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Sick of sample-based "synthesis"!

Discussion in 'General Electronics' started by Radium, Oct 16, 2003.

  1. Radium

    Radium Guest

    Sample-based synths are stale and rigid. Any sound effect in action
    will noticeably quantize and alias the music. They are a hell an
    earsore for life-wanting instruments such as synth pads and synth fx.
    The tone of synth pads are generated on FM synths! No wonder pads
    sound so crappy in samplers.

    A *real* digital (not analog) FM/modelling synth is a dream! It should
    be hard-coded and able to do its own processing and memory.

    Whatever happened to the fresh OPL3 stereo hardware synth present in
    obsolete ISA boards?? Most PCI cards implenting OPL3 and clones of
    that synth. Clones = cheats!
  2. Jerry Avins

    Jerry Avins Guest

    Radium wrote:


    Clue me in, Bub. How do you hard code an analog synth? Why does it need

  3. Radium

    Radium Guest


    Most PCI card implementing OPL3 *are* clones of that synth.
  4. Radium

    Radium Guest

    Notice I mentioned that a *digital* hardware synth would be my cup of
    tea. Never would I recommend analog synths - they are highly
    vulnerable to RFI, EMI, and other electronic disruptions.
    Okay I'm probably wrong on this one.
  5. Les Cargill

    Les Cargill Guest

    Digital isn't FM and vice versa. DX-7s and later revisions of
    DX-7s are not hard to find.

    There exist also VSTi which claim to do FM synthesis.
  6. Dave Tweed

    Dave Tweed Guest

    Have you looked at the Nord Modular from Clavia?

    There are several models, but the basic idea is to have anywhere from
    one to eight dedicated DSPs doing emulation of old-style modular analog
    synthesizers while allowing advanced techniques that only a DSP chip can
    do. FM and physical modelling are quite doable on these units, and the
    patch editor (runs on a Windows PC, connects through a pair of dedicated
    MIDI cables) is set up to look like a virtual analog modular synth,
    complete with virtual patch cables.

    -- Dave Tweed
  7. Radium

    Radium Guest

  8. Les Cargill

    Les Cargill Guest

    That was me, not Jerry Avins.

    Digital ROMplers play back samples. FM synthesis is, well,
    FM synthesis. Two totally different technologies.
  9. Jerry Avins

    Jerry Avins Guest

    My remark to you was only one of the stupid misreadings I did that
    night. Forget it. I hope everybody else does, too.

  10. Radium

    Radium Guest

    FM synthesis in OPL3 is digital. It is important to note that digital
    does not necessarily mean samples just like analog does not
    necessarily mean cassettes.
  11. Les Cargill

    Les Cargill Guest

    By which you mean it's PCM? Or is it what I'd understood;
    digital control of analog signals?
    Bad time to bring up DCC, then? :)
  12. Radium

    Radium Guest

    PCM is used by samplers. OPL3 uses digital FM signals - totally
    different. Prior to 1980 FM synths were analog. However, this method
    was impractical and expensive. In an analog FM synth the signals
    smoothly vary by their frequency. In a digital FM synth the signals
    vary by their frequency in discete steps.
  13. Beg yer pardon, but FM and digital are not mutually exclusive at all.

    I impelemented FM sythesis on an LSI-11 micro in assembler back in 1983 or so,
    and it worked as well as any single-operator FM synthesizer could.
  14. Randy Yates

    Randy Yates Guest

    An "analog FM" synth? Never heard of such a thing. The old
    popular analog synths like the Minimoog and Arp Odyssey used
    plain old "subtractive" synthesis, i.e., they'd generate a
    waveform (sawtooth, square wave, sin-ish, etc.), then remove
    part of it with a lowpass filter (a VCF). Of course you could
    modulate the filter cutoff with the ADSR generator and/or the
    LFO. Same with the VCA.

    And yes, they were horrid. Especially when you get them up on
    stage in front of hot lights where the temperature was changing.
    % Randy Yates % "...the answer lies within your soul
    %% Fuquay-Varina, NC % 'cause no one knows which side
    %%% 919-577-9882 % the coin will fall."
    %%%% <> % 'Big Wheels', *Out of the Blue*, ELO
  15. Les Cargill

    Les Cargill Guest

    I wouldn't be at all surprosed. I was speaking from the point
    of view of an MI consumer, which is where I was guessing the guy was
    coming from.
    Was there a D/A involved?
  16. Radium

    Radium Guest

    Exactly. Neither have I.

    I have no idea what Les Cargill means about FM being differen from
    digital. FM synths are digital, like it or not. I don't see why they
    shouldn't be. Most analog systems have poor SNRs, are bulky, and need
    physical precision to play decently.

    Samplers are different from FM synths even though both groups are
    digital. Samplers have a stale cut-off at high frequencies. Samplers
    are suckers for synth sounds. Synth pads, synth FX, synth lead, synth
    bass are a torture to listen to when played through sample-based
    synths. After all, these "synth" sounds were generated on an FM synth
    to begin with. Record them into samples and of course they will rot.
    Low-pass filter was necessary to cut-off the unpleasant hiss. This is
    definitely not a problem in FM synths.
  17. Randy Yates

    Randy Yates Guest

    I agree so far.
    No opinion here.
    I disagree here. I never remember hearing hiss out of the Moog. And
    even if there were, the filter was not for the hiss, but rather was
    a significant part of the instrument's sound. Especially when you
    cranked the Q so that you could hear the cutoff frequency as a
    whistle. Re: the end of ELP's "Lucky Man" where he holds that
    low, low synth note and tweaks the LP filter.
    % Randy Yates % "...the answer lies within your soul
    %% Fuquay-Varina, NC % 'cause no one knows which side
    %%% 919-577-9882 % the coin will fall."
    %%%% <> % 'Big Wheels', *Out of the Blue*, ELO
  18. Les Cargill

    Les Cargill Guest

    So this process was purely in the digital domain?
  19. Randy Yates

    Randy Yates Guest

    Yes. Digital oscillators with numerically-controlled frequencies
    are used. The outputs of the digital oscillators are PCM streams
    that are summed into a composite PCM stream, which can then be
    converted to analog in the usual fashion.
    % Randy Yates % "...the answer lies within your soul
    %% Fuquay-Varina, NC % 'cause no one knows which side
    %%% 919-577-9882 % the coin will fall."
    %%%% <> % 'Big Wheels', *Out of the Blue*, ELO
  20. Les Cargill

    Les Cargill Guest

    Randy, thanks. You've disabused me of yet another badly gathered
    hunk of malinformation. This shows why we should teach synthesis
    in the schools, rather than letting children learn about it on
    the playground.
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