Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sound Synthesis - Jean Michel Jarre Laser Harp sound

Cmatsuoka gives you tips to recreate the typical Laser Harp sound that can be heard on Jean Michel Jarre's album ,Rendez-Vous. The original one was created by Paul Wiffen on a Elka Synthex

Laser harp in the microkorg



Text from the video :
  • This is my first attempt at creating a program for the microkorg, so I picked up a sound that is easily recognizable. This is certainly not the best Synthex "laser harp" sound recreation around, but it should provide a good start for tweaks and improvements. The idea should work with any two-oscillator analog or analog-modeled synthesizer with oscillator sync, filtering and some kind of pitch envelope for the sync sweep. Actual values used in each parameter are shown in parentheses.

Source :

6 Comments:

Claudio said...

Thanks for posting. Here are some additional comments: the osc1 waveform isn't that important and can vary from synth to synth, and what adds the real character to the sound is the sync sweep (I left it to the end as the surprise element, but it should really be kicked on earlier when designing the sound). I believe the Synthex uses ring mod instead of sync, so you may want to try that as well.

Claudio said...

Ah, and I think the album is Rendez-Vous and not Revolutions (Rendez-Vous uses Synthex extensively and Revolutions is mostly D-50, if I remember correctly).

Thalassa said...

Yes, You are right, the album is Rendez-Vous. Impossible commit this mistake few years ago. I was a big fan of Jean Michel Jarre.

Glenn J. Hill said...

Very cool !

You have done a good job I think of getting pretty close to the sound! :-)
I need to re-create this type of sound for my custom laser harps, with enough difference so as to not be copying the sound exactly. But it would be a nice preprogrammed file to add to the software I provide with my harps. I have been building custom framed laser harps for a number of years now, but I am working up a prototype for a low powered green laser version of the 'infinite beam' type of harp like Jarre has played. My version will attempt to use low powered 5mw (safe for public interaction by FDA rules), with 8 or 10 individual green lasers. They will be reflected back to filtered( to only accept laser light), sensors on the body of the 'harp', to trigger different channels. The software I use has 36 possible channels to trigger. And each Channel/laser can react to up to 70 times per second, with up to 60 different events, both image and sound programed to each channel.
my web site is www.laserharps.com

Cool !! Keep on playing !

Claudio said...

Thanks Glenn, very interesting instruments you have there. If your software includes a virtual-analog synthesizer with oscillator sync it should be very easy to get something similar to the original sound, with an ample range of variation possibilities (sound-wise, the original sound is more akin to a "laser bass" than a laser harp, but anyway :)). If you have a sampled-waveform synthesizer, I guess you can work from a sampled sync sweep and then add envelopes/filters to it. In any case, remember to publish a video with your results!

Anonymous said...

Great!!!
Can you do the same for Tangerine dream sound?

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