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The UB-Xa Synthesizer
Old 13th January 2018
  #751
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robinkle's Avatar
Since Uli’s last statement I suggest this:

Make a basic desktop/rack version that has the sound, features and controls of the original, but also with midi, velocity and aftertouch.

Then make a 61-key (jump) version, with top modern features.
Old 13th January 2018
  #752
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsynth View Post
On my OB-8 there's a significant drop in gain when engaging the 4-pole filter, if we could have some make-up gain to make it similar to the 2-pole. It might be that it's just a calibration issue, don't know the details off-hand but it's always annoyed me. People are also saying that the 4-pole filter on the OB-Xa is "lame" so I assume it's the same problem and it can be improved without overstepping the line.
Nope, not just yours. That is common character of 4-pole filter, when you add resonance. My OB-8 is the same, as well as other 4-pole synths I have, such as SH-101. 2-pole filter has the opposite effect. More reasonance tends to increase the output.

As stated about the OB-Xa, I find 4-pole mode on the OB-8 “less desirable” than 2-pole. 2-pole is the Oberheim SEM style filter mode and what gives the OB’s their classic sound. 4-pole is a nice option though on the OB-Xa/8 as it extends the range of sound.

Not all 4-pole filter synths have reduced levels when resonance is added. Some implement a sort of gain make-up stage.
Old 13th January 2018
  #753
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GregkoNYC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by earlevel View Post
Thanks, Uli.

A few quick thoughts:

Authentic or enhanced: More modulation, perhaps a la OB8 (that is, the front panel is OB-Xa or fundamentally close for getting OB-Xa sound, alternate control via page 2—or at the least sysex, but knobs are better—for the deep-divers). The OB-XA was limited (including half/full for osc 2, etc.) due to the cost of being more flexible, not because it was a great idea. Keep the voice architecture, but allow more, just as the OB8 did (I don’t think it’s important to duplicate the OB8 feature set, can just make some good choices afresh). Would be a shame to do a modern recreation and be entirely hemmed in to the original cost constraints, for improvements that are basically free now. To recap, not a new synth, but take lessons learned in OB8. The Behringer Model D is a great example—didn’t change the nature by adding hard sync, PWM, etc., but did add an LFO (huge, IMO) because it would be silly at this point in time to not have one (and the patch points added utility without detracting).

No Effects. The synth had better sound good without one. There isn’t a person here that doesn’t have effects in the box when they record (and recordings are better off anyway, when effects are chosen for the context, and not glued to the sound). Just a distraction from the instrument, cost, front panel, and development time.

No keyboard: I don’t think you will consider a keyboard, so this is mostly for others. The OB-Xa was huge, but at the time it was your one polysynth in your rig. Today, it would be an alternative sound choice. No keyboard (and especially not a keyboard less than 5 octaves). My OB8 hasn’t been out of the case in decades, it’s too big, I have other keyboards.
For me: No keyboard=No interest.

The Xa is a "player's" instrument. A rack mounted module is not.

Much of what we associate the OB-Xa to in recordings that we're familiar with are a result of real-time manipulation of panel parameters. Can't see playing with one hand while reaching over to a rack in the other to mess with cutoff/res and I'm frankly quite sick of programming every module into my controllers.

Greg
Old 13th January 2018
  #754
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WozNYC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Polich View Post

A hardware synth without fx is just stupid in this day and age.
Seems a lot of us disagree with you, so *not* so stupid.
Old 13th January 2018
  #755
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Analog Rob Lowe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uli Behringer View Post
First of all thanks for the great input!

We have read all comments. The main question is whether you want us build an authentic synthesizer which means sticking as close as possible to the original. Or do you want us add features which will run the risk to turn this synthesizer into a different instrument.



Thanks!

Uli

Make it authentic.
Old 13th January 2018
  #756
Another vote for authentic
Old 13th January 2018
  #757
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregkoNYC View Post
For me: No keyboard=No interest.

The Xa is a "player's" instrument. A rack mounted module is not.

Much of what we associate the OB-Xa to in recordings that we're familiar with are a result of real-time manipulation of panel parameters. Can't see playing with one hand while reaching over to a rack in the other to mess with cutoff/res and I'm frankly quite sick of programming every module into my controllers.

