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Deconstructing patches

Deconstructing patches
« on: December 15, 2017, 07:12:17 AM »
I am fairly new to the Rev 2 and have a question. Often times, rather than start a new patch from scratch, I'd rather try and "deconstruct" a patch (well, layer) to get it down to close to it's most basic form ("tone it down"). What often happens is, after I think I have turned everything off that I'm able to, the patch is still doing some wild things and I don't know why. For example, I'll shut off all LFO's, the AUX envelope, FX, modulation sources (I may leave the modwheel alone if I'm not using it), make sure things like "Unison" and "Glide" or off etc. but often I'm still left with "effects". Am I being stupid or is this some kind of real long learning curve process? My only other synth was a Oberheim Matrix-6 which I loved soundwise, but hated for lack of knobs. In that regard, this thing is the "bees knees", but it seems almost too "deep" for me at times. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Re: Deconstructing patches
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2017, 07:16:28 AM »
If you're "turning down" parameters on only one layer, then the other layer still has them turned up, and those are what you're hearing when you strike a note.

Razmo

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Re: Deconstructing patches
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2017, 07:17:21 AM »
Only thing I can think of is that you are probably forgetting that a lot of programs use two layers? ... the front panel only edit one layer at a time, and you have to make the changes you say you do, to BOTH layers.. .otherwise you'll still be hearing one layer with all it's modulations...

If this is not the case, there MUST be modulations that are still active...

Re: Deconstructing patches
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2017, 07:32:03 AM »
Yeah, at first I was missing the layer thing. But it'll happen either with no layer lights (layer A) or the "Edit layer B" button lit. I'll just keep working at it.

Re: Deconstructing patches
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2017, 02:44:04 PM »
In case any of you missed it, you can edit both layers at the same time. When playing a layered patch in default mode (so both layers are sounding) press and hold the layer B button until it starts blinking. This is great for turning all LFO amounts to zero, all envelope amounts to zero and things like that. Tweaking some other parameters though will set both layers to the same settings which may not be what you want. So use it carefully.
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Re: Deconstructing patches
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2017, 06:57:53 AM »
In case any of you missed it, you can edit both layers at the same time. When playing a layered patch in default mode (so both layers are sounding) press and hold the layer B button until it starts blinking. This is great for turning all LFO amounts to zero, all envelope amounts to zero and things like that. Tweaking some other parameters though will set both layers to the same settings which may not be what you want. So use it carefully.

That is an awesome tip thank you. 

Razmo

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Re: Deconstructing patches
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2017, 03:02:25 AM »
In case any of you missed it, you can edit both layers at the same time. When playing a layered patch in default mode (so both layers are sounding) press and hold the layer B button until it starts blinking. This is great for turning all LFO amounts to zero, all envelope amounts to zero and things like that. Tweaking some other parameters though will set both layers to the same settings which may not be what you want. So use it carefully.

That is an awesome tip thank you.

Just remember one thing (which was not obvious to me)... when you edit both layers at the same time (blinking button), and you think you can play a poly sequence into the REV2 that will record what you play, on both layers, you will be disappointed. you cannot start the polysequencer recording in this editing mode unfortunately... so if you want to record the same to both layers when you're using a STACKED program, you will have to record it to one layer, and then press both SPLIT and STACK at the same time... this will take you to a menu where you can copy/swap sequences .. not exactly intuitive I know, but it's the only way if you want to have the same note and velocity values in both layers.

jg666

Re: Deconstructing patches
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2017, 05:04:35 AM »
Has anyone any experience of using programs such as this one:-

http://www.soundtower.com/rev2/

As well as a library manager I'm thinking that it might be easier to see how the patch is constructed on the screen using this?
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kris

Re: Deconstructing patches
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2017, 02:23:23 PM »
Hi jg666, I have tried various editors, also for other synths, and must say that the disappointment with those I have is that they basically only mimic the hardware knobs - seldom they show a graphical envelope, and even less often the shape of the oscs.

They are not suited in my opinion to have a quick look at the screen and understand the current patch quicker - if any, they show even more info that you need to digest.

As the Rev2 is pretty much nearly one knob per function, I was wishing for a software that would just show the current patch values in a quickly understandable way - no need to modify it on screen, I have the knobs.

I have written a little software myself (programming is my day job, so I just can't help it), and added in a few features I was missing in the Rev2 like copy poly to gated sequencer, an undo and an autosave function, plus a bigger value display (including the saved value). It's not a commercial software, but currently probably only good for myself. Wish the official editors would be more useful.

Re: Deconstructing patches
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2017, 03:13:13 PM »
Hi jg666, I have tried various editors, also for other synths, and must say that the disappointment with those I have is that they basically only mimic the hardware knobs - seldom they show a graphical envelope, and even less often the shape of the oscs.

