RuinWesen VST #1: Drummm
RuinWesen VST #1: Drummm07.02.2009 13:37:05
Download Drummm VST (and Synthmaker source) !
Wesen: If you've been following this blog and what we do at Ruin & Wesen, you may have gotten the impression that's it's mostly been MIDI controllers by Wesen. But there is a whole different aspect of what we are working on, and that's awesome analogue sound generators by Ruin. At the moment we are focused on manufacturing the MIDI controllers, but Ruin has been whipping up VST synthesizers in SynthMaker to prototype future products (shhhh... but wicked stuff is in the queue). I am very proud to announce this first VST by Ruin, which is a frequency modulation drum synthesizer. Included in the zip file is a VST DLL for windows, and the SynthMaker OSM source file if you want to have a look at the internals. We can't include a Mac version for now, but I hope to be able to implement the DSP in a bit of time.
Ruin: I have been reconsidering the way percussion is handled and synthesized in music. For most of the time it is synthesized using analog or virtual analog means, or sampling. I tend to enjoy the way FM synthesis can sound. It's very gritty, but not in a distorted low-pass way, it has lots of harmonics that make it sound like filthy hammered glass. But it seems, sometimes, that FM is the stepchild of percussion synthesis, or any kind of synthesis; it's been thought of as either extremely hard to program, I guess due in part to the main players in the game, the DX/TX line being button and menu based headfucks; or extremely wimpy, creating tiny glass pianos and tinkly tine atrocities. As far as Drum machines are concerned, I think I only know of one that has a dedicated FM section, and that is the Machinedrum. As far as vst's, since I don't know that many I will say not many at all of what I know were FM percussion/drum synthesizers. Something simple needs to be made, but something that is capable of handling most of the percussion tasks. Of course this won't be your main VST for percussion, even I admit that there needs to be more to a drum track than this; but it's just the planning for simple but robust that needed to be there.
Ruin: I wanted to create a percussion synthesizer that maintained the simplicity of controls of an analog machine, but had the overtones and harmonics that come along with FM. I explicitly left out any sort of filter because I wanted the focus to be on the addition of harmonics as opposed to the subtraction; there is always external effects for that. The VST has 2 oscillators, one acting as the carrier and the other as the modulator. The Carrier has an attack/release envelope which is routed to the frequency of the oscillator. The Modulator has an attack/release envelope routed to the amount of frequency modulation being applied. Very simple, but very effective. Both of these are mixed into the output vca/env which is another attack/release envelope. I was considering only keeping sine and noise for the waveforms of the oscillators, but a lot of fun stuff can be done with the other waveforms.
A Personal Note
Ruin: My relationship with FM started a while ago, maybe about 7 or 8 years now. It was the TX81Z. My first real rack synthesizer, or maybe it was just my first real synthesizer, I don't remember. Sometimes people forget how they met their love, its okay. It spent about a year with its user preset banks essentially untouched. One day I decided to sit down and have a look see what editing the TX81Z was about; this is when I realized how great FM was. It has this capability to quickly become very tame, or very harsh and noisy, but between is where its secrets lie. All these sounds you could create by staying between the two regions, only resorting to either side of the spectrum when needed for contrast. I went through the preset banks about 3 times now with my own different patches and all of them are lovely and have been used many times in my music. Since that time, I have become known by some to be a supporter of FM, I used to talk about it a lot. I feel I haven't been treating it right lately, it needs more love from me. I need to come back into its multifaceted glass room. A room with many intersecting, ethereal walls: ghost walls. Cold glass ghosts that I can only see with my eyes blurred. Reflecting their harsh colors into my eyes..