What are some of the most important things to know about synthesizers? Especially moogs?
on a vintage synth what are the basics of how sound is produced? How does it work? How many different types of sounds are able to be played? How would I go about playing one? What's the difference between a moog and other manufacturers. Does the moog have a built in amp? What style fits the moog best? Don't have to answer all of these BTW. What is a good price range for a vintage piece of equipment like that?
Question answered by trweiss
>> What are some of the most important things to know about synthesizers?
Synthesizers are unique instruments. Conventional (non-electronic) instruments physically move air in some way. Not synthesizers.
In the first half of the 1900s, it became commonplace to convert moving air (i.e. sound) into signal voltages. The device which does this is called a microphone. A signal voltage can then be converted back to sound using an amplifier and a loudspeaker. A few bright people had this idea: What if you could create a signal voltage outright, using electronics, and used such a thing as a musical instrument?
That is what a synthesizer is and does.
>> On a vintage synth what are the basics of how sound is produced?
>> How does it work?
Synthesizers have three basic components: a sound source, a filter, and an amplifier. The sound source can be implemented using any number of technologies, but a Moog synth uses a VCO (voltage control oscillator) to create a signal voltage. The signal then passes to a filter section, which modifies the harmonic content of the signal and results in different timbres. Finally, an amplifier section defines the loudness of a sound is during it's lifetime. (For example, does it attack immediately or fade in? Does it shut off immediately or does it fade out?)
This is a gross oversimplification. Most synthesizers do much more than what I just described. To learn more about how synthesizers work, I highly recommend this series: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/allsynthsecrets.htm
Start at the bottom and work your way up.
>> Does the moog have a built in amp?
Yes, but do not confuse the amplifier section of a synthesizer with the amplifier in a sound system. They technically do the same thing, which is to add gain to the signal voltage. However, the amplifier in your synth works with very small voltages and produces a line-level signal, which is still pretty small. The amplifier in a sound system (such as a stereo, PA, studio monitors, etc.) increases the gain enough to drive a speaker, which is huge by comparison. Most synthesizers, including all Moogs, do not have a built-in speakers, so you will need to plug it into some sort of sound system, which will necessarily include an amplifier.
>> How many different types of sounds are able to be played?
A synthesizer is capable of many, many, many sounds. Every model from every manufacturer has different capabilities, but most can do many similar things. The most flexible and capable synthesizers are generally the most expensive.
>> How would I go about playing one?
Buy, beg, borrow, or steal. Plug it in and off you go. (OK, don't steal.)
>> What's the difference between a moog and other manufacturers.
The company is named after Robert Moog (rhymes with rogue, not with fugue). He was a pioneer of synthesizer technology. Moog synthesizers, even the new ones, have a well-deserved reputation for sounding "vintage", but are very capable within their design limits. (They are not do-everything monsters like what you might get from a Korg, Roland, or Yamaha workstation. You won't be able to create realistic acoustic piano or acoustic drums, for example.) Most Moog synthesizers are monophonic, which means you can only play one note at a time.
>> What style fits the moog best?
Today, Moog synthesizers are used most often in electronica, trance, techno, dance, and the like. However, W. Carlos once used a Moog synth to record the music of J. S. Bach, to great effect. The album is called "Switched On Bach". I recommend you listen to it to get a feel for the "Moog sound". They are also used in pop music extensively. REO Speedwagon's "Ridin' The Storm Out" starts off with a Moog synth.
>> What is a good price range for a vintage piece of equipment like that?
There isn't just one model. You should explore them at http://www.vintagesynth.com/moog/. Then do pricing research on eBay for the models which are no longer in production. Online music retailers will show the prices for current models.
How is an electrical jumper made? What are the materials used and how is it assembled?
I don't exactly know how this gadget is referred to but this "electrical jumper" is being used in order to save electricity consumption if you have too may appliances at home.
