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Basic Synthesis Question Regarding Nord Lead 2X-
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shykedmi
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5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
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Basic Synthesis Question Regarding Nord Lead 2X-

Hello everyone. I bought the Nord Lead 2x a few months ago and while toying around with it I noticed something that I found peculiar. I can take any given "factory" sound of the Nord and strip it to its most basic elements, meaning the soundwave. But the peculiar thing is that I can take two different patches that has the same soundwave (let's say sawtooth) and when I strip it to down the two sawtooth waves doesn't sound the same in their actual tone (quality, character). Does that make sense? If so, what is the parameter that makes them sound different from the get go?

Thank you very much,

Shy
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5th March 2012
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Perhaps if you'd plot the waves on an oscilloscope, you may see that although the waves are similar, they aren't both perfect sawtooth waves, therefore, not the same. Just a guess. Also, did you check if any other FX or parameters are still on? That may be affecting the sound. That's pretty cool you can do that, though, I wish I could on my microKorg XL.
shykedmi
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5th March 2012
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Yeah, I turned all LFO and FM knobs down just so I could hear the actual basic waveform, made sure that the cutoff and resonance were at their minimum and that the balance between the two oscillators goes towards only the one I'm checking. There's something about the tone that is still different and I'm trying to understand if that makes sense or not. Maybe there is something I'm doing wrong.
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Yeah, the only other thing I can think of is that the waveforms aren't identical.
shykedmi
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5th March 2012
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I'll check it. What can cause it though? I also noticed that there are some sounds that actually has a crescendo\vibrato\attack that I cannot get rid of if I want to. I must be doing something wrong, though I am twisting all the knobs.

Thank you very much for your help!
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Could be in unison mode.
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Have you got the same filter response on each patch?

I don't believe the oscillator will be noticeably different from patch to patch. I think you're just missing something.

Have you tried working in manual mode?
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Wow, you both were right, the Unison was on and I was not working in Manual Mode. Would you mind explaining briefly on what these two options are? It sounds completely the same in Manual Mode now - I get that it is not dependent on any patch I selected previously, it's just one mode that I can create my own sounds from scratch with, right?

However, I'm trying something else now - I took a patch (not in Manual Mode), stripped it to it to two sawtooth wave forms (on each oscillator for comparison). They now sound the same (fuller than in the manual mode for some reason) but I now see that the vibration is coming from the LFO 1, which operates very slowly even though its amount is turned all the way down to 0- meaning, I can't get rid of this vibrato in regular mode (the mod wheel is turned all the way down).

One other thing, when I'm trying to work in Manual Mode and then put the Unison option it makes the sound fatter. Why is that? It sounds like it's doubling it an octave down.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shykedmi View Post
Wow, you both were right, the Unison was on and I was not working in Manual Mode. Would you mind explaining briefly on what these two options are?
Manual mode - if it's the same on all other synths - does not use the preset memory of the synth but the knobs in the physical position they are in at the moment.

A preset may have the filter cutoff set at 10%. In reality, the knob is set to say, 90%. When you load up the preset, you won't notice this; until you turn the filter cutoff, then the value suddenly "jumps" to 90%. There are several solutions for that, but I don't know if the NL offers them. One option is to let the knob do nothing until it's near to the value in the memory; this means that on some synths you can simply turn the knob all the way down to 10% and hear no change, but once you cross the 10% and go up again, the value starts to follow the knob.

Manual mode is useful for creating sounds from scratch, but an initialized preset (usually a single oscillator playing, filter opened up/bypassed, envelopes set to zero attack/zero release) is more useful. If you don't have one, create one and save it in a remote location.

Quote:
One other thing, when I'm trying to work in Manual Mode and then put the Unison option it makes the sound fatter. Why is that? It sounds like it's doubling it an octave down.
Unison triggers the same note several times.

