what age did you get into synthesis?

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Tardis
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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by Tardis » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:48 pm

11teen
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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by aeon » Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:10 pm

When I was 4 years of age in 1973, my father worked at a tv/radio station. When the station did local radio commercial production and they needed a young kid's voice, I was called into duty. I would sit in the voice booth and read my lines, but what really captured my attention was what I saw through the glass - the mixing board and all these dials and wires - I wanted to be on the other side!

I finally did get to meet the engineer (Mr. Swanson) and with some encouragement from my father Mr. Swanson showed me the mixer, the tape machines, and - the synthesizer.

It was a Moog modular (IIIc or System 55, I think).

Some time after that, when my father would go in to do work on the weekend I would go with him and spend time in the audio production department. I was allowed to use the Moog with a pair of headphones, but I was not allowed to touch the mixer or the tape machines. That was fine by me.

So it started there.

Also key were the soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange, Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver", my Radio Shack 200-in-1 electronics kit, the transition from post-punk to the new wave, the soundtrack to Blade Runner, and programming my Apple ][ and //e (both native and with a Mockingboard :) ).


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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by Titch95 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:46 pm

I'm 13 and just looking into buying one :D

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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by Raiven » Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:27 pm

I was 21 and it was a Roland JV-1000 back in 1993.
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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by minime123 » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:48 am

ive got everyone here beat.
ive been synthesizing fart sounds (from 2 different locations) since the day i was born.
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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by King Julien » Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:59 am

I didn't realise it was a competition. In any case I'm currently winning as the oldest person here to get into synthesis.

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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by iProg » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:08 pm

cornutt wrote:You bunch of young whippersnappers. :lol: I think I was in the third grade when "Switched-On Bach" was released. People don't realize now what a big deal that was back then. For about two years, geeky, effeminite Walter Carlos was a freakin' rock star. He did TV variety shows with his modular Moog; I'm pretty sure I remember seeing him on Ed Sullivan. And I knew I wanted to play a synth.

Of course, in 1968, there weren't too many synths that were accessible to third-graders. Flash forward to 1971. My first concert: The Edgar Winter Group, with Edgar on stage with an ARP 2600 slung around his neck. (Years later I found out it was a prop, but oh well.) "Frankenstein" dropped a bomb on rock music. Nobody had ever heard anything like it. I wanna play a synth, darn it.

As a teenager I had occasional chances to poke at things. A local music store had an Odyssey, and I would sometimes go in and mess with it until they threw me out. Didn't know what I was doing. But my brother used to buy a lot of music magazines. They came with these things called "bingo cards". Each ad in the mag had a number. If you were interested and wanted more info, you circled the numbers of the ads you were interested in on the bingo card, and mailed it to the mag. Business reply mail, no stamp needed. Put down that you're a musician, and they send you stuff! They didn't know we were a couple of teenage wankers. PAiA was one of the best. They sent us all kinds of stuff. I learned a lot about how synths work from reading their catalogs.

Forward to 1980. Starting college. One day I find myself with six loose dollars in my pocket; off to the record store. I come back with a copy of Synergy's Games. I listen to it, and come across that insane-violin sound in Delta Two. What the h**l is that? It says it's a digital synth. Well, I'm planning to be a CS major, so that is just as cool as h**l. A couple of months later, some of the Bell Labs guys who worked with that system came around to our school to do a "concert", which consisted of a tape player and speakers on the stage. Not much to look at, but wow, the music. Guy explains how they have to let a PDP-8 run all night long to produce three minutes' worth.

Now it's 1983, and I'm out of school and I finally have a real paying job in Florida. I'm hanging out at a record store with a couple of guys who work there. They have a band, and they need a keyboard player. I volunteer myself. They ask me, "Can you play?" I lie through my teeth and say "Sure". So, they hire me on the spot. Practice is tomorrow afternoon. I head off to a music store and come home with a Juno-106. Finally! It's mine, all mine! Now I just have to learn how to play it... long night ensues, starting with me spending an hour trying to decide which key is middle C. Oddly, the synthesis part of it doesn't seem odd or strange. In fact, it almost feels like I've been doing it all my life. Next afternoon, I show up, muddle my way through the keyboard-playing part, and dazzle the band with some of the patches I created overnight.

