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The Romance of the Synthesizer

I was just remembering the magic that the idea of a synthesizer had when it first swam into my ken as a young teenager. As a kid paintboxes entranced me, full of watercolour pans or tubes of oil paint holding the ingredients and recipes for all colours- and chemistry sets promising a set of basic elements and compounds which with the aid of bunsen burners and chemical agents could be transformed into unlimited substances, exotic and common. And then the synthesizer came along offering to bestow a magical key to the universe of sound, creating all possible timbres, re-creating familiar instruments as well as sounds never heard before that might evoke strange new feelings. Pianos and guitars were great, but this was something else. It seemed the device of a mad scientist or wizard.

The first hardware synth that I bought around the turn of the millennium, the Korg Z1 in its publicity conjured some of this glamour, with its dozen or so synthesis models

And even tho my laptop these days is stuffed with a few dozen software synths some of this magical aura still clings to them.

Was anyone else here similarly smitten on first hearing of the concept of a synthesizer?
 

José Herring

Lost in Cyberspace
I was just remembering the magic that the idea of a synthesizer had when it first swam into my ken as a young teenager. As a kid paintboxes entranced me, full of watercolour pans or tubes of oil paint holding the ingredients and recipes for all colours- and chemistry sets promising a set of basic elements and compounds which with the aid of bunsen burners and chemical agents could be transformed into unlimited substances, exotic and common. And then the synthesizer came along offering to bestow a magical key to the universe of sound, creating all possible timbres, re-creating familiar instruments as well as sounds never heard before that might evoke strange new feelings. Pianos and guitars were great, but this was something else. It seemed the device of a mad scientist or wizard.

The first hardware synth that I bought around the turn of the millennium, the Korg Z1 in its publicity conjured some of this glamour, with its dozen or so synthesis models

And even tho my laptop these days is stuffed with a few dozen software synths some of this magical aura still clings to them.

Was anyone else here similarly smitten on first hearing of the concept of a synthesizer?
Yes absolutely.

The first synth I ever learned to program was the Korg M1. I loved its dark mysterious sound. Wasn't bright like so many other sample based synths. Later I bought the Korg O1W/FD which was my first synth. Then the JV880 and Mackie mixer and computer and a DAT machine. I didn't know anything about any of it but I recorded hours and hours of music trying to recreate the sound tracks to Point of No Return and Black Rain. Could never do it well. Lost hope. Sold all my synths and went almost entirely orchestral for the next decade. Then Reason's Thor came along and that synth still holds all the original wonder and mystery to me and also introduced me to analog synthesis. So I learned backwards. I went from software analog emulations to hardware analog.

But since I started out using sample based synthesis I swear I'm still better at tweaking a sample than I am at full on synth programming.
 
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