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Becoming a Master Triton Sound designer
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valhalla



Joined: 25 Dec 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Upstate New York

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:01 am    Post subject: Becoming a Master Triton Sound designer Reply with quote

There are people that are experts in sound design and those who are doing this as experts with the Korg Triton. Most likely these rare birds work for Korg. Why did they make learning this so encryptic? We spent a lot of money on the Triton and other keyboards but we get manuals that are worthless for anything other than over stating the obvious along with many esoteric if not encryptic information about programming / designing sounds. I have searched the internet for a long time and always hit dead ends. I bought some DVDs one time but they were worthless as they were filled with obvious basic information.

I have a highly technical background with a BS in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Computer Science as well as being an experienced if not seasoned, musician. I have the IQ and the background to become an expert at this if I can just get someone to share this information with me. I need a source to help me comfortably learn this. It makes no sense to beat my head against the wall reinventing the wheel as it were, by trying to decypher the methodology to create and design sounds on the Triton, Motif, Fantom or any other synth. The number of permutations and combinations of parameters and settings makes it extremely daunting and to overwhelming to try to learn sound design this way.

Please, will someone help me find the path and direction to where I need to go to learn from a Master or expert or whatever you want to call them. Do I have to get a job with Korg just to accomplish this? It really should not be this difficult. I have never heard of a school or class that would teach this. A book is not really going to be of much help because with something like this you need to hear and see and try it first hand.

Can we try to collectively pick the brains and get a collaboration of all the people in this forum who know something about programming sounds and start creating a new section of this forum or a video for this type of tutorial???

Please make suggestions and give us your thoughts and input.

Thank you!

Valhalla
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voip
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Joined: 27 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not clear from the posting which Triton is the subject of the question, but it is understandable how frustrating it can be, wanting to do something and not knowing where to start. Becoming a "Master Sound Designer" will take some time.

If it's the Triton Extreme, then the User Guide, and Parameter Guide are useful references, and it is necessary, and important, to build up a mental picture of the architecture of the sound path, in order to help understand how the various bits of sound generation, effects, and arpeggiation sit together. There are similarities across the Korg range, so the other Tritons, the M50, M3, Krome, and Kronos, all share a common basic design paradigm, with the basic philosophy already embodied in the M1, to some extent. The internal architecture allows the sound designer a veritable palette of tools with which to craft their product. Whilst it may appear deep and daunting at first, much of that will go away as one becomes more familiar. Note though, that the Triton Taktile has a rather limited sound design capability, though it does allow tweaking of sounds during a performance.

The Korg Triton Extreme Operation Guide_E2, on page 14 shows a block diagram which could be printed out and kept close to hand.

The Parameter Guide, particularly the effects section, is a very useful reference. Most of the samples, that form the basis of each Program, tend to sound quite "plain" on their own, and the effects section is an extremely important component for enriching the basic multisample sounds.

It's probably worth experimenting, in the first instance, with the existing Programs, changing their effects, turning them on and off, playing with the effects parameters, whilst building up a mental picture of how it all goes together. There will be a few of those Eureka moments, for sure.


.
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SanderXpander
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With a background in electrical engineering it would be really easy to learn the basics of subtractive synthesis which is what the Triton is based around (as are 90 percent of other synths). With a Masters in Computer Science it should be easy to navigate around the Triton. I don't mean to sound disrespectful but if this indeed your background I don't understand where it's going wrong for you. The manual to the Triton seems pretty good and clear to me although I admit I've only used it as a reference and only occasionally so. Generally speaking the Triton (and Korg products) have a much more logical OS than products from, say, Yamaha or Roland, even if some things may appear quicker at first sight on those boards.

