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  1. #1
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    tBs guide to synthesis...

    tB’s guide to synthesis

    Subtractive Synthesis
    Start with a nasty sound and make it nicer by removing all the bits you don’t like. This is easy to do and explains why subtractive synths a) are very popular, and b) all sound the same.

    Additive Synthesis
    Start with a boring sound and make it more interesting by adding bits. This can be highly effective, however, it’s mind-buggeringly complicated to do. Some have tried to make it more intuitive but adding waveforms together is as difficult as juggling with strawberry flavoured jelly in zero gravity.

    Phase Distortion
    To find our what this sounds like; Buy a cheap Casio. Actually, this is a very interesting and under explored form of additive synthesis. You add the waveforms together, but not in a linear way. It actually sounds quite good but the maths will make your brain explode.

    Wavetable Synthesis
    Complicated this one is… It’s easier to say what it is not… It’s not what you think it is.
    Wavetable synthesis is based on periodic reproduction of a, single-cycle waveform. There are two basic methods; vary the sample rate or skip a few values in the table. Neither work well, hence it isn’t easy to make it sound good if your name is not Wolfgang. So move on to the next one.

    Analogue Modelling
    Something that sounds a bit like an analogue synth but not close enough to fool anyone with ears

    Sampling
    Cheating

    Granular synthesis
    Take a sound, chop it up into lots of (overlapping) bits and make it sound shit.

    Physical modelling
    An impossible dream; Make a mathematical model of an organic instrument? Chaos theory has proven that mathematical modelling can only loosely approximate the subtlety of a real instrument. I could easily make a mathematical model of a donut but you wouldn’t want to eat it.

    Linear Arithmetic synthesis
    More Cheating. Sample the first bit then synthesise the rest. This was a clever psychoacoustic workaround employed by Roland to counter the challenge of the Yamaha DX7 in the late 80s. It is also quite a clever idea which could be revisited now that we have powerful romplers/synths..

    Vector synthesis
    Ordinary synthesis but with a joystick borrowed from a model aeroplane club. This has seen a bit of a resurgence with readily available touch pads that can also be used as a mobile telephone. It is also quite a useful musical idea.

    Re-synthesis
    Take a readily available sound and spend much money, computing power and time trying to recreate it in some form of mathematical combinations of sine waves… only to eventually come up with something that contains none of the musical charm of the original instrument. Why not just play the original instrument?


    I’m running out of ideas… Please feel free to chip in with your explanations of Synthesis techniques.

    Or, suggest a synthesis technique and I’ll explain in simple terms why it is no good.

    tB.

  2. #2
    Senior Member dope's Avatar
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    i have to agree with everything you said....
    synthesizers are a pain in the ass! i think the biggest problem for me is i have all ways used software synths because of price and the ease of programming . but none of them give you that accurate sound. as you say.. they mostly sound like shit. the only software synths that end up making my mix are not synth emulators ... there usually organ emulators. like b4 and lounge lizard. very rarely i can get something from the gladiator to sound ok.
    on the flip side.. if i ever put some cash down and bought a GOOD REAL synth.. maybe i would be happier with the sounds.. then i would have to actually make it read midi from my machine though.. so it would in essence just be some sort of sound box with keys i probably never use. i'm assuming something like one of those e-mu modules would be probably be the best option for me. but then i'm probably just getting a bunch of sounds i hate just like a soft synth... i have never really found what i am looking for .. you would think someone would come up with a good box that made really good sounds by this point. i guess "good" is subjective though....

  3. #3
    Senior Member Audi01's Avatar
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    this is so cool lol

    thanks tb

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