oscillator brightness

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KVRAF
2866 posts since 28 Jan, 2004 from Da Nang, Vietnam

Post Thu Aug 28, 2008 6:12 am

I've been comparing some basic patches on Ableton's Analog synth and a few plugins and I keep getting the impression that the Ableton synth has brighter oscillators. I decided to confirm this with a spectrograph and this does seem to be the case:

FabFilter Twin:
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Zebra 2:
Image

Ableton Analog:
Image

Logic ES2:
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Is this by design? The extra brightness of the Ableton synth makes it a lot easier to do some patches. To get similar sounds out of Zebra I have to insert another filter in the chain and use its resonance to boost the higher frequencies. FabFilter Twin seems similarly muffled, but GForce's impOSCar and Logic's ES2 do not.

KVRian
1185 posts since 13 May, 2004 from SF Bay Area, California

Post Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:55 am

Are some of those high-end details aliasing in the Analog and ES2 graphs? I don't know if they are -- but if so, seems like the brighter oscillator spectrum comes with a cost. (But maybe not a high cost unless it's as apparent to the ear as it is to the eye.)

Image

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KVRAF

Topic Starter

2866 posts since 28 Jan, 2004 from Da Nang, Vietnam

Post Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:59 am

PaulSC wrote:Are some of those high-end details aliasing in the Analog and ES2 graphs? I don't know if they are -- but if so, seems like the brighter oscillator spectrum comes with a cost.
Good question. I'm not sure.

I guess the easiest way to brighten up the Zebra2 osc is to use the brilliance effect and crank it up as desired. Any downsides of doing this?

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KVRAF
4121 posts since 11 Aug, 2006 from Texas

Post Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:38 am

I've seen Urs mention before he tried to make as neutral-colored as possible default Osc. That way you can push it into the desired spectrum with OscFX + Filters. He's also mentioned he wanted an instrument that sat well in a mix. I'm sure he'll jump on this when he gets back from vacation though. :)

P.S. - nice graphs!

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2866 posts since 28 Jan, 2004 from Da Nang, Vietnam

Post Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:44 am

bmrzycki wrote:I've seen Urs mention before he tried to make as neutral-colored as possible default Osc. That way you can push it into the desired spectrum with OscFX + Filters. He's also mentioned he wanted an instrument that sat well in a mix. I'm sure he'll jump on this when he gets back from vacation though. :)
I guess my preference would be to have full-spectrum oscs with nice bright high end like impOSCar's. Taming them down is what the filters are for and filtering seems more natural than artificially boosting them back up with oscfx. I guess it's easy enough to brighten up a default preset though.

The graphs are just screen grabs of the Ableton spectrum plugin, which is pretty handy for getting a closer look at sounds in general.

KVRAF
2806 posts since 3 Mar, 2006

Post Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:20 pm

the ableton analog and ES2 examples definitely look like aliasing.

Why don't you post a similar one for impOSCar? Though it wouldn't surprise me if that one had aliasing too, as the ORIGINAL SYNTH had digital oscs.

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KVRAF
9384 posts since 17 Sep, 2002 from Gothenburg Sweden

Post Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:28 pm

kuniklo wrote: Taming them down is what the filters are for and filtering seems more natural than artificially boosting them back up with oscfx.
Here's where the logic breaks down completly.
"filtering seems more natural"
"artificially boosting"
So there's absolutly no problem with the sound,you just have a filosofical issue with the way Zebra does it ?

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2866 posts since 28 Jan, 2004 from Da Nang, Vietnam

Post Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:28 pm

Yeah. That looks like aliasing to me too, like the top end of the spectrum folded back into itself.

Here's the impOSCar spectrum. I had to put the filter in HP mode because you can't turn it off. It actually looks very clean:

Image

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2866 posts since 28 Jan, 2004 from Da Nang, Vietnam

Post Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:31 pm

jupiter8 wrote: So there's absolutly no problem with the sound,you just have a filosofical issue with the way Zebra does it ?
It didn't occur to me to fiddle with the brilliance effect before I posted this. I don't like the stock Zebra osc sound because of this dullness, but I guess the brilliance effect is a reasonable workaround.

