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Making clean but individual synth sounds... Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 1st January 2011
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Making clean but individual synth sounds...

ok,

I have a desire to make interesting synth sounds (don't we all). Right now, I generally create a simple patch using simple waves and then go and mess it up as much as I can... i.e I might put it through guitar rig or trash or any other type of sound destroying device..... and by the end the sounds are so destroyed I can't feel exited about them... even though they do sound quite different haha

BUT, I hope there is another way. Maybe people here could offer advice as to how I might go about making synth patches that are individual but retain their cleanliness....

OK so, what are you pointers guys???

Thanks in advance

Lorenzo
Old 1st January 2011
  #2
Chances are you've (mostly or exclusively) been using subtractive (filter-based) synthesis so far. In a nutshell, you have tone generating oscillators which you apply filters to. Many of those filters are static, but some of the filters are likely driven by slow (low frequency) oscillators that change various parameters of the filters.

In addition to subtractive synthesis, you'll also find additive synthesis, wavetable synthesis, frequency modulation synthesis, phase distortion synthesis, physical modeling synthesis and sample-based synthesis, as well as subharmonic synthesis or granular synthesis.
Old 1st January 2011
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

thanks and maybe some plug ins

Quote:
Chances are you've (mostly or exclusively) been using subtractive (filter-based) synthesis so far. In a nutshell, you have tone generating oscillators which you apply filters to. Many of those filters are static, but some of the filters are likely driven by slow (low frequency) oscillators that change various parameters of the filters.

In addition to subtractive synthesis, you'll also find additive synthesis, wavetable synthesis, frequency modulation synthesis, phase distortion synthesis, physical modeling synthesis and sample-based synthesis, as well as subharmonic synthesis or granular synthesis.
could you reccomend some of these synths in plug in form AU preferably

THANK YOUUUUUUU
Old 1st January 2011
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

please
Old 2nd January 2011
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

* pretty please with a HUGE cherry on top
Old 2nd January 2011
  #6
Registered User
Investigate Camel Audio Alchemy ... that should blow your mind and keep you busy for the next 10 years ...

I agree that you need to get the excitement happening within the synth, and not just smear up a cheap sound with digital FX.

With Alchemy, you have many options, but i'm excited about the additive resynthesis. Basically - you load a sampled sound, and it turns it into a synth sound. This is very different from simply playing back a sample, and far more complex and real sounding than programing a synth. But you can then tweak the sounds in ways not possible with samplers or ordinary synths.

You could sample two completely different instruments, and have the sound morph over time between the two. Not just fading between them - actually morphing between them!

With software like this, you have no excuse for making boring sounds.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #7
Lives for gear
In software:


Frequency Modulation (FM) synths:

Ableton's Operator or Native Instruments FM8 (Abletons is the easier synth to program yourself and learn FM8 is brilliant if your more of a preset hunter as its not easy to move around and program in my opinion, also in Operator you can do normal subtractive very easily and draw your own harmonics)

Camel Audio's Alchemy has great granular, spectral, additive and normal virtual analog (subtractive). With that synth you use normal waveforms from the synth or import samples or loops and resynthesise (record a fart and turn it into a beautiful evolving heavenly patch via some spectral and granular - don't laugh I've done it) - if you master the ins and outs of that synth you would have a one stop workhorse

Another thing to try is modulation parameters at audio rates! - which is normally only reserved for expensive modular systems uhe Ace is great at that if not overly complicated with that synth (keep the manual handy)


If you want clean but different for short sounds (stabs, leads etc) then FM is a good simple start as it generates complex harmonics via modulating one oscillator with another to generate its sounds (thats a simple explanation - its a form of additive synthesis) rather than using filters to subtract or distort ala normal moog, ms20 style synths. FM tends to have a particular sound though.


Do you have Reason by any chance? Because Thor lets you muck around with FM, subtractive, PWM, hard/soft sync
Old 2nd January 2011
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
nvestigate Camel Audio Alchemy ... that should blow your mind and keep you busy for the next 10 years ...

I agree that you need to get the excitement happening within the synth, and not just smear up a cheap sound with digital FX.

With Alchemy, you have many options, but i'm excited about the additive resynthesis. Basically - you load a sampled sound, and it turns it into a synth sound. This is very different from simply playing back a sample, and far more complex and real sounding than programing a synth. But you can then tweak the sounds in ways not possible with samplers or ordinary synths.

You could sample two completely different instruments, and have the sound morph over time between the two. Not just fading between them - actually morphing between them!

With software like this, you have no excuse for making boring sounds
OK I downloaded the demo and it seems like a great bit of gear... do you think that sofware like this is a guy buy for someone who's making hip hop? I mean do you think I could taylor the program to meet the needs that I have?

