Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
Calandria
KVRer
28 posts since 13 Dec, 2018

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:25 am

Teksonik wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:18 pm
e) Who cares ? :?
I care.
I often wondered how Sylenth managed to pull of what at the time seemed an incredible leap forward regarding Unison and Spread.
Even till this day it can hold its own (just about)
I am also curious about the Sylenth Envelopes which also seem to somehow create magic within Filter modulations.

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Teksonik
KVRAF
11929 posts since 16 Sep, 2001 from Las Vegas,USA

Re: Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:40 am

pdxindy wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:12 am
Teksonik wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:18 pm
e) Who cares ? :?
you obviously do... otherwise you wouldn't be a dick about it
Awww what's the matter cupcake did the bad man upset you ? No I don't care one bit. Nor should anyone who understands that knowing will not change the sound of Sylenth, one....damn... bit.

I'm responding to this silly trend we're seeing lately where people are examining synths with an electron microscope instead of using them for their intended purpose which is to make sound/music.

I can see if someone said "I'm taking a course at Uni and am doing a paper on Unison". Ok then that might be a reason to know but wasting time on it just because of idle curiosity is a fool's endeavor in my opinion.

If you think wasting time on a synth's minutiae is a valid use of time then I feel nothing but pity for you.......... :hug:
None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

fluffy_little_something
KVRAF
12994 posts since 5 Jun, 2012

Re: Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:29 am

Whatever the spread mode is, beyond 12 o'clock max it sounds unpleasant in my view. That's a couple of hours better than certain other synths :hihi:

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vurt
addled muppet weed
39417 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:35 am

Teksonik wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:40 am
pdxindy wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:12 am
Teksonik wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:18 pm
e) Who cares ? :?
you obviously do... otherwise you wouldn't be a dick about it
Awww what's the matter cupcake did the bad man upset you ? No I don't care one bit. Nor should anyone who understands that knowing will not change the sound of Sylenth, one....damn... bit.

I'm responding to this silly trend we're seeing lately where people are examining synths with an electron microscope instead of using them for their intended purpose which is to make sound/music.

I can see if someone said "I'm taking a course at Uni and am doing a paper on Unison". Ok then that might be a reason to know but wasting time on it just because of idle curiosity is a fool's endeavor in my opinion.

If you think wasting time on a synth's minutiae is a valid use of time then I feel nothing but pity for you.......... :hug:
yeh! lernins for sukas!

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Vortifex
KVRian
1082 posts since 1 Sep, 2016

Re: Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:32 am

dav0001 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:23 pm
Teksonik, why do you constantly respond with "who cares" on every technical quirey for Sylenth1...

Obviously many synth geeks care - and you do not....
He's a miserable old sod, just ignore him.

chk071
KVRAF
18086 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:35 am

I always thought the unison detune spread was not linear in Sylenth1, and that's where all the wideness magic came from.

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Teksonik
KVRAF
11929 posts since 16 Sep, 2001 from Las Vegas,USA

Re: Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:58 am

Vortifex wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:32 am
He's a miserable old sod, just ignore him.
Because I said "who cares" ? Good god snowflake are you that easily triggered ? Must suck to be you having to wear a helmet and bubble wrap all day...... :lol:

Look, all joking aside I'm as intellectually curious about things that matter as anyone. I just don't bother with stuff that doesn't matter. Does knowing what kind of Unison Sylenth uses actually teach you anything....useful ? Are your patches suddenly going to sound better because you know what type of Unison is in play when you turn the knob ? No, because it's trivia.

Like wanting to know which forest the tree grew in that provided the wood for my guitar. Knowing that wouldn't make any difference in the sound it makes or the enjoyment I get when playing it.

The only measuring devices that matter are the two on the sides of your head. No need to do a colonoscopy on every synth. :wink:

(Thousands of great sounding patches for Sylenth created by people who couldn't care less what type of Unison it uses).

But as I said, I like playing synths not playing with them so if you kids want to spend your time worrying about minutia rather than enjoying the power we have literally at out fingertips these days once again I have nothing but pity for you. Bless your hearts..... :hug:
None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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pdxindy
KVRAF
14490 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Re: Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:16 pm

Teksonik wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:58 am
Look, all joking aside I'm as intellectually curious about things that matter as anyone. I just don't bother with stuff that doesn't matter.
Your opinion of what matters has nothing to do with anyone else.