It might help you to read up on subtractive synthesis, Sound On Sound magazine did an article series called "synth secrets" years ago and it's available for free. Google and read the first few chapters and perhaps things will start making sense. If you have a specific question about programming, feel free to ask it.
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timbukktwo
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The manuals of the Triton Extreme (and the Kronos) are some of the best (if not the best, imo) keyboard manuals I have EVER seen!
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valhalla



Joined: 25 Dec 2010
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Location: Upstate New York

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry hit submit twice....

Last edited by valhalla on Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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valhalla



Joined: 25 Dec 2010
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Location: Upstate New York

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:25 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the replies Reply with quote

I have wanted to learn the Triton programming the longest. Today I stumbled on an old post by Daz who is no longer on the forums. I think I leaned more today than I have ever so far. He walked you through some basic design steps with some simple wave forms.

Yeah I know with all the technical background you would think this would be a piece of cake.... Smile Maybe it's psychological and I just put up a block....or I want immediate gratification/knowledge and know how... Smile Since I made my post I have found a few more fairly good sites with some information. I also found some free courses through Berkley and some other schools. But as luck would have it the virtual synth they use and have as a free for 3 month download, would not install on my laptop. Another similar things happened with another download.... I'm starting to think that fate just doesn't want me to learn this stuff... Smile I realize I could reverse engineer the existing sounds but even then you need to know what the default initial states or settings are it would seem. I would rather start at the beginning and work my way to the end as far as learning...

I have been learning 8 spoken languages at the same time which, as you can imagine, is pretty challenging...With languages too, I found it hard to learn totally on my own. Fortunately I stumbled on a site that facilitates meeting people from all different countries and once I had native speakers to talk to, I made huge gains. I think it's the same with sound design. I would like to meet "native designers" as it were, to work with to develop my knowledge.

I saw that one article "synth secrets" One of you mentioned reading chapters from a book but all I saw was "google..." not the name of the book... Smile

I have seen often where text books are great to one and the worst to another. The same is true of teachers. I think it depends on your default knowledge of the material as well as your personal learning styles. For me the sections on sound parameters etc. were to cut and dry with no examples or detailed enough explanations....at least for my level of knowledge on the subject. I tend to be a thorough person, so if I had written the manuals they would have been totally comprehensive and detailed.. Of course they also would have been 3 or 4 times as thick... Smile

Thank you for letting me ask questions. I thought of another approach today which is to start researching each aspect or element of a sound patch one at a time. I mean the LFO, Filters, envelopes etc. etc. Once I have a better understanding of all the elements in general, I would be in a better position to decipher the Triton and to make use of the manuals.

I'm looking forward to those eureka epiphanies....
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valhalla



Joined: 25 Dec 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Upstate New York

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:33 pm    Post subject: Long descending pitch like in Edgar Winter's Frankenstein Reply with quote

Are you familiar with Edgar Winters old song Frankenstein? I eventually want to create this descending pitch synth sound he uses at the beginning. Ooops...it is not at the beginning it is in the middle of the song about 3:16. I'm assuming you have do something with the pitch envelope? Ja? Nein? So now I want to at least figure out how to get a note hit high on the keyboard to start uniformly decreasing it's pitch down to a certain low note. Do you know how to do this? Thanks!

Last edited by valhalla on Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SanderXpander
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Synth Secrets:
https://web.archive.org/web/20160403115835/http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/allsynthsecrets.htm

Seems they're restructuring their site but you should find all of them there. Start at the bottom to go in order. I think just the first few chapters would do exactly what you want - explain what an LFO is, an ADSR/EG etc.

