I have need of a warm pad sound for DX7

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Composition86
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I have need of a warm pad sound for DX7

Post by Composition86 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:11 am

Where can I find a good patch of warm pad for DX7 (if could be helpful, I own the 2nd model), such as that in the beginning of "Time after time" of Cyndy Lauper or those typical of Enya's music?
I tried to program it, there's only the impression of a pad, sounds too much lifeless, I'd like to obtain something of more impressive.
FM synthesis is as much powerful as difficult to control! :?

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Post by Soundwave » Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:30 am

Get a generic string patch and turn down the levels of all modulators and set their keytrack to a negative exponential curve that rolls off towards the higher octaves, I find setting the mid point to C0 and using just the upper curve (like you would on an analogue filter keytrack) a little easier to get smooth results as this tames the digital harshness when the DX's 12bit CPU struggles with higher frequencies. Also detuning all operators slightly with give a nice chorus like effect.

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Post by steveman » Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:34 pm

It's been a long time since I've done any FM programming, but a trick I recall is to actually set 1 of the carriers to something like 0.1-1Hz (no keytracking). This'll give you some thickening, it sounds different from setting a modulator to a low freq.

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Post by Composition86 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:08 pm

Soundwave wrote:Get a generic string patch and turn down the levels of all modulators and set their keytrack to a negative exponential curve that rolls off towards the higher octaves, I find setting the mid point to C0 and using just the upper curve (like you would on an analogue filter keytrack) a little easier to get smooth results as this tames the digital harshness when the DX's 12bit CPU struggles with higher frequencies. Also detuning all operators slightly with give a nice chorus like effect.
Wow, is it so simple to obtain that kind of sound!? :lol:
I have ever seen keytrack as a useless parameter, but I will try. :wink:
steveman wrote:It's been a long time since I've done any FM programming, but a trick I recall is to actually set 1 of the carriers to something like 0.1-1Hz (no keytracking). This'll give you some thickening, it sounds different from setting a modulator to a low freq.
Interesting, I'll alsi try this method.

Thank you both.

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Post by bill H. » Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:31 pm

I don't think your two examples have any DX7...Enya was really into the D-50 in the early days and "Time After Time" sounds analog, although it could be a DX7 with heavy processing. You'll need at least chorus for that.

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Post by Bitexion » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:21 pm

You can create some very nice chorus effects when you detune operators opposite of eachother but not on the same level. I mean like in alg. 5,
that has 3 stacks, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6

If you detune say op 1 against op 4 you get a fat wow effect.
There are lots of cute tricks you can do to thicken up the sounds. I recommend you buy a book about the DX7, there were several VERY good books made back in the 80's. I have 2 myself. They both teach you the very basics and then expand with lots of practical examples for each chapter and sub-chapter so you really get some hands-on experience.

I think I've tried several hundred sounds from various soundbanks you find for free online just by searching for "DX7 sounds" or similar in google. Many of them have totally surprised me how fat and "analog" they can sound.
I think the factory presets are a bit of a hit and miss, they focussed hard on creating realistic acoustic instruments, and missed lots of the other possibilities with FM sounds, like slowly evolving effects, soft pads and soundscapes.

Key tracking can be used for several things, one of the coolest tricks is to create fake splits. You can have one timbre on say set 1-2 (in alg.5), another timbre at 5-6, then set keytracking to fade out op 1-2 near the middle of the keyboard, and fade in op 5-6 from the middle and out. Thus you get a split with 2 different sounds. Other things, like changing the output level of the modulators only as you move up/down the keyboard will work like filter keytracking, making the sound brighter further up.
If you're really careful you may even get 3 zones, like the TRAIN factory sound that has the "chugging" noise on lowest zone, a bell on middle zone, and a dissonant whistle on upper zone.
Key tracking is an important parameter that shouldn't be overlooked. Almost all real instruments sound duller in the low register than the higher, like brasses. You can replicate this with keytracking.

Velocity should also be considered, velocity can control output levels of the modulating operators, and you will get soft sound with light playing, and harder brighter sound with harder playing. Add aftertouch and you got a hugely expressive synth.
Last edited by Bitexion on Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by solderguy » Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:01 pm

Putting a Yamaha DX-synth through a Solina chorus works wonders for the sound. This is something you would need to build though. A possible alternative (which I haven't tried) is feeding it into the external input of a Roland RS-09 string machine. Using a Roland Dimension-C pedal sounds nice too, but quite unlike the Solina chorus. These choruses are all analog so they will add some hiss to the sound.

