Questions tagged [synthesizer]

For questions about electronic keyboards and other synthesizing instruments and equipment.

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27
votes
4answers
4k views

Do different synthesizers produce the exact same sawtooth (and square, etc) waveform?

All basic synthesizers can produce the basic waveforms: sawtooth, square, triangle, and sometimes sine. Does each synthesizer "injects" its own character to the waveform? Are all sawtooths the same, ...
20
votes
8answers
19k views

What are the practical advantages of keyboards with non-weighted keys vs. weighted hammer action?

This is not a question about what type toy keyboard a beginning piano student should learn on if a real piano is not an option. I am talking about professional quality keyboards in the above (to well ...
19
votes
6answers
3k views

Synth sounds that make good solo instruments but don't mimic pianos, organs etc?

I have played a lot of piano, some organ and a fair few synths in my time, and have yet to ever find a synth patch that makes a good solo instrument (i.e. like a piano, you can play an entire concert ...
14
votes
7answers
14k views

How to recreate a sound on a synth

Is is possible to recreate any sound you hear in a synth? Think of it like ear training, but with a synth. Being able to deconstruct a sound with your ear, know what type of waveform is being used, ...
13
votes
7answers
9k views

What's the difference between two notes played on strings of different thickness?

I'm working on this piece of music on a sequencer, and I'm trying to emulate the effect of playing the same note on different strings of a guitar, say, an E3 on the 5th fret of the B string and an ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Why were sound effects like the gunshot included in the General MIDI (GM) standard?

I recently learned about the general MIDI standard and one thing that I cannot understand is the last sound effect is always a gunshot. Most of the other effects like applause, telephone ring, and ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Learning to Patch Synthesizers - “Synth Theory”

I'm currently in the process of learning to produce music, and one thing I'm finding absent in any of the resources I come across is what I guess I'd call "synth theory". For someone who's very ...
11
votes
6answers
5k views

MIDI: How do I refer to (and search for) software that will play audio from a MIDI piano?

I have a MIDI digital piano that connects to a computer via USB (it also has a normal MIDI out port too) and I'd like to browse for software that lets me play music through my computer's speakers. I ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Can I produce all the sounds on my computer that external synths can?

I want to start making music on my computer. I already play a bunch of real instruments, but I imagine I'll want to also use synth noises and such. Intuitively I don't see why I can't just produce any ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Programming in early 80s synth music

Were the synth parts actually played during recording (in general) or were they sequenced? I am thinking particularly of early electronic music e.g. John Foxx's Metamatic, as obviously sequencers were ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

How can I hear what a mathematical function sounds like?

I'm working on differential equations homework right now, and I just came across a solution to a problem that has the form: I graphed the function with my computer and it has an interesting waveform ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

How could you make instrumental sounds come out of a computer?

I've been working on some music generating software, and have laid out the basic algorithms, now all I need are actual instrumental sounds. By instrumental sounds, I mean the sound that comes out of a ...
9
votes
1answer
827 views

What 1968 Moog synthesizer was used in the Movie Apollo 11?

I was watching the short YouTube video How ‘Apollo 11’ Gives the Moon Landing New Life | Anatomy of a Scene and near the end the narrator says: My music composer, Matt Morton decided to do a period ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What exactly is the “cross modulation” on Roland Jupiter and JX analog synthesizers?

Roland's later analog synthesizers have a setting for cross-modulation between the two oscillators. I'm trying to find out what the exact technical nature of this effect is. Is it phase modulation, ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do some synthesizers have two or more oscillators?

Many synthesizers (like the Elektron Analog Four) have two oscillators. The Novation Peak has even three oscillators. This seems to be common in subtractive synthesis: Source: https://de.wikipedia....
7
votes
8answers
2k views

What is needed for an electric woodwind?

My wife is a music teacher. She's a classically trained saxophonist, and has been playing almost all of her life. Recently she saw a video which included an electric woodwind, and she just about went ...
7
votes
2answers
386 views

What would happen if I played two or more notes on a monophonic modular analog synthesizer?

