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Great Wavetable Synths

Razmo

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Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2017, 10:40:37 AM »
What do people consider "wavetables" !? ... I see SQ-80 mentioned which is not a wavetablesynth, it is a ROM'pler with analog filters and VCAs... there seems to be great confusion out there as to what wavetable synthesis is, I know that... true wavetable synthesis is where you have a table of equally long waveform cycles as stored samples, and has the ability to change between theese via modulation sources.... not even Ensoniq trans-waves fully clarifies for this as the lengths differ as far as I recall it, though they are close to sounding the same... but machines like ESQ-80 and ESQ-1 and the like are not wavetable synths in the true sense (Waldorf wavetable sense that is)

I only mentioned the Ensoniqs for sonic, not technological reasons. The ESQ-1 and 80 have always been considered the poor man's PPG. Not because of them being proper wavetable synths, but hybrids with a similar sonic character.

But in my opinion, that is very misleading, and blurs what people mean when they talk "wavetable synthesis"... The PPG was a true wavetable synth... when people consider the ESQ-1 and ESQ-80 the same, things get mixed up pretty bad... especially if you are in search of a true wavetable synth, and someone advice you to get an ESQ-1 or SQ-80... you may get rather disappointed :D

But with that said... ESQ-1 and SQ-80 are two REALLY cool hybrid synths for sure... Had both the ESQ-1 and ESQ-m ... wonderful machines, with very deep engines of their time :)

Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2017, 10:44:42 AM »
What do people consider "wavetables" !? ... I see SQ-80 mentioned which is not a wavetablesynth, it is a ROM'pler with analog filters and VCAs... there seems to be great confusion out there as to what wavetable synthesis is, I know that... true wavetable synthesis is where you have a table of equally long waveform cycles as stored samples, and has the ability to change between theese via modulation sources.... not even Ensoniq trans-waves fully clarifies for this as the lengths differ as far as I recall it, though they are close to sounding the same... but machines like ESQ-80 and ESQ-1 and the like are not wavetable synths in the true sense (Waldorf wavetable sense that is)

I only mentioned the Ensoniqs for sonic, not technological reasons. The ESQ-1 and 80 have always been considered the poor man's PPG. Not because of them being proper wavetable synths, but hybrids with a similar sonic character.

But in my opinion, that is very misleading, and blurs what people mean when they talk "wavetable synthesis"... The PPG was a true wavetable synth... when people consider the ESQ-1 and ESQ-80 the same, things get mixed up pretty bad... especially if you are in search of a true wavetable synth, and someone advice you to get an ESQ-1 or SQ-80... you may get rather disappointed :D

But with that said... ESQ-1 and SQ-80 are two REALLY cool hybrid synths for sure... Had both the ESQ-1 and ESQ-m ... wonderful machines, with very deep engines of their time :)

Yeah, that's true. I should have made it clearer in the beginning. Anyway, it's spelled out now.

Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2017, 10:48:44 AM »
Good point. I didn't know the distinction. Thanks for clarifying.

Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2017, 10:53:57 AM »
What do people consider "wavetables" !? ... I see SQ-80 mentioned which is not a wavetablesynth, it is a ROM'pler with analog filters and VCAs... there seems to be great confusion out there as to what wavetable synthesis is, I know that... true wavetable synthesis is where you have a table of equally long waveform cycles as stored samples, and has the ability to change between theese via modulation sources.... not even Ensoniq trans-waves fully clarifies for this as the lengths differ as far as I recall it, though they are close to sounding the same... but machines like ESQ-80 and ESQ-1 and the like are not wavetable synths in the true sense (Waldorf wavetable sense that is)

That may be a more narrow definition that, in some cases, even the PPG Wave 2.x + Waveterm combo might fall afowl of.

An instrument such as the Kawai K3 might be considered a hybrid, as there is no wave scanning for digital waves. That said, I see no harm in counting the MonoWave or the Modal 001/002 as (fixed) wave-table (or "wave-scanning") synths; they are no less capable in this regard than, say, the Waldorf Q (Wave 1 / Wave 2).

