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1144 Synapse Magazine - Electronic Music and Synthesizers
Analog Synthesizers and Modular Synthesizers for electronic music and surround sound design
synapse, analogue synthesizers, modular synthesizers, synthesizers, analog modular synthesizers, synthesizer, music synthesizer, synth, steiner filter, steiner VCF, synthacon, synapse, analog, electronic music, oscillator, voltage control, voltage controlled oscillator, wasp filter, envelope generator, sequencer, filter bank, ring modulator, cynthia webster
1097 synth books
Here's a list of books relating to synthesizers and electronic music that we think are worth reading. Click on the image to go to Amazon.com and view more information and purchase them. Feel free to suggest a book. We do not sell books.
Synthesizers.com Modular Analog Music Synthesizers
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1011 Atomic Synth Inspired By Buchla, Future Retro Revolution Â» Synthtopia
Synthesizer and electronic music news, synth and music software reviews and more!
Atomic is a 16 step sequencer composing tool with a built in synth that also has the ability to control other softsynths or even hardware via its MIDI out function.
The design is circular, inspired by step sequencers such as the Buchla Arbitrary Function Generator and Future Retro Revolution.
You can preview Atomic below:
Strange Atomics [ 0:46 ] Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download
16 step sequencer in a circular design with 3 rows: seminotes, velocity
BPM Rate with 5 modes including random.
Separate rhythm grid.
Advanced arpeggiator with separate rate, 5 modes with gate and octave controls.
Latch mode for continuous play.
MIDI Out for use in modular hosts which also includes LFOâ€™s and
step modulators to control external vstâ€™s or hardware.
2 Oscillators with 14 waveforms including additive partials.
Separate phase controls, detune and octave as well as harmonic tuning mode.
VCF with 4 filter types with velocity control.
2 dedicated envelope generators, one for amp and one for filter.
2 LFOs, Sub Oscillator, Step Modulator, Random Generator and Keyboard control
with zone and mod wheel assign which includes sequencer controls for step and
Comprehensive mod matrix.
X-Y delay with separate multimode filters which can be modulated via mod matrix.
Spacial stereo reverb
Phaser with wide sweeping range.
Master section with volume, pan and tuning
CC map for hardware MIDI knob controllers.
899 DIY musician and Modular Synth accessories. Analogue Solutions - Concussor modular synthesiser
Electronic Music Accessories.
concussor, Concussor, CONCUSSOR, EMIS, Doepfer A-100, A100, Analogue Systems Integrator, Phoenix modular, TR909, TR808 drum machines, percussion, voices, electronic drums, simmons, pearl syncussion sy1, RS, RS200, MIDI interface for Mac, MIDI interface for Pc, digital audio card, PCI, Cubase VST, MIDI Thru box, MIDI Merge box, MIDI switcher, USB MIDI interface, CO2, MIDIman, midiman, sync box, analog sequencer, analogue sequencer, synths, synthesizers, drum machines, MIDI-CV converters, convertors, nord modular, waldorf microwavem waldorf pulse, kenton electronics, MIDI to trigger, sample CD, Yamaha, SCI, Oberheim, ladder filter, moog filter, bass drum, kick drum, hihat, cymbal, tom drum, clap, rimshot, clave, maracas, fame, f.a.m.e., analogue heaven, hyperreal, sync 24, din sync, vco, vcf, vca, envelope generator, filter, low pass, resonance, lfo, ring modulation
897 Generic Synth Preset Storage and Conversion
For my synths with preset storage and the ability to dump & load presets via midi sysex, I wanted to be able to feed the sysex of a synth into a software program which can
display the sound parameters in a meaningful form, and
convert the sound into the sysex format of any of my other presets synths
The generic patch storage format must display meaningful values for the parameters (filter envelope amount = 1/2 octave, envelope 1 attack = 50ms, etc) and convert between these values and a given synth's sysex (as much as possible - resolution probably isn't good enough to get envelope attack to exactly 50ms on each and every synth, and envelope shapes vary between synths, etc). The storage format will also store the original parameters, using the "native" value range of each parameter (e.g. filter cutoff frequency between 0 and 127) as well as the original sysex program as an ASCII hex dump.
