[sdiy] Odp: Pink?

Richard Wentk richard at wentk.com
Tue Aug 21 14:02:16 CEST 2018

The brightness in a waveform is harmonically correlated, so you hear a single bright tone as a fused spectral object.

The brightness in a pink noise balanced mix isn’t correlated - at least not to anything like the same extent.

In fact a significant element in a “fat” or “vintage” sound is a limited high end. Classic analogue synths often used crappy opamps with a limited bandwidth. This not only smoothed out the sound but also band-limited the distortion components to the upper mids instead of extreme highs.

If you check the spectrum of some classic 70s synth music you often don’t find much above 10k - sometimes significantly less.


On 21 Aug 2018, at 12:11, 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!?!?
>> 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.
>> 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.
> Just my thoughts,
> -Richie,
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