Polyphony vs. Paraphony

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
User avatar
fmr
KVRAF
8509 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Post Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:23 am

beely wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:08 am
In anything other than monosynths (and I still consider the Mono/Poly really to be a monosynth, albeit with some interesting and unique features), I view paraphony as "undesirable", and far less useful than "proper" polysynths.
Korg PS series were polyphonic/paraphonic synths, and I consider them some of the best synths ever made :shrug:
Fernando (FMR)

User avatar
beely
KVRAF
1655 posts since 6 Jul, 2013

Re: Polyphony vs. Paraphony

Post Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:14 am

fmr wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:23 am
Korg PS series were polyphonic/paraphonic synths, and I consider them some of the best synths ever made :shrug:
Divide-down oscillators, pretty thin-sounding by all accounts. They *look* nice, but don't sound as good as they look in general (many of the early Korg's weren't that great sounding, both the oscillators and filters tended towards sounding a bit "weak", compared to other synths of the time).

Not that they aren't capable of good sounds, I'm sure.

But paraphonic? I've never heard the PS's described as paraphonic. VintageSynth says of the PS3300 (the top of the range):
48 voice polyphony, 48 VCOs, 48 VCFs and 48 VCAs
But all PS's have a VCO/VCF/VCA block per voice, and the phrase "fully-polyphonic" crops up a lot in conjunction with these... The word "paraphonic" doesn't crop up once on the Wiki page.

But I've never had hands-on time with these, so I'm just relating my impressions and takeaways from discussions on them... ymmv.

User avatar
Tj Shredder
KVRAF
2015 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: Polyphony vs. Paraphony

Post Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:55 am

There are the Full Bucket emulations of the Korg synths. Today its easy to explore some of those goodies...

User avatar
fmr
KVRAF
8509 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Re: Polyphony vs. Paraphony

Post Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:34 am

beely wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:14 am
fmr wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:23 am
Korg PS series were polyphonic/paraphonic synths, and I consider them some of the best synths ever made :shrug:
But paraphonic? I've never heard the PS's described as paraphonic. VintageSynth says of the PS3300 (the top of the range):
48 voice polyphony, 48 VCOs, 48 VCFs and 48 VCAs
But all PS's have a VCO/VCF/VCA block per voice, and the phrase "fully-polyphonic" crops up a lot in conjunction with these... The word "paraphonic" doesn't crop up once on the Wiki page.

But I've never had hands-on time with these, so I'm just relating my impressions and takeaways from discussions on them... ymmv.
Maybe you're right. I was confusing divide-down oscillators with paraphony. :oops:
Fernando (FMR)

User avatar
logifuzz-vst-plugins
KVRist
146 posts since 25 Jan, 2019 from Brazil

Re: Polyphony vs. Paraphony

Post Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:19 pm

Instructive topic, first time ever heard about paraphony. :tu:
"I used to think I was indecisive, but now I'm not too sure."
Checkout my blog: VST Plugins Free Download.

User avatar
S0lo
KVRian
664 posts since 31 Dec, 2008

Re: Polyphony vs. Paraphony

Post Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:49 pm

I still have that MonoPoly that I got 7 years ago. At that time I didn't know any thing about paraphony and what not. Yet I still remember being intrigued by how the voicing options worked, unison, separate tuning of the VCOs and all that.

I forgot all about it, it's been sitting here collecting dust for years. I read now somewhere that it's paraphonic!!

Ah_Dziz
KVRAF
2480 posts since 2 Jul, 2005

Re: Polyphony vs. Paraphony

Post Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:30 pm

beely wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:08 am
Ah_Dziz wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:56 am
Imagine having made a nice complex sound with a poly synth and then running it through a chain of effects. That chain acts as the later parts of a paraphonic setup. People do this all the time because they want a whole group of notes processed together.
I get the analogy, but as you know it's not quite the same thing. A paraphonic synth is one where the synth can be played polyphonically to some degree, but whereas a polyphonic synth has the full synth sound engine for each note, a paraphonic synth does not have the same full synth sound engine for each note.

For synths, typically this meant - with the Korg Poly 800 being a great example - that "we couldn't afford to put in eight filters, one for each note (and eight filter envelope generators), so instead we just put one in there and sum the oscillators through it." This means that each voice cannot articulate independently - eg the filter settings, and the filter envelope generator are shared across all voices. It was *always* done as a compromise in synths as a way of getting some polyphony without doing it "properly" (because of the costs involved).

