Synth Strings

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Ezzo
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Post by Ezzo » Thu Feb 02, 2006 3:52 pm

I guess I should tell you that the sound I am going for is the sound that can be heard on Joy Division tracks like "Love will tear us apart" and "Atmosphere". I will be using the string synth as a companion to my Mono, which is an Octave CAT (couldn't afford a prodigy).

I agree that the other sounds of the Ensemble synth are definitely a deciding factor. Most of the reviews I have read have stated that its usually the piano sound that is the weakest. This doesn't concern me too much because its probably the sound least interested, the sound I'm most interested in obviously is strings and to a lesser extent brass.

Everybody here seems to have seen there fair share of Keyboards so I was wondering if anybody had ever tried the ARP Quartet/Siel Orchestra? I've heard these can be OK but again I never heard one or even heard sound clips of one.

Also just out curiosity, how does the OPUS 3's brass section sound? If there are any Opus owners or previous owners did you ever try and do that stereo panning thing where one speaker plays Strings and the other brass? That always seemed like a cool feature to me.


Till: I have only heard of the ELKA the others are new to me but I will definatley look into all of them... as for the mood I'm looking for I guess it would be Dark or Sad sounding (like those Joy Division tracks I mentioned). .... ok I just found your sound page online (very cool!) and I got to listen to some of the synths you listed, the Farfisa is pretty amazing if you aske me!

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museslave
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Post by museslave » Thu Feb 02, 2006 7:50 pm

A note about triggering!

When I laud the Korg Lambda... I should point out that it is not doing single triggering, or multiple triggering... but actually contains an envelope PER NOTE... so each note you play has it's own envelope and is not affected in any way by playing other notes! This is why it's superior.

As for the Opus 3 Brass... well, I gotta say... it was my favorite part of the Opus... but that's largely because of the filter. Due to the filter, that brass sound (while really not particularly sounding like actual brass) sounds better than the brass on other string synths I've heard.

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Lengai
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Post by Lengai » Fri Feb 03, 2006 3:03 pm

The main article in Keyboard this month is from Allison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory. Will states in the article that, "...buying some old '80s polysynths. There's one called the Paraphonic 505, which is a Roland string synth. It's great...." Maybe the Paraphonic 505 is an option?

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Post by Boeing 737-400 » Sat Feb 04, 2006 8:49 am

I like the strings my Prophet-5 does. Even though its not that realistic, it still sounds great. Think of OMD.

EricK
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Post by EricK » Sat Feb 04, 2006 6:33 pm

The Roland Fantom X-8 is a high dollar keyboard somewhat new on the market. It sounds like it has a million tiny musicians in its circuits. (professionally recorded samples)
Strings sound wonderful, the acoustic guitar sounds exactly like a guitar, the horns are all samples...plus it has a thereminesque D-Beam.

Just as soon as you buy a roland keyboard for a buttload of money, the latest new and improved roland keyboard comes out that is cheaper.

I am very positive that there is a rackmount edition Fantom X-8.

CHeck it out!
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jester69
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Post by jester69 » Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:52 pm

museslave wrote:And i know this opinion may not be popular... but I would not pay even a LITTLE for an Opus 3. It might be my personal preference, but my GOD the thing had to be worked with precision to get a useable sound. I may not even accept one GIVEN to me. (unlike any other Moog I have ever had or played)


Hmm, Well, if anyone gives one to you send it my way, I could use a spare.

I would call the sounds quite more than useable. I really like what I can get out of it. There is a learning curve though, and one can make an awful sound if one is not careful. But, I think the good sounds are worth the effort.

Anyway, take a listen and see if you think this hammond impersonation sounds bad...I made it with my unmodified Opus 3. No external effects were used. [EDIT: realized I had unplugged the reverb to plug my computer into the EFX send loop to record, so no verb on this one.]

http://wombat.umsl.edu/audio/opusorgan.mp3

Like you said the Brass section can be entertaining. One thing I like is when I get all 3 parts layering together and fade different things right & left. The sounds can be quite complex especially if you use certain sliders as performance tools.