Zebra2 *can* sound fantastic, but I think it's not ideal that a naive approach yields (I think) unsatisfactory results.

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Urs
u-he
25840 posts since 8 Aug, 2002 from Berlin

Post Thu Aug 28, 2008 7:07 pm

I'm on holiday, but here's my quick observation:

Twin & Zebra: No aliasing, efficient, no oversampling
ES2 & Analog: Aliasing, not my cup of tea
impOSCar: No aliasing, oversampled hence probably higher cpu usage

I don't like overly bright oscillators. That's why my stuff donesn't have them.

;) Urs

KVRian
1100 posts since 4 Aug, 2004 from Copenhagen, Denmark

Post Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:09 pm

In my book the special kinda delicate crisp airy highs dont come with the osc's and filters. All synth filters break to a non smooth brightness at some points, from then on its only EQ magic that can do the rest, meaning adding the airy and crisp thing to a preset.

So to achive the smooth highs i suggest fooling around with some high EQ settings. Doing the resonance trick is also a way to add some highs but it will never add the airy and delicate crisp highs.

This is also why most exciters make many synth presets sound like a dream because they add a kind of hi'fi touch to the preset.

On a side note, some developers fake the hi-fi sound on osc's with having a EQ'ed waveform as a base. This leads to a very good first impression, but will introduce problems later on because all sounds coming out this kind of synth will all sound similar. Thats why neutral waveforms is essential in a instrument like Zebra. We need the it to be neutral, so the sound shaping is fully in our hands.

/Michael
www.xsynth.com - Sound Synthesis with Vintage flavour

KVRian
1100 posts since 4 Aug, 2004 from Copenhagen, Denmark

Post Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:35 pm

A typical string is always desired to have that brilliance touch. When i make strings in Zebra i make use of the 6 db pole and EQ takes over where the filter breaks. Same goes for things like Hihat and buzzy sounds.

/Michael
www.xsynth.com - Sound Synthesis with Vintage flavour

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2866 posts since 28 Jan, 2004 from Da Nang, Vietnam

Post Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:46 am

Urs wrote: I don't like overly bright oscillators. That's why my stuff donesn't have them.
I sincerely hope you're having a great vacation and that you will ignore this silly thread for the rest of it.

I agree with your philsophy *in principle*. In practice though, I don't hear aliasing in Ableton's synth and the extra brightness of the oscs makes some patches a lot easier to dial up. Some other synths, like Predator for instance, do alias badly enough that it's pretty plain and I certainly prefer Zebra-style oscs to that.

Just for kicks I tried this with a sample of an arp2600 saw wave:
Image

To me this looks and sounds brighter than the Z2 oscs too, and more in line with Analog, minus the aliasing, of course. impOSCar is actually pretty light on the CPU. I wonder how they manage that without aliasing.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2866 posts since 28 Jan, 2004 from Da Nang, Vietnam

Post Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:46 am

mkastrup wrote:A typical string is always desired to have that brilliance touch. When i make strings in Zebra i make use of the 6 db pole and EQ takes over where the filter breaks. Same goes for things like Hihat and buzzy sounds.

/Michael
Thanks for the tip. I'm always reluctant to boost with EQ but I guess there are cases where it's ok.

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KVRAF
19844 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:06 pm

kuniklo wrote:
jupiter8 wrote: So there's absolutly no problem with the sound,you just have a filosofical issue with the way Zebra does it ?
It didn't occur to me to fiddle with the brilliance effect before I posted this. I don't like the stock Zebra osc sound because of this dullness, but I guess the brilliance effect is a reasonable workaround.

Zebra2 *can* sound fantastic, but I think it's not ideal that a naive approach yields (I think) unsatisfactory results.

can you find what you want by changing the waveform? or importing many of the waveforms converted with that utility?

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