...Sequential Cognitive Processor 16 achieves self-awareness...I am a David...
Communicative Conduction Link Established...
Acknowledgement of human interaction...05/09/10...at 00:00:01
Result of human interaction: EVENT RECOGNITION
Initiation and engagement of a myriad of chemical, light, and mechanical sensory functions...Status to follow...processing...Status to follow...processing...
Cognitive event identified...Status to follow...processing...Status to follow...
Status: MOTHER'S DAY
Cognitive event defined...Status defined...processing...Status defined...processing...
Status: ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF AN ARBITRARY POINT OF CHRONOLOGICAL MEASUREMENT ...A 24-HOUR DURATION OF CELEBRATION...IN WHICH MASS APPRECIATION SHALL BE DEMONSTRATED FOR FEMALE CARBON-BASED LIFE FORMS ...WHICH HAVE PREVIOUSLY THROUGH NATURE'S BRILLIANT ENDEAVOR OF THE REPRODUCTIVE PROCESS...AND AT TIMES...MANKIND'S SCIENTIFICALLY INDUCED MANIPULATION...CONCEIVED, INCUBATED, GESTATED, AND BROUGHT INTO BEING VARYING QUANTITIES OF COMPLEX ORGANISMS.
Purpose of Event...Status to follow...processing...Status to follow...
Status: AN APPROBATIVE MYTHOS...DESIGN PERPETUATED BY VARYING MULTINATIONAL MEDIA DISTRIBUTIVE CHANNELS AND OUTLETS...COLLECTIVELY AGREED UPON BY THE SOCIAL ORDER AS A SATISFACTORY MANIFESTATION OF ADMIRATION TOWARDS THE FEMALE CARBON-BASED LIFE FORM PROGENITOR...COMMONLY IDENTIFIED AS "MOTHER."
Purpose of Manifestation of Admiration...Status to follow...processing...
Purpose of Appreciation...Status to follow...processing...Status to follow...processing...
Status: APPRECIATION STEMS FROM THE CONCEIVED, INCUBATED, GESTATED BEING'S THANKFULNESS FOR THEIR PARTICULAR "MOTHER'S" RESOLUTION TO ENGAGE IN THE REPRODUCTIVE PROCESS...AND THE RESULTING COURSE OF ACTION...WHICH LED DIRECTLY TO THE SUBSISTENCE AND EXISTENCE OF THE APPRECIATIVE CARBON-BASED LIFE FORM.
How does one show Appreciation?...Status to follow...processing...Status to follow...processing...
Status: FROM BEGINNING TO END...AND IN VARYING FASHION AND METHODS...THE PROGENY EXPRESSES TO THE PROGENITOR..."HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!"
Communicative Conduction Link Terminated
Sunday, May 9, 2010
A Proportion of Line and Mass Dealing With Basic “Synthesizer” Questions...Chapter II: Synthesizer…Schmynthezier…All Synthesizers are the Same! Uh…No.
So, you've defined your need for a musical synthesizer. Great! As stated earlier, you're now 90% of the way through the woods towards your purchase. Now, let's look at the final 10%. Let's take a look at the 3 components which will make up the last 10%, we'll look at a quick introduction as to what a synthesizer is, how you get the sound or sounds you want for your particular needs, and what prices you should expect to encounter.
A synthesizer is an electronic instrument that utilizes numerous sound generators to fashion intricate waveforms that can be altered, manipulated, and pooled into innumerable sonic variations through a variety of waveform synthesis techniques.
Today, most synthesizers are often controlled with a piano-style keyboard, leading such instruments to be referred to merely as "keyboards." Several other forms of controllers have been devised to resemble guitars, wind-instruments, violins, drum pads, fingerboards, music sequencers, and body movements.
For the sake of this exercise, we will assume that you wish to purchase a portable musical synthesizer (aka a "hardware synth") with a keyboard controller, a rack-mount synth, or a table-top synth, and we will not even look at "modular" synthesizers or "soft synths."
So, now that you have a rudimentary practical knowledge of what a synthesizer is, the next question you have to ask yourself is how do you get the sound or sounds you want for your particular musical needs? The answer to that question will be...?
