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Article from Electronics & Music Maker, January 1985

Our monthly bring-and-buy sale for readers' synth sounds. January's models include the OSCar, the Moog Prodigy and Yamaha's ubiquitous DX7.

Readers send in details of their own synth patches and how to play them...

Patchwork provides you with a chance to show off your best synth sounds, so if you're of a sharing nature, send your offering on a copy of an owner's manual patch chart (including a blank one for artwork purposes) to: Patchwork, E&MM, (Contact Details).

OSCar - 'Frankie Gets an OSCar'

Phil Mason, Cornwall

This sound makes good use of the OSCar's ability to combine an analogue-type waveform (Pulse Width Modulation on OSC1) with a digital one (preset waveform -7 on OSC2, selected by holding down the OSC2 waveform button and playing key -7, the F below middle C) with both sent through a dual resonant peak filter. Note that the bottom octave should be selected and that Filter Drive (programmed by holding down Store and turning the volume control to full) should be on maximum to provide harmonic distortion.

The actual keyboard pitch should ideally be bottom E, and the Repeat 1 and 2 setting of the Triggering Switch (together with the shown Tempo position) gives the rough speed of 'Relax'. If you turn the triggering switch to SG (single), any bass-line programmed into the sequencer can imitate bass guitar hammer-ons using the 'legato' facility: just play any 'hammered-on' notes that take your fancy in a legato phrase, and any 'plucked' notes staccato.

Adjusting the Frequency, Separation and Q controls varies the amplitude of the sound's 'synthetic' component, while adding noise will mix in an electronic snare.

KORG MONO/POLY - 'No Strings Attached'

Steve Clark, London

Korg's Mono/Poly is a welcome newcomer to Patchwork. Featuring four VCOs and an unusual (in both its concept and its sonic results) Effects section, the Mono/Poly can operate in either mono (unison) or four-voice poly mode, as its name implies.

Steve suggests using a chorus unit to enrich his Strings patch, whereupon the sound should closely resemble a CRB Diamond 709 string machine (remember them?) on full throttle.


Waveform Range Level
VCO1 8 10
VCO2 8 10
VCO3 8 10
VCO4 PWM 8 10
PWM Intensity 7
PWM Source MG2
PW Setting -

Resonance 1
EG Intensity +3
Keyboard Track 10

Attack 0
Decay 6
Sustain 10
Release 1

Performance Controls
Bend Intensity 0
Mod Intensity 1
Switching Pitch
MG1 (MG2) Frequency 2¾(1)
MG1 Waveform

X-Mod 0
Frequency Mod 0
Switches VCF/Sync/Single
Key Assign Unison
(or Share with Effects off)
Portamento 1
Detune 0
Transpose Normal
Noise 0

Corrigendum - The 'No Strings Attached' patch for the Korg Mono/Poly (E&MM Jan 85) was published minus the VCA envelope settings, which should have read Attack (2), Decay (2), Sustain (3) and Release (1¼).


Ian Popperwell, Coventry

No, not a Star Wars sound effect. Ian has submitted a solo Hammond patch for the Prodigy which uses both oscillators set to triangle waveshapes, VCO2 being set an octave and a fifth above VCO1. The filter is set to remove the higher harmonics generated, the envelope has a sharp attack (for the well-known 'keyclick' sound), and the release time is designed to emulate a Hammond's distinctive envelope characteristics.

A fast staccato playing technique at the upper end of the keyboard adds to the patch's realism, while a touch of vibrato might not go amiss, either.

YAMAHA DX7 - 'Synth Full'

Martin Russ, Ipswich

Synth Full is a muted voice at low key velocities, but a strident, penetrating brass sound at higher ones. A sweep of high harmonics gives the same sort of aural effect as a filter decay, and a metallic edge toughens up the attack portion of the envelope.

The patch makes use of Algorithm 9: Operators 1 and 2 are set to give a variation on the classic FM sawtooth by having the modulator (OP2) frequency at just over half the carrier (OP1) frequency. This gives a bright sound with plenty of bunched harmonics. Operators 3, 4, 5 and 6 lack the sharp attack of 1 and 2, but supply instead the touch-sensitivity and overall tone. Operators 2 and 6 are deliberately mistuned to 1.01 - changing this to 1.00 reduces the beating in the upper octaves but also flattens the effect of the brassy-sounding filter decay.

Some players might feel the patch has too much release as it stands, but this can be reduced via EG rates 3 and 4 on OPs 1 and 3. The LFO speed is set to fill out the sound when the DX is used with an echo unit, while the LFO rate can be speeded up for vibrato effects. Finally, the touch-sensitivity helps create a highly expressive voice without users having to resort to a volume pedal.

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Publisher: Electronics & Music Maker - Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.

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Electronics & Music Maker - Jan 1985

Scanned by: Stewart Lawler


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