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novel subtractive synthesis idea?

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion

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KVRist
 
482 posts since 21 Mar, 2006, from Adelaide, Australia
    

Postby matthewjumps; Sat May 24, 2014 12:11 am novel subtractive synthesis idea?

i have had this idea for a synthesis method floating around in my head for quite some time, and i think it has the potential to be really powerful. i recently fired up synthmaker/flowstone and got a really basic prototype working, tho i am way too much of a synthmaker noob to do the idea justice.

basically, i was thinking that it makes no sense that every subtractive synth out there has oscillators and then AHDSR envelopes, totally unrelated.

my idea is why not make it so that for each stage of the envelope, you have a separate osc? as in, you can use a noise osc for the attack phase, a square for the hold, a saw for the decay, a triangle for the sustain, and a sine for the release. your gui has a row of osc selectors, one for each stage of the envelope. in between each stage is a 'fade time' knob that allows you to define how fast the transition is from, say, the attack phase osc to the hold phase osc, or the sustain phase osc to the release phase osc. im thinking that, for example, with the attack to hold fade time, the fade would occur in the beginning hold stage, or, if the note is released before the hold stage starts, in the release stage.

its still a form of subtractive synthesis, as in, you would still run the output of all this thru a filter, with its own envelope. however, using different oscs for each stage of the amp envelope would add so much sonic power and flexibility to the, imho, somewhat stagnant sound of subtractive synths.

for example, when looking at the waveform of a real life bass guitar, i often notice that the attack phase is mostly noise, that short sharp pick noise, followed by a slightly longer period of the fundamental note with lots of harmonics (more like a square wave), then settling into a more sine/triangle like sustain note. with standard subtractive synths, you have to rely on the filter stage to try and emulate this, but with the method im proposing you could recreate this kind of sound with complete ease, before even getting to the filter stage. you would simply set a short attack time, and set the attack osc to noise. then a slightly longer hold time, set to square, followed by a decay time thats either square or triangle, followed by a triangle or sine sustain. you could even add a short noise osc release phase to simulate the imperfections of a real finger releasing a string. add an envelope filter stage on top of that, and you could get some pretty interesting sounds.

does anyone else think this is a decent idea? and does anyone know anyone i could suggest this to who would be able to make it a reality? my really basic shitty synthmaker attempt, tho incredibly crude, makes me think this has a ton of potential. im happy to share that with anyone interested
KVRAF
 
7270 posts since 19 Feb, 2004, from Paris
 

Postby Lotuzia; Sat May 24, 2014 12:54 am Re: novel subtractive synthesis idea?

matthewjumps wrote:i have had this idea for a synthesis method floating around in my head for quite some time, and i think it has the potential to be really powerful. i recently fired up synthmaker/flowstone and got a really basic prototype working, tho i am way too much of a synthmaker noob to do the idea justice.

basically, i was thinking that it makes no sense that every subtractive synth out there has oscillators and then AHDSR envelopes, totally unrelated.

my idea is why not make it so that for each stage of the envelope, you have a separate osc? as in, you can use a noise osc for the attack phase, a square for the hold, a saw for the decay, a triangle for the sustain, and a sine for the release. your gui has a row of osc selectors, one for each stage of the envelope. in between each stage is a 'fade time' knob that allows you to define how fast the transition is from, say, the attack phase osc to the hold phase osc, or the sustain phase osc to the release phase osc. im thinking that, for example, with the attack to hold fade time, the fade would occur in the beginning hold stage, or, if the note is released before the hold stage starts, in the release stage.

its still a form of subtractive synthesis, as in, you would still run the output of all this thru a filter, with its own envelope. however, using different oscs for each stage of the amp envelope would add so much sonic power and flexibility to the, imho, somewhat stagnant sound of subtractive synths.