Say I had a monophonic modular analog synth patched. If I played two or more notes, would it mess it up or would the MIDI to CV module just send one note through?
7
votes
3answers
319 views

Dealing with synthesized sounds where only a subset of tones sound good

I created a heavily modulated and filtered bass sound on F-1 but cannot play anything other than the F-1 itself and its # as the rest have too many conflicting frequencies. How can these two keys be ...
7
votes
1answer
529 views

Duration of a quarter note with a 3 written beside it (on a synth display)?

I'm currently reading the manual to my old synthesizer (Roland MC-505) and for setting the quantization level amongst other settings it displays the note duration on the LCD using the symbols for the ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Decay vs Sustain on synths

Could you explain to me the difference between "decay" and "sustain" on synths? I'm using the Korg Kronos 2 and the synth engines have both sustain and decay and they seem to be doing the same thing ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

How do multiple analog synthesizer voices work together?

Many synthesizers that are marketed as "four voice" instruments visibly feature four similar, independent sets of controls, giving impression that each voice could be tuned separately. However this ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Electronic keyboard terms: Aftertouch vs Pressure-sensitive

I was reading a review of the Akai Miniak which said The 37 half-weighted keys are velocity and aftertouch but not pressure sensitive. I thought aftertouch was MIDI signals of continuing pressure ...
6
votes
8answers
12k views

Why does software-synthesized MIDI music sound so bad?

It seems like converting MIDI into sound should be simple enough: record all possible notes, and then just superimpose the individual sounds according to the MIDI data (offsets, duration and volume), ...
6
votes
3answers
121 views

Is it possible to generate a perfect sawtooth wave?

I was wondering if it is possible to generate a perfect sawtooth wave (Wikipedia). Because in nature everything is continuous and therefore for example a common speaker would be unable to produce such ...
6
votes
1answer
986 views

How does a “Talk-Box” differ from a Vocoder?

Both the Talk-Box and Vocoder combine instrumental sounds with vocal sounds to create a Singing Instrument (or a more precisely-controlled Singer). How are they different, beyond "One's for guitar and ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Achieve samplepad/keyboard synth sound with a bass guitar for playing live?

I play bass in a pop band and for a new song we want to add a synth bass similar to the one in this song: The estudio recording part is easy, so the question is if ...
6
votes
2answers
134 views

How to make a Shepard tone, shape frequency amplitude response in Reaktor

Here's a video demonstrating combining a Pitch LFO and an Amplitude LFO in Reaktor's Form ensemble to create "infinitely upward" glissando in Reaktor. I'd like to be able to play a scale or melodic ...
6
votes
1answer
141 views

How can I play two overlapping parts with different sounds on keyboard?

I'd like to be able to play two separate overlapping parts using different sounds, without having to invest in two separate keyboards. In my new project, we're moving from some arrangements laid ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I regulate tempo on a Roland sh-101?

I have a Roland SH-101, an analog synthesizer made in 1983. I'm trying to recreate a song, but I can't ever seem to get its sequencer to play at just the right tempo using the LFO/Clk Rate slider - it'...
6
votes
1answer
484 views

Possible Harmonium/Reed Organ Synthesizing Techniques

I am working on a project to make a synthesizer for RaspberryPi capable of playing Harmonium/Reed Organ using external MIDI keyboard. I am making it in Python 2.7 using Numpy. Till now I have ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Production techniques for adding electronic elements to rock

I've been working for a year on home recording and I kept all my sounds "pure" so I didn't mix my songs a lot. However, I notice that a lot of bands use synthesizers or even complete electro mixes as ...
5
votes
1answer
708 views

What is filter automation?

I know what the effect of a filter on the sound of a synthesizer is, but I don't get wat the difference is between using a filter and filter automation.
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Very portable MIDI synth

I was planning to buy a very small MIDI keyboard (akai lpk25). Of course to make it produce sounds, I would need to connect it (via USB) to my laptop. Question: say one day I want to go to the park ...
5
votes
1answer
162 views

Ableton Live: How to control a parameter using the amplitude of another track?

