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Duophonic analogue synths?
Old 31st July 2018
  #1
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Duophonic analogue synths?

Dear gearslutz,

After a long and frustrating time working with softsynths I decided to get an analogue one, I'm leaning towards the Moog Sub 37 CV as an all-in-one synth but I wonder if anyone knows other smaller ones that can play 2 notes at the time?
How is that call? Duophonic? Or 2 voices paraphonic?

I'm a bit confused about this and can't find much info on the subject.

Are all those new synths (Minibrute, bass station2, Monologue etc) one note at the time type? Without hacks. Or do any play 2 notes?

I wouldn't mind to get a portable analogue synth but it has to play 2 notes at least.

I don't think there are any portable polysynths around? That have ARP+Seq built in?

I appreciate your help and advices.

Thank you.
Old 31st July 2018
  #2
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Technically speaking, duophonic would mean two individual voices, each with its own filter, envelope and VCA. Some synths that are described as "duophonic" are really paraphonic, meaning they can play more than one note at a time, but share the filter, envelope and VCA.
Old 31st July 2018
  #3
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Hi thanks so all paraphonic synths are duophonic?
Old 31st July 2018
  #4
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maisonvague's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
Hi thanks so all paraphonic synths are duophonic?
Not necessarily. The term "paraphonic" doesn't define the number of voices, unlike DUOphonic, which does, namely two. Paraphonic synths can have any number of voices, depending on the architecture of the synth.
Old 31st July 2018
  #5
Gear Addict
Dreadbox Erebus plays two notes paraphonically if you want it to and sounds lush. Dreadbox Nyx does too but its a bit more niche, although it does sound amazing at the things it does.

Can also be a mono synth if you want.

There is a new version of the Erebus coming out soon but you can pick up the version 1 & 2 (basically the same) for £300-£400. Much cheaper than a Moogy woogy.
Old 31st July 2018
  #6
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octatonic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
Dear gearslutz,

After a long and frustrating time working with softsynths I decided to get an analogue one, I'm leaning towards the Moog Sub 37 CV
Get the Sub 37- it is one of my favourite synths of the last 10 years.
Old 31st July 2018
  #7
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Exe2479's Avatar
 

Keep in mind that they sometimes function differently in how they can be played.

E.g. On the paraphonic Arp Odyssey, Osc 2 is the higher note if two notes are played.

On the paraphonic Novation Mono Station the two Oscs are on different midi channels (and can be sequenced seperately).
Old 31st July 2018
  #8
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At the moment, I can't think of any current monosynths that are fully duophonic. Maybe someone else can name something.

The only monosynth from my own collection that can play two fully independent voices is the Yamaha CS-15.

Complete duophony is actually a pretty rare feature, the more I think about it.
Old 31st July 2018
  #9
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adhmzaiusz's Avatar
Cs40m is true duophonic. I don’t think there are many that actually have two independent osc>filter sections though.

There are a lot of them that allow two oscillators to be played separately through one filter though. Two more I can think of not mentioned yet are the eml 101 and octave cat.

The sub 37 as mentioned gets my vote for one to look out for though. It is a lot of fun to play and is especially fun if you run a polyphonic synth through its filter, being controlled through the 37’s key board in duophic mode. Who needs a Moog poly synth when you can do this, sounds really special.
Old 31st July 2018
  #10
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Transistores's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
The only monosynth from my own collection that can play two fully independent voices is the Yamaha CS-15.
But does it do so from its keyboard? I have Yamaha CS15D (one with presets unlike 15) and from the keyboard both voices play the same note at the same time, only way to make them play different notes is to control them externally via CV and Trigger inputs.
Old 31st July 2018
  #11
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maisonvague's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Transistores View Post
But does it do so from its keyboard? I have Yamaha CS15D (one with presets unlike 15) and from the keyboard both voices play the same note at the same time, only way to make them play different notes is to control them externally via CV and Trigger inputs.
No, the CS-15 won't do this from its own keyboard. You have to control the voices externally, like on your CS-15D.
Old 31st July 2018
  #12
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Rufuss Sewell's Avatar
Matrixbrute is 3 note paraphonic.

Sub 37 and Odyssey are 2 note.

A lot of the semimodulars like Minibrute 2, MS-20, Grandmother etc have seperate pitch inputs for each osc so they can be made duophonic.
Old 31st July 2018
  #13
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I have a Sub 37 and I like it. It's pretty complicated and I still haven't figured out everything it can do. I like the fact that you can download presets from the internet and drop them into the Sub37 from the editor. Great way to learn how to make interesting patches.

The oscillators on Grandmother can be played independently if you have a separate CV keyboard (see Loopop's demonstration on Youtube).