Greg
?
Why would you leave it in the rack, if what you want to do is live noodling?
Get a keyboard stand that is a least two-tier, and put the module on the upper and put is as low aboove your keyboard as possible.

It is not a rack unit, it is a 19" rack compatible unit, if it will be made to fit in a 19" rack at all... big difference.

Modules are more flexible... you will be able to fit 2 above a normal controller keyboard, so you can have two synths with direct access to all parameters, instead of just a single one, when it is built in.

Modules are smaller, so easier to bring along for anyone that plays live.
Or to put away when cleaning... or to have in a rack, for control by your daw, when working on tracks, without having to have room for a big keyboard rig in your studio.


I just don't get why so many see built in to a keyboard as anything essential to the functionality of a synth.

There are those that would complain about the keyboard action, if behringer does that.

with midi, one can have their favourite midi equipped synth or controller, with their favrourite action control any synth, with midi in.... No need for built in keyboards.
Prefering it to be built in to a keyboard is one thing, but it isn't essential.
Old 13th January 2018
  #758
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GregkoNYC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonHolstein View Post
?
Why would you leave it in the rack, if what you want to do is live noodling?
Get a keyboard stand that is a least two-tier, and put the module on the upper and put is as low aboove your keyboard as possible.

It is not a rack unit, it is a 19" rack compatible unit, if it will be made to fit in a 19" rack at all... big difference.

Modules are more flexible... you will be able to fit 2 above a normal controller keyboard, so you can have two synths with direct access to all parameters, instead of just a single one, when it is built in.

Modules are smaller, so easier to bring along for anyone that plays live.
Or to put away when cleaning... or to have in a rack, for control by your daw, when working on tracks, without having to have room for a big keyboard rig in your studio.


I just don't get why so many see built in to a keyboard as anything essential to the functionality of a synth.

There are those that would complain about the keyboard action, if behringer does that.

with midi, one can have their favourite midi equipped synth or controller, with their favrourite action control any synth, with midi in.... No need for built in keyboards.
Prefering it to be built in to a keyboard is one thing, but it isn't essential.
I hear your arguments Jon and completely appreciate the logic. I too have modules, but they almost never get used compared to my other stuff. For me there's something just so gratifying about having an integrated package to play live. For example, I love the ability to have both hands on the keyboard and and adjust the LFO depth or bend range with my pinky without missing a note. Can't do that on a module or even most advanced controllers.

This just happens to be my personal preference.

Greg
Old 13th January 2018
  #759
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Polich View Post
Thats old fart nitpicking to me (and I’m an
old fart). A hardware synth without fx is
just stupid in this day and age.

If you dont like fx, just turn them off, and continue to bask in your trip down memory lane. Thats important to only you. There are younger
customers to whom this will be just another
synth to play with. No efx? Its best to
have that option, rather than no fx at all.
well,it works for both sides i guess.Unlike in the 80s, higher quality external or software FX are ridiculously cheap these days.I`d rather get another Lexikon MX200 for hundred bucks instead of having sub par FX that just add up the cost and complexity of the synth.If that (an MX200)is too "big" for live use then you could use a zoom cdr 70 pedal,with all fx you would ever need on a synth...

really,i don`t get why the FX thing is such a big deal for some.They are everywhere,even in a hell lot of mixers.And 80-90% (wild guess) would record the synth into their DAW of choice anyway.
Old 13th January 2018
  #760
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analogsynth's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BM0 View Post
Nope, not just yours. That is common character of 4-pole filter, when you add resonance. My OB-8 is the same, as well as other 4-pole synths I have, such as SH-101. 2-pole filter has the opposite effect. More reasonance tends to increase the output.

As stated about the OB-Xa, I find 4-pole mode on the OB-8 “less desirable” than 2-pole. 2-pole is the Oberheim SEM style filter mode and what gives the OB’s their classic sound. 4-pole is a nice option though on the OB-Xa/8 as it extends the range of sound.

Not all 4-pole filter synths have reduced levels when resonance is added. Some implement a sort of gain make-up stage.
I concur with your observation about 4-pole filters, they lose bottom end when you crank the resonance a bit, which is why Moogs have a bass boost circuit AFAIK and is why not all synths with 4-pole filters sound the same. So yes we agree, a gain make-up or maybe a bass boost on the 4-pole filter to make it equally "fat" as the 2-pole. As it is, I never use it, you lose too much when you switch it on, guitarists would call it "tone suck".
Old 13th January 2018
  #761
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Heinakroon's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tux99 View Post
A simple 2 lines x 16 characters text LCD display would be very useful for the system settings menu and more importantly to display patch names. Please don't go completely without a display as the cost of such a 2x16 display is negligible while it's benefits are important.

