Guest Contribution from Steven Smith
In some ways it seems quite strange to find myself authoring a post on synthesis that has as its main topic: “Not everyone needs to be a synthesist”. But from another angle of practicality, it makes a great deal of sense. Many of us already have found ourselves naturally diving into certain areas of synthesis from within the field and somewhat skating around others. So… If you are not a synthesis geek, this article is for you.
‘Why would it be helpful to explore this area?’ you may be wondering. Even though today’s virtual instruments commonly ship with hundreds or even thousands of presets, many users will still find themselves passing over sounds that are not quite right. Yet with some fundamental knowledge and strategies I feel most non-synthesist could quickly address some of these sound’s shortcomings and reshape them close enough to quickly put them in service.
This is precisely my goal. I hope to address some fundamental strategies and principles relating to synthesis and synthesizers in order to facilitate what I like to think of as quick fixes. Even though these strategies will not work 100% of the time, you should find them coming to the rescue quite often.
From the onset it will be my intention to populate this article with images from multiple synths. This is a small attempt to expose you to as many different views as possible. Given that each synth designer has its own GUI strategies (in addition to its own sound design strategies), I hope this will further help the usefulness of the material presented.
There is also a body of knowledge that we must have to enable us to find sounds, change them, and then Save these changes. Let’s jump in…
Anton’s “first day” patch
Anton Woldhek, whose name you may recognize from the Game Audio Podcast, is a little excited for this month’s theme. So excited, in fact, that he wants people to join him in a “patch a day” challenge. I think it’s a great idea, though I’m doing a bit too much traveling at the moment to probably get started on it until next week (though I suppose my Pure Data Wavetable Synthesizer tutorial from last year could qualify). You, however, can certainly join in now. To make it a little easier to share your results with each other, let’s use the hashtag #dspatchaday on twitter. While you’re getting started why not head over to Anton’s personal page and check out the results of this first patch (pictured above)?!
Really looking forward to see what people come up with!
Image by Bust It Away Photography. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source
The world we inhabit is ever shifting. People and animals are constantly on the move. Water laps against wood or crashes against a sandy beach. If considered from a somewhat solipsistic approach the buildings, trees and mountains around us even shift in position. With all of those positional changes comes a new sonic interaction. The squirrel’s chitter no is no longer to our left, the wave passes above us when we are under water, or the reflections of nearby traffic now reflect off of a different building of steel and glass…confusing its location. Space is not fixed nor are the elements within it.
This month, we look at that mercurial idea of “Space.”
This site is a space by and for the community, and is made special by all of the contributions that come in from that community. If you would like to add something to the conversation around this month’s theme…or when we turn our attention to Synthesis next month….please contact us through the contact form or by e-mailing shaun (shift+2) [this site].
You can be forgiven for assuming Jack picked this picture, but it was all me…I knew he would approve though ;)
We have two words that are most commonly used to discuss how we interact with sound: hearing, and listening.
Hearing is a passive act. Pressure waves move our eardrums, the motion is converted to an electrical signal, and our brain tells us that there is a sonic phenomenon in the space around us…perhaps it even provides us with identifying information. It’s what comes after that is fascinating, when we stop to LISTEN to the source. The act of directing attention allows us to focus in on the sound, to the (albeit sometimes limited) exclusion of others. Sometimes the steering of that attention is a subconscious mechanism, but the act of listening is always a conscious one.
That’s our focus this month; “Listening.”
We here at Designing Sound always appreciate the community’s enthusiasm and contributions to the discussion, and we know the community also appreciates anytime a member does. If you’d like to contribute to this month’s topic, drop us a line; either through the contact form, or to ‘shaun [at] this website’. If you prefer to plan ahead a little, next month’s topic will be “Space/Spatial.”
I held off on the announce post for a few days, because we had a few articles that spilled over from last month’s theme. Now that we’re caught up, it’s time to dive into this month’s theme…Vehicles!
Do we really need more of an introduction than that? My guess is no. And sure, there’s a rail car at a drag race in the image above, but we’re not single-minded. There are boats, planes, jets, motorcycles, bicycles, and more that all fall into this category. We’re lining up some fun articles, but don’t hesitate to bring your experience to the table as well.
Guest contributions are always welcomed and encouraged here on Designing Sound. If you’d like to contribute to this month’s theme, or have an off-topic post you’d like to put in front of the community, make sure you contact us through site’s contact form or e-mail shaun at [this site]. If you’re the kind of person who likes to plan ahead, next month’s theme will be Listening.