Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
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Krakatau
KVRAF
5468 posts since 25 May, 2002 from Bobo-dioulasso\BF__Geneva/CH

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:52 am

Though i remember this synth had it own thread i couldn't find it as it has fallen into the abyss of the forum

:?

As the ones who could check it out a bit deeper now that it is on the market a few month, might certainly agree Cycle deserves not to sink into oblivion, though the market is obviously saturated in our times

:tu:

I, for one, am still a bit disoriented by the paradigm (probably because i might be a bit lazy in giving a serious time of undivided attention to it :oops: ) but as anyone would appreciate by listening to the huge presets library, it is undoubtely a fascinating instrument for sound design purposes...

:o

So it might be time perhaps, now to give some more experienced evaluations for this gem ?

User avatar
Ingonator
KVRAF
12043 posts since 21 Mar, 2008 from Hannover, Germany

Re: Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:31 am

Just found this about Cycle:

http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... 1&t=381337

http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... &p=5640649

http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... &p=5548539


have never checked myself but just downloading the demo that is available here:
http://amaranthaudio.com/downloads/?pro ... cycle_v1_0


UPDATE:
Just installed the windows demo version and checking the Standalaone version at the moment.
At the first look the interface is really confusing but the sound seems to be nice.

One "funny" thing seems to be that when you change the main volume that change is reflected in most of the different displays of the synth (e.g. spectral display).


Ingo
Ingo Weidner
notebook: HP Omen 15.6" / Win 10 Home 64-bit / i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz / 16GB RAM / 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD (internal) // audio: Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd gen)
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User avatar
Krakatau
KVRAF
5468 posts since 25 May, 2002 from Bobo-dioulasso\BF__Geneva/CH

Re: Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:49 am

Ingonator wrote:Just found this about Cycle:

http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... 1&t=381337

http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... &p=5640649

http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... &p=5548539


have never checked myself but just downloading the demo that is available here:
http://amaranthaudio.com/downloads/?pro ... cycle_v1_0


UPDATE:
Just installed the windows demo version and checking the Standalaone version at the moment.
At the first look the interface is really confusing but the sound seems to be nice.


Ingo
That's also what slew me down from the first handling by now, it is rather counter-intuitive in regard to what i'm used to get jn hand...

...just in case the last link is for Circle not Cycle

...though between me and you it was a rather scatterbrained attitude as a regular user that i am, to neglect thequick search fonction)
:oops:

User avatar
Sampleconstruct
KVRAF
14383 posts since 12 Oct, 2008 from Here and there

Re: Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:50 am

I tested the demo for a few hours when they released the Mac version and it didn't click with me at all, so I deleted the demo.

User avatar
Krakatau
KVRAF
5468 posts since 25 May, 2002 from Bobo-dioulasso\BF__Geneva/CH

Re: Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:56 am

too bad that the interface is so intimidating, (apparently,even for experienced sound designers) because IMHO it would be interesting to have by now a feedback of both possibilities and limitations of it paradigm ?

User avatar
Ingonator
KVRAF
12043 posts since 21 Mar, 2008 from Hannover, Germany

Re: Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:03 am

As already mentioned i Just started checking the demo version.

I had done sound design with many synths and several different synthesis methods but with this it really seems to be difficult to understand how it works in terms of programming your own sounds from scratch.

I guess this is one of the synths that is almost impossible to use without reading the manual properly.


Ingo
Ingo Weidner
notebook: HP Omen 15.6" / Win 10 Home 64-bit / i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz / 16GB RAM / 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD (internal) // audio: Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd gen)
DAWs: Live 10 Suite / Cubase Pro 9.5 // controller: Komplete Kontrol S61 Mk1

User avatar
Krakatau
KVRAF
5468 posts since 25 May, 2002 from Bobo-dioulasso\BF__Geneva/CH

Re: Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:09 am

Ingonator wrote:I guess this is one of the synths that is almost impossible to use without reading the manual properly.


Ingo
That's the point,...is there ONLY a manual ??????????????

:cry:


...there a few video tutorials, but i, for one, being not english based it is rather difficult to listen to advices that are destinated to whom it is their mother language

A manual you might take your time to read carefully, IMO...
Last edited by Krakatau on Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Ingonator
KVRAF
12043 posts since 21 Mar, 2008 from Hannover, Germany

Re: Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:12 am

Krakatau wrote:
Ingonator wrote:I guess this is one of the synths that is almost impossible to use without reading the manual properly.


Ingo
That's the point,...is there ONLY a manual ??????????????

:cry:
Inside the plugin there is a link that leads to those tutorials:
http://www.amaranthaudio.com/tutorials/

quotes from the first page of the tutorial:
Introduction

Cycle is quite a bit different than the conventional audio synthesizer. While this means it opens many new sound design possibilities, it also means there is a learning curve. We'll try and make that as small as possible so you can be productive with Cycle right away.

Overview

Sound Generation

Cycle creates sound in part with single, powerful oscillator. The waveshape of this oscillator is designable with points and curves, and it can morph over time as well as key scale and other ranges. To achieve morphing, you effectively automate the positions of the points by creating paths for them to follow over time.