For now some really basic stuff on the Triton:
At its core, every Triton program is a pretty straightforward subtractive style synthesizer with two "oscillators" (the sample or waveform that every sound starts with), hence the "single" or "double" oscillator modes you may have seen. You can alter the brightness of the sound using a filter, and the volume using an amplifier. Each oscillator has three basic things you can adjust:
- Pitch, primarily through using the keyboard, but also many other ways
- Volume, for instance through velocity (how hard you hit a key) but again, also many other ways
- Brightness, through the use of a filter

Pitch, volume and the filter can themselves be modulated directly through controllers such as the pitchbend lever, the keyboard or velocity. There are also (semi-) automatic modulators that can affect them, primarily:
- EGs (envelope generators). This is more of a "Korg" name, often they're known as simply "envelopes" or ADSRs (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release). They generate adjustable values and are triggered when you hit a key and run until you release a key. If you would assign one to volume you might get a sound that slowly swells, then goes down a little until a specified "sustain" level and finally slowly fades when you release a key.
- LFOs (low frequency oscillators). These generate cyclical motion. Generally they come in a few "shapes", for instance sine, triangle, square/block, saw wave, random etc. If you would assign a sine shape LFO to pitch you would get a vibrato, for instance. If you picked a square wave it would be a kind of trill.

These are the very basics that go for any subtractive synth. There are many free downloadable ones. Here's a commonly used one that actually sounds pretty decent:
https://www.kvraudio.com/product/synth1-by-ichiro-toda

Be advised that it uses mathematical models to replicate "analog" synth oscillators such as saw waves and square waves, whereas the Triton uses samples as the starting point. The principles remain the same, however.
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valhalla



Joined: 25 Dec 2010
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Location: Upstate New York

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:54 pm    Post subject: Thanks.... Reply with quote

Thanks Sander ! Hmmm....I thought subtractive synthesis was like the DX7 were you start off with like all sound and then subtract off what you don't want, more or less revealing the sound. What I saw today with the Triton looked like you start off with a basic waveform like a sine wave and built the sound you want. But I am seeing where they are saying the Triton is based on subtractive synthesis. By the way one of the things that threw me off with the Triton programming was that I thought they were all wave samples like for a piano etc. I discovered today that you can get the basic waveforms.

Another thing was that in the envelop generator section it has 2 rows that had attack and release and I think something else. That is ambiguous and confusing as to why and what it's for. When you vary them it is not always clear from the graph what they are doing or supposed to do.

The virtual synth link you sent me is a VST and has to have a host like Pro Tools or something right? Are there any "thin" "light" free host downloads that you know of?
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SanderXpander
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The DX7 is an FM (frequency modulation) synth. It's more additive than subtractive in nature though technically FM is its own category. Subtractive means that you start with a harmonically rich oscillator and then you use things like a filter to "subtract" brightness, or an envelope to shape the attack portion etc.

A "classic" envelope generator has only 4 controls;
- Attack, the time it takes for the envelope to reach its maximum level
- Decay, the time it takes for the envelope to sink down to the level of the sustain part
- Sustain, the level that the envelope sustains at as long as you keep a key depressed
- Release, the time it takes for the envelope to return to zero after you release the key

On the Triton you get a somewhat more advanced envelope where you can set level and time for (almost) every section individually. There's also a "start" level and a "break" section. The principles remain the same. Use the graph to shape the envelope and assign it to something to change the sound. On the Triton I think each section (pitch, amp, filter) already is outfitted with its own envelope.

I don't have much experience with free VST hosts but there is SAVIhost I think.
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Mellontikos
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me give it a shot. I can probably try to explain it in a way you can better understand.

This is basically what no one ever explained to me and I had to learn on my own:

I'm guessing that you don't really understand the difference in synthesis that well, so I will start from there.

As you know, sound is just vibration of the air that reaches your ears.

Someone found a long time ago, that there is a fundamental piece to sound: The Sine Wave.

Then they found that if you take Sine Waves, at different frequencies, and play them together, you can build other type of waves, like Sine Waves, Square Waves, etc etc.

This is what you'll see referred to as: Additive Synthesis

And when dealing with Additive Synthesis, you'll hear about the fundamental, and the overtones, etc. All that means is the Sine Waves that have to be played in a frequency and volume (amplitude) to generate other type of waves (almost like building a chord out of notes. C Major for example, is C, E, G).

