There’s no way to predict exactly which directions synthesis will take in the future, and it’s highly possible that someone will come up with something mind-bendingly different that we’d never have dreamed of. However, there are definitely a few things that we can see happening over the next few years. Firstly, analogue emulations will continue to get better as the ability of computers to crunch numbers improves. Hopefully, though, this will be used in new and interesting ways that don’t seek simply to copy the designs of yesteryear. It’s only a matter of time until one of the big guns



The rise of software synths has been nothing less than meteoric, with thousands of developers large and small offering up their take on synthesis techniques alongside new and innovative designs. Whereas hardware synths are limited in terms of number of oscillators, filters and other components, in the software world we can combine a huge number of such elements, perhaps excessively stacking oscillators for massive-sounding waveforms. Although an analogue-modelled Minimoog soft synth might not equal its hardware counterpart, consider the fact that you can layer up multiple instances and also use it in polyphonic mode.

However, while many companies look to

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T ablet and mobile synthesizers are becoming increasingly ubiquitous and more capable, as developers find new and innovative ways to best utilise the touchscreen medium. For the most part we’re seeing the same kinds of high-quality synths that we find in the computer world, albeit with slightly larger controls.

As the iPad has developed, more and more companies are offering surprisingly complete DAWs in which multiple instances of instruments can be combined to create the ultimate, portable composition tool. This has taken a giant leap in recent months thanks to the release of Audiobus, which lets apps ‘talk’ to each

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Despite the huge number of software synths available, there is still a massive market for more expensive hardware synths. This is in part due to the gratification of instant feedback when tweaking knobs and sliders, along with circuitry and operating systems that have been optimised for a single job. It ’s much easier to get lost while sound-designing using a piece of hardware, as you’re not so easily distracted by other effects and plug-ins, and touching controls directly feels much more intuitive than using a mouse to fine-tune parameters. You may also be buying a hardware synth for its analogue

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Creating unique and cutting-edge synth sounds

Making your music stand out from the crowd is a lot easier if you start with some sounds you can truly call your own. Rob Boffard shows you how.

Getting a decent sound from a soft synth doesn’t exactly take a lot of work. A tweak or two here, a few nudges to the LFO there, a little messing around with the filters and… boom! You’ve got a workable sound. It’s almost too easy, in all honesty. And thanks to the sheer number of synths available these days, you’re never more than a minute or two away from some wonderful,

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As the synth market continues to go analogue-mad, MT senior ed Andy Jones warns: be careful what you wish for…

The synth market has always been an odd and unpredictable force to be reckoned with. On the one hand manufacturers totally ignore what people ask for, and on the other they end up overcompensating, perhaps a little too late down the line. The new-fangled digital synths had polyphony, they could emulate real instruments, they could play loads of different sounds, and they could play them simultaneously. The workstations that were born of that era could do just about everything, in


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