FXpansion releases Cypher2

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
robbmonn
KVRist
101 posts since 1 Jul, 2018

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:45 am

edited for grumpiness.
Last edited by robbmonn on Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:12 am

All the power of a JUCE GUI... And we get single page skeuomorphic that looks like bad VSTGUI! lol
.................................
"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 8:46 am

Thanks for replies himalaya. Fascinating stuff dude. Such teachings should not be buried in a forum thread.
.................................
"Hell is other People" J.P.Sartre
.................................

User avatar
scott_free
KVRist
216 posts since 14 Mar, 2006

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:08 am

himalaya wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:30 am

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.
Completely agree. In fact, before I read your post, I was staring at the Cypher 2 UI this morning thinking the very same thing.

himalaya
KVRAF
5009 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:59 am

Hey,

So I was sitting here playing my vintage SH-2 hardware synth (it needs to be played often otherwise the keys get all noisy) and I made this nice, 'warm', chunky sound with a very nice soft, bouncy filter envelope shape and I thought, could I make this in Cypher2? So I tried it and here is the result. You hear each synth playing a music phrase, one after another. Is this close? I'm not going to ask you to identify which is which as they all play one after another in each phrase (but try it if you want).

https://soundcloud.com/electric-himalay ... ntage-sh-2


The interesting thing in getting such sounds in software is not the filter (nothing fancy going on here) but it's the envelope shape and key-tracking. The envelopes are always difficult to get right in software, but a less known factor that comes into play is key-tracking. On the SH-2 the way the sound responds across the registers is so unique, and this is what makes it difficult to emulate. In Cypher2 I can use the separate key-tracking envelope to shape the filter, and this can help to bring the patch closer to the real hardware.

If you have Cypher2, you can try this preset, which is attached in this post. Enjoy.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
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 12:01 pm

Karbon L. Forms wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:46 am
Thanks for replies himalaya. Fascinating stuff dude. Such teachings should not be buried in a forum thread.
My pleasure. Nothing fancy in those posts. It's when we try to emulate an OBXa, then we have lots to talk about. :D
http://www.electric-himalaya.com
VSTi and hardware synth sound design

robbmonn
KVRist
101 posts since 1 Jul, 2018

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:47 pm

So. I have a lot to say.

I think that fxpansion has made a synth with a lot of potential, and a great sound. But it has, without exception, the most ponderously bad design that I have ever worked with. It is with respect, Himalaya, that I must disagree. If it were not for the fact that this synth has all the features that I want and need for MPE under the hood I would have thrown it forcibly out the window long ago. I rarely say anything negative about a product or the development team, but fxpansion needs to get help if this is the nature of their offerings.

First and foremost: the claim that the synth panel on this is a single pane. It is not: it is many, many windows and has many features well hidden. There are 24 windows for the mod sources at least and then many more. Then, the right click behavior for the parameters with long, long lists of sources, many of which have similar names, some of which are not usable depending on other things. THEN, just on the conventional level there are other panes for fx and sequencer as well, and other menu drop downs.

Aside from that the rest of the GUI is a total mess. As is the license manager, which, just as a for-instance to illustrate the point, makes downloading and installing an update a many-clicks affair requiring the user to intuit, among other things that a small play triangle is what must be pressed to actually run the update after it has been downloaded. These GUIs are, again, the worst of the worst. A designer is needed on staff at fxpansion immediately.

Then, once you use the mod system you need to press through these 24 mod source buttons many, many times to see all the mappings. Sure, I love the fact that you can have many to one and one to many mappings but this is not how you show them. I don't know the right way, but we have some prior art. Patch cables, a normal mod matrix, etc. But they are all hidden, or nearly all hidden at any point in time.

And, to even get to the point where you can say something like I have said one must (or I had to) read the documentation, which is simply not up to the task of explaining how this synth works unless you already have it pretty much figured out and watching youtube videos which are fine, but... I don't know how to properly put this. Kontakt is easier to figure out from scratch than this synth. FALCON is easier to figure out from scratch. I use modular synths, I've been hacking at VSTis since they were introduced.