That was the start of the big ride, which hasn't ended yet. I haven't played in a band in ages, but I have gear the likes of which I never dreamed of when I was eight years old listening to S.O.B. I eventually got halfway good at the keyboard part; I'll never be the next Rick Wakeman, but at least I can find middle C now. As for the synthesis part, I've gone so far past the capabilities of those PAiA 2720s that I once lusted over, it's hard to believe. I got analog, I got digital, I got stuff in between, I even have a copy of the successor to the program that produced those tracks I listened to on tape in the recital hall at school in 1980. And I don't have to leave the computer to run all night to produce tracks with it. And as for Carlos' modular Moog -- well I don't have that exactly, but I do have a modular with modern modules. And I don't have to worry about any damn S-triggers.
A Juno-106 in 1983? :S

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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by iProg » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:12 pm

I had a been a bass and guitar player for almost 10 years when I got into synth sounds and these bands about 2 ½ years ago...bought a Wavestation EX and a DX-7..but the thing that really hooked me was the Polysix and learning to program a pure analog. That was a major kick for me.

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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by cornutt » Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:15 pm

iProg wrote: A Juno-106 in 1983? :S
Typo. '84.
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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by cornutt » Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:16 pm

minime123 wrote:ive got everyone here beat.
ive been synthesizing fart sounds (from 2 different locations) since the day i was born.
I'm not sure that counts -- that's an accoustic process! #-o
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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by chamomileshark » Sat Nov 01, 2008 1:36 pm

I was 20 when I got my first synth in 1980.

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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by memedesigner » Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:04 pm

Won a lottery as a kid in 1979 and got a Yamaha Electone organ with the money. That was heavily used by me & friends for a couple of years. Had been playing a piano at school for some time already.

I guess 1982 was the formative year. Listened a lot to Kraftwerk's Man Machine, Logic System's Logic and Human League Dare. All these were pretty profound for a 14 years old guy.

I had been programming Luxor ABC80 computer for some time already, and most likely got some sounds out of it ... But the connection between music & computers came to me much later.

First synth was the Yamaha CS-50 when I was in high school, probably 1984. I used the CS-50 for a soundtrack for a performance piece (tape + live piano impro + visuals) for an exhibition ... was a great gig :D The soundtrack might still be somewhere. Recall also doing some tape music while at high school.

Life took some strange turns after that and only 1991 I got back to synths by getting a second hand Wavestation.

Computers were a big part of my life at that point but still the combination of music & computers somehow escaped me. I did quite a lot neural networks stuff in early 1990s and remember to having discussed using neural nets in sound synthesis at the time with a mathematician ex of mine but nothing transpired out of that.

Only in 1998 when (another) ex introduced me to Rebirth there was this eye-opening moment: Wow! Instant fun for hours!

After that, it's been downhill ever after. Got Reaktor in 2004. When I got my Minimoog one of the first things I did was to integrate&debug couple of piece of software together to be able to play the Minimoog from Common Lisp interpreter ... it's just a long sad middle-aged nerd trip :D

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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by hogberto » Sat Nov 01, 2008 3:49 pm

heh heh

when i was about 13 i asked for and got one of these, a farfisa bravo combo organ:

Image

several cheesy presets, a little drum and chord accompaniment box and built in speakers but i loved it and it became my gateway drug into synthesis.

i was chuffed to bits years later to find an entry for the bravo in peter forrest's 'A-Z of Analogue Synthesizers'. :)
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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by aredj » Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:13 pm

hogberto wrote:i was chuffed to bits years later to find an entry for the bravo in peter forrest's 'A-Z of Analogue Synthesizers'. :)
'chuffed' sounds like a negative thing to my western ears.. haha

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Re: what age did you get into synthesis?

Post by Synthazaiser » Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:22 pm

I first got into synths with a poly-800 when I was fifteen. Now, I'm 17 and I miss my poly-800.
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Used to have: POLY-800, TR-505, Techstar TS-306, DX7, ESI-32, Juno-106, DX27, Synthcart, JX-3P, ESQ-M, Mono/Poly, MS2000BR, VX90

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