Expressive E Imagine, physical modeling synth plugin in collaboration with AAS

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
KVRian
1022 posts since 9 Feb, 2007 from San Ramon, California

Post Fri Sep 17, 2021 3:43 pm

This is Chromaphone 3 expanded to the maximum size the GUI allows in Bitwig 4.01 on my HD laptop (15.6" Lenovo ThinkPad P52). I am in my mid-late 50's and wear computer glasses with reading bifocals. The smaller text is readable but uncomfortably so. FWIW Bitwig is similar. Maybe I just need to get another monitor.
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Gribs

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KVRian
1023 posts since 30 Mar, 2008 from MN, USA

Post Fri Sep 17, 2021 4:30 pm

So... This thing is very frustrating. It almost feels like bait and switch.

I love physical modeling, but I want control over it. There is no detailed control over the models in Imagine. There are only instrument presets with macro controls for the exciter parameters and a general "expression" control that does — well — stuff.

The underlying acoustic body models, and how they interact with one another, is entirely hidden behind the presets. You are stuck with the instrument presets. There's no such thing as "Init" on an instrument. You have to pick a preset and work within its predefined limitations. You cannot start with a preset, and choose a different exciter. You cannot swap out one acoustic body for another. You cannot configure how they interact. The Expression knob does different things for different presets even with the same acoustic bodies. It is a macro driving hidden parameters. For crying out loud, you don't even get an envelope unless you are using the noise exciter.

I get that physical modeling is tricky. Witness how easy it is to generate crap in Plasmonic if you don't know what you're doing. That is why instrument presets are a great idea. But it's total BS that you have no other options than these presets.
Last edited by teilo on Fri Sep 17, 2021 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

KVRAF
2639 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Post Fri Sep 17, 2021 4:41 pm

Ok, TL;DR for Chromaphone owners...

This is a new synth from Expressive E, so they owe nothing to Applied Acoustics customers... they licensed technology from AAS.

So either you are in or you're not! Simple! It's OK if you are not, but it has little to do with AAS...
Windows10; plugins from AAS, Ableton, AIR, Ample, Arturia, Cakewalk, Cherry, DiscoDSP, Fathom, IKM, Initial, iZotope, KV331, NI, PluginGuru, PreSonus, Surge, TAL, Tone2, Toontrack, Tracktion, u-he, UJAM, UVI, Vital, Waves, XLN ...

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KVRAF
3751 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from The End of The World as We Knowit

Post Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:11 pm

zzz00m wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 4:41 pm
it has little to do with AAS...
...except that the people managing AAS and EE are brothers (Marc-Pierre and Louis Verge) and it's not a licensing but a full collaboration, so synth comparisons and MPE expectations are entirely reasonable!
buying happiness

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KVRAF
20138 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Fri Sep 17, 2021 8:16 pm

teilo wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 4:30 pm
So... This thing is very frustrating. It almost feels like bait and switch.

I love physical modeling, but I want control over it. There is no detailed control over the models in Imagine. There are only instrument presets with macro controls for the exciter parameters and a general "expression" control that does — well — stuff.

The underlying acoustic body models, and how they interact with one another, is entirely hidden behind the presets. You are stuck with the instrument presets. There's no such thing as "Init" on an instrument. You have to pick a preset and work within its predefined limitations. You cannot start with a preset, and choose a different exciter. You cannot swap out one acoustic body for another. You cannot configure how they interact. The Expression knob does different things for different presets even with the same acoustic bodies. It is a macro driving hidden parameters. For crying out loud, you don't even get an envelope unless you are using the noise exciter.
Ahhh... good to know. Thanks! It's not for me.

KVRian
1100 posts since 2 Nov, 2006

Post Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:49 am

teilo wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 4:30 pm
So... This thing is very frustrating. It almost feels like bait and switch.

I love physical modeling, but I want control over it. There is no detailed control over the models in Imagine. There are only instrument presets with macro controls for the exciter parameters and a general "expression" control that does — well — stuff.

The underlying acoustic body models, and how they interact with one another, is entirely hidden behind the presets. You are stuck with the instrument presets. There's no such thing as "Init" on an instrument. You have to pick a preset and work within its predefined limitations. You cannot start with a preset, and choose a different exciter. You cannot swap out one acoustic body for another. You cannot configure how they interact. The Expression knob does different things for different presets even with the same acoustic bodies. It is a macro driving hidden parameters. For crying out loud, you don't even get an envelope unless you are using the noise exciter.

I get that physical modeling is tricky. Witness how easy it is to generate crap in Plasmonic if you don't know what you're doing. That is why instrument presets are a great idea. But it's total BS that you have no other options than these presets.
Er that is not good.

KVRist
448 posts since 8 Jan, 2012

Post Sat Sep 18, 2021 5:21 am

teilo wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 4:30 pm
So... This thing is very frustrating. It almost feels like bait and switch.

