Starting this month, we invite you to send in some new or exciting patches for your synth.
In this new feature we will be examining just how certain sounds can be created on particular synths. There are two reasons why we feel this to be useful. Firstly, no amount of in-depth synthesis theory, however thorough and well explained, can be applied completely to an individual make of synth. On modular systems it is perfectly possible to add more modules if your set-up doesn't cater for the required hardware (be it oscillators, filters or whatever) needed for a particular patch. But on a polysynth, if there is one oscillator too few or no filter envelope there is nothing you can do. So we have tied the patches down to particular synthesisers.
The second reason is that certain synths often have little peculiarities which can be made to do a particularly useful job in a certain sound and we will be endeavouring to highlight this where such idiosyncrasies exist.
We hope to use many sources to make this regular feature as widely reaching as possible, ranging from Factory presets and ideas from manufacturers, through sounds programmed by E&MM staff and regular contributors, to those submitted by you the reader. We also want to cover a wide range of synths be they brand new or old faithfuls. So if you have an unbelievable crumhorn patch for the DX-7, an authentic sax for the Wasp, or a sound no-one has ever heard before, send it through to us (in as comprehensible a form as possible) and mark your envelope 'Patchwork'. All sources will be credited, so here's your chance to appear alongside the big names!
As far as the patches are concerned, don't take them as gospel! Individual instruments of the same make and model number still vary from one to the next, so if the patch doesn't sound quite right, feel free to tweak the settings. No patch is unimprovable, however respected the source.
If you don't have access to the actual synth in any patch, this doesn't mean you can't try out this patch on a similar machine. As long as the basic format is the same, it should work. You never know it may actually sound better!
To set the ball rolling here is a look at how more authentic brass sounds can be created. We are beginning with a patch for the Poly 61 as the way this synth is programmed draws attention to every parameter and the role it plays in creating the final sound.
This patch (for the Jupiter 6) shows you how a more effective brass sound can be obtained when you have a separate envelope for the filter. You will see that the amplifier envelope (32) is a simple on, full and quickish release, whereas the filter envelope is more complex, using a slower attack, a slower decay down to a 70% sustain level, and then a quicker release than the amplifier. Combine this with the fairly low cut-off frequency and we get sound whose brightness varies in the same way as does a brass instrument. Note again the hint of tremolo (16) (17) (18) routed to the filter (25) and the amplifier (28). A touch of key follow on the filter (30) make the sound brighter as you go up the keyboard, imitating the way a brass player has to blow harder to get higher notes.
Lastly let us look at a top-of-the-range, touch sensitive synth to see how all its comprehensive features can be used to refine a sound and set the seal of authenticity on it.
John Bowen (SCI)
Here we have a brass sound using sync to ensure that both oscillators are playing at exactly the same pitch and once again sawtooth has been selected. Note we still have the independent setting of the Filter Envelope to shape the brightness characteristics, whereas the Amplifier Envelope has a much more straight forward setting. Looking at the Velocity Sensitivity panel (top right), we see that there is a fair amount of positive effect on both the filter and the amplifier envelopes. Combined with a setting of 5 on the Attack/Decay Rate, this means that both filter and volume will be accentuated on fast keyboard strikes, bringing out a more strident punchy sound.
The 'second touch' (Pressure Sensitivity) effect can be seen on the Pressure-Mod panel (top left). Here a large amount of positive effect is routed to the Filter and Amplifier. This means that pushing on keys after playing them will increase the brightness and volume, giving the effect of removing a mute (a la 'big band sound').
Gear in this article:
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