A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

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A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by Alex E » Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:50 am

Looking for an angry digital hardware machine. I have some ideas, but I'd like to hear yours.
Last edited by Alex E on Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by Ashe37 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:31 am

Microwave II?

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Re: A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by Alex E » Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:34 am

Oh h**l yeah. Does the XT/XTk sound the same?
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Re: A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:45 am

It's all in the programming, not the synth per se. Sure some will naturally do it more easily than others, but 'thin, cold, harsh and angry' are the easiest sounds to make without a huge amount of skill IMO.

Something with a HPF will help, although you can get similar results by tuning the oscillators up and using a resonant LFP. Modulating your oscs and filter at audio rates, either FM or cross/ring/amplitude modulation will get things sounding harsh pretty quickly.

Here's a list of techniques I would use to get each of those words:

Thin: HPF, single precise osc like digital or DCO
Cold: same as thin
Harsh: Osc and filter modulation, low bit rate and depth, distortion
Angry: same as harsh, with a bit more emphasis on the way you're playing it

If you're just after a list of synths you could do these easily on, the Evolver is the first one that springs to mind. The Poly 800 also excels at those sorts of sounds because of its paraphonic design which means you can run it through distortion and the sound remains more coherent that with a fully polyphonic synth. The Waldorf stuff is good for it too, heaps of modulation options. You could probably throw a rock into a room full of digital synths from the 90s and it would be impossible to miss something that could do what you're after though.

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Re: A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by Dr. Phibes » Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:47 am

Oh h**l yeah. Does the XT/XTk sound the same?
Never having had a Microwave I can't argue over that, but I did have a Waldorf XT for a while. The sounds that thing made could skin you alive sometimes. Bloody good synth actually - if I hadn't become such an analogue w***e I would have kept it. The upside was that it wasn't confined to those kind of sounds (like a lot of its peers), but they did come easily.

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Re: A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by cornutt » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:54 am

If you're looking for a VA so glassy it'll cut your earlobes off, try the SH-32.
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Re: A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by GuyaGuy » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:11 am

Agreed that almost any digi synth will let you get thin, cold and harsh--esp a recent one with various filters, waveforms, mod routings, etc The ones I've liked most for that have been the Blofeld and the V-synth.

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Re: A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by bouzoukijoe1 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:53 am

Korg Radias - the most razor thin, biting, acidic VA synth I know of. if you use it the right way, it's like pouring hydrochloric acid all over your tracks. I've heard rumors that it's really a rompler deep down inside pretending to be a virtual analog. quite intriguing. it might just be an old wives tale, but that could be responsible for the unique sound. the cross modulations + drive + waveshaping definitely contribute. Virus can compete, but the Radias is naturally good at it. it will be in high demand someday when someone finally figures out how to use it properly.

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Re: A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by analoglsd » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:17 am

Most of my experience with synths is of the vintage/analog variety.
That being the case, the coldest/harshest synth I can recall owning was the Akai AX-60.
While I'm more attracted to warmer, richer sounding synths I did appreciate the AX-60's unique character.

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Re: A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by V301H » Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:12 pm

Surprised no one has mentioned the DX-7, the Synth that originally set the standard for thin, cold, and harsh.
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Re: A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by Jay200MPH » Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:25 pm

Sammich (Midibox) SID or MeeBlip.

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Re: A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by garranimal » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:17 pm

V301H wrote:No one has mentioned the DX-7, the Synth that originally set the standard for thin, cold, and harsh.
Good. And SY-22 seems pretty icy and harsh although I haven't had that, but used to mess with an SY-55

How about some other digital with maybe wavetables:
- Fizmo (I sold that),
- PPG Wave 2.V plugin is nice and glass-y (I have that),
- Wavestation (sold it)
- Prophet VS

The king of harsh icy sounds would probably Hartmann Neuron. Notable mention VA would be MS-2000 it has the DWGS waveforms in there and can get some harsh wavetable scanning effects using the MOD SEQ.

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Re: A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by balma » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:18 pm

Korg Radias is REALLY suitable for "blue ice" sounds.

The VPM oscillator synthesis produces a harsh efect on some knob positions, is really handy for metallic sounding overtones. Normally the HPF and BPF can drastically reduce the volume when filtering the lowest frequencies and letting pass the highest ones. Radias has a nice EQ incorporated on each patch, plus the Waveshaper feature. This boost the patch volume a lot, very handy on HPF filtered sounds. It can create really crispy and cold sounds with a powerful presence.

Take a VPM Osc sound. Send it on BPF/HPF filters, Use waveshaper on hardclip, add level boost to a high level, reduce Low gain and increase high gain on the EQ section, and you can obtain a huge variety of cold sounds.

Thin? reduce volume of one of the oscillators, and turn on the ring mode. Thin and crispy.

Radias is very understimated. I have read some comparisons with the Virus B and other VA hardware synths, but it sounds very different to a Access Virus. It´s a really a flexible VA with able to produce a wide spectrum of sounds when you learn to combine the different features it has. I love the Waveshaping addition, and the flexible Filter section. Is a shame that the PCM sounds are so standard General Midi.
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Re: A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by computron » Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:41 pm

I agree with a Dx7 .cold and thin even better a TX81Z .cold bit more harsh due to the op and extra waveforms .super cheap too a steal.
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Re: A synth that sounds thin, cold and harsh?

Post by hyphen nation » Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:20 pm

How about some kind of pedal, like a super distortion?

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