Synth Randomizer


Let's go straight to making some noise



The premise: A tool that helps musicians unfamiliar with synthesizers explore a wide array of sounds while using minimal input.


Personally, I've tried using synthesizers plenty of times but my overall feeling is always more overwhelming than joyful. Of course, this machines are nothing short of amazing, but even for long time musicians, they are very intimidating at first.


Based on this premise, I decided to create a Synth that does all the heavy lifting for you: you simply click on a button and get a new set of sounds for you to play with.


The previous implementation of this premise while fun, left a lot to desire:

  • No real feedback was given when pressing a note.

  • There was no control over the randomization of the parameters.

  • There were too many options and weird concepts for beginners.

  • Because the randomization occurred to all parameters, it was virtually imposible to grasp what was the effect of the parameters over the sound.

  • Only computer keyboard as input method.


Link to first attempt



Design


This time, I wanted to simplify the concepts even more while giving the user much more control over the sound. This meant understanding as much as possible what each parameter of a synth does and choose whats crucial for a beginner, and presenting it all in an interface that is easy, fun and complete.


The interface itself had to be simple yet interesting – the color palette made a comeback and a graphic/abstract piano keyboard was added.


Of course, I couldn't be making this whole argument of improving the experience if there was no real keyboard input, so this iteration works with MIDI to produce sounds as well.


The piano layout and general design components were inspired in some interesting looking digital and analog synthesizers


Organelle. Credit : Critter and Guitari

Teenage Engineering OP-1. Credit: Guitar Center

Sonicwave ELZ_1. Credit: Vintage king



Result


The resulting interface is clean and very indicative of the available parameters. The piano layout provides a strong guidance and gives visual feedback of whats being played.





Let's go make some noise

See the code here




Initial Goals of the Project




In retrospect, I think that I didn't know what on what aspect or subject I wanted to focus, but synthesis was a clear winner.

It might be very interesting to incorporate recording capacities, or at least arpeggiators in a future update, but on the synthesis side, I feel pretty happy with the result.


I've been finding myself playing this thing a lot, and it makes me feel very thankful of being able to create such things.


Please, I'll be more than happy to get some critique and/or feedback on this project.



David Azar

New York

Product Engineer

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