41 votes
Accepted

Programming in early 80s synth music

'In general' is pretty hard to nail down. There is so much to say about this era I could write a book - perhaps I should ;-) Late edit - Let me add a quick TL:DR Hardware sequencers were such a pain ...
  • 24k
38 votes
Accepted

Do different synthesizers have different timbres and/or produce different harmonics for the same given waveform?

They are not identical. The differences are suble, but often audible. Different implementations of both oscillators and specific waveforms will yield slightly different timbres. The rest of the signal ...
  • 15.9k
22 votes

Is it mathematically possible to create an equal temperament which matches just interval ratios?

The other answers approach this from dividing the octave and showing that equal divisions must be irrational. Another way of looking at this is to consider whether we can compose an octave by ...
  • 15.1k
20 votes
Accepted

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

What I've found is that the acoustic piano is the most expressive when played softly. We all like loud, but anything can be loud and the ear will tune loud OUT after a while. But it pays attention ...
17 votes
Accepted

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

Technically speaking two notes with the same pitch have the same frequency as the fundamental. However this does not explain why two notes of the same frequency also called unisons, sound different ...
  • 4,054
16 votes
Accepted

Why do some synthesizers have two or more oscillators?

Firstly, a single oscillator will tend to produce rather a subjectively 'thin' and static sound. This isn't always the case (as later stages, such as the filter, or a separate chorus stage, can add ...
16 votes
Accepted

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

It's a Moog modular Synthesizer IIIc From Matt Morton - Apollo 11 Matt wrote, orchestrated, performed, recorded, and mixed all of the original music for the film, as well as the teaser trailer ...
  • 24k
16 votes
Accepted

Synthesizer: why playing a second time the same note shut down the first one?

The MIDI specification says: If an instrument receives two or more Note On messages with the same key number and MIDI channel, it must make a determination of how to handle the additional Note Ons. ...
  • 1,537
15 votes
Accepted

Learning to Patch Synthesizers - "Synth Theory"

There's got to be a name to the discipline, some kind of resource, some formalized, real thing around that particular science of music... right? You are looking for sound synthesis and sound design. ...
  • 15.9k
15 votes

Is it mathematically possible to create an equal temperament which matches just interval ratios?

As I understand the question, this is pure mathematics: No it is impossible. No matter, how many divisions you have, say n, the step width will always be nth root of two and therefore an irrational ...
  • 10.1k
13 votes
Accepted

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

In a monophonic MIDI to CV module it would just send one note through. It is called note priority, and the implementation depends on the MIDI to CV module. Some modules will let you switch between ...
  • 15.9k
13 votes

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

If you are playing an organ sound, you might want a keyboard that can feel and respond like an organ, rather than a piano It's possible to make a very shallow non-weighted action, which is helpful ...
13 votes

Can I plug a 2.5A 250V~ cable to a synth that is 100 - 240v?

The 2.5A and 250V on the cable is just the highest current (Ampere) and voltage (Volts) that it's safe to use at. Provided that your mains supply is in the range 100V to 240V then that's no problem. ...
  • 1,477
12 votes

Why does software-synthesized MIDI music sound so bad?

MIDI is not sound. The MIDI specification does not dictate what any instrument sounds like, it's up to the synthesizer to generate the sound. Free synths sound like crap, but good ones can sound as ...
  • 21.4k
12 votes
Accepted

How can I hear what a mathematical function sounds like?

As naught101 says, your particular case here is a sinusoidal wave with a quiet third harmonic. To hear what this sounds like at an audible frequency, go to http://meettechniek.info/additional/additive-...
10 votes
Accepted

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

Without a picture, we can just guess, and my guess is that it is referring to a triplet. Something like this for instance: http://edweb.tusd1.org/Mansfeld/FineArtsWeb/MusicExploration/downloads/A%...
10 votes
Accepted

Why does software-synthesized MIDI music sound so bad?

MIDI is only a specification for what instrument (patch) to use, what notes to play, how long and loud to play a note and other things like tempo, time signature and text lyrics. The concept is very ...
  • 456
10 votes

Synthesizer: why playing a second time the same note shut down the first one?

This is too long for a comment, so I'll make it an answer. Let's say you have a round-robin sample program that plays a different speech sample every time. You play this: NoteOn(1,40,100) // "...
9 votes
Accepted

Piano/keyboard versus synth

A synth is a machine that generates (synthesizes) sounds. There are many different types: old-school 80's style FM synthesizers, even more old-school modular synths like Moogs, software synthesizers ...
9 votes

How can I hear what a mathematical function sounds like?

You don't need any specific audio software to generate audible waveforms. Here's a simple C program that will generate the required data on standard output: #include <stdint.h> #include <...
9 votes

Decay vs Sustain on synths

The ADSR envelope (and derivatives) is as follows: A: Attack - the length of increase in voltage* (or analogue) D: Decay - the length of decrease in voltage that comes after the increase S: Sustain ...
8 votes

Is anyone familiar with the instrument called the mellertion?

An electrical instrument built in 1933, divided into a ten-division octave, instead of twelve. Billed as 'Altogether new types of melodies, far beyond the range of our present musical experience, ...
  • 178k
8 votes

Why do some synthesizers have two or more oscillators?

I think that the shortest and most precise answer to your question is: to produce timbres that are not possible with a single oscillator, including an entire form of synthesis (FM) that requires at ...
  • 81
8 votes

Types of synths used in modern guitar-based music

Back in the days of yore, you'd hear about a new synth because you read the music mags, or you heard an artist who explained in some NME article what gear they had. Armed with this limited information,...
  • 24k
8 votes

Why are there so many models of digital synthesizers?

It may be true that every synth is "just some oscillators, filters and envelopes", but like @Tetsujuin said in the comments, that's the same thing with cars, they each have 2 or 3 pedals. So ...
7 votes

Why does software-synthesized MIDI music sound so bad?

MIDI is just a stream of instructions, like: "Tell channel 1 to turn on note 60" "Tell channel 2 to turn off note 72" "Tell channel 3 to set parameter 1 to value 231" There is a set of conventions ...
  • 35.8k
7 votes

How to self-teach synthesizing sounds by ear

I think most people learn by mucking around with synths and seeing what sounds come out; as you do this, you learn to associate certain synth architectures (and certain parameter settings) with ...
7 votes

Can I plug a 2.5A 250V~ cable to a synth that is 100 - 240v?

A simple cable with just wires and no electronics inside, as the one your photo shows, will simply forward any voltage. It won't change it. The label on the cable specifies the maximum voltage it ...

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