Now, in the case of the OSCar of Odyssey, it's can't really be viewed as a compromised polyphonic synth, as they were always intended to be mono synths. It's more like an extra feature that can be used to get some extra techniques and playing effects. So in these cases, it's simply an extra feature to be used (or not).

But for something like the Poly 800, it is *purely* a compromise for cost reasons, that severely limits the things that you can do (as each voice cannot speak independently), but, as I mentioned above, can still be used creatively (as can everything, of course.)

In anything other than monosynths (and I still consider the Mono/Poly really to be a monosynth, albeit with some interesting and unique features), I view paraphony as "undesirable", and far less useful than "proper" polysynths.

These days, of course, with so many things in software, it's more of a choice than a compromise, as we are not so bound by hardware limitations, so it doesn't matter now nearly as much as it did back in the day...
This all just at whatever arbitrary point they decide to combine all the voices. On most soft synths the synth would qualify as paraphonic for all the effects and onward as not many have loads of polyphonic effects and many have monophonic filters in their effects chain. There may well be a technical definition of “paraphonic” out there, but I always associate it with divide down string machine stuff. Even in that scenario you could put a filter on every key with proper buffering and such (in an analog design). Just saying it doesn’t make much of a differences these days. The place I see it mattering the most is in a setup like reaktor where you decide exactly which parts are reproduced per voice and which parts are shar3d after the voices are combined. They just do things completely differently depending on how they are designed. I don’t really see why anybody would limit the user to only having a paraphonic mode after the oscillators, but you definitely get a different result so in some cases it could be just what you need. Just a matter of perspective unless you’re in the market for old hardware as far as I’m Concerned.
Don't F**K with Mr. Zero.

User avatar
Full Bucket
KVRian
567 posts since 25 May, 2010 from Hessisch Uganda, Germany

Re: Polyphony vs. Paraphony

Post Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:31 am

fmr wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:34 am
beely wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:14 am
fmr wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:23 am
Korg PS series were polyphonic/paraphonic synths, and I consider them some of the best synths ever made :shrug:
But paraphonic? I've never heard the PS's described as paraphonic. VintageSynth says of the PS3300 (the top of the range):
48 voice polyphony, 48 VCOs, 48 VCFs and 48 VCAs
But all PS's have a VCO/VCF/VCA block per voice, and the phrase "fully-polyphonic" crops up a lot in conjunction with these... The word "paraphonic" doesn't crop up once on the Wiki page.

But I've never had hands-on time with these, so I'm just relating my impressions and takeaways from discussions on them... ymmv.
Maybe you're right. I was confusing divide-down oscillators with paraphony. :oops:
The PS series are both "fully-polyphonic" and "paraphonic" in the sense that everything after the "fully-polyphonic" 48 voice blocks (so "fully" means "48"...) is handled "paraphonically".
For example, on the PS-3100 the Amplitude Modulation, VCA1, and VCA2 affect the summed signal of all 48 voices.

If you want to feel the subtile differences of paraphony and polyphony, I recommend to check out my Nabla plugin, a Korg Delta clone. Nabla has a "GOD Mode" that switches the originally paraphonic instrument to "full polyphony".

Cheers, Björn

User avatar
fmr
KVRAF
8509 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Re: Polyphony vs. Paraphony

Post Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:53 am

Full Bucket wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:31 am
fmr wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:34 am
beely wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:14 am
fmr wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:23 am
Korg PS series were polyphonic/paraphonic synths, and I consider them some of the best synths ever made :shrug:
But paraphonic? I've never heard the PS's described as paraphonic. VintageSynth says of the PS3300 (the top of the range):
48 voice polyphony, 48 VCOs, 48 VCFs and 48 VCAs
But all PS's have a VCO/VCF/VCA block per voice, and the phrase "fully-polyphonic" crops up a lot in conjunction with these... The word "paraphonic" doesn't crop up once on the Wiki page.

But I've never had hands-on time with these, so I'm just relating my impressions and takeaways from discussions on them... ymmv.
Maybe you're right. I was confusing divide-down oscillators with paraphony. :oops:
The PS series are both "fully-polyphonic" and "paraphonic" in the sense that everything after the "fully-polyphonic" 48 voice blocks (so "fully" means "48"...) is handled "paraphonically".
For example, on the PS-3100 the Amplitude Modulation, VCA1, and VCA2 affect the summed signal of all 48 voices.