My view is that this is a terrible design, just a horrible design. The graphics are not that great but I could live with that. This is a synth that was without proper product oversight and it shows. I certainly wish that it was better as, like I said, I am pretty much forced to use it for the MPE related work that I am doing, but... man!

There is a huge difference between potential, capability and how a tool is actually able to be used. This synth demonstrates this well. The fact that it took me DAYS to finally figure out that there was a bug in the cc74 (slide) implementation is a measure of that.

I write this because to a. release some anger, and b. so that someone just getting started doesn't feel stupid trying to use this. Listen to me: you are not stupid -- this is a poorly designed tool in manifold ways.

himalaya
KVRAF
5009 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:15 pm

Thank you for the feedback. I hope that those that made the GUI will take note. Myself, I'm always after the sonics.

(you should have seen my comments internally when it came to the GUI. Don't worry I'm on your side :D )

robbmonn wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:47 pm
First and foremost: the claim that the synth panel on this is a single pane. It is not: it is many, many windows and has many features well hidden.
If you notice, I only ever talk about the one-page design as relating to the synthesis engine, and here, it is one page. All synthesis parameters - oscillators, filters, envelopes, LFOs, ramps, routing, waveshpaers, ring mods, tuning... are on ONE page. All the usual tricks can be done on one page: LFO PWM, Env PWN, Filter FM, Hard-Sync, Soft Sync, Osc FM, loopable envelopes, ramps that act as LFOs, Complex waveshapers, and comb filters...all on one page. They are.


There are 24 windows for the mod sources at least and then many more.
Still on one and the same page. These are always visible. What is the issue here?


Then, the right click behavior for the parameters with long, long lists of sources, many of which have similar names, some of which are not usable depending on other things.
Well, I don't understand the criticism here. Right click to access more options. It's a given in a lot of apps/plugins.
The long list of sources - this is what gives the POWER in Cypher2, all those modulation sources. You want complex sounds? Then you need loads of modulation sources. But! You don't need to right click to access them, double click on a mod slot and watch the middle visualiser window, it now changes focus and gives you the mod source and mod destination matrix. ( a new development from Cypher 1).
I think this criticism is especially unjust. Imagine you buy a complex Eurorack modular and then start complaining that there are too many modulation outputs and inputs and so many knobs. Then once you patch it up you start to complain that all the cables are just too much and getting in the way...and how do we make sense of it all...? Cypher 2 is really of that 'Modular Synth' depth. It's not Sylenth, you know? :D


THEN, just on the conventional level there are other panes for fx and sequencer as well, and other menu drop downs.
Sure, I don't count these as part of the main synthesis page, which is what I've been focusing on. Since, to make a sound, we want to access the synthesis parameters somehow, and since they are on one-page, it is quick and easy once you know your way around - no need to access envelopes on a different tab, or go to another page for the filters...since they are all on...one page :D
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 4:22 pm

robbmonn wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:47 pm
So. I have a lot to say.

I think that fxpansion has made a synth with a lot of potential, and a great sound. But it has, without exception, the most ponderously bad design that I have ever worked with. It is with respect, Himalaya, that I must disagree. If it were not for the fact that this synth has all the features that I want and need for MPE under the hood I would have thrown it forcibly out the window long ago. I rarely say anything negative about a product or the development team, but fxpansion needs to get help if this is the nature of their offerings.

First and foremost: the claim that the synth panel on this is a single pane. It is not: it is many, many windows and has many features well hidden. There are 24 windows for the mod sources at least and then many more. Then, the right click behavior for the parameters with long, long lists of sources, many of which have similar names, some of which are not usable depending on other things. THEN, just on the conventional level there are other panes for fx and sequencer as well, and other menu drop downs.

Aside from that the rest of the GUI is a total mess. As is the license manager, which, just as a for-instance to illustrate the point, makes downloading and installing an update a many-clicks affair requiring the user to intuit, among other things that a small play triangle is what must be pressed to actually run the update after it has been downloaded. These GUIs are, again, the worst of the worst. A designer is needed on staff at fxpansion immediately.

