Creating the Underworld Rez sound guide

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Joined: 16 Jun 2023

Post 09 Nov 2023

Came across this cool video describing how to recreate the unique synth sound from the track 'Rez' by Underworld using a Behringer 2600.

Having always loved the track and that sound I figured it would be useful to learn how to do it in Reason. I figured the best way to start would be with an ARP2600 emulator, so I grabbed the demo of Cherry Audio's CA2600 ( having been impressed with their other synths recently ). Once I got it working I had a go in Subtractor but couldn't really get it right, I'll probably have a go with some of the other Reason synths later though.

First here is the patch for the CA2600 in a zip file
Rez ARP 2600

Having not used a patch type vst like the CA2600 before there was a bit of a learning curve and a few puzzlements along the way such as 'such as semi-normalled connections', but the documentation was pretty good. I think I figured most things out to match the steps in the above video, though I don't feel its quite right yet, its pretty close.

CherryAudio CA2600 Rez Patch 50%.png

The main aspects I changed were
- Cutoff Freq = 60.98Hz
- Resonance = 99.76
- Slope = 12 db
- VCO3 Amount = 85%
- Keyboard Amount = 100%

- Initial Freq = 8'
- Fine Tune = -6.02
- Disable Keyboard CV in
- Take ramp down to 'Voltage Processors' in order to invert it into a sawtooth, then back up to VCO3 sync.

The CA2600 has fixed steps for the VCO, so I settled on using 8' and fine tuning down to almost the max. The fine tune apparently provides just over +/- fifth, so I figured this was a good way to move it down to a G key like in the video. If I understand the video right then I guess maybe the Cutoff Freq should also be around a G key, but that's either 48 Hz or 98 Hz, but I found 60 Hz to sound better.

The CA2600 doesn't have a sawtooth, so they suggest inverting the ramp wave. Doing this results in a subtle but noticeable change to the sound.

I'm still playing with the patch and will post back if I make any major improvements.
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Post 11 Nov 2023

Going to use this second post for updates.

I grabbed Arturia's ARP2600 V demo to try the same process out there and well, the results were very disappointing. Its a 20 min at a time limited demo, which due to the added complexity of it having the sequencer and some changes from the Behringer interface made it quite challenging. I'll have to give it another go, but the end result was nothing like the sound I wanted.

There are quite a few ARP2600 emulators so I want to test out a few and see how they perform. While I never expected any of them to accurately produce the same sound, especially of such an old piece of hardware with all the physical differences from one to another, I didn't expect to quite have the level of challenge that I've ran into.

Its an interesting challenge to reproduce this sound, so i'm going to keep at it as and when I have the time. I feel there is a lot that could be learned from such an experience and i'll post back here.

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Post 11 Nov 2023

The Rez sound is a great sound for sure!!

I own the Arturia emulation but have not tried the Cherry Audio version. Interesting your experience.

I like the variety in the Arturia collection, but TBH never really drawn in and inspired by the Arturia emulations. I'm not sure why. They have great UIs but the sound seems a bit flat somehow.
Unlike u-he, Synapse, Blamsoft, Roland, Korg.

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Post 12 Nov 2023

Sounds like the “Life’s Been Good” patch, basically a static saw with a sequencer/keyboard “playing” a resonant filter instead of controlling oscillator pitch (in this case done on an Arp Odyssey IIRC).
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