Chromaphone. Any competitors?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
David
KVRAF
1841 posts since 5 Jan, 2003 from Brookings, OR

Post Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:59 pm

Here's a couple of devices not mentioned so far, and recently returned to by me—a VERY happy reunion! They are definitely NOT your typical PM devices, and to me seem the best current examples of synths that take PM way beyond the usual boundaries of other more focused tools, like most of those already mentioned here. With these two, the PM sounds are just part of the palette, so they both feel more to me like all-round synths, and not special-purpose PM modelers for acoustic sounds. Also, both are very deep and initially very likely to seem incomprehensible; but in my experience anyway persistence very much furthers! Also both are amazing bargains! If you have Reaktor already…

The first is an add-on for existing Prism owners: ANIMATOR FOR PRISM by Don Garbutt, requires both Prism and Reaktor 5 at least. Truly a worth-while supercharger for Prism, I found. $19!

The other one is also a Reaktor device, and it comes in a bundle with 20 other ensembles, most equally amazing!, for £25, or by itself for only £8: SyAriA, described thus:
"SyAriA's sound is generated using modelling synthesis, there are no oscillators used in a conventional manner, although there are some involved in the source generator but they serve a different purpose to the norm.
In addition to the Acoustic Resonator SyAriA has a Vintage Generator that can be used in combination to add a more synthetic edge to the acoustic modeled sound."

Both sites offer audio demos, and I've made a few for each myself, here:

Prism-X
https://soundcloud.com/david-coffin/set ... 5-ensemble

SyAriA
https://soundcloud.com/david-coffin/sets/syaria-demos

I've also made some snap banks for both, especially SyAriA; happy to share, just PM me:)

User avatar
JO512
KVRist
186 posts since 9 Nov, 2018 from Colorado

Re: Chromaphone. Any competitors?

Post Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:54 pm

peterdh wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 2:06 am
Are there any other plug-in's that do such emulations? Hardware or software.
Harmor can produce some amazing percussion sounds, though they are probably not the most physically accurate. This is not physical modeling. But Harmor excels at producing inharmonic sounds which wavetable synths and whatnot can't do properly. You can drop a random image into Harmor to shape the volume levels of the individual partials and also the tuning of each partial. If you use the "pluck" feature along with this and fiddle with different images and try different positions in the image as well as trying different settings for the "scale" of the image frequency modulation, you can get some amazing woodblock sounds, metallic clangs, bells, tines, gongs, thunks, and so on. It can sound very string-like with certain settings too, giving interesting basses. Marimba-like, vibe-like sounds are very possible too. Water drums, udus, handpans, you name it. You can even get something resembling violins, cellos, and whatnot, using the "blur" feature and proper setup elsewhere. Using impulse responses of small objects in conjunction with Harmor can add to things as well.

You can adjust how fast the image is scanned. If you set it for little to no motion, the sound is stable. But if you let it move some, you can get bendy saw sounds, sounds that resemble what you hear if you strike a metal pot with water in it while you move the water around, and so on.

Some of these sounds easily rival those produced by Chromaphone, in my opinion. I have both. While I like Chromaphone, I tend to find Harmor's results even more interesting and surprising. And you can quickly get a large variety of timbres just with different positions in the image. Things are not as predictable here as in Chromaphone though. You kind of have to play with it and discover things. You could thoroughly control it with enough understanding though, since you have so much control over the partials through images.

I think this is a hugely underappreciated area of application for Harmor.

One great feature in Harmor too is that, with a curve you can draw, you can control how much Harmor will randomize the levels of partials with each new note. This adds some variability to each strike and adds some naturalness. This is the "harmonic randomness" envelope. This makes string plucks sound much more realistic.

Harmor is so underappreciated! Probably partly because it is such an unusual synth. It is kind of hard to learn at first, also for that same reason. Easily one of my all-time favorite plugins! And I've spent time with a bunch.

218
KVRist
232 posts since 1 Oct, 2009

Re: Chromaphone. Any competitors?

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:10 am

JO512 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:54 pm
peterdh wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 2:06 am
Are there any other plug-in's that do such emulations? Hardware or software.
Harmor can produce some amazing percussion sounds, though they are probably not the most physically accurate. This is not physical modeling. But Harmor excels at producing inharmonic sounds which wavetable synths and whatnot can't do properly. You can drop a random image into Harmor to shape the volume levels of the individual partials and also the tuning of each partial. If you use the "pluck" feature along with this and fiddle with different images and try different positions in the image as well as trying different settings for the "scale" of the image frequency modulation, you can get some amazing woodblock sounds, metallic clangs, bells, tines, gongs, thunks, and so on. It can sound very string-like with certain settings too, giving interesting basses. Marimba-like, vibe-like sounds are very possible too. Water drums, udus, handpans, you name it. You can even get something resembling violins, cellos, and whatnot, using the "blur" feature and proper setup elsewhere. Using impulse responses of small objects in conjunction with Harmor can add to things as well.

