MATRIXSYNTH: Synthmas '21 w/ Synthfluencer

Monday, December 06, 2021

Synthmas '21 w/ Synthfluencer

Door #6: Lasst uns froh und munter sein (Let us be happy and cheerful) - Synthmas '21
video upload by Synthfluencer

"The gear:
This song is played on the Casio CZ-5000 digital synthesizer. With the CZ series Casio stepped into the professional music market after getting famous with the VL-1, PT-1 and other casual instruments. All CZ synths used a synthesis technology called phase distortion. Some preferred PD before FM synthesis, since it can create bell-like sounds as well as warm analog sounding pads. Even though missing velocity and aftertouch as built in the CZ-1, the CZ-5000 was the second best equipped synth of the family. The two DCOs are capable of playing 8 different wave forms, can be ring modulated and formed by 3 envelopes for each DCO (DCA = VCA, DCW = VCF, DCO = VCO). The envelopes can have up to 8 stages what gives huge possibilities for sound design. Key split, layer sounds, a sequencer - not really easy to operate but unique in the price range at the time - and a really good sounding chorus made the CZ-5000 a dream synth for many electronic music enthusiasts.

Because operating the internal sequencer is a fiddly job I used a Korg-SQD1 for sequencing the song. The simple multi track sequencer was very popular in the 80s Detroit techno scene.

Trailer material: Pexels.com (image @seurafrancis99, video @cottonbro)"

Door #5: Morgen, Kinder, wird’s was geben (Tomorrow, Children, Something Will Be) - Synthmas '21
video upload by

The song:
Originally named "Die Weihnachtsfreude" (The Joy of Christmas) the song occured first in the 18th century. It describes the childrens thrill of anticipation awaiting Christmas Eve.

The gear:
For this song I used the Yamaha MODX. The modern digital synth is basically using two synthesis engines: AWM2 is a sample based engine while the FM part is an enhanced version of legendary DX-7 engine that shaped 80s pop fundamentally. As the AWM2 synthesis allows an instrumentation in any thinkable fashion, the song's version presented here makes use of original DX-7 factory patches only. That gives the desired retro touch.

FM synthesis was a giant leap in synth architecture. Not only that digital synthesis was available for a broad customer base; the DX-7 put cutting edge expression technologys into play like breath control and MIDI and made upper class features like after touch available for the ordinary synthesist. The (then) unique e-piano patch defined a new standard and became a mandatory element of 80s synth ballads. The possibility of adding a (digital) filter and effects to the FM engine's sounds makes the MODX kind of a 'super DX7'. Hence the name MOreDX?

Trailer material: Pexels.com (image @seurafrancis99, video @cottonbro)"

Door #4: Es ist für uns eine Zeit angekommen (Unto us a time has come) - Synthmas '21


"The song:
The melody came up in the 19th century as a traditional Swiss star boys' singers Christmas carol. From it's origin, the Wiggertal in the Canton of Lucerne it found it's way to Germany. While first sung with the original lyrics, under the reign of the Nazis a secular version was created. Like years later the communist GDR regime, the Nazis tried to remove the christian aspects from Christmas - our celebration of commerce we all love so much today. Nevertheless, this version is the most common used for the song today.

The gear:
The song is played by a Roland JV-1010. Sometimes derided as a "ROMpler", this multi-timbral digital synth is equipped - like it's bigger brother the JV-1080 - with many legendary sounds of Roland's 80s flagship D-series (10/20/50). Like Roland D-synths the JV-1010 creates it's sounds using LA-Synthesis. Therefore calling it "ROMpler" is simply wrong. LA-Synthesis was Roland's bold move to finally break the success of Yamaha's FM-Synthesis intruduced in early 80s with the legendary DX-7. The idea behind LA-Synthesis is that real instrument sounds (back then synths aimed most notably to imitate real instruments) are recognized by the very first parts of a sound. So LA or linear arythmethic synthesis using very short samples at the beginning of a sound continued with subtractive synthesis.

For this song I only used factory presets. I think the JV-1010/1080 has a wonderful warm sound. A Roland D-10 was my very first synth that broke a few years ago and I always thought about replacing it by another one or a D-50. But the JV-1010 turned out to be much more than a makeshift. Love it!