Also full control via MIDI (CC and sysex for all parameters and for patch dumps) is essential, I would not buy a synth without such basic comforts, no matter how good it sounds.

Omitting FX is fine by me.
I don't think it's the hardware costs of a small display that would be the issue, but rather the delay and added development for integrating not just the hardware, but a complete menu system to drive it. It will introduce bugs that would need to be found and fixed, and each unit would need to be tested in production.
Old 13th January 2018
  #762
Thank you Uli for your input.

I tend to agree that less is more, especially considering the main aspect - the sound. This synth is supposed to be a clone, therefore the main criterion that decides whether the UB-Xa makes it or breaks it is whether it sounds as close to the original as possible. If you miss this target, no amount of additional features will make up for it - the UB-Xa would then just be another analog polysynth. If you nail the sound, I personally don't mind a bare-bones synth. Of course patch memory and MIDI implementation are appreciated.

Therefore please focus the efforts on nailing the sound.
Old 13th January 2018
  #763
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tux99's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heinakroon View Post
I don't think it's the hardware costs of a small display that would be the issue, but rather the delay and added development for integrating not just the hardware, but a complete menu system
I think you are overestimating this, a simple text based menu system for system settings, etc. is not complicated to program, loads of cheap synths and other cheap devices have this.

If the budget is that tight that such basics cannot be taken care of then the synth is clearly not for me.

Time is not an issue, I'd rather wait longer for a well thought out synth than some really basic bodge job rushed to market.
Old 13th January 2018
  #764
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregkoNYC View Post
I hear your arguments Jon and completely appreciate the logic. I too have modules, but they almost never get used compared to my other stuff. For me there's something just so gratifying about having an integrated package to play live. For example, I love the ability to have both hands on the keyboard and and adjust the LFO depth or bend range with my pinky without missing a note. Can't do that on a module or even most advanced controllers.

This just happens to be my personal preference.

Greg
That would highly depend on the synth...
May I also suggest getting a good foot controller. Behringer has one with two expression an 10 switches... or had, haven't checked if it still in production.

KMI has that softstep 2, with 10 or whatever X/Y pads.

Some cotroller keyboards like Studiologic SL88, and akai advance, offer layering and velocity switching and stuff like that, that makes them a powerful combination when using more than one synth, or a multitimbral one...

if one gets a 88 key controller, it would be possible to have 19" rack synths sitting above it side by side... That could be a massive layering set-up. Or a really powerfull synth-rig to emulate a lot of classics... especially if behringer takes on Roland and memorymoog.

And then there are lots of people today, that actually prefer other forms of controllers over keyboard style controllers... I count the seabords, to that category, since there isn't one attached do a synth.
Old 13th January 2018
  #765
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GregkoNYC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonHolstein View Post
That would highly depend on the synth...
May I also suggest getting a good foot controller. Behringer has one with two expression an 10 switches... or had, haven't checked if it still in production.

KMI has that softstep 2, with 10 or whatever X/Y pads.

Some cotroller keyboards like Studiologic SL88, and akai advance, offer layering and velocity switching and stuff like that, that makes them a powerful combination when using more than one synth, or a multitimbral one...

if one gets a 88 key controller, it would be possible to have 19" rack synths sitting above it side by side... That could be a massive layering set-up. Or a really powerfull synth-rig to emulate a lot of classics... especially if behringer takes on Roland and memorymoog.

And then there are lots of people today, that actually prefer other forms of controllers over keyboard style controllers... I count the seabords, to that category, since there isn't one attached do a synth.
Thanks Jon - I have multiple controller pedals, an 88 key controller, a 61, 5 outboard modules, a three tier stand - having all the ancillary hardware isn't the issue for me.

I just have a strong personal preference to have an integrated experience with an instrument without the need of attaching and configuring a bunch of outboard CACA to get it to do what I want.

I'm not criticizing your position at all, just sharing my own subjective POV.