I know I'm causing confusion here because jumpers are generally used in computers or as electronic testers but it is also used as power savers. Maybe I'm just using the wrong name for it. Could anybody please help me to learn how to do it?
Question answered by alpha b
*pl. read the specs of jumper:
Mini Jumper & Junction Jumper:
1. CONTACT : BRASS.
2. INSULATOR : GLASS FILLED POLYESTER P.B.T. UL94V-0 RATED
3. CONTACT PLATING : GOLD FLASH.
ELECTRICAL SPECIFICATION :
1. CURRENT RATING : 3 AMP.
2. DIELECTRIC WITHSTANDING VOLTAGE : 650 VAC (1min).
3. INSULATION RESISTANCE : 1000 MEGOHMS MINIMUM.
4. CONTACT RESISTANCE : 20 MILLIOHMS MAXIMUM.
5. DURABILITY : 50 CYCLES.
* In a computer, a jumper is a pair of prongs that are electrical contact points set into the computer motherboard or an adapter card . When you set a jumper, you place a plug on the prongs that completes a contact. In effect, the jumper acts as a switch by closing (or opening) an electrical circuit. Jumpers can be added or removed to change the function or performance of a PC component. A group of jumpers is sometimes called a jumper block .
The plug and play initiative was designed so that users did not have to deal with jumpers. Today, computers come with preset jumpers, although some manufacturers provide jumper settings in the instruction manual so that the owner can reset the jumpers if they want to customize performance.
In electronic test equipment, a jumper cable is used to make a temporary contact between two points for the purpose of testing a circuit.
*Typically, a jumper consists of a plastic plug that fits over a pair of protruding pins. Jumpers are sometimes used to configure expansion boards. By placing a jumper plug over a different set of pins, you can change a board's parameters.
*A jumper is short, 10 to 50 feet and is used with a two-fer to gang two instruments together.
*A two-fer is a Y connector with one male plug and two female plugs. It is used with a jumper to gang two lamps together on the same cable.
How are guitar amp models made for MFX units (like Line 6 POD)?
Something that I've never seen... an explanation of how in the heck these amp models are made anyway. I have some foggy notion this involves computers chugging away on data, and then capturing results on a chip. But I don't even know if the amp models are made off of recordings made via a microphone. Or are the recordings made by some electronic gizmo directly attached to the amp? Again, I have no good idea.
So anybody know, or can offer a link to a good explanation?
Question answered by Aleph Null
I can explain amp modeling simply and accurately in non-technical language.
"Modeling" refers to the process of recreating MANY interactive elements of a given amp's response to input. The actual process is tedious and mind-bendingly complex, but the concept is simple. To understand amp “models” you need to know a few of the things that contribute to any amp’s characteristic “sound.”
Any standard amplifier has a front-end (the preamp) which includes tone controls, gain and volume. Then the signal goes to the power amp section, which drives the speakers. The speaker(s) vibrate, which pushes the air in the room you are playing in. Each one of these things affects the overall impression of "tone" as we perceive it.
In just the last twenty years, computers have become fast enough and powerful enough to examine and digitally recreate all these amp characteristics.
Sound engineers carefully isolate individual characteristics of various preamps, amps, speakers, cabinets, miking, and room acoustics. They have musicians play through “classic” amps with a variety of popular guitars. They switch speaker cabinets. They try different microphones and miking techniques. They adjust the tone controls through the entire spectrum from “off’ to “full on.”
They record not just the sounds from the amp, but they also record the direct output from guitars at the same time. This way they can compare the difference between the signal made by the instrument, to what the amp does with that signal.
That is the essence of sampling for “modeling.” They sample both the actual signal, and simultaneously sample the same signal as it passes through every point in the signal path; from the musician’s fingers, to the listener’s ears.
After they have recorded all the data, they build algorithms that imitate every aspect of every preamp-amp-speaker-mic-room combination. Each of these algorithms has a basic function (like a specific type of distortion) and numerous associated effects.