I agree that it is limited in range, but for an extremely lightweight transistor organ it is more flexible synthlike and versatile than any other ever made as far as I know.

take care,

Jester[/url]
Last edited by jester69 on Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ezzo
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Post by Ezzo » Fri Feb 10, 2006 4:04 pm

That organ sounds pretty sweet to me. I'm really looking for string sounds though...you don't hapen to have any sound clips of those do you :)

I had another question about Polyphony...

Some synths seem to have "Full Polyphony" such as the Crumar Performer, but some seem to have a more limited polyphony. I am also a little confused on how the number of voices relates to its polyphony.
For example the ARP Omni 2 has four voices and I belive only four notes can be played at one time...is this just a coincidence that the number voices is the same as the number of notes?
Also how many notes can be played on the OPUS 3 at one time?

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MC
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Post by MC » Fri Feb 10, 2006 6:46 pm

The Omni 2 is fully polyphonic. The "four voices" is their term for strings, violin, viola, cello, brass. That was before industry convention established by the proper polyphonic Oberheim Four Voice.

I believe the Opus 3 is also fully polyphonic.

Ezzo
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Post by Ezzo » Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:20 pm

Ok that helps, but what exactly does full polyphony mean? Someone recently told me that only 4 notes could be played at one time on their omni 2. And some of the reviews on harmony central say that it has "4 note Polyphony". Is this incorrect or am i totally misunderstanding what full polyphony means.

jester69
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Post by jester69 » Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:55 pm

Ezzo wrote:Ok that helps, but what exactly does full polyphony mean?... Is this incorrect or am i totally misunderstanding what full polyphony means.


Full polyphony: you can hit every single key on the board at the same time and a note will come out.

X voice polyphony: you can hit X number of keys at the same time and notes will come out. After that every extra key will only move voices around., you will never get x+1 sounds to come out.

Full poly is rare on an analog synth but common on a transistor organ. To understand why one has to understand the difference between a synth and an organ. (i didn't until I bought this and saw the guts.)

basically a synth traditionaly has the same number of polyphony as oscillators. some, like the minimoog, use multiple oscillators per voice. So, what you end up with in an analog synth is the same number of complete mini-synth sound generation and shaping circuits as you have voices. A jupiter 8 had 4 boards, each with 2 synthesizers, for 8 voice polyphony.

A transistor organ takes a single oscillator and through the magic of transistors, IC's chips and capacitors divides that out into all the notes on the keyboard.

So, opus3=organ with moog filters
jupiter 8= 8 synths in one box controlled by the same keyboard. Each finger gets a "mini synth."

As to the voices thing, that term can be misused. Think of a voice on an organ as the same thing as a patch on a synth. On a synth people tend to use "voice" as a shorthand for mini synth typey thing that makes a noise when you hit a single key. Ergo two notes simultaneously requires two "voices."

There are a whole lot more variations than this, but that is the very basic idea in a nutshell.

I am still learning all the ins and outs of the Opus 3, and am actually working on a string patch. Organ is the best by far though, as you can set it up so the organ goes to the output jacks raw, chorused, and VCO'd all together. Strings get chorus and that is it, no raw, no VCO, so it is a bit trickier. Makes a decent sound, but not like the organ and brass.

Mainly I posted the clip so others could decide for themselves if the opus had not a single good sound in it. I think it has the potential for many good ones, but with the caveat that it is not a synth, it is an organ with extras...

take care,

Jester

nicholas d. kent
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Post by nicholas d. kent » Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:50 am

Lengai wrote:The main article in Keyboard this month is from Allison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory. Will states in the article that, "...buying some old '80s polysynths. There's one called the Paraphonic 505, which is a Roland string synth. It's great...." Maybe the Paraphonic 505 is an option?


