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Poly synth with per-voice modulation? Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 16th May 2012
  #1
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bloodsample's Avatar
Poly synth with per-voice modulation?

I was thinking of something on my drive back from work today..

Does there exist a poly synth which allows modulation on a per-voice basis? I guess a better question would be: would this be useful you think?

Most poly synths I know of treat each voice the same, meaning when you make patches you are essentially tweaking components once for all voices (eg you tweak the filter cutoff, it gets replicated on all voices, etc). Same goes for the modulation routings (eg. LFO on filter cutoff = same for all voices).

But what if you could say tweak the filter only for voice 2 for example? Maybe none of this would have any practical use but I just never heard of something like this so I figured I'd ask if any of you would think this might be useful, or if you've come across a synth which does this.

One interesting use I thought of is to assign a square wave LFO to modulate the oscillator pitch up an octave, but only for one of the voices. So if you held down a C Major chord for example, only the 3rd (E) would go up and down an octave at the LFO rate while the other voices stayed constant.

There might be other uses but I can't think of any.

I suppose this is possible with a modular or polychaining a bunch of mono synths, but this isn't very practical or affordable. I'm wondering if any poly synths (digital or analog) have this kind of capability.

Perhaps this already exists and I'm only finding out about it now.

What do you think?
Old 16th May 2012
  #2
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Gringo Starr's Avatar
 

Studio Electronics Code 8? Dont know really. Just a guess.
Old 16th May 2012
  #3
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FabGear's Avatar
The Oberheim SEM-based 2/4/8 Voice could do this I think.
Old 16th May 2012
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FabGear View Post
The Oberheim SEM-based 2/4/8 Voice could do this I think.
You're right! I completely forgot for about those (even though I have a SEM). Not many synths have a full dedicated set of knobs per voice. And here I thought I stumbled on something unique lol

Still though, it's a pretty expensive way of getting this functionality. I imagine this is much easier to do digitally. I can picture a fixed UI panel with knobs for one voice, and maybe a series of buttons one per voice that you can toggle. All the voice buttons that are currently "active" will be affected by the changes you make on the front panel. So if you only wanted to change something for voice 2, you would select the voice 2 button and tweak away. This could also lead to some unique timbres in unison mode, as essentially you can stack different voices together (not just the same one). Just thinking out loud really, no real point to this..
Old 16th May 2012
  #5
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First of all, there are many synths with one dedicated LFO per voice, not a global LFO, for example the JD800.

And there is the Vermona perfourmer with four synths in one. Four sets of control.

VERMONA PERfourMER MKII - Vermona
Old 16th May 2012
  #6
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ttown23's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gringo Starr View Post
Studio Electronics Code 8? Dont know really. Just a guess.
Yep, or Studio Electronics Omega 8.

The other ones would be Oberheim xpander/Matrix 12 in performance mode and Korg mono/poly... at least those are the others I can think of off the top of my head...
Old 16th May 2012
  #7
actually you could tweak a filter, and many other parameters (tho not all), for individual voice on almost all vintage polyphonics.... but it would prove highly unpractical - all you gotta do is lift the hood and turn the filter cutoff trimmer on the designated voiceboard*

in theory, if you had extra panel real estate, you could even bring these trimmer controls forward via pots, wired to these voicecards. so you would have 8 pots on a 8-voice polyphonic just for filter. however, what you wouldn't get is preset memory "remembering" your individual voicecard tweaks.

multiple SEMs within a 4 or 8-voice system are the closest to this ideal, but even they dont have complete memory - some paramterers are not covered with it.



*i have filter cutoff and filter env decay purposely set up ever so slightly different on my Jupiter8, so when i use it with arpeggiators and it start going into its round robin voice selection scheme, it sound sspectacular.. as if you had another 2 "rows" on a step sequencer governing cutoff and decay.. its subtle but makes for a very special sound. i never ever wanted to calibrate it to perfection.
Old 16th May 2012
  #8
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You can do this on the Yamaha TX802. You can have up to 8 different two-voice polyphony patches linked together in a single "performance mode" patch (16 voice polyphony in total). Each successive note you play would be a different patch that revolves around in a round-robin fashion.
Old 16th May 2012
  #9
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It's almost the basis for good FM sounds.

You can do this with the poly evolver. The software synthix based on the elka synthex has features like this I think.

Aalto has a voice modulator that you can connect to different poits, you should try it and see. Really simply, try using voice to modulate a short delay to get a nice chorus.