If you want to feel the subtile differences of paraphony and polyphony, I recommend to check out my Nabla plugin, a Korg Delta clone. Nabla has a "GOD Mode" that switches the originally paraphonic instrument to "full polyphony".

Cheers, Björn
Thanks Björn. I also had that idea, but I wasn't sure. :tu:
Fernando (FMR)

User avatar
jupiter8
KVRAF
9381 posts since 17 Sep, 2002 from Gothenburg Sweden

Re: Polyphony vs. Paraphony

Post Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:28 am

Full Bucket wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:31 am
fmr wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:34 am
beely wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:14 am
fmr wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:23 am
Korg PS series were polyphonic/paraphonic synths, and I consider them some of the best synths ever made :shrug:
But paraphonic? I've never heard the PS's described as paraphonic. VintageSynth says of the PS3300 (the top of the range):
48 voice polyphony, 48 VCOs, 48 VCFs and 48 VCAs
But all PS's have a VCO/VCF/VCA block per voice, and the phrase "fully-polyphonic" crops up a lot in conjunction with these... The word "paraphonic" doesn't crop up once on the Wiki page.

But I've never had hands-on time with these, so I'm just relating my impressions and takeaways from discussions on them... ymmv.
Maybe you're right. I was confusing divide-down oscillators with paraphony. :oops:
The PS series are both "fully-polyphonic" and "paraphonic" in the sense that everything after the "fully-polyphonic" 48 voice blocks (so "fully" means "48"...) is handled "paraphonically".
For example, on the PS-3100 the Amplitude Modulation, VCA1, and VCA2 affect the summed signal of all 48 voices.
Can't say i agree with thst notion. It just means it got a single LFO affecting all voices instead of an LFO for each voice. A LFO for each voice was really rare at that time, i can't think of a single synth from that era that had it. Take a Juno 106 for example and do the same thing, is the 106 partly paraphonic? I don't think so.

User avatar
Full Bucket
KVRian
567 posts since 25 May, 2010 from Hessisch Uganda, Germany

Re: Polyphony vs. Paraphony

Post Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:35 am

No, since you can modulate VCA1 via the General Envelope Generator. This is one envelope for all voices. I'd call this paraphony. ;-)

Edit: But you are right when you say that "one LFO for all voices" does not mean paraphony (but that's not what I stated).

Cheers, Björn

User avatar
jupiter8
KVRAF
9381 posts since 17 Sep, 2002 from Gothenburg Sweden

Re: Polyphony vs. Paraphony

Post Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:40 am

Full Bucket wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:35 am
No, since you can modulate VCA1 via the General Envelope Generator. This is one envelope for all voices. I'd call this paraphony. ;-)

Edit: But you are right when you say that "one LFO for all voices" does not mean paraphony (but that's not what I stated).

Cheers, Björn
Was a long time ago i played one and i had to look it up and it would indeed seem you're right.

User avatar
jupiter8
KVRAF
9381 posts since 17 Sep, 2002 from Gothenburg Sweden

Re: Polyphony vs. Paraphony

Post Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:43 am

That is quite unusual, if not unique. Can't think of another synth that would have that. The PolyMoog perhaps (another oddity)?

User avatar
Full Bucket
KVRian
567 posts since 25 May, 2010 from Hessisch Uganda, Germany

Re: Polyphony vs. Paraphony

Post Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:01 am

Correct, the Polymoog had that single VCF for all voices...

Really fun(ny) is the Crumar Trilogy. See here for its crazy parapolyphony:
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... tal-synths

Cheers, Björn

User avatar
jupiter8
KVRAF
9381 posts since 17 Sep, 2002 from Gothenburg Sweden

Re: Polyphony vs. Paraphony

Post Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:11 am

Full Bucket wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:01 am
Correct, the Polymoog had that single VCF for all voices...
I was thinking about a single env for all voices. I believe it has that too. For the single VCF.
Full Bucket wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:01 am
Really fun(ny) is the Crumar Trilogy. See here for its crazy parapolyphony:
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... tal-synths

Cheers, Björn
I have a feeling i'm going to get a headache from that.... :D

Return to “Instruments”