Sound Synthesis

Analogue Subtractive and FM Synthesis Schematics

01_subtractive_synthesis02_fm_synthesis03_envelopes

 

Analogue Subtractive and FM Synthesis Programming Tips

 

Programming Action

Subtractive Synthesis

FM Synthesis

change the basic sound color (spectrum)
  • select VCO waveform (square, pulse, saw, triangle)
  • set pulse width
  • select the interval between oscillators
  • set volume mix between oscillators
  • select FM algorithm type
  • select ratio between modulators and carriers
  • set amount of modulation (modulator output level)
  • select the interval between carriers
  • set volume mix between carriers
set trumpet-like spectrum
(all partial tones: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 ...)
  • select sawtooth as VCO waveform
  • select 1:1 as ratio between modulator and carrier
set clarinet-like spectrum
(only odd partial tones: 1-3-5-7-9-11 ...)
  • select square as VCO waveform
  • select 2:1 as ratio between modulator and carrier
make unharmonic wave spectrum
  • set an odd interval and detune between oscillators
  • note: on standard subtractive synths, a completely unharmonic spectrum cannot be created
  • set a non integer value for the modulator to carrier frequency ratio
  • set an odd interval and detune value between carriers
make harmonic wave spectrum
  • set a pure interval (octave, fifth) for the coarse pitch of the VCOs
  • set very little or no detune between oscillators
  • set an integer value for the modulator to carrier frequency ratio
  • set a pure interval (octave, fifth) across carriers
add noise
  • set one of the VCOs to "noise", or
    add "noise" to the mix stage
  • set one of the modulators feedback to a high value
  • on NI FM7, add "noise" from operator X
make the sound color "brighter" (more harmonics)
  • if using a LPF or BPF type filter, open the cutoff
  • increase the amount of modulation between modulators and carriers (= increase modulator output level)
make the sound color "darker" (less harmonics)
  • if using a LPF or BPF type filter, close the cutoff
  • decrease the amount of modulation between modulators and carriers (= decrease modulator output level)
  • on NI FM7, you can also close the cutoff of the LPF filter in operator Y

change the dynamic character over time
for example: make the dynamic character "percussive"

  • set the following parameters of the VCA envelope (volume, amplitude) as follows:
  • Attack time > short
  • Sustain level > 0
  • Decay and Release: set adequate times (usually longer for decay, shorter for release)
  • set the following parameters of the carrier envelopes as follows:
  • Attack time (Rate 1) > short (or as rate, fastest)
  • Sustain level (Level 3) > 0
  • Break Point (Level 2): set as desired
  • Decay and Release: set adequate times (R2, R3, R4)usually longer for decay, shorter for release)
change the sound color over time
for example: make the sound color character "percussive"
  • apply a modulator envelope to the VCF cutoff
  • set the parameters of the VCF envelope (volume, amplitude) as follows:
  • Attack Time > short
  • Sustain Level > 0
  • Decay and Release: set adequate times (usually longer for Decay, shorter for Release)
  • set the parameters of the modulator envelopes as follows:
  • Attack Time (Rate 1) > short (or as rate, fastest)
  • Sustain level (Level 3) > 0
  • Break Point (Level 2): set as desired
  • Decay (R2), Slope (R3) and Release (R4): set adequate times (usually longer for Decay, shorter for Release)
create complex sound spectra that change over time (morphing type) (not available)
  • set different ratios and different envelopes times for different modulators, so that they affect the carrier spectrum in different phases
create a "pitch sweep"
  • apply a modulation envelope to the VCO pitch
  • set the envelope values as desired
  • apply a modulation envelope to the carrier pitch
  • set the envelope values as desired
make the sound volume change with keyboard velocity (stronger = louder)
  • set the VCA envelope keyboard velocity to a positive value
  • set the carrier(s) envelope keyboard velocity to a positive value
make the sound spectrum change with keyboard velocity (stronger = brighter)
  • apply a modulator envelope to the VCF cutoff
  • set the VCF envelope keyboard velocity to a positive value
  • set the modulator(s) envelope keyboard velocity to a positive value
create a vibrato
  • modulate the VCO pitch with an LFO, making sure the modulation amount does not exceed +/- 10-20 cents
  • set the LFO wave to triangle
  • set the mod. speed to about 4-6 Hz
  • set an adequate amount of delay
  • modulate the carrier pitch with an LFO, making sure the modulation amount does not exceed +/- 10-20 cents
  • set the LFO wave to triangle
  • set the mod. speed to about 4-6 Hz
  • set an adequate amount of delay
create a wah-wah effect
  • modulate the VCF cutoff with an LFO
  • set the LFO wave to triangle or square
  • set the mod. speed as desired
  • set an adequate amount of delay (also 0 is OK)
  • modulate the modulator output level with an LFO
  • set the LFO wave to triangle or square
  • set the mod. speed as desired
  • set an adequate amount of delay (also 0 is OK)
create a tremolo effect
  • modulate the VCA amplitude with an LFO
  • set the LFO wave to triangle or square
  • set the mod. speed as desired
  • set an adequate amount of delay (also 0 is OK)
  • modulate the carrier output level with an LFO
  • set the LFO wave to triangle or square
  • set the mod. speed as desired
  • set an adequate amount of delay (also 0 is OK)