Behringer Neutron has a chain mode (according to the manual) that lets it cascade notes among several. So if you have two Neutrons connected, then it plays two completely separate notes. If you have three you can play chords, etc.
Old 31st July 2018
  #14
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Two voice pro yo
Old 31st July 2018
  #15
TJT
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Another reason why the Matrixbrute is so interesting to me. I believe it can be 3 note paraphonic AND 3 part multi-timbral.
Old 31st July 2018
  #16
Nobody reacting to the fact that duo/polyphonic is not the same as paraphonic? Or the oxymoronic talk of a duophonic monosynth?

Monophonic means 1 voice. Duophonic means 2 voices. Polyphonic means 3 voices and up. Paraphonic usually relates to a monophonic synth that has some degree of independent control of its oscillators, letting you play simple chords. But they're not true voices, since they share the filter, amp and modulation structure, and sound clearly different from the equalivant amount of true polyphonic voices.

Monologue, BassStation2, MiniBrute etc. are all monophonic i.e. 1 voice.
Moog Sub 37 and KARP Odyssey are monophonic synths that can work as 2 voice paraphonic, not duophonic.
Independently controlling the oscillators on semimodulars like MiniBrute2, MS-20 and Grandmother does not make them duophonic, it makes them paraphonic.
MatrixBrute is a monophonic that can work as a 3 voice paraphonic, but it is not multi-timbral - don't believe there has ever been a multi-timbral monophonic synth, as having only 1 voice defies the point of having multiple parts.

If it has to be analogue, portable, have keys, and some kind of 2 voice para-/duo-/polyhonic, without using external gear to alter its behaviour, I believe your only choices to be Korg Minilogue and KARP Odyssey if you want keys. I would clearly recommend the Minilogue, which is easy, flexible, and true 4 voice polyphonic. I wouldn't class the Moog Sub 37 as portable.
If some kind of module without keys is acceptable, your options increase. And if it doesn't actually have to be analogue, you got a lot of choice.
Old 31st July 2018
  #17
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Yamaha CS-40m
ADSR per filter (2), ADSR per VCA (2), 2 sine subs that bypass the filter.
4 oscillators, 2 VCOs per voice. Each voice has its own articulation.

To me, the CS-40m rocks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
At the moment, I can't think of any current monosynths that are fully duophonic. Maybe someone else can name something.

The only monosynth from my own collection that can play two fully independent voices is the Yamaha CS-15.

Complete duophony is actually a pretty rare feature, the more I think about it.
Old 31st July 2018
  #18
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A.I. Batule Chee's Avatar
Check the Waldorf rocket, it’s a hybrid mono synth with up to 8 voice paraphony!
Old 31st July 2018
  #19
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kpatz's Avatar
DSI Pro 2 also has a paraphonic mode, though it's 4 notes. Minilogue has a duophonic mode as well.

There were only a few vintage "duophonic" synths, mostly para-duophonic like the ARP Odyssey and 2600. The only fully duophonic synth from the 70s I can think of was the Oberheim Two Voice. I'm sure there were others though.

I figure once someone goes to the trouble of developing a true polyphonic synth there's little reason to limit it to 2 voices... at that point it's more worthwhile to make it with at least 4... but para-duophony is a small step to add to a 2 oscillator mono.

Any 2 oscillator synth that offers separate pitch CV inputs for the oscillators can be "made" para-duophonic by using external CV control.

I've seen videos on Youtube where people made the MS20 "para-duophonic" by utilizing the sample & hold to hold the pitch of the 1st note on one oscillator while playing the 2nd with the keyboard.
Old 31st July 2018
  #20
TJT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc_the_Darc View Post

MatrixBrute is a monophonic that can work as a 3 voice paraphonic, but it is not multi-timbral - don't believe there has ever been a multi-timbral monophonic synth, as having only 1 voice defies the point of having multiple parts.

I may be wrong about it being *3 part multi-timbral*, but if you are going by strict definitions, the Matrixbrute is capable of 3 note paraphonic and 2 part multi-timbral.

"Duo-split: typically, three oscillator synths are monophonic, however the MatrixBrute’s duo-split mode effectively turns it into a 2 voice polyphonic, multi-timbral synth. Each of MatrixBrutes 5 audio sources can be routed through separate VCAs and filters, letting you sculpt and play two completely different sounds – separately."

"Paraphonic: MatrixBrute’s paraphonic mode stands out as well. Here, each if its three oscillators gets its own VCA and can be played with its own loudness contour. "
Old 31st July 2018
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by TJT View Post
I may be wrong about it being *3 part multi-timbral*, but if you are going by strict definitions, the Matrixbrute is capable of 3 note paraphonic and 2 part multi-timbral.