There is no set limit on the number of points in a waveshape or the complexity of their paths, so the synthesis possiblities are vast, and very accurate models of existing sounds are possible.


The signal generated from the oscillator is analysed cycle by cycle for its spectral content. The spectral synthesis component lets you operate on this harmonic spectrum.

Ingo
Ingo Weidner
notebook: HP Omen 15.6" / Win 10 Home 64-bit / i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz / 16GB RAM / 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD (internal) // audio: Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd gen)
DAWs: Live 10 Suite / Cubase Pro 9.5 // controller: Komplete Kontrol S61 Mk1

User avatar
Krakatau
KVRAF
5468 posts since 25 May, 2002 from Bobo-dioulasso\BF__Geneva/CH

Re: Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:15 am

Ingonator wrote:
Krakatau wrote:
Ingonator wrote:I guess this is one of the synths that is almost impossible to use without reading the manual properly.


Ingo
That's the point,...is there ONLY a manual ??????????????

:cry:
Inside the plugin there is a link that leads to those tutorials:
http://www.amaranthaudio.com/tutorials/


Ingo
RIGHT...i should have visit the site a bit more, this one wasn't present a few weeks ago !

User avatar
Ingonator
KVRAF
12043 posts since 21 Mar, 2008 from Hannover, Germany

Re: Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:21 am

It looks like if you want to use Cycle properly you could forget about most things that you had learned from "traditional" synthesis methods.

The question for me is if it would be worth learning all this based on the sounds you are able to get from this and based on the synths i already got which already include some more or less complex approaches to synthesis (e.g. Linplug Spectral, Alchemy, Korg Wavestation, Tone2 Nemesis, Tone2 Rayblaster, Tone2 ElectraX, Tone2 Gladiator 2, PPG WaveGenerator for PC, Waldorf Largo, Dmitry Sches Diversion, Hamburg-Audio Nuklear, Synthmaster 2.6 and others...).


Ingo
Ingo Weidner
notebook: HP Omen 15.6" / Win 10 Home 64-bit / i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz / 16GB RAM / 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD (internal) // audio: Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd gen)
DAWs: Live 10 Suite / Cubase Pro 9.5 // controller: Komplete Kontrol S61 Mk1

User avatar
Sampleconstruct
KVRAF
14383 posts since 12 Oct, 2008 from Here and there

Re: Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:32 am

I didn't find the concept very hard to grasp, but the sounds I got out of it didn't impress me at all and I was totally underwhelmed by the factory library, so in my impression this is an instrument with extremely fancy graphics but not so impressive sonic results.

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Krakatau
KVRAF
5468 posts since 25 May, 2002 from Bobo-dioulasso\BF__Geneva/CH

Re: Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:39 am

Ingonator wrote: The question for me is if it would be worth learning all this based on the sounds you are able to get from this and based on the synths i already got which already include some more or less complex approaches to synthesis (e.g. Linplug Spectral, Alchemy, Korg Wavestation, Tone2 Nemesis, Tone2 Rayblaster, Tone2 ElectraX, Tone2 Gladiator 2, PPG WaveGenerator for PC, Waldorf Largo, Dmitry Sches Diversion, Hamburg-Audio Nuklear, Synthmaster 2.6 and others...).

Ingo
Though i think this synth has some sonic qualities on his own, owning a few instrument synths you've listing : Alchemy, Wavestation, Gladiator2( especially : it is a pleasure of simplicity and Cycle reminds me of this one a lot soundwise!) i have to agree with your statement

:(

User avatar
Ingonator
KVRAF
12043 posts since 21 Mar, 2008 from Hannover, Germany

Re: Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:06 am

Krakatau wrote:
Ingonator wrote: The question for me is if it would be worth learning all this based on the sounds you are able to get from this and based on the synths i already got which already include some more or less complex approaches to synthesis (e.g. Linplug Spectral, Alchemy, Korg Wavestation, Tone2 Nemesis, Tone2 Rayblaster, Tone2 ElectraX, Tone2 Gladiator 2, PPG WaveGenerator for PC, Waldorf Largo, Dmitry Sches Diversion, Hamburg-Audio Nuklear, Synthmaster 2.6 and others...).

Ingo
Though i think this synth has some sonic qualities on his own, owning a few instrument synths you've listing : Alchemy, Wavestation, Gladiator2( especially : it is a pleasure of simplicity and Cycle reminds me of this one a lot soundwise!) i have to agree with your statement

:(
For me there are some features in PPG WaveGenerator (for PC/MAc, there is also an iPad version) that are somehow seem related to this, while WaveGenerator seems to be superior in terms of worklflow and possible sounds.
In waveGenaerator you could draw a waveform by free drawing and/or a spectrum/additive editor. You could have many waveforms for which you the could draw a "path" which is the order of how waveforms are played within the wavetable. opposing to "usual2 wavetable synthesis the path of tze waveforms is not fixed at one direction but culd go in the direction of "wave sequencing" like in the Wavestation.
There are also multiple envelopes for the wavetables and other stuff and each envelope could have multiple steps beyond the usual ADSR ones.

