March 18, 2014

Let's Talk Mono-Synths...

by Chris Randall

I was joking to my wife the other day that I have like five jobs right now. Which made me sob a little on the inside, because I actually do. In my ludicrous amount of free time, I'm trying to come up with the archetype mono-synth design. And I thought it'd be interesting to get some input from people that aren't me on this subject.

The mono is kind of a beast unto itself, and that platform is the source of some of the most enduring sounds in the synthNrrrd's arsenal, to the point where we refer to particular sounds not by the place they fill in the sonic spectrum (e.g. "squelchy, knocky bass") but rather by the machine that makes the particular sound best. (e.g. "303.") I find that interesting, because with other instrumentation, we don't generally dwell on the toolset used to create it (say, Strat through Fender Super Reverb) but rather we generally reference a player who used that combo ("I think this song needs a Stevie Ray tone...")

We do this with keyboards too, but much more specifically. The Hohner D6 Clav and "Superstition" are so intertwined as to be functionally synonymous, for instance. Likewise the Mellotron and "Strawberry Fields Forever." But by and large, these are still machine-specific references. P-Mac is hardly recognized for his keyboard chops. You never say "get me that Paul McCartney keyboard sound." You say "I want the Strawberry Fields Mellotron flutes."

Anyhow, how about it? I'm not asking for a running litany of everyone's favorite monosynth. Nobody gives a shit. What I'm wondering is more about the "why" of it. If you were going to make a mono, what would you absolutely require of it?


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Mar.28.2014 @ 6:34 AM
Polyvolks or xpander filters .... if I'm dreaming .

Mar.31.2014 @ 5:54 PM
Without getting too crazy (i too +6 on the noise osc)... Along with previous mentioned posts and needs for different kinds of filters in different places, how about a simple eq that can be placed either before or after the filter section? I constantly want to roll off low end before resonance etc, or want some general shaping post filter without the need to pull in another eq etc... a simple 5 band graphic (or para, hell), can accomplish a LOT in a synth when put in the right place in the existing fairly set in stone subtractive synth paradigm imho....

Apr.08.2014 @ 7:48 AM
If it doesn't have to be mono, or analogue, be the first person to make a wonderful knobby FM synth, and you'll probably get my money.

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