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The Supersaw Wave and Today's Music
Old 9th May 2015
  #1
The Supersaw Wave and Today's Music

So about the supersaw wave; it's been around for a while. Apparently it was pretty prominent in the late 90's and early 2000's.

But how does it fit in today's music? Are we getting away with the supersaw without sounding dated? I feel like we are.

What do you gearslutz think about the super saw type sounds in the following links? A number of compositions from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have some supersaw-like action going on and their work is very new so I want to know what people think about their use with these kinds of sounds. They seem to almost always use it as a lead with some portamento. Sometimes, they use them as pads, but not as much in that way. To me, their music comes off as very modern because of all the crazy stuff they put into it. And yeah, I know that their using the swarmatron too, which is a totally saw wave and sine wave dominant instrument with detuning capabilities... But still, I feel like their using traditional supersaw's too.

Here are some examples:

Is Your Love Strong Enough (made in 2010)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRDMiCSBU7Q

1:22 - supersaw pad
1:39 - slightly right panned supersaw lead with portamento
2:08 - supersaw swell? lower pitched sound; it swells


Painted Sun In Abstract (made a bit after 2010)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yydZbVoCbn0
(21:16 - the distant, portamento supersaw-type lead sound)
Old 9th May 2015
  #2
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yungwimen View Post
So about the supersaw wave; it's been around for a while. Apparently it was pretty prominent in the late 90's and early 2000's.

But how does it fit in today's music? Are we getting away with the supersaw without sounding dated? I feel like we are.

What do you gearslutz think about the super saw type sounds in the following links? A number of compositions from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have some supersaw-like action going on and their work is very new so I want to know what people think about their use with these kinds of sounds. They seem to almost always use it as a lead with some portamento. Sometimes, they use them as pads, but not as much in that way. To me, their music comes off as very modern because of all the crazy stuff they put into it. And yeah, I know that their using the swarmatron too, which is a totally saw wave and sine wave dominant instrument with detuning capabilities... But still, I feel like their using traditional supersaw's too.

Here are some examples:

Is Your Love Strong Enough (made in 2010)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRDMiCSBU7Q

1:22 - supersaw pad
1:39 - slightly right panned supersaw lead with portamento
2:08 - supersaw swell? lower pitched sound; it swells


Painted Sun In Abstract (made a bit after 2010)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yydZbVoCbn0
(21:16 - the distant, portamento supersaw-type lead sound)
so, you have a supersaw wave.... then what?
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Preston135 View Post
so, you have a supersaw wave.... then what?
Well, I want to know if it's considered a retro sound; Something that you have to use carefully in order to not come off as dated.
Old 9th May 2015
  #4
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magikroom's Avatar
I tried to make a SuperSaw with just analogue gear...really it's just stacked Saw's, but was fun doing it. Couldn't filter it though, but hey! Used 10 Analogue Synths and a total of 49 Oscillators.

Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yungwimen View Post
Well, I want to know if it's considered a retro sound; Something that you have to use carefully in order to not come off as dated.
just stick some white noise over it, should bring it reet upto date...
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Preston135 View Post
just stick some white noise over it, should bring it reet upto date...
lol
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by magikroom View Post
I tried to make a SuperSaw with just analogue gear...really it's just stacked Saw's, but was fun doing it. Couldn't filter it though, but hey! Used 10 Analogue Synths and a total of 49 Oscillators.

haha that looks like a pain in the ass. Nice job though.
Old 9th May 2015
  #8
Has anyone ever tried making a supersine? or a supersomething else? lol
Old 9th May 2015
  #9
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R3Member's Avatar
The examples you posted are from 2010, which was half a decade ago. The few times time I've turn on some mainstream radio station and made an attempt to listen to whatever the hell is going on this current year, I don't hear any Supersaw. Everything from Pop to Rap in my ears is trying to take a step backwards. More analog tones, more old school Roland TR sounds, more reverb. Personally, I'm glad Supersaw leads and that whole epic style of anthem Trance music is over. All I can hope for now is that if the JP-8000 has any kind of resurgence, it will be for being the "poor man's Jupiter 6" and not all those generic Supersaw anthem sounds that everyone made with it.
Old 9th May 2015
  #10
Deleted d7fb6a5
Guest
The super saw is around and in heavy use with the big room edm styles as well as the trance edm crossovers by the likes of w&w etc. But it's back with a difference. It's now not so detuned but more 'stacked' and hard synced. Hypersaw is the term being spun for this. Likely originating from the virus ti feature of the same name and thus the software emulations jumping on the bandwagon.

electronic tunes now becoming absent from analogue warmth, character and tone with its subtle harmonics filling electronic audio spectrums and replaced by big sounds with stacked unison and white noise all inapired and driven by the digital era we've all sat through. With analogue swinging back into main stream how will this change the sounds of the next decade?