I love physical modeling, but I want control over it. There is no detailed control over the models in Imagine. There are only instrument presets with macro controls for the exciter parameters and a general "expression" control that does — well — stuff.

The underlying acoustic body models, and how they interact with one another, is entirely hidden behind the presets. You are stuck with the instrument presets. There's no such thing as "Init" on an instrument. You have to pick a preset and work within its predefined limitations. You cannot start with a preset, and choose a different exciter. You cannot swap out one acoustic body for another. You cannot configure how they interact. The Expression knob does different things for different presets even with the same acoustic bodies. It is a macro driving hidden parameters. For crying out loud, you don't even get an envelope unless you are using the noise exciter.

I get that physical modeling is tricky. Witness how easy it is to generate crap in Plasmonic if you don't know what you're doing. That is why instrument presets are a great idea. But it's total BS that you have no other options than these presets.
Yeah, I was considering getting this even without a demo (although I do believe they have a full refund offer to fall back on), because I thought it seemed like Chromaphone but with more control and better modulation options. But now it sounds like that might not be the case. Well, the modulation options do seem better, but is that alone enough to warrant a punt on this?

KVRAF
2639 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Post Sat Sep 18, 2021 5:51 pm

Michael L wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:11 pm
zzz00m wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 4:41 pm
it has little to do with AAS...
...except that the people managing AAS and EE are brothers (Marc-Pierre and Louis Verge) and it's not a licensing but a full collaboration, so synth comparisons and MPE expectations are entirely reasonable!
If that's the case, there is still no business obligation involved for existing AAS customers, as some have expressed here at KVR. Synth comparisons are reasonable, but expectations for feature inclusions of similar products are not. My point was that they are still two different companies ... people that own the AAS synth should not be butt-hurt over this deal!
Windows10; plugins from AAS, Ableton, AIR, Ample, Arturia, Cakewalk, Cherry, DiscoDSP, Fathom, IKM, Initial, iZotope, KV331, NI, PluginGuru, PreSonus, Surge, TAL, Tone2, Toontrack, Tracktion, u-he, UJAM, UVI, Vital, Waves, XLN ...

KVRist
46 posts since 20 Mar, 2016

Post Sat Sep 18, 2021 5:57 pm

teilo wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 4:30 pm
So... This thing is very frustrating. It almost feels like bait and switch.

I love physical modeling, but I want control over it. There is no detailed control over the models in Imagine. There are only instrument presets with macro controls for the exciter parameters and a general "expression" control that does — well — stuff.

The underlying acoustic body models, and how they interact with one another, is entirely hidden behind the presets. You are stuck with the instrument presets. There's no such thing as "Init" on an instrument. You have to pick a preset and work within its predefined limitations. You cannot start with a preset, and choose a different exciter. You cannot swap out one acoustic body for another. You cannot configure how they interact. The Expression knob does different things for different presets even with the same acoustic bodies. It is a macro driving hidden parameters. For crying out loud, you don't even get an envelope unless you are using the noise exciter.

I get that physical modeling is tricky. Witness how easy it is to generate crap in Plasmonic if you don't know what you're doing. That is why instrument presets are a great idea. But it's total BS that you have no other options than these presets.
Thanks for posting your findings. I was close to getting this, but it sounds too limiting.

Dan
Windows/Mac | Studio One, Live, Logic | Push 2, Maschine MKIII, Atom SQ | Presonus Quantum 2, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, | Fender, Godin, Taylor

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KVRAF
1572 posts since 10 Jul, 2008 from Orbit Sol III

Post Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:03 pm

teilo wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 4:30 pm
So... This thing is very frustrating. It almost feels like bait and switch.

I love physical modeling, but I want control over it. There is no detailed control over the models in Imagine. There are only instrument presets with macro controls for the exciter parameters and a general "expression" control that does — well — stuff.

The underlying acoustic body models, and how they interact with one another, is entirely hidden behind the presets. You are stuck with the instrument presets. There's no such thing as "Init" on an instrument. You have to pick a preset and work within its predefined limitations. You cannot start with a preset, and choose a different exciter. You cannot swap out one acoustic body for another. You cannot configure how they interact. The Expression knob does different things for different presets even with the same acoustic bodies. It is a macro driving hidden parameters. For crying out loud, you don't even get an envelope unless you are using the noise exciter.

I get that physical modeling is tricky. Witness how easy it is to generate crap in Plasmonic if you don't know what you're doing. That is why instrument presets are a great idea. But it's total BS that you have no other options than these presets.
Thanks for that info, you saved me however much time it took which would have also left me quite disappointed also.
gadgets an gizmos...make noise
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KVRAF
2639 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Post Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:05 pm

Gribs wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 3:43 pm
This is Chromaphone 3 expanded to the maximum size the GUI allows in Bitwig 4.01 on my HD laptop (15.6" Lenovo ThinkPad P52). I am in my mid-late 50's and wear computer glasses with reading bifocals. The smaller text is readable but uncomfortably so. FWIW Bitwig is similar. Maybe I just need to get another monitor.
I hear you! Laptop monitors are generally useless for me anymore. Get an external HDMI monitor. I love my 24" 1920 X 1200 HD monitor, and Chromaphone and other synths scale up nicely to a readable size on that!
Windows10; plugins from AAS, Ableton, AIR, Ample, Arturia, Cakewalk, Cherry, DiscoDSP, Fathom, IKM, Initial, iZotope, KV331, NI, PluginGuru, PreSonus, Surge, TAL, Tone2, Toontrack, Tracktion, u-he, UJAM, UVI, Vital, Waves, XLN ...