Since I didn't find any software which could do this, I began writing my own in Java. I am concentrating on converting basic analog components; any on-board effects are not used.
I have started to build a (slightly) updated version of the Korg PS-3200 synthesizer.
The PS-3200 was the last of three fully polyphonic, semi-modular analogue synthesizers offered by Korg in the late 70's. (See Ben Ward's excellent Korg PS site for detailed information, including user manuals.)
The concept of the PS-Synthesizers was different from other manufacturer's early polyphonic instruments. Instead of using a small number of voices and a clever keyboard assigning circuit, the "PolyKorgs" had a complete synthesizer circuit, hard wired to each key. That makes a total of 48 VCFs, 48 VCAs and 48 voltage controlled ADSRs even for the smallest of the range, the PS-3100. The largest of the range, PS-3300, even had 144 of these circuits.
The sheer number of synthesizer circuits called for an extremly economic circuit design, and it's a joy to look at Korg's design ideas which led to building blocks that almost did the same as in the better known "classic" synthesizers. And after many years of engineering and reverse-engineering electronic music circuits, I have learned to look at odd solutions not as "substandard", but as a source of creativity an individual character. Here's a list of some highlights:
Function Implementation Side effects
Single-Transistor Waveform Converter creates triangle, saw, pulse and PWM from saw input, using one (!) transistor, one diode and two resistors per voice, plus two global control voltages Pulse height also changes with pulse width
5-Transistor-VCF (Korg-35) A Voltage controlled 2-pole (Sallen&Key) LPF built from 5 transistors rather high CV feedthru
Single-Diode VC Resonance The dynamic resistance of a simple diode is used to alter the feedback gain of the VCF limited range of Q
"Expand" function instead of VCF Envelope modulation depth Instead of scaling down the ADSR with a VCA, the a variable portion of the Envelope is just clipped with a single diode. It's so remarkably close to ordinary VCA function that apparently nobody takes notice. At least I have not read about it anywhere.
At slow Atack times, the Envelope appears delayed at the VCF (no effect until th eclipping point is reached). Usefull for Brass sounds, and not easy to emulate with conventional synthesizers.
Minimum parts count Voltage Controlled ADSR Three transistors, 1/2 of a LM324 and one CD4007 per voice. Plus some more involved control circuit, shared by several voices Transistors must be selected in 13-tuples, not just in pairs.
ADSR detail (1):
One-opamp control logic 1/4 LM324 is used as Flipflop, which is dynamically set by Gate-ON, dynamically reset by Gate-OFF, statically reset when the attack peak voltage is reached, and whose set/reset sensitivity is altered by a CV Very odd "Hold" function, depending on the "Attack"-value. But very useful in practise.
ADSR detail (2):
Single-Transistor, exponential slope VC-Decay Using a single transistor per voice for VC Attack and Release is remarkable already, even though the A and R slopes are linerar. But the Decay slope is exponential, and this is achieved with a single transistor and two resistors per voice! The Decay time range is rather limited. No ultra fast Decay, and no ultra slow Decay either.
Single-Transistor VCA That's the "Korg standard" VCA, well known from other instruments like the MS-10.
What an amazing instrument! The DSI Evolver has the signature "old school" timbre down pat as well as being able to provide digital timbres reminiscent of the Waldorf Q. There's certainly a "rougher" side available as well with all the feedback implementation and controled distortion. Being able to make PM type plucked and blown sounds is just icing on the cake. Dave Smith should be commended for a job well done. Just have a look at the Panel Layout to get a taste of what this beauty can dish out - the controls are pretty much laid out in the form of a signal path graphic. Be sure to visit Dave Smith's Website!