Interesting analysis! Can you explain in more detail what kind of information you miss seeing in an editor's display of a program?

One certain limitation of synthesizers is the sheer number of parameters and hence the time required to understand what a patch does.
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kris

Re: Deconstructing patches
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2018, 05:16:13 AM »
Happy new year everyone, I was off-grid so my answer may be a bit late.

Let me try to explain: We are talking about reverse engineering / deconstructing patches to understand how they work. Most often, I think, to learn from others on how to build specific sounds or effects.

When selecting a patch on a synth like the Rev2, obviously the real knobs don't help you at all, because they are all in the wrong position. So a software editor that shows the same knobs in the correct position already helps and saves time over touching each knob in order to learn the values. And yes, the Rev2 has the trick that you can hold the MISC button while turning a knob to find out the stored value without modifying a patch, and that is what I do if I am interested in a specific parameter.

Obviously this is not feasible or fun for all parameters, so a display - be it a bigger display on the synth or an attached computer or programmer - is of help. Then again, I found that looking at a screen with all those knobs is also time-consuming because e.g. you read a knob position for Env Attack, and three more for the other Env parameters, and assemble that in your mind into the env curve. Even worse with the OSC setup, because of the funny way the Shape Mod works in that it has to be 0 to get a pure saw but 50 to get a pure square - I always confuse this.

Probably an editor should provide two different types of screen controls: One to modify the values (and I hate to modify virtual encoders with a mouse, I guess that's why I and most here love the Rev2 for its knobs), and a completely different one to understand the patch - e.g. a read/understand display and a modify control.

For example, I tried my software to put out prose text (no kidding) for the oscillator setup, and that's actually very helpful, to my own surprise. It does say something like

"OSC1 is Saw and OSC2 is Triangle 5 semitones above, no detune".

Not sure if this is a way forward, but I haven't seen it in any software so far. To get it really flying you'd also need some fuzzy text for the value ranges like "slight detune", "heavy detune" or similar.


Re: Deconstructing patches
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2018, 03:38:46 PM »
Has anyone any experience of using programs such as this one:-

http://www.soundtower.com/rev2/

As well as a library manager I'm thinking that it might be easier to see how the patch is constructed on the screen using this?

I got the Sound Tower editor and the AU plugin, since I thought I would need it to understand the synth, and indeed, the editor is useful to understand patches, but after a while I got better used to the actual hardware that I find more immediate, Dave Smith knows well what he's doing! The editor does display the envelopes, but the most important characteristic is that you see right away all the modulation links, which can save you some time, but again after a bit you figure out how everything is connected so I don't feel to absolutely recommend it; also, it doesn't seem to reflect changes due to modulation, for example, if you modulate the decay of the VCA it does not show how the envelope changes over time, only the initial state, so is just a different look and feel for the knobs. The AU is the same application, except that runs in a plugin wrapper... They charge 100 euros or something for both so is quite a lot for what it offers, as you can control the same parameters via midi automation from your DAW or by mapping to a different controller; the Rev2 hardware gives you quick access to all the functions via knobs, so while I can see that it is useful for some to being able to use a mouse to tweak the sounds, you would probably end up using with automation to do any meaningful changes anyway. I would probably buy the editor on a Prophet 12 desktop module with limited controls, and otherwise suggest it for the rev2 if the synth is in a different room and you need to control from the computer (but hey! who does buy this beauty just to hide it in a closet!?).

Re: Deconstructing patches
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2018, 03:45:52 PM »
I have written a little software myself (programming is my day job, so I just can't help it), and added in a few features I was missing in the Rev2 like copy poly to gated sequencer, an undo and an autosave function, plus a bigger value display (including the saved value). It's not a commercial software, but currently probably only good for myself. Wish the official editors would be more useful.

That seems to be more useful indeed, do you have the code on GitHub or somewhere?

Cheers,
Mario

kris

Re: Deconstructing patches
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2018, 12:02:02 AM »
I have written a little software myself (programming is my day job, so I just can't help it), and added in a few features I was missing in the Rev2 like copy poly to gated sequencer, an undo and an autosave function, plus a bigger value display (including the saved value). It's not a commercial software, but currently probably only good for myself. Wish the official editors would be more useful.

That seems to be more useful indeed, do you have the code on GitHub or somewhere?

Cheers,
Mario

Hi Mario,
sorry I got distracted by my Rev2, as well as by trying to port the idea of patch to text to the somewhat simpler Oberheim Matrix 1000 I have, and with even less knobs (none) it is more useful for that machine.

I will still try to finish the edit helper for the Rev2 over the course of the next month so I can put it online - I'll post it in this forum if that happens!

Cheers,
Christof