Fathom Synth Development Thread

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
FathomSynth
KVRian
1198 posts since 25 Mar, 2017 from Philadelphia, PA, USA

Post Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:20 am

Kwurqx, Hi. Great work on the FM deep dive above.

Also that's a brilliant idea of using the additive spectrum oscillator as the modulator oscillator, and the precise control it gives you over the FM content. I had not thought of that.

I would be very curious to see what you could do in the way of an "Introduction to FM" video.

One big change I am planning for FM is the ability to multiply the FM waveform before the FFT so the FM waveform is completely alias free, but I had not yet found a CPU efficient way to do that. But I will be looking at that shortly.

If any of the FM dials are modulated that would require doing the FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) on the fly and I'm not sure that is possible.

Kwurqx
KVRist
430 posts since 15 Jun, 2017

Re: Fathom announces Fractal Reverb

Post Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:43 am

FathomSynth wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:20 am
Kwurqx, Hi. Great work on the FM deep dive above.
You're welcome. Just sharing some of my own experiments and ideas.

Also hoping to get others started and to prevent frustration and/or quitting that can result when stuff "just won't make sense" or "just sounds plain awfull" due to a simple knowledge gap that can relatively easily be filled with a few explaining words. Many tools are a lot more usefull/fun if you know when and how to use them. With some knowledge of the basics, you can really exploit even simple tools.
FathomSynth wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:20 am
Also that's a brilliant idea of using the additive spectrum oscillator as the modulator oscillator, and the precise control it gives you over the FM content. I had not thought of that.
That's a lot of credit. No real brilliance needed. Just needed access to partials/ratios/amplitudes given the restrictions in the solution space. And the Additive Spectrum oscillators offer that. Using the tool analogy: you can use a screwdriver as a hammer. Many wonderful things have come from using stuff in ways not intended.

And...the spectrum of the carrier(s) tends to be more determining for the endresult then the spectrum of the modulator(s). Play around with partial(s) amplitude and phase in both carrier(s) and modulator(s) to see what I mean.

Also don't forget to try other oscillators and their AM FM potential. Like Alias Free Basic Waveforms. You can reduce the number of partials to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. And the Partials max (frequency). With the PWM option (pulse width modulation), you can vary pulse width (thus cutting out specific partials, roughly every 100/pulsewidth). And you have control over the amplitude of the Fundamental.
FathomSynth wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:20 am
I would be very curious to see what you could do in the way of an "Introduction to FM" video.
Me too....

Never made any instructional/demo videos. But I do know that words are not always the best mode of transport. Many people prefer (accompanying) pictures or better yet: both combined, in video. But typing a post is a matter of minutes. While making an acceptable video on the same subject may take many hours or days. Especially for a novice in that field like myself. Also...I'm not an English native speaker. You'd get either a Dutch acccent or a synthesized voice-over. And I'd need al lot of explanatory graphics to really get some background info accross. Before long it might consume me and my spare time.

Then again...I might try. But don't hold your breath while waiting for that...
I do try to have a life in between work and synths.
FathomSynth wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:20 am
One big change I am planning for FM is the ability to multiply the FM waveform before the FFT so the FM waveform is completely alias free, but I had not yet found a CPU efficient way to do that. But I will be looking at that shortly.

If any of the FM dials are modulated that would require doing the FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) on the fly and I'm not sure that is possible.
From the multipication reference I infer that Fathomsynth uses true FM? And not PM? If that is true, you might consider introducing Phase Modulation as well (or switching). It's no coincidence that even John Chowning and Yamaha implemented FM as PM. It has its advantages. Synths like KV331 Synthmaster actually offer both variants.

Can't really help you on the really technical level. I'm not much into all this deep and technical math and programming. I gave up programming my own virtual matrix synthesizer.....during the eighties. Since hardware was unobtainable for me at the time, I imagined building an virtual beast. But stuff I imagined back then was way beyond the technical limits of the time (the first homecomputers and the IBM PC's). And beyond my own capabilities. Without the internet, I had to discover that by trying myself. Had to wait many years for the first virtual machines. Filled the decades in between with hardware synths. Only recently went virtual, now that there's tons of free and affordable stuff around. In recent years I've been experimenting with many (hundreds of) free VST synts and Effects. Only recently bought a few commercial multitools. Like Fathomsynth.

