I recently released a course on Lynda.com and LinkedIn Learning on how to use the Arturia Modular V software synth, which is modeled on the old Moog modular systems. In the movie below I show how to create a typical oscillator sync patch.

For those who don’t already know, “sync” is a technique where a slave oscillator’s waveform output is reset to its beginning whenever a master oscillator starts a new cycle of its own waveform. “Hard sync” does this reset regardless of how far along the slave is in outputting a new cycle of its wave; “soft” or “weak” generally resets only when the slave is close to finishing or beginning a cycle. As a result, soft sync can sound a little more random or even unstable. In both cases, the fundamental pitch output by the slave is forced to match its master, as the master is defining what one full cycle of a wave is; however, the resulting timbre changes with the tuning of the slave, as this determines what shape is created before the slave is reset. Enveloping the pitch of the slave creates the classic “ripping” sound heard in the lead to The Cars’ Lets Go, etc.

In Arturia Modular V, sync is a function of each individual oscillator, rather than the oscillator driver. There is a switch for hard or weak sync (down = hard); rather than patching the sync source as you would on a physical modular synth, in Modular V you click on an icon for a switch trigger input to bring up a menu to select which oscillator you wish to sync to. In general, you get more dramatic results if the slave oscillator is tuned higher than the master, so it can complete more than one cycle before being reset:

If you want to follow along and don’t already have Modular V, Arturia has made free demo version of the software available. If you want to learn even more about using Modular V, the full course requires a Lynda.com or LinkedIn Learning subscription; a few of the movies (including the course introduction) are free to all. If you’re not already a subscriber, sign up using the URL http://lynda.com/trial/chrismeyer and you will be able to view the entire course – as well as the nearly 300 other music & audio courses available – for up to 30 days before your credit card is charged. Cancel before then if you don’t find it useful; if you do, a single month only costs $25, going down to $20/month if you sign up for an entire year.

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