At the Musikmesse i was also able to play with Waldorf Nave which at the moment is only available for iPad. This seems to be a very advanced version of the "usual" wavetable synthesis, including speech synthesis by typing in the speech as words.
There seem to be plans for doing a PC/Mac version but no details about that yet (also not started yet AFAIK).

Also Linplug Spectral seems to be quite powerful and versatile. It got a spectrum/additive waveform editor too and you could moph between waveforms or change the symmetry of a waveform that could lead to interesting results too. Besides that you could draw your own filter response which is a quite unique feature.


A problem i see with current developments is that it is difficult to find something that is superior to e.g. vector syntheis (e.g. Wavestation, Prophet VS), wave sequencing (e.g. Wavesstation) and wavetable synthesis (e.g. Waldorf synths, PPG Wavegenerator and others) to get really evolving sounds while havimg a more or less simple workflow.
Interesting results seem to be expected with synths that make use of the concepts mentioned like e.g. Synthmaster 2,6 (wavetable syntheis, vector syntheis, 2D-envelopes), PPG WaveGenerator, Rayblaster (could do a kind of wavetable scanning too and also formant synthesis and granular like stuff) and also Waldorf Nave (like just mentioned above).
Several other only offer and option to morph between two waveforms which could be nice but still limited.


Anyway ill try to get my mind around how Cyle works. As mentioned it would make sense if you could get some really unique result with it.


Ingo
Last edited by Ingonator on Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ingo Weidner
notebook: HP Omen 15.6" / Win 10 Home 64-bit / i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz / 16GB RAM / 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD (internal) // audio: Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd gen)
DAWs: Live 10 Suite / Cubase Pro 9.5 // controller: Komplete Kontrol S61 Mk1

Breeze
KVRAF
1904 posts since 13 Oct, 2002

Re: Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:11 am

I've had a go of Cycle too and while I find the concept interesting, I agree that there are several issues:

- Getting to know it is somewhat arcane. The author has done himself a serious disservice by not completing the tutorials and not providing concise detailed instructions and examples on editing.

- One thing that would make Cycle much more interesting would be the ability to capture a waveform (ie: in essence, automatically sample, analyze and draw the waveform within Cycle) and then allow all the manipulations it is capable of. Being able to copy, merge, and/or morph data from one waveform to an other would have a huge potential for sound design. The current concept of manually tracing a waveform is not inspiring at all.

- While all the graphics are useful to see when editing, there should be a performance mode that limits the view to a more convenient size, with useful macro controls. In the context of a project a lot of the GUI information is overkill and unnecessary.

And like others have discussed, the question of how useful this method of synthesis is in its current incarnation is a very relevant one. There's currently very little that's truly unique about the sounds in Cycle that can't be reproduced with simpler methods. But I do think there is something fascinating about it beyond the pretty pictures and I'm curious to see how this project will evolve over time.

User avatar
Ingonator
KVRAF
12043 posts since 21 Mar, 2008 from Hannover, Germany

Re: Amaranth audio Cycle, your impressions ?

Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:38 am

Sampleconstruct wrote:I didn't find the concept very hard to grasp, but the sounds I got out of it didn't impress me at all and I was totally underwhelmed by the factory library, so in my impression this is an instrument with extremely fancy graphics but not so impressive sonic results.
After having checked a bigger part of the factory sounds actually ther seem to be some really nice ones.
The real problem seems to be to get comparable sounds when you try to prgram cycle from scratch.

BTW some of the more evolving sounds reminded me a bit of those in wavetable synths while opposing to such wavetable synths still have problems to understand how those are working inside Cycle. Other sound remind me of synths like e.g Spectral or Rayblaster but again without really knowing how they ar done in Cycle.

To be honest for some Cycle factory sounds i also don't know how to exactly replicate them in other synths. I like the overall sound quality and the effects seem to be quite nice too.

The interface seems to be far from being intuitive for creating your own sounds. it also takes time to really understand how the synth works which indeed is a bit difficult and almost impossible without having a look at the tutorials.

Maybe once i really understand how it works this could be an intersteting sound design tool but i don't think i'll really purchase it until then.
The latest version of the synth seems to be quite new (around 3 days old) so those who checked an early version maybe could have another look.


UPDATE:
Just noticed that there is also a tutorial about how to create a certain sound from scratch:
http://www.amaranthaudio.com/tutorials/modelWave.php

Just noticed that when you import a sample (i have used some of my own ones) starting from an init patch you already get a quite complex result. this is very differnt from trying to creat your own sound from the waveform editor.
A problem i found when importing your own samples that sometimes you don't have a sound when playing a note.I laways get a sound when hitting the play button at the transport buttons of the Cycle GUI.


Ingo
Last edited by Ingonator on Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ingo Weidner
notebook: HP Omen 15.6" / Win 10 Home 64-bit / i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz / 16GB RAM / 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD (internal) // audio: Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd gen)
DAWs: Live 10 Suite / Cubase Pro 9.5 // controller: Komplete Kontrol S61 Mk1

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