Treating 4 voice synths more like vibraphone?

Just sort of a thought that’s been floating in my head recently with all the 4 voice synths out there and how much I like them, something like vibes is pretty similar in voicing and if you use an expression pedal with fx you can go as far as to simulate the paraphonic nature of capturing notes ringing out and then damping them. Been looking at vibraphone jazz voicing videos aswell and there are some interesting thoughts on how to take best advantage of the voice count.

Anyways food for thought for any of you 4 voice users out there. Think I’m gonna work on some vibe patches today.


Nice thinking and I’m a sucker for tuned percussion sounds. Look forward to hearing the results/experiments.

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That’s a cool way to look at things…thanks for sharing it.

One aspect of the vibraphone is the long release of notes that make them overlap and beautiful harmonies even if only one note is hit at a time

I did a quick search and learned that the “vibra” prefix comes from vibrato, but in my mind it was associated with long release resonating “vibration”: it is to me the essential and lovable characteristic of vibraphones, together with the soft hit of the mallets.
So in my humble opinion such long release has to be taken care of somehow when one wants to converge towards these lovely sounds… Maybe with FX, you’re right.

Btw, I love Rings module to get in such areas, it’s been made for this, and can go up to 4 voices :slight_smile:
VCV rack “modal synthesizer” or “resonator” should bring you there for no cost!

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I love the sound of vibraphones. I always end up sampling them when they come up on records but they always turn my tracks into elevator type beats


You could go granular to keep the flavor without sounding too vanilla…


I’ve got fond memories of playing vibes as a kid with the music service bands and orchestra…when someone had beaten me to the kit! I can still remember being enchanted by the whole instrument, especially the sound it made when you weren’t playing it.

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Yeah, the vibra bit is a bit misleading, a bit like Leo and his tremolo. Off the top of my head I’d suggest a patch setup something along the lines of a vca per voice with a long release settings all feeding into a global vca modulated by an Lfo. That would mimic the butterflies in the tubes all spinning in unison

Yeah I decided to try it out on my Pro 2 first using the touch sliders as a way to dampen the fx a bit more naturally… so basically short soft sine type waves with the fist 3 delays targeting different regions with filtering having the one target the upper tones ring out the longest and then the 4th delay is a bit more obvious but it gives a sort of over pulsing that’s not unlike the things rotating in the tubes. Kinda of an fx heavy approach but it works pretty well, a bit more like physical modeling synthesis in some ways. The timber is still a bit off though not that I dislike it or need it to sound exactly like a vibraphone.

Maybe the real question is, how do we treat 4 Vibraphones like a synth?

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You need a mallet controller with that. Too bad he doesn’t play a vibes patch in the demo. I don’t see these on sale anymore, but as I recall, they were over $3000.

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I think buchla made one called marimba lumina also, you could some cool stuff with line have each mallet set to trigger a different sample.

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…and economically priced, no doubt.

Speaking of jazz voicings…

The general practice is leaving out the root and the fifth. The root is usually handled by the bass and the fifth isn’t “colorful” or whatever and is always kind of implied–unless of course the chord is a diminished chord.

So keeping that in mind, your bass synth could be playing a C, and your 4-voice synth can be playing EBD for a Cmaj9, with one voice left over!

Or of course, four voices is good enough in general because if you’re arranging parts you kind of don’t want your pad to be too big unless it calls for it. Simple 3- and 4-note voicings can get the job done. Leave room for the melody and the bass and the drums that way…