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Synthesizers

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    Sound Modules

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    Synthesis / Sound Design

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    Synth Secrets

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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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    Crumar Spirit analogue monosynth.

    Crumar Spirit (Retrozone)

    Analogue Monosynth

    If the Crumar Spirit is one of the best analogue monosynths the world has ever known, how come you've never heard of it? Gordon Reid explains...

    Reviews 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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    Alesis A6 Andromeda front panel.

    Alesis A6 Andromeda

    16-Voice Analogue Synthesizer

    Looking like a star cruiser, or something from the film 2001 (rather than just the year), Alesis' Andromeda is the first analogue polysynth that approaches the complexity of a digital workstation. But does analogue necessarily equate to quality?

    Reviews 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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    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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    Figure 3: [top] Creating a. Figure 4: [bottom] The chromatic scale generated by the configuration in.

    Priorities & Triggers

    Synth Secrets

    In these days of 64-note polyphony and 32-part multitimbrality, it's easy to forget the importance of note-priority systems in analogue monosynths — yet they can have a drastic effect on what you hear when you play or trigger an old synth. Gordon Reid provides a refresher course.

    Techniques Oct 2000
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    Figure 1: Smoothing a stepped waveform (or vice versa?).

    From Sample & Hold To Sample-rate Converters (2)

    Synth Secrets

    Sample & Hold modules, as explained last month, convert a continuously varying signal into a stepped series of fixed pitches. And this, as we shall see, is the basis of what we know as 'digital audio'...

    Techniques Sep 2000
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    Figure 1: [top] The output from an envelope follower. Figure 2: [bottom] A more sophisticated envelope follower.

    From Sample & Hold To Sample-rate Converters (1)

    Synth Secrets

    Gordon Reid introduces the synthesis modules that allow you to create a number of commonly used 'random' effects, and their close relatives — analogue sequencers.

    Techniques Aug 2000
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    Figure 1: A typical setup for processing an external signal using a Minimoog.

    An Introduction To ESPs & Vocoders

    Synth Secrets

    We turn our attention to the effects that can be achieved when subtractive synthesis components are applied not to the output from oscillators, but to real-world sounds — such as human speech.

    Techniques Jul 2000
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    Figure 10: [top]. Figure 11: [bottom].

    An Introduction To Additive Synthesis

    Synth Secrets

    Every pitched sound can be thought of as a collection of individual sine waves at frequencies related to the fundamental. Gordon Reid introduces a powerful method of synthesis that works by manipulating these individual harmonics.

    Techniques Jun 2000
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    Yamaha's flagship FM synthesizer, the DX1.

    More On Frequency Modulation

    Synth Secrets

    Last month, we examined the frankly scary maths allowing you to predict the audible effects of Frequency Modulation. This time, although the maths gets even tougher, Gordon Reid relates the theory to the practical implementation of FM synthesis on Yamaha's digital synths, as well as modular and non-modular analogues.

    Techniques May 2000
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    An Introduction To Frequency Modulation

    Synth Secrets

    As explained last month, audio-frequency modulation of the amplitude of a signal can be a powerful synthesis tool. The possibilities expand still further when we consider what happens when you use one audio-frequency signal to modulate the frequency of another...

    Techniques Apr 2000
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    Kurzweil K2600X header.

    Kurzweil K2600X

    Keyboard Workstation

    Kurzweil's latest workstation is very much the product of evolution, rather than revolution. Paul Ward finds out whether it's keeping pace with the rest of the synth world...

    Reviews Apr 2000
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    Minimodular rack synth.

    Analogue Solutions Minimodular

    Dual-oscillator Synthesizer

    Analogue Solutions' diminutive Minimodular contains all the necessaries to make up a miniature patchable synth. Gordon Reid arches an eyebrow at this innovative and compact sound source.

    Reviews Apr 2000
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    Touched By Sound DRM1 Syncussion

    Touched By Sound DRM1 Syncussion

    Analogue Percussion Synthesizer

    If sparkling analogue drum sounds are what you need to turn your tracks to gold, Germany's Touched By Sound company may have the answer in the form of the DRM1 eight-piece analogue drum module.

    Reviews Apr 2000

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