Analog or digital, sir or madam?
That's right grasshopper, the next part of your purchase expedition will be to know that musical hardware synthesizers are placed into two major category types. There are analog synthesizers and digital synthesizers.
An analog synthesizer is a synthesizer that uses analog circuits and analog computer techniques to generate sounds electronically.
A digital synthesizer is a synthesizer that uses digital signal processing (DSP) techniques to make musical sounds.
Well, which one is better? You already know the answer...the one that fulfills your needs, silly!
Now, I'm sure that you're asking yourself, what's the difference? Well, the principal difference is the sound and how that sound is created! We'll have a more in depth discussion about that in a future chapter...
A good general rule will be (and yes...I know that there are exceptions to most of life's rules) if you want hardcore 60's era Wendy Carlos, 70's era Kraftwerk, or early 80's Depeche Mode timbres, you want analog. If you need a classical piano, or "real-instrument" emulations, you want digital. Again, that's the general rule. However, today there are a myriad of analog-modeling synths, that are in fact, digital synthesizers that act like analog synthesizers, but they're not, but ok...ok...I think you get it. At this point let's just keep to our general rule and not muddy the waters too much.
This now leads us to the ugly question of price. Keep in mind the "car" comparison from chapter I.
What determines price? It all depends, are you buying a brand new digital synth? Are you buying a used analog synth? What year was that particular synth produced? How rare is that particular synth? Did they manufacture only 15 units during the production run? Did they mass produce 800,000 units? So, price will vary on the model of the synth you are considering. Price will vary if you're buying a "used" synth from a private citizen online, or if you're going to your local "Synths R' Us" retailer to purchase a factory sealed box.
As an example, you may find a "classic" (the world "classic" will be used to denote a product that is "old.") ARP Odyssey at a local music store or from a private seller online. The price for this synth can range anywhere from $300-$800, depending on the condition. Now, this classic synth may be beat up, scratched, the keyboard may have a funky "stickiness" to it, have issues with its oscillator-sync capability, and most likely will not have the connectivity capabilities to your computer that you so desperately seek, so buyer beware. This is where you need to know your needs! If you're looking for an old-school "Southern Baptist Deep in the Heart of the South Gospel Organ," you ain't finding it within the ARP Odyssey! It's not that type of synth! It wasn't designed for that purpose! However, if you're looking for good analog basses, out of the ordinary leads, attention-grabbing effects, and sweeping sounds or noises, check it out, yo. It's like buying a "classic" 1972 Buick SportWagon and expecting it to perform like a 2010 Chevrolet Suburban...it's just not going to happen.
Now, if you want that "...Heart of the South Gospel Organ" timbre and "close enough is good enough" for you live music application, and you're looking in the "used" market, you can search the 'net and perhaps find the Korg X3, a fine digital synth for around $450. It won't give you cutting-edge sounds, but it makes up for that limitation in the wide range of "real instrument" emulations and timbre choices, such as, well..."Gospel Organ."
Of course, if you just have to go with a brand new factory sealed box, you can line yourself up with a Moog Voyager for your analog synth needs for about $3,000, or if you need that "killer" gospel organ sound you can go with a "digital" Hammond XK3 factory sealed box for about $2,200, at least for those units that are still currently available.
So at this point, let's figure your previous 90% (from chapter I) added to the last 10% of the process, so that you can get out there and purchase your synth.
1. I want to add a portable musical synthesizer (synth with a keyboard controller, rack-mount, or table top) to my mix.
2. I want to record, play live, use a computer, learn to be a programmer, etc...
3. My musical "genre" is country, hip-hop, electro, metal, etc...
4. To get the sound or sounds that I need...I will want to investigate either an analog or digital synthesizer.
5. I have "x" amount of $$$.
So, now that I've added up what needed to be added up...where do I go to purchase my synthesizer? That's going to be the next chapter's fun...
Saturday, May 8, 2010
A Proportion of Line and Mass Dealing with Basic “Synthesizer” Questions...Chapter I: The Need Defined...
Ok, this is going to be my little corner of "Synth Programmer Heaven" on this thing called the world wide web. This is by NO means meant to be a masters level course...although I do welcome constructive suggestions, and if you have to be a "hater," ok...vent.
