Cherry Audio Releases Mercury-4 Compuphonic Synthesizer!

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
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Arashi
KVRian
540 posts since 9 Apr, 2005 from Japan

Post Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:34 am

Teksonik wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 5:48 am
The smell ? :?

I have owned a ton of hardware including analog synths and I don't remember the smell being anything I ever noticed or cared about but to each their own.
My Yamaha CS-10 smelled like it had been sitting in a garage where someone who’s not allowed to smoke in the house smoked cigarettes for 20 years. Stunk up my studio for a couple months. Mostly gone now, thankfully,
Stormchild

Norqa
Banned
203 posts since 13 Jul, 2021

Post Mon Sep 20, 2021 7:00 am

Arashi wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:34 am
My Yamaha CS-10 smelled like it had been sitting in a garage where someone who’s not allowed to smoke in the house smoked cigarettes for 20 years. Stunk up my studio for a couple months. Mostly gone now, thankfully,
In other words, every time you lit up the Synth you were getting 20 years worth of chemicals being pumped out into your lungs against your will? :D

User avatar
Teksonik
KVRAF
16439 posts since 16 Sep, 2001 from Las Vegas,USA

Post Mon Sep 20, 2021 7:16 am

Maybe developers could sell a can of air spray "Eau de Burning Circuits and Stale Smoke" for that authentic experience. :hihi:
None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

anadroid
KVRer
25 posts since 10 Apr, 2021

Post Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:05 pm

Funkybot's Evil Twin wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 8:25 pm
Mercury-4 comes with over 400 presets. Seems plenty to me for a one osc synth!
I guess I'm more bothered by the distribution of the presets. 3 Bells, 14 Brass, 7 Keys, 4 Plucks, and 14 Strings. The total of those instruments is less than the number of Arps, and at least 3/5 of the 52 Arps are junk. Mercury-4 has some really good presets, but far too much filler, and not enough of the important stuff.

XpanderDude
KVRist
88 posts since 8 Oct, 2016

Post Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:41 pm

anadroid wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:05 pm
Funkybot's Evil Twin wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 8:25 pm
Mercury-4 comes with over 400 presets. Seems plenty to me for a one osc synth!
I guess I'm more bothered by the distribution of the presets. 3 Bells, 14 Brass, 7 Keys, 4 Plucks, and 14 Strings. The total of those instruments is less than the number of Arps, and at least 3/5 of the 52 Arps are junk. Mercury-4 has some really good presets, but far too much filler, and not enough of the important stuff.
That's the age old problem of presets - 80% is garbage or too niche to use for anything I like. This is why I often times just grumble and program from init.

anadroid
KVRer
25 posts since 10 Apr, 2021

Post Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:50 pm

Arashi wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 10:55 pm
Maybe they only sampled the raw oscillators, and still had to model the filter, envelopes, ensemble, and such?
I believe that's what they did for Oscillator 1. Oscillator 2 seems to sample the factory presets - the same ones available in Mercury-4's 'Factory Presets' folder. Comparing Saturn-4's Factory Presets to Mercury-4's is like comparing an Ariana Grande to a Britney Spears. The Saturn-4 is rich, full, and dynamic. The Mercury-4 is dry and tinny, and the modulation is either too static, or too extreme and obviously cyclical (thankfully, their other presets are typically better). When I hear UVI's version, i understand why people still try to get their hand on the hardware.
rasmusklump wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:13 pm
The UVI is absolutely great and fun to play with, I don't care at all how it was done.
Most of the synths in UVI's Vintage Vault collection are excellent, and Saturn-4 no different. People don't give UVI a fair shake because it's sample based, but also because their business model is flawed. UVI's collection is very expensive, and there's no demo for it, so people make assumptions about what it can or cannot do, or compare it to lower-quality Kontakt-based plugins, or low-quality sample-based synth emulations like IK's. But I've yet to hear a software synth which comes as close as UVI's to making you feel you're hearing the hardware.

User avatar
Tj Shredder
KVRAF
6395 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Post Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:35 am

The question is: Would you be able to recreate lets say the "Gaming Wars" preset from Mercury-4 in Saturn-4? It doesn't need to be 100% identical, but 95%...

XpanderDude
KVRist
88 posts since 8 Oct, 2016

Post Wed Sep 22, 2021 9:59 am

How does UVI handle envelope curves or times, as well as filters specific to the instrument they are modeling? Are the samples in place of oscillators and then they model the filter/VCA/envelopes?

anadroid
KVRer
25 posts since 10 Apr, 2021

Post Wed Sep 22, 2021 6:39 pm

Tj Shredder wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:35 am
The question is: Would you be able to recreate lets say the "Gaming Wars" preset from Mercury-4 in Saturn-4? It doesn't need to be 100% identical, but 95%...
At a glance, that preset is a square wave processed through a fast arpeggiator in 'Down' mode. Saturn-4 can generate a square wave (sampled form a Jupiter-4) via Osc-1, you can filter the sound and apply a volume envelope as you like, and there's an arpeggiator per oscillator, so yeah, you should be able to do it.

