters, and the havoc they wreak on the signals that pass through them.

    Techniques Aug 1999
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    Figure 1.

    Modifiers & Controllers

    Synth Secrets

    We move on from discussing the harmonic components of sound to explaining how they change over time, and some of the tools subtractive synths give you to emulate this process.

    Techniques Jul 1999
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    Figures 2(a) and 2(b).

    The Physics Of Percussion

    Synth Secrets

    In Part 1 we explained how the tones of most real instruments can be reduced to patterns of harmonics, which can be generated using sine, saw, square or pulse waveforms. This month, we consider the sonic raw materials needed to imitate unpitched percussion.

    Techniques Jun 1999
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    Synth Secrets logo

    Synth Secrets: all 63 Parts on Sound On Sound site

    Gordon Reid's Guide To Synthesis

    How to find this classic multi-part 'synthesis explained' tutorial series on the current Sound On Sound site.

    Techniques May 1999
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    Figures 7, 8 and 9: Shown from top to bottom.

    What's In A Sound?

    Synth Secrets

    In Part 1 of this (63-part) series exploring the world of subtractive synthesis, Gordon Reid goes right back to basics. What are waveforms and harmonics, where do they come from, and how does the theory relate to what we actually hear?

    Techniques May 1999
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    Octave CAT synthesizer.

    Octave CAT, Kitten & Voyetra

    Synthesizer (Retrozone)

    Most US synthesizer manufacturers followed the now all-too-familiar corporate history of rapid growth in the 1970s followed by acrimonious dissolution in the 1980s. What happened to Octave, however, was a little different...

    Reviews May 1999
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    Technosaurus Microcon & Cyclodon.

    Technosaurus Microcon & Cyclodon

    Analogue Monosynth & Sequencer

    Gordon Reid gets twiddling with two small but perfectly formed analogue units aimed at the pockets — literally — of today's aceed‑hungry dancemongers.

    Reviews Apr 1999
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    Fairlight CMI.

    Fairlight CMI (Retrozone)

    Computer Musical Instrument

    Norm Leete waxes lyrical about the mega‑synth that introduced sampling to the world back in 1980 and went on to appear on innumerable hit singles and albums.

    Reviews Apr 1999
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    Emu Proteus 2000 synth module.

    Emu Proteus 2000

    Synthesizer Module

    We meet the reviewer's dream — a powerful synth that's versatile, easy to use, easy to edit and even demonstrates its own patches for you!

    Reviews Mar 1999
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    Synton Fenix semi-modular synthesizer.

    Synton Fénix

    Patchable Semi-modular Analogue Synthesizer

    Two Dutch designers who were influential in the design of the cult '80s Synton Syrinx synth have recently returned to the field, coming up with the exclusive and highly idiosyncratic Fénix synthesizer.

    Reviews Feb 1999
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    Kurzweil K250 workstation keyboard with Apple Macintosh.

    Kurzweil K250 (Retrozone)

    Workstation Keyboard

    Philip Meehan fondly remembers his first love — a keyboard with the voice of an angel, the mind of a genius, and the body of a heavyweight boxer in a big black coat.

    Reviews Feb 1999
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    Analogue Systems RS200 analogue sequencer module.

    Analogue Systems RS200 & System 8000

    Analogue Sequencer & Modular Synthesizer

    Analogue Systems have expanded their RS Integrator modular range to include an analogue step sequencer and several new modules — as well as a new, complete high-end system.

    Reviews Jan 1999
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    Quasimidi Polymorph synthesizer module

    Quasimidi Polymorph

    Sample-based / DSP Modelling Synthesizer

    With several successful dance-oriented synth successes to their name, Quasimidi attempt to buck the trend with their latest offering. The Polymorph does offer plenty to interest the dance fraternity — real-time modulation knobs, and an analogue-style sequencer and user interface — but behind the façade lurks a powerful synth.

    Reviews Jan 1999
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    Studio Electronics SE1 monosynth (photo courtesy of Matrixsynth website).

    Studio Electronics SE1

    Analogue MIDI Monosynth

    In an age of ever‑growing polyphony, Studio Electronics, best known for their vintage synth rebuilds, have returned to first principles — to create the first analogue monosynth for almost a decade. So how does this MIDI‑equipped modern classic measure up to its vintage forbears?

    Reviews Jan 1994

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