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Monday
Jan282013

Analog Synths for Sound Design (with Free SFX Download)

The latest edition of The Tonebenders podcast is now live.  In this episode, 006, I produced a segment on using analog synths for creating noises to mangle in sound design.  The segment is followed up by a discussion involving modular synths as well.  In the podcast I talk about a couple of analog synths in particular, of the ones I currently own.  I thought I would post up a couple pictures of these synths so you can see what it is you are hearing in the podcast.  The segment starts at the 6 minute mark of the podcast and can be heard by going to www.tonebenders.net (follow the instructions under "?" icon to subscribe in iTunes) or by listening to the youtube video above.

The first synth I talk about in the podcast is a Moog MG-1 Concertmate. 

Here are some examples of this synth in action:

 

This little synth is described by vintagesynth.com as follows:

This is the very source of cheap Moog bass! It is a lot like the strap-on Moog Liberation in its design and architecture and also looks and sounds very much like the Moog Rogue. The MG-1 was built by Moog for Realistic (Radio Shack), and was designed specifically for the home market. Very basic and easy to use, this is a nice cheap way to get your hands on Moog sounds!

The MG-1 is a 2-VCO monophonic/polyphonic analog synth with a genuine 24dB/oct Moog filter, however the overall sound is thin. On the MG-1, the VCOs are referred to as 'Tone Generators'. It can produce sawtooth, square and pulse waveforms, and the oscillators are detunable and syncable. A simple ASR (attack, sustain, release) envelope called 'Contour' can be applied to both the amp and the filter. The LFO section provides triangle or square wave patterns as well as Sample-and-Hold. Additionally there is a simple Ring-Mod effect called 'Bell'.

I have spent un-countable hours playing around with this synth.  It was my first analog find and it hooked me in and was somewhat responsible for me falling in love with making noise and going down the career path I have.  It sounds great but it is also so much fun.  

The second synth in the Tonebenders segment is a Cruise made by SIEL.

Here is some of what vintagesynth.com says about this one:

The Cruise was a synthesizer released in 1981 by the Italian Organ makers at Siel to the Italian and European markets. However, it made its way to the USA’s shores when Sequential Circuits, who really wanted to add a compact mono+poly synth to their own product line but lacked the resources to do it on their own, worked with Siel to release their own re-branded and re-painted version of the Cruise known as the Sequential Fugue. In true Italian style, the only difference between the two, was that the Cruise looked good!

The Cruise is two synths in one, combining what is Siel’s Orchestra and Mono synthesizer models into one powerful synthesizer! It features two discrete synthesizer modes or sections: Mono Synthesizer and Poly Synthesizer. The front panel has a lot of graphical information printed on it to clearly designate the Mono section functions from the Poly section features, as well as signal flow charts to help the user understand how the sounds are internally routed. In the middle of the synth is the ‘Masters’ section. This holds master volume sliders for the Mono and Poly synth sections and keyboard split mode options. The keyboard can be split in the middle, and either section of the Crise can be assigned to either split. When not split, the Mono and Poly sounds are played at the same time (assuming both sections are turned on—there are enable buttons for each section), except the Poly sounds are polyphonic while the Mono sounds will follow the low-note or high-note priority setting. There are also separate outputs for the Mono and Poly sections too.

 

The Cruise and the MG-1 are both sitting on the desk next to my main editing rig currently.  I don't use them as much as I would like to.  Hopefully I will stumble across the perfect project to really put them through their paces soon.
Feel free to download a collection of some of the sound effects used in the Tonebenders podcast segment over on the Free SFX Pack Downloads page of this blog.  Included in the zip file are:
  • lasers
  • Alarms
  • Cartoony helicopters
  • Telemetry
  • Static
  • various other sounds
Please also download the End Users Lisence Agreement (EULA) on the same page for details on how you can use the sounds.  Basically use the sounds in any project you want but please don't sell, share or repackage the content.  Have fun with the download, and let me know if you are able to morph/mangle/distort the sounds into any thing cool.
I have a few other analog synths, as well as my toy theremin (check out my blog post on the theremin and the free downloads of it in action). I have lent a few of my analog synths to my friend Jim Guthrie, who is getting a bunch of use out of them in his studio.  Jim Guthrie is best known outside Canada for his award winning score for the game SuperBrothers: Sword and Sworcery, while in Canada he is an indie rock musician of note.
In addition to the analog synth segment, the latest Tonebenders podcast also goes into the subject of moving studio locations and building a new space from scratch.  Both Rene and Dustin, the other hosts of the podcast, have recently gone through this process and they talk over some of the lessons they have learned.
Please take a listen and let me know what you think in the comments section over on the Tonebenders website.

 

 

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