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Thread: Iconic vintage synths with Teensy?

  1. #1
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    Iconic vintage synths with Teensy?

    Iím a noob and new to forum. After seeing the Teensymoog project I started to think that if it is possible to create synthesizers emulating iconic vintage synths like Roland Juno, Jupiter, SH101, JP3X, Korg Polysix and MS20, WASP, Oberheim, Prophet etc.

    I donít mean exact copies or clones but maybe programming some codes closer to their character would be awesome. Are there any projects you know around? Or is it possible to do this? If so, how can we make that?

    I dont know anything about coding but following all successful projects done with teensy. I am working with a technician to bring my projects to life but I cannot ask him to do the coding. Thats why I am looking for finished projects or easy solutions to do by myself for example pure data.

  2. #2
    Senior Member fdaniels's Avatar
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    The characteristic Sound of analog/hybrid Synthesizers depends either on the Filter, which is hard to impossible to emulate (especially with high resonance settings) or the akward (seen from todays perspective) design of the digital oscillators (as in the ppg Wave or Sequential Circuits VS). If done "right" these oscillators loose much if not all of their iconic sound quality, compare a ppg Wave 2.2 to a Waldorf MicroWave 2 and then to a Waldorf Quantum. All of these use the same wavetable synthesis but even with exactyl the same wavetables they all sound different. Personally id invest my time in creating something that sounds new and unique using modern synthesis technologies instead trying to recreate a MiniMoog for the 100th time knowing you most probably wont be able to nail it - but thats just me ;-)

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    Thats another point of view. But it is a unique satisfaction to get a similar result with your DIY board.

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    "Similar result?" In the sense a radio tuned to something on the fm dial is just a radio tuned to something on the fm dial, the sound and experience one gets is not going to be the same - or, often, even "similar" - with two different FM sets.

    As much as one might like to believe a synth is just a front panel that makes sound, it isn't. You'll never make a teensy that behaves like a minimooog unless and until one writes some much more sophisticated filters. One can download VST plugins that emulate many classic instruments at a very high level, if that's what you want there you go. But it's still just a videogame version of the real thing.

    Wouldn't it be better to make something that has more capability than just playing a facsimile of 50 year old sounds?

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    Mine was just a question. Ok I wont try to do what I think. Thank you all.

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    Mine was a question, too. Don't take it to hewart, man. Just listen to something like this and think of what you can do with the Teensy rather than just modeling a 555 timer and a ladder of transistors.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgMvuYkYvz0

  7. #7
    What you can emulate is the experience of creating sounds with those synths. It definitely won't sound the same, but the experience can still be worthwhile.

    For example, I think the website emulating the Juno 106 at https://juno-106.js.org is absolutely fantastic and a great project. And you could definitely do an even better job with a Teensy. Will it reproduce a Juno-106? No. Certainly nothing like the Boutique or plug-out reproductions. Would it be fun to make and play with? Absolutely!

    Ken

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    Hey! I, for one, like what you are digging at. And there is enough proof out there that it is indeed possible (and highly attractive to most working musicians) to recreate classic tambres in a digital landscape.
    My 2 cents in the matter is this: if we would get this down. Those of us who are active musicians, and producers and what not, would have acces to a gold mine. Touring with a moog one is not feasable as an engineering student amirite??
    But as some mentioned before there are bottle necks. Filters being an apparent one.

    But i really think the biggest and hardest obstacle is the dynamic and harmonic distortion introduced by great analog cuircuitry. Even though it's been a huuuuge market for decades, the greatest minds still haven't been able to recreate the dynamics and feel of a guitar amp digitally (but they are getting close mind you ). I would bet good money on that, would one drive a run of the mill digital sawtooth through a, wide open, system 100 filter with good gain. The 'distortion' alone would shape that saw into a very pleasing sound.

    Looking at what's being done with synthesizers now I think the way to go about it is to build hybrid solutions to get the best of both worlds. Some decade back it was, analog signalpath/digital control. But now i think that the oscillator parts can be done in a near perfect way digitally even with a 25$ microcontroller. So then you just fill in the blanks with analog kit! It's a bit more pricey thay pure digital, but as one having who would out down 1000$ for a single voice moog i would say it's still drops of water.

    Im just starting up a project based on this philosophy and i know I'm not the first one. Coming more from a players perspective it sure is a challenge getting the grips on both the hardware and software in DSP though. What i do have is experience in analog circuitry and most of all, sound engineering, so I'm hoping to fill in some gaps left in the Teensy community going through education in numerical methods might be a nice benifit too who knows haha.
    Anyways. I thought maybe the project will be of interest to you if I actually get it going
    Cheers!