But that's an effect, rather than a musical sound. To me, the more important questions here are "does it sound like a Jupiter-4" and "can I use it in a song?" To my ears, Saturn-4 gives you the sonic character of a Jupiter (I've never used the hardware - can only comment on the Jupiters in youtube videos), and I think it's more modern track-ready than either a hardware Jupiter or the Mercury-4, thanks to the excellent effects section and whatever other processing UVI did while sampling or do during playback.

In general, Mercury-4 may give you some flexibility that Saturn-4 doesn't, but for the style of music I make (house, synthwave, electronic), I'd pick the Saturn. I'd invert the above question, and ask if Mercury-4 can do what Saturn-4 can do. To get back to my above analogy, it's like asking if a Tove Lo (sorry, Britney was too harsh) can do what an Ariana Grande can do. Different class of instrument. To me, it makes more sense to compare the Saturn-4 to the Jupiter-4 than it does to compare the Mercury-4 to the Saturn-4, or to compare the Mercury-4 to the Jupiter-4.

Didn't mean to turn this into a Saturn-4 advocacy thread. Again, I think UVI's business model is deeply flawed, and I can't stand their 3-system limit copy protection scheme. And I really like Mercury-4, and commend the Cherry for addressing the aliasing. But I wanted to address the notion that the Mercury-4 is the first Jupiter-4 emulation, which I don't really agree with.
Last edited by anadroid on Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

anadroid
KVRer
25 posts since 10 Apr, 2021

Post Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:05 pm

XpanderDude wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 9:59 am
How does UVI handle envelope curves or times, as well as filters specific to the instrument they are modeling? Are the samples in place of oscillators and then they model the filter/VCA/envelopes?
I'm not the best person to address the technical details, and UVI gives you more marketing talk than technical transparency. Plenty of magazine reviews talk about UVI's careful, faithful modeling of classics. EM said "Vintage Vault functions and sounds much like a real synth. Terrific assortment of useful, inspiring, and well-executed sounds. Excellent balance of well-known instruments and hard-to-find classics. Very good filter modeling." As usual, you'll sometimes have gearheads telling you things like 'Envelope shapes are too linear by default'.

I think MusicTech said it best:
The String Machines 2 pack remains a gift, offering oodles of retro-cool, while the PX P-10 provides a faithful recreation of a Prophet-5. As is the case with all the instruments based on vintage synths, the filters have been lovingly reproduced. But think of these less as an identical copy of the synths of yore, and more an approximation of what they might sound like today.
All I can say is, check it out on YouTube. Your ears will tell you what's up.

User avatar
Tj Shredder
KVRAF
6395 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Post Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:19 pm

anadroid wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 6:39 pm
Tj Shredder wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:35 am
The question is: Would you be able to recreate lets say the "Gaming Wars" preset from Mercury-4 in Saturn-4? It doesn't need to be 100% identical, but 95%...
In general, Mercury-4 may give you some flexibility that Saturn-4 doesn't...
Thank you...
Its a matter of taste of and priorities course. If you just play presets, flexibility isn't what you are after. Sampling a synth doesn't turn a sampler into a specific synth. But if flexibility is more important, go for the synth...
The oscillator is an important, but a pretty small part of a synth. If I would do an emulation, sampling the oscillator would be a valid way getting close, but more crucial and difficult would be the filter and the rest of the components to get close to an authentic emulation.
A sampled synth eats tons of disk space and will load slower to get the sounds into memory. Both isn't much of an issue nowadays and if the limited choice of sampled sounds is all you need, it will sound exactly as the original, as its sampled.

anadroid
KVRer
25 posts since 10 Apr, 2021

Post Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:55 pm

Tj Shredder wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:19 pm
anadroid wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 6:39 pm
Tj Shredder wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:35 am
The question is: Would you be able to recreate lets say the "Gaming Wars" preset from Mercury-4 in Saturn-4? It doesn't need to be 100% identical, but 95%...
In general, Mercury-4 may give you some flexibility that Saturn-4 doesn't...
Thank you...
Its a matter of taste of and priorities course. If you just play presets, flexibility isn't what you are after. Sampling a synth doesn't turn a sampler into a specific synth. But if flexibility is more important, go for the synth...
The oscillator is an important, but a pretty small part of a synth. If I would do an emulation, sampling the oscillator would be a valid way getting close, but more crucial and difficult would be the filter and the rest of the components to get close to an authentic emulation.
A sampled synth eats tons of disk space and will load slower to get the sounds into memory. Both isn't much of an issue nowadays and if the limited choice of sampled sounds is all you need, it will sound exactly as the original, as its sampled.
You're giving an inaccurate impression of what I tried to convey in my post, by removing all the context around that quote, but I won't hold it against you. :hihi: Again, UVI are not just sampling the oscillator or output of the synth. To my ears, they've tried to emulate the filters and other components, and according to plenty of magazine reviewers, they've done great at it. If you're thinking of Saturn-4 as a rompler or sampler, you're not getting the concept. Think of it as a synth, which uses a sample as a sound source (not wildly different from a wavetable synth without the sophisticated ability to manipulate the source sound).

