THE ART OF SOUND DESIGN
Thomas Koot studied music at the Conservatories of Rotterdam and Enschede. He’s an active musician and DJ, playing live with various instrumentalists. He is a former sound design teacher at the Media Music Department at the ArtEZ Conservatory, and has designed sounds for Native Instruments, Fabfilter and Arturia’s own heavyweight Origin synthesizer.
The waveforms are just spot-on. It is not just the fact that they have a lot of retro-character, these are the exact waveforms that have been used on countless records. You can freely combine and tweak them and the result will always be convincing, which is a true quality of a classic instrument.
The SQ80 was made when I was far too young to play a keyboard, so I did not really have first-hand experience with the original machine. Therefore, I started the sound design work without too much prior expectations. I quickly found out that this synthesizer pushes you in a certain direction, which I think is a good thing for an emulation. The hidden-waves are really unconventional and because of this, they force you to rethink your traditional approach to designing sounds!
I really appreciate the ease of use of the recent Arturia emulations. You can dial in a sound extremely fast, without being distracted by hidden menu's or overwhelming options. The gritty and crude samples of the original SQ80 are what really set this synth apart from modern clinical-sounding wavetable synthesizers. It just provides instant flavour!
The SQ80 is capable of a wide range of sounds, especially when you push the FX-section a little. However, I am totally hooked on the incredibly convincing 80's sounds that this synth is able to produce. This retro-modern sci-fi pad is a good example. It utilises the multi-segment envelope for the sequenced filter modulation. A nice though is the use of the mod-mixer, which allows you to smooth out the modulation using the lag-function. This effect is assigned to the time-macro.
Old Tapes 2
I really like this sound because it is both beautiful and subtle and dirty with the different distortions that appear when the filter or oscillator DCAs are modulated. The aftertouch also provides additional degradation with the Bitcrusher effect.
Jean-Michel Blanchet is a sound designer and music producer, passionate about electronics and synthesizers since the ‘70s. He started by creating sounds on memory-less analog instruments such as the Oberheim OB-1 (his first synthesizer), the ARP Odyssey, and the Prophet 5...and never stopped!
The SQ80 and the VFX were among my favourite synths for their unique sounds, both very digital with the sampled oscillators and wavetables and very fat and dirty sound thanks to the analog filter and the VCA output which bring warmth and distortion absent on the digital synths of the 90s. I find this grain and unique sound palette perfectly on the SQ80 V. The very complete synthesis chain makes it easy to create such varied and contrasting sounds, from soft ambient pad, bells or arpeggio sounds to harsh or dirty industrial leads or ambiences.
As the SQ80 V offers a lot of possibilities in terms of synthesis and modulation parameters, I often start with a very simple sound ("New Preset" option) and imagine the sound I want to create. I start by creating the basic timbre with the oscillators (waveforms and pitch) and then the filter (Cutoff / Resonance) before connecting the necessary modulations to the sound. (envelopes, LFOs etc...) I finish by assigning MIDI controllers and macros to make timbre or effect changes for real time playing
I love the cinematic aspect of this preset, reminiscent of something on a Terminator soundtrack. The sound is rather detuned but remains enjoyable and comfortable to play. I especially like the fact that I can move from a very dirty to clean sound thanks to the Timbre macro and the resonance of the SQ80 filter.
Maxime entered the core of the electronic music scene in the mid-2000s when he signed his first EPs on the Kompakt label, where his melodic techno with a classy groove fit perfectly. From then on, his releases were noticed by such great artists as Moby, Simian Mobile Disco or Röyksopp, who asked him to remix them. Maxime Dangles has developed a taste and high standards for successful solo performances, as illustrated by his first LP “Resilience”, asserting the mutations of his sonic imprint, somewhere in between a generous and exhilarating techno, downy electronica and organic and introspective compositions. As an openly eclectic producer, Maxime travels all through France wherever his numerous experimentation and collaborations take him, when he’s not busy performing live on stage.
I had never used this synth before and found the filter to be very musical. I loved working with the 3 different types of envelopes.
First, I had to understand how this synthesizer worked. But I was able to create quite a few presets in a short time thanks to its simple and inspiring architecture. I then spent some time on the hidden waveforms which are also quite original and surprising.
I’m a professional sound designer from the UK, and through my web store tomwolfe.co.uk I’ve released soundbanks for some of the biggest and most popular software synthesisers and effects plugins on the market. During my career I’ve been lucky enough to work with a number of industry-leading companies, and have had my sounds used by Grammy-winning producers and Oscar-winning composers. I recently launched Synth Vault, a free membership site where I give away presets every month for synths, including Pigments.
Playing through the SQ-80V, I was happy to discover how easy it was to create lo-fi sounds. With grainy oscillators and a warm filter, making sounds with a vintage, atmospheric feel to them was incredibly simple. I quickly found myself creating huge ambient soundscapes with minimum effort. Having a large number of waveforms available, it was easy to create a wide variety of sounds whilst knowing that they’ll have the same grainy, lo-fi feel.
Whenever I sit down with a new synth, I always spend time searching for the sweet spots. Every synth has them, so it’s a lot of fun to explore and narrow in on these areas where the synth really excels. I try and play in to the strengths of any synth, so with the SQ-80V I quickly discovered what it was that made the synth shine. Then, it was a case of creating sounds that both demonstrated this unique quality, while also being highly playable and inspiring.
The SQ-80V was extremely easy to use, but had its own very unique character. To get these delicate, lo-fi sounds with software synths usually requires running high quality synths through some extreme processing to get that gritty, grainy sound. SQ-80V comes with that sound straight out the box, making it a really simple way of creating beautiful, lo-fi audio with ease.
This lo-fi chordal arpeggiated synth sounds great being run through Arturia's smooth delay and lush, high quality reverb. The tight, plucky sound gives this preset a wood-like quality to it, and running it through the effects makes it perfect for ambient and soundscape work. The Timbre macro allows you to remove and gradually add the chordal aspect of this preset, which is a nice touch, and using the Brightness and Time macros in combination with the mod wheel can create a lot of movement, as well as adding some serious dirt.