Leonard Small Soustractive Sound Synthesys

NEW: You can download a beta version to test some instruments and compose some riff. If you have any suggestion or idea to improve it, fell free to contact me !

DOWNLOAD LS4 Beta (53Kb)

You probably already know I like many programming subject. One of my interest these days is the Sound synthesys. Thanks to the Internet World Wide to bring so much technical documentation ! I start a project called LS4 (to be perfect I have to write it S^4), wich mean "Small Soustractive Sound Synthesys". What's Soustractive synthesys ??

I can't do a complete tutorial but I'll just try to explain the basic idea. Sound synthesys has the hard task to generate complex sound using a simple hardware. A complex sound is generally defined by his timbre. (Of course there is volume and global pitch, but timbre is the most important "human" characteristic of a sound). That's why you recognize a C-3 played with piano from a C-3 played with a guitar. Timbre is very close to the instrument frequency spectrum.

In the 70', engineers decide to use "Additive synthesys". In additive synthesys, just take a very poor basic waveform (let's say a sinus). The sinus has a very poor spectrum (no harmonics). Then, add many sinus at different frequency, and you can compose the spectrum you want ! In a way, the timbre you want, so the instrument you want ! Easy ? Yes, in theory. In practice, you don't have enough sinus to do it, and the sound generated is as poor as the original waveform ! :-) (Of course some nostalgics love additive sound !)

Soustractive synthesys came some years later, when hardware become more complicated (and faster !). The idea is really different from the first one. Just take a rich basic waveform (let's say a square wave, or better, a sawtooth wave). These waveforms are rich and contains many harmonics. Then, use a filter to cutoff all frequency you don't need. By removing these frequency, you model a new spectrum, so a new timbre ! All modern techno sounds came from soustractive synthesys !

I'm planning to release my little Synth test program in the future. for the moment, just look at a picture :-) and hear some sounds I get with my synth ! Hope you like it ! My synth use three oscillators, a volume ADSR env, a pitch AR env, a filter cutoff AR, a filter (low pass, band pass and high pass), a distortion box (should be improved), and a delay line to simulate reverb in a cheap way :-) For mad people, you can try to do some music by playing with the very basic riff sequencer ! Good luck ! :-)


LS4 Bass Riff (183Kb)

LS4 Riff (92Kb)

LS4 beta instrument editor.
LS4 beta small riff editor.