for example, when looking at the waveform of a real life bass guitar, i often notice that the attack phase is mostly noise, that short sharp pick noise, followed by a slightly longer period of the fundamental note with lots of harmonics (more like a square wave), then settling into a more sine/triangle like sustain note. with standard subtractive synths, you have to rely on the filter stage to try and emulate this, but with the method im proposing you could recreate this kind of sound with complete ease, before even getting to the filter stage. you would simply set a short attack time, and set the attack osc to noise. then a slightly longer hold time, set to square, followed by a decay time thats either square or triangle, followed by a triangle or sine sustain. you could even add a short noise osc release phase to simulate the imperfections of a real finger releasing a string. add an envelope filter stage on top of that, and you could get some pretty interesting sounds.

does anyone else think this is a decent idea? and does anyone know anyone i could suggest this to who would be able to make it a reality? my really basic shitty synthmaker attempt, tho incredibly crude, makes me think this has a ton of potential. im happy to share that with anyone interested


Oscillators have Keyboard tracking. Moreover, discontinuity -uncomplete cycles-could produce cliks.Then what you propose is, to a certain extent, already doable with some modular analog synths like the Xils 4, where you could use noise, controlled by an aux enveloppe, to control filter, or oscillators, or both. Or oscillators to control ADSR or Trapezoidal enveloppe stages. Synths like Massive also have some advanced interesting enveloppes on the WT side. And so have FM8, or other synths.
http://www.lelotusbleu.fr Soundbanks for Vsti

77 Exclusive Soundbanks for 23 synths, 8 Sound Designers, Hours of audio Demos. The Sound you miss might be there [Xils-Lab Team]
KVRist
 
482 posts since 21 Mar, 2006, from Adelaide, Australia
    

Postby matthewjumps; Sat May 24, 2014 1:34 am Re: novel subtractive synthesis idea?

it seems you arent understanding me? keyboard tracking isnt related to this.

each time a note is triggered, all 5 oscs (one for each stage of the amp env) are triggered simultaneously. as the amp env moves thru the AHDSR stages, the volume of each osc is turned up/down respectively, so first you hear the attack phase osc, then the hold phase osc, then the decay phase osc, then the sustain phase osc, then finally the release phase osc. the volumes are cross-faded using the 'fade time' value i spoke about. i have made a simple demo, and you dont get clicks, because each osc is in sync from the start.

im not talking about using noise to control anything. this isnt really even about the envelopes, or controlling things. this is about the fundamental sound generation stage of the subtractive synth - the oscillators. every subtractive synth i have seen is stuck with one osc for the duration of the entire note (or multiple oscs layered up, but not changing, for the duration of the entire note)

the idea is, instead of using a single waveform, then applying amp and filter envelopes to it, to have unique waveforms for EACH stage of the amp envelope. so that in the attack phase, the osc being heard is a noise osc, then in the decay, its a square, then in the sustain, a triangle, then in the release, noise again. the filter and amp envelopes would work on top of that baseline flexibility that would be afforded by this, instead of just being applied to a single type of osc that plays throughout the duration of the whole note.

as i said, this works, and has no clicks, in the very rudimentary demo i hacked together in synthmaker with very limited knowledge of it.
KVRist
 
361 posts since 30 Apr, 2012

Postby DJMashbot; Sat May 24, 2014 1:52 am Re: novel subtractive synthesis idea?

This is possible to some extent in massive, if you use envelopes with delayed start times to stagger the oscillators so that they play in sequence. You would be limited to three, though.
KVRist
 
482 posts since 21 Mar, 2006, from Adelaide, Australia
    

Postby matthewjumps; Sat May 24, 2014 1:58 am Re: novel subtractive synthesis idea?

thats kinda cool, might try that out. tho ideally im interested in an approach that thinks of each stage of the whole AHDSR envelope as its own separate oscillator, with cross-fades between each, rather than using delayed starts on envs to mimic it... just wish i could get my head around synthmaker a bit more... in my efforts to make it i already had to resort to using DSP code modules, still getting my head around that. mainly how the whole 'poly' thing works in relation to the DSP module.

maybe if anyone knows any good synthmaker tuts? thatd be awesome
KVRAF
 
7270 posts since 19 Feb, 2004, from Paris
 

Postby Lotuzia; Sat May 24, 2014 2:11 am Re: novel subtractive synthesis idea?