A scan of the 001/002 manuals (no pun intended) shows that there are most definitely some adjacent waves that mimic the behavior of the PPG / Waldorf units: http://www.modalelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/modal002_manual_v1-2.pdf, specifically p99. Compare these with the MonoWave: http://www.elby-designs.com/webtek/monowave/monowave-guide.pdf, p24.

As for the non-hybrid Ensoniq Transwave units, such as the TS-10 / VFX–these might also qualify, perhaps more so than the hybrid ESQ-1 / SQ-80 units which do permit scanning across the (fixed) waveform ROM (and outside it!).
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 11:01:50 AM by DavidDever »
Sequential / DSI / Pioneer stuff: Prophet 12 Desktop, Mono Evolver Keyboard, TORAIZ AS-1, Prophet-600 Gligli, Prophet 2000

Razmo

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Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2017, 01:17:35 PM »
What do people consider "wavetables" !? ... I see SQ-80 mentioned which is not a wavetablesynth, it is a ROM'pler with analog filters and VCAs... there seems to be great confusion out there as to what wavetable synthesis is, I know that... true wavetable synthesis is where you have a table of equally long waveform cycles as stored samples, and has the ability to change between theese via modulation sources.... not even Ensoniq trans-waves fully clarifies for this as the lengths differ as far as I recall it, though they are close to sounding the same... but machines like ESQ-80 and ESQ-1 and the like are not wavetable synths in the true sense (Waldorf wavetable sense that is)

That may be a more narrow definition that, in some cases, even the PPG Wave 2.x + Waveterm combo might fall afowl of.

An instrument such as the Kawai K3 might be considered a hybrid, as there is no wave scanning for digital waves. That said, I see no harm in counting the MonoWave or the Modal 001/002 as (fixed) wave-table (or "wave-scanning") synths; they are no less capable in this regard than, say, the Waldorf Q (Wave 1 / Wave 2).

A scan of the 001/002 manuals (no pun intended) shows that there are most definitely some adjacent waves that mimic the behavior of the PPG / Waldorf units: http://www.modalelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/modal002_manual_v1-2.pdf, specifically p99. Compare these with the MonoWave: http://www.elby-designs.com/webtek/monowave/monowave-guide.pdf, p24.

As for the non-hybrid Ensoniq Transwave units, such as the TS-10 / VFX–these might also qualify, perhaps more so than the hybrid ESQ-1 / SQ-80 units which do permit scanning across the (fixed) waveform ROM (and outside it!).

Some synths have the wavetables in ROM others can have them changed for your own waveforms... but both are still wavetable synthesizers... later Virus'es also have Wavetable synthesis... I'm not familiar with the technology behind the PPG wave since I'll never own one anyway, but I definitely believe they are wavetable synthesizers becuase their wavetables has been ported to many other wavetable synths since... if the PPG is able to modulate the position in real time I do not know... if not... I'll call it a simple ROMpler.

The transwaves can also be modulated, and are in a sense, a different type of wavetable synthesis in that it crossfades between the waveforms as far as I'm aware (correct me if I'm wrong)... others have also called the Wavestation a "wavetable synthesizer" which it in my opinion is not... but with these machines (transwaves and the wavestation) the transition between them blurs a bit...

Wavetable synths I know of (true wavetable synth in my opinion):

PPG Wave
Microwave 1 & 2
Quantum
Q/Micro Q
Blofeld
Micromonsta
Shruthi 1
Ambika
Virus (those with wavetables in them, can't remember when they started having that... believe the C?)
Mininova
Micronova

probably more... a few may even be in the grey zone like the P12 which is also kind of wavetable synthesis, just with very few waveshapes to choose from and a lot of interpolation going on.

In my point of view... what is the most telling aspect of a real wavetable synth is that it allow you to modulate the waveshapes in REAL TIME... if it cannot do that, I will not call it a wavetable synth... thus I will not call the ESQ-1 and SQ-80 for wavetable synths... you can only choose a single sample for an oscillator, and that one is looped or single shot... this is exactly what constitutes a PCM ROMpler :)
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 01:20:24 PM by Razmo »

Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2017, 01:47:25 PM »
I'm not familiar with the technology behind the PPG wave since I'll never own one anyway, but I definitely believe they are wavetable synthesizers becuase their wavetables has been ported to many other wavetable synths since... if the PPG is able to modulate the position in real time I do not know... if not... I'll call it a simple ROMpler.