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Teksonik
KVRAF
11929 posts since 16 Sep, 2001 from Las Vegas,USA

Re: Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:02 pm

pdxindy wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:16 pm
Teksonik wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:58 am
Look, all joking aside I'm as intellectually curious about things that matter as anyone. I just don't bother with stuff that doesn't matter.
Your opinion of what matters has nothing to do with anyone else.
Common sense is common sense.....or should be. :wink:

But please feel free to keep talking about synths. I just spent some time with Sylenth and it sounds glorious and I don't even need to know how many lines of code the Oscillators took to program.

I guess we all have our priorities..... :shrug:
None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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BlitBit
KVRist
190 posts since 28 Nov, 2013 from Germany

Re: Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:03 pm

I did some analysis on Sylenth's detune a while ago because I wanted to see if I can implement it in my own little synth. Here are my results for anyone interested in the technicalities. All others: better skip over this post and play with your synths in the meantime. ;)

Sylenth's detune is linear with regards to half tones. If you for example set it to five voices and you detune the "outermost" voice by 2 half tones then the five voices will be detuned as follows (in half tones):
-2 | -1 | 0 | 1 | 2
This is just an example because such a detune will obviously sound like crap.

Please note that this is not a linear detune with regards to the frequencies! If the center voice for example plays at 440 Hz then the detune of the voices in the example above is the following in frequencies:
349.3 | 415.4 | 440 | 466 | 493.7
As you can see neighboring frequencies do not have the same constant distance between each other as was the case when we expressed the detune in half tones.

The detune only looks linear in a spectrum analyzer because most analyzer use a logarithmic scale.
fluffy_little_something wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:29 am
Whatever the spread mode is, beyond 12 o'clock max it sounds unpleasant in my view.
That's because the maximum detune for Sylenth is around 3.3219 half tones (for some people this number might immediately ring a bell as it is log_2(10)). This is in each direction from the center! So it is possible to detune the oscillator by a tritone from the lowest to the highest voice. That's why Sylenth should be your go-to synth if you want to make the devil's music. :hail: :evil: :wink:

Joking aside, I wonder why they have chosen 3.321 half tones as the maximum. Are there any useful patches that use such a heavy detune? Perhaps some modulations with a quick ADSR?
fluffy_little_something wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:29 am
That's a couple of hours better than certain other synths :hihi:
There's a reason why Sylenth is "a couple of hours" better than other synths. Its knob does not go from no detune to 3.321 half tones linearly but instead it seems to map by f(x) = x^2. So if the knob at min is represented by x=0 and at max by x=1 then the detune in half steps is calculated as f(x) = 3.3219 * x^2 (see the red graph in the attached image).

I think it can best be explained with the attached image. The x axis shows how far the detune knob is turned to the right. If you multiply this number by 100 you get how much the knob is turned in percent. The y axis shows the resulting detune in half steps. The red line shows Sylenth's detune mapping and the black line is a simple linear mapping which might be used by synths with "less hours" in them.

With a linear mapping you already hit 0.5 half tones when the knob is turned 15% of the whole range. With Sylenth's mapping you hit it at around 40%. This means that the knob gives you much more room for the interesting detune range where the detune is not yet too heavy. Or put differently: the detune starts rather slow and ends rather quick.

You can also see from the graph that at twelve o'clock (0.5) it is already detuned by 0.8 half steps which is the reason why it starts to become rather unusable from that point.

I hope this answers dav0001's question. :)
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dav0001
KVRist
37 posts since 13 May, 2006

Re: Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

Post Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:46 pm

Thank you all, very helpful!

dav0001
KVRist
37 posts since 13 May, 2006

Re: Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

Post Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:02 pm

Thanks BlitBit!

If the Sylenth detune is not Linear in regards to frequency, perhaps this would explain why I have been unable to replicate the sound of the Sylenth detune using any other synth? (those being Spire, Viper, ANA2, Dune2, Avenger, etc.)

Spire and ANA2 even have a detune 'Density' or 'Shape' control - but they still can't replicate the detune spread of Sylenth!

dav0001
KVRist
37 posts since 13 May, 2006

Re: Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

Post Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:14 pm

BlitBit wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:03 pm
I did some analysis on Sylenth's detune a while ago because I wanted to see if I can implement it in my own little synth.
Did you have any success implementing it in your own synth? I'm interested :)

dav0001
KVRist
37 posts since 13 May, 2006

Re: Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

Post Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:36 pm

dav0001 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:02 pm
Spire and ANA2 even have a detune 'Density' or 'Shape' control - but they still can't replicate the detune spread of Sylenth!
Actually I lied.. Spire can get really close.

