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A new analog mono: Hypersynth Xenophone!
Old 18th September 2014
  #481
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Old 18th September 2014
  #482
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marino's Avatar
Thanks for the Spirit reminder.... I think I have played one just once, very briefly and many years ago.

About the 'background' of the Xenophone, I don't think we can bring it back to a mere matter of technology... I'd say it's more a matter of having a certain taste. There are many ways to implement a filter, for example, starting from its components. If the designer has experience of a certain culture and environment, he will tend to adjust his design to achieve a sound which he consider 'good' - and that's an aesthetic choice.

There's a certain similarity between Mediterranean and Middle East cultures - certainly more affinity than you can find with some Nordic or Anglo-Saxon ones. I guess that's one of the reasons why the sound of the Xenophone appeals so much to my musical instincts.
Old 18th September 2014
  #483
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by marino View Post
There's a certain similarity between Mediterranean and Middle East cultures - certainly more affinity than you can find with some Nordic or Anglo-Saxon ones. I guess that's one of the reasons why the sound of the Xenophone appeals so much to my musical instincts.
Oh, it's quite obvious that it all has to do with hairiness of the peoples from those regions. As an Italian I can tell you that my excessive hair translates into extra ear hair as well, thus requiring an added clarity in mid and high frequency ranges to cut though. If you have a beard, or as I call it a "face baffle" it's worse. It's as simple as that. Ever hear a Zurna? Those things really cut through a mix. heh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFYc330H3bI

It's also why Pacific Islander synth designers tend to design synths that sound dark to our fur encrusted ears.
Old 18th September 2014
  #484
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marino's Avatar
Aw, come on.
Does it sound so strange that a musical instrument designer can make some design choices that are influenced by his own culture? It's obvious to me that it can happen. Otherwise, why would all those Italian synth be so identifiable?

Also, if you live in Italy, you should be aware that there's a whole new movement of Mediterranean music, developed in the last 20-25 years or so. This is expressed in both "pure", traditional form (linked to historical researches, etc.) and in contaminations with rock, electronic music, and other genres. I was lucky to find myself in one of those 'big waves' of ethnic music revival, playing big festivals and such, playing synthesizers. I spent quite some time considering the similarities and differences between Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures. (Almost invariably, the conclusion was there are many more similarities than the average Italian is ready to acknowledge! heh But this is another story)

Btw I don't see the reason to dismiss the idea that some peculiarities of a synthesizer's sound can have something to do with the place where it was designed.

In some way I was expecting it... heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by wendell r.
There's several sounds there that, just as I thought, are strongly reminiscent of Italian analog synths.
Quote:
Originally Posted by marino
Ha ha, I thought the same but was reluctant to say it for fear of being ridiculed as crazy...
Old 18th September 2014
  #485
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marino View Post

Btw I don't see the reason to dismiss the idea that some peculiarities of a synthesizer's sound can have something to do with the place where it was designed.

In some way I was expecting it... heh

No, in many ways I think that's obvious. There's an identifiable "Japanese" synth sound, just as there are identifiable "American" and "Italian" synth sounds of the 70s and 80s, too. The only thing to discuss I think is as to why, and what you can trace these distinctive characters to.
Old 19th September 2014
  #486
Quote:
Originally Posted by marino View Post
Aw, come on.
Does it sound so strange that a musical instrument designer can make some design choices that are influenced by his own culture? It's obvious to me that it can happen. Otherwise, why would all those Italian synth be so identifiable?

Also, if you live in Italy, you should be aware that there's a whole new movement of Mediterranean music, developed in the last 20-25 years or so. This is expressed in both "pure", traditional form (linked to historical researches, etc.) and in contaminations with rock, electronic music, and other genres. I was lucky to find myself in one of those 'big waves' of ethnic music revival, playing big festivals and such, playing synthesizers. I spent quite some time considering the similarities and differences between Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures. (Almost invariably, the conclusion was there are many more similarities than the average Italian is ready to acknowledge! heh But this is another story)

Btw I don't see the reason to dismiss the idea that some peculiarities of a synthesizer's sound can have something to do with the place where it was designed.

In some way I was expecting it... heh
Sure, I just don't think that's anywhere near as much of an influence today as it was in the 70s/80s. At the time, even the US sound was bifurcated coastally (well, 60s and 70s anyway).