I haven't found much info on this from web searches... maybe I'm using the wrong terminology or something. It seems like a relatively basic thing considering the complexity of modern DAWs, and ...
5
votes
1answer
581 views

DX7 test sequence - understand errors and what to do about them

Just acquired a Yamaha DX7 MkI and run the test sequence: Press FUNCTION+#16+#32 I got ERRORs on TEST 3, 4 and 6. I am seeking pointers on what they mean and what to do? Starting the test ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the difference between a Low-pass filter and a Cut-off filter

The TB-03 has a knob labelled 'CUT OFF FREQ'. I assume it´s a cut-off filter because Roland´s manual describes this knob as 'Filter cutoff (brightness of the sound)': The Allen&Heath Xone 4D ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Tutorials or advice on layering synths

so I have been into some music production for a few weeks, and I feel like I am improving gradually. The problem I am having currently is layering synths. If I listen to a track, I can sort of make ...
4
votes
2answers
11k views

It's possible to connect a usb midi controller into a midi synthesizer?

I do have an usb midi keyboard controller (m-audio keystation 49) and a synthesizer keyboard (KORG KROSS). I would like to assembly my controller to my synthesizer. However my controller only have ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I play the synthesizer on my own?

I recently bought the Novation Mininova and now I would like to practise playing it. In my mind a synthesizer like this is hard to just play around with, without any other instruments playing. I would ...
4
votes
1answer
81 views

Do I need to be concerned with drum tuning when using drum samples?

I'm starting to get into writing and recording some music and am using synthesized drums for the time being. Do I need to be selecting samples based off drum tuning at all? For example, if I'm writing ...
4
votes
1answer
132 views

Signs that I have at least a little talent in music? [closed]

Sometimes I just can imagine songs in my head, not too often, but it happens. Last time I imagined a piano solo, before that an electronic track. I don't know if they are good or not because I don't ...
4
votes
2answers
769 views

What musical/piano skills can be developed when practicing in a 25 keys keyboard?

I am beginning to learn the piano on a full 88 key Yamaha digital piano I've got at home but my routine has just changed and I am travelling very often, limiting my time at home to, say, one week in a ...
4
votes
1answer
788 views

MicroKorg back to normal mode without saving

Is there a way to switch the MicroKorg back to normal mode after editing a preset without saving? For example, I modify the arpeggiator range. Then I want the upper 5 knobs to switch back to edit ...
4
votes
1answer
932 views

Is it possible to move patches around on the microKorg?

I've so far just used my microKorg to play around with creating sounds, and am using it for the first time on stage in a few weeks. When practicing, I've noticed that it's very slow to move between ...
3
votes
6answers
549 views

Can synthesizers match orchestras in terms of complexity and quality? [closed]

To what degree can technically demanding scores such as Tom and Jerry's (Scott Bradley's music) be performed on synthesizers? Which specific synthesizers are capable of the best quality performance? ...
3
votes
4answers
261 views

Are some synthesizers and keyboards able to interchange sounds?

Synthesizers create new sounds, and many keyboards have thousands of tones to choose from; sometimes a musician may want a sound heard in a recorded song - but it is difficult to find. This may be ...
3
votes
6answers
15k views

How to synthesize grand piano sound

I'm using MIDI keyboard with an external software synthesizer that runs on a computer. I want to make it sound like a grand piano. I want something like this. This example shows that it's possible to ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Piano/keyboard versus synth

I've been aiming to buy a keyboard for quite a while now, but just recently, I've been interested by synthesizers due to some new band I've been listening to. I don't know much about these two ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Basic synth performance in Pop-Rock songs

I am pretty new to the keyboard and synth (but not to piano). I have been starting to play in a rock band as a keyboardist recently. However, the lines I was given to play was just some simple chords ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

What options are there for cheap synthesiser/synth modules to get for gigs?

I have an electronic piano with nicely weighted keys and a midi out, but I want to play 80s music with my band and it doesn't have the right sounds. I need a fairly cheap (sub £300) synth/synth ...