Recreating steel drum style synth sound

    Nov 10 2012 | 3:43 pm
    this synth is really odd, it sounds like a steel drum with some reverb. what synth settings would I need to recreate this?
    also, what are the tricks to getting different sounds out of saw~ and rect~, apart from using reverb, delay or tuning the oscillators differently?

    • Nov 10 2012 | 4:45 pm
      Not sure which part of what your talking about is steel drum like. (the bendy guitar-ish sounding bit?)
      Synthesis is a whole big monster of a subject, and you can do a ton with just a couple of objects (additive synthesis, FM synthesis, subtractive synthesis(?), etc...)
      I personally never bother with trying to create synthesized sounds in max, as there's sooooo many softsynths out there that it seems all but pointless.
    • Nov 10 2012 | 5:42 pm
      really? You never build your own synths in max? I don't find it pointless at all if you want something very specific. Besides that one learns a lot and finds things that one wouldn't have encountered when one wouldn't have bothered to build a synth oneself. I just wanted to say i do recommend building synths in max. it's fun!
    • Nov 10 2012 | 6:22 pm
      Heh yeah never. Well I have a couple sections in my patch which are super simple synths, but for me, synthesis isn't an interest (in Max). I'm all about the sampling/processing of stuff, so all my energies have gone there.
    • Nov 10 2012 | 7:44 pm
      How does a sound evolve? What is the impulse or exciter? What is the nature of the resonator? Two names always mentioned in this context are Perry Cook - PeRColate external - and Dave Bessel - MetalWood.
      I'm surprised to hear Rodrigo say he's not made much use of synthesis per se. Is live processing not a form of synthesis? I'll not get [more] pedantic but the little I've heard of Rodrigo's unique soundworlds use synthesis processes, no? Woyteg has posed an interesting question too.
      Tired and emotional on sat nite.
    • Nov 10 2012 | 7:49 pm
      Guesswork would lead me first to FM synthesis, for those enharmonic overtones, and then to AM, for more intuitive control. Both methods immediately mentioned by Rodrigo : )
    • Nov 10 2012 | 11:03 pm
      Nope, no 'real' synthesis. As mentioned there is a small part of my main patch (the party van) which has some super basic sinetone/fm type stuff, but I rarely use it. I do use some hardware/oddball synths (ciat-lonbarde stuff), but I've found when trying to make synth stuff from scratch, that unless you know a tremendous amount, it sounds quite flat and uninteresting (this extends all the way up to full on hardware soft synths. And it's not because I think analog is the 'real deal', it's more the complexity and nonlinearities required to make for an (in my opinion) interesting synth sound are way beyond my knowledge.
    • Nov 10 2012 | 11:40 pm
      I have an old DX synth. It's digital, and I've recreated the algorithms in MaxMSP. Not the same. Je n'est ce qua. I believe the Yamaha is just noisier : P
      Maybe OP should search here for Bell/Bar synthesis?
    • Nov 11 2012 | 1:44 pm
      I imagine it's very difficult to recreate a synth sound exactly. I just wish those sound on sound synth secrets tutorials were more compatible with Max as they have some great tutorials but I find implementing them in Max is difficult.
      I have however managed to get some cool synth sounds from max msp. the synth sounds i got with ableton are not my cup of tea.
      I would go with what rodrigo said though. Unless you know all the tiny intricacies of synth building you won't get a fully professional sound which is a little disheartening. my synth patches are always a little mickey mouse. can't afford a decent synth though.
      ah well, back to the sound on sound tutorials I go.
    • Nov 11 2012 | 3:10 pm
      I'd like to see your efforts in transferring the SOS algos into Max. I recently had some success with Gordon's article on string modelling.
    • Nov 11 2012 | 4:29 pm fact, if you have PeRColate, the [bowedbar~] and [vibraphone~] helpfile examples sound like they could get you close to a steel drum. If you grab a soundfile example of a steel drum that would also help.
    • Nov 12 2012 | 2:46 am
      If you're referring to the tones in the background I think you're looking for something like If you actually do want steel drums try Modal synthesis
    • Nov 12 2012 | 3:56 pm
      I don't hear the steel drum in the recording that was posted. I think it's just electric guitar, if it's the repeated tones that OP is referring to. However, if you're looking for a steel drum-ish sound, try FM first, since it's simple, cheap, and requires no externals. (nothing against the others, just they may be a lot more effort and if you're not going for an exact steel drum...)
      You could run two simpleFM~ in parallel, the first one is for the metallic element, and should die out very quickly. Try a harmonicity ratio of 1.6-1.8. For the second, you might try something like 5; I seem to recall the vibraphone having a prominent 5th harmonic, but YMMV.
    • Nov 14 2012 | 11:33 pm
      Maybe he's hearing the Ondes Martenot?