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Synths and Similar - an electronic music gear thread


Rowan Morrison
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I bought a korg volca fm and have been trying to get my head around it.

 Do any of you use fm synths?

What is best? Trying to make something from scratch? Starting with something close to what you want and trying to tweak it from there? Or seeing how similar voices work and vaguely imitating that? Downloading endless patches? Or can fm synths basically fuck off?

 

 

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8 minutes ago, chris on the moon said:

Starting with something close to what you want and trying to tweak it from there?

 

I love FM, I think if forced I would say it's my favourite type of synthesis, but this is probably the best bet to start with. It's enormously complex and the slightest change can make a patch sound totally different. Once you've done that for a bit, then move onto emulating those patches and see where that gets you. 

 

Or just download a million DX7 patches and embrace the 80s cheese.

 

The FM is the best Volca IMO. 

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10 hours ago, chris on the moon said:

I bought a korg volca fm and have been trying to get my head around it.

 Do any of you use fm synths?

What is best? Trying to make something from scratch? Starting with something close to what you want and trying to tweak it from there? Or seeing how similar voices work and vaguely imitating that? Downloading endless patches? Or can fm synths basically fuck off?

 

 

I'm on a couple of places for synths and stuff, including this Volca specific Reddit. May be worth a post on there for any particular points. It's pretty active.

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/volcas/new/

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I bought myself an Akai Force last week.  I’m really enjoying the hands-on music making process without having to be tied to the computer.  I watched so many YouTube tutorials before I took the plunge I’m not finding the learning curve too steep so far.    But I will read the 300 page manual at some point!

 

 

 

8EFAB29D-25DB-4E68-BCF4-7E9616898DB8.jpeg

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On 01/02/2021 at 21:56, Mr Monday said:

I bought myself an Akai Force last week.  I’m really enjoying the hands-on music making process without having to be tied to the computer.  I watched so many YouTube tutorials before I took the plunge I’m not finding the learning curve too steep so far.    But I will read the 300 page manual at some point!

 

 

 

8EFAB29D-25DB-4E68-BCF4-7E9616898DB8.jpeg

 

Ooooh, do keep us informed on how you're finding the experience of using this. I'm jealous!

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On 29/01/2021 at 18:19, stoofle said:

https://synthmata.com/volca-fm/ is fantastic if you can connect your Volca fm to your PC. Much easier to edit stuff, and you can make random patches and tweak them.

 

I was considering selling my Volcas the other week purely for space reasons but couldn't quite bring myself to do it. The fm would definitely be the last to go though.

 

Nice one. I've not delved deeper than playing around with the factory set patches until my Volca FM sounded like any given 80s anime soundtrack and / or the map screen music to Mass Effect 1 so I'll have to have a mess about with that at some point.

 

I've got a 4 Volca setup built up over the past few years, the only hardware synths I've ever owned. A Nubass, Keys, Beats and FM. Not done much with them beyond the occasional jam, although I've got them all set up using renoise as a midi sequencer so I've got no real excuse... (the kids like messing around with them too).

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On 03/02/2021 at 17:30, matt0 said:

 

Nice one. I've not delved deeper than playing around with the factory set patches until my Volca FM sounded like any given 80s anime soundtrack and / or the map screen music to Mass Effect 1 so I'll have to have a mess about with that at some point.

 

I've got a 4 Volca setup built up over the past few years, the only hardware synths I've ever owned. A Nubass, Keys, Beats and FM. Not done much with them beyond the occasional jam, although I've got them all set up using renoise as a midi sequencer so I've got no real excuse... (the kids like messing around with them too).

I love pulling the Nubass out at ungodly hours and making crazy acid squeaks under my quilt, headphones on of course. Small enough to just plonk on the bedside table when I'm done.

 

I'm deffo a Volca fan, can heartily recommend the new Volca sample too, getting some wild stuff out of it.

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On 04/02/2021 at 22:22, amc said:

I love pulling the Nubass out at ungodly hours and making crazy acid squeaks under my quilt, headphones on of course. Small enough to just plonk on the bedside table when I'm done.

 

I'm deffo a Volca fan, can heartily recommend the new Volca sample too, getting some wild stuff out of it.

 

Yeah, the Nubass might be my favourite of the four I've got. You can get some proper squelchy bass lines out of it with almost no effort. 

 

I've resisted getting a sampler because I use trackers for sequencing so that's basically like getting the sampler "for free" but I'm leaning in to the idea of a computer-less setup and another volca would fit in nicely... 

