FXpansion releases Cypher2

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
vertibration
KVRist
66 posts since 11 Nov, 2010 from ny

Post Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:18 pm

himalaya wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:33 am
vertibration wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:51 pm
The mod matrix is extremely difficult to wrap your head around,
What exactly do you find difficult?
To retract a bit of my statement, I spent some time in the Manual, and figured out the matrix a bit. Not my favorite synth, I still think the UI seems a bit cluttered, and the way its set up for new users can be a bit confusing.

himalaya
KVRAF
5009 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:23 am

The UI is busy, definitely. I guess new users could do well to watch all the Cypher2 videos made by FXpansion. They do help.

Regarding the initial complexity. This is a one-page design (for the synthesis engine) and this one page provides pretty much everything that analogue synthesis has to offer. More than that, it gives us certain things in multiple numbers like there are 3 polyphonic ring-modulators. Two oscillator hard-sync option with soft-sync dials. This alone is rare in plugin-land.

Then, dual multimode waveshapers, dual multimode filters with some amazing Comb filters. 3-Oscillator FM. Filter FM. It goes on and on...A totally flexible output routing with two busses. This in itself is a flexible and a complex thing to grasp.

So yeah, it’s a complex page, but what I found is that it rewards those willing to learn it with a workflow that is mazingly fast. Coupled with the TransMod, it gives very powerful results, very fast. Sure, it’s not the best synth if one wants to just visit it once in a while for a few minutes. It’s a deep synth for synth lovers who are willing to learn its front panel, and spent some time with it just making sounds.

I think of Cypher2 as a modular synth in its initial depth and complexity. But one that is a breeze to use if only certain principles are understood:
1. Select a mod slot in the transmod and add modulation to any knob or fader on the GUi.
2. Learn the right click options that help to manage this process
3. Learn to see what modulation is doing either by hovering above a mod slot to see what parameters it is assigned to, or hover above a knob/fader to see which mod slots it is being controlled from.

Cypher2 presents a new workflow, once undertood (watch some FXpansion vidoes on Youtube) it really is a breeze to use and it gives sounds that often are unique.
http://www.electric-himalaya.com
VSTi and hardware synth sound design

machinesworking
KVRAF
1582 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:41 am

vertibration wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:18 pm
To retract a bit of my statement, I spent some time in the Manual, and figured out the matrix a bit. Not my favorite synth, I still think the UI seems a bit cluttered, and the way its set up for new users can be a bit confusing.
I'm no apologist for FXPansion, I've dogged them for any number of things, but I keep it organized to things that I feel are legitimate complaints. Things like the fact that I've never bought an upgrade to Guru or Geist, because a year or so after the upgrade comes out I can buy a brand new copy of the upgraded plug in for $50-75 less than what it was offered to existing users.

Saying that, I'm going to repeat myself here, Cycpher 2 is a complex synth, as complex as Absynth, Zebra 2, Diversion, and Pigments. I for one do not see one iota of extra added complexity to Cypher's modulation, compared to theses other complex synths. What exactly are you comparing it to? because it's got to be in that league to me to be getting the kind of heat you guys are bringing on it?? Compared to the synths I mentioned, it's IMO a lot easier to figure out actually.

I would put it more in the category of Massive and Hive in terms of easy modulation matrixes. Immediately I was able to figure out how to set it up for MPE, a lot easier than Falcon for sure. If you're going to trash on a synth it's only fair you name easier systems, of similarly complex synths, otherwise it's just trash.
himalaya wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:23 am
Regarding the initial complexity. This is a one-page design (for the synthesis engine) and this one page provides pretty much everything that analogue synthesis has to offer.
Exactly, it's complex, because it offers a ton of features with not too much menu diving, including the mod matrix at top.

I don't know if FXpansion are calling this an "analog" synth, and it is capable of some analog type sounds, but I definitely think of it as being a lot more like Zebra or Pigments than Repro-5 or SEM etc. It's capable of analog sounds, but I would think more Nord modular than Oberheim OB X, more Evolver than Minimoog.