Easiest way for you to understand it is to try it yourself:

https://meettechniek.info/additional/additive-synthesis.html

So the crazy thing is that, with enough sine waves, you can replicate insanely accurate sounds, like an Acoustic Piano's Timbre. I have no idea how many, but I'm guessing probably in the hundreds?

Wasn't practical back then. So before we continue, let's understand Subtractive Synthesis:

This one is much easier. The concept is that you don't build your Square or Saw Waves on your own (like with Additive), but rather the factory gives you a synth with prebuilt ones you can play with (let's say a Juno 106)

So that's what they call an "Oscillator", it's the circuit that is generating that wave. So let's say you select a Saw Wave and play it. You'll hear that typical Saw Wave sound, sharp, brassy and cutting.

So those synths come with another function called the "Low Pass Filter" which is almost literally like a knob that only cuts the treble out of the sound, but leave the bass/low end intact.

If you twist the knob, you'll be cutting, and restoring the high portion of the saw wave in real time, and this will sound like "Neeeeeeeeeeeoooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmooooooooooooooooooooeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee"

That's what they call Subtractive Synthesis. Now usually you can do more, like add Resonance (which is just a function that loops the sound onto itself creating a resonant frequency, and gives it that squelchy sound (search for acid 303 on youtube), and other functions.

Resonance in particular is very sought after, because it makes sounds have that resonant "phaser" like effect, and sounds very futuristic.

So this is why you'll notice that Subtractive Synths are usually limited to Saw/Square type sounds, at which they excel. All the stuff people go crazy over (Juno, Jupiter 8, 303, etc).

FM synthesis is really very very similar to Additive Synthesis, but the Sine Waves aren't added together, but rather, the second sine wave directly modifies the first one, and the 3rd modifies the 2nd. Instead of being called Overtones they are caller Carriers. So this is not as good as "true" additive because the carriers are not able to control the volume of the sine waves created, but the method is so close that FM might as well be Additive Synthesis' retarded cousin. Still, due to this limitation, everything FM does sounds "metallic" and harsh. Great for Electric Piano sounds, as my favorite sounds of all time are "DX"ish style EP's.

Can additive synthesis recreate the same sounds as FM? Sure, with enough work, because FM is a hammer approach, probably would be 10 times as complex to make the same sound in a "true" additive synth, but not impossible.

Each style of synthesis is trying to recreate the same thing: real acoustic instruments. Each one fails miserably. Additive being the one with the potential to actually be successful, and maybe know they could do it with a VST, on a Core i7 with a gazillion Sine Wave OSC'

At that point, it's no longer called "Additive Synthesis" but rather "Physical Modeling". Technically, since tuning 2000 Sine Waves at the exact right frequencies and amplitudes to recreate a violin, complete with bow attack, and vibrato would be an insane task, instead, smart people have had their software analyze real people playing the violin, and the software learns how to create that exact range of waveforms, and play it back in real time, completely synthesized............................................or at least that's the idea. A few synths can do a very good job, but if someone can point me to a VST that can be played with all the nuances of a violin, I'd love to see it Smile

Subtractive Synthesis, on the other hand, is limited to the waveforms programmed from the factory. Whatever waveform they created from the factory, that's what you get.

You can then slice it any way you want, with the low pass filter (treble cut), and if you're lucky, your synth is advanced, and has a high pass filter (bass cut), a bandpass filter (cut everything except mid frequencies), etc etc.

So you can get 100 variations of a Saw or Square, but they are *still* a saw and square.

So how to get real acoustic sounds then?

This is where the "ROMplers" come into play.

Someone figured out "Why the heck are we wasting time trying to synthesize real instruments? Why not just record someone playing the originals note by note, assign them to a keyboard, and everytime you play a key, it's like you're hitting "Play" on your CD player for that recorded sound?"

And Wavetable Synthesis was born, also known as "ROMPler". Hated by everyone yet everyone needs it, lol.

