Best Synth Teacher

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
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ppg_wavecomputer
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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Fri May 02, 2014 12:00 am

Kronik wrote:1. ARP 2600 - When I first started dabbling with synths.[...]
Same here. Plus:

Mini Moog (first proper synthesiser)
ARP Odyssey (second proper synthesiser)
Yamaha CS80 (it taught me a synthesiser can also be played like an acoustic instrument)
Korg Wavestation (it taught me patience)
Technics WSA-1 (it taught me to rethink filters and oscillators)
EMS VCS-3 (it taught me to toss everything overboard that I believed to know about "analogue")

Uh, and PPG Wave (it taught me "digital" is not necessarily "bad" ;) )

Stephen
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Bitexion
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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by Bitexion » Fri May 02, 2014 12:06 am

I have a sizeable eurorack Analogue Systems modular too. But I find that I don't do so much "crazy" stuff with it as I thought I would. It's more used for basic 16-step sequence basslines and the like.

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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by calaverasgrande » Fri May 02, 2014 2:58 am

Moog MG1 was the first synth I got to screw around on unsupervised.
then when it was no longer sold by Rat Shack, I tried to make a synth with an Atari 800.
Polyphonic, with a noise generator, no enevelopes or filter.
I spent hours in Basic working on envelopes and trying to make actual notes instead of arbitrary pitches.
Sadly this was decades before public internet access and I misunderstood the mathematical relationships of the various intervals so only my octave and minor fifth worked. But man, the detuned oscs on that computer were great!
I also tried to approximate a filter by adding in a 2nd osc at a higher pitch but lower level. Never worked.
Oh yeah, my controller was literally an atari joystick

(this was in 1981-82 btw)
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave

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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by megamanx » Fri May 02, 2014 4:03 am

Mine was my yamaha CS 5. I started using it before the days of the internets, so when I started I was a bit frustrated that I couldn't really make any usable sounds, increasing the amounts on certain knobs didn't necessarily improved things, and the opposite was when decreasing or going the other way. Anyhow, I was able to learn a great deal from that little synth by just twisting knobs back and forth.

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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by Mac Moog » Fri May 02, 2014 6:13 am

MiniMoog Model D was my first synth and teacher

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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by madmarkmagee » Fri May 02, 2014 2:40 pm

ESQ - 1


Manual is superb. Synth itself taught me more about programming then any other synth.
Last edited by madmarkmagee on Sun May 04, 2014 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by calaverasgrande » Fri May 02, 2014 2:51 pm

you know I totally forgot about the Syntauri alphaSyntauri. When I went to 'computer camp' in addition to learning Logo and basic on a TI99-4a we also got to do music on an Apple II with the Syntauri.
It was incredibly hard to use.
That was 1980 I think. Must have been my actual 'first synth' now that I think about it.
I'm surprised I kept on with computers and synths after the TI99-4a and the Syntauri!
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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by Sheherezadeh » Fri May 02, 2014 3:04 pm

I also learned on an Alesis Ion, and also some on a Motif ES rack, which was cumbersome. I've been refreshing and building back up my knowledge lately, and I'm finding non-preset analog synths with one knob/button/slider per function most hopeful, particularly the MiniBrute and MS-20m of late. For live I like presets, but for home programming it bothers me if I can't just look across the interface and see where any of the values are at a glance.

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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by antilles » Fri May 02, 2014 10:29 pm

The best learning experience with synthesis for me was the Juno-60. It's very simple and instantly gratifying, as it's almost impossible not to make a good sound on it.

The worst learning synth for subtractive synthesis would probably be the Korg MS-20, because of its unconventional and confusing modular layout. Still, not knowing what you're doing makes it a lot of fun. 8-)

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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by Sheherezadeh » Sat May 03, 2014 1:49 am

I can think of far worse than the MS-20. If you ignore the patchbay it's for the most part a straightforward analog mono with everything specialized and labeled.

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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by commodorejohn » Sat May 03, 2014 2:00 am

Indeed. It seems like everybody gets hung up on the fact that the patch bay is there without stopping to think that they don't have to use it.
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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by monolith » Sat May 03, 2014 2:14 am

Juno-6 - my first synth

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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by mrpicholas » Sat May 03, 2014 3:47 am

madmarkmagee wrote:ESQ - 1
Manual is suberb explain. Synth itself taught me more about programing then any other synth.
Same here. Being able to assign any modulator to any source taught me about sound design and synthesis. I was able to take the basic concepts and apply them to other synths, but the ESQ was the first and most intuitive.

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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by calaverasgrande » Sat May 03, 2014 8:48 am

I just thought of another synth that really did teach me a lot, but not about standard subtractive or additive synthesis. I'm talking about the Casio SK1! I picked one up at Toys R Us back when they were new. I completely obsessed over it for a couple years. I got really into the various rhythmic relationships of the different intervals. Kinda hard to explain what I mean but basically, a sample loop played one octave higher is twice as fast. So you can make a nice simple beat of 8th notes against quarter notes. Well all the other intervals have rhythmic ratios between 1:1 and 2:1. That same summer I also scavenged a drum set. So I began imitating these loops from the SK1 on the drums. Funny thing is that I still play drums like that 20 years later.
So I guess that dinky little toy, which I only used once or twice for actual music, had a pretty profound affect on my music.
And it is total c**p as a synth!
There is something there about really learning your gear when it is the only thing you have.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave

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Re: Best Synth Teacher

Post by SeventhStar » Sat May 03, 2014 10:13 am

Multi-Trak! I've already learned some new stuff over the past couple days with it. Including using an arpeggiator for the first time and understanding how it works, other than the one on a Bass Station II at Guitar Center which I didn't know anything about.

By referencing a PDF copy of the Operator Manual, I almost felt like Dave Smith was here giving me a few synth lessons.

Like Sequential advertised back in the day, I may eventually become a Trak Star! 8-)

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