Consider the Jupiter 6. It has 6 voices - each "voice" is a 2-oscillator monophonic (one note at a time) synthesizer with its own multimode filter and its own envelopes. When you play a C-major chord, the first voice's pitch is set to C, the second to E, the third to G. However; the separate synthesizers do not care what notes they're set to; it's just that on a conventional keyboard, playing C a second time means that you have to release the first C note you played. Otherwise, voices would pile up. With unison, one note tells all those 6 little monophonic synthesizers to play the same note. There are several unison modes too - with the Jupiter, playing two notes means each note gets 3 voices each. With three notes, each note gets 2 voices each.

The reason I use a JP6 is because if you open it up you can actually see the separate pieces of circuitry; on other synths, it's even more clear because they're completely separate circuit boards. On a Nord Lead, you have one big DSP chugging along so you don't see 16 (or 20) little chips, each responsible for one voice. The reason it can still create separate sounds is because they're separate in the memory of the DSP itself - and the polyphony limit is because the DSP in there has only so much power to generate so many sounds in a short enough time simultaneously.

The "fatness" you describe is a given with most analog synthesizers because those oscillators will always vary a little bit in pitch. On any digital synthesizer, pitch variations have to be explicitly added afterwards. This can be done with an extra parameter called "spread" (naming for this varies). This splits the voices in two groups - voices 1, 2 and 3 get tuned down say, -5, -10 and -15 cents, voices 4, 5, and 6 get tuned up +5, +10 and +15 cents. The amount of spread acts as a multiplier - so you can go from -1, -2 and -3 to -10, -20 and -30 in one smooth turn - if the synth actually offers that as an option.

Unison is not equal to guaranteed fatness. By adding several detuned copies of the notes, you're also blurring the initial attack. Also, the NL2X has a polyphony of 20 notes - 2-voice unison means you reduce that to 10 notes, 4 voice unison reduces it to 5, etc.
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shykedmi
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5th March 2012
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I get it now, that was an excellent explanation, thank you very much.

It sounds though like the initialized preset (if that is what you mean by the factory preset - saved user sounds) has this overall extra layer to every soundwave even after I single out one oscillator, turn all the effects off, turn the unison mode off and make it as naked as possible to the best of my knowledge (maybe there is an element I'm omitting that makes it sound like that) - it sounds like some kind of an overall filter, even though all filters are shut off. It's not really a problem, I just wonder where this difference is coming from so I'll be able to control it, as well as get this fullness in Manual Mode.

Do you have an idea why I still hear the vibrato\tremolo\whatever LFO is set at that moment even when it's shut down?
Oli
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@ Yoozer: You really take the time to explain things. You could compile a book from your posts.

@ OP: Have you really read the manual? Clavia tend to do a decent job of explaining these things for you.
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I know, if I was able to rate Yoozer's comment I would have, it was extremely helpful.

Am I OP? If so, yes, I have read the manual, but sometimes I feel it is better to get a direct answer from people and then look at the manual again afterwards. Since I am really beginning my whole journey with VA or analog synthesis in general, I'm gathering coherent pieces of information wherever I can find them, which I believe is more helpful that spending all of my time with the manual. No substitute for specific information from actual people. I hope you don't mind answering my questions I will check the manual again though.

Thank you all very much.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shykedmi View Post
I know, if I was able to rate Yoozer's comment I would have, it was extremely helpful.

Am I OP? If so, yes, I have read the manual, but sometimes I feel it is better to get a direct answer from people and then look at the manual again afterwards. Since I am really beginning my whole journey with VA or analog synthesis in general, I'm gathering coherent pieces of information wherever I can find them, which I believe is more helpful that spending all of my time with the manual. No substitute for specific information from actual people. I hope you don't mind answering my questions I will check the manual again though.

Thank you all very much.
OP means original poster.

You have read the manual, so that's great. Many don't. I think most people will have time for someone who has put in some effort, and still needs help.

Check out this when you get time. A fair bit to digest there, but lots of good material.

I also think Yoozer is really very helpful. Posts like his make this a great place.
shykedmi
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5th March 2012
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Thank you very much both for your comment and link, Oli. I bookmarked it and will check it out as soon as I'll get the chance
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