Nostaligia and desire for vintage, or recreations of vintage, analog synthesizers is at an all time high. Even Behringer, whose business is based on producing affordable versions of popular gear, has jumped into the market of recreating vintage analog synths like the Mini Moog which would indicate the size of the market. But, in the late 70's and early 80's most electronic musicians were more interested in the promise of the then new computer music systems just starting to become available. Here's a look at several digital synthesis techniques from that era with a focus on additive synthesis, FM, physical modeling, and the Synclavier, a legendary digital synth that once cost more than a Tesla electric car.  It's a bit ironic that today's laptop or iPad has far more computing power than any of the complex mainframe computers of the early digital music era, but we use that power to mostly emulate classic analog synthesizers and electromechanical instruments!

Links:

Image Line and Applied Acoustic Systems: Morphine and Chromaphone: Additive and Physical Modeling

Arturia Synclavier V: Additive and FM hybrid

Synthesis Survey with focus on FM

UVI's The Beast: Sample-Based Synclavier Emulation

-JB

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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