Ladder vs. XP - are they different?

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KVRAF
8192 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Post Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:41 am

Ladder is one of my favourite devices in Bitwig, because it's very versatile and sounds really good. The XP Grid filter added in one of the last updates seems to cover the same 14 filter types and - to my untrained ears, at least - sounds very similar even though it's 4x oversampled.

Disregarding their obviously different UI setups and parameter ranges (cutoff of 22.4kHz vs 35kHz and resonance of 100% vs. 122% for Ladder vs. XP respectively) - are they the same or different in terms of filter topology?

Here's a small 'project' I used to test them. The only tangible thing I'm hearing is that Ladder is more prone to self oscillate, but then I've 'reduced' resonance on XP to 100%, whereas maybe a position somewhere between 100 and 122% would be a better match?

Ladder vs. XP.zip

Anyway, I'm curious of your thoughts on that.
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KVRist
176 posts since 11 Jan, 2013

Post Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:09 am

Nice. I'd not seen either of those before, so thanks for the little example. I cant hear anything over 4k, but from what I can hear they sound very very similar. And same from what I can see in voxengo span. I can see myself using ladder more, but only because I dont venture into the grid that often.

cheers

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

8192 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Post Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:25 am

david.djx wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:09 am
I cant hear anything over 4k
You mean you can't hear a difference or you REALLY can't hear anything above 4kHz??!! :o
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KVRist
176 posts since 11 Jan, 2013

Post Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:35 am

Really cant hear anything at all past 4k even with a good hearing aid. Drops off pretty quickly after 3k. Its not going to stop me having all that fun making music though. I just have to be careful that I keep an eye on Span to see what really there. You'd be surprised what your brain can trick you into thinking is normal.

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

8192 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Post Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:54 am

david.djx wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:35 am
Really cant hear anything at all past 4k even with a good hearing aid. Drops off pretty quickly after 3k.
Wow, sorry to hear that :(
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KVRian
1244 posts since 15 May, 2002 from Finland

Post Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:35 pm

They have a different sound for sure. Hook all of the different types in serial, send them to a spectrum analyser on four different bands, and you'll see. They are different in the way that all filters are different. It will depend on the source material, and some people will not probably hear the difference. They are same-ish, I guess because the underlying code is the same but the internal routing is different. They are not as different as four different analog filters would be. Just use what sounds good to you :)

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

8192 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Post Tue Sep 08, 2020 2:16 pm

Taika-Kim wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:35 pm
They are same-ish, I guess because the underlying code is the same but the internal routing is different.
How do you know that?
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KVRian
1244 posts since 15 May, 2002 from Finland

Post Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:08 pm

It's just a guess, the basic blocks of a digital filter should be more or less the same, and the difference would be in the details, as far as I know. But a lot of the code would be shared since it would anyway be essentially doing the same thing. They don't share a lot of information on how the filters are made, but I think it's reasonable to guess that they are some modern high quality ZDF stuff.

Regarding the original question, they behave still quite differently when the resonance is cranked up. Play around with the gain too, it's not passive. For example with the Sallen-Key, feed it a low saw wave, turn up resonance and play with the gain and tweak the cutoff, you will hear the sound is very different from the more benign ladder filter for example.

I would enjoy though if they allowed for more internal saturation.

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

8192 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Post Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:26 am

Taika-Kim wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:08 pm
It's just a guess
But that's just it. I can't really tell if they sound different, due to them having different parameter ranges and XP being 4x oversampled. To me they sound sufficiently close, to "blame" all the differences I'm hearing on those 2 factors.

Wish a dev would chine in :)
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KVRist
413 posts since 26 Nov, 2007

Post Mon May 03, 2021 10:02 pm

I may not know what I'm talking about here but I think in digital filters the function used to determine the actual real slope of the filter is what makes them sound different, and of course there's technical things that make them better sounding in general but don't affect the "character", like oversampling and such.
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KVRAF
5492 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Post Tue May 04, 2021 10:41 pm

I bet they recycle code. Ladder in Bitwig is most likely the same, controls might be mapped different though. Ladder in a U-he synth could to be different, as the copyright forces each dev to find their own implementation...

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