The PPG is definitely not a ROMpler. Of course you can scan through wavetables: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQ16WeCqla4

others have also called the Wavestation a "wavetable synthesizer" which it in my opinion is not... but with these machines (transwaves and the wavestation) the transition between them blurs a bit...

The Wavestation, just like the Prophet VS, is definitely no wavetable synth. In both cases you can crossfade between different waves, which can sometimes end in results that sound similar to the outcomes of wavetable scanning. But the whole principle is completely different.

Shaw

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Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2017, 02:10:03 PM »
a few may even be in the grey zone like the P12 which is also kind of wavetable synthesis, just with very few waveshapes to choose from and a lot of interpolation going on.
Whoah fellas... I didn't mean to start something here.  :)
All good points.
When I think of "Wavetable synths", I think of synths with the ability to change the essential shape of a single Oscillators wave over time. I say "essential shape" to draw a difference between pulse width modulation (even as DSI uses it on saw waves) and the classic sound of an oscillator moving through various waves over time (ā la every Waldorf we've ever heard, I think).
But Razmo is right, the P12 could fit my definition as well: take 3 very different waves (Nasal, Gothic and Aah for example) and modulate the wave shape -- voila.  And if you want that classic "stair step" sound of abruptly changing wave shape, add a little S&H modulation to the mix.  Not classic wavetable synthesis, but very similar (and perhaps more interesting) sound.


I am really hoping that the Waldorf Quantum will fill that Wavetable gap (along with granular sampling / synthesis and physical modeling). But I may also opt for an XTK or Virus TI.  The only thing with the Virus is that it approaches a lot of sonic territory that I already have well covered. And if DSI shocks us with a sampler / wavetable synth, well... hell.  I only have room for one more synth in the cabinet.  Choices.


Interesting times to enjoy synthesis. 
"Classical musicians go to the conservatories, rock´n roll musicians go to the garages." --- Frank Zappa

Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2017, 02:17:29 PM »
But Razmo is right, the P12 could fit my definition as well: take 3 very different waves (Nasal, Gothic and Aah for example) and modulate the wave shape -- voila.  And if you want that classic "stair step" sound of abruptly changing wave shape, add a little S&H modulation to the mix.  Not classic wavetable synthesis, but very similar (and perhaps more interesting) sound.

It's worth mentioning that even if you choose the same wave three times on the Prophet 12 and the Pro 2, you will get waveshape modulation. There will still be interpolations if you move around between the single stages, which makes it obvious that both synths don't operate with simple crossfades.

Shaw

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Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2017, 02:22:49 PM »
But Razmo is right, the P12 could fit my definition as well: take 3 very different waves (Nasal, Gothic and Aah for example) and modulate the wave shape -- voila.  And if you want that classic "stair step" sound of abruptly changing wave shape, add a little S&H modulation to the mix.  Not classic wavetable synthesis, but very similar (and perhaps more interesting) sound.

It's worth mentioning that even if you choose the same wave three times on the Prophet 12 and the Pro 2, you will get waveshape modulation. There will still be interpolations if you move around between the single stages, which makes it obvious that both synths don't operate with simple crossfades.
I wonder if anyone knows how many interpolations there are between any two waveforms on the P12. It must be a finite number.
"Classical musicians go to the conservatories, rock´n roll musicians go to the garages." --- Frank Zappa

Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2017, 07:03:19 PM »
I've read in several places that once the term was used, incorrectly, for the synth that came with Creative Sound Blasters, that was it, other makers started to call their PCM synths wavetable synths.  I recall being told by a gaming nerd I was silly to have spend 3k on a Microwave as Sound Blasters have a wavetable synth built into them....(even if they were proper wavetable synths, they still don't have 44 knobs!)

