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Synthesizers

  • 7256

    Sound Modules

  • 8198

    Synthesis / Sound Design

  • 8106

    Synth Secrets

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    Elka Synthex [Retrozone]

    8-voice Polyphonic Synthesizer

    Paul Wiffen made no secret of his fondness for the OSCar in September's issue, and now reminisces about the other great keyboard love of his life — the Elka Synthex, a synth whose reputation and influence far outweighs the number that were ever sold.

    Reviews Dec 1999
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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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    Electron Sidstation

    Sound Module

    Swedish company Elektron have taken the retro philosophy to new heights, with a synth based around the original SID sound chip from the Commodore 64 home computer. Simon Trask finds out if this is inspiration or insanity...

    Reviews Nov 1999
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    Jen Synthetone SX1000 [Retrozone]

    Monosynth

    Some cheap monosynths from the '70s and '80s are now highly regarded and hugely expensive second-hand buys. Not so the Jen SX1000 which, says Gordon Reid, is an unjustly neglected nugget of synth history.

    Reviews Nov 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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    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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    Yamaha TX81Z [Retrozone]

    FM Synthesizer Module

    Paul Sellars goes back to a time when minimalism ruled in synth design...

    Reviews Oct 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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    Korg NX5R

    Sound Module

    Some people rage against GM food: hi-tech musicians on the other hand, rage against GM synths. But how justified is their hostility? Nicholas Rowland takes on Korg's latest black box...

    Reviews Sep 1999
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    Novation Nova

    Polyphonic Synthesizer

    Novation's latest synth is a more affordable 'laptop' version of their powerful Supernova, which capitalises on its user-friendly front panel while adding the ability to process external audio signals. Simon Trask discovers new life in the synth universe...

    Reviews Sep 1999
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    Oxford Synthesizer Company Oscar

    Synthesizer (Retro)

    Under hypnosis, Paul Wiffen regresses to an earlier life when he was involved in the development and marketing of what is now regarded as a British classic.

    Reviews Sep 1999
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    Analogue Solutions Concussor

    Modular Percussion Synth

    Designing analogue circuitry to recreate drum sounds is nothing new, but Analogue Solutions have gone one stage further with their Concussor system — it's modular, making it probably the world's first commercially available dedicated modular percussion synth. Gordon Reid can scarcely control his voltages...

    Reviews Sep 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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    Jomox Airbase99

    Expander/Synthesizer

    Jomox's Xbase 09 was a clever and eye-catching modern alternative to an expensive vintage Roland TR909 drum machine. Now the Xbase sounds, plus more, are back, in a rackmount module designed for those who prefer to program drum patterns using their own sequencer. Chris Carter airs a few opinions.

    Reviews Aug 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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    Spectral Audio Neptune

    Analogue Synthesizer

    Swiss synth manufacturers Spectral Audio continue their journey into retro space with a new analogue monosynth, the Neptune. Sam Inglis finds out if it's out of this world.

    Reviews Aug 1999
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    Emu E4XT Ultra

    Sampler / Sequencer / Synthesizer

    Is it a synth, a sequencer or a sampler? The answer to all three questions is an emphatic 'yes', as Paul White finds out when he takes the E4XT Ultra into his studio.

    Reviews Aug 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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    DSTEC OS1 Original Syn

    Analogue Monosynth

    dsTEC's eye-catching new analogue mono is bad — but in a good way. Chris Carter reaps the wages of Syn.

    Reviews Jul 1999
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    Korg Electribe EA1 & ER1

    Analogue Modelling Synthesizer & Rhythm Synthesizer

    In all the fuss about last month's launch of the Triton keyboard, you'd be excused for having overlooked Korg's other new products — the diminutive Electribe EA1 synth and ER1 beatbox. As Chris Carter discovers, you won't be able to ignore them for long...

    Reviews Jul 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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