You can adjust how fast the image is scanned. If you set it for little to no motion, the sound is stable. But if you let it move some, you can get bendy saw sounds, sounds that resemble what you hear if you strike a metal pot with water in it while you move the water around, and so on.

Some of these sounds easily rival those produced by Chromaphone, in my opinion. I have both. While I like Chromaphone, I tend to find Harmor's results even more interesting and surprising. And you can quickly get a large variety of timbres just with different positions in the image. Things are not as predictable here as in Chromaphone though. You kind of have to play with it and discover things. You could thoroughly control it with enough understanding though, since you have so much control over the partials through images.

I think this is a hugely underappreciated area of application for Harmor.

One great feature in Harmor too is that, with a curve you can draw, you can control how much Harmor will randomize the levels of partials with each new note. This adds some variability to each strike and adds some naturalness. This is the "harmonic randomness" envelope. This makes string plucks sound much more realistic.

Harmor is so underappreciated! Probably partly because it is such an unusual synth. It is kind of hard to learn at first, also for that same reason. Easily one of my all-time favorite plugins! And I've spent time with a bunch.
Thank you for this post! When I get home from work today im gonna do some Harmor tweakage :party:

cron
KVRAF
3352 posts since 27 Dec, 2002 from North East England

Re: Chromaphone. Any competitors?

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:23 am

Harmor is absolutely incredible. The GUI makes it look a bit toylike, but once you start right-clicking and diving into menus, just about everything can be tweaked on a per-partial level.

I'm currently addicted to loading a sound into Harmor, converting it to image synthesis mode, then bringing it into GIMP (or you could use Photoshop) and processing it visually. You don't even need to export files at any point. Harmor makes it super-easy to send an image to GIMP then bring it back in: one-click copy/paste image from clipboard. You just copy it in Harmor/GIMP then paste it in the other.

A remarkable synth of endless depth.

crawlingwind
KVRist
238 posts since 23 Apr, 2012

Re: Chromaphone. Any competitors?

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:49 am

What’s the deal with the Download Protection for an additional $6.99- ensure downloads for 24 months? Not seen this before.
David wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:59 pm

The first is an add-on for existing Prism owners: ANIMATOR FOR PRISM by Don Garbutt, requires both Prism and Reaktor 5 at least. Truly a worth-while supercharger for Prism, I found. $19!

User avatar
JO512
KVRist
186 posts since 9 Nov, 2018 from Colorado

Re: Chromaphone. Any competitors?

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:59 am

218 wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:10 am
Thank you for this post! When I get home from work today im gonna do some Harmor tweakage :party:
Sure!

Before dropping an image in, try just adding some harmonic randomness with the envelope of that name and then turn the pluck knob down some. It should already sound rather string-like. One thing to keep in mind here though is that with positive harmonic randomness, the amplitude of the signal will be increased. So you'll have to turn down the volume to avoid clipping.

Then also try messing with the pluck shape envelope.

I find results are more realistic in many cases if you use the pluck amount envelope with keyboard mapping to make the pluck time longer with low notes and shorter with high notes.

Also notice that Harmor has a strum feature!

The string sounds tend to be more like a nylon string. But I've found that if you use the right images to shape the partials as well as adding some low pass filtering with some resonance, you can get some rather realistic electric guitar sounds, as this models pickup falloff to some degree.

Adding convolution with small box IRs afterward can make it sound more like an acoustic instrument.

User avatar
JO512
KVRist
186 posts since 9 Nov, 2018 from Colorado

Re: Chromaphone. Any competitors?

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:00 am

cron wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:23 am
Harmor is absolutely incredible. The GUI makes it look a bit toylike, but once you start right-clicking and diving into menus, just about everything can be tweaked on a per-partial level.
I agree. It is one of the most powerful synths around and deserves far more attention!

User avatar
JO512
KVRist
186 posts since 9 Nov, 2018 from Colorado

Re: Chromaphone. Any competitors?

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:09 am

Here is a sample of the sort of string sounds that you can make. I didn't spend too much time here. With some tweaking, you could probably get more realistic results.