Cinebient
KVRAF
4073 posts since 16 Nov, 2014

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:58 am

I really like the sound of Cypher 2 (just demoed) and also Strobe 2 (own the full version) but maybe my brain ticks too different and i find the workflow and especially the trans mod thingie really not intuitive and easy to use.
Indeed from most synths i used and/or tested it was the fastest way to feel "it is no fun at all". A modular synth is way more easy for me to use.
Maybe i try it again and should watch all the tutorials and read the manual again.
I think it might be a love or hate thing with these synths.

Stefken
KVRian
981 posts since 9 Nov, 2016

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 1:49 am

The mod system is more oriented from a source point of view then a destination. You pick a source and then route it to destinations. That may be one reason for the confusion.
I think the other way round. OK, I want to modulate the cutoff... what sources am i going to use.

But the sound possibilities are amazing.

himalaya
KVRAF
5009 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:04 am

machinesworking wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:41 am


I don't know if FXpansion are calling this an "analog" synth, and it is capable of some analog type sounds, but I definitely think of it as being a lot more like Zebra or Pigments than Repro-5 or SEM etc. It's capable of analog sounds, but I would think more Nord modular than Oberheim OB X, more Evolver than Minimoog.
It's marketed as an analogue modelling synth withe thru-zero analogue-style FM. However, since its conception back in 2007 or so, Cypher2 has been developed to include some new features that can push its sonic signature into very digital sounding territory and even acoustic modelling. The dual wave-shapers with multiple Wavefold options, comb filters help here. Its analogue-style FM can add a very digital edge too, if desired.

I've used Cypher alongside a real hardware Oberheim OBXs, original Minimoog, Korg mini700, Roland Sh-2, Arp Solina, and more, and to my ears there is no doubt about Cypher's analogue pedigree. But, in order to make authentic 'analogue' style patches we can't just have a situation where we simply add two oscillators in an initialised patch, without detuning and all, then tweak the filter and call it a day.

Anyway, I think the three soundcloud demos below sound like authentic analogue:

https://soundcloud.com/electric-himalay ... esets-demo



Some analogue Synth Brass (can't have a synth without synth brass :D )
https://soundcloud.com/fxpansion/cypher ... udio-demos


An attempt at emulating a sound from my MKS-70, which not entirely successful, it's still lush and analogue sounding:

https://soundcloud.com/fxpansion/pd-dry ... udio-demos



I find Cypher2 to be a real chameleon, it can provide almost every type of analogue sound (including duophonic sounds) and then go into some extreme digital and acoustic sounding patches:
https://soundcloud.com/electric-himalay ... rmoniculum

https://soundcloud.com/fxpansion/wi-tin ... udio-demos

As you listen to the following two examples, remember, this is an analogue-style synth, a VA, but it can do an interesting take on the pseudo-acoustic modelling stuff as well:
https://soundcloud.com/fxpansion/ps-blo ... udio-demos

https://soundcloud.com/fxpansion/ps-lut ... udio-demos

A real chameleon.
http://www.electric-himalaya.com
VSTi and hardware synth sound design

Karbon L. Forms
KVRian
1174 posts since 10 Jun, 2004 from Inverness, Scotland

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:29 am

Needs more tutorials. What makes me run screaming from it is lack of knowing what to do with all that complexity. I imagine if I was someone like Himalaya, with all that knowledge, Cypher's GUI would be a delight. The manual tells me how, but I'd like to know why. A dozen classic and/or interesting/exotic sounds explained in detail including thought processes. (And no, not buried in the god awful ROLI forum). I'd be happy with text and pics personally, or vids of EH et al just thinking out loud making patches. I also think Cypher would be great as the subject of an "Intermediate Virtual Analogue Synthesis" book or course, as it has all the bells n whistles to masquerade as a lot of classics., (I think?). I, for one, would gladly pay for a book/course, whereas I'd NEVER buy a preset pack.
.................................
"Hell is other People" J.P.Sartre
.................................

himalaya
KVRAF
5009 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:25 am

Karbon L. Forms wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:29 am
I also think Cypher would be great as the subject of an "Intermediate Virtual Analogue Synthesis" book or course, as it has all the bells n whistles to masquerade as a lot of classics., (I think?).
(text in bold edited by me)
That's exactly it. It's such a flexible engine that it's possible to cover a huge range of analogue sounds, from vintage to modern, including modular stuff that can be very complex.

