May 21, 2011

The Perfect Monosynth...

by Chris Randall

While it's generally accepted as a truism that either the Korg MS20 or the Moog MiniMoog is the perfect monosynth, in this modern world we live in, both are horribly behind the times.

The reason I bring this up is that a side project I'm working on in my spare time involves creating a monosynth. The platform is fairly limited, so I can't put in every feature under the sun. As such, I have to limit it to about the same number of features as a MiniMoog, give or take a few. I've used the Source as the starting point of my topology, so two multi-wave oscillators plus a noise source through a LPF. Envelopes for LPF and Amp, and a single LFO.

What would you add to/remove from this topology to make it t3h awesome?


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May.22.2011 @ 4:56 PM
If not an arpeggiator, a sequencer...

May.22.2011 @ 5:39 PM
Considering the limited CPU I'm thinking a vinyl carry case with optional shoulder strap. Silver of course but you have to make a dozen black ones with silver printing for obvious reasons.

Otherwise I'm with bodo's first two statements,

1. Another vote for sync on the good 'ol oscillators

2. But really it should feel very snappy and somehow 'playable' that's how good monosynths getz downz

I don't have any technical suggestions but #2 is why I like mono synths so much and if anyone could translate that into t3h awesomes, t'would be you sir.

Thank you and good day.

May.22.2011 @ 5:41 PM
Glide, and glide delay for the 2nd osc. Bitch better have a sine wave for kick drum and noise for snares and hh.

May.22.2011 @ 6:49 PM
Make it Full Of Techno, and give it a big red button to let out some techno.

May.22.2011 @ 9:55 PM
I have a feeling most of what I'd suggest will be CPU intensive, but what the hell.
Similar to what Stretta said, I wouldn't alter the basic topology too much, but would focus on making the standard component more unique/unorthodox.
Maybe make the oscillator waveform continuously variable, like on the RSF Kobol. Or make one of the oscillators a wavetable like that Kawai K3 that Hugo's done such nice things with recently.
Instead of the standard ADSR envelopes, maybe throw in a hold stage and make it re-triggerable, similar to a Fenix; or maybe make it a trapezoid generator like on the EMS synths.

May.23.2011 @ 1:38 AM
Considering how much fun it's been working with something like the Monotron that is free'd/crippled (pick your preference) by such limitations if I was going to 1-up the concept on features, I'd go with synthetic and boobs' suggestions on audio-rate lfo speeds, hard-sync on the oscillators, and - in extremis - a creamy ensemble chorus a la Liquid.

Or, similar to what noisegeek said above, I've always thought a real individual strength of the Audio Damage products has been taking a "common" product and giving it a (Full of Techno?) unique twist - a real focus on this for the monosynth concept would no doubt be interesting.

May.23.2011 @ 2:57 AM
I'm with BeatsBassNBears... stereo chorus. The Juno 6 would be nothing with out one...

The ability to drive a filter is always nice. I got my synth repair guy to mod my SH101 with a filter drive... love it!

- Hugo

May.23.2011 @ 12:48 PM
If it's software (or DSP) you can do a lot of things that aren't easy or cheap in hardware. Routing is the first one that comes to mind, but it's easy to get carried away and make the interface too complex.

Actually that would be my first suggestion: Make the interface fun to use. If it is meant to be controlled by something external make sure you have parameters that do wild stuff to the sound.

I haven't gelled well with a synth that only has one filter. I just find it too limiting. 2 is minimum for me nowadays.

I'd like to the see the Kombinat structure using multiband FX applied to a synth in an easy way at some point.

May.23.2011 @ 7:45 PM
Yeah, loopable envelopes/LFOs are good. MATHS style, adding the built-in attenuverters and SUM/OR. In fact I'd just rip off MATHS actually.

Yes to LFOs that go audio rate, if possible in your environment. Monotron is a prime example of the goodness of this. Again rip off MATHS.

Wavetables as well as 'Analog VCOs' would be welcome. There's something about Waves going through analog filters. I would like to be able to FM wavetables with analog-style VCOs too.

The only other thing we don't see much outside of actual modulars is wavefolding.

Beyond that, besides allowing for some nice FM between oscillators, what more do you really need? The best tools are simple, so make like the Juno and make something super simple that sounds great.

I suppose there's not much point in asking more about what the application is going to be...

May.23.2011 @ 7:55 PM
Re-reading my 2p's worth, I want to stress that above all, the perfect monosynth just sounds amazing, no matter what. Sound before flexibility any day of the week.

Not that it's a monosynth, but Juno 60 is the absolute tits for this reason. It's as uncomplicated as it gets but every single noise it makes is incredible-sounding.

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