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Sound Programming Tutorial

J. Dan

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Very useful and generous of you JD. I have always found it challenging to get too far as far as actual results on my hardware because it seems like most lessons/tutorials etc are either about the concepts generally (without reference to how to apply them to any particular piece of hardware to get the results one is interested in), or if you have lessons or tutorials specific to an instrument, they assume you are already very familiar/comfortable with the underlying fundamentals of synthesis. Over the years I have only usually done slight tweaks on presets like changing the ADSR values, the LFO frequency or reverb amount; with my latest keyboard purchase, the Kronos (as much as I love it, more than any one I've ever had!), I thought it was going to be easier than ever to do programming but in fact I have found it very intimidating and more difficult than before to do sound programming on it, probably because it's like 9 different instruments in one, each with their own capabilities and techniques.

Rich Forman

Yamaha MOXF8, Korg Kronos 2-61, Roland Fantom X7, Ferrofish B4000+ organ module, Roland VR-09, EV ZLX12P, K&M Spider Pro stand,

Yamaha S80, Korg Trinity Plus



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I'll contribute...


If you're looking for a particular sound on a subtractive synth, not all synths can get it.


Filters are often the first culprits. Even filters by the same company (IE Minimoog vs Micromoog) will not sound the same.


Sometimes it's the filter, sometimes it's the audio chain (the VCA can add its own dirt too).


Case of point: I've been a Memorymoog fanboy for years because I could get a lot of good sounds from it. When I got my first vintage Oberheims, I found they could do certain things better than the Memorymoog. And I'm hardly a slouch with sound design.


Sometimes the control law of the electronics will impact the sound. For example, a good brass sound involves routing the EG to the pitch input of one oscillator while the other oscillator is unmodulated. Using a rapid transient EG you can briefly "detune" the oscillators which creates a nice attack transient. The Memorymoog doesn't sound as good as my FVS because the control law relations between EG output and modulation input are different (IE a linear EG output and expo EG output into the same modulation input will sound different).


The technical reasons behind these are deep and beyond the scope of this thread, but suffice it to say that variety is the spice of life. If you just can't get the sound you want on a piece of gear, another one may do the job better.

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In response to those who have said they don't really know how sound is made or why certain instruments or other sound sources sound the way they do, I was going to post something that really helped me get my arms around it years ago, but I realized that I already had.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain


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