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tone center and volume
Old 10th August 2019
  #1
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tone center and volume

For synthesizers, there's often a sub oscillator that dials in a tone, usually one octave below the main note, and usually has volume adjustment. It got me wondering at what point we hear a C3 with a C2 sub as a fat sounding C3, instead of a C2 with some brightness on top. Where is the line drawn?

I was hearing that composers also spend a lot of time balancing things. Maybe only one instrument will be playing whatever extra note they want to add onto a chord. So I was thinking again how volume is used to affect what we hear.

Just some thoughts from an old timer actually taking a moment to think of this stuff
Old 12th August 2019
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delmarva View Post
For synthesizers, there's often a sub oscillator that dials in a tone, usually one octave below the main note, and usually has volume adjustment. It got me wondering at what point we hear a C3 with a C2 sub as a fat sounding C3, instead of a C2 with some brightness on top. Where is the line drawn?

I was hearing that composers also spend a lot of time balancing things. Maybe only one instrument will be playing whatever extra note they want to add onto a chord. So I was thinking again how volume is used to affect what we hear.

Just some thoughts from an old timer actually taking a moment to think of this stuff
Not a stupid question. I’ve made my living
as a synth programmer for decades. I can
answer the sub question.

A sub oscillator is always a sine wave. Nothing
more. Usually it is pitched one octave
ABOVE the fundamental of your primary
saw/pulse oscillators. So when you play
the C two octaves below middle C, it
sounds like extra “boom”. If it is pitched
normally, it will seem to “disappear”
at around A0 (assuming you assign middle C
as C3), because at that point it goes
below 40hz and you can’t hear it.

Sub-bass enhancers just add a resonance
one octave above the fundamental. The
elements in a mix you apply sub-bass
enhancers (like Waves MaxxBass) to are
the kick and MAYBE the synth bass.
That’s all you should be addressing. The
rest of the instruments don’t exhibit
much below 60 hz, and a lot of instruments
such as cymbals have no frequency
content below 80 at all.

By “composers” do you mean classical
music composers? Or pop track composers?
In classical music, your “chord” is actually
a composite of different instruments
playing one or two notes, mostly just
one note. For example, the low lows are
addressed with the double basses, bass
clarinets, sousaphones. The next note
up is the cellos, bassoons, etc.
Old 9th September 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Polich View Post
Not a stupid question. I’ve made my living
as a synth programmer for decades. I can
answer the sub question.

A sub oscillator is always a sine wave. Nothing
more. Usually it is pitched one octave
ABOVE the fundamental of your primary
saw/pulse oscillators.


By “composers” do you mean classical
music composers? Or pop track composers?
Thanks for chiming in. I have seen sub oscillators in square/pulse too. Here's an example, let's say you have 2 oscillators on your synth and you set them an octave apart, so maybe one is at A3 and the other is at A4. You have the mixer section on the synth too. So what is the actual note you are playing when you hit the A key? If you play with the mixer volume, you could have a very strong A3, with a bit of high end A4. Or you could have this strong A4 with a sub of A3 underlying it. At what point does the note shift from one to the other? As another example, it could also involve tuning the oscillators to something else, like A3 and D4. Depending on volume levels, do we have a D/A note or a 4th interval A and D above it?

I meant classical composers, when you hear some older piece and only one instrument section is transforming a basic chord into a 7th or whatever it might be.
Old 9th September 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
I often use a square or pulse as a sub, in fact I think the early Juno series from Roland only offers a square.

I use a triangle on my Oberhiem Xpander all the time.

It really depends on what range you play in, play low and you perceive it as a bass sound, play high and you hear a fat lead.
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