18 thoughts on “How To Get A More ‘Analog’ Sound From Software Synthesizers

  1. thanks for making this video, its good but it might propagate a fallacy that us producers should emulate some analog style in order to get some “organic” sound.

    if you’re new to all this and are unsure about whether you “need” analog, i must inform you that when you make it to the other side of the tunnel of analog/digital debates, you will find yourself not caring about analog/digital anymore. some synths, analog/digital/old/new/software/hardware/whatever, just have their own character and will inspire sounds that may or may not work for you. organic and inorganic are not. then you can just stop thinking about synths (for a little while) and be creative!

    if you’re not new to this then either a) you already know this or b) no comment….. 😉

    1. Amen, Mh. I find myself not caring about a lot of things I thought I was suppose to care about. Let the synths be what they want to be and use them in ways you find Inspiring or beautiful.

  2. Heheh, I agree that “wow, modulation is a good thing!” basically summarizes it.

    But I am a huge SubTractor fan – I use it all the time.
    I also find Reason’s unison module beefs almost anything up.
    And I also like using Reason’s samplers, which come with a variety of single-cycle synth waves which you can use to produce rather nice sounds.

  3. Great presentation well done for a clear and educational video. Your teaching style is very good.
    One thing I would say is soft synths are crap and analogue gear (Dave Smith Mopho etc) is probabaly cheaper and ten times more reliable and enjoyable than all that computer shit.
    I have a lot of hardware gear and would not trade it . All the work to get a sound that would take no time on some cheap hardware. I rate the Novation K series, they are virtual analogue but very cheap on the second hand market and sound brilliant.

    1. Pretty sure pretty sure softsynths are cheaper and more versatile.. say what opinion you have of the sounds of course, but to deny the accessibility of softsynths is just being ignorant.

    2. Yes, computers are a major pain in the arse and your software has a fuse lit from the moment you install it, SEVERAL possible fuses, in fact. Yes, hardware is far hardier and stable; I have retained 3 hardware synths that just plain perform. Two of them are older than my Mac and peripheral, MUCH older. I’d simply rather work through the steps required to enjoy BOTH than squawk about the maddening details. Everyone finds their wallet between the couch cushions once in a while. I sure don’t expect complex equipment and my sputtery brain not to have moments like that, too, but its still the best Busy Box around. Don’t you LIKE your Busy Box? I love my Busy Box. It keeps me from punching a politician in the pants.

  4. This video makes a simple point that the “organic” quality of an analog synth in a large way comes from the instability of the oscillators– which are more stable than the “organic” instability of a voice/instrument.

    A broader point can be made that electronic music need not lack variation in sound. That variation can be induced via user-expression (velocity, after-touch, wheels, sliders, etc.) or it can be brought about by random values, LFO’s, or keymapped alterations (i.e., certain keys more wonky, out of tune, etc.)

    There are such important differences between acoustic instruments and electronic instruments that make the former more interesting and dynamic, and the latter more uniform and predictable. Of course, electronic instruments have many advantages! And that same comparison goes for the analog and digital differences.

    As programmers/sound-designers, when we are proactive about making sounds which are dynamic and expressive (i.e., responding to velocity- and other gestures)– we can make sounds that have some life in them– regardless of what generates the waveform.

  5. Adding a bit of wobble to the pitch is an idea – but when I listen to my various hardware analogue synths (some of which have DCOs and perfect pitch) the key difference is how punchy the filter sounds. The Nord Lead 3 attempts to implement this with a special Moog 24db filter that leaks higher frequencies through more than the more mathematically perfect digital filter would do – and that turns out to be key to capturing some of that analogue sound. The squelchiness of the filter at higher resonance would be another differentiating factor. Ultimately, it’s the impurities and non-linear responses of all the analogue circuitry that combines to create a richer and less purely mathematical sound. Ask the good folks at Arturia, they know all about this and go to great lengths to recreate the analogue circuits in software. So maybe you should route a few more LFOs through to the filter cut-off and resonance parameters, but neither will recreate an imperfect filter.

  6. The above tutorial by John Cusack was very nicely executed. I really like his friendly, no nonsense style. However, with all due respect, the patches and sounds he created were just awful in my humble opinion. To bad. I really wanted to pick up a good tip. [email protected]

  7. Many thanks to Synthhead and the entire Synthtopia community for featuring and talking about our video!

    I’m humbled by your compliments and mindful of your critique; don’t worry, I’m taking everything on board and will be pushing harder with every video we do to improve our stuff.

    Oh, and the John Cusack comparisons are a constant source of humour for me – thank you! Maybe one day, if this all falls hopelessly through, I can play Mr Cusack himself in a biopic.

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