Evolver Sound Examples
There are a lot of demos of the Evolver on the web showcasing the gutsy harsh sounds of this beast so I decided to post demos of some of my own patches as examples of the "softer" more "vintage" side of the Evolver's timbre. I make no apologies for these unpolished recordings - these are merely sound samples ;)
Resonant Plucked Pad
This pad shows some of the rich resonant nature of the filter.
This is a simple analog brass lead patch.
A fun patch with lots of motion made using my "Audio-rate Filter FM" programming tip below.
A nice bland-vanilla pad ^_^
What can I say? I love pads...
For more MP3 demos showing the full gamut of sounds the Evolver and Polyevolver are capable of, please visit the excellent website of Stefan Trippler!
The Definitive Guide to Evolver
This rather in-depth guide to the Evolver goes places and does things a mere manual can't. This labor-of-love was crafted by Anu Kirk and with his kind permission, I am offering this fantastic resource right here in PDF format!
A much smaller version (400K) is here but it dosen't have internal hyperlinks.
Here's a fun repository of programming tips for the Evolver in all its incarnations. Please email me if you would like to add some.
Fingered Wave Sequence
Submitted by Dave Bryce. This brilliant technique has to be heard to be believed! Plus, its one of those cool things unique to the Evolver! This particular tip is so full of detailed information that it gets its own page!
Audio-rate Filter FM
Submitted by James Maier. Use the "Audio Mod" parameter in the Filter section to frequency-modulate the cutoff with the analog oscillator. Add resonance until the filter is just on the edge of oscillation then mod the cutoff with just a little triangle LFO set at a very slow speed. Amazing moving chorusing pad and lead sounds can be made this way.
Fatter Bass/Pad Sounds
Submitted by Mike Peake. Set the same sound in both channels (detuned saws, for instance). With the filters at the 24dB setting, increasing resonance cuts the passband as on the Moog filters. Set Envelope 3 to minimum attack, maximum decay and release, and sustain to maximum. This "creates" an offset, a continuous "on" signal while the keys are gated. Modulate one filters' resonance up (just one), or of the overall resonance level is high, us it to modulate one filters' resonance to its minimum. You get the resonant character plus the size of the non-resonant filter. Use Tri and Sine waves on that side too.
Submitted by James Maier. The Evolver can make many ultra-bright and buzzy sounds due to its extensive feedback and distortion stages but sometimes people miss the subtler side of the beast. For a warmer sound use little or no distortion, close the filter just a bit and turn off the feedback and delay lines. I've managed to get dead-on Prophet5 timbres this way.
Submitted by Mike Peake. Set the envelopes to linear, and use a Mod to modulate AmpEnv All by itself (lin through log responses with positive and negative self-modulation).
This is of course fun on the filter envelopes as well.
More Vintage Character
Submitted by Mike Peake. Oscillator Slop, set at 5, doesn't come close to the Moog and other old-timer movement, so add slight (1 or 2) LFO to pitch modulations, with individual LFOs per oscillator, and a touch of LFO to LFO rate modulation. A tad of Envelope 3 to pitch helps as well.
Don't miss out on the 12dB filter setting
Submitted by Mike Peake. The 24dB setting has much more resonance, but the 12dB setting can sound nice and plucky, and do nice slightly fuzzy pads etc.
DSI Evolver Waveshape Charts
Below are charts I've assembled of the digital waveforms and their spectra as currently used in the DSI Evolver synthesizers. Originally these waves were unique to the SCI ProphetVS vector synth.
I find these waveform/spectra graphics really usefull when programming sounds - maybe you will as well. Pay special attention to the spectra as this info is sometimes much more useful than waveshape in determining actual timbre - even before you hear what the waveform sounds like.
These are designed to be downloaded (right-click & "save target as"), and printed at 300dpi on 8.5" x 11" pages - don't resize these images before printing or you will lose useful detail. Use them as a handy refrence. This information was cobbled together from various scattered sources (with very special thanks to Achim Gratz!).