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Distorted Horizon
KVRAF
2510 posts since 17 Jan, 2017 from Planet of cats

Re: Fathom announces Fractal Reverb

Post Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:04 am

FathomSynth wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:20 am
Kwurqx, Hi. Great work on the FM deep dive above.

Also that's a brilliant idea of using the additive spectrum oscillator as the modulator oscillator, and the precise control it gives you over the FM content. I had not thought of that.
MPSCDT. I'm getting so tired of writing "MPowerSynth can do that" all around the forums so I think I'll just start to shorten it to MPSCDT :lol:

Kwurqx
KVRist
430 posts since 15 Jun, 2017

Re: Fathom announces Fractal Reverb

Post Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:39 am

Yeah. Not the Melda appreciation thread here, but...

Melda Production MPowersynth is indeed a powerfull machine. Its oscillator section is really powerfull (as is the whole machine). With many of the features I do love and wish in a synth....and not much left on the wishlist.

I don't own it though. Even during their (recurring) 50% deals it's still $100. Melda has an astonishing lot of really nice stuff. Free stuff too.

FathomSynth
KVRian
1198 posts since 25 Mar, 2017 from Philadelphia, PA, USA

Re: Fathom announces Fractal Reverb

Post Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:21 pm

On the topic of other Synths...

I was curious about the synth you mentioned above so I went and listened to their intro and oscillator demos. Here's my impressions on a scale of one to ten.

Overall design logic: 10
Features: 9
Gui Look: 5
Oscillator Quality: 9
Oscillator Analog Richness: 5

Functionally it looks like a better synth than Fathom. However, I have to be honest, based on just those two videos, I’m not feeling very jealous in terms of the richness and depth of the oscillators.

You've probably noticed I generally try to avoid saying anything negative about a competitor, but if someone plugs another synth in Fathom's thread, and I take the time out of development to look at it, be prepared to get my opinion.

In fairness I’m only judging by the demos, so maybe they just need better demos. Also, it's clearly not sold as an analog modelling synth, so I don't think it deserves any points off for that.

In terms of my objectivity, yes there are synths that I rank much higher than Fathom: Omnisphere, Serum, Avenger and Thorn are good examples.

I use VPS Avenger for my own music and the power of that synth is pretty much beyond words, plus it looks great. Be prepared to make a commitment though since the learning curve is steep due to the depth of features.

However, if we are talking about pure oscillator quality there may be one even better.

Forgetting for a moment that I designed Fathom, if you want to hear a synth that currently blows anything else out of the water, including Fathom, try u-he Diva. In my humble opinion, Diva is currently the one to beat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_CKqEPxLgc
Last edited by FathomSynth on Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:40 pm, edited 4 times in total.

zzz00m
KVRAF
1950 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Re: Fathom announces Fractal Reverb

Post Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:40 pm

Diva and Repro...
Windows 10; with instruments from AAS, Ableton, AIR, Ample Sound, Cakewalk, IK Multimedia, iZotope, KV331, NI, PreSonus, Seaweed Audio, SONiVOX, TAL, Tracktion, u-he, UVI, Vember Audio, Waves, Way Out Ware, XLN, others...

Gone soft
KVRian
942 posts since 3 Oct, 2011

Re: Fathom announces Fractal Reverb

Post Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:49 pm

FathomSynth wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:21 pm
On the topic of other Synths...

I was curious about the comments on Melda Production MPowersynth, so I went and listened to their intro and oscillator demos.

Overal design logic: 10
Features: 9
Gui Look: 5
Oscillator Quality: 9
Oscillator Analog Richness: 4

Functionally it looks like a better synth than Fathom. However, I have to be honest, based on just those two videos, I’m not feeling very jealous in terms of the richness and depth of the oscillators. Granted the clarity is perfect, but I’m not hearing any analog warmth or grit in the sound.

In fairness I’m only judging by the demos, so maybe they just need better demos.
Vojtec of MeldaProduction pretty much thinks simulating analog is clinging onto the past, and seems more interested in moving forwards. So he for sure wouldn't mind if someone doesn't hear analog/analog-ish character in MPoerSynth. :wink: Also it's lacking in polyphonic modulation sources, something that will be rectified in a coming but way more modular and expensive product. Other than that I love MPowerSynth, amazing once one gets into the peculiar Melda way of doing things. Anyway, guess we're moving on before we know it...

