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Synthesizers

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    Access Virus B

    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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    Yamaha GX1 Synthesizer: Part 1

    Retrozone

    In Part 1 of a special two-part feature, Gordon Reid tells the amazing story of Yamaha's ultra-rare GX1 analogue megasynth — and how it ended up in his living room!

    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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    Yamaha CS6X

    Control Synthesizer

    The CS6X has more features than any previous Yamaha Control Synth, with plenty of polyphony, real-time controllers, onboard effects, and basic sampling. You can even fit PLG expansion cards, giving you access not only to fresh sounds, but also other forms of synthesis.

    Reviews Jan 2000
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    Build Your Own Synth Websites

    Net Notes

    With demand increase for original analogue synths, and the second-hand market drying up, more and more people are contemplating building their own. As Ken McBeth explains, all the necessary resources are available on-line...

    Techniques Jan 2000
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    Digisound 80 [Retrozone]

    Modular Synthesizer

    British company Digisound's affordable modular synth may not have the cachet of a Moog or an ARP, but — as Paul Nagle explains — they were innovative, well designed, and sounded great... Additional material by Dave Robinson.

    Reviews 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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    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: [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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    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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    Elektron 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.

    Reviews 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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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