What you're talking about is basically advanced unison options, so the most common features are relating to pitch and pan, but it can be useful anywhere.
Old 16th May 2012
  #10
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Yeh I was going to suggest the DSI PolyEvolver because, although it's a 4voice polysynth, each voice is separate.
Old 16th May 2012
  #11
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cane creek's Avatar
 

As said above Vermona Perfourmer MKII , I love mine
Old 16th May 2012
  #12
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dougt's Avatar
 

Oberheim 4/8 Voice
Xpander/Matrix-12 in 6/12-part multimode
Andromeda in 16-part multimode
A little cheaper - SCI Sixtrak in 6-voice stack mode.
Old 16th May 2012
  #13
Jet
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I was going to say it doesn't seem that useful, except maybe if you're playing from a sequencer... which clusterchord said does sound good on his synth... so OK. I believe him.

Some other things like what you're asking about are:
  • In the Nord Modular,
    the Status module has an output for the voice number
    the MonoKey module has Lo and Hi modes that make it output pitch for the lowest or highest held note
  • The Kurzweil K series has mod sources
    GLoKey, GHiKey - lowest and highest held keys
    ChanCnt - number of voices currently playing
  • The Jomox Sunsyn has mod sources
    VCO{1,2} PV: (Previous Voice) Audio-Saw-Signal of VCO{1,2} of the ”neighbouring“ voice. This way, individual voices of the SUNSYN can manipulate each other. The voices are modulated in a cyclic way, this means voice 1 is modulated by voice 8, voice 2 is modulated by voice 1 etc.
  • Midi Mode 4 is a way to transmit round-robin across multiple MIDI channels.
Old 16th May 2012
  #14
Gear Nut
Actually I think that fully multitimbral synths can do this. Here is some examples above. It maybe DSI tetra, polyevolver, tempest and of course some other machines. Maybe Electron synths - look at the specs on their site. They are not pricey, probably.
Old 16th May 2012
  #15
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Check this interview. He does modulation / pitchbend / volume envelope per voice dynamically



Edit: the technical stuff begins around 20:00
Old 16th May 2012
  #16
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Proteus 2000? Not exactly a proper synth but offers tremendous in depth modulation with virtual patchcords of each of the 4 voices that make up a patch.
Old 16th May 2012
  #17
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verve92's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pier View Post
Check this interview. He does modulation / pitchbend / volume envelope per voice dynamically



Edit: the technical stuff begins around 20:00
GREAT vid man. GAS-tastic. Love that rig
Thanx for sharing!
Old 16th May 2012
  #18
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Apprendista's Avatar
 

The Waldorf MicroQ has voice number as a modulation source. The Q probably too, then.
Old 16th May 2012
  #19
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For cheap, CH Projects OP-X Pro II allows you to use different settings for each voice. You can't address the voices individually as modulation destinations though.

Synapse Audio Dune allows you to address each individual "voice" in Unison mode via the modulation matrix, but not individual voices as it cycles through them.
Old 16th May 2012
  #20
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@bloodsample PolyMod on the Prophet 5/10 works somewhat in the way you describe, taking advantage of the subtle differences in calibration between each voice. Without getting inside the synth and tweaking the voices, however, you won't have much control over how each voice reacts to modulation, but it is essentially polyphonic modulation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord View Post
... i have filter cutoff and filter env decay purposely set up ever so slightly different on my Jupiter8, so when i use it with arpeggiators and it start going into its round robin voice selection scheme, it sound sspectacular.. as if you had another 2 "rows" on a step sequencer governing cutoff and decay.. its subtle but makes for a very special sound. i never ever wanted to calibrate it to perfection.
I can get a similar effect on my Prophet-10 using the Alternate keyboard assignment mode. Between subtle differences in calibration among the voices and then subtle manual tweaks on otherwise identical patches on the upper and lower manuals, it can sound like there is another source of modulation on the filter. Very cool!
Old 16th May 2012
  #21
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Oberheim Xpander/Matrix12 does exactly the trick you're asking for.
Old 16th May 2012
  #22
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ensoniq esq-1/sq-80/esq-m can have monophonic voicing and 8 seperate voices in multi mode so you could do a seperate patch per voice with each having it's own mod and settings.

kawai sx-240 has split and mono assignments so you could do a 2 voice version of what your looking for. or use the dual 4 voice ina split and play back and forth to achieve 2 seperate patchings across 8 notes of poly.

as already mentioned the obie sem based poly, matrix-12/xpander

and the korg mono-poly

there is also the e-mu range of samplers that had analog filters that can do this also. layer several sample zones and tweak each zone's settings.
Old 16th May 2012
  #23
ozy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronaldroy View Post
Yeh I was going to suggest the DSI PolyEvolver because, although it's a 4voice polysynth, each voice is separate.
on the same line of thought, DSI tetr4
Old 16th May 2012
  #24
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@bloodsample:

Prophet 08 has individual voice LFOs (I don´t like that). Modulation-wise it´s exactly what you want to achieve.
Old 16th May 2012
  #25
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Multi-voice modulation is overrated in my opinion. When asked a question after a demonstration of the Voyager:

"Why in this day and age does you modern synthesizer only play one note at time?"