Today, hard to say for sure, but I don't think region has much to do with it. Generally everyone has access to the same ICs and components, and just about all of them now come from China. Oscillator and filter designs are all over the net. Most of these DCO synths follow similar designs based on what's available today.

Edit: the comment about "tuning" to a particular aesthetic sounds certainly reasonable, though. I could see that.

It's all speculation and anecdote in any case.

Here's a little something quick I recorded tonight. Multiple tracks, all the Xenophone, and no additional effects. There are some sounds in this synth that I *really* like. That lead brass sound, for example, has me. It has some teeth to it.

Circles (Hypersynth Xenophone Demo) by PeteBrown on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds



Pete
Old 19th September 2014
  #487
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marino's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by wendell r. View Post
No, in many ways I think that's obvious. There's an identifiable "Japanese" synth sound, just as there are identifiable "American" and "Italian" synth sounds of the 70s and 80s, too. The only thing to discuss I think is as to why, and what you can trace these distinctive characters to.
Thanks Wendell - after all, you're the one who led me to speak about it. Of course it's a subtle thing, and it can take place on any particular instrument or not... btw my post was a response to Zerocrossing, who was making fun of possible "regional" influences on a synth's design.

Pete, thanks a million for posting more audio stuff. (and for embedding it! heh) Yes, the Xenophone seems to have one of the sweetest sawtooth waves in the business, and the filter seems to have a rather large sweet spot. The effects, too, seem quite usable.
Old 19th September 2014
  #488
The more I listen to it, the more I realize it has a lot in common with my Intellijel Atlantis, itself "inspired by" the SH-101 core, but converted to triangle rather than saw core. Some of the brassy lead sounds are very very similar. It's like a type of fizz on top of it.

There's a lot to like here, and it's interesting to start placing where some of the aspects come from. Seems to be a little bit of Moog, a significant bit of Roland, and their own sauce on top.

I have a question in to them about how to use the sequencer. I couldn't figure it out in a reasonable amount of time. Definitely something not gelling with me there (the recording used the Sub 37's arpeggiator). Sound editing I've gotten used to, though. There's some menu diving, but not an excessive amount by any stretch.

Pete
Old 13th October 2014
  #489
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW1pzArsJXc

nice new video
Old 14th October 2014
  #490
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Yeah. Watched that vid a couple of times yesterday, and somehow it sounds better in this vid, tweaking sounds - than it does on the soundcloud demos of its presets. I see there's a limited stock left with no shipping fees, and i'm quite tempted. Trying to make my mind between this and the boomstar 5089. Two different beasts for sure. Boomstar with a stronger raw sound - and Xenophone with all the features i don't have on my other analog synths. I'm pretty much covered with vco, descrete, through hole synths (GRP, Vermona perfourmer, Omega 8) so the Xenophone might be a great option.
Old 14th October 2014
  #491
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Nice demo - once again sounding strikingly like a darker Crumar Spirit and earlier 1970s Italian synths in places.
Old 14th October 2014
  #492
Quote:
Originally Posted by fywzheng View Post
That's a nice overview. The Xenophone can do a lot more sound-wise (it can sound a lot smoother, for example), but the overview is good to explain all the mods and other shaping options.

Pete
Old 14th October 2014
  #493
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GeorgeHayduke's Avatar
 

I must admit I'm very impressed by how harmonically rich it sounds compared to my most comparable synth, the Mopho module.
Old 16th October 2014
  #494
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Really enjoyed this demo of yours Pete. Together with the Murmux synth from Greece and the MFB Dominion 1, this looks to me to have one of most appealing and powerful basic tones of all the most recent analogs. A must-buy I think.
Old 16th October 2014
  #495
Quote:
Originally Posted by wendell r. View Post


Really enjoyed this demo of yours Pete. Together with the Murmux synth from Greece and the MFB Dominion 1, this looks to me to have one of most appealing and powerful basic tones of all the most recent analogs. A must-buy I think.
Thanks.

Yes, I'm really impressed with the sounds I get from that. It's not your typical DCO synth by any stretch. It sounds far more organic.

I found the sequencer difficult to get into, but I've been away and haven't been able to update the firmware and try it out again. I will soon.