I mean do you think I could make sounds like these with alchemy (I don't want to copy but make something interesting that is mine, this is just a ball park example)

YouTube - Laws- Hold You Down [prod. DJ Khalil]
YouTube - Kida - Eulogy (Produced By Dj Khalil)
YouTube - Fabulous Never let it go

and here's an example in studio context

YouTube - Dj khalil, Dan, Rahki if you go to 1:50 you see what I'm getting at

Thanks

thanks for the info

Quote:
Do you have Reason by any chance? Because Thor lets you muck around with FM, subtractive, PWM, hard/soft sync
see thats interesting cos I do and I got quite familiar with it, its interesting that there are so many different types of synths in there, its a great tool. I was planning on using it as a rewire with logic but it was too much of a hassle in the end

Thanks for all the answers guys
Old 2nd January 2011
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

but i wrote such a long answer....
Old 2nd January 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
I've just had a very quick listen to those tracks you posted

That laws track has just a basic synth lead patch going around and then some pitched samples of a choir/vocal sample being manipulated MPC style into a melody as has been done for decades

The Kida track is very sample & loop based aswell - do you know much about mpc's and their use in hiphop? It does have some basic synths making fx and occasional small melodies but mainly it seems like vinyl samples for the snares, claps and backing melodies

'Fabulous Never let it go' - once again is sampled loops.

Whats your DAW by the way? Ableton is very easy to make it play like an MPC via its various devices like sampler, drum racks etc, slice sample to midi etc Reason's Dr Rex and Kong are great for that too - both are easier than an MPC as you can more easily change settings and see everything on a computer screen rather than a small lcd, you just need some midi controllers to make up for an MPCs ease of operation

If your already down with sampling in hip hop then ignore what I've said (I'm currently working on a sample based house music project ala The Avalanches, so not hip hop but no doubt has borrowed the same traditional routes so this sort of thing is on my mind)

Alchemy - is exactly what you want to make interesting synth sounds that go beyond normal synth methods but for actually playing and transposing samples into backing melody lines like in those examples then I would be aiming to start via a standard sampler and learn some good techniques. Alchemy is a little convoluted for simple sample play back, transposition etc it shines at making sounds into the unthinkable - but to answer your question - yes Alchemy could do EVERYTHING in those hiphop examples if you learnt the workflow thoroughly (the manual is good with some good tutorials plus there is a wiki on their website and youtube vids are being created by users all the time).

I use Abletons Sampler or Simpler for that purpose because it is a really straight forward tool for mucking around with snippits of vinyl, there are lots of other production techniques inside DAWs to muck around with that actually don't involve any synths at all, just pitching, stretching, warping the snippits of audio in the timeline. MPCs are good too but I've grown accustomed to Ableton and thats what I stick with

Lots of people love sampling into Reason and manipulating their recorded synth patches, vinyl, mp3s like you would on an MPC in there.

So yes I'd get down with Alchemy for new sounds, a Sampler of some kind that is quick and easy with lots of modulation and layering possibilities (this would be your main workhorse or Alchemy for both), and a good analogue or Softsynth for traditional synth lines and fx - and then just start mastering your craft. Thats why lots of people love an MPC - because you are forced to master one machine and then the world is your oyster after you have that knowledge
Old 2nd January 2011
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
I've just had a very quick listen to those tracks you posted

That laws track has just a basic synth lead patch going around and then some pitched samples of a choir/vocal sample being manipulated MPC style into a melody as has been done for decades

The Kida track is very sample & loop based aswell - do you know much about mpc's and their use in hiphop? It does have some basic synths making fx and occasional small melodies but mainly it seems like vinyl samples for the snares, claps and backing melodies

'Fabulous Never let it go' - once again is sampled loops.

Whats your DAW by the way? Ableton is very easy to make it play like an MPC via its various devices like sampler, drum racks etc, slice sample to midi etc Reason's Dr Rex and Kong are great for that too - both are easier than an MPC as you can more easily change settings and see everything on a computer screen rather than a small lcd, you just need some midi controllers to make up for an MPCs ease of operation

If your already down with sampling in hip hop then ignore what I've said (I'm currently working on a sample based house music project ala The Avalanches, so not hip hop but no doubt has borrowed the same traditional routes so this sort of thing is on my mind)

Alchemy - is exactly what you want to make interesting synth sounds that go beyond normal synth methods but for actually playing and transposing samples into backing melody lines like in those examples then I would be aiming to start via a standard sampler and learn some good techniques. Alchemy is a little convoluted for simple sample play back, transposition etc it shines at making sounds into the unthinkable - but to answer your question - yes Alchemy could do EVERYTHING in those hiphop examples if you learnt the workflow thoroughly (the manual is good with some good tutorials plus there is a wiki on their website and youtube vids are being created by users all the time).

I use Abletons Sampler or Simpler for that purpose because it is a really straight forward tool for mucking around with snippits of vinyl, there are lots of other production techniques inside DAWs to muck around with that actually don't involve any synths at all, just pitching, stretching, warping the snippits of audio in the timeline. MPCs are good too but I've grown accustomed to Ableton and thats what I stick with

Lots of people love sampling into Reason and manipulating their recorded synth patches, vinyl, mp3s like you would on an MPC in there.

