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#2968278 - 01/10/19 08:37 PM Roland AX Edge and Synth for Newbies
MrMoo Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/19
Posts: 4
Hey folks,

I'm pretty new to synth and keyboarding in general. I've been playing keyboard for a while, but, I want to get in to some sound manipulation and playing some of my favorite synthwave stuff. It's... Deep. Getting in to the programming for my new AX Edge, I'm pretty overwhelmed by options, and I'm having trouble finding some good learning resources.

Can anyone recommend a good source of information or tutorials for new players? Alternately, does anyone have an AX Edge that could answer some questions?

Thanks in advance!

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#2968288 - 01/10/19 11:00 PM Re: Roland AX Edge and Synth for Newbies [Re: MrMoo]
timwat Offline
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Registered: 11/21/01
Posts: 5760
Loc: Concord,CA,UNITED STATES
Hey MrMoo,

Welcome to the forum! I hope you enjoy your time here - there are lots of helpful members here.

I don't own an AX Edge, but own an AX Synth (the earlier version).

Roland has released a free editor app which allows easier, more user-friendly edit of patches, librarian functions and such. If you haven't yet taken a look, you might benefit from taking a look at the series of Roland instructional videos on YouTube which appear to start with THIS VIDEO.

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#2968359 - 01/11/19 11:00 AM Re: Roland AX Edge and Synth for Newbies [Re: timwat]
MrMoo Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/19
Posts: 4
Hey there! Thanks for the info!

I've actually been playing around with the editor app, and I'm slowly working my way through it. It's a little clunky and doesn't always work 100%, but, it's definitely a good intro. I've worked my way through the videos that Roland provided, and I'm actually able to edit and load up custom patches now. I think my issue now is actually creating sounds for the patches.


It seems like there's a pretty massive library of sounds, and the patches are created by combining parts at different levels. That part is a little overwhelming to me, as I'm not very experienced and sound composition is tough.

Do you, or anyone here, have any tips on how to create good synth-y sounds? For reference, the list of built in sounds is here:

https://static.roland.com/assets/media/pdf/AX-Edge_SoundList_multi01_W.pdf

The Program List are the pre-set patches, and the Tone List are all the parts that are combined to make those patches.

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#2968364 - 01/11/19 11:28 AM Re: Roland AX Edge and Synth for Newbies [Re: MrMoo]
davedoerfler Offline
KCFF League Champion 2017
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Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 8104
Loc: the swamp
Originally Posted By: MrMoo
anyone here have any tips on how to create good synth-y sounds?


Sound Synthesis and Sampling by Martin Russ is an excellent book to get you started

https://www.amazon.com/Sound-Synthesis-Sampling-Third-Technology/dp/0240521056
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#2968366 - 01/11/19 11:40 AM Re: Roland AX Edge and Synth for Newbies [Re: MrMoo]
timwat Offline
Quite wealthy...spiritually
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/21/01
Posts: 5760
Loc: Concord,CA,UNITED STATES
There's a lot of ways to answer your questions, and a lot depends on how deep you want to get into programming (and how much time you have to devote to it). This is a subject we talk a lot about here. We have some members here who are professional sound designers (and really good at it), and we have many members who are satisfied using the default presets only.

My long-term answer is knowledge is power. Learning how to get your instrument to make the sound you need (or the sound in your head) is a really valuable skill, both artistically and professionally. There's no shortcut to getting good at it, you just have to dive in and start tweaking settings and see what each setting does to the overall sound you're playing.

There are certainly tutorials online, videos like the series I noted, and even good books on the topic. But there's nothing like doing what you're already doing - getting familiar with what happens when you increase that setting, add more attack time, change the wave that part is using, etc.

It certainly helps to understand Roland's voice "architecture" (two "parts" that feed into how many "filters" and then into what kind of "amp", etc.). It's not quite as easy to learn these fundamentals from an editor app (compared to, for example, learning on a synth with a panel full of knobs so you could visually see the signal flow from one element to the next), but it sounds like you've already gotten familiar with your signal flow with the tools you've got. Good on you and it sounds like you're learning faster than many. You should feel good about that.

At the end of the day, you're 100% correct - sound composition is tough. That's a real understatement and makes us all appreciate gals and guys who do that for a living.

It's still humbling when I hear a sound in a tune....and know I have no idea how I would duplicate it. I'm always trying to learn, and there's always more to learn.

That's basically a really long answer to say I don't have a great response to how to create synth-y sounds, other than either 1) start with an initialized patch and build from scratch and see where it goes or 2) start with an existing sound in mind (from any song, radio hit, famous band) and try to get close to it.

While I spent time earlier in my career working on sound design, learning the basics of subtractive synthesis and the like, nowadays my gig life is less about that and more about other aspects of playing - so I start with my very very large inventory of existing patches and tweak to taste to get close to what I need.

