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Synthesizers

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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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    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

    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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    Yamaha Motif [Preview]

    Workstation Synthesizer

    Rumours of a new Yamaha synth were circulating at January's NAMM show, but nothing was confirmed until a few weeks later, when SOS were invited to Yamaha's London R&D Centre. Matt Bell meets the Motif...

    Reviews Apr 2001
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    Cheetah MS6

    Analogue Synth Module (Retro)

    British computer peripherals manufacturer Cheetah ventured into the hi-tech music jungle in the 1980s and went down in budget gear history. David Harman goes on a synth safari with their MS6 analogue rack synth.

    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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    Emu Mo'Phatt

    Urban Dance Synth

    The latest in Emu's range of style-specific sound modules is bright purple, stuffed with 32Mb of 'street' sounds, and bristling with urban attitude. Paul Farrer takes a closer look.

    Reviews 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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    Waldorf Micro Q

    Polyphonic Rack Synth

    Stardate 02/2001: the most compact and affordable of Waldorf's bright yellow workstation synths is beaming into the SOS Editorial dome. Is it the work of a superior intelligence, or does it have all the appeal of a Vulcan nerve-pinch? Mind-meld with Paul Nagle and find out...

    Reviews Feb 2001
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    Korg PS3100

    Polyphonic Synthesizer [Retrozone]

    It may not be well known, but it is sought-after. Simon Lowther relates the history and mystery of an early 48-note polyphonic analogue synth and its well-connected family.

    Reviews 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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    Novation Supernova II

    Modelling Workstation

    The Supernova modelling workstation earned a pile of accolades for its excellent 'analogue' sounds, superb multitimbral effects, and its user-friendly, knobular interface. But Novation have now withdrawn the original and replaced it with the Supernova II. Can something so good get better still?

    Reviews Dec 2000
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    Emu Systems Virtuoso 2000

    128-voice Virtual Orchestra Module

    Continuing their tradition of themed rackmount modules, Emu have unleashed a 128-voice virtual orchestra in a box. A virtuoso endeavour or virtual insanity?

    Reviews Dec 2000
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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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    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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    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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    Korg Triton Rack

    Expandable Sound Module/Sampler

    Korg follow up their top-flight Triton workstation with a sophisticated rackmount expander. The new model sacrifices some features but enhances many others and adds support for the mLAN music network standard. Simon Trask racks it up.

    Reviews 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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    Analogue Systems Sorceror

    Modular Analogue Keyboard Synthesizer

    West-country company Analogue Systems have been in the vanguard of modern modular synth construction for several years now, most notably with their RS Integrator system. Using Integrator modules, they've produces their first freely configurable keyboard modular. Paul Nagle sees if the spirit of patchable modular keyboards is alive, well, and living in Cornwall...

    Reviews 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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