"Duo-split: typically, three oscillator synths are monophonic, however the MatrixBrute’s duo-split mode effectively turns it into a 2 voice polyphonic, multi-timbral synth. Each of MatrixBrutes 5 audio sources can be routed through separate VCAs and filters, letting you sculpt and play two completely different sounds – separately."

"Paraphonic: MatrixBrute’s paraphonic mode stands out as well. Here, each if its three oscillators gets its own VCA and can be played with its own loudness contour. "
Indeed, I messed up my facts regarding its duo-mode, I stand partially corrected.
Strictly speaking, as it generates to 2 separate layers/voices with their own characteristics and controls, the correct term would be bi-timbral
Old 31st July 2018
  #22
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Thank you very much about all these replies which I now have to study a bit before making my mind up. Really really helpful.
Old 31st July 2018
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc_the_Darc View Post

Moog Sub 37 and KARP Odyssey are monophonic synths that can work as 2 voice paraphonic, not duophonic.

I appreciate the distinction you are making. However, it is worth observing that Moog uses a somewhat schizo nomenclature. The front panel of the Sub 37 says "Paraphonic Analog Synthesizer" in the name plate area. But the button used to engage the mode in question is labeled "DUO MODE." The instruction manual usually calls it "DUO MODE" but does once call it Duophonic.

Novation uses Duophonic the same way as Moog.

My guess is that most people who buy Moog and Novation products are going to use Duophonic to describe this feature, no matter how much linguistic purists object.

And the Sub 37 can't really work as two voices (at least not the way I think of it), because the two notes play through the same envelopes.

From Novation's monograph on the subject:

“The problem with paraphonic is that there’s nothing legible about that word at all. The benefit of using duophonic over paraphonic is that everyone knows what ‘duo’ means, so at least the ‘two’ is readable there. If you’ve never seen the word ‘paraphonic’ before, the only thing that you can derive from it is that ‘phonic’ refers to ‘sound’. And that’s not helpful with a synthesizer."

What is Paraphonic? | NovationMusic.com
Old 1st August 2018
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
Thank you very much about all these replies which I now have to study a bit before making my mind up. Really really helpful.
While you're doing your research - have a look at the Realistic Concermate MG-1 which was made for Radio Shack by Moog.

It's technically a mono bass synth but generally considered a paraphonic instrument but has it's own version of full polyphony (all 32 keys) using what's known as a "divide-down" square wave generator.

Here's a simplified description of how it works from Wiki:

"The Polyphonic features of this synth are of particular interest as polyphony was rare in synthesizers of the time. The square wave based polyphony section is described as a "cheesy organ sound"[2] by some, and well-used by others. Since the polyphony section is independently tunable, it can function as a rudimentary third oscillator, allowing the user to create more complex tones than on similar 2-oscillator synths. All of the sound-generating features come together in a mixer allowing the levels for the two monophonic tone sources, noise, bell tone and polyphony to be adjusted independently. The multiple notes of polyphony feed into the single filter, giving a paraphonic result. In 1982-3, few electronic musical instruments had the MG-1 combination of paraphonic poly section and monophonic synthesizer in one instrument.

It is a common misconception that the Poly tones are not affected by the Contour settings. In reality the Poly tones can be affected by the Rise Time (attack) and Fall Time (decay) sliders. The Contour settings can only affect Polyphony while a key is pressed due to the Polyphonic gate design. When a key is released the polyphony tone for that key stops immediately. Therefore, it is true that the Poly tones are not "faded out" by the Fall time (release) contour setting when a key is released. Similarly, the Poly tones are not "held" with the two VCOs when in "Continuous" (Hold or drone) mode. The rest of the modulation, including the sample-and-hold, will affect the Polyphonic Signal via the filter section. One thing to note however; the LFO cannot be used to modulate the pitch to create a vibrato of the Polyphony section. Against these limitations, the Polyphony is total, meaning all 32 keys can sound all at once."

Cheers!

Greg
Old 1st August 2018
  #25
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CZ Rider's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by piper View Post


From Novation's monograph on the subject:

“The problem with paraphonic is that there’s nothing legible about that word at all. The benefit of using duophonic over paraphonic is that everyone knows what ‘duo’ means, so at least the ‘two’ is readable there. If you’ve never seen the word ‘paraphonic’ before, the only thing that you can derive from it is that ‘phonic’ refers to ‘sound’. And that’s not helpful with a synthesizer."
The word "Paraphonic" seems to have lost it's original meaning. The word created by Roland was originally intended to mean a synth/module that could play multiple voices stacked.