Classic “real’ amps get their characteristic tones from complex interactions between many things; Impedance, pickups, output, sensitivity, gain, etc. The objective is to create an algorithm (a mathematical model) that predicts and emulates every nuance of all these contributing factors.
Yes, the algorithms (models) are loaded onto chips. However, there are also “soft” programs in the hardware. These programs exist for several reasons. One is to provide improvements at a later date.
The engineers who do this work know that technology is improving at an exponential rate. Therefore, they know that in just a year or two, the algorithms or “models” they designed will be obsolete. They may still sound OK to most people. But competition is fierce because the market is large. Guitarists want the newest and best toys. Having “soft” model components allows manufacturers the ability to upgrade their equipment later on.
That is good for the consumer because he can get the latest sounds without having to buy another entire rig. It is also good for the manufacturers because they get to make another sale. It is far less expensive for a player to buy and upload a new software version than to buy hardware. It is more profitable for the manufacturer to sell an “upgrade” than to make thousands of “real” amps. Software is just a bunch of “ones and zeros” that exist in a computer’s storage device. If a manufacturer can sell bits and bytes, he does not have to warehouse thousands of parts, hire labor to assemble them, or spend much on shipping.
You may know this but it is interesting and important! The driving force behind much of this new technology is not audio. It is video! Specifically, it is the special effects processing of MOVIES that pushes music technology forward.
In the attempt to make realistic visual effects, filmmakers have continually “pushed the envelope” of computer technology. The extreme popularity of Star Wars is a prime example. George Lucas was willing to invest heavily in new technology to achieve his artistic “vision.” When Hollywood saw the immense profits from “effects-driven” fantasy movies, everybody wanted to follow along. It is also important to notice this fact because it is primarily its peaceful artistic use that pushes technology’s evolution.
Movies are “BIG-business” with a relatively fast payback. As such, they are the economic force behind much of the latest computer technology. In addition, the movie business is usually run far more efficiently than governments or military projects. Movies have to earn money. They cannot just print money as governments do. The movie industry cannot afford to waste money as the military does. Movies have to be efficient.
I do not intend to turn this into a political diatribe. It’s just good to know where true progress and technological progress stems from. Art is always more efficient than war.
Because movie technologies evolve so quickly, (with their large fast profits) there is a significant spillover into all other technological areas. After a technology is created, engineers and creative people from other disciplines find new ways to use that technology. Amp modeling is just one example.
“Modeling” is a term for a complex mathematical algorithm that imitates numerous characteristics of different amps. The modeled characteristics include not just the amp, but also a host of other factors including room acoustics. Models are made from samples of isolated elements within an overall sound. The elements are isolated by simultaneously sampling the original signal and the same signal at all crucial points in the signal path. It is this comparison between the raw signal and the “amplified” signal that defines a model.
Designing an “amp model” is exactly like building a physical model of a car; except musicians want to hear their models instead of see them. Modeling engineers sample bits and pieces of individual elements of an ideal thing. It doesn’t matter whether that thing is an automobile, a light-saber or high-frequency distortion from a Marshall amplifier.
After sampling each small component of the “ideal thing”, the samples are reassembled into a “big complete thing.” The assembled chunks of small things into a big thing is called a “model”.
Instead of using plastic parts (like a model car,) “amp-models” use comparative data samples of ideal amp sounds.
Instead of gluing physical parts together (as with a plastic model car), sound models are “glued together” with hardware; i.e. processing and memory chips.
Instead of reading the assembly instructions on a piece of paper (as you might with your model car,) the microchip processor “reads” instructions from software.
Software can change with the advancement of technology. Software upgrades are cheaper than buying new hardware. That’s good for consumers. Software upgrades are easier to make, store and sell; which is good for the manufacturer.
The processing power required to create these models is developing rapidly, mostly because of the entertainment industry; specifically, special effects-driven blockbusters like Star Wars, …not actual wars.