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How did you become good at/decent at programming synths?

hardware, software, tips and tricks
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Postby Genevieve » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:04 pm

Exactly as the thread title says.

This goes for anything from leads to bass to drums.

I know how it works, sorta. I mean, oscillators produce the sound, filters get rid of any unwanted harmonics the amp amplifies it and envelopes control what happens to the sound during the duration of it whereas LFOs create, well what I'd describe as vibrato.

Sorta.

But all my stuff sounds like poop. I mean, when I listen to the things I do, they sound sorta.. cheap? I have no idea how to describe it. Just really stale. As if I only minimally mess with the the sound the oscillator produces. That or it just sounds way too huge and gimmicky.

I use Massive, Phosycon (a 303) and Rapture inside of Renoise.

I'm not asking 'how did X get that Y sound' but I'm wondering.. how did you teach yourself how to do it? How did you learn synthesis? I don't get it. After a few months of toying it still sounds like crap so I think I'm just not teaching it to myself well enough.
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Postby DZA » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:13 pm

videos and just playing around with everyting
jackmaster wrote:you went in with this mix.
.onelove. wrote:There needs to be a DZA app on iPhone just for id'ing old Grime tracks.

https://soundcloud.com/slevarance/core-civil-war-ft-jamakabi-slevarance-remix-2012-lost-project-file
http://soundcloud.com/keepitgully http://www.mixcloud.com/slevarance/
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Postby caeraphym » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:13 pm

3 parts Experimentation
2 parts reading/watching tutorials posted online
1 part RTFM

I kept seeing this guy and the fear he instilled in me got me googling for pdfs: Image

Besides I'm still learning everyday, too much to know, too little time as a mere mortal...
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Postby deadly_habit » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:09 am

reading, breaking down presets and patches and experimenting
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Postby Pallms » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:37 am

I'm still not amazing at programming synths, but what I do know I learned from messing around. I would randomly tweak different settings and began to hear what each individual part did. I've read a few articles online about the more technical details of the synthesis, but still have much to learn.
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Postby ehcsztein » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:57 am

Experimenting with as many synths as I could get my grubby mitts on and trying to learn how various controls impacted the actual audio.

Made a lot of horrible noise for sure.
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Postby jsilver » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:07 am

Layering.

Synths have more in common than not.
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Postby scooterjack » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:08 am

Deadly Habit wrote:reading, breaking down presets and patches and experimenting


+1
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Postby Sharmaji » Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:00 am

agressive filtering , higher resonances, and layering control... an LFO controlling an envelope, etc. also, stack diff. waveforms and diff. forms of synthesis. something like a square + a sawtooth, bandpassed... an FM synth, hi passed, and then a sine w/ hi res, lopassed.

massive will let you layer and process in HUGE ways, just all about finding the right bits that work together.
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Postby deadly_habit » Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:02 am

another handy tip is to use an oscilloscope to breakdown what's going on waveform wise of sounds you want to emulate
http://www.progressaudio.co.uk/Products.html
has a good free one

there was also some book i read in the library that was written in the late 70s or early 80s which broke down synthesis based off moog's gear and techniques alot which had quite a few quality tips in it

lastly though a bit dated for the price this should offer a few tips and is a nice compliment for the production book/magazine shelf
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Sampli ... 1592001323
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Postby fiziks » Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:06 am

Deadly Habit wrote:reading, breaking down presets and patches and experimenting


+1
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Postby abZ » Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:20 am

I still suck. But I got a basic understanding of how synthesis work by using the subtractor in reason. Pretty basic synth. In other words if you don't know dick you might not want to start with Massive/Z3ta/etc. The most basic synth is the 303 style, make sure you have that figured out then try a 2 osc synth. Video tutorials are great. I wish I had that at my disposal when I was starting out. Manuals? Fuck you. I don't even know how to read.
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Postby contakt321 » Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:19 am

I narrowed down some sounds I liked, then I watched a bunch of youtube videos, read a bunch of forums and slowly started figuring it out.

