Having recently bought the Analog Four mk 2, I find that making patches is far easier than it was for me on the MK1. However, this is more likely due to it have a wider sweet spot rather than being more capable. You see . . . I’m not the most patient of knob turner and therefore may well miss these minuscule variations that reveal sonic gold dust.
It is this weakness in my approach that has got me wondering the order that people create their patches in. For example:
Currently I’m finding the bass patches easier to programme than I am keys or leads or bells, and I suspect the order I approach the different elements of a patch to bear do relevance to this.
I’d be interested to know your thoughts and technique.
Regards and happy weekend to all,
I normally prepare the oscillators first so I have the correct tone to work with, then the envelopes to get the required shape. After that filters, modulation etc. Works for me.
Not sure if this is useful to you or not or if your query is specific to the analog 4 but I found syntorial very useful for learning a lot about synthesis and the best way to approach patch creation. It’s worth checking out as the later lessons can be quite challenging and teach you lots of handy tricks.
I find the layout of the A4 quite logical so I start from left to right and I’m almost there I go back where needed for extra tweaking
- Usually program your melody line, bass line, chords progressions first,
- Place yourself in the Frequency-Octave range of the Instrument you will design too
- Then … Agree the TONE (and Depth)
- Then the Nature of the Sound (AMP env / Fenv) … (main characteristics)
- Then Movement/Life/Modulations (Env2, LFO, Vibrato…)
- Then Effects if required.
- Final touch : Playability setup is a huge step and very important one.
Eventually Final Processing through individual outs
I usually turn up delay and reverb sends first, because most things sound nicer with delay and reverb
Cheers for the ideas.
I’ll try out the different methods and see what sticks.
Just thinking as I write this, can I paste the envelope settings from the amp to the filter? I know . . . Check the manual!
When I’m back at my desk I’ll have a look online; reading it on the phone is hellish.
Reading this thread now, as I’m in the same kind of place that you were when posting this. No A4 though, but a Digitone and a Bass Station 2. Curious if you’ve got new insights/experiences since posting! Or still the same trial and error process since then?
BS2 is really versatile in terms of sound design, especially for a small mono. You’ll get tons out of it. You’ve got lots of options for the oscillators and the multimode filter is brilliant.
Crikey, that was a while back…
Well, I found myself working better and understanding synthesis by taking a step backwards first.
When I started making music I was eager to have the “best” synths. At that time I used only software. So, I spent money relentlessly. And each time confused “best” with “powerful” and “powerful” with “complex”.
This just ended up with me being a preset browser as I had no idea how these patches were made. The complexity was bonkers.
When I moved into hardware I bought synths that were again too complex for my understanding; the A4 was an example of that. Don’t get me wrong, I could have looked at using it simply but I would end up in a hole through doing things with the machine because the machine has the ability to do complex things. I was usually down a rabbit hole after 5 or 6 steps. I ended up getting rid of it.
I tried loads of other synths - Access Virus, Digitone etc. all far too complex for my understanding of synthesis.
Then I got the Moog Grandmother. That didn’t do anything compared to the A4, Digitone, Virus etc. but it sounded great. And it had such few controls and no menu diving that I was forced to learn how the minute adjustments made a difference. I learned loads from that experience. I learned that I’m not very good with complexity when it’s hidden in menus too.
Anyway, I needed room on my desk so I replaced the Grandmother with a Mother 32 and DFAM. The simplicity of these devices taught me loads.
Now I’ve got a Novation Peak - a really complex beast but… I’m in a much better place now. I build things simply by treating the Synth like I did the Grandmother. Just because the synth can do 1000 things it doesn’t mean I have to use all 1000 things at the same time. That’s what simple synths help with, by removing the complex options. And for complex synths, I use them like a simple synth and then try adding one of the 1000 possibilities they offer. This has meant that I make nearly all my sounds from scratch and they are formed for the track I’m making.
I hope that helps.
Hi, thanks for getting back!
And it rings very true what you write. Definitely recognize myself in the preset browsing. That’s why I’m interested in this topic at the moment, these days trying more and more to have a go at selfmade patches. Was loosing the fun in making track after track again and again, was missing the fun of the exploration.
I think your experience sound like good advise. To me, patching the Digitone is fun, but still very random trial and error. Especially the Bass Station 2 (like @Bunker also replied) is really nice and straightforward in not only creating patches, but also knowing what you’re doing:) I haven’t got it all down on it yet - I don’t get all the routings and need to try some more of the functions behind the keyboard-keys (the functions without dedicated routings, let’s say). But it’s a lot more like your described experiences with the Moogs I’d say!
I actually had it tucked away for a while, to simplify my setup, but I think it’s time to put it back on the table.
Was interesting to read your 2,5 years later, thanks again!
You’re welcome. It was good to reflect on how my methods have changed, and my perspective to. Thanks for asking.
Take it easy.
Ill report back in two and a half years