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Going to the Dark Side with Synthesizer Obsession

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Skully, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I have 2 motu midi timpiece USB patch bays in the computer system to lock to the virtual instruments , and I installed a 3rd in the Synth set up so i can lock every thing down to the daws as well as the hardware synths providing you have one master and slave all the rest its not an issue I've had in the past.

    I bought a 3rd party operating system for the Behringer BCR 2000 called a Zaquencer , it re writes the operating program for the BCR and turns it into a 4 chanel X 32 step programable digital sequencer when all is up and running I may get another , but thats future talk right now

     
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  2. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I used to have one of these , my first synth LOL

    1-1.jpg
     
  3. Cadillac_Mike

    Cadillac_Mike Tele-Meister

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    5e9c674c5631d11e3a1d14145c682f84_400x400.jpeg
     
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  4. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    You're doing it right. I try too avoid going to deep with the MIDI. My set-up isn't used for anything approaching "performance," so I don't need to do any vaguely complex routing.
     
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  5. craigs63

    craigs63 Tele-Holic

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    One thing I liked about the "early" synth sounds vs. the DX7/FM and sample-player era, the older synths had portamento.
    I've still got an old Korg M1, and a Kawai k1M (been meaning to sell that one for about 10 years now). VSTs sound better to me than either of those.
     
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  6. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    Back in 1986, I bought a Casio SK-1, the first really cheap sampling synth, and I did some neat things with it, a Telecaster and a Tascam Portastudio. I had one and my girlfriend had one. I ended up with both, and one is still buried in a corner of my garage.

    I remember its portamento fondly.



     
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  7. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Holic

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    I have played with VSTs. If I need a simple keyboard part for my recording I can do it but it takes a lot of time and effort and it is not what I would call fun.

    I play regularly with a couple of great keyboard players but they are more interested in playing than twisting knobs which is something that I would like to bring more into our musical efforts. I guess those who are more interested in sound design are not usually the best keyboard players. What is your take on that?

    Since I am keen on making weird sounds but not much of a keyboard player I got me a couple of nice things last year, Lyra 8 and the Pipe from Somasynths.
     
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  8. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    I would tend to agree with that.

    Wow. That's going deep with the noise making. And those aren't cheap. When I first saw The Pipe, thought it was a small breath control tool, but that thing is freakin' huge!
     
  9. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've looked at the RK-002 to take care of the braindead polychaining on the Roland Boutiques. The Roland implementation first uses all the voices on the first unit, and only then overflows onto the second. The problem is that when you have long release tails, you can get sounds cutting off when a unit with larger polyphony would give more notes before cutting off. What it should do when polychaining is to alternate notes between units. And if you know how many voices are downstream, all you need to know are the total number of voices in the system. The RK-002 can alternate MIDI note events between units. Unfortunately, though, it's a dead end solution, as there's no way to use MIDI out from the units in that case in a complete manner. I guess you can't have everything. And I'd watch out for SysEx going through another processor.

    For routing, I prefer old JL Cooper MSB II units. I currently have 5 in my system. 8 in, 8 out, 64 presets each. I have them set up so that one IN/OUT pair from 4 of the units feed into the first unit. I also have a MOTU Mid Express serial version that I had to take with one of the JL Cooper units, but I have to be careful of how I use it, because I can't program it.

    Most of my MIDI is just hooking up controllers to noisemakers, with the occasional SysEx upload or download. As I say, I'm not sequencing.

    I have that much MIDI just like I have that many audio channels. I don't want to have to patch to get to things. The most I want to have to do is hit 1 MIDI button and move 1 volume slider. I'm not quite there, but what I have is acceptable.
     
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  10. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes, I like the physical knobs on my Peak.

    The keyboard player in my band would pretty much use his synth for saw leads so there may be something to the idea that real kb players are less interested in actual syntheseis.
     

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  11. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    After spending a few pages extolling the virtues of ahardware synths with physical knobs, I must admit that I've really been enjoying the Arturia V Collection 8. The other day I put a vocoder part into a song (totes cheese, I know, but it's supposed to be dance-y), and last night I built a drum kit out of simulated sex sounds I made (gross, but the song is about a sex club) and loaded into its emulation of the Emulator.

    As I dive into these vintage keyboard emulations and study their history, it's amusing to see how so many of those cool "original" sounds were presets, like the opening Synclavier clang of "Beat It" (Synclavier) and the Fairlight's shakuhachi (bamboo flute) setting that was used in the intro of Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" and, if my ears don't deceive me, Eurythmics' "Conditioned Soul."



     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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  12. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire

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    Don't forget that the X Files whistle is a Proteus 1 preset.
     
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  13. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Synthy guy here too off and on. I had a lot of seat time with the DX7 when it was new and a Juno 60, both purchased by the HS music dept when I was in school and backing the vocal ensemble. I got a Yamaha SY22 after graduating, then traded up for an Ensoniq EPS16+.

    I still despise the sound of most FM synths, including the plinky DX7 presets that OP mentioned. Big 'yes' to the Arturia collections, they are a ton of fun to play with, I also really like their Pigments synth and XFer's Serum.

    Also, I loved Electric Cafe start to finish, but got into Kraftwerk late, around '85.
     
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  14. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    About presets and dialing it in - a lot of those big rockers in the 70s experimenting with synths had techs in the studio to dial them in for them (man, i wish that was my job, hahaha). so that's sort of like a precursor to presets.