So by Roland's definition my Yamaha CS-80 would be a Paraphonic synthesizer, as would be my Oberheim two voice. Both capable of playing Paraphonicly as I can get two separate voices from each keypress.

I believe it was Gordon Reid in an SOS article that got it wrong. He was correct that a stringer like a Moog Opus 3 was Paraphonic since it had three sections with organ/strings/brass playing at the same time. However he seems to have assumed that it had something to do with having a poly section running through a single voice filter/amp section. See what happens when you assume.
Roland's definition makes more sense. After all they created the word.

There were a few modular duophonic controllers. ARP 2500 had one, as did Moog and Aries. Also Moog had their Sonic 6 and the Octave Cat were both duophonic.
Old 1st August 2018
  #26
TJT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piper View Post
I appreciate the distinction you are making. However, it is worth observing that Moog uses a somewhat schizo nomenclature. The front panel of the Sub 37 says "Paraphonic Analog Synthesizer" in the name plate area. But the button used to engage the mode in question is labeled "DUO MODE." The instruction manual usually calls it "DUO MODE" but does once call it Duophonic.

Novation uses Duophonic the same way as Moog.

My guess is that most people who buy Moog and Novation products are going to use Duophonic to describe this feature, no matter how much linguistic purists object.

And the Sub 37 can't really work as two voices (at least not the way I think of it), because the two notes play through the same envelopes.

From Novation's monograph on the subject:

“The problem with paraphonic is that there’s nothing legible about that word at all. The benefit of using duophonic over paraphonic is that everyone knows what ‘duo’ means, so at least the ‘two’ is readable there. If you’ve never seen the word ‘paraphonic’ before, the only thing that you can derive from it is that ‘phonic’ refers to ‘sound’. And that’s not helpful with a synthesizer."

What is Paraphonic? | NovationMusic.com
Yeah, I've been calling it "duophonic" for the better part of 20 years. So, if it's technically "wrong" it's a little hard for synth manufacturers to go back on it, considering that's been the term for years. I always considered "polyphony" as a musical term, separate from something like "multi-timbrality." (more of a sonic descriptor)

So, "polyphony" could always include the same filter, envelopes, etc... as long as you can literally play more than one note on a scale, at the same time. Be that 1 oscillator per note, or 3.

When you talk about polyphony in a divide down organ or synth, it's not like it's going through a separate envelope/filter path, so it seems that term has always been used to describe literal notes, and not "voice architecture."

So, I feel like, yes, it's paraphonic technically, but it's *also* duophonic musically.
Old 1st August 2018
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CZ Rider View Post
The word "Paraphonic" seems to have lost it's original meaning. The word created by Roland was originally intended to mean a synth/module that could play multiple voices stacked.

So by Roland's definition my Yamaha CS-80 would be a Paraphonic synthesizer, as would be my Oberheim two voice. Both capable of playing Paraphonicly as I can get two separate voices from each keypress.

I believe it was Gordon Reid in an SOS article that got it wrong. He was correct that a stringer like a Moog Opus 3 was Paraphonic since it had three sections with organ/strings/brass playing at the same time. However he seems to have assumed that it had something to do with having a poly section running through a single voice filter/amp section. See what happens when you assume.
Roland's definition makes more sense. After all they created the word.

There were a few modular duophonic controllers. ARP 2500 had one, as did Moog and Aries. Also Moog had their Sonic 6 and the Octave Cat were both duophonic.
I didn't know that! Thanks for sharing!
Old 1st August 2018
  #28
TJT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CZ Rider View Post
The word "Paraphonic" seems to have lost it's original meaning. The word created by Roland was originally intended to mean a synth/module that could play multiple voices stacked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A.I. Batule Chee View Post
I didn't know that! Thanks for sharing!
Yeah, pretty hilarious if this whole debate came out of a misunderstanding of the meaning of a made up marketing term
Old 1st August 2018
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CZ Rider View Post
The word "Paraphonic" seems to have lost it's original meaning. The word created by Roland was originally intended to mean a synth/module that could play multiple voices stacked.
Impressive bit of scholarship there, CZ Rider!

I never knew paraphonic was an invented term--by a corporation no less!

"Compuphonic", okay. Probably invented. But not "Paraphonic".
Old 1st August 2018
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
Impressive bit of scholarship there, CZ Rider!

I never knew paraphonic was an invented term--by a corporation no less!

"Compuphonic", okay. Probably invented. But not "Paraphonic".
Sort of interesting: "paraphonia" is an old term. "In late Greek and early medieval theory, term used for the intervals of the the fifth and forth" [Harvard Dictionary of Music, 1982]. There was no entry for paraphonic.
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