Wavetable, literally has the recordings of instruments as played by someone in real life, note by note, and permanently recorded onto your synth.

The Korg Triton is a Wavetable Synthesizer. Let's say you select "M1 Piano", or "SG Piano". If you play the note of C, you are playing back the prerecorded sound that Korg recorded originally in studio of a rinky dink (but very cool) piano sound at that note. If you play C major, you are hitting the "play" button for 3 recordings, etc etc.

Because you are just playing back recordings someone else made, there is no real "synthesis" going on, you're just playing back stock sounds someone else made. And this is why ROMPlers are hated by people obsessed with synthesis. You can't really do much with those sounds.

But, lucky for us, a ROMpler like the Triton, doesn't just have the stock recordings (which Korg calls multisamples). It has filters, just like a Subtractive Synthesizer (low pass filter, high pass, notch filter, and ever resonance, but it suuuuuuuucks on the Triton unfortunately), and it has up to 7 individually assigned effects (chorus, reverb, delay, distortion, etc etc)

So, like an old Subtractive Analog Synth, a ROMpler like the Triton can select an "Oscillator" and you can choose which sample to play back as if it was a waveform (Can't remember how many the Triton Extreme has, but I think it's over 1000, pianos, organs, bells, guitars, strings, special FX, etc etc)

So for you to "sound design" on a Triton, what you're really looking to do is how to combine this massive amount of things into cool, usable sounds.

If you go thru most of your Combis, you'll find a lot of them are just 4 or more sounds joined together (like Piano and Strings, or Piano and Bass). Or complex layers (4 or more separate strings connected together, etc)

So in a nutshell that's the basics right there. Let me know if you found it useful.
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Yamaha Tyros 4. Korg 01/Wpro. Korg N5ex. Roland BK5, Korg Legacy M1 and WS. Sold: Boss DR-770, and MicroArranger. They shall be missed. Reason 9.5 beast!!
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keithk



Joined: 27 Jun 2017
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Location: Perth, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mellontikos and SanderXpander - thanks so much for the detailed explanations / references.

I've had my Triton Extreme for 10+ years now and have never really understood how it works (better late than never I guess). I've been happy to just muck around with the presets and have fun with it without any understanding of what I was actually doing (obviously I don't do this professionally, it's just something I play around with in my spare time).

The replies in this thread have been extremely enlightening... cheers.
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Mellontikos
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

keithk wrote:
Mellontikos and SanderXpander - thanks so much for the detailed explanations / references.

I've had my Triton Extreme for 10+ years now and have never really understood how it works (better late than never I guess). I've been happy to just muck around with the presets and have fun with it without any understanding of what I was actually doing (obviously I don't do this professionally, it's just something I play around with in my spare time).

The replies in this thread have been extremely enlightening... cheers.


Triton Extreme is an awesome board man. I already have 01Wpro and N5ex boards, not to mention Tyros 4 and Roland BK5 Arrangers (and the M1 and WS legacy).

No more space, let alone the expense to buy a Triton Extreme, but man I like the way it looks.

I will be a heretic and say I like the Triton Extreme way more than the Kronos.
_________________
Yamaha Tyros 4. Korg 01/Wpro. Korg N5ex. Roland BK5, Korg Legacy M1 and WS. Sold: Boss DR-770, and MicroArranger. They shall be missed. Reason 9.5 beast!!
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timbukktwo
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I own a Tex/Moss 88 (and a Kronos 8Cool and I'll stand with you, also. I'm not parting with my blue meanie for anything (until it dies)! It's an awesome complimentary keyboard to the Kronos! It's got a 'bite' to it; plenty of attitude!

(By the way- why the emoticon shows in place of the '8', I don't know!. It can't be corrected in edit!)
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Triton76
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had the Triton for years before I realized the pitch envelope could be assigned to mod other things besides pitch; like LFO rate. sounds cool when the LFO is modulating filter cutoff.
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