Pete
Old 16th October 2014
  #496
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Why would you try creating sequences from the front panel anyway? It seems like the Xeditor is a much simpler way of making sequences.

Anyway, couldn't help myself and finally ordered one a few hours ago :-)
Hope everything goes well and that it'll be here in a couple of weeks.
Old 16th October 2014
  #497
Quote:
Originally Posted by zahush76 View Post
Why would you try creating sequences from the front panel anyway? It seems like the Xeditor is a much simpler way of making sequences.

Anyway, couldn't help myself and finally ordered one a few hours ago :-)
Hope everything goes well and that it'll be here in a couple of weeks.
It may be.

TBH, when I have a piece of hardware like that, I tend not to like the software add-ons. Hardware will long outlive any software that these companies make, so I don't rely on it.

I know this is a case of "better" not "requires". However, if hardware *requires* software, I consider that a failure because it will become unusable in a few years. That's why I immediately returned the Mode Machines SID I bought a while back. One only need to look to Roland to see what happens when you release hardware that requires a computer to do anything.

I tend to use the DAW for master clock (when that works), effects, and recording/editing plus a few soft synths. Everything else on the devices themselves.

Pete
Old 16th October 2014
  #498
It's fairly buried, but the main background drone throughout and the resonance whistle around 2:25ish in this is the . It's also where the low rumbling bass is coming from (mostly starting around 2:30 and onward) and the overall background texture. You can hear it with good headphones.

http://soundcloud.com/psychlist1972/...ed-as-crickets



(the other strange sounds are mostly from the damn cricket that is in my home office somewhere, and also some iPad apps)

Pete
Old 17th October 2014
  #499
Gear Guru
 
fiddlestickz's Avatar
Sorry if this has been discussed already but where hypersynth based out of...the US or Europe..?
Old 17th October 2014
  #500
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
Sorry if this has been discussed already but where hypersynth based out of...the US or Europe..?
My synth shipped from the UK.

They are made in Iran (or Iran and China, or similar). There are no origin labels on the devices.

Pete
Old 17th October 2014
  #501
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marino's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zahush76 View Post
Why would you try creating sequences from the front panel anyway? It seems like the Xeditor is a much simpler way of making sequences.

Anyway, couldn't help myself and finally ordered one a few hours ago :-)
Hope everything goes well and that it'll be here in a couple of weeks.
This is the spirit! heh

Btw - envy. I'm totally sold on the Xenophone, except that I'm in disastrous financial trouble. Not that I need another monosynth, but this thing has something that rings a bell in my ear. And Pete's latest demos have only raised my GAS.
(hey Pete, thanks for embedding the Soundcloud files... my computer refuses to bring me in the SC site)
Also, I rarely use onboard sequencers (although I have had some fun with the MEK), so I couldn't care less about it being uncomfortable to program. I'm more worried about the third oscillator being hidden in the menus....
Old 17th October 2014
  #502
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marino's Avatar
Anyway, Pete, if you don't mind...

The knobs. Are they encoders (endless travel range), as hinted at earlier? Or are they pots? Or a mix of the two?

Also, how do they feel when adjusting values? How annoying is the menu diving when setting parameters that don't have dedicated knobs?
Old 17th October 2014
  #503
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marino's Avatar
And I'm not done yet... heh

About that modulation matrix... I'm very curious about what the sources and destinantions are. I'm not asking to report the whole pack... however, I'd love to know whether or not you can modulate individual envelope segments, particularly with key velocity. Unfortunately, the complete manual is not available for download yet...

Also, on the diagram of the channel architecture, the 3rd oscillator seems linked to the noise generator in some way. Is this the case? Is it a matter of using one or the other?
Old 17th October 2014
  #504
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Mod Sources : (LFO1,LFO2,LFO3,Amp Env,Filter Env,Mod Env,keytrack U,Keytrack B,KeyFollow,Velocity,P-Wheel,M-Wheel,A-Touch,MIDI Breath,MIDI Foot,MIDI Exp,MIDI Pedal,Randome U,Random B,Random Key,Alternate,Constant,CV Input,EXT Level,LFO1*MW,LFO2*MW,LFO3*MW,LFO1*AT,LFO2*AT,LFO3*AT,LFO1*LFO2,LFO1*LFO3,A-Touch(Poly),Seq Note, Seq Velocity, Seq AUX1, Seq AUX2 )

