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Synthesizers

  • 7256

    Sound Modules

  • 8198

    Synthesis / Sound Design

  • 8106

    Synth Secrets

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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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    Roland MC307 Groovebox

    Sequencing Workstation

    Roland followed their first MC303 Groovebox with the well-specified MC505. Now there's the MC307, with a spec more like the 505, a price closer to that of the 303, and more DJ-friendly features.

    Reviews Jun 2001
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    Roland SPV355

    P/V Pitch-to-voltage Synth (Retro)

    The SPV355, launched in the late '70s, was intended to allow the pitch of instruments such as guitars and saxophones to control analogue synth sounds — which it does with varying degrees of success. Fortunately, it has other tricks up its sleeve, as Chris Carter explains.

    Reviews May 2001
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    Roland VG88

    V-guitar System

    Ever imagined what a guitar with a resinator body would sound like with a humbucker-style pickup, played at the 12th fret through a Marshall stack? John Walden creates just such a virtual instrument, with the help of Roland's VG88 V-Guitar System.

    Reviews Dec 2000
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    Roland XV5080

    Rack Synthesizer/sample Playback Module

    In their eagerly-awaited new flagship synth, Roland have harked back to the sampling technology of their respected S-series samplers, as well as adding some contemporary touches to equip it for the 21st century. Gordon Reid assesses past, present and future.

    Reviews Nov 2000
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    Roland XV3080

    Sound Module

    Roland's JV1080 and 2080 have become the bread-and-butter sound sources for innumerable MIDI studios worldwide. Now the company have introduced their successors in the shape of the XV-series. Derek Johnson and Debbie Poyser test the new XV3080.

    Reviews Jul 2000
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    Roland MRS2 Promars [Retrozone]

    Compuphonic Mono Synthesizer

    The Roland Promars helped to usher in a new era of microprocessor-controlled analogue synthesizer, but has subsequently been all but forgotten. Gordon Reid remembers the world's only 'Compuphonic' monosynth.

    Reviews May 2000
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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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    Roland ED SC8850 Sound Canvas

    General MIDI 2/GS Sound Module

    GM synths have a reputation in hi-tech circles for being dull and samey, but they're undeniably popular — and now the specification has been updated. Derek Johnson & Debbie Poyser take a look at the first of the GM2 generation.

    Reviews Oct 1999
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    Roland GR-Series

    Guitar Synthesizers (Retro)

    Recognising that there are millions of synth-hungry guitarists out there, manufacturers have been trying for years to develop products which would appeal to them. Norm Leete traces the history of Roland's innovative GR range of guitar synths and controllers.

    Reviews Aug 1999
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    Roland JV1010

    Sound Module

    If you were offered a Roland JV2080, complete with Session expansion card and software editor, for around half the price of a JV1080, you'd probably wonder what the catch was. OK, so the JV1010 isn't quite that, but it comes surprisingly close...

    Reviews Jun 1999
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    Roland Alpha Juno 1 & 2

    Synthesizers (Retro)

    Prepare to shed a tear in another near-miss tale of a desirable analogue synth swept aside by the rise of digital technology.

    Reviews Oct 1998
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    Roland SC880

    Sound Canvas GM/GS Module

    One of two General MIDI modules are simply a cut above the rest, and Roland's high-end Sound Canvases fit right into this category. Paul White retires to the studio with the latest in the line and dips into a seemingly limitless palette of sound...

    Reviews Sep 1998
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    Roland Jupiter

    Analogue Polysynths [Retrozone]

    Roland's Jupiter family yielded one or two shining examples of what an analogue polysynth should be.

    Reviews Feb 1998
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    Synth School: Part 2

    Resonance, Envelopes & Routing

    This month, Paul Wiffen looks at ways of modifying a filter's shape, both in terms of frequency response and over time, and considers the importance of routing in connecting together a synth's various sound-generating and -modifying components.

    Techniques Aug 1997
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    Roland MBD1

    Bass & Drums Sound Expansion Module

    Paul White tries out Roland's MBD1 Bass and Drums Sound Expansion module and discovers a wealth of really useable off-the-peg sounds.

    Reviews Jun 1997
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    Roland JV2080

    Synth Module

    Roland's JV1080 was a great success with serious synthesists, and recognising that if it ain't broke there's no need to fix it, Roland have provided more of the same with the new 2080. Derek Johnson's spoilt for choice.

    Reviews Apr 1997
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    Roland Sound Canvas SC88

    Pro GM Sound Module

    Roland's SC88 could be described as a Rolls-Royce in the world of General MIDI sound modules. So is the new upgraded SC88 Pro a luxurious stretch limo complete with mini-bar and luxuriant walnut veneer? Derek Johnson dons his chauffeur's cap and takes it for a drive...

    Reviews Mar 1997

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