Portfolio Noah Vawter. The Synth of Death
What is this Deadly Synthesizer?
The silver box atop the other equipment on my desk
is the synthesizer I designed myself.
Several years ago, I began experimenting with a DSP development
kit for engineers called the EZ-Kit Lite. Very small in size,
you could operate it with batteries,
yet get 40 MIPS of performance. I hacked on this synthesizer
for several years, designing a flash file system, a MIDI
interface, and more. Finally, I wrote a synthesizer using
an algorithm I first created as a senior qualifying project
at WPI. As I went along, I detailed on the Internet how to do it.
Since then, several dozen people have gotten involved and built
their own Synth of Death!
I don't like to re-invent
the wheel. I'd much rather dare to
do something no one else would because the payoff is much
greater. It usually leads to meeting new people and adventure!
That's why, when I made my synthesizer algorithm, I
decided to not *add* two oscillators, but to combine them
non-linearly with a whole range of intricate mixing functions.
I have never seen any other synthesizers do this! And the
results are quite interesting!
I'd love to tell you more about it, but for now, please just
listen to these examples:
A Bit Blippy (mp3).
A Bit Blippy (ogg).
Dig the samba beat!
Industrial Grind (mp3).
The meatiest sound! Just imagine blasting this to a stadium
full of crazed fans!
Jazzy...Sort Of (mp3).
Jazzy...Sort Of (ogg).
The same riff as industrial grind, only less
bit reduction and different filter settings to keep
it under control.
Squeeky Part (mp3).
Squeeky Part (ogg).
This is me tweaking something called "Fricasee", which is a little
bit like Phase Modulation. It has very dramatic effects when used
with non-linear waveform combination!
I'm tweaking the LFO in this one. The LFO adjusts the phase
between the two input waveforms, which, as I've said elsewhere,
is very important when considereing the non-linear mixing of two
More stuff on the web
As I was doing all of the work on this synthesizer, I figured it
was only natural to share it all in some way with other
people who could benefit from my research and development. One day,
I plan to actually sell a product based on my algorithms, but for
now, it's all
available for free here.
Additionally, at that link, there are many more audio examples, synthesizer
algorithms, free/GPL'd source codes, and pictures. Enjoy it!