  9. #9
    With all due respect, "Teensymoog" is sonically nowhere near real Minimoog. The same applies to pretty much any synth created using Audio library for a number of reasons:
    1. Aliasing - audio library oscillators are not anti-aliased/bandlimited and aliasing is pretty nasty audible artifact. It is very audible in anything above 1kHz
    There have been some attempts on the forum to code bandlimited sawtooths and they are a whole lot better, but still not the same as analog oscillator
    2. Drift and other "physical" properties of true analog osciallators. Analog oscillators are not perfect. They drift with temperature, they do not produce exactly sawtooth but something that resembles saw, they are "free running" (don't reset when you press the key), they are noisy. This all produces "analog" sound.
    Emulating these nuances would be required for proper replica.
    3. As others mentioned this already - FILTERS are the key to "analog" sound. Digital filters present in the audio library are far cry from their analog counterparts.
    Moog filters are non-linear. They have saturation built-in in every stage of 4-transistor ladder. To emulate this in digital domain you have to implement something called zero-delay feedback loop with tanh-type nonlinarity. This means solving non-linear differential equations in real time. There is no general solution for them, and you have to do that iteratively and that eats A LOT of processing power. Yes Teensy 4 is powerful, but even it will struggle.

    Having said that, I also believe that Teensy 4 is perfectly capable of creating beautiful sounds. Analog? No, but beautiful - YES.

  10. #10
    Senior Member fdaniels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boxxofrobots View Post
    Mine was a question, too. Don't take it to hewart, man. Just listen to something like this and think of what you can do with the Teensy rather than just modeling a 555 timer and a ladder of transistors.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgMvuYkYvz0
    So inside the Cobalt8 is a Teensy??

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    No, but I'm willing to be it's a small Arm processor. The point is, a minimoog is a minimooog because it's a minimooog. A box of knobs that look like a minimoog with an arp2600 wired inside it would not be an "approximation" or even all that "similar" to playing a real minimoog, because inside it's a 2600.

    These boxes are capable of all kinds of cool sounds, and you can have great fun with them making sounds an entire room of 2600s and minimoogs could not make. Why limit yourself by nostalgia? Nowdays you can buy an arp2600 for thousands less than they cost when they cost as much as a luxury car. Now they cost as much as a cellphone.

  12. #12
    Senior Member ETMoody3's Avatar
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    After seeing the MicroDexed code, I have given serious thought to porting the Bristol engine to Teensy 4 / 4.1

    https://sourceforge.net/projects/bristol/

    Admittedly this is a bit beyond my skill set, I simply feel encouraged after seeing the work done to port the Dexed engine to a microcontroller

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    Personally, I like using Arduino/Teensy to *add* functionality to old synths.

    Back when I got my Korg Polysix, they were pretty undesirable and inexpensive due to the leaking battery problem (and due to its simplistic single-oscillator per voice and single envelope per voice). So, I used it as a platform for adding my own home-brewed upgrades. After replacing the keybed with a Fatar that provides velocity and aftertouch, I used an Arduino Mega and a Teensy 3 to add these features:

    1) Velocity sensitivity driving the envelope amount
    2) Aftertouch driving pitch vibrato
    3) Pitch Glide / Portamento
    4) Controllable Pitch Detune for Unison mode
    5) Different voice retrigger modes for the envelope

    The velocity sensitivity was done with a Teensy. If you're interested: http://synthhacker.blogspot.com/search/label/Teensy

    Chip

    [Note: GliGli did a similar brain replacement for the Sequential Prophet 600. He sells his commercially. The new brain that he made uses a Teensy++, which is definitely cool.]

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by chipaudette View Post
    Personally, I like using Arduino/Teensy to *add* functionality to old synths.
    I'd also like to encourage this.

    I love the multitimbrality of the Blofeld, but it's hard to do sound design with so few knobs, so I used a Teensy 4 and a number of port expanders/MUXes to make a control surface for it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    And to fill in some of the gaps in the Roland Boutique JP-08 and JU-06 I made this thing with a Teensy 3.5 to get an arpeggiator, keyboard split, CV out, and access to some of the less-accessible internal features:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've described that in another forum: Boosting my Boutiques....

    Though I understand where the OP is coming from, because none of this was as satisfying as making my actual synthesiser - The Euclidean, as described in this thread, and these pages The EUCLIDEAN - User Guide and The EUCLIDEAN - Build Guide.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Ken
    Last edited by kallikak; 11-24-2020 at 11:04 PM.

  15. #15
    Junior Member FrankMCG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kallikak View Post
    I'd also like to encourage this.

    I love the multitimbrality of the Blofeld, but it's hard to do sound design with so few knobs, so I used a Teensy 4 and a number of port expanders/MUXes to make a control surface for it.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	B03105E6-D7D7-46EA-8E54-FBA4D6786AE7.jpg 
Views:	46 
Size:	141.3 KB 
ID:	22610

    And to fill in some of the gaps in the Roland Boutique JP-08 and JU-06 I made this thing with a Teensy 3.5 to get an arpeggiator, keyboard split, CV out, and access to some of the less-accessible internal features:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_8864.jpg 
Views:	50 
Size:	78.6 KB 
ID:	22611

    I've described that in another forum: Boosting my Boutiques....

    Though I understand where the OP is coming from, because none of this was as satisfying as making my actual synthesizer, as described in this thread, and these pages The EUCLIDEAN - User Guide and The EUCLIDEAN - Build Guide.

    Click image for larger version. 

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Views:	63 
Size:	171.8 KB 
ID:	22612

    Ken
    Wow, what great stuff you got! Thx for sharing, You gave them new life! As a fan of old school synths appreciate that most

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