Yes sorry I thought you were thinking of oscillators acting as EG segments.

Well now that I understand better, wouldn't any WaveTable synth allowing you to create or import custom wavetables do the trick ?
http://www.lelotusbleu.fr Soundbanks for Vsti

77 Exclusive Soundbanks for 23 synths, 8 Sound Designers, Hours of audio Demos. The Sound you miss might be there [Xils-Lab Team]
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KVRAF
 
2259 posts since 4 Sep, 2006, from 127.0.0.1
 

Postby antto; Sat May 24, 2014 2:15 am Re: novel subtractive synthesis idea?

your idea is equivalent to having 5 (or so) oscillators where each one of them has a dedicated "HAR" envelope and amplifier

i think it's more important to start with the sound you want to model than with exotic ideas of what you can do with existing modular blocks

in your example with the guitar - there is a reason why there's first some noise, then a square-like tone which then morphs into a sine-like tone
use a noise osc with an attack/decay envelope, and another osc, square, with hold/attack/decay envelope
run the thing thru a filter
see, this is not as complicated as your initial idea

yet a better approach, don't use a square oscillator at all, use a tuned delay like (karplus-strong) and then your noise "burst" becomes the input to that
if you have a filter in the tuned-delay - that will naturaly turn any square-like signal to a more sine-like signal and decay it down, see, no need for an envelope here

i mean, IMO you should start with the sound you want to achieve and only THEN figure out what kind of synthesis methods to use
It doesn't matter how it sounds..
..as long as it has BASS and it's LOUD!
KVRist
 
482 posts since 21 Mar, 2006, from Adelaide, Australia
    

Postby matthewjumps; Sat May 24, 2014 2:22 am Re: novel subtractive synthesis idea?

Lotuzia wrote:Well now that I understand better, wouldn't any WaveTable synth allowing you to create or import custom wavetables do the trick ?

so wavetable synths let you morph between different oscs/waves for each stage of the AHDSR envs duration? if so can you recommend any VSTs so i can try this out?


antto wrote: IMO you should start with the sound you want to achieve and only THEN figure out what kind of synthesis methods to use

i used the guitar example to show what i thought could be achieved with this method. im not trying to achieve any particular sound, i like the idea of having a unique oscillator source for each stage of the AHDSR env, and then sending that off to the filter and filter env. im sure that approach would lend itself to certain sounds which would be fiddly to attain with other methods.

as Lotuzia said, this may already exist in the form of wavetable synths.
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Beware the Quoth
 
21101 posts since 3 Sep, 2001, from R'lyeh Oceanic Amusement Park and Funfair

Postby whyterabbyt; Sat May 24, 2014 2:46 am Re: novel subtractive synthesis idea?

matthewjumps wrote:
Lotuzia wrote:Well now that I understand better, wouldn't any WaveTable synth allowing you to create or import custom wavetables do the trick ?

so wavetable synths let you morph between different oscs/waves for each stage of the AHDSR envs duration?


More like the EG gets used as a modulator for the wavetable position, thus setting the wave being used at that point.

for examples see Waldorf PPG Wave, Kubik, Wolfgang Palm Wavegenerator.
To laymen, software development is something akin to wizardry. Neither time, nor effort are involved. If software is missing features they want, or has bugs, it is solely because someone has been too lazy to wave their magic wand.
KVRist
 
321 posts since 13 Nov, 2002, from Germany, Darmstadt

Postby helium; Sat May 24, 2014 2:59 am Re: novel subtractive synthesis idea?

matthewjumps wrote:
Lotuzia wrote:Well now that I understand better, wouldn't any WaveTable synth allowing you to create or import custom wavetables do the trick ?

so wavetable synths let you morph between different oscs/waves for each stage of the AHDSR envs duration? if so can you recommend any VSTs so i can try this out?


You could do it with Zebralette which is freeware.
Why is 6 afraid of 7

Because 7 8 9.

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