Velvet — a silky-smooth guitar synth

This synth is designed in the style of Pat Metheny, Steve Hackett, etc. Kudos to u/Jaergo1971 from the r/ZOIA group for providing valuable feedback; I really don’t know this sound very well, so their ears were crucial for letting me know I was on the right track.

This is a three-oscillator synth, which uses triangle waves. The triangle waves can be adjusted by duty cycle (labeled “Timbre” in the control set) to go from very mild to more aggressive tones, as the deformation of the wave adds harmonics. The oscillators then pass through a VCA and filter, controlled by a CV-filtered envelope follower.

An effects section follows: a chorus, which I found very essential to the sound, then a plate reverb and tape delay (in that order, which I know is a bit unorthodox, but I found a couple of videos which seemed to confirm one another, regarding Metheny’s signal chain; the tape delay would often be set to a single repeat — you can achieve this by setting the delay feedback control at 0).

The input is also passed through a compressor, to improve consistency, and a high-pass filter, to remove some of the low-end harmonics which can upset a pitch detector.

The patch is mono to stereo, using the left input and both outputs.

Controls:

Stompswitches:

Left — tap tempo for the delay. I placed the effects section on the second page, if you wanted to adjust the tap ratio or any of the other values for the effects I didn’t create controls for on the first page (such as the delay modulation)

Middle — when this stompswitch is held down, the envelope will ‘freeze,’ sustaining the output at the current volume. This does -not- freeze the pitch, so a sustained note can be moved around the next to new positions.

Front page:

The left-hand column is the ‘dynamics’ section. It controls the envelope, as well as glide (portamento) between notes. The attack and release are carefully tuned. When attack is set very low, the dynamics are quite quick; when you increase the attack, you can get some nice pad-like sounds.

The second column is for the oscillators. The ‘timbre’ control, as mentioned, controls the shape of the oscillators. As timbre is increased, the oscillators take on more harmonic content and “bite.” The other controls govern the pitch of the oscillators. Oscillators 2 and 3 can be offset from the main pitch; chords and octaves are good options — I also like detuning one or both of the voices (this involves clicking off the ‘note’ display for the value module and fine-tuning the pitch in smaller increments). The entire patch can be transposed, too (for instance if you want to play in the bass register).

The third column controls the filter. The filter is pitch-tracked, meaning its frequency will follow the pitch of the input, as a baseline. You can increase the frequency above this, to add brightness, or add envelope to increase dynamics (the two are cumulative, so the more the frequency is increased, the less the dynamics may affect the sound, etc.). There is also a resonance control; I didn’t actually notice much in the way of resonance for any of the examples I listened to, but it can add a bit of ‘pop’ to a sound and make it more ‘synthy.’

The final column covers the major effects controls: reverb decay and mix, delay feedback and mix.

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  • Category: Effect Synthesizer
  • Revision: 1.0
  • License: Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 4.0
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  • Modified: 1 month ago
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