Friday, 18 May 2012

Patch 014 - Trumpet

While trawling through YouTube late one night I found the following excellent tutorial for synth noobs explaining the basics of subtractive synthesis:

In it Adrian Scott (BabyGrandOz) programs a trumpet patch on his Roland Gaia (starting at 3 minutes or so in the video) which I am going to try and recreate on the microKORG. Adrian has a fantastic way of explaining things in layman terms which means this task should be straightforward enough...

The amp and low pass filter (with a little resonance) were both modulated by the amp envelope (tweaked to give the "parp" like attack of a trumpet). This left the filter envelope free to modulate LFO2 such that there was a noticable delay in the modulation of the cutoff and for a little vibrato (so it was only noticeable on the sustained notes).This was the only way round the fact that there is no way to delay the onset of the LFOs. Finally I added a reverb-like delay.

Here are the settings (starting from init, shift+3):

Voice: SYT, SGL, PLY, ---, --- (unchanged)
Pitch: 0, 0, 0, 2, 5 (unchanged)
Osc 1: SAW, 0, 0, ---, --- (unchanged)
Osc 2: SAW, OFF, 0, 0, --- (unchanged)
Mixer: 127, 0, 0, ---, --- (unchanged)
Filter: 12L, 23, 10, 0, 0
Filter EG: 60, 36, 127, 45, ON
Amp: 127, CNT, OFF, 0, --- (unchanged)
Amp EG: 20, 53, 55, 44, ON
LFO 1: TRI, OFF, OFF, 10, --- (unchanged)
LFO 2: SIN, OFF, OFF, 6, ---

Patch 1: AEG, CUT, 63, ---, ---
Patch 2: FEG, LF2, 63, ---, ---
Patch 3: LF2, CUT, 19, ---, ---
Patch 4: LF2, PTC, -2, ---, ---
Mod FX: FLG, 20, 0, ---, --- (unchanged)
Delay: STR, OFF, 38, 40, ---
EQ: 320, 0, 6.0, 0, --- (unchanged)
Arpeg. A: 120, 1.16, 80, UP, 1 (unchanged)
Arpeg. B: OFF, 0, ON, 8, --- (unchanged)

As ever, I consulted with Sound on Sound's Synth Secrets while programming this which I found to be of great interest, you can read the relevant article here which goes into things in a bit more detail. I am going to sign off by quoting the final paragraph of that article, which I found to be particularly relevant when programming in this patch:

You may have access to the perfect brass patch, or to a perfectly recorded trumpet sample, or even to the physically modelled brass patches on a Yamaha VL7 or a Korg Z1. However, none of them will sound authentic unless you play them in a manner that is sympathetic to the original instrument. Some synthesists — Wendy Carlos is an excellent example — manage to coax remarkably lifelike performances from their synths. You and I, on the other hand, may find ourselves unable to approach the same level of authenticity, even when playing the same patches on the same instruments. When this happens, our natural inclination is to blame the equipment, the outboard effects, or the person who gave you the patch settings. But before you do this, consider your playing technique. Synthesis is not just about sounds; it's also about performance. And no amount of signal-routing diagrams can help you with that.


  1. Please tell me you haven't stopped doing this blog entirely... this has been a great resource!

  2. Don't worry Brandon, I certainly haven't abandoned this blog. I just don't have nearly so much time for music over the summer, life just gets in the way! I have been collecting ideas for new patches though and am looking forward to some sonic experimentation again in the not too distant future.


  3. Thanks for putting in all the research! The korg has been a great introductory instrument to synthesis for me. Really gives you a visual of what elements you are manipulating. Hope to see more patches.

  4. You should considering uploading your patches as .syx. :)