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BlitBit
KVRist
190 posts since 28 Nov, 2013 from Germany

Re: Sylenth1 - Unison Detune Spread?

Post Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:43 am

dav0001 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:14 pm
BlitBit wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:03 pm
I did some analysis on Sylenth's detune a while ago because I wanted to see if I can implement it in my own little synth.
Did you have any success implementing it in your own synth? I'm interested :)
I have revisited my experiments today and realized that I only implemented certain aspects and left out many others.

For example I only noticed today that for Sylenth the maximum detune is dependent on the number of voices. This is something that I did not implement. I also did not implement the special stereo field distribution of the unison voices if you set the oscillator to six or eight unison voices. I will again use an image to explain what I mean with that.

Attached you can find an image that shows Sylenth's behavior for a different numbers of unison voices. The image shows the spectra for one to eight voices. The left column shows the spectra for the case of an uneven number of voices and the right column for the case of an even number of voices. The settings are as follows in each case:
  • The oscillator is set to play a sine wave so that we get a pure spectrum and a therefore a clearer picture.
  • The "Detune" knob is set to max so that we can inspect the boundary case.
  • The "Stereo" knob is also set to max which means that all of the unison voices except for the center voice are panned either hard left (blue) or hard right (green).
  • The note that's played is an A at 110 Hz.
Max detune is dependent on number of voices
The first thing that's quick to see is that the maximum detune is dependent on the number of voices. In the case of eight unison voices the "rightmost" voice is at around 125 Hz. In the case of 2 voices it's far away from 125 Hz. In my synth it's always at 125 Hz if you set the "Detune" knob to the max.

Stereo distribution of the unison voices
The image also shows how the unison voices are distributed in the stereo field for a different number of voices. For an uneven number of voices the distribution is rather straight forward. There is always a center voice which is panned to the center and the other voices are panned hard left and hard right in an alternating pattern:
1 voice: C
3 voices: LCR
5 voices: LRCLR
7 voices: LRLCRLR

However, for the even number of voices the distribution is not as regular. Due to the even number of voices there can be no center voice. Instead all voices are either panned hard left or hard right. For two or four voices we simply alternate between left and right:
2 voices: LR
4 voices: LRLR

With six and eight voices things start to get interesting because we do not simply continue the alteration between the left and the right channel. If we did it would look as follows:
6 voices: LRLRLR
8 voices: LRLRLRLR

Instead with Sylenth there are now always two "neighboring" voices on the same channel:
6 voices: LRRLLR
8 voices: LRRLRLLR

So if you are using six or eight unison voices when you compare Sylenth against other synths then this little detail might come into play as well.

Phasing
I also noticed that there seems to be much more phasing going on in my synth. The reason for that might be that the starting phase for each unison voice is determined completely random if you set the unison to "Free". I assume that Sylenth also does something different here and that it somehow constraints its randomness.
dav0001 wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:02 pm
Thanks BlitBit!

If the Sylenth detune is not Linear in regards to frequency, perhaps this would explain why I have been unable to replicate the sound of the Sylenth detune using any other synth? (those being Spire, Viper, ANA2, Dune2, Avenger, etc.)

Spire and ANA2 even have a detune 'Density' or 'Shape' control - but they still can't replicate the detune spread of Sylenth!
Yes, there are several variables that come into play which might all be implemented differently in different synths:
  • The distribution of the unison voices with regards to their fundamental frequencies. For example besides using only a linear distribution I have also experimented with a polynomial and an exponential distribution in my synth. In that case some of the voices are closer to each other than other ones.
  • The amplitude of each voice. Sylenth gives all voices the same amplitude. Some synths for example provide the option to amplify the center voice so that you can make it stand out more compared to the "outer" voices. You can also make voices that are closer to the center voice louder than voices which are not as close. Or the other way around, etc.
  • The panning of each voice.
  • The wave form that is used. The default "Saw" in one synth can sound quite different from the "Saw" in another one. If you then stack them it will give even more different results.
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