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Post by steveman » Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:39 pm

solderguy wrote:Putting a Yamaha DX-synth through a Solina chorus works wonders for the sound. This is something you would need to build though. A possible alternative (which I haven't tried) is feeding it into the external input of a Roland RS-09 string machine. Using a Roland Dimension-C pedal sounds nice too, but quite unlike the Solina chorus. These choruses are all analog so they will add some hiss to the sound.
The DX-7 is pretty noisy itself, only 12-bit DA...
Agreed the Dimension-C does sound nice, just gives the sound width rather than the normal chorussy effect.

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Post by Composition86 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:26 pm

Bitexion wrote:You can create some very nice chorus effects when you detune operators opposite of eachother but not on the same level. I mean like in alg. 5,
that has 3 stacks, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6

If you detune say op 1 against op 4 you get a fat wow effect.
There are lots of cute tricks you can do to thicken up the sounds. I recommend you buy a book about the DX7, there were several VERY good books made back in the 80's. I have 2 myself. They both teach you the very basics and then expand with lots of practical examples for each chapter and sub-chapter so you really get some hands-on experience.
Thanks for the advices.
Can you tell me the name of the books?
I think I've tried several hundred sounds from various soundbanks you find for free online just by searching for "DX7 sounds" or similar in google. Many of them have totally surprised me how fat and "analog" they can sound.
I think the factory presets are a bit of a hit and miss, they focussed hard on creating realistic acoustic instruments, and missed lots of the other possibilities with FM sounds, like slowly evolving effects, soft pads and soundscapes.
I also find that most preset sounds are quite useless. Once I have downloaded a huge number of sounds (100 and more banks), but only a small part was impressive. I thought that I used the wrong editor, because wasn't trasmitted detune parameters. ?:
Key tracking can be used for several things, one of the coolest tricks is to create fake splits. You can have one timbre on say set 1-2 (in alg.5), another timbre at 5-6, then set keytracking to fade out op 1-2 near the middle of the keyboard, and fade in op 5-6 from the middle and out. Thus you get a split with 2 different sounds. Other things, like changing the output level of the modulators only as you move up/down the keyboard will work like filter keytracking, making the sound brighter further up.
If you're really careful you may even get 3 zones, like the TRAIN factory sound that has the "chugging" noise on lowest zone, a bell on middle zone, and a dissonant whistle on upper zone.
Key tracking is an important parameter that shouldn't be overlooked. Almost all real instruments sound duller in the low register than the higher, like brasses. You can replicate this with keytracking.

Velocity should also be considered, velocity can control output levels of the modulating operators, and you will get soft sound with light playing, and harder brighter sound with harder playing. Add aftertouch and you got a hugely expressive synth. :
I neaver have thought about that, sometimes it could be useful!

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Post by Composition86 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:33 pm

solderguy wrote:Putting a Yamaha DX-synth through a Solina chorus works wonders for the sound. This is something you would need to build though. A possible alternative (which I haven't tried) is feeding it into the external input of a Roland RS-09 string machine. Using a Roland Dimension-C pedal sounds nice too, but quite unlike the Solina chorus. These choruses are all analog so they will add some hiss to the sound.
But I don't have a Solina. What about a software chorus?

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Re: I have need of a warm pad sound for DX7

Post by Dano » Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:04 am

Composition86 wrote:Where can I find a good patch of warm pad for DX7 (if could be helpful, I own the 2nd model), such as that in the beginning of "Time after time" of Cyndy Lauper or those typical of Enya's music?
I tried to program it, there's only the impression of a pad, sounds too much lifeless, I'd like to obtain something of more impressive.
FM synthesis is as much powerful as difficult to control! :?
I also think of the beginning of "Time After Time" as a reference for the 80's warm pad sound. I wanted to get a couple warm pad sounds for my DX200 and it wound up involving doing most of the the things that the others have suggested. Since you have the DX7 MKII also try adding a little bit of random pitch.

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Post by Composition86 » Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:42 am

Ok for random pitch. :wink:


I'm also inspiring to the first 10 seconds of this video (which unfortunately is the song previuos to 99 luftbaloons):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztYSlNazJno

There is an incredible warm pad at the beginning: I think it was played on a PPG Wave (but there is also an OB8 as polyphonic synth on stage).

Often i found that a dx7 can sound very similar to a ppg wave.

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Post by portland » Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:44 pm

Why do you think it was PPG? All the other sounds are OB8, and he's toward the OB8 when playing that sound.

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Post by neandrewthal » Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:16 pm

Isn't that an OB-X?

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Post by portland » Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:19 pm

neandrewthal wrote:Isn't that an OB-X?
looks like it

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