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When I got my first "decent" sampler back in 87 (ensoniq mirage),I spent months making patches on samples of every sort. However I only used a few patches of all of the patches that I made. Not that the patches were bad, just that they had no place in the music that I was doing on that day. I also made some raw sounds from sine waves on the Amiga, and MAC. I was the one that wrote "Fastfingers" and the May 86 Computer Shopper stated "Fastfingers is a fun way to find out what the Commodore SID chip is really capable of doing." 5 years later in 1991 ,COMPUTE magazine wrote,"Fastfingers was written before the MIDI explosion, yet Laskowski programmed it for 256 sounds and even coaxed an extra suboctave out of the SID chip." The SID chip is the sound chip on the Commodore 64 for for those of you that don't know. One more thing that COMPUTE said "The dearth of new software for the 64 has sent developers back to their closets to have another look at older programs to see if there's something to dust off and reissue. Fastfingers is one such program, and the question arises, does it still stand up? We are compelled to give a qualified Yes."
So to answer your question, not only have I tweaked sound, but I have also written the software to tweak sound. Fastfingers is also a good way to learn synthesis. Maybe some day in the distant future , you will see a Java version at my site so that people can go there and learn how to make sounds. Since Fastfingers took me 2 1/2 years at 3 hrs. per day, I don't think that I'll be jumping back into it for sometime. For the next 6 months I will be concentrating on my CD cover as well as a video. Back to your question on sound tweaking ...............(not ancient history)
I usually spend a month to "discover" what a midi module can do and then program the patches into memory. If anything happens ,let's say 2 years later, for instance, and the memory gets wiped out I'll usually work with the built in sounds because it takes a while to "get into" patch programming and besides that, it is totally different than writing music. It is more mathematics and analysis than heart and feeling such as music is. After I finish working on the music composition side of my brain, however, I will come back and tweak , but now I have even more ways to tweak. I can tweak "in the box" (module)or "out of the box" (using filtering, distortion and flanging with Cool Edit and Pareq)
I must confess that by the time that I got my USED TX7 (1991?) I was getting tired of learning new modules. The guy sold me it with over 1500 patches and I used my computers to pick out the best 32 and have used them ever since! However, a few years later,I got another TX7 and set it up with 32 more sounds to LAYER on the same MIDI channel. There are a few cool banging pipe sounds on the "plastic world" song. So, as I used to ADD SINE WAVES, SAWTOOTH WAVES, SQUARE WAVES, TRIANGLE WAVES AND PINK,WHITE AND BROWN NOISE, I now LAYER CELLO, on top of VIOLIN, with the fast attack of a BELL. Then some of those will be modulated up 1 octave and some down 1 octave and ADDED or LAYERED again. Then I'll layer a few of my own samples on top of that! When adding many sounds they must be partly in SYNC and TUNE or you will get CANCELLATION.
If one SINE wave with an amplitude of +32000 is added to another SINE wave with an amplitude of +32000 they must be close IN PHASE. If they are out by 180 degrees then they will add to ZERO (silence)
Even though those 2 waves above LOOK DIFFERENT they might be different parts of the same waveform but they are 180 degrees OUT OF PHASE. They both PEAK at +32000 and -32000, they might even shake the walls of your house if you play them through a 400 watt stereo system, but add them together and you will get SILENCE. This is because when #1 is at +32000 #2 is at -32000 and visa versa. Anyways I've gone through all of this to say simply that sometimes adding more and more sounds together will produce THINNER sounds rather than what most expect....THICKER sounds. Now back to history.............
Since the TX7 days I invested in a NEW TG33 (not new anymore). I spent a month playing with the patches in the TG33. Last summer I picked up a Kawai GMega LX and I haven't tweeked a single sound. (I did LAYER some of it on "plastic world" however) I think that I have been having too much fun making web pages (my new technology to tweak) Yes I will be getting inside of the GMega eventually, but not today!
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