[sdiy] Odp: Pink?

Mattias Rickardsson mr at analogue.org
Tue Aug 21 13:30:34 CEST 2018

On Tue, 21 Aug 2018 at 13:12, <rburnett at richieburnett.co.uk> wrote:

> > On Aug 17, 2018, at 09:09, Mattias Rickardsson <mr at analogue.org>
> > wrote:
> >
> > I often experience VCOs "too bright", having too much high end in
> > the sawtooth & pulse waves....
> > ...while pink noise feels more balanced. Equal power per octave, not
> > per Hz.
> > Also, good sounding loudspeakers/studios tend to have a bit pink-ish
> > spectrum roll-off from the sound source to the listener position,
> > suggesting that some sort of pinkification of clean sounds could be
> > desirable.
> > True, it's "just" an EQ adjustment - but my point here is that it's
> > the VCO waveform in itself that is too bright, not that the resulting
> > synth sound is too bright in the end...
> This I don't understand.  Here are the spectral roll-offs for some of
> the sounds that have been discussed so far in this thread:
> Sawtooth -6dB/oct (-20dB/dec)
> Squarewave -6dB/oct (-20dB/dec)
> Triangle -12dB/oct (-40dB/dec)
> White noise 0dB/oct (0dB/dec)
> Pink noise -3dB/oct (-10dB/dec)
> And yet you say that sawtooths and squarewaves sound too bright, whilst
> produced recordings conform to a "pink" power spectrum!?!?

Those numbers (-6dB/oct) refers to each overtone in the series, don't they?
Don't forget that you have more and more overtones per octave as you go
upwards. :-)

> > So, why aren't VCOs and VCFs more spectrally pink?
> > Have there been any attempts historically to alter their
> > characteristics a bit in synths? :-)
> If you want your sawtooth/pulse oscillators to conform to a "pink" power
> spectrum then you need to make them more bright, not less bright.

I didn't ever mean to say that they are actually white to begin with (sorry
for being unclear), I just compared them to white noise (which is also
quite treble-heavy) and wanted an overall spectral change similar to the
one you get when going from white to pink noise.

> > Yes, and it would be nice to get a more "production ready" sound out
> > of synths to begin with.
> I don't think there is such a thing.  To me, a produced synthesizer
> sound is one that has been EQ'ed to sit perfectly with the other
> instruments in the final mix.  The details of these EQ settings (and
> also reverb, compression, exciters, etc, for that matter,) will be
> different for different music styles and different songs.  It's not as
> simple as just making the oscillators a bit more mellow sounding.
> That's why mix engineers and music producers exist, because they have
> the ear and knowhow to get the desired production ready sound on a
> case-by-case basis.

Lots of details and variations of course, so I agree it's not fully
possible (or even desirable). But consider a groovebox - you'd like it to
have sounds that sound reasonably good in the mix (i.e., internally),
already without a fully-fledged studio around it. :-)

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