GP-10 - Reference Guides for Programming a Dual-Oscillator Synth ?

Started by Rhcole, May 31, 2014, 01:34:45 PM

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It's back to the Seventies and early Eighties for us all! I remember getting  a book with my ARP Odyssey that showed me how to emulate a clarinet, a violin, a flute, (see below!)...
In those days, a dual-oscillator mono synth (later poly) was the industry standard. Now with one of the main features of the GP-10 being a dual oscillator synth, it's time to brush up on your patch creation skills. Here are a few references for you. There are many sites on the web that assume much more complex and powerful modular synths- I have left those out. Synth newbies should stay away from any guide that discusses FM, sampled, or other complex waveforms. Those are NOT in the GP-10.
This fabulous list or articles often assumes a more powerful synth than included with the GP-10. But there are references that speak to a more "classic" (limited) layout as well. Plus they are all great reading for sound-crafting enthusiasts.
A modern book about programming dual-oscillator synths.
PDF version of the ARP Odyssey Patch Book! What fun! You will have to translate the settings to the GP-10.
"How to Program a Synthesizer". A good starting point if you don't want to get too complicated.



The following is the only book I've read on the subject, but it seems very thorough on the how-it-works side. Left me ready to start digging into the reverse-engineering-sounds phase of learning.



Here's the original manual for Sequential Circuits' Prophet Five!

Lots of great patches in the back for different sounds and instruments. I'm not sure if we will have the equivalent of SC's "Polymod" feature, which adds complexity to the sounds, but the GP-10 will still be in the ballpark of these settings.


That is a great idea finding some manuals for these legendary subtractive synths and using them as a cookbook of sorts for GP-10 patches.  I never owned a SC Prophet 5, but I did have the Native Instruments software emulation of it (Pro-V I think it was called) - and there where just an amazing range of sounds to be had from this synth.

Seems like a lot of this could apply to VG-99 and GR-55 as well.
Strat w/ GK-3, Godin LGXT
VG-99, GR-55, GP-10


Thank you all for the links and videos, etc. Kind of a newby to this part of the synth world. Very interesting stuff. :)


Okay this is relevant to two-oscillator synth programming in general and to the Raspberry Pi craze. There is a synth that is apparently popular on the Pi platform called Amsynth. It is also available for Mac, which is where I'm playing with it. At a glance it offers nothing over the great synth built into the GP-10, BUT, it comes with a big library of sounds that is very instructive in synth programming.

I thought I already posted this youtube vid here, but maybe not. I did a tutorial on transcribing soft synths from Logic to the GP-10. This would apply to Amysynth just as easily.

BTW just wanted to +1 Welsh's Synth Cookbook. I bought it on Elantric's recommendation and it has really helped me get some momentum going on synth programming. I also subsequently found Steal This Sound, which is much lower yield and less universal, but I felt like it helped me, anyway - that's a soft recommendation. Welsh's is my #1, 2, &3 recommendation.

Attached is a screenshot of 3 instances of Amsynth in Logic.


Somebody on YouTube just told me about Syntorial.

I'm gonna try it out. Looks really good. Don't know whether I'll buy it - it's $130 and I've already learned a lot/most of this stuff. Still, it looks like the ideal way to learn synth programming. Very very cool. I'll write a review of it after I try it for a while. Sorry no clue when I'll get around to that.

EDIT: I played with the demo this morning. It is head and shoulders better than any other resource I've seen. While every other book/vid goes back-asswards through subjects, the learning theory applied to this syntorial is spot-on: sound before sight, practice before theory. I really wish I had started with this. I don't know whether it's worth it for me to buy at this point, but I really wish I had learned this way instead of stumbling through theory, math, history, recipes, etc.

Syntorial teaches how to use a synth the way a synth works aurally - i.e. it only deals with the criteria that matter to a musician/sound designer; it doesn't try to stumble through the whole physics/neurology of sound. The way it teaches is so right I'm actually kinda mad about spending so much time with the Refining Sound book. But who knows, maybe having that background made it easier to learn the right way.

I will say that Welsh's steered me toward the same kind of approach to building patches: start with waveform, get the filter right, then the envelopes... and he does mention somewhere in the book that eventually you don't need the scope, you just hear the details. And confined to the medium of the printed page, Welsh's is probably the best approach. Still it's a long way to go for something you can get very directly and quickly from Syntorial.

I recommend Syntorial without reservation or qualification to anyone wanting to learn old-school synth programming. IMHO it stands alone as the best beginners' resource on this subject.


At the risk of resurrecting a two-year-old thread (wasn't sure whether to start a new topic for this tidbit)...

If anyone's looking for another free tutorial on subtractive synthesis, xoxos makes a great little 2-oscillator vst called Clearsynth ( The presets provide a pretty straightforward overview of how all of the different components work together but there's also a blog ( which explains everything in more detail. For beginners, I think it's an excellent crash-course in programming and when I got my first analog synth (Roland Alpha Juno), I found it extremely useful, along with the aforementioned "Welsh's Synthesizer Cookbook" and "Steal This Sound".


For me "Forgive me Lord, For I have Synth: A Guide to Subtractive Synthesis" was a useful primer to creating musical sounds with the OSC SYNTH variant of the GP-10 SYNTH model.

I found the audio examples in the "Modulation: Envelopes" section particularly helpful.