Saturday, July 16, 2022

Analog Instability

 I'm not quite old enough to have actually dealt with real old-school analog synths. Analog has always had the cache of being cool, but by the time I'd touched anything* even remotely professional in the way of synthesizers, they were pretty darn stable, if not digitally controlled, analog oscillators. And now I'm playing with the Behringer 110 which sounds great but boy oh boy it drifts. Just like old-school synthesizers in times of yore. 

I'm using a 960 sequencer, which is WAY not stable. Boy, you flip the octave and it goes stupendously out of whack. I'm even using a quantizer and it'll sometimes bend an entire half-step out of tune -- straight-up playing the wrong note. 

So, I've always felt that the way to making an analog synth sound like something other than bleeps and bloops has been a decent delay. Some pretty echoes are always better. And, these days, a groovy shimmer reverb is a way added bonus. 

So I've been sending the output from the VCO/VCF/VCA that is the 110 into a Mod Duo X. Like this:

The topmost line is the analog input to the Mod Duo.

Basically, I'm throwing the signal first to a tuner (so I can have a clue about about where the tuning is), then to an auto-tune emulation (so I can get the actual audio to be somewhat actually in tune), then into a compressor, to a digital emulation of an amusing analog stereo delay, to a shimmer reverb, to a pretty chorus, a mastering compressor, and lastly a sub-bass processor. At the beginning and the end of the chain are a couple level meters and gain controls. 

The middle row is just a quick little synth patch I have which is running from the MIDI input to the Mod Duo X. I play it using my organ pedals. 

Using the CV input of the Mod Duo X I take the second output of the Barton CV quantizer and put it into a patch of the Mod Duo's internal CV synths. I can't figure out how to make those digital emulations seem in-tune though. That could be the Barton's natural variance. In any case, I auto-tune each of the two VCO's (technically those are DCO's, right?) inside the Mod Duo with their auto-tune emulation. 

It's good for experimenting. I wouldn't say I've done anything satisfying musically with it yet. Because I haven't. But it makes some fun sounds

*Other than an ARP 2600 that Rutgers University owned. I only had about an hour or so with it. I harassed the professor in charge of it a whole lot before he let me play with it. 

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