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Old 14-09-2012, 09:41 PM   #1
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completely new to

I'm just a noob who one day decided that others should hear the melodies inside his head as well.

I'm at the stage of trying to produce the sounds I want from synthesizers. Not much luck.

I can't really find any tutorial on actually making sounds you need, just how to use specific synths (where each menu is, but not what the menu does).

I'm using a somewhat buggy program, LMMS, but I love the UI. I've tried Reaper before but it wasn't my cup of tea.
Anyway, LMMS supports VSTs so I'm ready to learn from any example.

The things I want to learn are, again, synth-agnostic.
I want to know:
1) which wave shapes should be used for what "instrument"
2) how do different oscillator "combine modes" work and which is better for which sound
3) envelopes
4) LFOs
5) common filters and what they are useful for. I only could find info and understand high/low pass filter, reverb and echo.

BTW, I have some programming background so I might not mind understanding the technical details if it'll help understand some things better.

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Old 14-09-2012, 10:16 PM   #2
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Re: completely new to synths

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Originally Posted by nooblord View Post

1) which wave shapes should be used for what "instrument"
*Sawtooth - Bright Brassy
*Square - Hollow Sound
*Triangle - Dull Brassy Sound
*Sine - Flat Pure Timbre


-Open Air Column-
Vibrating String - Brass Strings, Woodwinds
*Sawtooth, Narrow Pulse


-Closed Air Column-
Clarinet, Recorder, Pipe Organ
*Square, Triangle


Metal Bars,
Tines,
Stretched Skins
Vibes,
Electric Piano,
Tympani,
Tom Toms
*Multiple Sines, Ring Modulator

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Old 14-09-2012, 10:33 PM   #3
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Re: completely new to

Envelopes play a huge part in sound design, they give you control over how a sound...sounds. They are used to shape the natural sound dynamics of the instrument you are trying to synthesize. Typically the control the rates of attack, decay, sustain and release. They can also be used to modulate most parts of a synth to create cool effects. LFOs are often used to create vibrato type effects.

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Old 15-09-2012, 02:02 AM   #4
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Re: completely new to

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Above all, experiment and don't discourage yourself. And if you do get discouraged don't let that top you from continuing to put in the hours to get this shit down; finding your sound and being able to do it consistently across a whole range of instruments, melodies, rhythms, harmonies, etc.. takes a little time, so being impatient will just burn you out quick.

Have fun and remember the destination is the journey.
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Old 15-09-2012, 04:43 AM   #5
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Re: completely new to

just watch some videos on youtube. I think there are some basis of synthesis vids up (old roland vid series maybe) and as you watch soemthing try it out for yourself. Learnt he building blocks ( like what your signal chain should look like, what various oscillators, filters, envelopes sound like etc ect.) but always try something as you learn about it to cement it into your mind.

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Old 15-09-2012, 12:09 PM   #6
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Re: completely new to

Blind Summit what are you on about? Barry's answered one of his questions (slightly) and even if its advanced that is still what he asked for. Dugg gave links to probably the most useful synthesis videos I have ever watched and then said experiment. If a noob doesn't want to experiment he should just quit producing because he is not cut out for it mentally. There is no other way to learn. You learn the basics of synthesis (hence duggs links), experiment, learn more advanced techniques, experiment etc etc. There is no quick fix. Only other advice I can give him is to look through preset banks and find sounds similar to what he is trying to achieve and work off those.

Saying "Bravo, bravo. Seriously, these kind of replies need to be stopped." in direction to two forum members who's posts I' have found very useful since joining this forum is just so uncalled for.
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Old 15-09-2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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Re: completely new to

Blindsummit cop on ya bleedin' sap. The fact you made a rant at "these posts" and then offer up no better advice than "I never tell a noob to experiment" and read two books is shit advice. How about actually trying to answering his questions, seeing how you like to think you know all about music.

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Old 15-09-2012, 03:18 PM   #8
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Re: completely new to

Ohh yeah and I suppose Brian Eno never experimented when he first started using a synth. OP, you better take his advice and stay away from experimenting with synths. God forbid you might actually learn to use one yourself.


Just because experimenting didn't work for you don't mean it wont work for the OP. It worked for me, I taught myself how synths work by experimenting with them, learning how the controls work while actually moving them and seeing and hearing the effects, better than any book. Books are full of technical stuff that people just starting out can easily get lost in after a few mins and thus, lose interest or just cant grasp what is being explained. People are different and learn different ways of doing the same thing and at different rates.


In my opinion, your very narrow minded to dismiss the idea of experimentation because it simply hasn't worked out for you in the past. As a person on this site who is obviously into music thats pretty sad actually.

