Key Secrets: A Patch of Silence

Keyboard insider tips from David Battino
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In previous columns I’ve covered the benefits of layering synths (richer sounds), daisy-chaining them through their aux inputs (for compact gig setups), and running digital synths through the external oscillator inputs in analog synths (for filtering and flavor). This photo shows a fourth technique: routing a dry analog synth through the digital effects in a MIDI module. One useful trick when layering MIDI synths is to create silent patches so you can switch from single timbres to layers simply by changing programs. That’s more reliable than remembering to grab a volume knob. My favorite silent-patch trick comes from an A-list music director who will remain anonymous. He programmed dummy patches with shocking names and switched them remotely to try to crack up the keyboardist during the show.