Bob: "Because by having more voices or chords, you have less capability for complex musical gestures for each individual note, and the signal path for each voice is simpler."

I agree, not just because it's him, but because it is true. A person playing in real time or even tweaking a sequenced line can go so much further in creating crazy gestures and movements of sound with just one voice and multiple modulation busses, which can't be done by one person using one hand to play chords and the other tweaking parameters for each voice. Now you can sequence parameters in multiple voices, but at what point does it become utter chaos. 3 different speed LFO's controlling multiple mod busses on each voice? In analog synthesis at least, chords are a limitation that favors traditional Western music theory over synthesis.

True, you can get complex signal paths with polys like a slim phatty chain, but the result is not going to be both complex and non-chaotic.
Old 16th May 2012
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
Multi-voice modulation is overrated in my opinion. When asked a question after a demonstration of the Voyager:

"Why in this day and age does you modern synthesizer only play one note at time?"

Bob: "Because by having more voices or chords, you have less capability for complex musical gestures for each individual note, and the signal path for each voice is simpler."
That was soo good so I steel that and start a Bob Moog tribute thread!
Old 16th May 2012
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 View Post
Multi-voice modulation is overrated in my opinion. When asked a question after a demonstration of the Voyager:

"Why in this day and age does you modern synthesizer only play one note at time?"

Bob: "Because by having more voices or chords, you have less capability for complex musical gestures for each individual note, and the signal path for each voice is simpler."

I agree, not just because it's him, but because it is true. A person playing in real time or even tweaking a sequenced line can go so much further in creating crazy gestures and movements of sound with just one voice and multiple modulation busses, which can't be done by one person using one hand to play chords and the other tweaking parameters for each voice. Now you can sequence parameters in multiple voices, but at what point does it become utter chaos. 3 different speed LFO's controlling multiple mod busses on each voice? In analog synthesis at least, chords are a limitation that favors traditional Western music theory over synthesis.
Perhaps... if these chords are based on equal-temperament, Just C, or any other common system of traditional western intonation. But what if they're not? And why do chords even have to have a discernible (tonal) pitch? I fully agree that one of the great things about monosynths is the ability to focus all of one's skill on the performance of a single monophonic line, but any well trained keyboardist is able to articulate his or her ten fingers independently. This is precisely the reason the Bach Preludes and Fugues are a core part of most pianists' training. The fugues in particular help develop the ability to perform multiple independent monophonic voices simultaneously with different articulations! This same technique can be applied to music which is atonal or not based on equal temperament.

Polyphonic aftertouch is a kind of polyphonic modulation which can bring a tremendous amount of expression to a polyphonic keyboard performance. So I have to disagree that multi-voice modulation is "overrated." In fact, I would argue it is not rated highly enough, as the lack of modern synths and MIDI controllers supporting polyphonic aftertouch would suggest. Remember, not every one plays a synth with only one hand! Some use both... together with pedals, etc. ... to create textures no monosynth could ever pull off in real-time! One cannot assume chaos will result in the polyphonic performance of multiple monophonic lines being modulated independently any more than it might in a Bach fugue. It's a question of skill and technique in both synthesis and performance.
Old 16th May 2012
  #28
Gear Maniac
Madrona Labs Aalto lets you do this and is one of the reasons I love it - good question!
Old 16th May 2012
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodsample View Post
Does there exist a poly synth which allows modulation on a per-voice basis? I guess a better question would be: would this be useful you think?
I believe that the matrix 6 / 6r/ 1000 is capable of "per voice modulation".

At least i seem to recall* having made patches where the LFO speed is modulated by key follow and have gotten some nice beating-against-each-other patterns out of that.

...useful? Well, i'd say that that is up to the individual...


* right now it is dead :cry:
Old 16th May 2012
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
* right now it is dead :cry:
Aww... that's sad, grumphh. What do you think's wrong with it?
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