Learning to cook with synths

This is something of an addendum to my recent post about learning modular synthesis. In reference to how presets can be used for learning… below is what I believe to be an effective way.

Welsh's Synthesizer Cookbook
Welsh’s Synthesizer Cookbook

Amongst other things i’ve been going through Welsh’s Synthesizer Cookbook, building the patches listed in the book on different synths as a way of discovering how the different elements work together.   The patches in Fred Welsh’s book are designed to work with a fairly basic 2 Oscillator setup but as no two synths are alike part of the fun is identifying the difference.  (He provides a basic synth covering all the basics made in Synthedit and therefore for Windows only.)

I thought I’d give you an example of the process using patch specifications from the book that I’ve recreated in Tassman 4, UltraAnalog, Vaz Modular 3 and an M-Audio Venom.  A discussion of the results and verdict on using each synth follows after the jump.
Continue reading “Learning to cook with synths”

I can’t hear the music for the presets.

Klaus Schulze of course!

But then appeared the green-eyed monster, and its name was the Factory Patch. Technological advances made it possible to store what had previously been patchcord connections in the instrument’s memory for immediate recall. This, of course, was a boon for the traditional forms of performance, and probably the most significant marketing advance in the history of the instrument. However, it did not encourage what these instruments were all about — the creation of new sounds- synthesis… As a teacher I observed that learning electronic music now meant mastering the latest hardware/software sequencer and tweaking the final mix. Now, don’t get me wrong — this is an essential part of every musician’s training in the 21st century. But synthesizers had their genesis in the desire, if not the need, to play with sound.  Allen Strange from his forward to Power Tools for Synthesizer Programming by Jim Aikin.

Continue reading “I can’t hear the music for the presets.”