30 years later...

J.D. McEachin jdm at synthcom.com
Wed Oct 30 23:49:34 CET 1996


On Wed, 30 Oct 1996, DJMaytag wrote:

> ok. analog synths have been around for 30+ years (and i'm sure that regular
> function generators have been around longer), but why is it that we're still
> stuck with the same 4 waveforms (saw, tri, sine, pulse) from day one? 

Because these were easily generated w/ simple circuitry and have musically
useful combinations of harmonics.  But you've left out some ways to modify
those shapes.  Waveshaping can add/subtract harmonics, filtering can
subtract harmonics, and FM and Ring Modulation can add harmonics and 
inharmonics.  Mixing, delay, phase shifting all have their uses...

> isn't
> there anything else that can be done to get some 'alternative waveforms'
> (other than using ADSR and LFO modulation)? i mean, i'd much rather use the
> 4 waves than sampled waves, but isn't there anything that's been done to get
> some more timbral variation lately?

The PPG Wave and Prophet VS were attempts at doing this, albeit digitally. 

There's a lot of room for exploration with FM, especially with lots of 
oscillators and strange feedback loops.  It's amazing what a DX7 can do 
with 6 sine waves and no filters...

JDM




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