Regarding videos, make sure to watch these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wj8YzIcxEE&t=38s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuwW0Mpez-8
http://www.electric-himalaya.com
VSTi and hardware synth sound design

himalaya
KVRAF
5009 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:30 am

Speaking of 'masquerading' and imitating, I've tried to emulate my precious Korg mini700, which is becoming ever so fragile with age, and I thought that maybe Cypher2 could give me some of those sounds, in software. So I begun emulating my mini700 and the factory set has the first batch of these, simple but strangely gorgeous sounds. Very basic analogue sounds, but strangely very attractive.
Look for 'SY mini700' presets in the factory set.
http://www.electric-himalaya.com
VSTi and hardware synth sound design

Karbon L. Forms
KVRian
1174 posts since 10 Jun, 2004 from Inverness, Scotland

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:31 am

Having a look (Dark Traveler)... What considerations did you make to imitate the Korg? (And what's the OSC1 Blend<-Ramp transylvanian-mogrification doing? (And shouldn't OSCs 2 and 3 be turned off?) )
.................................
"Hell is other People" J.P.Sartre
.................................

Karbon L. Forms
KVRian
1174 posts since 10 Jun, 2004 from Inverness, Scotland

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:45 am

And what's this? From the manual (which appears to be written for experts):

"Beat frequency rates
The beating rates between the 3 oscillators within a voice are provided as TransMod sources.
These sources are active regardless of the state of the constant-beat detuning effect of using an osc's
Fine control:
• Using the Fine controls causes beat effects which remain constant across the keyboard range.
• Beating is also caused when detuning using the Scale controls - in such cases the beating rates vary
across the keyboard.
The Beating TransMod sources allow other parameters to be modulated in parallel with the beating
effects."

One can use the beating betwixt frequencies as a mod source? That's cool AF, but what would you do with that? Can you point me to a preset that uses this. New one on me, that one.
.................................
"Hell is other People" J.P.Sartre
.................................

himalaya
KVRAF
5009 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:05 am

Karbon L. Forms wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:31 am
Having a look (Dark Traveler)... What considerations did you make to imitate the Korg? (And what's the OSC1 Blend<-Ramp transylvanian-mogrification doing? (And shouldn't OSCs 2 and 3 be turned off?) )
When emulating a sound, the approach is always the same to begin with: careful listening to all the basics. For example, how does the basic waveform sound? This has to be nailed right from the start, hence my emulations use EQ in order to shape the Cypher2 waveform and bring it closer to the analog counterpart. This is as it should be and is not a sign of Cypher's waveforms not sounding analogue. This is simply how it is in the analogue domain, and for example, the two synths that sit in front of me, the Korg mini700 and the Roland SH-2, have waveforms that sound very different to each other. So, if that's the case with the hardware, it will be the case with software which is not emulating anything by default. Hence, EQ is needed to shape the basic waveform, which is then further shaped by envelopes and filters and what not.

But the process starts with me making the patch on the hardware synth. Then, I do my best to make the same sound in software (be it Cypher or Zebra, which I have also used to emulate some hardware). Without going into boring detail, it really is about listening to the original very intently and transcribing the sonic quality in the soft synth. What helps, is if the soft synth in question has a very flexible audio engine, with multiple saturation points (Cypher2 has two: Filter drive, and Amp Drive, that's not counting the waveshapers and effects with various saturation modules), with multiple filters, and the aforementioned EQ.

