Readers send in their own favourite synth sounds and details of how to generate them. This month sees, among other things, our first patch for a guitar synth, the Roland GR300.
This is where the editorial staff of E&MM take a break from duty and let the readers take over. Whatever synth you play — be it Wasp or Fairlight, or anything in between — you're invited to submit your favourite combinations of parameter settings to Patchwork, (Contact Details).
One problem with a regular feature such as this is that readers whose particular needs are not fulfilled for a couple of months fall all too easily into the trap of assuming that their own specific synth has been forgotten by the column's participants. Yet while it's unavoidable that some keyboards are bound to be featured in Patchwork more regularly than others - simply through their being more popular instruments — what many players don't seem to realise is that many patches designed specifically for one instrument may in fact be easily modified to suit several others. Just how closely a modified patch resembles the original will depend entirely on the degree by which the two instruments' control sections correspond but when you consider that, for example, most analogue monophonic synths follow the same basic design principles, it follows that what works well on one model with probably work just as well on another if the same essential patch is adopted, if not better.
Simon Wynn, Essex
Our first patch this month comes from Simon Wynn (bassist with Some Other Year - reviewed in our On Cassette page last month), and his bass synth patch is reproduced below. Varying levels of rectangular and ramp waves are mixed with the square wave of the Sub Oscillator to provide a rich bass sound, which is then given a reasonably short envelope, ideal for those fast bass patterns.
Roger Wilson, Middlesex
A novel idea for controlling an MS20 from a VL-Tone (via the former's External Signal In) has been submitted by Roger Wilson, providing a simple sequencing facility for the Korg synth. Vibrato can be added to the MS20 by the use of the mod. wheel, and VCO2 can be detuned to an interval of VCO1 if desired. The two keyboards should be perfectly in tune (Roger suggests either using the Flute preset or 0.0379901 in ADSR mode for tuning the VL-Tone), and the MS20 can be triggered in the Sequencer, One Key Play or real time modes.
Steve Parr, London SW15
One of the best DX7 patches submitted so far comes from Steve Parr, currently playing keys with Desmond Dekker as well as finding time to build a 16-track electronic video studio in Soho.
Steve describes the sound as extremely touch-sensitive. It reproduces with stunning realism every keyboard player's favourite sound of tortured tone bars on the verge of breaking when thumped with force. In fact, this patch is more like about five patches because of the extreme difference of tone over the dynamic range of the keyboard. Try it for yourself and see if you agree.
John Harris, Malvern
John, session guitarist and lead axeman with Ti-Na-Na, has submitted this patch for the GR300, which 'produces the instantly recognisable Busfare for the Common Man sound! Pitch A is tuned one fifth above the fundamental pitch, and the resonance control may be fine tuned to personalise the effect. The effect works well on single notes, but a little care must be exercised over the choice of suitable chords.'
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