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Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences - December 19, 2013

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Summary

This week CRAS AES Student Chapter held a clinic specializing in synthesizers, taught by Conservatory teacher Scott Murray. He brought two synths, a Micro Moge from 1978, and a 2013 Eurorack, which is a modular synth requiring patch cables. For the first half of the clinic, Scott taught students the basics. He explained how every synth starts out with an oscillator, and that oscillator can have multiple different waveform types, some of them being: square, triangle, and sawtooth. Oscillators are used instead of sine waves because they have a certain timbre, also known as harmonic content. The LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) can be used to control many different functions, such as the overall pitch and the filter. The filter is the next step in the audio path, which removes portions of audio. Examples of different filter types are: hi pass, low pass, and band pass. It is possible to 'emphasize', which exaggerates the frequency where the harmonic content cuts off, adding a new element to the overall sound. After the filter comes the amplifier. The amp controls the overall volume. Once the basics were reviewed, Scott continued to show the students different ways to use a synth creatively. A perfect example is when he connected his vintage 1978 Moge to his brand new 2013 Eurorack, and they worked together without a problem, creating interesting sounds. He talked of the pros and cons of analog synths compared to synths found in plug ins, and also stated that there has been a great resurgence in analog synths over the past 10 years. When the formal clinic was over, Scott stayed late with a group of about 15 students who were interested and made cool sounds. Scott's goal was to introduce new ideas, and inspire the students to become more interested in synthesizers, both old and new.

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