The Mini700 is very simple so, in order to emulate it, I don't have to use some of the more elaborate techniques which would be needed when emulating a poly-synth, like the MKS-70 or the OBX. Still, it is simple but unique sounding, so the next thing is the two filters. the Mini700 has a totally unique filter design, that even the new Volcas do not get right. So, here, again, I need to experiment with the best filter combination of a High and Low pass, at different cutoff points, and if the patch uses the quirky switchable resonance and filter envelope amount, this as well. The mini700 filters vs resonance vs filter env amount is unique, limited in some ways, but at the same time that's what gives it the unique tone.
And what's the OSC1 Blend<-Ramp transylvanian-mogrification doing?
This is to add some shaped noise (BLEND turn right = noise, BLEND turn left Sample&Hold). The mini700 can be very noisy, mostly on the attack transient. There can be a very sharp, transient 'tick' at certain filter settings, which makes the sound appear extra immediate. Very 'present'. I'd say that this is what software synths do not get right by default (and why should they) so we need to simulate it. I'm not sure if I did a good job here, to be honest. Room for improvement.
(And shouldn't OSCs 2 and 3 be turned off?) )
Yes, they should be off. :D
I suppose I forgot to turn them off. No biggie. This normally happens when I experiment with extra stuff to add on controllers and then forget to some switch unused modules off.

I'm planning to make more of those mini700 patches with even better attention to detail, so that once my mini700 dies, I will have it still alive in Cypher2. :D
http://www.electric-himalaya.com
VSTi and hardware synth sound design

himalaya
KVRAF
5009 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:10 am

Karbon L. Forms wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:45 am
That's cool AF, but what would you do with that? Can you point me to a preset that uses this. New one on me, that one.
It's cool, right? :D
It can be used to sync oscillator detune to tempo of your track, regardless of the keyboard register. Can I point you to any examples? Nope. :D I wouldn't know where to go...too many patches made...but I don't think I've used this feature that much, maybe others did. :oops:
http://www.electric-himalaya.com
VSTi and hardware synth sound design

Sinisterbr
KVRist
30 posts since 11 Mar, 2010

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:49 am

Dud, it is - unfortunately, because it sounds very good - a pain to use. It has been extensively said by many in this very thread. I can't stand the way the GUI has been laid out. It doesn't work well at all. And, to make things worse, you threw an original, unusual concept - the transmod - on this.
I have some complains, but I can work with Pigments MUCH easier than Cypher. I don't have to think too much, it's really enjoyable (albeit not as good sounding), yet very powerful and flexible. And I prefer that, as my inspiration doesn't get killed.

himalaya
KVRAF
5009 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:30 am

Sinisterbr wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:49 am
I can't stand the way the GUI has been laid out. It doesn't work well at all.
GUI designs can always be improved, no matter what synth. Interestingly, I needed a few days to familiarise myself with the new Cypher2 layout when I came to it from using Cypher1. I felt a bit weird...but I think that's because it was a completely revised and really, a new synth.

Cypher2 follows a standard VA-type of design, without anything out of place.

Oscillators on the top left
Filters on the top right
LFOs on the bottom left
Envelopes on the bottom right

This is the very basics. Everything easily accessible and in one view.

Granted, each module, be it the oscillator, a filter, an LFO, is busy, but once you spent time to absorb what all the options are, what is the issue from then on?

I think Cypher2 could do with a nicer colour skin, with various modules in different colour shades, something I have been asking for. This would break the sea of buttons, tiny text, and tiny lights, and would make it more comfortable for the eye.

Also, try different themes, and personally always use the LowContrast skin which my eyes prefer to the more stark and bright default one.

Remember, Cypher2 is a one-page design (for its synthesis engine) whereas Pigments is multi-tab with multiple mini tabs everywhere, so by default the GUI in Pigments has more room for all parameters to 'breathe' and make it easy on the eye. Of course it also looks superb, with lots of nice, strong colours used wisely, so this helps a lot.

Cypher'2 GUI is skinnable so maybe we will see much nicer colour themes in the future, although these can't change the basic layout.
http://www.electric-himalaya.com
VSTi and hardware synth sound design

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