Page 1 of 2

Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:43 pm
by thefonz003
If you were going to start a museum of "unique" synths, what would you pick? I'd want ones that didn't sound like any others and/or that used rare synthesis methods and/or that had a rare combination of features. Here are a few examples:

Triadex Muse---first digital sequencer; can make its own "light show" if you have the right parts (that is weird).

Yamaha CS-80---I've never even played one, but I've also never heard anything else that sounds like it. Ribbon controller also fairly rare on analog.

Moog Source---The only vintage Moog with an arpeggiator that I know of, plus it looks like a Speak-n-Math. (I know, probably doesn't belong on this list. Humor me.)

Fairlight---First great sampler, plus you could draw your own waveforms with a stylus.

Synclavier---Duh. If only it had a waveform-drawing-stylus like a Fairlight.

Roland D-50---Not unique in synthesis methods, but one of the first non-samplers to incorporate samples, and its overall timbre is still its very own. Also, would you say it had the first good digital filter? Or even the first resonant digital filter on any synth?

E-mu Morpheus---A unique concept if nothing else. From what I've heard of it, it would be a little more difficult to emulate on, say, an SY77 than a Wavestation would. (I have an SY77 bank of Wavestation impressions, and upon playing a WS for the first time I was struck by how good of an emulation that bank does. Also, no, not including WS on this list---vector synthesis was fairly popular in the early 1990s.)

Kawai K5000---A digital additive synth? A combination of additive and PCM? I've heard people say it was unique, and I believe it.

Yamaha FS1r---Eight-op FM with formant shaping. I wish Yamaha had explored a bit more in that direction.

Ensoniq Fizmo---The only synth I know of to focus fully on Transwave synthesis (which I feel has great potential but is too out-there for some---kind of like FM in the early 1980s, albeit very different in theory and sound), plus includes an arpeggiator, a vocoder, and excellent effects. If I suddenly became wealthy, one of my first acquisitions would be one of these bad boys, preferably with the regulator fix already performed.


What am I missing here? What would you leave off the list? Am I totally insane to want a Fizmo? Commentary welcome!

Re: Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:15 pm
by meatballfulton
Rare synthesis methods don't interest me much, only the results you can get from them.

I owned a K5 (additive) for a while and I couldn't understand how to program it at all. The factory presets sounded like a DX7, so what's the point? I understand how additive works, but translating that into sounds that can't be created by other methods was where I lost the plot.

I also owned the PLG board version of Yamaha's VL physical modeling engine. That was another total head scratcher.

Re: Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:28 pm
by thefonz003
meatballfulton wrote:Rare synthesis methods don't interest me much, only the results you can get from them.

I owned a K5 (additive) for a while and I couldn't understand how to program it at all. The factory presets sounded like a DX7, so what's the point? I understand how additive works, but translating that into sounds that can't be created by other methods was where I lost the plot.

I also owned the PLG board version of Yamaha's VL physical modeling engine. That was another total head scratcher.
I get that the sound is the most important thing; I just think that the theory behind it is interesting as well. I think most people would agree that most of the synths I listed sound good too, and I said that unique-sounding synths using conventional synthesis methods were welcome also. So what would you nominate? :)

Also, I somehow forgot the Hartmann Neuron the first time around, so I'll add that to the list.

Re: Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:38 pm
by garranimal
Novachord, Ondes Martenot and/or Theremin, Neuron, Swarmatron

Re: Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:50 pm
by thefonz003
garranimal wrote:Novachord, Ondes Martenot and/or Theremin, Neuron, Swarmatron
Goin' way back! Would the Chamberlain and Mellotron count, or were they just early ROMplers?

Re: Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:06 pm
by meatballfulton
thefonz003 wrote:So what would you nominate? :)
Image

There wasn't anything else like this in 2002. Lots of other synths have since copied it's feature set: small desktop unit, one knob per function*, both analog and digital oscillators, analog style step sequencer usable for modulation, no menus, universal power supply, user loadable waveforms, chainable for polyphonic operation, four LFOs, third assignable EG, true stereo signal path

*yes, one knob per function but not one function per knob ;)

Re: Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:13 pm
by Swayze
I'd swap the Moog Source out for the Liberation.

If you want something on the list with crazy arpeggiator functions, how bout the Mono/Poly?

Re: Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:52 pm
by Jabberwalky
Korg Ds8

Yamaha FM chip in a subtractive analog type editing style. It's never really happened again.

Re: Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:57 pm
by meatballfulton
Well it did happen again in the Korg 707, actually ;)

But I get your point.

Re: Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:54 am
by baz99
Roland JD-XA with it's unique blend of analog and VA voices

Yamaha EX5(R) for FDSP synthesis and it's unique capability of mixing AWM2, VL, and AN in a single patch

Yamaha SY77/99 and TG77 for RCM synthesis (AWM2 and FM combined within a patch)


With regards to the Morpheus you should also mention its bigger brother the E-mu UltraProteus which has twice the waveform memory (16 MB) and even more Z-plane filters than the Morpheus

Re: Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:01 pm
by thefonz003
baz99 wrote:Roland JD-XA with it's unique blend of analog and VA voices

Yamaha EX5(R) for FDSP synthesis and it's unique capability of mixing AWM2, VL, and AN in a single patch

Yamaha SY77/99 and TG77 for RCM synthesis (AWM2 and FM combined within a patch)


With regards to the Morpheus you should also mention its bigger brother the E-mu UltraProteus which has twice the waveform memory (16 MB) and even more Z-plane filters than the Morpheus
EX5 and EX7 do interest me for that reason. Can't the 5 also do a fourth kind (can't remember what)? I have an SY77, and it is a sonic chameleon (in a good way), but I wouldn't really call it unique in terms of synthesis. (Overall experience? I dunno. It's definitely its own synth, so I guess so. I do love it. It can imitate virtually anything.) The SY22, 33, and 35 also combined FM and AWM, although they were vector synthesis with no filter and the FM was simpler than in the 77 and 99.

UltraProteus sounds amazing.

Re: Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:59 pm
by joeboy
Well, there's the Soviet ANS synth

Re: Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:00 pm
by Mooger5
thefonz003 wrote:Also, no, not including WS on this list---vector synthesis was fairly popular in the early 1990s.)
The Wavestation is more about wavesequencing than vector synthesis IMO and to this day nothing else sounds like it.

Is the V-Synth already mentioned?

Re: Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:35 am
by pflosi
+1 for V-Synth! You can get so much different things out of resampling with it.

In modular land, you can do lots of fun stuff with feedback patches. I like filters in the feedback path of spring verbs. Here's an example:



https://soundcloud.com/contracommunemop ... -orchestra

Patch description here or on SC. :thumbright:

Similarly, no-input feedback techniques with mixing boards are hours of fun too, especially if it has nice EQs.

Cheers :drinks:

Re: Unique sounds and/or synthesis

Posted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 11:31 pm
by abruzzi
My all time favorite, the VL1. Sure there were other physical modeling synths, but 20 years later, and nothing has surpassed it, in sound and playability.