How to make Synth Sounds...

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Piplodocus
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Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 9:48 pm
Location: Southampton, UK

How to make Synth Sounds...

Post by Piplodocus » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:39 pm

It's a bit of a random question this, but how do you make original synth sounds?

I'm really a guitarist bassist drummer singer trombonist, and have always ended up using pretty "safe" analog sounds out of my novation SBS, or using a standard sampled paino/keys/organ sound. Now I got the "Suite" when I upgraded I have more synths I poke at randomly.

I underdstand the concepts of how the synths work from a technical/block diagram way, but can end up with un-original or horrible sounds often. How do you go about making your own wicked presets/sounds like the guys from http://www.covops.org? Is there a general method, set of rules, or sequence of events you go about each time, or do you just mess with it randomly for longer until you just know the instruments a lot better?

What FX or kinda envelopes etc. are good tips to try for certain things?

Any tips & tricks much appreciated. Otherwise I might be forced to pinch my girlfriends Virus and just use the presets! ;)

Angstrom
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Post by Angstrom » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:51 pm

even when you know the rules there is a good chance that the sounds that come out are not quite what you want. In a complex patch involving many types of synthesis there is a bit of happy chance required to get exactly the sound you are imagining. if one oscillator is offset by a fraction of a semitone against the others it can be the ruin or the making of a sound, or perhaps you forgot that you set the pulsewidth really thin and assigned velocity to it, and it is all buried in a menu somewhere. In those cases it is hard to manage the sound creation, as it must be all modelled mentally and then applied to the software interface.
Of course if you are happy getting any kind sound out it is a lot easier. ;)

This is the main reason why people liked old analogues, because happy chance is easier to manage with a field of knobs in front of you. You can see straight away that the pulsewidth is off, or one oscillator is set incorrectly.

so, short answer is - perseverance, and the knowledge that good sounds only arrive about half the time.

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