Got one of those. It's not a true polysynth, it's "paraphonic" a term Roland coined. It's got some organ/string synth technology that's polyphonic and some synth tech that's mono (actually split, though with a 4 octave keyboard and fixed split it's kind of limiting)

You don't see them too often, but they don't cost a fortune either. I don't really like the stings all that much (supposedly identical to the VP-330 strings), but there are enough weird features I want to record some before I sell it. I guess I was hoping to get a Dimension D chorus with some sounds for less than a Dimension D. But it's not the same chorus though it does go much heavier and crazier in terms of stereo image. A bit noisy though.

I guess if you like Joy Division then maybe you want to get what they used (I don't know but surely someone does)

EricK wrote:The Roland Fantom X-8 is a high dollar keyboard somewhat new on the market. It sounds like it has a million tiny musicians in its circuits. (professionally recorded samples)
Strings sound wonderful, the acoustic guitar sounds exactly like a guitar, the horns are all samples...plus it has a thereminesque D-Beam.


Might be cool for some people but I've got a feeling you are missing the point. 1970s era string synthesizers don't sound at all like real strings.

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Post by Boeing 737-400 » Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:54 am

Might be cool for some people but I've got a feeling you are missing the point. 1970s era string synthesizers don't sound at all like real strings.


Maybe not, but they're still a good alternative. I actually like them better! :D

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MC
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Post by MC » Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:18 pm

nicholas d. kent wrote: 1970s era string synthesizers don't sound at all like real strings.


Precisely why they work in some genres. The Cars' "Let The Good Time Roll" wouldn't sound the same with real strings.

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museslave
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The difference between organs and synths

Post by museslave » Sat Feb 11, 2006 8:26 pm

I have written many blog diatribes about this subject.

Thaddeus Cahill invented the telharmonium as an electronic musical instrument... its intent was to deliver music by telephone. It was intended to be a NEW musical instrument for a new age. As many of you might know, this device was the precursor of the Hammond organ... a device whose intent was merely to mimic acoustic organs for financial gain.
The Hammond organ... an "organ" was NOT an organ, but rather a sort of electro-mechanical VIRTUAL organ based on a proto-analog additive synthesizer.
The Hammond Novachord was designed by C. Williams and Laurens Hammond as NEW musical device... a device where the sound was created wholly electronically, and designed to invent new unheard sounds. (I have an original pamphlet, I can quote it...) The reason this is relevant is because the Hammond Novachord was the first device to implement the "divide-down" circuitry that was eventually transistorized and used in combo organs.
The divide-down technology had its start in proto-synthesizers before a transistorized organ had even been invented.
The transistorized organ implemented synthesizer technology... oscillators, divide-down circuitry, and filters, to simulate the Hammond Organ... basically, synthesizer technology being used to imitate emulative electromechanical technology. ; )
This whole notion of polyphony being PROPER polyphony if it is individual oscillators being directed by CV is somewhat silly... as the first big polyphonic synthesizers (oberheim excluded) implemented divide down technology. The polymoog, and especially the Korg PS series... were divide down synthesizers. This is not to say they were organs. In the case of the PS series, each KEY was an entire synthesizer unto itself... with individual oscillator (or divider), filter, ENV and VCA.
Having CV directed oscillators generate polyphony is a dodgy proposition... it requires a computer's help to track the notes. The oscillators are limited, just like in divide down... they can't have (excepting Oberheim) individual oscillator waves, etc. they are locked into all being the same. The only benefit to having CV polyphony is that you can have true portamento.... but the limitation is that you have limited polyphony. That is a BIG limitation in comparison to the relatively minor limitation of not having individual portamento.
If you're going to promote CV polyphony as PROPER polyphony, it needs to be modular in nature... you should be able to control the waves of the individual oscillators, or it's not that much of a benefit over divide-down.
Divide down gets a bad name because so many manufacturers, trying to make a buck, started directing ALL of the notes through a SINGLE FILTER AND ENVELOPE... of course that's not going to work... of course it's going to sound like crap... and of course it's going to be ineffectual in emulating non-synthesizer instruments. (which I'm against)
I need to read that SOS article on this subject again to address the CV-supporter front. ; )

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MC
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Post by MC » Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:47 pm

Widely acknowledged that the Hammond Novachord was designed by John Hanert. Who the hell is C. Williams?

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