'New Synthesis Methods' - Is It All Just Hype?
PeteJames
Thread Starter
#1
1st December 2012
Old 1st December 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 
PeteJames's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
'New Synthesis Methods' - Is It All Just Hype?

The release of Tone 2's new Rayblaster synth inspired me to write this as they are so frequently coming up with bold claims about their 'revolutionary' synthesis methods.

Impulse Modelling Synthesis (IMS) explained

Whilst I love the idea of new types of sythesis I'm rather sceptical about the results the achive. What I have found in the past with tone 2 and other 'innovative synthesis products' is that they just sound pretty much like subtractive and produce exactly the same sounds but are more harsh to the ear and therefore less musically pleasing.

What do you think? Do you love tone 2 stuff? Does it help you create innovative sounds with ease?

Despite claims of radically 'different synthesis methods' I find the demos just create the sounds that any basic substractive VA can make so what's the point?

Do you agree / disagree?
#2
1st December 2012
Old 1st December 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I agree completely with the general viewpoint you expressed. From a "practical results," "actual sounds" and "workflow I like" standpoint, there really hasn't been much in the way of genuine innovation in syhtesis in quite some time.

From a theoretical standpoint, I fully expect there to be something at some point that comes along and re-revolutionizes the situation. Getting deep into subtractive analog synthesis, and then transitioning to wavetable and granular synthesis, I realized there was a lot of range out there, and as always an infinite field of potential for change.

Still, though, yeah...it's a pretty ****ing mature field at this point.
#3
1st December 2012
Old 1st December 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteJames View Post
but are more harsh to the ear and therefore less musically pleasing.
Don't you mean, "cuts through a mix?"

The real "innovation" happened in workflow a couple of years ago. I was listening to Aphex Twin a little bit ago and my mind is always running a "how did they do that?" monologue and I realized that it was pre-software tool revolution and done by hand. I maintain that the innovation will come when 5.1 surround is fully engaged (or psychoacoustically emulated).
#4
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
shponglefan's Avatar
 

Listening to the sounds in their demo, and I have to agree, this synth doesn't do much to stand out from all that has come before it.
#5
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
grumphh's Avatar
 

I haven't listened to the sounds, but i did read the "tech" babble out of curiosity.

What a load of crock.

Look at the claim that the synth is louder than other synths because it is silent between sound bursts whereas "conventional" synths tire the ear by having continous waveforms.

Then look at this picture of two different waveforms where they have shown the "silent" bit in green.




Even as an atheist i have to exclaim loudly: "Good Lord, what were they thinking?"
PeteJames
Thread Starter
#6
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
 
PeteJames's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Well perhaps we have achieved an unprecedented feat gearslutz history - agreement!
#7
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
maisonvague's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteJames View Post
Well perhaps we have achieved an unprecedented feat gearslutz history - agreement!
I'm sorry, but I beg to differ. There have been NUMEROUS threads on GS where a consensus has been reached.*












*()
PeteJames
Thread Starter
#8
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
 
PeteJames's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Haha
#9
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Dubtek71's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
I'm sorry, but I beg to differ. There have been NUMEROUS threads on GS where a consensus has been reached.*












*()
The best example of this would be the 5ms thread...Correct?
#10
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #10
Banned
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
I haven't listened to the sounds, but i did read the "tech" babble out of curiosity.

What a load of crock.

Look at the claim that the synth is louder than other synths because it is silent between sound bursts whereas "conventional" synths tire the ear by having continous waveforms.

Then look at this picture of two different waveforms where they have shown the "silent" bit in green.




Even as an atheist i have to exclaim loudly: "Good Lord, what were they thinking?"

the ear can relax

but snappier enveloping cant hurt..

looks like the combine an impuls with physical modeling...
#11
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #11
Gear addict
 
Gil missFlag's Avatar
 

I don't get this feature:

"Filter import: Mimic filters of other synthesizers or create your own fantasy filters."

In their demo video, they claim you can import a filter impulse wave and the synth will "learn" the filter characteristics and mimic it. How is that even technically possible? And what's a filter impulse anyway?
Abe
#12
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #12
Abe
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil missFlag View Post
I don't get this feature:

"Filter import: Mimic filters of other synthesizers or create your own fantasy filters."