Mod Targets : (OSC1 Pitch,OSC2 Pitch,OSC3 Pitch,OSC1+2 Pitch,Main Pitch,OSC1 PitchW,OSC2 PitchW,OSC3 PitchW,OSC1+2 PitchW,Main PitchW,OSC1 Level,OSC2 Level,Sub1 Level,Sub2 Level,OSC3/N Level,Ring Level,EXT Level ,OSC1 PW,OSC1 Shp,OSC2 PW,OSC2 Shp,Fm Depth,Porta Time,Filter Freq,Flter Res,Flt Env Depth,Master Level,Master Balance,DFX Wet,LFO1 Rate,LFO2 Rate,LFO3 Rate,LFO1 Depth,LFO3 Depth,Amp Env A,Amp Env H,Amp Env D,Amp Env R,Flt Env A,Flt Env H,Flt Env D,Flt Env R,Mod Env A,Mod Env H,Mod Env D,Mod Env R,Matrix Depth1,Matrix Depth2,Matrix Depth3,Matrix Depth4)
Old 17th October 2014
  #505
Quote:
Originally Posted by marino View Post
Anyway, Pete, if you don't mind...

The knobs. Are they encoders (endless travel range), as hinted at earlier? Or are they pots? Or a mix of the two?

Also, how do they feel when adjusting values? How annoying is the menu diving when setting parameters that don't have dedicated knobs?

...

About that modulation matrix... I'm very curious about what the sources and destinantions are. I'm not asking to report the whole pack... however, I'd love to know whether or not you can modulate individual envelope segments, particularly with key velocity. Unfortunately, the complete manual is not available for download yet...

Also, on the diagram of the channel architecture, the 3rd oscillator seems linked to the noise generator in some way. Is this the case? Is it a matter of using one or the other?
Caveat: I'm not yet on the latest firmware.

They are all endless encoders. They feel fine, although one or or two of them are too sensitive and always knock me into a different menu if I bang the table or brush them with my hand or headphone cord in passing.

The menu diving isn't bad. You typically don't have to go far to edit most popular settings. There's some UI inconsistency when you turn a dedicated knob, though. In those cases, the parameter edit knobs under the display are disabled when I really think they should still be functional. Not a huge problem, but shows a bit of a lack of planning UX-wise. Every synth with a menu has a few "huh?" moments. This is one of them for me.

OSC1 and OSC2 each have subs, which is nice. OSC3 looks to me to only be external or noise. I haven't figured out a way to get it to do anything else. That would be contrary to the specs, though.

Modulation Sources from the edit menu. Not sure what all of these are yet:
LFO1/2/3
Amp Env
Filter Env
Mod Envelope
KeytrkU
KeytrkB
KeyFollow
Velocity
Pitchwheel
Aftertouch
# Breath
# Foot pedal
# Expression
# Pedal
Rand-U
Rand-B
RandKey
Alternat
Constant
CV-In
Ext-Level
LFO1/2/3 * Mod Wheel
LFO1/2/3 * Aftertouch
LFO1/2/3 * E3
LFO1 * 2
LFO1 * 3
SEQ-T1
SEQ-T2
SEQ-T3
SEQ-T4
ATouchP

Targets:
OSC1/2/3 Pitch
OSC1+2 Pitch
Main Pitch
OSC1/2/3 PitchW
OSC1 + 2 PitchW
Main PitchW
OSC1/2 Level
Sub1/2 Level
OSC3/N Level
Ring Level
Ext Level
OSC1/2 PW
OSC1/2 Shape
FM Depth
Portamento Time
Filter Frequency
Filter Resonance
Filter Envelope Depth
Master Level
DFX Wet
LFO1/2/3 Rate
LFO1/3 Depth
Amp Env A/H/D/R
Filter Env A/H/D/R
Mod Env A/H/D/R
Matrix Depth 1/2/3/4
DFX P0/P1
CV-Out

So I reported the whole list. Hard to tell the story without that.

