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Much like vinyl imparts a certain imperfect-but-adored sound through time, dust collected, faulty needles, and warped records, the same can be said of the MP3. Arguably, retro-MP3 production value is more in line with the tenor of our digital, postmodern age. We now have free apps on our phone to imitate crappy VHS camcorders. We share dank Instagram content that harnesses the style of visual degradation, mash-up and retro Windows ’98 artifacts — why not bring back the 128 kbps MP3 as well?

A fifth in 12-TET is defined as seven semitones. Instead of multiplying your frequency by 3/2, you multiply by the 12th root of two seven times, which is about 1.498. That’s close, but not quite on the nose. Major thirds are worse in 12-TET. Instead of multiplying your frequency by 5/4, you multiply by the 12th root of two four times. That gives you 1.25992, which is not very close to 5/4 at all. Nevertheless, we as a civilization have collectively decided that we should just suck it up and live with everything sounding a little wrong. There are plenty of good reasons to!

Lizzo’s ‘truth hurts’ leads hot 100 for 5th week, chris brown’s ‘no

Convenient though it is, some musicians don’t want to accommodate a 12-TET, insisting instead that we continue to use pure intervals derived from harmonics the way God and Pythagoras intended. Harmonics-based tuning systems are collectively known as just intonation. This is a poetically apt term, because it implies fairness. By contrast, the implicit message of 12-TET is that life isn’t fair. As we’ve learned, just intonation systems give you some lovely pure intervals, but are severely limited otherwise. A few malcontents prefer alternative historical compromise tuning systems that make some keys sound better at the expense of others sounding worse. There are many such esoteric temperament systems, but none of them are in widespread use.

First, we’ll look at what they actually do while recording and composing, which is interesting in its own right. Second, we’ll survey what kind of software is available to help you quickly approximate that sound. And finally, we’ll explore how to create some of their signature sounds from scratch using simple and inexpensive software. But first, if you’re looking to expand your knowledge of synthesis or even introduce yourself to synths for the first time, join Soundfly’s free online course Demystifying Synths today. It’s free!