Thursday, December 8, 2011

Open Thread: What Was Your First Softsynth?

I was thinking the other day of how far software synthesis has come since it appeared on the scene and was thinking back to the first softsynth I ever used: Digidesign Turbosynth. It preceded VSTs and was a standalone modular environment for synthesizing sounds and manipulating samples. It didn't work in real time, so you had to render out the sounds before you could hear the results of your work. It was good at distorting and messing up drum sounds, but obviously was quite limited considering the era it was released in. What about you? What was your first software synth? Can you still run it on your computer? And if not, do you miss it? Share your thoughts in the comments!

21 comments:

Ronnie said...

Not totally sure, but probably RubberDuck http://www.d-lusion.com/ProductsRubberduck.html

PHiL said...

Propellerhead ReBirth RB-338...

MikKiss said...

C=64 - Soundmonitor :-)
PC - Reason 1

images@random said...

Hmmmmm. Music Composer on a BBC model B. A ridiculous amount of number crunching to sequence something that sounded like a Casio VL1 on speed !

VST instrument would be a Waldorf PPG which because of the ancient PC gear I was using at the time meant about 2 seconds of latency.....not very musical. I am still a hardware nut and have a nice balance of VST's and REAL knobs.....oo er !

Anonymous said...

Actually, I miss just about *anything* that worked in mac os 7 or os 8.
Specifically miss how I use to use some app... (the icon with the jack in the box) to pull sound resource files out of other apps (warning sounds, game sounds, etc). Then use those sounds in a twisted manner.

Oh... and SoundEdit 16! Damn I miss that program. The closest to it today is Amadeus Pro.

Warren said...

Mine was Dragon Composer for the Dragon 32 computer in 1983 (http://goo.gl/RPql6). It allowed the single-voice computer to play four separate voices that differed in timbre. Entering music was a tedious task of entering each note/duration into a list and then waiting while the software compiled into music. It seemed like magic at the time. I remember spending hours entering sheet music. Yes, I was a nerdy kid... still am.

nulldevice said...

I had Music Construction Set for the Apple II, but I was terrible with it. I tried to get my Vic20 to do something via peeks and pokes but basically it just made farty noises.

Then there was a long period of nothing but a few soundcard soundsets and some external synths.

Then...Retro AS-1. It wasn't great, but that default patch "Clarion Call" was like instant Rick Wakeman. Made me want to put on a cape and glitter boots and write some prog-rock.

DJSix said...

Rubberduck. I rocked the !@^&#% out on that thing. Its the only reason why I keep a windows computer around

Michael Mays said...

Anonymous: I believe that program was ResEdit. I remember using it on my old Macs for exactly the same thing (when I wasn't rebuilding the desktop to get rid of the CDEF virus).

bb said...

I think Rubberduck, except when I used it it didn’t look like the one I see now. It made one drum sound at a time, not real time, you had to design the sound and render it to hear it, change something, render again, etc.

Anonymous said...

Re-Birth!It's on my iphone these days but i would love to be able to use it on my Macbook Pro :(

Sean said...

Re-Birth, as well...

Psychepoppet said...

Programming on a Tandy 1000ex
VST - Saytr

Trashed the Tandy a few years back.

fractured said...

Having been a computer geek in the early 80s, I'd likely say it was an additive synth program I made on my TRS 80 CoCo in 1986 or so. I found a way to play sine waves at various amplitudes over time to create a single note with harmonics. Of course, I had nothing usable but for a very distorted guitar-type sound!

My first real soft synth might have been the Nord Modular or the Pro 5 emulation Steinberg had. I forget the name.

rayzr said...

I'm sure it would have to be the massively famous legacy that is Propellerheads RB-338 or Hammerhead (Not a really a synth)

There was one program everyone was talking about back then, it could create drum sounds using synthesis and was very popular at the time.

I believe this program was called "Stomp" or "Stomper", I can't remember.

bb said...

The "Stomp" thing, maybe that’s what I’m thinking of instead of Rubberduck.

DiscoiD said...

I'm thinking it was one of the synths in Pluggo called Laverne. I don't use it anymore because I'd have to update Pluggo for Audio Unit use and I don't have the funds. The next soft synth was the Emagic synthesizer 2, or the ES2, and it's still my go to synth.

Joël Bisson said...

my first softsynth was a C64 Organ Program which loaded a score sheet writing program which allowed you to write for the pipe organ sounds it made, this is back in 1995, first synth in the 2000's Fruity Loops 3.5 and later Superwave P8 and FL Studio Sytrus plus CS80V in 2004

diy said...

Seer Systems Reality. Still consider it the most powerful instrument I've ever used. Haven't used it in years, it needs Win98 running on a desktop (apparently there are issues with certain laptop drivers), so I'd be very happy if a modern version came out.

Anonymous said...

RubberDuck..was my first love ;) hehe
still got the original

Joshua said...

I believe the first softsynth I got to work on my first computer was the Waldorf Edition PPG Wave. I was pretty ignorant about how plugins worked back then, so I kind of made it work by accident, and the first time I heard it, I couldn't believe my computer was capable of producing that good of a sound.....