Chandlerhimself
KVRian
1129 posts since 19 Dec, 2013 from Japan

Re: Fathom announces Fractal Reverb

Post Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:57 pm

FathomSynth wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:21 pm
On the topic of other Synths...

I was curious about the comments on Melda Production MPowersynth, so I went and listened to their intro and oscillator demos.

Overal design logic: 10
Features: 9
Gui Look: 5
Oscillator Quality: 9
Oscillator Analog Richness: 4

Functionally it looks like a better synth than Fathom. However, I have to be honest, based on just those two videos, I’m not feeling very jealous in terms of the richness and depth of the oscillators. Granted the clarity is perfect, but I’m not hearing any analog warmth or grit in the sound.

In fairness I’m only judging by the demos, so maybe they just need better demos.
Just to clarify, MPowersynth is a digital synth not VA and isn’t trying to sound analog. The lack of analog warmth and grit is on purpose. Although sometimes that’s a bad thing, other times it gives it a pure, clear, precise character. I use MPS a lot, but when I need virtual analog it isn’t my first choice. Although I was able to get some interesting analog style leads from it.

On another note, I’m looking to pick up Fathom soon. What new features are in the pipeline?

FathomSynth
KVRian
1198 posts since 25 Mar, 2017 from Philadelphia, PA, USA

Best Sounding Digital Synths

Post Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:56 pm

:idea: Edit: Pipeline includes 2.23 released tomorrow (Sunday) with Fractal Reverb. After that, for the rest of this year is the Oscillator redesign with Spectral Morphing and the Analog Emulator. Early 2019 will be the Sampler, Apreggiator and MPE.

:tu: Yes, I tend to agree with you in terms of not judging a digital synth by analog metrics.

However, there are digital synths with a lot of character in their oscillators. VPS Avenger is my favorite example, since the sound is totally digital and crystal pure, but there is also a very pleasing crispness and personality in the sound even though it's just digital.

Another one with some character in the sound is the all digital Spire. I don't like it quite as much as Avenger or Omnisphere but Spire has a very strong following of EDM musicians who get that thick crushing dance floor sound, and it's sort of hard to find it anywhere else.

Another great example of a digital synth with personality is Omnisphere. I think Serum and Avenger have passed it now on features but just based on sound quality, effects and the library of congress preset banks, Omnisphere is still at the top.

But anyway, my point is even though Omnisphere is a purely digital synth the raw sound is amazing. The version I have does not do any specific analog modeling, but you can get analog sounds out of it. Strangely despite having literally hundreds of analog synth samples in it, the best raw saw tooth I've ever heard out of a synth is Omnisphere's basic saw, which is not a sampled saw. If you close your eyes it literally sounds like you are listening to electronics not a digital synth.

Another one I use regularly, but often gets overlooked is SynthMaster, mostly because of how long its been around. It just has a very clean sound with no aliasing. Nothing fancy but great for mixing. I can't tell you how many times I've tried more modern synths but I just could not exactly get the sound I want to fit in a mix, and I end up going back to SynthMaster nine times out of ten, just because of the purity.

Also, since I'm listing my favorite synths, the best one I've ever used for leads is Sylenth. Also a pure digital synth with a lot of warmth in the sound. Also, Sylenth has the best filter I've ever heard in a synth, digital or analog. Most synth developers will mention Sylenth because there is no way to duplicate the sound, and it's also very simple synth to use. If there was one synth I wish I had the source code for it would be Sylenth.

The most buzz I've heard surrounding any synth recently is Thorn, but I have not personally used it yet. Brilliant GUI. Thorn's GUI was basically the reason I redesigned Fathom's GUI. Not to copy it, but just to try to compete a little better.

But like I said, it's really Diva that convinced me to rewrite Fathom's oscillators. If I'm not mistaken u-he is not just sampling analog characteristics, they are actually doing real-time circuit emulation.

glokraw
KVRAF
6950 posts since 6 Oct, 2004

Re: Fathom announces Fractal Reverb

Post Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:15 pm

FathomSynth wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:21 pm
On the topic of other Synths...

... if you want to hear a synth that currently blows anything else out of the water, including Fathom, try u-he Diva.
It's refreshing to hear a developers opinion of the competition.
I enjoy the U-he commercial product line
as a sort of tabbed collective, each instrument
somewhat related and intertwined, internal organs
pulsing within the whole being.

There are so many synths, of such unique capability,
that I myself won't attempt to determine one as
my favorite, or vote accurately for one as the champ,
even if within sub-categories. I am the Sargent Schulz
of synths, ready to devour the strudel, but not the recipes.