In their demo video, they claim you can import a filter impulse wave and the synth will "learn" the filter characteristics and mimic it. How is that even technically possible? And what's a filter impulse anyway?
By my thinking this is theoretically possible. It'd be like a 2D version of an "EQ matching" plugin, like the one in Ozone. You'd perform a filter sweep on a sample (white noise ideally?) and it would calculate what the filter was doing as it was doing it. With an analog filter I don't see a way for the program to know what frequency your filter is set to, but I suppose with some math it could guess.

Interesting concept - have to wait and see how it's executed! (Or if ..)
#13
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #13
Lives for gear
 
acreil's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil missFlag View Post
In their demo video, they claim you can import a filter impulse wave and the synth will "learn" the filter characteristics and mimic it. How is that even technically possible? And what's a filter impulse anyway?
Probably it's taking a short, windowed waveform segment (which may be a sampled impulse response, synthesized waveform or a portion of an arbitrary imported file) and stretching or compressing it, playing overlapped copies of the stretched/compressed "filter kernel" at the oscillator frequency, which is equivalent to putting an impulse train through an arbitrary FIR filter (only it's more efficient and the filter can easily be modulated). It's similar to PSOLA pitch shifters (i.e. Autotune) or how (I think) the Roland D50's fake filter worked. But that won't emulate a nonlinear filter...

If it works the way I'm thinking, it's much more general than ordinary subtractive synthesis, especially since you have complete control over phase. The neat thing is that the "filter kernel" itself seems to be time variant (using the resynthesis feature).

I was recently working on something similar, only it just used single cycle waveforms made with additive synthesis. Their approach seems a lot more clever. It's sort of a generalized version of formant synthesis or the source-filter model of speech synthesis. The noise modulation (which I also tried) is a nice touch as well. It's not the same as ordinary modulation of a VCO or VCF.

And I'm guessing the other part refers to messing with the the "filter kernel" to make it minimum or linear phase. It would compact it in time and (I guess) reduce temporal masking for a louder perceived sound. The effect should be significant for a single oscillator, especially at low frequencies, but I think it won't work if you have a bunch of detuned oscillators or run it through a lot of reverb or chorus.
#14
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #14
Gear addict
 

Their marketing strategy is a bit aggressive but I would argue that it's not all "hype".
Tons of ear candy in the Tone2 synths and they in most cases cause little to no fatigue, I wish they could make some rack extensions, would be awesome.
#15
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #15
Gear addict
 
Gil missFlag's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by acreil View Post
Probably it's taking a short, windowed waveform segment (which may be a sampled impulse response, synthesized waveform or a portion of an arbitrary imported file) and stretching or compressing it, playing overlapped copies of the stretched/compressed "filter kernel" at the oscillator frequency, which is equivalent to putting an impulse train through an arbitrary FIR filter (only it's more efficient and the filter can easily be modulated). It's similar to PSOLA pitch shifters (i.e. Autotune) or how (I think) the Roland D50's fake filter worked. But that won't emulate a nonlinear filter...

If it works the way I'm thinking, it's much more general than ordinary subtractive synthesis, especially since you have complete control over phase. The neat thing is that the "filter kernel" itself seems to be time variant (using the resynthesis feature).

I was recently working on something similar, only it just used single cycle waveforms made with additive synthesis. Their approach seems a lot more clever. It's sort of a generalized version of formant synthesis or the source-filter model of speech synthesis. The noise modulation (which I also tried) is a nice touch as well. It's not the same as ordinary modulation of a VCO or VCF.

And I'm guessing the other part refers to messing with the the "filter kernel" to make it minimum or linear phase. It would compact it in time and (I guess) reduce temporal masking for a louder perceived sound. The effect should be significant for a single oscillator, especially at low frequencies, but I think it won't work if you have a bunch of detuned oscillators or run it through a lot of reverb or chorus.
Thanks for the explanation. I'm no software programmer so this may be over my head, but can you explain how stringing and overlapping a short waveform at different rates/frequencies turns into a filter? Wouldn't that basically create an oscillator? How does it process other signals, change cutoff frequency, etc? Sorry for my ignorance
#16
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #16
Lives for gear
 
GeorgeHayduke's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
I haven't listened to the sounds, but i did read the "tech" babble out of curiosity.

What a load of crock...
Yea, that one had me scratching my head too, doesn't make a lot of sense.

