...just for the sound of it.
April 6, 2011 8:22 AM   Subscribe

What VST, AU or semi-modern hardware synth is able to create the same types of curiously tuned space-age analog synth sounds as this or this?

...without descending into homebuilt modular madness, preferably.

Everything I've played with sounds too clean, too sharp -- analog modeling always ends up sounding more like well-tempered Wendy Carlos than space-age freakout or Raymond Scott lab experiment.
posted by eschatfische to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
FM synthesis can make all kinds of weird bloops and burbles. It's a lot easier to make degenerate sounds than anything that sound like a normal synth, honestly.
posted by empath at 8:32 AM on April 6, 2011

Reason can do that, but almost any of the newer software DAWs could. One of the secrets of using modeled synths is to use multiple synths playing the same notes with either different complimentary sounds or the same sound with slightly tweaked settings to add depth. Also, adding outboard effects can alter the sounds hugely. I tend to look at the Reason environment as one big modular synth rather than discrete components that i want to slavishly model after a specific real world set up.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:10 AM on April 6, 2011

I don't think you're going to get very far with FM synthesis... those sounds are very characteristically analogue.

Anyway, getting that kind of sound is as much about the way it's recorded and treated as it is the initial source of the sound... but as a starting point, Arturia do an ARP2600 modelling VST which you might like to take a look at. I'm lucky enough to have access to a late-60s modular synthesiser (although not an ARP) and the sound design possibilities lend themselves well to those kinds of spaced-out sounds.

To make it sound less clean and sharp, you've got a few tricks up your sleeve - mild overdrive or distortion effects can go a long way. If you've got more than one oscillator in your patch (and you probably do), detuning one or both slightly can have a pleasing effect (analog synths generally had relatively unstable tuning anyway). And for a real "vintage" sound, consider recording your synthesiser parts hot to tape and then resampling them.
posted by Ted Maul at 9:19 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding Ted Maul's suggestion for recording your sounds and then resampling for the "crackle" (for lack of a better word) and mid-effects that I think you're looking for. Simpler in Ableton Live would do this magnificently.
posted by kuanes at 10:12 AM on April 6, 2011

To add something others haven't already suggested, look into adding LFO filters, which you can do for a lot of parameters in many DAWs. Starting with a normal FM synth and some chorus and distortion, placing an LFO on the volume (with a little portamento maybe) could definitely get you close to some of those IHOP synth sounds.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:50 PM on April 6, 2011

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