What does a synth need..?

For computer based music makers. Discussions about plug-ins and stand alone computer synth gear.

What does a synth need..?

Postby briandc » Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:51 pm

..in order to cover a lot of sonic spectrum, in your opinion?

That is, how many oscillators, what types of filters, other special features.. in order to be able to cover the sonic spectrum?
And why?


Thanks!


brian
Have your PC your way: use linux!
amSynth.com
amSynth on Soundcloud
User avatar
briandc
Junior Member
Junior Member
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:38 am
Real name: brian
Gear: 2 Midi controllers and anything linux! :)

Advertisement:

Re: What does a synth need..?

Postby Ashe37 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:12 pm

well, if it has a white noise generator, it will cover the sonic spectrum quite well.
Ashe37
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 2629
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:43 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Real name: Unpronounceable
Gear: Ensoniq SD-1/32,SQR,VFX,ESQm
Virus Indigo, M3-61 , MS2000BR, Volca Bass
Emu XL-7, Matrix 6r
TG-33, K3m, Blofeld, Micron, Mopho, Bass Station II
Band: Eridani V

Re: What does a synth need..?

Postby pflosi » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:10 am

:lol: [/thread]
User avatar
pflosi
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
 
Posts: 3095
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:14 pm
Location: zürich
Gear: more than 150 characters...

Re: What does a synth need..?

Postby briandc » Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:52 am

Yes, but white noise gets pretty boring after the first few minutes. :)


brian
Have your PC your way: use linux!
amSynth.com
amSynth on Soundcloud
User avatar
briandc
Junior Member
Junior Member
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:38 am
Real name: brian
Gear: 2 Midi controllers and anything linux! :)

Re: What does a synth need..?

Postby CS_TBL » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:06 am

From the traditional synth models: FM has the widest amount of sound shaping possibilities. Dunno about the more recent ones, like the Neuron.

There's no practical limit as for how many oscillators/operators, filters, envelopes, LFOs, scalers and effects you might need. If you have a hundred of 'm all, you will be using them, just not for simple sawtooth->filter->envelope sounds.
"You know I love you, CS, but this is bullshit." (Automatic Gainsay)
s: VSL/FM8/EWQL/LASS h: DX7/FS1r/VL70/SY77/SN2r/JD800/JD990/XV88/Emu6400/Poly61/Amek35:12:2/genelec1030 r: Violin/AltoSax/TinWhistle c: i7-4770/RAM32GB/SSD
FM8 vids
User avatar
CS_TBL
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
 
Posts: 1526
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:47 pm
Location: NL
Gear: All "In-The-Box"
Mainly FM8

Re: What does a synth need..?

Postby Jabberwalky » Sun Aug 04, 2013 3:47 pm

Ashe37 wrote:well, if it has a white noise generator, it will cover the sonic spectrum quite well.


8-)
User avatar
Jabberwalky
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
 
Posts: 1556
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2005 6:03 pm
Gear: Dx7|ProOne|MEK|9700s|Ms20m|700s|
|P61|An1x|Dx21|Emax2|Ds8
Band: Variar, Model Human

Re: What does a synth need..?

Postby briandc » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:11 pm

CS_TBL wrote:From the traditional synth models: FM has the widest amount of sound shaping possibilities. Dunno about the more recent ones, like the Neuron.

There's no practical limit as for how many oscillators/operators, filters, envelopes, LFOs, scalers and effects you might need. If you have a hundred of 'm all, you will be using them, just not for simple sawtooth->filter->envelope sounds.


Can you elaborate a bit? Why do you say that FM has the widest amount of sound shaping possibilities? Doesn't white noise cover the full audio spectrum?

Also, wouldn't a hundred oscillators/operators be overkill? I mean, once you have a few of them running, I would think the spectrum would be quite "covered.."

I made a chorused guitar sound today, using only one oscillator, close to the pulse wave:
Chorused Guitar

Of course, another oscillator or two might not hurt, but one is certainly enough to cover a bit of ground!


brian
Have your PC your way: use linux!
amSynth.com
amSynth on Soundcloud
User avatar
briandc
Junior Member
Junior Member
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:38 am
Real name: brian
Gear: 2 Midi controllers and anything linux! :)

Re: What does a synth need..?

Postby CS_TBL » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:19 pm

Uhm, what do you mean with this: "..in order to cover a lot of sonic spectrum"?

Do you want white noise? Or do you want a synthesis model that can have zillions o' possible all-round sounds? Because for white'ish noise, one operator with a feedback loop is already enough. A fullFB[tri]->full->fullFB[tri]->out creates a more silky/white'ish noise, if you wish. If you want the zillions o' sounds, then FM is the most versatile one among the classic synth models.