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  • 2 weeks later...

On the topic of FM, I'm tempted to build myself one of these.

https://www.futur3soundz.com
 

 

It's a super simple build.  Cost of parts around £100 tops, and it sounds fantastic.

 

XVA1+Board+View.png?format=2500w 

 

Someone's made a great looking CTRLR panel/editor for it too.

 

 

Super tempted to build one as for that kind of money it's a no-brainer, great sounding synth and only the size of a matchbox.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 19/02/2021 at 17:56, Blunted said:

They look ace @RiK

 

Yeah I think so.  Should make for an interesting project to do something with them..

 

Saying that, I'm still sitting on the parts to build a T-Synth, which is a Teeny based thing..

 

 

 

I have all the parts, went for the black front panel version, just need to get stuck in and build it!

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay this is more software related but are there any VCVRack users here? Bounced off it a few times in the past but for some reason it clicked recently and I'm loving it. Trying to build generative patches mainly, plus using my MIDI controller/keyboard to jam with. 

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On 16/03/2021 at 14:57, Vimster said:

Okay this is more software related but are there any VCVRack users here? Bounced off it a few times in the past but for some reason it clicked recently and I'm loving it. Trying to build generative patches mainly, plus using my MIDI controller/keyboard to jam with. 

 

I used it a bit to learn the workflow before starting my hardware modular, absolutely superb bit of software. It's a pretty steep learning curve, but there is just so much you can do with it. Genuinely tempted to break my No Apple rule to get an iPad for the mobile port.

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On 21/03/2021 at 08:41, Eighthours said:

I really should learn how to do modular. But only in software, obviously. Otherwise the money black hole is beyond dangerous.

VCVRack is perfect for that. Quite a number of the modules available are either recreations of real hardware or direct software versions. The vast majority of modules are free, but even the paid for ones are good value, about $30 tops. Compared to things like Voltage Modular or Softube Modular that's pretty damn good. It's a bit flaky at times though, half the time I have to run it twice as it crashes the first time, although that's probably more down to my sound interface. 

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11 minutes ago, Vimster said:

VCVRack is perfect for that. Quite a number of the modules available are either recreations of real hardware or direct software versions. The vast majority of modules are free, but even the paid for ones are good value, about $30 tops. Compared to things like Voltage Modular or Softube Modular that's pretty damn good. It's a bit flaky at times though, half the time I have to run it twice as it crashes the first time, although that's probably more down to my sound interface. 

 

I've dabbled a bit with MiRack on iPad, which is effectively a port of VCVRack, but I definitely need to dedicate some time to watching tutorials on this stuff as I struggle to do much beyond building a very simple synthesiser. I have a 0-Coast but that's as far as I've gone with modular hardware... and the 0-Coast is only a semi-modular anyway. I'm sure it's a world that I'd get a lot out of, but the learning curve is something that requires a bit of proper time, I think.

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1 minute ago, Eighthours said:

 

I've dabbled a bit with MiRack on iPad, which is effectively a port of VCVRack, but I definitely need to dedicate some time to watching tutorials on this stuff as I struggle to do much beyond building a very simple synthesiser. I have a 0-Coast but that's as far as I've gone with modular hardware... and the 0-Coast is only a semi-modular anyway. I'm sure it's a world that I'd get a lot out of, but the learning curve is something that requires a bit of proper time, I think.

This guy's Youtube channel is a great place to start. Absolutely tons of stuff to get you going there. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
20 minutes ago, Blunted said:

Tempted by the Polyend Tracker at all @Vimster? One of my friends has one and raves (hoho) about it constantly. I can't deal with learning another workflow right now though.

It looks good and they support it well. They constantly add features to it. I'm just not sure how it would fit in with what I do. I don't really have a hardware setup and do most of my music on the PC. A few bits and bobs like my PSP and a couple of Gameboys and that's it really. If I had some more synths I reckon Polyend Tracker would be fab. What is it, £450? Hmmm.

 

I know Bogdan Raczynski is something of an ambassador for it, can't think of anyone more qualified!

 

 

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22 hours ago, Blunted said:

Yeah I guess if you're working on a screen it's probably silly to use something less flexible/powerful just for the sake of it. Second hand ones are dangerously close to impulse purchase price for me though.

If you had a hardware setup this would be perfect for PC-less sequencing as it does do MIDI, in fact you could think of it as a really, really powerful step sequencer/sampler. In that context it would be worth every penny. 

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