Then, once you use the mod system you need to press through these 24 mod source buttons many, many times to see all the mappings. Sure, I love the fact that you can have many to one and one to many mappings but this is not how you show them. I don't know the right way, but we have some prior art. Patch cables, a normal mod matrix, etc. But they are all hidden, or nearly all hidden at any point in time.

And, to even get to the point where you can say something like I have said one must (or I had to) read the documentation, which is simply not up to the task of explaining how this synth works unless you already have it pretty much figured out and watching youtube videos which are fine, but... I don't know how to properly put this. Kontakt is easier to figure out from scratch than this synth. FALCON is easier to figure out from scratch. I use modular synths, I've been hacking at VSTis since they were introduced.

My view is that this is a terrible design, just a horrible design. The graphics are not that great but I could live with that. This is a synth that was without proper product oversight and it shows. I certainly wish that it was better as, like I said, I am pretty much forced to use it for the MPE related work that I am doing, but... man!

There is a huge difference between potential, capability and how a tool is actually able to be used. This synth demonstrates this well. The fact that it took me DAYS to finally figure out that there was a bug in the cc74 (slide) implementation is a measure of that.

I write this because to a. release some anger, and b. so that someone just getting started doesn't feel stupid trying to use this. Listen to me: you are not stupid -- this is a poorly designed tool in manifold ways.
Thank you, you spared me a lot of time. I agree with everything, and many other complaints already reported in the last pages, like the annoying labels, and that squizophrenic center panel. Jesus, if I just could turn that off.
In short, I never feel compelled to use Cypher. Really, despite its great sound. I can't stand it.

JerGoertz
KVRAF
2308 posts since 20 Feb, 2004

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:39 pm

himalaya wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:59 am
Hey,

So I was sitting here playing my vintage SH-2 hardware synth (it needs to be played often otherwise the keys get all noisy) and I made this nice, 'warm', chunky sound with a very nice soft, bouncy filter envelope shape and I thought, could I make this in Cypher2? So I tried it and here is the result. You hear each synth playing a music phrase, one after another. Is this close? I'm not going to ask you to identify which is which as they all play one after another in each phrase (but try it if you want).

https://soundcloud.com/electric-himalay ... ntage-sh-2


The interesting thing in getting such sounds in software is not the filter (nothing fancy going on here) but it's the envelope shape and key-tracking. The envelopes are always difficult to get right in software, but a less known factor that comes into play is key-tracking. On the SH-2 the way the sound responds across the registers is so unique, and this is what makes it difficult to emulate. In Cypher2 I can use the separate key-tracking envelope to shape the filter, and this can help to bring the patch closer to the real hardware.

If you have Cypher2, you can try this preset, which is attached in this post. Enjoy.
Pretty damn close to each other, but I'd guess the first is the SH-2 and second is Cypher. There's just a little bit of digital "ringy-ness" to the second ones.

Thanks for sharing the patch.
A well-behaved signature.

Echoes in the Attic
KVRAF
6491 posts since 12 May, 2008

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:25 pm

Hey Himalaya, can I ask a specific how-to thing? How do you set duophonic mode on? Also, can you use it duophonically with mpe, meaning that the two voices/oscillators respond to different midi channels?
This is a block of text that can be added to posts you make. There is a 255 character limit. Once I have something clever, I will certainly fill it in.

machinesworking
KVRAF
1582 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:33 pm

robbmonn wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:47 pm
First and foremost: the claim that the synth panel on this is a single pane. It is not: it is many, many windows and has many features well hidden. There are 24 windows for the mod sources at least and then many more. Then, the right click behavior for the parameters with long, long lists of sources, many of which have similar names, some of which are not usable depending on other things. THEN, just on the conventional level there are other panes for fx and sequencer as well, and other menu drop downs.
I have no idea where you're getting 24 windows? there are 24 squares on the main panel, and that's repeated in the contextual menus for right clicking, they aren't separate controls.

Less panels than Falcon, contextual menus are not windows...