Whether it's a good thing or not is as individual as whether you like mild cheddar or mature cheddar but it is present.
Old 9th May 2015
  #11
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Everything that's considered 'dated', will come back in fashion one day.
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #12
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R3Member's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted d7fb6a5 View Post
But it's back with a difference. It's now not so detuned but more 'stacked' and hard synced. Hypersaw is the term being spun for this. Likely originating from the virus ti feature of the same name and thus the software emulations jumping on the bandwagon.
The real 8000/8080 Supersaw can't be hardsynced, so you're correct about what most people are hearing now is some kind of imitation.
Old 9th May 2015
  #13
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R3Member's Avatar
Also, it's worth pointing out that the samples provided are not even Supersaw. They sound like a regular saw wave with subtle but fast pitch vibrato and some reverb.
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Preston135 View Post
so, you have a supersaw wave.... then what?
Increase the detune spread further.


Seriously though when I hear my daughters pop songs. I still hear it. I think it's time to move beyond whether it's in or out. Use it if it's right, don't if it's wrong for a particular song.

All a supersaw is to me is the synth equivalent of an orchestra section of strings. It's such a basic sound building block I can't understand the biases for or against it.
Old 9th May 2015
  #15
Gear Guru
Always preferred the Hoover myself
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #16
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Soundsauca's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by djugel View Post
Always preferred the Hoover myself
Have my Juno 2 here for the hoover amongst other things. IMHO nothing sounds like the original JP8000/8080, though many get close.

My supersaw synths are

JP8080,
Virus TI,
VSynthXT
JD-xi
System 1

The V-Synth gets closest to the original JP, apart from the oscillators reset so it sounds a tiny bit more static. The TI's hypersaw is great but doesn't sound the same, useful in it's own way. The JD-Xi, whilst a great synth is not a true supersaw, It is a sample layered approach, it's easy to tell in the lower octaves as it's static as hell - It works nicely for pads, but if you want a sharp envelope it sounds wrong to me.
System 1 has got Supersaw, sine and square - I like the square actually, the sine sounds a bit lost but the S1 has got awesome sync sounds which can be used on any waveform.

To me Spire gets damn damn close in software - in fact it sounds amazing at Supersaws/hypersaws or any other flippin' saws.

Before I stupidly sold my Jupiter 6 I thought it did a great analogue supersaw, I'd like to think that it may have been the synth Roland looked for inspiration for the Supersaw, just a hunch!

One day I may just shove them all on 1 channel and try and make the world's biggest digital supersaw!!
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #17
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Soundsauca's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by R3Member View Post
The examples you posted are from 2010, which was half a decade ago. The few times time I've turn on some mainstream radio station and made an attempt to listen to whatever the hell is going on this current year, I don't hear any Supersaw. Everything from Pop to Rap in my ears is trying to take a step backwards. More analog tones, more old school Roland TR sounds, more reverb. Personally, I'm glad Supersaw leads and that whole epic style of anthem Trance music is over. All I can hope for now is that if the JP-8000 has any kind of resurgence, it will be for being the "poor man's Jupiter 6" and not all those generic Supersaw anthem sounds that everyone made with it.
Whilst I'm not dissing the JP6, The JP8000 is far from a poor man's JP6. It can do sounds the JP6 cannot do and vice versa, and then there's the crossover of some sounds. Whilst I loved my JP6, it wasn't the holy grail really. The envelopes were quite digital in fact due to being software generated, as was the lfo. The area it trumps the JP8K is in crossmod and hipass/bandpass sounds - there it sounds awesome.
Old 9th May 2015
  #18
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BTByrd's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yungwimen View Post
A number of compositions from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have some supersaw-like action going on and their work is very new so I want to know what people think about their use with these kinds of sounds. They seem to almost always use it as a lead with some portamento. Sometimes, they use them as pads, but not as much in that way. To me, their music comes off as very modern because of all the crazy stuff they put into it. And yeah, I know that their using the swarmatron too, which is a totally saw wave and sine wave dominant instrument with detuning capabilities... But still, I feel like their using traditional supersaw's too.
The example from the Social Network soundtrack is almost certainly Swarmatron. I don't think that Trent Reznor even has a supersaw-capable synth in his studio (unless you count his modular). The examples don't sound modern because of the use of supersaws but because it's filled with boutique and esoteric electronic instruments that one has to approach in non-traditional ways to compose music with. You can't turn on a Swarmatron, dial in a supersaw sound, and fire up a d*uchey trance anthem in ten seconds. The interface and featureset force you to rethink your approach to programming and playing a synthesizer.

