Have you ever had the chance to play at times on different synths? If, Yes, you must have noticed that the sounds are different each time. There is a perfectly logical explanation for this. Instruments produce sound from soundwaves. Synths may be playing the same musical note, but they do not create the same sound wave.
The shape of the synth can affect the kind of sound it produces. The design of buttons and speakers’ positions can alter the types of sound produced by a synth. To understand this better, a musical expert gives an example of inverting a polarity saw. The sound produced is very different, which is determined by output stations such as speakers or headphones.
Another reason synths sound different is that your synth settings may lack pilot error, which is usually zero. Another expert example to explain this phenomenon better is on a synthesizer where you have to turn the Sustain to 100% to prevent amplitude decay. Failure to adjust correctly, you will receive different tones. A further recommendation is to go for the RMS choice rather than peak to be on the safe side.
One other reason is that resampling also determines the kind of sound that a synth will produce. Resampling refers to stretching a wave so that it coincides with playback speed. You have to be diligent when it comes to resampling if you want your synths to sound remotely similar.
Type of Synths
A synth is either analog or digital. Analog synthesizers use laboratory kind of tools to develop and reconstruct sound waves. Analog synthesizers directly apply sound waves; the design is in a way that several sounds creating modules have to combine in different ways for them to function as required. These synthesizers were typical when significant technological advances were still underway.
Currently, digital synthesizers are readily available in the market. They require very little human input and utilizes computer algorithms. The type of technology digital synthesizers exclusively uses aims to create and reconstruct sounds. These are the most advanced kinds of synthesizers.
The unmatched convenience of a digital synthesizer comes from the fact that you can integrate it with your laptop. Connecting it to an external electronic device allows you to record the beats that you input automatically. The connection process is relatively easy, and all that it requires besides a synthesizer and computer is a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI).
Likely, you will most likely receive a digital synth recommendation if you go to a music shop. They have various settings that you can use to manipulate sound to the form you like. Also, they are easy to use, considering that they have the latest technological characteristics. Go for a digital synth that possesses all the qualities that a musical instrument possesses. That way, you will not have to look for ways to surrogate the missing parts of it.
If you are in the unique sound development business, then it is likely that you will come across another kind of synthesizer with similar qualities as a sampler. This kind of synthesizer manipulates recorded sound, such as the sound produced by snapping fingers. The way it comes allows you to change the sound settings. That means that you can manage the pace of snaps or change the density of the sound.
Additive and Subtractive Synthesis
The creation of sounds requires a certain level of creativity. The ideas for the sounds you use can be self-generated or edit some previously made sounds. When using already existing sounds, you can combine different sounds then start editing them after you have combined them. The former is the additive way of coming up with musical tones, while the latter is subtractive.
When it comes to using synthesizers, you can develop complex tones by picking simple tones from your environment, the additive way. However, a more straightforward way of creating sounds is by the use of subtractive synthesis. In this process, after making a complex sound from the additive process, you then filter out some of its parts and form its volume.
Let us have a look at the four independent components that make Subtractive Synthesis possible.
- New sound develops from the oscillator. You can control the kind of sound generated by the oscillator. The sound is a combination of a variety of frequencies and harmonics.
- A filter works on particular harmonics, for example, the ones that appear above a selected frequency.
- An amplifier gradually adjusts the volume of the sounds in like with the ADSR settings of your choice.
- Another oscillator determines how the three steps take place to add exciting characteristics to the sounds.
The process of subtractive synthesis is procedural. However, it is quiet since the synthesizer does most of the work. The best way to understand how this process goes is by trying it. The upside of creating sounds currently is that there are various optional courses to go about, such as using apps.
Process of Sound Production by Synthesizers
Synthesizer’s primary function is to modify sounds produced by other types of musical instruments. For synthesizers to work, they have to meet a few requirements, such as:
- It has to be able to construct sound waves in different forms
- It should be able to produce a variety of sounds at once
- The volume should adjust automatically
Inside synthesizers, there are different oscillators, which are directly responsible for producing various kinds of waves. A synth can create four distinct waves. They include sine wave, square wave, sawtooth and triangular wave.
Some of these waves can combine to come up with complex sounds. Also, when the sounds come out, their effect on the environment is different. Also, synthesizers can adjust the sound to sound precisely like pianos.
If you want to use a synthesizer in a piano, the best option is to go for a square wave generator. On it, adjust the ADSR to those of a traditional piano. A square wave involves a slow attack, fast decay, lengthy sustain, and release.
Modern synthesizers come with presets and unique modes that you can use them to sound like a particular instrument with a single switch. You can opt to copy the traditional instruments or adjust work with the settings as they are. In the end, the objective is to come with unheard sounds.
Developing Warm Sounds on a Synth
The thing about warm sounds is that they light up and change the condition of the immediate environment. It does not matter whether you are using an analog or digital synthesizer. The key is the technique. The bottom line is that you should ensure that your settings are in a way that they will meet your goals. Go with a digital synth since it has a variety of settings that can suit you.
Detuning the notes
The first step should have you detuning the notes or chords on your synth—the most straightforward way to go about this in analog subtractive synthesis. Here the oscillators are in different pitches. The thickness of these pitches adds depth to a sound as well, so that the result is a warm, flexible sound.
There is another way of detuning, which involves assigning one or more LFOS to adjust the oscillator pitch. Do so slowly so that the sound I not only warm but also coming off as organic. Also, you can detune by recording a sound in two different pitches. Then you take those sounds and layer them against each other. After that, the warm notes with being utterly distinctive.
Adding noise and distortion to your sound
In case you find that detuning is not a viable option for you, you can add distortions or noises and still have a clean, warm sound. You can use a flat “shhh” sound, also known as white noise, to add this characteristic. Under normal circumstances, this sound is unwanted, but when modified using a particular setting on a synth, the effect on your track will be an energetic and lively one.
Instead of merely adding noise to your sound, you can use the onboard distortion setting son your synth to add strength to your harmonics. Also, tape saturation will go a long way in adding raggedy sound quality to a sound that sounds too clean. If you are feeling a bit adventurers, you can combine the entire course, combine all these steps. However, even as you do so, take care not to overdo or underdo them so that your sound will be one of a kind.
Use Filter and EQ
When it comes to using wither analog or digital synths, you area safe since they all have efficient filters, one way that you can add vigor to your track is by using the filters. Although a clean-cut note is good, a sound with a bit of character in it is even better, which you can make happen by adjusting the filter and resonance.
After selecting your sound, examine and trim the frequencies using the filter cut off. That way, the frequencies left add warmth to your piece. Adjusting the resonance clears the signal and adds flayer to your beats too. Please do not go overboard with changing resonance because it could ruin your sound. If the filters are not working for you, you can turn to EQ; instead of trimming frequencies, it adjusts them to bring out the desired warm effect.