Greg
Old 13th January 2018
  #766
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CthonicEwes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by superstupid View Post
i actually like the original pitch/mod paddles
You are a true luddite!
Old 13th January 2018
  #767
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Analog Rob Lowe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uli Behringer View Post
First of all thanks for the great input!


Please also keep in mind that adding features increases cost and time to market. For that purpose we suggest to omit features such as displays and FX.



Thanks!

Uli

Agreed, make it authentic “the sound is paramount” . From the looks of your new B mini, your team is up for the task.
Old 13th January 2018
  #768
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CthonicEwes View Post
You are a true luddite!
Old 13th January 2018
  #769
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Polich View Post
Thats old fart nitpicking to me (and I’m an
old fart). A hardware synth without fx is
just stupid in this day and age.

If you dont like fx, just turn them off, and continue to bask in your trip down memory lane. Thats important to only you. There are younger
customers to whom this will be just another
synth to play with. No efx? Its best to
have that option, rather than no fx at all.
-1


where's the thumbs down button?
Old 13th January 2018
  #770
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John01W's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers View Post
-1


where's the thumbs down button?
Have to agree with you....and 99% of the time an external effect processor used on those "out of date" classics with no effects, would destroy the effects built into most current synths, even with supposed lower specs.

An analog chorus would be ok....but a classic synth going through a tide/lex.....yeah baby!
Old 13th January 2018
  #771
F5D
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F5D's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Polich View Post
I vote FOR added fx..chorus and delay, specifically. Back in the day, those of us who owned these big polysynths always ran them through chorus and delay pedals. Those fx are really necessary..why not just include them. Dave Smith does. The “Jump” sound includes chorus and delay, listen to the record.
The best thing would be to include analog chorus and / or delay in the synth to emphasize the analog nature of the synth. In the old days, the fx sounded good because they were analog. If the Juno had a digital chorus in it, it would not be a Juno. Digital fx these days are quite good, but not for every type of fx. They cannot beat analog chorus, phaser, filter and in some cases delays. All digital models are always cleaner and more perfect sounding compared to the analog ones, the same with fx of DSI synths.

Arturia Matrixbrute has real analog BBD fx built-in and IMO a great move, big thumbs up to Arturia for doing it. There must be real analog synth freaks in their team. For best results with an analog synthesizer, the fx chain should be something like Synth (mono) -> analog phaser / filters-> analog stereo chorus -> analog stereo delay -> digital fx. If I have a synth that has digital fx built in, I very often switch them off and instead run the synth dry to my mixing desk, where I add real analog chorus (Boss, EHX, Elkorus), EHX phaser and Ibanez delays. Finally, I add digital reverb and compression / limiting in the DAW. Behringer have the capability to include nice sounding, yet relatively cheap to implement, analog Roland style BBD stereo chorus (Dimension D or Juno chorus) or an EHX style phaser in the synth, if they want to.
Old 13th January 2018
  #772
Here for the gear
 

Jupiter 4 and 6 would also be nice additions if not already mentioned no fx though
Old 13th January 2018
  #773
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WozNYC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by F5D View Post

The best thing would be to include analog chorus and / or delay in the synth to emphasize the analog nature of the synth.
Strongly disagree. It adds cost, and it's not going to sound as good as high end analog effects.

Just focus on making it sound like an Oberheim.
Old 13th January 2018
  #774
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ZT Scheer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uli Behringer View Post
... Our ultimate goal is to authentically capture the truly remarkable sound of the OB-Xa, while replacing the outdated digital section by means of modern technology.
Please also keep in mind that adding features increases cost and time to market. For that purpose we suggest to omit features such as displays and FX. ...
OK ... so just get us the 'Medusa' FX box sometime in 2018 and I'll be happy!
Old 13th January 2018
  #775
You want chorus? Add one of these to it. I plan on getting one mainly for my OB-8 (as long as it sounds as good as the original). Wouldn't you rather spend the money on this than have some half-baked or digital chorus built into the UB-Xa that adds to the price anyways?
Old 13th January 2018
  #776
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BM0 View Post
Nope, not just yours. That is common character of 4-pole filter, when you add resonance. My OB-8 is the same, as well as other 4-pole synths I have, such as SH-101. 2-pole filter has the opposite effect. More reasonance tends to increase the output.

