October 21, 2020 at 1:36 pm #38054Dean GParticipant
Throughout Syntorial, for the most part, we double the waveforms. I’m almost done with Syntorial’s main course and so I’m starting to experiment. When I looked at the Spidericemidas patches, many of the patches use two different waveforms – perhaps a medium pulse with a square, or a sine with a triangle.
How do you guys think about combining waveforms? I know there are no hard and fast rules, but wanted to see if anyone has general patterns they like.October 21, 2020 at 6:58 pm #38056Jonathan EppeleModerator
I love Spidericemidas’ patches. You might notice that a lot of them use FM, Sync or Ring Mod. These three parameters create an endless array of raw sounds.
If you’re talking about patches without any of these mutations, it’s honestly just a matter of experimentation. In the patches I’ve programmed, one setup I use that involves no FM, Sync or Ring Mod has Saw as Osc 1, and a Square as Osc 2. If you switch these two waveforms, you get a sound that sounds like two saws but with more low end.
Another thing I like to do is have a Sine Wave as Osc 1 and a brighter waveform like a Saw or Square as Osc 2, for a very round low end and a brighter note on top. This is actually a pretty noticeable change. As far as I know in Syntorial we never use the Sine Wave by itself, and its main purpose is for FM and Ring Mod.
Within the realm of FM, one combination I like that “breaks the rules” of Syntorial is using two Square waves instead of two Sine waves. I find that it gives a very jagged metallic sound, and when combined with the low pass filter it can sound kind of like Distortion. Using an FM Mod Envelope with this can help create some really cool sounds. I’ve also used mild FM on two Saw Waves.
Within the realm of Ring Mod and Sync, since Oscillator 2 is the carrier, you can try combining both mutations. I find that where Ring Mod gives a metallic quality, and Sync gives a grittier quality, using both gets you a sound in between. Plus, using Sync helps you tune up the Ring Mod sound if its sound isn’t in tune with the note you’re playing (a side effect of Ring Mod).
And of course, you don’t have to keep the mix knob at 100/0 or 0/100 for either of these settings, respectively. That’s yet another parameter to play around with.
To be honest, when I’m making a patch, I like to start with a basic doubled and transposed sound, and go back and tweak the waveforms after I’m getting somewhere interesting with my sound. Using different transposed oscillators for me isn’t so much a raw sound to begin with as much as it is an experiment to see if it improves the sound I’m programming.
Compared to other effects like the Filter Envelope, the Amp Envelope, the LFO, and the various effects you have available, I find that using different waveforms usually doesn’t contribute a whole lot to the sound (unless you’re using a mutation). Of course, every parameter on its own makes a change to your sound ranging from indistinguishable to pretty noticeable, but putting them altogether creates that unique timbre you’re looking for. There are loads of other tricks that you could use that “break the rules” in Syntorial but if used carefully can create sounds of Spidericemidas quality.
In short, try combining Saws with Squares, or Sines with other waveforms. Experiment as much as you can. But don’t fret too much over using different waveforms, as there’s many other controls that can make your sound completely different. Try looking at some of Spidericemidas’ controls and tweaking your synth accordingly to see what happens. That’s what inspired several of my own patches. There’s an endless array of sounds you can make 🙂October 22, 2020 at 10:31 am #38063Dean GParticipant
Thanks Jonathan – that’s great advice, appreciate the write-up. I definitely need to do more experimentation with Ring Mod, FM, and Sync to start, since I don’t have a good grasp of their usage outside of maybe making a few bell sounds with the former two. I’ll also try some of the combos you mentioned, like sine with other waves. It sounds like there’s no beating just tinkering and seeing what works 🙂
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