There are four sets of two strums, an octave apart. The pluck shape curve is bent up a bit, which gives a slightly more steely sound than the nylon-like sound you get with the default straight diagonal in this envelope. The first pair is dry, with no filtering. The second pair has some convolution added after Harmor to give something like guitar body resonance and a bit of room. The third pair is dry and has some low pass filtering in Harmor, with a bit of resonance, to make it sound a bit more like an electric guitar. The fourth pair is like the last, but through Amplitube, with the Z Wreck amp and cabinet, this sound being a bit distorted.

https://soundcloud.com/user-260326741/h ... sjeuYfSrWz

User avatar
el-bo (formerly ebow)
KVRAF
16214 posts since 24 May, 2009 from A galaxy, far far away

Re: Chromaphone. Any competitors?

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:45 am

David wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:59 pm
I've also made some snap banks for both, especially SyAriA; happy to share, just PM me:)
Thanks for your great post!

Bought SyAriA some years back, but lost the ensemble somewhere along the way. Finally got a new link from the developer, this week, and am just starting to play around with it. Not so much fun on a tiny laptop screen, but I'm sure I'll get by. Anyway! Will probably hit you up for those presets, if that's not a problem.

And the Prism modifications look so interesting. Always loved the sound of Prism, but never put in the time to conquer it. Wondering if perhaps getting the mods would just make learning it even more difficult, or whether it might help :shrug:

Thanks again :tu:

User avatar
JO512
KVRist
186 posts since 9 Nov, 2018 from Colorado

Re: Chromaphone. Any competitors?

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:32 am

Here are some random inharmonic plucks from Harmor. The three files have different curves for the pluck shape envelope. All are descending curves. But one is straight. One is bent positively. One is bent negatively.


https://soundcloud.com/user-260326741/h ... AzmzmTxNET
https://soundcloud.com/user-260326741/h ... uze2f4vQQy
https://soundcloud.com/user-260326741/h ... WS1rn0KLGa

User avatar
JO512
KVRist
186 posts since 9 Nov, 2018 from Colorado

Re: Chromaphone. Any competitors?

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:55 am

Here are some more random inharmonic plucks, but with the pluck shape curve wiggly this time:

https://soundcloud.com/user-260326741/h ... cUyr85cihQ


As is probably obvious, I artificially cut the long plucks short. They aren't ringing out fully.

User avatar
JO512
KVRist
186 posts since 9 Nov, 2018 from Colorado

Re: Chromaphone. Any competitors?

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:18 am

Here are some long inharmonic plucks with wiggly pluck shape curve, this time allowed to ring out for a while.

https://soundcloud.com/user-260326741/h ... 6jWU6lRZbG

David
KVRAF
1841 posts since 5 Jan, 2003 from Brookings, OR

Re: Chromaphone. Any competitors?

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:24 pm

JO512 wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:00 am
cron wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:23 am
Harmor is absolutely incredible. The GUI makes it look a bit toylike, but once you start right-clicking and diving into menus, just about everything can be tweaked on a per-partial level.
I agree. It is one of the most powerful synths around and deserves far more attention!
I'd LOVE to check Harmor out, but I'd have to buy FLStudioMAC first:( (Which I'd ALSO like to check out! When $$$ allows…)

David
KVRAF
1841 posts since 5 Jan, 2003 from Brookings, OR

Re: Chromaphone. Any competitors?

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:39 pm

el-bo (formerly ebow) wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:45 am
David wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:59 pm
I've also made some snap banks for both, especially SyAriA; happy to share, just PM me:)
Thanks for your great post!

Bought SyAriA some years back, but lost the ensemble somewhere along the way. Finally got a new link from the developer, this week, and am just starting to play around with it. Not so much fun on a tiny laptop screen, but I'm sure I'll get by. Anyway! Will probably hit you up for those presets, if that's not a problem.

And the Prism modifications look so interesting. Always loved the sound of Prism, but never put in the time to conquer it. Wondering if perhaps getting the mods would just make learning it even more difficult, or whether it might help :shrug:

Thanks again :tu:
Check your mail:)

And, yeah, Prism-X does NOT simplify Prism! Don's add-ons are even more head-scratching:)
But it does add a ton of snap banks to it…which IMO makes it considerably more fun to explore.

User avatar
JO512
KVRist
186 posts since 9 Nov, 2018 from Colorado

Re: Chromaphone. Any competitors?

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:48 pm

David wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:24 pm
I'd LOVE to check Harmor out, but I'd have to buy FLStudioMAC first:( (Which I'd ALSO like to check out! When $$$ allows…)
I didn't realize there is no VST only version for Mac. That sucks!

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