Interesting times to enjoy synthesis. 

Indeed it is.

Razmo

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Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #30 on: December 13, 2017, 01:21:30 AM »
I'm not familiar with the technology behind the PPG wave since I'll never own one anyway, but I definitely believe they are wavetable synthesizers becuase their wavetables has been ported to many other wavetable synths since... if the PPG is able to modulate the position in real time I do not know... if not... I'll call it a simple ROMpler.

The PPG is definitely not a ROMpler. Of course you can scan through wavetables: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQ16WeCqla4

others have also called the Wavestation a "wavetable synthesizer" which it in my opinion is not... but with these machines (transwaves and the wavestation) the transition between them blurs a bit...

The Wavestation, just like the Prophet VS, is definitely no wavetable synth. In both cases you can crossfade between different waves, which can sometimes end in results that sound similar to the outcomes of wavetable scanning. But the whole principle is completely different.

Fully agree on that :) ... they are "similar" in the way that they can modulate a position that change the played waveform, but other than that, the Wavestation and Prophet VS has nothing to do with real wavetables.... I bet people confuse the terms because all are waveforms in a "table"... they are PCM waves being stored right after each other in memory... maybe thats why people confuse the two things... don't know, but I see this topic being debated in other forums as well...

Razmo

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Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2017, 01:25:34 AM »
a few may even be in the grey zone like the P12 which is also kind of wavetable synthesis, just with very few waveshapes to choose from and a lot of interpolation going on.
Whoah fellas... I didn't mean to start something here.  :)
All good points.
When I think of "Wavetable synths", I think of synths with the ability to change the essential shape of a single Oscillators wave over time. I say "essential shape" to draw a difference between pulse width modulation (even as DSI uses it on saw waves) and the classic sound of an oscillator moving through various waves over time (ā la every Waldorf we've ever heard, I think).
But Razmo is right, the P12 could fit my definition as well: take 3 very different waves (Nasal, Gothic and Aah for example) and modulate the wave shape -- voila.  And if you want that classic "stair step" sound of abruptly changing wave shape, add a little S&H modulation to the mix.  Not classic wavetable synthesis, but very similar (and perhaps more interesting) sound.


I am really hoping that the Waldorf Quantum will fill that Wavetable gap (along with granular sampling / synthesis and physical modeling). But I may also opt for an XTK or Virus TI.  The only thing with the Virus is that it approaches a lot of sonic territory that I already have well covered. And if DSI shocks us with a sampler / wavetable synth, well... hell.  I only have room for one more synth in the cabinet.  Choices.


Interesting times to enjoy synthesis.

The Quantum will certainly be the most advanced wavetable synth to date when it's here... it's based on the NAVE technology which has both speech synthesis and even formant features included which is very new in hardware... it will probably be a really cool synth... just a shame they put it all in the same box and made it so darn expensive... I'd really like a smaller desktop version of it, with just the granular/sampler part of it... that is unless DSI come up with something like a sampler/granular thing...

Razmo

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Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #32 on: December 13, 2017, 01:34:59 AM »
The reason I'm so strict with my definition of wavetable synthesis is, that the way the interpolation works is different in one very particular way... the VS or the Wavestation for example, MIXES the waveforms as they change position... the effect of this is very different to true wavetable synthesis in that two waves mixed will give essentially two sounds on top of each other, with all the phase cancellations that occur because of this included... true wavetable synthesis will not mix... they are interpolated, and always in phase... even IF there is some mixing going on, it will be done in phase, so that the resulting single cycle waveform that comes from it, will have no phase beating or cancellations... the point here is, that the resulting waveform will ALLWAYS sound like a single oscillator waveform... only the spectral content will change.

