Home Forums Pianobook Sampling Hardware Synths

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    Carl Wheeler

    Hi all,

    Hope you’re well.

    I’m just wondering how you all go about sampling your hardware synths?

    I’ve tried a few different things and can’t seem to get anything very good.

    I’ve sampled a few different wave forms etc put them into kontakt but they sound pretty dry. I’m struggling how I would incorporate and sort of modulation etc.

    How do you go about sampling your synths?

    Does anyone have any good material to read or anything else that may be of use?

    Thanks in advance.

    All the best.



    I would say it sort of depends on the sound, but I would try to squeeze out as much of the processing from the hardware synth as you can.

    I used to have a reface DX that I built this lovely organ-y-sounding electric piano patch on before I sold it. It had just a tiny bit of crunch and reverb on it but otherwise was super pure and soft sounding. Before I sold the synth, I recreated the exact FM patch on alchemy for logic so that I could keep the sound for future use. Just one issue, however: The logic patch sounds unfortunately nicer than the reface one did.

    Something minute about the timbral difference and processing available to me itb couldn’t quite replicate the exact sound of that synth of which I had sentimental value attached — even though it wasn’t even an analog synth.

    I think thus for me what’s important is getting sounds out of the synth that are otherwise incredibly difficult if not impossible in the DAW, even if they are close. That waveform might be unique to the synth, but even if you’re filtering and doing modulation inside kontakt there’s a good chance the same chain and type of effects is going to sound different ever so slightly on that hardware.

    And that’s what you wanna capture.


    FM synth emulations tend to be good at the mathematics, but less good at capturing the imperfections of the digital implementation and the hardware: DACs, reconstruction filters, buffer amplifiers, etc., can all contribute to the special ‘timbre’ or ‘feel’. As an example: the original Yamaha DX7 only had 12-bit resolution for some internal digital signals, and these (plus analogue reconstruction filters, and more) give the output sound a very distinctive ‘noise floor’ and other characteristics that a modern 16/24 (or higher) resolution digital emulation needs to add to compensate for the relative perfection! The Reface DX has its own uniquenesses, as you say, and actually, Alchemy probably does as well, and these could be in the digital domain (dithering, headroom, gain staging…) or the analogue domain. One synthesis technique that rarely gets talked about is Analysis/Synthesis, where the difference between the source sound and the synthesized version is produced (a ‘residual’) and then that residual is synthesized as well, in an iterative approach that gradually gets closer to the source sound…

    Maximilian Kisbiro

    TBH I do not have any experiences with hardwares-ynths so far.. I had a D50 back then, but sold it about 7 or 8 years ago.
    Sorry, if this sounds stupid, but i have some modules for Reaktor, that sound pretty organic. The oscs of them also all have their resolution reduced to 12 bit and this helps a lot.
    Also I do not know, how hardware-synths handle frequencies above 20kHz? Maybe try recording at 96kHz to shift the aliasing into a non-audible region. IMHO oversampling/aliasing can greatly alter the top end and destroy the “warm” feel.
    I bet @synthesizerwriter could say way more to this oversampling/aliasing-topic?

    Carl Wheeler

    Thank all for your great replies, certainly a lot to take on board. It very much appreciated. Thanks!

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