So, as for the hundreds o' things, it depends on what you want with your sonic spectrum.
"You know I love you, CS, but this is bullshit." (Automatic Gainsay)
s: VSL/FM8/EWQL/LASS h: DX7/FS1r/VL70/SY77/SN2r/JD800/JD990/XV88/Emu6400/Poly61/Amek35:12:2/genelec1030 r: Violin/AltoSax/TinWhistle c: i7-4770/RAM32GB/SSD
FM8 vids
User avatar
CS_TBL
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
 
Posts: 1526
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:47 pm
Location: NL
Gear: All "In-The-Box"
Mainly FM8

Re: What does a synth need..?

Postby briandc » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:23 pm

CS_TBL wrote:Uhm, what do you mean with this: "..in order to cover a lot of sonic spectrum"?

Do you want white noise? Or do you want a synthesis model that can have zillions o' possible all-round sounds? Because for white'ish noise, one operator with a feedback loop is already enough. A fullFB[tri]->full->fullFB[tri]->out creates a more silky/white'ish noise, if you wish. If you want the zillions o' sounds, then FM is the most versatile one among the classic synth models.

So, as for the hundreds o' things, it depends on what you want with your sonic spectrum.


My understanding is that white noise contains all sounds within the audio spectrum that we hear. As such, a subtractive synth takes that noise (or a waveform that uses part of that noise) and filters out parts of it, leaving a particular tone.

I would imagine that FM synthesis, using harmonics, uses "layers" of the spectrum, and perhaps this is what gives it a unique sound to it, since only specific layers (harmonics) are applied.

I could be wrong though.


brian
Have your PC your way: use linux!
amSynth.com
amSynth on Soundcloud
User avatar
briandc
Junior Member
Junior Member
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:38 am
Real name: brian
Gear: 2 Midi controllers and anything linux! :)

Re: What does a synth need..?

Postby CS_TBL » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:29 pm

Uh, right, so you've been asking a question as for how to create noise? :)

:shock:
"You know I love you, CS, but this is bullshit." (Automatic Gainsay)
s: VSL/FM8/EWQL/LASS h: DX7/FS1r/VL70/SY77/SN2r/JD800/JD990/XV88/Emu6400/Poly61/Amek35:12:2/genelec1030 r: Violin/AltoSax/TinWhistle c: i7-4770/RAM32GB/SSD
FM8 vids
User avatar
CS_TBL
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
 
Posts: 1526
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:47 pm
Location: NL
Gear: All "In-The-Box"
Mainly FM8

Re: What does a synth need..?

Postby briandc » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:47 pm

CS_TBL wrote:Uh, right, so you've been asking a question as for how to create noise? :)

:shock:


No..
what I'm saying is, if all audio tones are summed up in white noise, then how many filters and oscillators are really required in order to get any sound extrapolated from that noise?

For example, if I have one oscillator, set to sawtooth, then that sawtooth takes certain harmonics out of a noise signal. All those harmonics are therefore "in the sound" that I'm making. So another sawtooth is useless unless it's somehow modified (detuned, skewed, etc) to get some of the other harmonics out of the noise signal.

So in order to be able to replicate the largest possible number of sounds (from percussion to strings to piano to horn, etc) how many oscillators, filters etc are really necessary?


brian
Have your PC your way: use linux!
amSynth.com
amSynth on Soundcloud
User avatar
briandc
Junior Member
Junior Member
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:38 am
Real name: brian
Gear: 2 Midi controllers and anything linux! :)

Re: What does a synth need..?

Postby CS_TBL » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:58 pm

Uuuuhm.. This is all too diabolical for my braincells. I'll stick to a heavenly noise oscillator then. :shock: I fail to see the whole point of the question, let alone the goal, so I can't answer.. ^^
"You know I love you, CS, but this is bullshit." (Automatic Gainsay)
s: VSL/FM8/EWQL/LASS h: DX7/FS1r/VL70/SY77/SN2r/JD800/JD990/XV88/Emu6400/Poly61/Amek35:12:2/genelec1030 r: Violin/AltoSax/TinWhistle c: i7-4770/RAM32GB/SSD
FM8 vids
User avatar
CS_TBL
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
 
Posts: 1526
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:47 pm
Location: NL
Gear: All "In-The-Box"
Mainly FM8

Re: What does a synth need..?

Postby Solderman » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:47 am

briandc wrote:My understanding is that white noise contains all sounds within the audio spectrum that we hear. As such, a subtractive synth takes that noise (or a waveform that uses part of that noise) and filters out parts of it, leaving a particular tone.