    But with regards to the DX7 - FM synthesis (or in the DX7's case Phase Modulation) really is one of the trippiest types of synthesis. Others mentioned the presets, and that is true, that's a bit what ruined their use. And they would be much better served by less operators and actual knobs on the panel instead. But as a canvas for synthesis - you can really get super wild stuff that is impossible with analog, and maybe it's a bit of superstition on my part, but i find the older units with 12 bit DACs and maybe not the best quality output amplifiers have a nicer quality than newer software implementations.

    But yeah, you don't have to use harmonic ratios, you can do all sorts of stuff with feedback, PM is possibly my favorite form of synthesis. I'm a modular guy, and I always make sure that in my rig I have both analog synthesis and 2 operator PM synthesis, preferably where the modulator has either wavetables or waveshaping. it's indispensable for drones, basslines and percussive sounds. the way i describe the sound is usually like "it sounds like sega genesis on whippits."

    I think the thing that really killed synthesis for a while in popular music was PCM. Like the Korg M1, sounds like cheap trash, who cares about emulating real instruments, this is about SYNTHS. however wavetable implementations like waldorf are super cool. especially when used in conjunction with FM synthesis. just check out the synthesis technology cloud terrarium. but even with nothing too fancy going on in the oscillators, you can't convince me the OSCar is not a sick synth.

    both of those digital types of synthesis also sound great running through an analog filter, especially with some (audio or CV) feedback too. there's no rules to say you can't mix and match. with the right amount of analog dirt, there's no reason to be an analog purist. i was for a while, and i found i ran into a wall pretty quickly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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  15. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    I believe that on balance, the DX7 was a force of evil in the world of music.

    I've looked into both Pigments and Serum, and I might have to pull the trigger on Pigments. Arturia has a great workflow, they're generous with their licenses (good for 6 computers, IIRC) and their products sound good.

    I came to Kraftwerk even later, in the late '90s. I bought all their classic albums in a bunch, "Autobahn" through "Electric Cafe." My initial reaction was, "Oh, no. I've made a big mistake," but I quickly came to love them. I can vaguely recall hearing some of their music back in the day. I think that the nearby junior college where I saw free film screenings might've played "Autobahn" and bits of "The Man Machine" before showings, and I think I heard some "Computer World" here and there. I did, however, buy Neil Young's synth album "Trans." Years later, after I did my big Kraftwerk buy, I realized how much that album was influenced by them, although GetBent cites another artist as its primary influence.
     
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  16. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    I agree. I'm not any kind of purist. To a large degree, my dive into synths is about moving away from a dedication to an organic classic rock aesthetic in my recording projects and going total AM radio, using whatever I can to create sounds and hooks. But there's a fine line between diving in and drowning; learning how to use the features vs. getting lost in them. In my experience, the guys who get really deep into synthesis make some very interesting sounds, but rarely interesting music. So I want to be careful not to live in terror of the preset, unless it's E PIANO 1 on the DX7.
     
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  17. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    for sure. i think there is a similar thing going on with FM synths in the last 15 years similar to the rediscovery of 50s les pauls in the 70s (and then the development of "super pauls" like PRS). took a decade or more for people to realize the true potential of either. and luckily for us now, manufacturers have caught on and there are a lot of modular or 1 knob per function implementations that make it a lot easier to dial in and mess around with than the menu diving days. i'm also excited to see what happens with additive synthesis, they're making a lot more user-friendly implementations recently.

    i think modern techno is one of the genres where digital types really shine. such cold and mean sounding lines:

     
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  18. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    That's an interesting sound, but there's no song or arrangement. The first 1:40 min. is basically a loop that is halfway to a decent intro or a breakdown, then it goes into a different iteration of the same. I imagine one can groove with the endless repetition on the dance floor under the blinking lights, while flying high on ecstasy, as I have never been. But, as Gertrude Stein said famously of Oakland, Ca., there's no there there. Not that it sounds like it, but it reminds me of the work of Childish Gambino/Donald Glover. At least he has ideas, but his arrangements are weak and flabby, and he appears to have no editor, internal or otherwise.
     
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  19. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    No argument there. Huge marketing really helped (see below). Our bass player was the real wiz with it, or as much a wiz as you could be. He took it home over the summer and got very familiar with it, showed me a few things, but it was just too hard to use. The Juno 60 was magic (to me), endless creative fun. The DX7 just wasn't and seemed to be in the way of it.


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  20. Lawdawg

    Lawdawg Tele-Afflicted

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    Awesome thread, synths were my first love before the guitar bug bit me. As someone who started playing synths in the early 80s, I think we're really living in the golden age for synths -- there are so many hardware and software options and almost all at relatively affordable prices.

    I'm going to defend FM synthesis a bit. Once you get your head around it, it's a very flexible and powerful programming structure especially with more modern FM synths like the FS1R which had 8 multi-wave operators. Personally I think Yamaha released way too many cheap 4 operator FM synths in the 80s that didn't sound so great and that has tainted the impression of what you can do with FM synthesis. FM, and other digital synth are having a bit of a renaissance with the release of numerous wavetable, wave sequencing, additive, and FM synths both hardware and software. Of course the digital stuff is no replacement for traditional subtractive analog synthesis, but I wouldn't want one without the other.

    Since VSTs have come up, for anyone looking for high quality analog emulations I strongly recommend U-He's Diva and Repro. Diva provides emulations of Moog, Roland, Oberheim, and Korg analog synths while Repro covers the Sequential Circuits Pro One and Prophet 5. They all sound fantastic and come as close to the real deal as you're going to get with a VST. Just my opinion, but these are even better than Arturia's versions which are quite good as well. The U-He stuff does come at the cost of much higher CPU hits.

    The real analog synth I've been dying to get is this . . .


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