"Conventional synthesizers employ what is known as subtractive synthesis, in which the oscillator source is a looped waveform that is filtered to create a sound. By contrast, RayBlaster utilizes an entirely new and fresh approach to sound generation and creates its distinctive sound from many short bursts of energy, which combine to form a more complex sound"
So, it's an additive synth, right? Anything new here?
#17
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #17
Gear maniac
 

Meh...I'm getting a Plague Bearer module instead.
ozy
#18
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #18
ozy
Lives for gear
 
ozy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
I'm sorry, but I beg to differ. There have been NUMEROUS threads on GS where a consensus has been reached.*

*()
I agree*. Add one thread to the list.












* Lying thru my teeth. cancel that.
#19
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #19
Lives for gear
 
acreil's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil missFlag View Post
I'm no software programmer so this may be over my head, but can you explain how stringing and overlapping a short waveform at different rates/frequencies turns into a filter? Wouldn't that basically create an oscillator? How does it process other signals, change cutoff frequency, etc?
Imagine you've got an impulse train that's passing through a filter.

So this is the input waveform:


Each impulse excites the filter, and the filter's output is its impulse response, so the output is a train of impulse responses. If the impulse response is shorter than the time to the next impulse, you can also imagine it as a short "one shot" sampled waveform that plays through the impulse response and then stops. This is much more efficient than filtering the impulse train, since it's just waveform playback rather than convolution. Longer impulse responses can be played if multiple copies of the waveform are played and overlapped (so that each impulse response isn't cut off when the next one starts). Note that this isn't filtering arbitrary signals, just impulse trains, but this isn't really a limitation since you've got much more control over the filter's characteristics. The result is a sort of combination of an oscillator and filter.

Stretching or compressing the impulse response in time will raise or lower the filter's overall frequency. So you can take a sampled impulse response from any filter and more or less reproduce its effect. This assumes that the filter doesn't distort or change over time, so it's only approximate. But you don't have to think of this as a standard subtractive synthesis VCF. The impulse response can be much more complex: an entire filter bank or vocal tract or acoustic resonance or whatever. Transient effects are also a lot more acoustically relevant than what you'd get from the usual VCO-VCF-VCA model.

And more generally, any single cycle waveform can be used. It should be multiplied by a window function so that it doesn't make a crappy buzzy sound when stretched or compressed.

Like this:


This effectively turns the waveform's harmonic series into a formant that can be smoothly swept. It's like a pitch shift algorithm that lets you independently control pitch and formant. The shape of the window can also be controlled, which affects the frequency and phase response. Typical filters have an exponential decay, but here you can use any shape. This has generally been ignored because it's assumed that you "can't hear phase". But especially for low frequencies, phase is certainly audible and actually very important. This gives another dimension of control that you don't have in ordinary subtractive synthesis.
#20
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #20
Gear addict
 
Gil missFlag's Avatar
 

Thanks, very clear and informative explanation. Appreciate it!
That's what I love about this forum, always learning new stuff. Now who said being on Gearslutz is a waste of time?
#21
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #21
Tone2 synths sound pretty good, but there's something in the UI that turns me off. I was quite close to purchasing Saurus, but even a simple subtractive like that was somehow inconvenient to use.

It's good someone innovates, but I haven't found the new synthesis methods worthwhile. One exception tho, I kind of liked Logic's Sculpture. I'd like to see more synths like that appear.

Granular synthesis is something I might dig into when I run out of inspiration on subtractive, additive and wavetables.
#22
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #22
Lives for gear
 
maisonvague's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil missFlag View Post
Now who said being on Gearslutz is a waste of time?
Why, you did!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil missFlag View Post
Gearslutz is a waste of time


Ahem. Sorry. Anyway, I checked out that synth and it didn't sound too bad at all. I know this is totally superficial, but I'm a bit put off by the name. It's a little hard for me to take the name Rayblaster seriously. It conjures up images of corny 50's sci-fi -- but not in a good way.
#23
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #23
Gear addict
 
Gil missFlag's Avatar
 

Topic:
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
BLueROom / So much gear, so little time!
9
soupking / So much gear, so little time!
47
verb / So much gear, so little time!
21
JOHN / Product Alerts older than 2 months
1

Forum Jump
 
Register FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.