Problem is, your brain detects the randomness of noise versus the sustained repetition of tone, which a bandpass filter will not itself fully shape. Reason being is noise is all frequencies, but at varying amplitudes for any given moment, so the best a very tight bandpass filter, that is filtering noise, could give you is a tone varying very rapidly in amplitude. Better to use an actual tone source. In the case of using filters, a self-oscillating resonant filter is a common solution.

briandc wrote:So in order to be able to replicate the largest possible number of sounds (from percussion to strings to piano to horn, etc) how many oscillators, filters etc are really necessary?

I find most naturally occurring sounds, when removed of their room reflections or other time-based effects, are either a series of distinct sounds or several basic sounds layered but fading out at different durations. A snare drum for instance, is a single pure tone and a noise source, each rapidly decaying in amplitude, but each at different decay times. So by replication, as long as you don't mean in real-time, the basic subtractive building blocks of your average subtractive monosynth(maybe with two filters in series at most, in addition) would be sufficient, but arranged as numerous sounds in an additive fashion.

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analogue. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." - Brian Eno
User avatar
Solderman
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 1751
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 5:43 pm
Location: Dallas, Texas
Real name: Zane W
Gear: μbrute, Kraftzwerg I, Поливокс(mod), SEM Pro, SH101(mod), TR606(mod), α Juno, Virus b

Re: What does a synth need..?

Postby briandc » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:03 pm

Solderman wrote:
briandc wrote:My understanding is that white noise contains all sounds within the audio spectrum that we hear. As such, a subtractive synth takes that noise (or a waveform that uses part of that noise) and filters out parts of it, leaving a particular tone.


Problem is, your brain detects the randomness of noise versus the sustained repetition of tone, which a bandpass filter will not itself fully shape. Reason being is noise is all frequencies, but at varying amplitudes for any given moment, so the best a very tight bandpass filter, that is filtering noise, could give you is a tone varying very rapidly in amplitude. Better to use an actual tone source. In the case of using filters, a self-oscillating resonant filter is a common solution.

briandc wrote:So in order to be able to replicate the largest possible number of sounds (from percussion to strings to piano to horn, etc) how many oscillators, filters etc are really necessary?

I find most naturally occurring sounds, when removed of their room reflections or other time-based effects, are either a series of distinct sounds or several basic sounds layered but fading out at different durations. A snare drum for instance, is a single pure tone and a noise source, each rapidly decaying in amplitude, but each at different decay times. So by replication, as long as you don't mean in real-time, the basic subtractive building blocks of your average subtractive monosynth(maybe with two filters in series at most, in addition) would be sufficient, but arranged as numerous sounds in an additive fashion.


Thanks for your post, Solderman. I agree that it's better to use a tone source (such as a square wave, etc). Although Ashe37 was right that white noise would provide the entire spectrum, the noise would be hard to "control" even with filters. Nonetheless, an interesting experiment, I suppose!


So the issue then becomes:
Let's say I have the following: a square wave, a sine wave, a sawtooth wave and a pulse wave. Theoretically speaking, these should cover all the tones that make up white noise, correct? Or are there other waves that contain elements that these 4 waves don't have?

If these 4 waves cover the entire aural spectrum, then I suppose the only remaining question is, how many filters are needed in order to be able to use them to their fullest?


brian
Have your PC your way: use linux!
amSynth.com
amSynth on Soundcloud
User avatar
briandc
Junior Member
Junior Member
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:38 am
Real name: brian
Gear: 2 Midi controllers and anything linux! :)

Re: What does a synth need..?

Postby rhino » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:22 pm

You'd still have a problem - if I understand what you're asking - in that each of the four waves would contain only the harmonics of ONE fundamental frequency. You would need hundreds of different frequencies at the same time to approach random "white" noise. And, as Solderman said, filtering out all but one tone would be a nightmare.

Remember:
Sine wave = no harmonics
Saw wave = all EVEN harmonics - each in inverse level (volume) to it's number (higher=softer)
Square wave = only ODD harmonics

My take:
Most basic useable synth= (think Korg Monotron)
Oscillator - Low-pass filter - VCA - LFO - EG

Next step up= (think Roland Gaia)
Two VCOs, VCF with LP, BP settings VCA, 2 LFOs, 2 EGs, basic effects.

Again - we may not be seeing eye-to-eye here;
Do you mean what nember of filters would a synth need to cover most of the "popular synth sounds you hear"?
If so, then my answer (FWIW) is two: A low-pass/band-pass VCF and a high-pass adjustable.
"A thing may seem impossible...until it's done."
--Nelson Mandela
User avatar
rhino
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 2491
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2008 5:00 pm
Location: kentucky hills
Real name: bill
Gear: keepers:
Kurzweil K2500x
Ensoniq TS-12
Yamaha SY-99
Alesis QS-8
Roland JD-800
Roland JX-10
Akai AX-80
Ensoniq SQ-80
Korg DSS-1
Moog Mini
Fizmo

Next

Return to Software Synthesizers

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests