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Lfo waveshapes Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 6 days ago
  #1
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Lfo waveshapes

Why do so many modern synths still only offer Triangle , saw , Sine and Square waveforms ?

I use to find the Chromatic lfo shapes in the Korg Z1 and Novation ks really interesting for creating micro sequences inside a patch.

it feels like a ton of synths are missing interesting waveforms.
Old 6 days ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Barrage's Avatar
 

Compromises
Old 5 days ago
  #3
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Ksp's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrage View Post
Compromises
not sure , feels like narrow imagination
Old 5 days ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 

The basic shapes are like the basic colors that everyone uses.

Other shapes are more exotic options, you don't include them unless they fit with your target audience. Otherwise they're a waste of resources and added clutter.

Keep in mind that not everyone is deep into synthesis or complex/weird sounds. A lot of the synth noise you hear in music are on the basic side.

However I'll note here that the heavily automated "EDM" sounds of the past let's say two decades have impacted how synths are made (look at Montage for a big example), and that we're starting to see more modular influences creep up in synths. Arturia are particularly keen on that.

Music shapes the instruments.
Old 5 days ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToyBox View Post
The basic shapes are like the basic colors that everyone uses.

Other shapes are more exotic options, you don't include them unless they fit with your target audience. Otherwise they're a waste of resources and added clutter.

Keep in mind that not everyone is deep into synthesis or complex/weird sounds. A lot of the synth noise you hear in music are on the basic side.

However I'll note here that the heavily automated "EDM" sounds of the past let's say two decades have impacted how synths are made (look at Montage for a big example), and that we're starting to see more modular influences creep up in synths. Arturia are particularly keen on that.

Music shapes the instruments.
I think imagination shapes music and imagination shapes instruments , lack of imagination or accounts department limits features but in the case of a 3k synth thats more i think just a lack of imagination and zero excuse.

I am talking about quite complex synths obviously designed for sound designers as much as for players.

Waldorf quantum

Korg kronos and z1 both have highly complex lfo shapes which can be used as note triggered step sequencers , the Novation ks range also did.

Move forward and the Korg Prologue has what ? the basic shapes for tremelo and gate fx , the Quantum the same ( + a step sequencer and modulator but it lacks all the really creative stuff in the microwave and xt mod matrix )

the novation peak and summit the same ? very weak on sequence based modulation .

Its retrogressive in particular as so much music now is tempo synced and the use of these kinds of lfo's in tempo synced music is really powerful .

I think i just question synths with such deep timbral modulation and oscillator functions etc and the same lfo shapes as an sh101 , it feels like they forgot to place some focus on the lfos'

Almost every synth you look deeply into has the same basic waveforms which are incredibly limiting for real innovative modulation.

Then look at the Modal instruments 02/08 and see how it could be done.

Why can Modal instruments get it right and companies like Korg and Waldorf and Novation who use to include better modulation step back.

I think your excuses do not stand up , its you playing devils advocate for no reason at all.

Your suggesting this is down to the target audience when all the synths i mention are touted as Sound Designers synths ?

I just see lack of imagination in many manufacturers and stepping backwards a lot , i do not think its that hard to add lfo shapes to code and in the case of the Modal instruments 02/08 i think they showed just how amazing a synth can be if you add decent modulation thats step triggered and which can control multiple parameters.

My point is i am talking about current synths with high price tags designed and touted for sound design , with 4 lfo shapes and very little in the way of innovative modulation.

Its like the Rhodes chroma ? its 20 + years old , heres its lfo shapes and mod sources

what went wrong ? lack of imagination or would more modulation waveforms add another 2k on to the price ?
Attached Thumbnails
Lfo waveshapes-1.jpg  
Old 4 days ago
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Sine isn't always a given.

I know there's not a huge difference from Triangle but there's some (Oberheim-style) magic with Sine that I like.
Old 4 days ago
  #7
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midiquestions's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ksp View Post
Its like the Rhodes chroma ? its 20 + years old , heres its lfo shapes and mod sources

what went wrong ? lack of imagination or would more modulation waveforms add another 2k on to the price ?
I think that, in general, features on synths ****in suck today, and polyphony and timbrality haven't budged, maybe even have gone backward vs 20 years ago.
Old 4 days ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 

LFO’s are oscillators. Hence the name “Low
Frequency Oscillator”. It costs money to
include them, so in the old vintage days,
the types of LFO’s were often restricted.

The Yamaha Montage includes a huge number
of advanced “LFO’s” in the form of what
they call “Motion Sequences”. These can be
a simple sine all the way up to 64- step
jagged shapes, and they can all be
modified by the user. The total possible
number of Motion Sequences can number in the
thousands, AND they can all be assigned
to modulate almost any destination.
It’s pretty amazing.
Old 4 days ago
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Any of the Kurzweil synths having V.A.S.T. offer you probably the most flexibility in the types and offerings of LFO shapes of any known synth ever manufactured.

From the default LFO list to choose from there are 40 choices, but that list is nothing compared to what you are able to create using VAST Functions (math equations that you create using a large list of choices coupled with another large list of choices), where things get truly creative and mind boggling. And then that Function can be the starting point of yet another Function, up to 4x, if I recall.

Add to that the LFO shapes can be modified in real time using your Kurzweil's sliders or expression pedals or ribbon controllers as part of the FUNCTION and its these types of options that make me fall in love with my Kurzweil all over again.

I'd paste some imagery of the curves and how they are created from one of the references I have, but it would be a copyright violation. Sorry.

Just think lots of trigonometry functions, algebra, and some other things that are like, really?!, and you start to get an idea. That's why it is aptly called vast.


Oh, one last thing. On the Kurzweil community site, there's an online website app called VISUAL FUN that emulates the FUNCTION of the Kurzweil VAST, where you can get real time visual of what the curve looks like as you create the equations online from drop down lists (just like in your synth) and then move sliders with your mouse to see what the curve ends up looking like as it moves by in real time. Very, very cool.

Last edited by Toddskins; 4 days ago at 05:26 AM..
Old 4 days ago
  #10
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drxcm's Avatar
 

Some of the newer synths with mod matrixes allow complex waveshapes by mixing multiple LFOs (eg Prophet X, Prophet 12 etc).
Add slew / fade / delay times and they can get nice and interesting.

I miss proper S&H circuits in synths. The Andromeda had a proper S&H with an input and a trigger input - meant all kinds of staircase waveforms could be generated.

Surprised no one else has really done that with modern designs
Old 4 days ago
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Barrage's Avatar
 

If it doesn't have your desired features then you are not it's target market

Where's the Arp to mod matrix function? Access was ahead of the curve.
Old 4 days ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ksp View Post
I think imagination shapes music and imagination shapes instruments , lack of imagination or accounts department limits features but in the case of a 3k synth thats more i think just a lack of imagination and zero excuse.

I am talking about quite complex synths obviously designed for sound designers as much as for players.

Waldorf quantum
The Quantum LFO's have the basic shapes... then there is fade in and fade out. Between Warp and Slew you can change the shape dramatically. There are 6 LFO's so that is plenty to multiply them together to create other shapes.

Then there is the Complex Modulator which consists of 2 multi-segment envelopes which are combined together into a complex shape.

And there are also 6 Envelopes which can loop so there are even more shape possibilities.

Finally, the modulators themselves can be modulated in a variety of ways to create evolving shapes over time.

You mention lack of imagination... only a lack of imagination would find the Quantum limited in modulation possibilities.
Old 4 days ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
chaocrator's Avatar
customers demand classic design — customers get classic design. so, only waveforms from the 70s are available in the vast majority of modern „analog revival“ synths.

(that's why i love Command Stations — „boring ROMplers“ with their 17 LFO shapes)
Old 4 days ago
  #14
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
A lot of LFOs are disguised as looping EGs.
Old 3 days ago
  #15
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Polich View Post
LFO’s are oscillators. Hence the name “Low
Frequency Oscillator”. It costs money to
include them, so in the old vintage days,
the types of LFO’s were often restricted.

The Yamaha Montage includes a huge number
of advanced “LFO’s” in the form of what
they call “Motion Sequences”. These can be
a simple sine all the way up to 64- step
jagged shapes, and they can all be
modified by the user. The total possible
number of Motion Sequences can number in the
thousands, AND they can all be assigned
to modulate almost any destination.
It’s pretty amazing.

Hmm. Not sure the majority synths actually have an analogue oscillator performing LFO duties any more. They’re a PITA for syncing to BPM. Many synths now use digital lfos. So a programmable value digital LFO would be cheap to implement and would give you a gated sequencer like the Prophet 08/Rev 2. It certainly seems a shame that manufacturers don’t take a more imaginative approach.
Old 3 days ago
  #16
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drxcm View Post
Some of the newer synths with mod matrixes allow complex waveshapes by mixing multiple LFOs (eg Prophet X, Prophet 12 etc).
Add slew / fade / delay times and they can get nice and interesting.

I miss proper S&H circuits in synths. The Andromeda had a proper S&H with an input and a trigger input - meant all kinds of staircase waveforms could be generated.

Surprised no one else has really done that with modern designs
They guy making the LFO expander for the OB6 has included the staircase waveform (see OB6 expander thread). It can be used with any MIDI synth.
Old 3 days ago
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
what went wrong ?
I think what went wong is that the hardware synthesizer (not workstation) scene was very nearly destroyed by software and for the last 2 decades synth manufacturers have been struggling to maintain the profit margins they used to enjoy before, and so they engaged in extreme cost cutting measures.
Old 3 days ago
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Ksp's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Polich View Post
LFO’s are oscillators. Hence the name “Low
Frequency Oscillator”. It costs money to
include them, so in the old vintage days,
the types of LFO’s were often restricted.

The Yamaha Montage includes a huge number
of advanced “LFO’s” in the form of what
they call “Motion Sequences”. These can be
a simple sine all the way up to 64- step
jagged shapes, and they can all be
modified by the user. The total possible
number of Motion Sequences can number in the
thousands, AND they can all be assigned
to modulate almost any destination.
It’s pretty amazing.
They got it right with the Motif , wondering why Novations Summits so motion sequence shy considering its touted as a sound designers synth .

I am not saying all synths lack features , just that a ton of new high priced ones seem to have everything accept strong step based modulation and high priced synths.Instead you get lfos that do little more than tremelo fx and sine wave slow or fast sweeps etc .

The future is multi lane step based modulation , i see loads of lazy design or just ' ah fk it give them a saw , sine and square wave......its 2019 , thats pathetic on high price synths that Are designed for sound designers and not blokes doing jarre covers down pubs
Old 3 days ago
  #19
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Ksp's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera1to1 View Post
They guy making the LFO expander for the OB6 has included the staircase waveform (see OB6 expander thread). It can be used with any MIDI synth.
these should have been in the originals , its piss poor they are not for that price point , seriously people are being short changed on modulation sources in some very high price lfos , lack of imagination is my guess , i get the feeling even when they add a mod matrix a lot of manufacturers think the end market is 98% blokes doing synth brass trumpet solos along to their mum on an Accordion
Old 3 days ago
  #20
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Ksp's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Treebase DMX View Post
I think what went wong is that the hardware synthesizer (not workstation) scene was very nearly destroyed by software and for the last 2 decades synth manufacturers have been struggling to maintain the profit margins they used to enjoy before, and so they engaged in extreme cost cutting measures.
I can see how cost cutting would rule out coding something like the Modal instruments animator or a multi lane modulation sequencer but not an extra 10 lfo waveforms that are chromatic and can be used as mini sequencers to control parameters.

The Novation summit is one example , it has a full mod matrix , tons of features , amazing timbre creation via advanced electronics and what , a sine , square , saw and random lfo , its actually a Very limited synth for certain types of sound design and for sequence based modulation......

its like a Ferrari with a limited accelerator pedal , but i guess this is down to economics ( lfo shapes are really expensive to code ) and also down to the target audience being over 75 years old ?
Old 3 days ago
  #21
Gear Nut
 

Well it isn't just synths is it? I mean I tried looking for advanced shapes for lfo in DAWs that I own. Sure, you can draw your own but most of the shape templates are fairly vanilla.
Old 3 days ago
  #22
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ksp View Post
( lfo shapes are really expensive to code ) and also down to the target audience being over 75 years old ?
I’m surprised to hear that it is expensive. I’d have thought that it would just be a case of substituting different wave tables. When you sign digitally for a delivery you are drawing a waveform and the mobile phone converts it to a digital code. Smoothing software could easily calculate intermediate values if stepping needed to be avoided. I’m just guessing at how it might be done. Can you explain more what’s involved please?
Old 3 days ago
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera1to1 View Post
They guy making the LFO expander for the OB6 has included the staircase waveform (see OB6 expander thread). It can be used with any MIDI synth.
This is my favorite LFO; like others have said, it's great when an LFO can mimic stepping or stuff like superfast old Commodore 64 swept-arpeggiations. That designer is a genius.
Old 3 days ago
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Just buy some DSI synths & be done with it.
Old 3 days ago
  #25
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Advanced LFO shapes come at the cost of menu diving or touchscreens.

Also, I can't help but feel that modular satisfies this - if you want sounds with lots of motion. Anything chromatic probably is better implemented as stepsequencer. Only a few patterns in major and minor are not that great.
Old 3 days ago
  #26
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera1to1 View Post
They guy making the LFO expander for the OB6 has included the staircase waveform (see OB6 expander thread). It can be used with any MIDI synth.
I can use Bitwig’s modulation system to do that already, and it’s awesome, but it’s a global modulation, not per voice. That limits its usefulness to me. Then again, the Prophet’s LFO is global anyway, though the second osc can lend a hand.

Anyway, in the Eurorack and software world, there aren’t any boundaries like the handful of analog waveforms. Some software like ArcSyn let you sequence the LFO! Synths like my Peak allow for looping the EGs. That’s a pretty good start. The animator in the 002 is fun, as are the mod sequencers in my Pro 2.

So, to be honest, I don’t really use Bitwig’s modulation on my Prophet 6, and I wouldn’t buy that guy’s expander, because I’m not starved for choices. I imagine that if I were hardware bound and wanted a poly with those capabilities, I’d feel differently, but that’s exactly why I run a hybrid studio.
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