Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Synthesizing Cymbals (909 High-hats) on the V-synth

It is quite hard to get a good cymbal sound by subtractive synthesis alone. A lot of tutorials will use mainly a noise oscillator and a triangle, but you can go a little bit farther. This will not be a full tutorial, but I will give some nice hints. This setup makes a slightly 909-ish high hat sound.

This is my chain for high hats.

Juno OSC with octave oscillator up + Noise OSC -> FM Modulation -> Comb Filter -> Resonator, Resonator Guitar model.


The Juno Osc seems to make a nice cymbal sound. It is sort of like triangle but has extra waves. With the extra oscillator engaged you can tune it a little. Turn the pitch up very high. Next, the Noise Osc can actually be tuned slightly with the PWM control. The FM modulation enaged seems to make more sharp noise. You can try it on or off. The comb filter, tuned up seems to channel the energy, and you can adjust the tone. Lastly, the metallic guitar resonator  gives it all that 909 sample cymbal sound if you balance it right and tune it up high. (I also found the resonator works better than the frequency shifter for snare drums and toms, but thats a different tutorial).

You will have to find the right tunings and timings yourself. I'm not going to go into the envelope settings because they are either long or short for open or closed high hat. You can also change parameters dynamically with velocity. Copying the sound into zones allows you to make the open & closed sound. Remember to make the pitch scale flat of the oscillators so the sound doesn't change.

Good luck. If you have a better formulation, leave it below.