Well I’ve gone and done it now, I’ve given a name to my homemade virtual modular synthesizer. For now at least I’m calling it the Becktone 3000. It’s a pretty cool musical instrument, if I do say so myself. Here are some of it’s (current) key features:

• 1 oscillator monophonic synthesizer, with a choice of 13 (yes, 13!) waveforms
• 1 multimode filter with adjustable cutoff and resonance
• LFO that can modulate pitch (fine and octave), cutoff frequency, and even oscillator waveform
• LFO has a choice of 6 different waveforms
• Built in tuning note (A 440) for pretending you need to tune software oscillators
• Built-from-scratch mono to stereo single tap delay unit
• Basic (Plogue Bidule factory) step sequencer
• …and best of all, a super awesome multi-touch interface from which to control it!

The oscillator module (the oscillator is the thing
that actually makes the sound)
The filter module – cutoff and resonance can be controlled with one finger in the XY pad on the right
The guts of the synth

I’ve been working on building this at the same time I’m finishing a film score and working on my upcoming holiday album. This afternoon I was working on “Little Drummer Boy,” and found a lot of ways to get the Becktone in the mix. Even with just one oscillator, I’ve been able to get some pretty nice and fat (and raw) sounds out of this thing. Using the built-in delay in combination with other reverb or delay, it sounds pretty retro.

Here’s what it sounds like:

The Becktone 3000 – some sounds by chrisbeckstrom

It’s still rough and raw, but I’m pretty happy with it. It was pretty satisfying to record it onto a track, making musical use out of this thing I’ve spent hours working on. I could just as easily open up any number of other virtual synthesizers, but this one is mine.

If there are any other Plogue Bidulers out there, or if anybody is interested in taking a look at my synth, you can download the whole thing from here. (It’s a very small file, ~20kb). It’s messy, and I’m sure there are things I could do differently, but there it is. I’ll be improving it very soon!

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