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News - December 2008

Bristol is an open source software synthesizer for Linux    15th December 2008

Bristol is an emulation package for a number of different 'classic' synthesisers including additive and subtractive and a few organs. The application consists of the engine, which is called bristol, and its own GUI library called brighton that represents all the emulations.

There are currently twenty something different emulations, each does sound different although the author maintains that the quality and accuracy of each emulation is subjective. One of the main reasons for putting together this site (host by Sourceforge which provides the rest of the services required by bristol) is to depict all the different emulations.

This site contains a write-up of each of the emualated synthesisers. The algrithms employed were 'gleaned' from a variety of sources including the original owners manuals, so they may be a better source of information. Some of them were built just from descriptions of their operation, or from understanding how synths work - most of them were based on the Mini Moog anyway. Many of the synths share components: the filter covers most of them, the Prophets and Oberheims share a common oscillator and the same LFO is used in many of them. Having said that each one differs considerably in the resulting sound that is generated, more so than initially expected. Each release refines each of the components and the result is that all emulations benefit from the improvements.

All the emulations have distinctive sounds, not least due to that the original instruments used different modulations and mod routing. The filter, which is a large defining factor in the tonal qualities of any synth, is common to all the emulations. The filter implements 3 different algorithms and these do separate each of the synths: the Explorer layering two low pass filters on top of each other: the OB-Xa using different types depending on 'Pole' selection. The 3rd filter algorithm is a butterworth used by for the Leslie rotary speaker crossover.

The write-up includes the parameter operations, modulations, a description of the original instrument and a brief list of the kind of sounds you can expect by describing a few of the well known users of the synth.


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