Trailer material: Pexels.com (image @seurafrancis99, video @cottonbro)"

Door #3: Ihr Kinderlein, kommet (Oh, come, little children) - Synthmas '21

"Ho-Ho-Ho! This is Synthmas '21, the virtual calendar presenting a Christmas carol played by synthesizers - every day from 1st to 24th of December.

Door #3: Ihr Kinderlein, kommet (Oh, come, little children)

The song:
The German carols "Ihr Kinderlein, kommet" melody was written by Johann Abraham Peter Schulz on a poem of Christoph von Schmid. The song came up end of the 18th century. It addresses the birth of Jesus.

The gear:
First voice is played by Behringer Neutron. This 2 VCO mono (actually duophonic) synth has a rather unique design, not typical for Behringer synths. It uses the (recreated) CEM3340 VCO circuits accompanied by a high pass, notch and low pass filter with self-oscillating resonance, 2 envelopes, multi-shape LFO capable of audio rate speed, s&h generator, an analog tape delay emulation and a distortion section. There is a large patch field for versatile modulation routing. So it's almost a small modular system! I used this one for the first voice(s) because of it duophonic capabilities. Both OSCs can bee played independently.

Second voice is played by Behringer Model-D, Behringers desktop imitation of the Minimoog. What to say about that, 3 VCOs, ladder filter, A|D/R|S envelopes... you name it. I absolutely love the sound of this synth!

Trailer material: Pexels.com (image @seurafrancis99, video @cottonbro)"

Door #2: Bald nun ist Weihnachtszeit (It's Christmas time soon) - Synthmas '21


"Ho-Ho-Ho! This is Synthmas '21, the virtual calendar presenting a Christmas carol played by synthesizers - every day from 1st to 24th of December.

Door #2: Bald nun ist Weihnachtszeit (It's Christmas time soon)

The song:
'Bald nun ist Weihnachtszeit' is a German Christmas carol from around 1940 written by Karola Wilke (lyrics) and Wolfgang Stumme (melody). Unlike most christmas songs the lyrics have no spiritual relation thus it was willingly played in the former eastern part of Germany (GDR). In the GDR Christmas was celebrated in like manner as in the western part, but the govenment diminished the Christian context or at least they tried.

The gear:
The song is played by two Waldorf synths, Blofeld and Streichfett. Waldorf Blofeld is a digital synth with 3 oscillators, each capable playing square (pulse), sawtooth, triangle and sine wave. Oscillator 1+2 additionally can play wavetables so Blofeld follows the footsteps of the legendary PPG synths or Waldorf Microwave. The synth has many modulation sources, different filter types, complex envelopes and an effect section.

Blofeld plays the bass in this song, lead voice is played by Streichfett. The digital synth imitates the typical sound of 70s string machines. It has - like many of its ancestors - a string and a synth section. Along with different wave forms that can be switched seamlessly the 3-mode chorus is a key for shaping the string machine sound. There is also a phaser effect trying to act like a Smallstone; well it doesn't at all. Someone wrote in a review that you always get a good sounding patch, whatever parameter settings you set and I can completely agree.

Trailer material: Pexels.com (image @seurafrancis99, video @cottonbro)"

Door #1: Alle Jahre wieder (Every year again) - Synthmas '21


"Ho-Ho-Ho! This is Synthmas '21, the virtual calendar presenting a Christmas carol played by synthesizers - every day from 1st to 24th of December.

Door #1: Alle Jahre wieder (Every year again)

The song:
"Alle Jahre wieder" is a traditional German Christmas carol from mid 19th century written by Wilhelm Hey (lyrics) and Friedrich Silcher (melody). It is the first song in my christmas piano songbook I played as a kid from - so I choose it as the first song of my Synthmas calendar.

The gear:
The song is played by the Behringer Deepmind 12. The synth has two DCOs per voice (plus sub oscillator) with sawtooth and square waveform. DCOs (= digitally controlled analog oscillators) can be modulated by 2 LFOs, 3 envelopes; there are unison voice modes for using 2 or more voices per key; a quite complex modulation matrix; a parameter sequencer; arpeggiator and a powerful effects section. The patch I used is a simple sawtooth playing in unison-2 mode. The song is sequenced on a Squarp Pyramid.

Trailer material: Pexels.com (image @seurafrancis99, video @cottonbro)"

The post features the first six Synthmas '21 videos by Synthfluencer. More will go up here as they come in.

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