Edit: I see zahush beat me to it. Heh

Pete
Old 17th October 2014
  #506
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychlist1972 View Post
Caveat: I'm not yet on the latest firmware.
That's something to consider, since it looks some of the issues you're describing were taken care of:

Firmware v1.4 Additions & Fixes:
- Fixed LFO2 Rate knob malfunction.
- Fixed bug that muted sound while editing Amp Env release.
- Fixed bug in loading resonance value for serial filters in some circumstances.
- Fixed envelopes trigger malfunction in "legato" mode.
- Added new trigger mode for envelopes: "Analog2" (It acts like analog1 but only resets the envelope at the first key press).
- Now Amp envelope does not reset when you change presets.
- Now arp-span subpage is also displayed when you press arp/seq select button.

Firmware v1.33 Additions & Fixes:
- Added new Portamento modes: legato Scaled, Always Scaled.
- Fixed rare bug that occurred sometimes in gliding to a stolen note.
- Fixed minor issues with Display Mode = Fixed.
- Now E1 works properly while editing sequencer steps with MIDI keyboard.
- Now LFO select/target buttons do not change LFO wave/target in other menus.
- Now prg/bnk numbers stay at last used numbers in store page.
- Improved E1-E3 functions in store page.

Firmware v1.32beta1 Additions & Fixes:
- Added "Running Status" Support for incoming MIDI data.
- Added option to edit sequencer steps by MIDI keyboard (after pressing enter in seq-edit page).
- Now "All Notes Off" MIDI message mutes pressed/stuck notes.
- Fixed bug in selecting sub-osc=off.

Firmware v1.31 Additions & Fixes:
- Addded option to limit the brightness of "LFO rates" and "Tempo" LEDs in global menu.
- Fixed issue that caused displaying "Out of range" CC data for some parameters.
- Fixed wrongly displayed octave range in Arp edit-page.
- Fixed two minor bugs produced after v1.3 : Semi1 wrongly edited Semi2 , Enter button did not work in Calibrate VCF page.

Firmware v1.3 Additions & Fixes:
- Fixed ext-clock sync problem with tempo under 120bpm.
- Fixed program numbering error in "store>save to prg" page.
- Fixed sequencer "Velocity mode" that was locked for edit.
- Fixed sequencer Note="off" display error (in octave 10).
- Now the screen does not jump to Home page while receiving MIDI after-touch and Mod-wheel.
- Now the screen does not jump to Arp edit page after pressing latch button.
- Now global menu display tuning settings instead of CV/Gate at first run.
- Now E2 inserts "Space" character in rename menu.
- Now E4 increases/decreases characters in the rename list by 16.
- Now Rename menu acts smoother.
- Enhanced sensitivity of several knobs.
- Added new option in global menu for decreasing all encoders response.
- Added new option in global menu for increasing "Semitone 1/2/3 knobs" accuracy .
- Disabled functionality of Noise Edit, Store and Compare buttons in Global Menu.

Firmware v1.2 Additions & Fixes:
- Fixed bug in decoding (Note-On message with zero velocity) which caused unwanted note trigger.

Firmware v1.1 Additions & Fixes:
- Improved encoder scanning and jitter rejection.
- Fixed issue in linking E3 knob to Oscillator1 and 2 Phase.
- Fixed problem in editing Mod Matrix slots 2-8.
Old 17th October 2014
  #507
I'm on 1.3 at the moment.
Old 17th October 2014
  #508
Gear Guru
 
fiddlestickz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychlist1972 View Post
My synth shipped from the UK.

They are made in Iran (or Iran and China, or similar). There are no origin labels on the devices.

Pete

Thanks, it looks like they ship out of UAE and UK...$922 including free postage to Australia..very tempting.
Old 17th October 2014
  #509
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Btw, i'm not entirely sure why shipping to EU or Australia is free, but to the USA it's 165$?!
Old 17th October 2014
  #510
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marino's Avatar
Thanks a lot Pete and Zahush!
It looks like they have thought of almost every useful modulation that can be used!
For example, I'm a fan of modulating attack and decay times slightly with velocity; I do it all the time with the MEK. If you tailor the mod amount precisely for the sound you're making, I find that it can often add an extra touch of expression. On the MFB Dominion X/1, I was a bit disappointed to discover that rate modulation of envelope segments is global per envelope... that is, same polarity and mod amount for all segments at once! This makes the mod much less useful.
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