Any errors or omissions are my own. ^_^
As far as the origin of these waves is concerned, one of the original VS engineers, Chris Meyer, said:
"The original waves for the VS were created three ways - extracting single-cycles from sampled sounds, using a custom additive synthesis program, and using a program Josh (Josh Jeffe, another VS engineer) slapped together called "Hacker" where you could draw the waveshape. These were fed straight from the computer through the filter and VCA of a Pro-One to figure out what they might sound like in a patch. And by the way, no PPG waveforms appear inside the VS - we had access to them, but in the end our consciences got the better of us. We did steal some waveforms from the Korg DW6000, but only by looking at the harmonic drawings on the front panel and trying to imitate them in our additive synthesis program."
Modulation Matrix "Cheat Sheet"
This chart shows all the modulation routing available on the Evolver. This same info is available in the manual but this can be printed on a single sheet of paper as a handy refrence!
These I created just for fun and desktop "beautification" ;)
1280 X 1024
1024 X 768
800 X 600
606 Map Envelope
533 The Theory and Technique of Electronic Music
Sinusoids, amplitude and frequency
Measures of Amplitude
Units of Amplitude
Synthesizing a sinusoid
About the Software Examples
Wavetables and samplers
The Wavetable Oscillator
Audio and control computations
The sampling theorem
Converting from audio signals to numeric control streams
Control streams in block diagrams
Audio signals as control
Operations on control streams
Control operations in Pd
Automation and voice management
Linear and Curved Amplitude Shapes
Continuous and discontinuous control changes
Encapsulation in Pd
Taxonomy of spectra
Multiplying audio signals
Frequency and phase modulation
Pulse trains via waveshaping
Pulse trains via wavetable stretching
Movable ring modulation
Phase-aligned formant (PAF) generator
Time shifts and delays
Time shifts and phase changes
Recirculating delay networks
Power conservation and complex delay networks
Variable and fractional shifts
Fidelity of interpolating delay lines
Taxonomy of filters
Low-pass and high-pass filters
Band-pass and stop-band filters
Elementary non-recirculating filter
Non-recirculating filter, second form
Elementary recirculating filter
Real outputs from complex filters
Two recirculating filters for the price of one
One-pole low-pass filter
One-pole, one-zero high-pass filter
Peaking and stop-band filter
Stretching the unit circle with rational functions
Butterworth band-pass filter
Impulse responses of recirculating filters
Single Sideband Modulation
Fourier analysis and resynthesis
Fourier analysis of periodic signals
Periodicity of the Fourier transform
Fourier transform as additive synthesis
Properties of Fourier transforms
Fourier transform of DC
Shifts and phase changes
Fourier transform of a sinusoid
Fourier analysis of non-periodic signals
Fourier analysis and reconstruction of audio signals
Timbre stamping (classical vocoder)
Phase relationships between channels
Symmetries and Fourier series
Sawtooth waves and symmetry
Dissecting classical waveforms
Fourier series of the elementary waveforms
Square and symmetric triangle waves
General (non-symmetric) triangle wave
Predicting and controlling foldover
Sneaky triangle waves
406 Modular Synth
Modules included so far:
Synthesizers.com power supply and interface
MFOS VCO x 2
MFOS VC-LFO x 2
MFOS state variable VCF
CGS Synthacon VCF
CGS simple waveshaper x 2
MFOS VCA x 2
CGS valve/tube VCA x 2
MFOS ADSR envelope generator
CGS psycho LFO
CGS psycho LFO with switchable capacitors
MFOS sample and hold
CGS drum simulator with modifications
MFOS weird sound generator x 2
PAiA 6710 vocoder - this one is loads of fun!
355 Yamaha CS-30 clock input modification
this modification adds a switch to the cs30 that lets you clock the sequencer with the external input signal.
you can still use the internal clock to trigger the envelopes at the same time, for complex modulations.
to trigger the envelopes from the external clock (in time with the sequencer), switch them to ext.
101 - 201