KVRAF
2639 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Post Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:08 pm

teilo wrote:
Fri Sep 17, 2021 4:30 pm
So... This thing is very frustrating. It almost feels like bait and switch.

I love physical modeling, but I want control over it. There is no detailed control over the models in Imagine. There are only instrument presets with macro controls for the exciter parameters and a general "expression" control that does — well — stuff.

The underlying acoustic body models, and how they interact with one another, is entirely hidden behind the presets. You are stuck with the instrument presets. There's no such thing as "Init" on an instrument. You have to pick a preset and work within its predefined limitations. You cannot start with a preset, and choose a different exciter. You cannot swap out one acoustic body for another. You cannot configure how they interact. The Expression knob does different things for different presets even with the same acoustic bodies. It is a macro driving hidden parameters. For crying out loud, you don't even get an envelope unless you are using the noise exciter.

I get that physical modeling is tricky. Witness how easy it is to generate crap in Plasmonic if you don't know what you're doing. That is why instrument presets are a great idea. But it's total BS that you have no other options than these presets.
I agree! I think that this product was "dumbed" down, to make it easy. You should stick with Chromaphone if you want to deep dive!

So it's not actually new technology, just a different approach to a user interface for a complicated physical modeling technology.
Last edited by zzz00m on Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Windows10; plugins from AAS, Ableton, AIR, Ample, Arturia, Cakewalk, Cherry, DiscoDSP, Fathom, IKM, Initial, iZotope, KV331, NI, PluginGuru, PreSonus, Surge, TAL, Tone2, Toontrack, Tracktion, u-he, UJAM, UVI, Vital, Waves, XLN ...

KVRAF
2639 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Post Sat Sep 18, 2021 6:09 pm

...
Windows10; plugins from AAS, Ableton, AIR, Ample, Arturia, Cakewalk, Cherry, DiscoDSP, Fathom, IKM, Initial, iZotope, KV331, NI, PluginGuru, PreSonus, Surge, TAL, Tone2, Toontrack, Tracktion, u-he, UJAM, UVI, Vital, Waves, XLN ...

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KVRAF
3751 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from The End of The World as We Knowit

Post Sat Sep 18, 2021 7:43 pm

zzz00m wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 5:51 pm
If that's the case, there is still no business obligation involved for existing AAS customers, as some have expressed here at KVR. Synth comparisons are reasonable, but expectations for feature inclusions of similar products are not. My point was that they are still two different companies ... people that own the AAS synth should not be butt-hurt over this deal!
You are wrong in three ways, but that's perfectly fine! This is kvr :party:
buying happiness

KVRAF
2639 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Post Sun Sep 19, 2021 9:15 am

Michael L wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 7:43 pm
zzz00m wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 5:51 pm
If that's the case, there is still no business obligation involved for existing AAS customers, as some have expressed here at KVR. Synth comparisons are reasonable, but expectations for feature inclusions of similar products are not. My point was that they are still two different companies ... people that own the AAS synth should not be butt-hurt over this deal!
You are wrong in three ways, but that's perfectly fine! This is kvr :party:
If you look a bit further into Expressive E, you will notice that they are also a hardware company. They have a prototype hardware synthesizer that is called Osmose, expected to be released later this year to those that pre-ordered. It will contain an onboard sound module, as well as MIDI controller ability. The company has worked to initially fine tune the instrument for best compatibility with its internal sounds. https://www.expressivee.com/2-osmose

I can imagine that "Imagine" as described by them as “a playful new world of unknown sounds”, is an offshoot of their experimentation with synth user interfaces, MPE expression, and physical modeling algorithms.

https://www.soundonsound.com/news/expre ... se-imagine
Whereas AAS's previous releases have used mathematical modelling to recreate the sound of real acoustic instruments, Imagine uses the same principles to generate unfamiliar tones that nonetheless exhibit realistic acoustic phenomena. It is thus possible to combine the attributes of drums and flutes, or tuned percussion with wind instruments, to create entirely new tones.
Windows10; plugins from AAS, Ableton, AIR, Ample, Arturia, Cakewalk, Cherry, DiscoDSP, Fathom, IKM, Initial, iZotope, KV331, NI, PluginGuru, PreSonus, Surge, TAL, Tone2, Toontrack, Tracktion, u-he, UJAM, UVI, Vital, Waves, XLN ...

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