Last edited by BTByrd; 9th May 2015 at 12:58 PM..
Old 9th May 2015
  #19
Gear Addict
 
selfinflikted's Avatar
I used to NOT be a fan of so much supersaw use in dance/EDM/aggrotech and similar genres but I came to a realization that made me change my mind. I see it now as a sort of staple in those genres and is analogous to the staple in rock music that is the electric guitar/electric guitar solo. It's a safe bet that the electric guitar sound isn't going away any time soon, and probably the same goes for supersaw leads and basses.
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #20
Deleted 2ecf148
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by preston135 View Post
so, you have a supersaw wave.... Then what?

keep calm, dont buy a cs80 and detune yer oscillators
Old 9th May 2015
  #21
I've had too many emotionally uplifting experiences with supersaws playing in the background for me to dismiss them. It's a sound that I definitely identify with a certain scene. Maybe that scene is now a bit anachronistic but, I'll take trance - even epic, progressive, etc. - over much of today's EDM that doesn't awake anything in me.
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #22
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danielb's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by totty View Post
The TI's hypersaw is great but doesn't sound the same, useful in it's own way.

...


System 1 has got Supersaw, sine and square - I like the square actually, the sine sounds a bit lost but the S1 has got awesome sync sounds which can be used on any waveform.
The Virus has a Hypersquare too, which, it seems, practically no one knows about...

You can hard sync the Virus Hypersaw too.

I am extremely impressed with the System 1, and am seriously thinking about buying the new 1M version.


D.
Old 9th May 2015
  #23
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BTByrd's Avatar
The original supersaw isn't all that interesting now that there are better implementations of it. The SynthTech E340 Cloud Generator is probably my favorite variation on that theme, as it gets well into Swarmatron territory. The mega mode on the Cyclebox also offers a lot of control and multiple waveshapes. My favorite "Supersaw" patch is the LiveWire AFG's sawtooth output into the Cyndustries Sawtooth Animator. Take that output and mix it with the AFG's "alien saws" output (and modulate the AFG's waveshape with the Sawtooth Animator's LFOs). Finally, add the AFG's sawtooth sub oscillator. Boom.
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by selfinflikted View Post
I used to NOT be a fan of so much supersaw use in dance/EDM/aggrotech and similar genres but I came to a realization that made me change my mind. I see it now as a sort of staple in those genres and is analogous to the staple in rock music that is the electric guitar/electric guitar solo. It's a safe bet that the electric guitar sound isn't going away any time soon, and probably the same goes for supersaw leads and basses.
I see.
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by BTByrd View Post
The example from the Social Network soundtrack is almost certainly Swarmatron. I don't think that Trent Reznor even has a supersaw-capable synth in his studio (unless you count his modular). The examples don't sound modern because of the use of supersaws but because it's filled with boutique and esoteric electronic instruments that one has to approach in non-traditional ways to compose music with. You can't turn on a Swarmatron, dial in a supersaw sound, and fire up a d*uchey trance anthem in ten seconds. The interface and featureset force you to rethink your approach to programming and playing a synthesizer.
I see. Yeah your right, the swarmatron demands a different approach, often leading to a different character in the sound.
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertflyer View Post
Increase the detune spread further.


Seriously though when I hear my daughters pop songs. I still hear it. I think it's time to move beyond whether it's in or out. Use it if it's right, don't if it's wrong for a particular song.

All a supersaw is to me is the synth equivalent of an orchestra section of strings. It's such a basic sound building block I can't understand the biases for or against it.
I like that answer.
Old 9th May 2015
  #27
I saw a Swarmatron go for $4k on eBay a while back. I have many times wondered if I made a mistake by not buying it. How does the Synthteck E340 compare?
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by totty View Post
Have my Juno 2 here for the hoover amongst other things. IMHO nothing sounds like the original JP8000/8080, though many get close.

My supersaw synths are

JP8080,
Virus TI,
VSynthXT
JD-xi
System 1

The V-Synth gets closest to the original JP, apart from the oscillators reset so it sounds a tiny bit more static. The TI's hypersaw is great but doesn't sound the same, useful in it's own way. The JD-Xi, whilst a great synth is not a true supersaw, It is a sample layered approach, it's easy to tell in the lower octaves as it's static as hell - It works nicely for pads, but if you want a sharp envelope it sounds wrong to me.
System 1 has got Supersaw, sine and square - I like the square actually, the sine sounds a bit lost but the S1 has got awesome sync sounds which can be used on any waveform.

To me Spire gets damn damn close in software - in fact it sounds amazing at Supersaws/hypersaws or any other flippin' saws.

Before I stupidly sold my Jupiter 6 I thought it did a great analogue supersaw, I'd like to think that it may have been the synth Roland looked for inspiration for the Supersaw, just a hunch!

One day I may just shove them all on 1 channel and try and make the world's biggest digital supersaw!!

That is very interesting; how you can tell the difference between all of those supersaws. It's also interesting how the System1 does a bunch of super waveforms. I was wondering if anyone has tried to make super something else's....
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 2ecf148 View Post
keep calm, dont buy a cs80 and detune yer oscillators
lol
Old 9th May 2015 | Show parent
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by chemosit View Post
I've had too many emotionally uplifting experiences with supersaws playing in the background for me to dismiss them. It's a sound that I definitely identify with a certain scene. Maybe that scene is now a bit anachronistic but, I'll take trance - even epic, progressive, etc. - over much of today's EDM that doesn't awake anything in me.
Interesting.
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