Creating retro sounds with hard-synced oscillators in Reaktor 6 Primary.
“Hard sync” is synthesis technique that uses two oscillators: when one oscillator (the “leader”) finishes a cycle, it resets the period of the other oscillator (the “follower”), creating a period at the frequency of the leader, but a timbre from the incomplete cycles of the follower.
This is a really easy way to create original, complex sounds, using just two oscillators.
0:00 Defining “Hard Sync” 0:38 Building a Single Oscillator 1:35 Adding the “Follower” 3:03 Changing the Pitch Relationship 4:40 That Hard Sync Sound 4:57 How it Works 6:30 Follower Lower than Leader 7:25 Adding an Amplitude Envelope 8:10 Adding a Filter (for a bit) 9:28 Closing, Next Steps
Here’s a simple patch based off the work of composer/engineer Jaap Vink from the Institute For Sonology, Utrecht. This ensemble is a feedback loop with a delay, a ring modulator, and a saturator (with a simple sine as a “trigger” to get things started).
Each pass through the loop, the signal is delayed, then ring-modulated, significantly changing the spectrum. This can devolve into noise rather quickly, but a soft touch can lead to some interesting evolving soundscapes.
There’s no talking on this one, just building the patch, and listening to it go.
All sound can be broken down into individual frequency components, and the lowest frequency component of a sound is called the “fundamental” (all the frequencies above that fundamental frequency are the “partials”). By cleverly setting the relationships of the amplitude and frequencies of the harmonic spectrum, though, you can trick your ear into hearing the pitch of a sound as an octave below the lowest frequency component.
Here, I’ve built a quick demo in Reaktor 6. Listen and see what you think.
Some ideas on how to add some beautiful (analog?) imperfections to your Reaktor synths in Reaktor Primary.
The definition of “analog warmth” is pretty nebulous, but it brings to mind things like tube distortion and tape saturation–imperfections to the “fidelity” of the sound. Digital sound has imperfections too, of course, but these are aesthetically different (though perhaps no less interesting). In this video, though, I talk about some ideas in how to imitate the imperfections of analog in our digital Reaktor 6 synths.
Building a basic but expandable FM synthesizer in Reaktor 6, making an FM operators that we can duplicate as much as we want.
In FM synthesis, we modulate the frequency of one oscillator (the carrier) with another oscillator in the audible range. We can make an FM synth in Reaktor that’s modular and quickly expandable if we make a macro with the oscillator, an envelope, and a few special controls at the FM input.
0:00 Intro / What is FM Synthesis? 1:30 Sine Oscillator with Amplitude Envelope 3:14 The “F” Input of Sine FM Oscillators 4:20 Modulating the Frequency 5:24 Modulating the Frequency in the Audible Range 6:13 Adding Musical Controls 11:50 Combining Our FM Operators 13:01 Sideband Modulation with Envelope Control 16:12 Chaining FM Operators Together 19:48 Recap / Next Steps
Building a resonant EQ in Reaktor Primary, taking inspiration from the Serge Resonant EQ’s unevenly-spaced frequencies and nonlinear controls.
In my regular journeys across the internet, I came across the Random*Source Serge Resonant EQ, a reissue of the resonant EQ from the Serge Synthesizer, and became a bit taken with its implementation and ideas. $400 is a bit too much for an impulse buy, so let’s see what we can do in Reaktor.
Even if we don’t end up with something that sounds perfect, we can use this as an opportunity to think more about subtractive synthesis, and talk about “parametric support” in our control schemes.
0:00 Purchase Your Way to Music Proficiency! 0:43 Random*Source Serge Resonant EQ 1:14 What’s interesting about this? 2:59 Disclaimer 3:22 Reaktor Primary Peak EQ 5:00 “Boost” vs. “Resonance” 5:53 Making Selectable Sound Sources 8:18 Throwing in an Oscilloscope 8:49 Starting the Resonant EQ Macro 9:28 Creating a Single Band 11:24 Level Controls to Avoid Clipping 13:13 One Knob for Resonance and Boost 14:28 “Funny Math” 21:13 Recapping the Flow / Fine Tuning 22:49 Duplicate! (for each frequency) 23:23 Setting the Frequencies 25:09 Adding a ByPass Switch 25:53 Sound Test 27:14 Saturator 28:04 Waveform Variance Across Instrument Range 29:38 Feedback 35:30 Next Steps
Subharmonics are frequencies that are whole-number divisions of a given frequency (in contrast to harmonics, which are whole number multiples of a frequency). While harmonics naturally occur as part of the timbre of a sound, subharmonics, when introduced, sound like distinct pitches, allowing you to create chords of harmonically-related notes.
This tutorial walks you through making a set of subharmonic oscillators and envelope filter like the ones on the Moog Subharmonicon.