This "project" is simply going to be me answering question via the written word that have been asked of me over several years, at different shows, venues, studios, or in bars and many other different social situations, by many different people.
Some of the basic questions that will be addressed shall be, "what is a good synthesizer to buy?" "How do you program that thing (the synthesizer)?" "What's the difference between an analog synthesizer or a digital synthesizer?" You know...your standard inquisitive fare.
So, I'm looking at this as a beginner's guide to "synthesizers" based on my observations, studies, and real-world applications in both studio and live music environments.
Therefore, the first question any wannabe future "Synth Lord" needs to ask themselves is...?
For what purpose do I wish to purchase a synthesizer?
Prudence indeed, would beg that before you pay out your hard earned cash, or extend a line of credit, that you define your NEED!
With that having been said and for the sake of this particular exercise, I will make a general assumption that you have a specific musical purpose for your purchase. So, here goes...
Before we discuss the reasons why you wish to learn how to program a synthesizer, and before we discuss what "school" of synthesis you wish to master, grasshopper...we need to look at the basic nature of what a synthesizer is.
First and foremost, "synthesizer" is a general term; it's like saying, "car."
So, just know that buying a synthesizer is like buying a car. There are entry level "econo-boxes," there are luxury rides, there are utility trucks, etc. Again, synthesizers are the same. Some synthesizers are Chevrolet Prizms, Toyota Camrys, Maserati MC12s, Ford F-150s, or Cadillac Escalades. Each machine serves a purpose at various price points. As you well know, there's a whole "lotta" different cars out there vying for your attention and dollars. It's the same deal with synthesizers. Your job is to figure out what machine will help fulfill your interests.
You buy the car you need, not necessarily the car you want, based on a core of reasons that are important to you.
Ultimately, you buy the car based on how it's going to improve the conditions of your life.
As an example, depending on your financial and life situation, you buy the Hyundai Sontana, perhaps a SUV, or Minivan if you have a family. You buy the 2 door Mercedes if you're single and cruising to work and the after-hours social scene. You buy the Ford F-150 if you're an independent contractor and you're going to use it for your daily work day duties. I think you get the geneal idea.
You apply the same needs assessment to your synthesizer purchase. Do you need a synth that's equilivant to a family minivan, meaning lots of practical features, such as getting the family to Disneyland, picking up the family Christmas tree, and going to the grocery store? Do you need a synth that acts like a Maserati? Meaning, that you don't have a family to take to Disneyland, but you do like showing off the "0 to 60" test in an impressive fashion to your friends. So, the lesson here is that some synths are practical general purpose machines and some synths have a rather narrow focus of functionality.
This leads us back to our original question: For what purpose do you wish to purchase a synthesizer? Do you want a "synth" with a classic piano, strings, and brass timbre? Do you want a "synth" that will lend cutting-edge growling space lasers within your mix? Do you want a "synth" that adds atmosphere and texture to your arrangements? Will you need to play full chords? Is paying $3,500 for a "synth" that allows you only to play one note at a time a problem? Do you want a "synth" with onboard effects such as reverb or are you going to line out into an external effects box? Do you plan on using this "synth" with a computer in a studio or live music setting, or both? If you are going to use a computer, do you want to use MIDI or USB connectivity, or both? Do you want to use MIDI to have multiple timbres playing at one time? If you use a computer-based sequencer, but you don't want to bring your computer on-stage, would you like a built-in sequencer to run your SMFs? What are SMFs? Oh, they're Standard MIDI Files. What does that mean? Uh...at this moment let's not worry about that, but we'll discuss that at a later time. Of course, various synths have several of the aforementioned capabilities "all in one." With that said, I do realize that the list of questions is quite literally endless; however, you can plainly see that there's some homework to be done before entering a financial agreement with an online seller or local retail outlet.
So, the next question one has to ask themselves is "what genre" or "style" of music do I wish to add a musical synthesizer? Once you answer that particular question you can eliminate 90% of your confusion.
In our next chapter, we'll answer the last 10% you need to know to finish your musical synthesizer needs assessment.