This makes true wavetable synthesis more interesting for further FM processing, sync modes, amplitude modulation etc.... it makes a true wavetable oscillator seem more like a real SINGLE oscillator in my point of view :)
« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 01:37:35 AM by Razmo »

jdt9517

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Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #33 on: January 21, 2018, 08:16:25 PM »
In my  point of view... what is the most telling aspect of a real wavetable synth is that it allow you to modulate the waveshapes in REAL TIME... if it cannot do that, I will not call it a wavetable synth... thus I will not call the ESQ-1 and SQ-80 for wavetable synths... you can only choose a single sample for an oscillator, and that one is looped or single shot... this is exactly what constitutes a PCM ROMpler :)

After getting my "dumpster find" ESQ-1, I was trying to figure out why many do not consider it a wavetable synth.  Finally, a concise explanation.  Thanks!  BTW, for anyone who is interested, the ESQ-1 cleaned up and played great.  It must have just sat for a long time, as it was not beaten up. The memory battery is low, but is still capable top retain memory for the moment.  One of these days will solder in a new battery.  Just not that motivated to take it apart.

What work I have done with it makes me believe it is simple to program.  Good feeling keyboard (after cleaning the trash out of it)
Jim Thorburn .  Toys-  Dave Smith: Prophet 08;
Pro 2; Prophet 12; EastWest Orchestral soft synths; Yamaha S90; Yamaha DX-7; KARP Odyssey; Ensoniq ESQ-1.  All run through a Sonar DAW with a Tascam DM-24 board.

Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2018, 10:29:49 AM »
Really hope we see some more wavetable, FM, VS oriented synths coming out. I still have no idea why Yamaha hasn't done a new DX. Not the Montage or a dual engine system...just a pure FMX based synth.
Prophet 6, Prophet X, Oberheim Two Voice Pro, Moog Sub 37, Tempest Drum Computer, Roland V Piano,Kurzweil K2600XS, Roland FA-08, Baldwin Upright Piano, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Gibson Chet Atkins SST, Jackson King V, Ibanez Jem, Roger Linn Adrenalinn iii

Re: Great Wavetable Synths
« Reply #35 on: April 30, 2018, 06:37:02 PM »
I bought an SMR4 chipped Shruthi last year and not really sat down with it until now.  I'm mid re-configure and plugged a Keystep into it and a set of headphones in an attempt to find if it really deserves deskspace.

The sounds I'm getting out of it are quite rich and wavetable-e.  Very reminiscent of my Microwave XTk and so it should, really; they nicked a bunch of PPG waves heheh.  But it's also very harsh.  Very, very harsh.  So very very, very harsh.  Doesn't take much resonance to get the filter into self-oscillation (using this chip) and the shrillness can be compounded depending on the type of operator being used in the mixer section.  That said, it does rival my ĩwaveII in terms of wavetable synthesis implementation and modulation flexibility.

As far as monosynths of any breed go, it does perform.  High end and low end really come through nicely with the subosc moving the air in the room very smooth and cleanly.  Running a fast arp then moving it up into the top-end, things don't break up, unless you want them to by using one of the more broken sounding waveforms or purposely over digital mixer options.  Does a convincing devilfish 303 and a good MS-20 -> Boss Turbo Distortion (devilfish MS-20? lol).
I'm still exploring how the LFO's work (or FLO's, as mine has printed on it).  The attack parameter is a nice touch and can augment the attacks of the two envelopes.  They could go slower for my tastes, but eh, I'm sure I can work something out using the operators, or failing that there is a CV input or two that I can sort out for external lfo signals.
They could have done with a third envelope using 6 stages to go with the 'parameter' parameter, but I'm late to the party, no asking for stuff now, stiff cheese for me!  The two envelopes it does have are very fast and snappy.  Perfect for percussion when combined with the percussion oriented osc waves.
The 12 mod matrix is near as good as a 16 slot matrix, heheh.  All the usual suspects are there for source and destination.  Just one complaint: it's pretty dumb that Env2 has to be sent to the amp manually and is not hardwired as is Env1 is to the filter.

My next stunt will be to plug it's MIDI out into my Microgranny 2 and then the MG2's output back into the Shurthi.  Should make a fitting little wonky machine out of the two of them.

Definitely I'm going to open it up and stick the CV wires onto it I think, but also look into a different filter chip.  I not sure if I my old ears like the wailing filter as much as it did 20yrs ago!
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 07:58:02 PM by megamarkd »