BTW, I reported you for that last post as you couldn't help yourself sinking so low as to resort to childish name calling. Another reason why I think even less of your opinions.

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Old 15-09-2012, 03:50 PM   #9
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Old 15-09-2012, 04:05 PM   #10
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Re: completely new to

OP, Disregard everything everyone has said, for the master freelance sound designer has spoken! haha

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Old 15-09-2012, 04:06 PM   #11
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Re: completely new to

i think you will have a hard time experimenting without learning anything at all. besides, i dont really understand the rage here. alsoplustoo, you scared op away. i reward all of you NO points

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Old 15-09-2012, 04:10 PM   #12
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Re: completely new to

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i dont really understand the rage here.
Me neither, Some people just have a chip on their shoulder.

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Old 15-09-2012, 04:47 PM   #13
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Re: completely new to

Quote:
Originally Posted by ab View Post
i think you will have a hard time experimenting without learning anything at all.
This is one of the most beautiful sentences I have ever read. It at one moment shows both arguments in a good light.

Without knowledge it will be difficult to experiment.

But via experimenting, it will have been quite difficult to not have learned something from it.


Both approaches needed to be adopted simultaneously. I would direct you to the "synth secrets" ([Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
) tutorials on Sound on Sound magazines web page.

  1. Read up an article, understand the concepts.
  2. Push the concepts, experiment, combine it with what you have learned from previous lessons.
  3. Repeat.

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Old 15-09-2012, 05:17 PM   #14
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Re: completely new to

I said it once and I'll say it again. Dugg, who was the one who said experiment, posted two links on THE MOST USEFUL BEGINNER SYNTHESIS VIDEOS I have ever seen. THAT IS WHERE YOU START, then you experiment. He never threw him in the deep end and said experiment like you are making out to have done. you learn the basics and then experiment. As for Barry HE ANSWERED ONE OF THE QUESTIONS about which wave shapes you use and got his answer.

Yet for some reason you feel the need to lash out at them.

I haven't even read you replies since fully because I got to this part of your defense
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlindSummit View Post
No I will never tell a noob to experiment. Let me put it to you this way, I wouldn't put you in a Boeing 747 and tell you to "have fun".
and I face-palmed myself so hard SINCE THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT DUGG DIDN'T DO. I knew there wasn't even a point in reading further because your accusations are COMPLETELY FALSE.

Sorry for a bold but it seems this guy missed every point in my original comment and I need to point out the obvious for him...
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Old 15-09-2012, 05:35 PM   #15
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Re: completely new to

Thanks everyone for the tips and links.

I personally think experimenting goes after theory, because you should know what it is you are doing in your experiments/what you are experimenting with.
Dugg did post some tutorials though.

So far I've looked at the "How to make a noise" ebook and it's a very good one. Except the parameters he mentions for the "Vanguard" vst aren't identical to the VSTs I'm using which makes it a bit hard to follow.

BTW, why is this topic's title missing the "synths" in "completely new to"?
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Old 15-09-2012, 06:09 PM   #16
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Re: completely new to

good thing is the basic concepts behind synths arent that hard. i am biased anyway since i experiment all the time and thats exactly how i started, and maybe thats why i cant trick more people into liking my noise because i didnt read up properly on how to make aaba song forms

it definitely depends on what you like to do. its all absolutely free. i just make noises and sometimes enjoy the outcome, but i am far from determined and i dont want to achieve anything (besides sending listeners on some sort of journey and hoping that within those 4 or 5 minutes something touches them).

cheer man, if you have something to say musically, any method will enrich your work

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Old 15-09-2012, 06:28 PM   #17
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Re: completely new to

Note to the mods, "People can't be allowed to think that they are helping by suggesting that people should experiment" Better add this one to the forum rules.

The fact of the matter is, both approaches work. I'm programming synths long before I had access to the Internet to tell me what each parameter was and what its function did. It was enough to understand through repeated use of my synths what each function did and how it worked. At the end of the day I'm proof you can learn this way. So your whole concept and statement of "People can't be allowed to think that they are helping by suggesting that people should experiment" falls flat.

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Old 15-09-2012, 06:31 PM   #18
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Re: completely new to

you both DO realize there are more than one way to learn something, right? You both DO realize you are arguing over things that are not facts, but experience and points of view, right?

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Old 15-09-2012, 06:33 PM   #19
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Re: completely new to

on goes the ouroboros

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Old 15-09-2012, 06:48 PM   #20
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Re: completely new to

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triton64 View Post
you both DO realize there are more than one way to learn something, right?
yes, I already made reference to this in a post i made earlier

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