As stated about the OB-Xa, I find 4-pole mode on the OB-8 “less desirable” than 2-pole. 2-pole is the Oberheim SEM style filter mode and what gives the OB’s their classic sound. 4-pole is a nice option though on the OB-Xa/8 as it extends the range of sound.

Not all 4-pole filter synths have reduced levels when resonance is added. Some implement a sort of gain make-up stage.
For those interested in a (slightly) technical explanation, there is a reason for this that's inherent in the implementation. In 2-pole filters such as the popular state-variable, changing parameters directly sets the resonance. (DSP guys would say that a 2-pole filter gives you "complex conjugate" poles, meaning both poles are aligned at the same frequency, one above and one below that axis. Their symmetrical distance from the axis—toward the unit circle—determines resonance.)

A 1-pole filter can't be on both sides of the axis (it's only 1 pole!), it can only sit right on top of it. That means you can't set resonance with a 1-pole filter.

The Moog filter simply strings four 1-pole filters (6 dB/oct rolloff each) in series to get a 4-pole (24 dB/oct) response curve. Besides having no control over resonance, that filter has an overly rounded corner from what we'd want—the soft corners of the 1-pole add up to a very soft 4-pole corner. So, we need to sharpen up that corner ("lowpass filter with corner peaking" is a common description), just to get to ground zero, before we even think about what to do about actually boosting it for an effect.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution that gives you both. At the cutoff, the response has rotated 180 degrees by the time it gets though the four stages. If you sum of the output, inverted, back into the input, it will boost that frequency cutoff area and sharpen the corner. If you feed back more, it will boost it for a resonant peak. However, the passband frequency is not phase shifted in the filter—it passes through unaffected. So, when you feed back the inverted signal, if subtracts from the passband, attenuating it.

Fortunately, it's not a terrible penalty. in fact, you could argue it's a feature, because it accentuates the change even more, and avoids the potential of the resonant frequency clipping when unintended. (Alternatively, you could have gain compensation, boosting output as you turn up the "emphasis" control, for instance.) So, there can be a number of reasons why one 4-pole loses "bass" and another doesn't, but this describes the fundamental reason for those that do.
Old 13th January 2018
  #777
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asynchro_nous's Avatar
 

Chorus is going to be one of the least necessary effects if the OB-Xa sound is authentic.
Old 13th January 2018
  #778
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asynchro_nous View Post
Chorus is going to be one of the least necessary effects if the OB-Xa sound is authentic.
+1
only reason they started putting chorus in synths is to sound like a proper vco synth
Old 13th January 2018
  #779
F5D
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F5D's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WozNYC View Post
Strongly disagree. It adds cost, and it's not going to sound as good as high end analog effects. Just focus on making it sound like an Oberheim.
I strongly agree that the best thing would be to not include any fx at all, because many people already own high quality analog (or digital) fx. My reply was to a person who would like to see built-in fx in the synth. I am sure that adding a Dimension D or Boss CE300 style stereo chorus with minimal parameters would provide better results, yet being cheaper to include than the digital fx of DM12. With today's surface mount pcb design, the size of those fx becomes quite small and cheap to build, not like the big boxes of old days. Behringer already has some of these cloned in their guitar pedals for many years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asynchro_nous View Post
Chorus is going to be one of the least necessary effects if the OB-Xa sound is authentic.
The pure sound of the synth is also something I am looking forward. However, I consider chorus a warm stereo widening fx with nice modulation, not a trick to make weak synth oscillators sound big, although I agree that some companies have used it for that purpose as well. Btw, Yamaha CS-80 has an analog chorus built-in.

Last edited by F5D; 13th January 2018 at 09:43 PM..
Old 13th January 2018
  #780
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ZT Scheer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by asynchro_nous View Post
Chorus is going to be one of the least necessary effects if the OB-Xa sound is authentic.
Can I ask a dead-serious question of you, and anyone who takes this kind of position?

Have you ever actually played the real thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by superstupid View Post
...only reason they started putting chorus in synths is to sound like a proper vco synth
Factually incorrect. That may have Roland's rational regarding 1-Oscillator synths, but that's about it.

Almost everyone who played a Prophet, Oberheim, Jupiter, etc. out a chorus on it back in the day ... it was standard equipment. Manufacturers started building-in effects because it made sense to do so ... given that effects were almost always added after-the-fact anyway.
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