I don't find myself in any settings where I'm paid to precisely duplicate someone else's sound design these days, so I'm probably not the best person to respond.
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#2968401 - 01/11/19 03:30 PM Re: Roland AX Edge and Synth for Newbies [Re: timwat]
David Emm Offline
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Registered: 09/14/12
Posts: 1320
Loc: Solder Huffer's Gulch
This is a real MINI-tutorial at under two minutes, but its also a bit like a flip book of parameters. It might help you to develop your familiarity with the system more readily. I'd also encourage you to take in some instructional videos for several different synths, both hardware and software. Since the AX is definitely not the best starter synth for lack of knobs, the next best thing is to develop an image of the basic signal flow in your head. At their root, analog/wavetable sounds are all basically oscillator > filter > envelope. That "oscillator" can come from different places and you'll sometimes want a Low Frequency Oscillator to liven up a pad, but the structure is the same until you start going to fringe places like additive.

Above all, don't be too daunted. Your presets are already useful and you'll gradually suss out the editor's clunkiness. Keep at it and one day, you'll realize that you're doing various things almost reflexively. BTW, you bought a good tool. The AX has a righteous engine! like

AX Edge tutorial
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#2968408 - 01/11/19 04:24 PM Re: Roland AX Edge and Synth for Newbies [Re: David Emm]
Ledbetter Offline
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Registered: 09/26/14
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#2968439 - 01/11/19 09:58 PM Re: Roland AX Edge and Synth for Newbies [Re: Ledbetter]
MrMoo Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/19
Posts: 4
Thanks for the great advice and resources, all. Looks like I've got a lot of reading to do!

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#2968585 - 01/12/19 08:19 PM Re: Roland AX Edge and Synth for Newbies [Re: MrMoo]
Tom Williams Offline
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Registered: 01/04/14
Posts: 1050
Loc: West Virginia
I must say, the worst synth I have ever had in terms of tweaking/editing is the AX-Edge. The AX-Synth I traded for it had a useful Windows-based editor and librarian. The Android-based editor for the Edge is extremely cumbersome, and seems to want to reload all parameters (taking a couple of minutes) every time I leave the app and return to it.

The AX-Edge seems to have a very nice synth architecture, but durn, it is difficult to get to it. I swear, the Ensoniq Mirage, with a couple of arrow keys and a two-digit hexadecimal display, was easier to work with.
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PC361, PX-5S, AX-Edge
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#2968641 - 01/13/19 09:02 AM Re: Roland AX Edge and Synth for Newbies [Re: Tom Williams]
MrMoo Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/19
Posts: 4
Originally Posted By: Tom Williams
The Android-based editor for the Edge is extremely cumbersome, and seems to want to reload all parameters (taking a couple of minutes) every time I leave the app and return to it.


It really is clunky. Even scrolling through sounds is a huge chore. It doesn't use enough memory, I think, so it can't load the entire tone list at once. So if you try and scroll through the hundreds and hundreds of sounds too quickly, the list just locks up and bounces back. You have to scroll through about a dozen at a time, wait for it to load, scroll a little further... Really a pain. I've found it straight forward to actually control, but there's a ton of optimization they need to do with it to make it more usable.

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#2968685 - 01/13/19 02:49 PM Re: Roland AX Edge and Synth for Newbies [Re: Tom Williams]
David Emm Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 09/14/12
Posts: 1320
Loc: Solder Huffer's Gulch
Originally Posted By: Tom Williams
I must say, the worst synth I have ever had in terms of tweaking/editing is the AX-Edge. The AX-Synth I traded for it had a useful Windows-based editor and librarian. The Android-based editor for the Edge is extremely cumbersome, and seems to want to reload all parameters (taking a couple of minutes) every time I leave the app and return to it.

The AX-Edge seems to have a very nice synth architecture, but durn, it is difficult to get to it. I swear, the Ensoniq Mirage, with a couple of arrow keys and a two-digit hexadecimal display, was easier to work with.

Sheesh! I had a Mirage, so I know whereof you speak. Disappointing, when the synth is otherwise so good for its purpose. I find it head-scratching when a sloppy editor is released. They have the source code in hand and could surely do a simple HTML run at the GUI. A poor editor is a mark against the thing when Roland is bound to know how many of us plug almost everything into our computers at some point.
_________________________
George Plimpton: "If you could choose your death, what would it be?"
Charles Addams: "Breaking into 1000 pieces while attending a theremin concert in mid-January."

https://soundcloud.com/david-emm-1

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#2968732 - 01/13/19 11:19 PM Re: Roland AX Edge and Synth for Newbies [Re: David Emm]
Quai34 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/05/17
Posts: 223
Loc: Canada, MB
Well, I'm glad I kept the AX Synth so!!!!!
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