# Exploring Analogue Synth Techniques v2

Exploring Analogue Synth Techniques v2 is a Csound tutorial I wrote in 1998 as part of my senior thesis at Berklee. I was originally inspired by my experience with analog synths, hence the title. Though the examples and text are clearly Csound-centric, much of what is covered translates well to other synth environments.

# Synthesized Bach in W. Carlos Style – Stereo

Video posted to YouTube by Elhardt
Link discovered via matrixsynth.com

Here are some experiments I did in trying to mimic the style of Walter/Wendy Carlos’ synthesizer technique and style of timbres. Carlos was using a 1960’s era patchable modular Moog synthesizer with a different architecture than that of the Alesis Andromeda synthesizer. Each one has some advantages and disadvantages over the other but both use analog circuitry.

All I can say is Bravo! As many of my friends can attest to, I’ve listened to a lot of Wendy Carlos over the years. Elhardt has managed to perfect the sound design, arrangement and performance stylings of Carlos. Be sure to check out the Scarlatti piece, too.

# Oscillator Experiment Update: Piecewise Sine

After matrixsynth.com picked up “My Sine Oscillator Experiment,” doktor future started a discussion about different ways of emulating analog oscillators in digital. Adam S mentioned that he thought the Plan B sine looked like a piecewise quadratic to him and provided the following function:

y=
-(4/pi^2)[x – (pi/2)]^2+1, x from 0 to pi
(4/pi^2)[x-(3pi/2)]^2-1, x from pi to 2pi

After having checked it out in grapher.app myself, and confirmed it did look similar to the Plan B sine, I implemented this as a wave table in Csound. See piecewise.csd.

Piecewise + Plan B Model 15

In this image, I have superimposed Adam’s recommended piecewise function over the Plan B’s Model 15 sine wave. As you can see, their contours are not quite identical, though very, very similar.

After listening to both waves side-by-side, the harmonic distortion in the piecewise sine example is a tad louder, and the frequencies are just slightly off. At least to my ears. However, I consider it to be a wonderful approximation of the Model 15.

Oh, the Irony

Peter Grenader, the principle designer at Plan B, has this written in his bio:

“In 2001 , Peter returned to analog after a 22 year hiatus because he tired of trying to force digital instruments to behave in like manner.”

I’m finding this whole discussion a bit humorous as the three of us are doing exactly this, trying to force digital instruments to sound like analog. In this case, Mr. Grenader’s analog oscillator.

# Discovering Electronic Music

This is an educational film from 1983 describing a little bit of the history and tools of electronic music. The best thing about it is that it is behind the times for 1983, and seems more like a 1970s film. Frequently featured is a Moog modular! Also featured is a Fairlight, but as an analog obsessive, I’m less interested in that.

This reminds me of the old Encyclopedia Britannica films we watched back in high school. Despite being quite vintage, the content of the film is still relevant today.