Soundmaking on the Solaris.
The last three days with the Solaris have been most interesting.
People who regularly read this blog knows I am a serious fetishist when it comes to bass sounds. It would be expected that I would churn out bass sound after bass sound - but this have not been the case. Melodic sequences and soft timbres slowly evolve from my little studio - which is kind of weird, since I normally rarely make those kinds of sounds.
It's not difficult to create bass sounds with the Solaris - you can, and when you do the results are impressive. But it requires a closer attention to details than with other sounds. I wouldn't go so far to say the Solaris is a pad and lead machine, but it most definitely pulls you toward those kind of sounds.
My biggest wisdom I've learned during the last days is that the Solaris has its own modus operandi. While the oscillators, filters and envelopes all behave as expected - the way you connect the parts of the synthesizer is not.
Roughly, I would say there are three kinds of synthesizers.
As I said in my previous post, the Solaris is a semi-modular synthesizer, which in all honesty isn't true. It's actually somewhere between a semi-modular and a modular. If you think semi-modular, but comes with a whole wardrobe full of oscillators, filters and modulators you come close to what the Solaris is.
It's a whole bag of tricks capable creating sounds ranging from Lord Voldemort On A Very Bad Day to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
But with freedom comes complexity and it's no coincidence the most well-known synthesizer in the world - the Minimoog - is also one of the most simple. While me and many others with me are used to do routings in a modulation matrix, the key to master the Solaris is to understand there is no modulation matrix.
No modulation matrix?
Yes, no modulation matrix.
'Unlearn what you have learned' as the raisin-like Jedi Master would have said.
While I'm used to do routings in one convenient place telling the synthesizer that 'this module sends its output to that module' - you have to think backwards with the Solaris. You go to the desired module and select from which module you want to input data from. Not to, but from.
The lack of a centralized modulation matrix is both positive and problematic. The good thing is that you have a much more direct control and you never need to stop by the matrix all the time just to see what leads where. The problematic part is clarity and when you leave normal synth structures, you will find yourself on occasion scratching your head wondering what is connected with what.
To give a few examples. Creating a classic ocillator-amp-filter-effect sound from the Solaris dead easy. You can naturally connect the oscillators and connect them with four serial filters if you'd rather like that - or have two oscillators filtered by one filter, two oscillators filtered by another filter and then filter the whole lot by one global filter. Setups like this are very easy to achieve and it doesn't take too long before you start to think - 'Let's connect this with this one, patch the result into a virtual mixer, then take that sound use a band pass filter, and then route the whole lot into another virtual mixer and finally put it through a global filter'.
As I said. With power comes complexity. The nice thing with the Solaris is that you don't have to go complex if you don't want to. You can stay on the subtractive road and still not emptying the resources of the Solaris. But the question is rather, how can you not to? Any synth freak will start pushing and connecting things in the most perverted of ways. And so it should be and this is where the Solaris excels.
And keep in mind that I'm still scratching the surface of the Solaris. I haven't started using FM, AM, samples or even the real treat yet: the Rotor oscillators.
Here are a few sounds I've made the last days.