So yes I'd get down with Alchemy for new sounds, a Sampler of some kind that is quick and easy with lots of modulation and layering possibilities (this would be your main workhorse or Alchemy for both), and a good analogue or Softsynth for traditional synth lines and fx - and then just start mastering your craft. Thats why lots of people love an MPC - because you are forced to master one machine and then the world is your oyster after you have that knowledge
Ok, first off I'm a logic user.... but like on thw subject of the first track I mean you think all those synth sounds are simple lead synths? Cos I've been considering that maybe he puts in samples and then just ****s with them

how about this

YouTube - Xzibit - Gotta Get 'Em - Ft. Kobe - Produced by DJ Khalil - NEW 2009

what do you think the main organ sound is a simple organ sound with a filter?

I think I'm going to spend some time with alchemy but it looks ****ing daunting hahaha
Old 2nd January 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
The organ sound in the Xzibit track you just posted is a short one note sample probably from some vinly track where the organ was playing by itself without other sounds in the track, its then mapped into a sampler (probably an MPC which is standard for hip hop) and then its played into the melody. It has a slow attack on its amplitude envelope which is giving it that pumping sound.

You could achieve the same by making/getting your own organ sound and ****ing with it (yeah filters would work - izotope vinyl would be great too (its free) to give it that familiar vintage sound) - but then rendering a 1 note sample into a sampler (alchemy could do it - or EXS in logic) and then playing that sound into your melody. Thats basically how you get those kind of fake hip hop sounds - it obviously doesn't sound like a real organ - it sounds like a hip hop organ
Old 2nd January 2011
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

ok, so you think the sample is stretched what about sounds like

YouTube - Dj khalil, Dan, Rahki

at around 1:50 you think thats a sampled organ, just 1 note thats spread?
Old 2nd January 2011
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

sorry about being such a leech

Thanks for your help I really appreciate it
Old 2nd January 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
 
RKrizman's Avatar
 

I mean it in the best way when I say that you'd be better served to spend less time asking around with a lot of vague question and more time rolling up your sleeves and working on programming sounds in your hardware or software of choice. If you have Logic you have plenty of places to go.

-R
Old 3rd January 2011
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

bump
Old 3rd January 2011
  #17
Lives for gear
This clip:
YouTube - In The Lab With: DJ Khalil

Was on the recommended of the last things you posted.

It shows that most of this DJ Khalil still involves sampling, he gets people in to play stuff for him then he picks the sections and little slices he likes and maps them out on a sampler (recycle and reason is shown in this video) and then mucks with it, so instead of vinyl samples etc he's making his own.

Watch when he describes about cutting the slices and putting them on his samplers individual keys, NXT is great for that, try EXS - lots of guys love EXS for putting a different sample on each note, or use drum pads instead of keyboard keys. I'm still new at Logic and EXS so I'm using NXT or Ableton's Sampler only because I'm faster with those and I'm not looking for amazing velocity layers etc

And to be honest, the guys you've mentioned so far seem to be using real sounds like organs, choirs, vocals, guitars, etc either by recording somebody /themselves or using sample-vsts (kontakt, EXS or NXT for example) or vinyl and then mucking with them. Not alot of synth sounds and if there are synth sounds being used then they are simple nostalgic synth leads - nostalgia is a major theme in traditional hiphop

But regardless I'd try making your own sounds, maybe try recording some samples around the house and then importing to EXS or Alchemy. OR once you get to the point where your annoyed with your synth sounds you've made with you other synths like in your original post, try recording a short snippit of what you've come up with and then importing into Alchemy or EXS
Old 3rd January 2011
  #18
Registered User
If organs are very important to you, I don't know of any current software options that can deliver (now that native B4 is obsolete).

The power of a Hammond tonewheel organ is the purity of all those sine waves coming off a common shaft with a fixed phase relationship that never changes.

Take two identical sinewaves and randomly trigger them together. What you will find is that IF they are in perfect phase, you get a 6dB boost in level. If they are perfectly 180 degrees out of phase, they cancel to silence! And of course you are going to get every other combination in between.

The problem with practically all synths and samplers attempting organ tones is that they start generating the tone, or playing the sample from the moment you trigger the note. This works for most sounds - but organ tones are basically made of sustaining sinewaves mixed together (the first additive synth). So right away you have a big problem. If you try to get a pure simple organ tone from a synth or sample, you will experience horrible phasey mush and random tone variation (or nulling) when you play octaves or chords.

The synth makers disguise this problem by using lots of modulation. With enough vibrato, you won't notice the problem - bit it's still there. Maybe only on a subliminal level, you just know it's not right - not as powerful and fluid as a Hammond tonewheel organ.

I've owned several genuine Hammonds, but i'm not a purist. They got old and broke, and I sold them. And i'm more than happy with a good digital organ - as long as it has synchronised tonewheel emulation. If you can generate pure synchronised tonewheel sinewaves, you can create practically any classic organ tone by the choice of amps, speakers, FX etc But if the basic organ engine is defective, you are screwed.

Nord, Roland, Hammond all make excellent hardware organ engines. Probably there are others - but like I said, MOST synths and samplers can't make good organ tones UNLESS they also have a dedicated synchronous tonewheel emulation algorithm.

The organ tone in the later half of that clip is pretty good although the modulation FX sound artificial. I wouldn't like to guess what it was, but I think I saw some real hardware keyboards in his rack - wouldn't be surprised if it was hardware, but clearly not a real Hammond.
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