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PPG Wave and Poly Evolver Keyboard

PPG Wave and Poly Evolver Keyboard
« on: March 14, 2017, 06:19:13 PM »
It's striking how similar is the sound of the PPG Wave to the Poly Evolver Keyboard.  It makes me wonder if the PEK's blue panel was meant to suggest this and place it in the same family of instruments, together with the Prophet VS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc2-E4Rh0so

Re: PPG Wave and Poly Evolver Keyboard
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2017, 03:10:19 AM »
It's striking how similar is the sound of the PPG Wave to the Poly Evolver Keyboard.  It makes me wonder if the PEK's blue panel was meant to suggest this and place it in the same family of instruments, together with the Prophet VS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc2-E4Rh0so

I think this video rather demonstrates an approximation of particularly harsher PPG sounds, but they still differ from the actual PPG sound (which in itself differs depending on what revision you use) - I'd say they're far too busy by comparison (I'd call that the typical over-compensation effect in emulative sound design):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZ_VGFi5X0  (2.2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izVH1CENIDs  (2.3)

I always thought of the PPG and the VS as complementary hybrid synths both in terms of sound and features.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39tgA8zXr90

The Evolver is somewhat closer to the VS due to the same digital waveforms being used and the four oscillators as opposed to the two oscillators and wavetables that have been utilized in the PPG. And there's of course the connection to the Wavestation too, as the Evolver allows you to program wave sequences (although in a very different manner than on the Wavestation). In contrast, the Evolver must have a hard time approximating anything PPG-like as a non-wavetable synth.

In the end I think they all sound vastly different due to utilizing very different ingredients and also different sounding filters. The PPG Wave has that early digital grittiness in comparison to which the Prophet VS almost sounds polished while the Evolver could sonically stem from the 1980s New Wave or the 1990s Industrial era, which gives it that sort of overarching hybrid sound character.
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Re: PPG Wave and Poly Evolver Keyboard
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 11:22:07 AM »
Another difference between the PPG on one side and the Evolver and VS on the other side is how the digital waveforms are rendered as analog signals. To the best of my knowledge the PPG uses stair casing pulses whereas the VS uses linear interpolation between sample values (ref: a Dave Smith talk). Well, that is at least how I have understood it. So I could be wrong.

Looking forward I would love to see new synthesizers featuring morphing wavetables for their digital oscillators as they are more expressive than the fixed Evolver digital oscillators even with wave sequencing.
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Re: PPG Wave and Poly Evolver Keyboard
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2017, 11:28:27 AM »
My point is simply that the PPG Wave and Poly Evolver Keyboard are in the same sonic family.  That much is obvious from one demonstration after another.  I've thought this nearly every time I've listened to a PPG played as a musical instrument; it always makes me think, "Gee, that sounds just like my music room."

Re: PPG Wave and Poly Evolver Keyboard
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2017, 11:49:08 AM »
Right! Digital oscillators does have a certain sound to them. How do you think the Prophet-12 with its band limited digital oscillators compare to the VS, PPG and Evolver?
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Re: PPG Wave and Poly Evolver Keyboard
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2017, 12:26:10 PM »
My point is simply that the PPG Wave and Poly Evolver Keyboard are in the same sonic family.  That much is obvious from one demonstration after another.  I've thought this nearly every time I've listened to a PPG played as a musical instrument; it always makes me think, "Gee, that sounds just like my music room."

Right, they certainly share a sonic aesthetic to some degree. I guess it comes down to what you'd like to emphasize sonically. In my view, the PPG has the most extreme hybrid character with its 8 bit wavetables on the one side and the SSM filter on the other. That also gives it a certain edge over all the other hybrids. Together with the waveterm it also allowed for the creation of new complex wavetables. The Waldorf Microwave comes a tad closer, although it's already much cleaner if you don't use the 8 bit resolution, and it uses of course the different Curtis filter. Another historical candidate would be the Ensoniq SQ-80.

But the main differences basically come down to bit resolution, filter type (mostly SSM vs Curtis), and whether wavetables or ditgital waveforms are being used. The latter is probably the most significant difference, as you can't compensate one for the other.
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Re: PPG Wave and Poly Evolver Keyboard
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2017, 12:32:57 PM »
Right! Digital oscillators does have a certain sound to them. How do you think the Prophet-12 with its band limited digital oscillators compare to the VS, PPG and Evolver?

To come close to the vintage digital sound, you'd have to reduce the bit rate with the Hack parameter; using Decimate to reduce the sampling rate is helpful too. The Prophet 12 and the Pro 2 have one clear advantage over the Evolver when it comes to wavetable-like sounds, which is the waveshape modulation that can be utilized to emulate a 3 stage wavetable scanning.

The most current instrument that comes closest to the PPG sound, though, is probably the Modal Electronics 002, albeit as a hi-fi incarnation.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 01:03:51 PM by Paul Dither »
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Re: PPG Wave and Poly Evolver Keyboard
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2017, 12:44:26 PM »
Right! Digital oscillators do have a certain sound to them. How do you think the Prophet-12 with its band limited digital oscillators compares to the VS, PPG and Evolver?

Exactly as you say: too limited.  When I was considering the replacing of my PEK with a P12, the latter's limited digital oscillator tones were a factor in deciding against it.

Re: PPG Wave and Poly Evolver Keyboard
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2017, 02:18:34 PM »
Exactly as you say: too limited.  When I was considering the replacing of my PEK with a P12, the latter's limited digital oscillator tones were a factor in deciding against it.

Sound or available waveforms? What I meant with band limited digital oscillators is that they were made to not alias and hence have a highest frequency in their audio signal.
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