And then the effects plugins parade about in the conscious,
and the subconscious, vying for attention, 'listen to me,
I tell you, I can make that dull ordinary synth preset really
really really exquisite, something never heard before,
just give me the chance, and hey, I'm even on $ale$ :hyper:

I'm officially ready for 2.23 Even if blown out of the water,
it will land happily on my stretch of the beach :party:

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Distorted Horizon
KVRAF
2510 posts since 17 Jan, 2017 from Planet of cats

Re: Fathom announces Fractal Reverb

Post Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:14 am

FathomSynth wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:21 pm
based on just those two videos
Maybe grab the demo and try yourself ;)

When it comes to favorite vst's, I don't really have any specific FAVORITE. Just a pile of synths that each do something better than others (and Fathom is also on that list ;) )

Sinthoid
KVRist
33 posts since 6 Sep, 2017

Re: Developer's Debate What is the Best Sounding Digital Synth?

Post Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:27 am

Personally, Fathom is one of my top 5 favorite softsynths and I even think it beats many of the synths that have been mentioned in this thread in some key ways.

The 2D wavetable morphing is super unique and only recently getting anything even approaching competition from Hive's wavetable features (and Hive isn't fully modular like Fathom is).

I also absolutely love the FFT approach for it's oscillator engine, it allows for greater sound design potential and it sounds great to my ears.

For me the per voice distortion is actually the star of the show, not trying to emulate a specific analog synth but turning the unique quality of analog oscs i.e. semi-periodic waveforms into an entire set of parameters baked into the oscillator to be used alongside all of the fun wavetable shenanigans.

It's also worth noting how much of a blessing the beizer curve wave drawing is for someone who wants to make wavetables from scratch additively.

I would even go as far as to say this is a rival to Zebra and MPowerSynth, even the complexity of the individual modules blows me away. Don't sell this synth short.

zzz00m
KVRAF
1950 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Re: Developer's Debate What is the Best Sounding Digital Synth?

Post Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:35 am

Feature request: rename this thread to the Fathom Synth thread and leave it at that. IMHO it could get lost in the shuffle of people looking for information about Fathom if it keeps getting renamed, especially for new users, or prospective ones ... :wink:

It's generally considered good etiquette to start a new thread if the topic changes.
Windows 10; with instruments from AAS, Ableton, AIR, Ample Sound, Cakewalk, IK Multimedia, iZotope, KV331, NI, PreSonus, Seaweed Audio, SONiVOX, TAL, Tracktion, u-he, UVI, Vember Audio, Waves, Way Out Ware, XLN, others...

FathomSynth
KVRian
1198 posts since 25 Mar, 2017 from Philadelphia, PA, USA

Fathom Synth Feature Request Thread

Post Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:55 am

:tu: Sinthoid, Thanks, That's good to hear. We certainly have more software releases than the others.

I sometimes wonder if the name should be changed to "Kvrhom" based on the support and cool ideas generated here, many of which would be patent worthy ideas in other industries.

Speaking of software releases I finished 2.23 testing yesterday so that will be out later today.

:phones: Zzz00m, Edit: Yes other people have also mentioned that on the thread name. I sometimes change the name based on what is being discussed at the end of the thread. I think KVR would agree with you that it is not a helpful practice. At the very least I will make sure going forward that the word Fathom is in the title. Having multiple threads to check for features would be a little insane to manage as a developer, but I'll follow your advice and keep the title the same for a while and see if most people agree. If so we'll leave the title alone as the "Fathom Synth Development Thread" since after all that is indeed the topic.

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Distorted Horizon
KVRAF
2510 posts since 17 Jan, 2017 from Planet of cats

Re: Fathom Synth Feature Request Thread

Post Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:28 am

FathomSynth wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:55 am
I sometimes wonder if the name should be changed to "Kvrhom" based on the support and cool ideas generated here, many of which would be patent worthy ideas in other industries.
Or make a "Fathom Kvr Edition" which has similar color scheme, wildest ideas from here and bigger price tag :hihi:
FathomSynth wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:55 am
:phones: Zzz00m, Edit: Yes other people have also mentioned that on the thread name. I sometimes change the name based on what is being discussed at the end of the thread.
I think your way is fine. Though it'd be good if the topic would be like

"Fathom: Today I thought about boobs" :tu:

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