Then, once you use the mod system you need to press through these 24 mod source buttons many, many times to see all the mappings. Sure, I love the fact that you can have many to one and one to many mappings but this is not how you show them. I don't know the right way, but we have some prior art. Patch cables, a normal mod matrix, etc. But they are all hidden, or nearly all hidden at any point in time.
I don't mind the idea of a composite way to see all mappings at once, but god no! I can't stand patch cables on soft synths. Skeuomorphic designs should never add in the obstructions of the hardware they emulate and that's exactly what patch cables do. A patch I'm looking at has 12 mod sources going to 20+ mod destinations, the shear mess on the screen would be a nightmare IMO.
The modulations that are used in the mod matrix are shaded lighter, it's an overview, and any modulated parameter is shown on the knobs and sliders, the selected modifier also highlights the modded knobs and sliders.

And, to even get to the point where you can say something like I have said one must (or I had to) read the documentation, which is simply not up to the task of explaining how this synth works unless you already have it pretty much figured out and watching youtube videos which are fine, but... I don't know how to properly put this. Kontakt is easier to figure out from scratch than this synth. FALCON is easier to figure out from scratch. I use modular synths, I've been hacking at VSTis since they were introduced.
I've never read the manual just skimmed it, it's all pretty straightforward in my opinion. Any complex synth should require some manual reading.

In my experience falcon was much much harder to figure out, and I owned Machfive 3 before it. Signal flow in Falcon specifically was/is IMO much more convoluted.
My view is that this is a terrible design, just a horrible design. The graphics are not that great but I could live with that. This is a synth that was without proper product oversight and it shows. I certainly wish that it was better as, like I said, I am pretty much forced to use it for the MPE related work that I am doing, but... man!

I completely disagree. I took to it like a duck to water. I've also used Ableton Live since v3 so there's that. Someone not comfortable with flat mostly monochromatic designs who prefers skeuomorphic devices like patch cables I can see wouldn't like it for sure, but I find contextual menus, and a good amount of WTSIWYG in Cypher2, the argument can be made, just like with Live, that it's not 100% WYSIWYG, but that's true of Live and pretty much every complex synth out there.


I write this because to a. release some anger, and b. so that someone just getting started doesn't feel stupid trying to use this. Listen to me: you are not stupid -- this is a poorly designed tool in manifold ways.
It's not poorly designed it's just very complex, I've rarely seen Dual LFO's as standard, or the ability to modulate pretty much anything, in a soft synth.

Falcon goes further into Windows browser territory than I'm comfortable with, someone familiar with trees and that sort of structure will be much happier using it than I was at first. I believe this is what people are doing here, they're taking their own notions of what a soft synth should look and behave like and tossing it on Cypher2, which is getting in the way of them learning the synth at all. You're literally pointing out multiple views of the same thing as confusing complexity in the matrix on the Synth panel and the contextual menu when hovering over a knob or slider in the window. How is that confusing? I don't get it, it's two different ways to access the same feature, a plus not a minus.

Anyway being self employed I'm just chatting here to avoid finishing up my taxes, but I think you and others here are selling the synth and it's design short. Just like there are a dozen popular DAWs and most people get completely confused and overtly annoyed when jumping from one to another, I think it's obvious that people are doing this with Cypher2's design. Because I've used similar set up soft synths and DAWs etc. I really didn't have a single issue with the mod matrix, or layout of the synth. In fact I like the lay out much more than pretty much any soft synth in the last couple years barring Pigments.

robbmonn
KVRist
101 posts since 1 Jul, 2018

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:05 pm

edited for meh whatever.

Echoes in the Attic
KVRAF
6491 posts since 12 May, 2008

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:17 pm

Also, I get an error when I delete the plugin in Bitwig (and it freezes it for a while) and that doesn't make me feel good.
This is a block of text that can be added to posts you make. There is a 255 character limit. Once I have something clever, I will certainly fill it in.

perfumer
KVRist
232 posts since 4 Oct, 2018

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:48 pm

robbmonn wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:05 pm
edited for meh whatever.
Pro et contra, as always.

Look, a UI redesign that would satisfy your compaints means a complete rewrite, because the UI (not colors but layout and functionality) is integrated with the rest of the code, not slapped on top of it.

This is a 1-2 man operation, and Cypher2 has been in development for years. Do you think they have the resources (time, money, effort) to spend on that?

So make up your mind and move on. A nicer looking skin or two would be a lot simpler to make, by comparison.

Return to “Instruments”