Try reading the Reese thread on this board, you should be able to get a basic sound going. Soon enough, with experimenting and experience, your mind and ears will know what a square or triangle, etc sounds like and you can start branching out.
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Postby Genevieve » Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:22 am

God yes, thank you very much everyone, I appreciate it.

I tried a lot of layering but.. I don't know. Maybe I just don't have the 'feel' for it yet. In a way, it took me months to get the feel down to do drums the way I do (my myspace, no I didn't use dBlue glitch and sorry! it's not dubstep) and I finally did, but no matter how much I try, it still sounds pretty bland when I try to do synths.

You've given me some great ideas, though. The next few days will be filled with lots of experimentation coming from me.

I know that Massive isn't exactly the easiest synth but neither is Rapture, but Rapture for example has been much kinder to me than any other. I figured out how to do a Reese bass by trying stuff myself on Rapture with my minimal knowledge, which may not be a big deal to most, but it was another step in the right direction to me.

I'm trying to get good enough to get more of an '80s acid house type sound (not just the 303, that's hardly any work), I love acid melodies and breakcore drums so yeah.[/url]
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Postby Genevieve » Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:24 am

contakt321 wrote:I narrowed down some sounds I liked, then I watched a bunch of youtube videos, read a bunch of forums and slowly started figuring it out.

Try reading the Reese thread on this board, you should be able to get a basic sound going. Soon enough, with experimenting and experience, your mind and ears will know what a square or triangle, etc sounds like and you can start branching out.


My ears can already tell. I figured that out when I was at a rave and too tired of dancing and I analyzed the songs, I could tell what was a sine or a tri or a saw and what type of filtered was applied. At times accurately and at others I was guessing, but I wasn't too bad.

Like.. my main problem is to have my shit sound.. 'non-bland', basically. That's what's bugging me. No matter how much I do to my synth, it doesn't sound that much more different from what I start with and when it does, it just sounds overblown.
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Postby Genevieve » Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:28 am

By the way, I've read every reply carefully and I'm going to try all the things I have not yet or I will get deeper into things I've tried before. So yes, thank you very much everyone, I appreciate it a lot.
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Postby scooterjack » Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:32 am

Genevieve wrote:
Like.. my main problem is to have my shit sound.. 'non-bland', basically. That's what's bugging me. No matter how much I do to my synth, it doesn't sound that much more different from what I start with and when it does, it just sounds overblown.



a little eq, maybe a little chorus, and a little delay/reverb goes a long way.
Just a touch of those will do wonders to "un-bland" your sound when done right. :W:
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Postby contakt321 » Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:45 am

ScooterJack wrote:
Genevieve wrote:
Like.. my main problem is to have my shit sound.. 'non-bland', basically. That's what's bugging me. No matter how much I do to my synth, it doesn't sound that much more different from what I start with and when it does, it just sounds overblown.



a little eq, maybe a little chorus, and a little delay/reverb goes a long way.
Just a touch of those will do wonders to "un-bland" your sound when done right. :W:


+1

You would be amazed at how little went into the 80's sounds, just a few effects, etc. A lot of these records were pretty bare. Keep at it!
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Postby whitestaa » Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:47 am

messin around with em till u like how it sounds is the key,

Plus after Effects and Pre Effects.
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Postby Genevieve » Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:48 am

ScooterJack wrote:
Genevieve wrote:
Like.. my main problem is to have my shit sound.. 'non-bland', basically. That's what's bugging me. No matter how much I do to my synth, it doesn't sound that much more different from what I start with and when it does, it just sounds overblown.



a little eq, maybe a little chorus, and a little delay/reverb goes a long way.
Just a touch of those will do wonders to "un-bland" your sound when done right. :W:


Haha goddamnit! I guess I'm not doing them right at all, then.
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