I'm speculating that the Mercury-4 gives you more flexibility in some areas, but I'm not aware of real musical use scenarios where the Mercury-4 would give you a type of sound that the Saturn-4 can't match, and as I pointed out, Saturn-4 should be able to emulate the FX preset that you named.

Then again, the two-oscillator Saturn-4, which has an arp for each oscillator, a really nice step modulator, and a superior effects section, certainly gives you some things that Mercury-4 doesn't. If I had to choose between Saturn-4 or Mercury-4, I'd easily go with Saturn-4, largely for having a far more organic, dynamic, fuller sound, which you won't get out of Mercury-4, no matter how you process it.

I was also previously biased to think that synths are superior to sample-based instruments, but got over that quickly, once I got my hands on Vintage Vault.

TheHelioSequence
KVRist
51 posts since 1 Oct, 2005

Post Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:38 am

anadroid wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:55 pm
Tj Shredder wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:19 pm
anadroid wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 6:39 pm
Tj Shredder wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:35 am
The question is: Would you be able to recreate lets say the "Gaming Wars" preset from Mercury-4 in Saturn-4? It doesn't need to be 100% identical, but 95%...
In general, Mercury-4 may give you some flexibility that Saturn-4 doesn't...
Thank you...
Its a matter of taste of and priorities course. If you just play presets, flexibility isn't what you are after. Sampling a synth doesn't turn a sampler into a specific synth. But if flexibility is more important, go for the synth...
The oscillator is an important, but a pretty small part of a synth. If I would do an emulation, sampling the oscillator would be a valid way getting close, but more crucial and difficult would be the filter and the rest of the components to get close to an authentic emulation.
A sampled synth eats tons of disk space and will load slower to get the sounds into memory. Both isn't much of an issue nowadays and if the limited choice of sampled sounds is all you need, it will sound exactly as the original, as its sampled.
You're giving an inaccurate impression of what I tried to convey in my post, by removing all the context around that quote, but I won't hold it against you. :hihi: Again, UVI are not just sampling the oscillator or output of the synth. To my ears, they've tried to emulate the filters and other components, and according to plenty of magazine reviewers, they've done great at it. If you're thinking of Saturn-4 as a rompler or sampler, you're not getting the concept. Think of it as a synth, which uses a sample as a sound source (not wildly different from a wavetable synth without the sophisticated ability to manipulate the source sound).

I'm speculating that the Mercury-4 gives you more flexibility in some areas, but I'm not aware of real musical use scenarios where the Mercury-4 would give you a type of sound that the Saturn-4 can't match, and as I pointed out, Saturn-4 should be able to emulate the FX preset that you named.

Then again, the two-oscillator Saturn-4, which has an arp for each oscillator, a really nice step modulator, and a superior effects section, certainly gives you some things that Mercury-4 doesn't. If I had to choose between Saturn-4 or Mercury-4, I'd easily go with Saturn-4, largely for having a far more organic, dynamic, fuller sound, which you won't get out of Mercury-4, no matter how you process it.

I was also previously biased to think that synths are superior to sample-based instruments, but got over that quickly, once I got my hands on Vintage Vault.
Can Saturn-4 do audio rate modulation of the oscillators, the filter or the vca? Does it emulate the wide mode on the lfo? Can it do simultaneous HP filter and LP filter? Can you decide if you overload the amp vca circuit or run it clean? Do the filters overload that same vca with high resonance? Does the arp function in that unique classic Roland way? Does it have a chord mode? Does it have a classic S&H function?

After spending some quality time with a few J-4s over the years, these are the things that make it interesting, not necessarily just the oscillators, imo. Regarding the oscillators of a rompler, How many samples does it have? 1-3 per octave relying on pitch shifting or every note at different dynamic levels with round robins? Can it seamlessly drift the oscillators from note to note? Or does it reset each note. Can it do poly portamento? UVI doesn’t claim to replicate the exact filter and they don’t (I believe they just use whatever filter is closest from Falcon). Nor do they emulate the envelope or lfo shapes and they certainly don’t recreate the workflow or signal flow of the synth. They make nice preset players that give a vague sense of the instrument but definitely do not emulate it whatsoever.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really like UVI, especially Falcon, but their rompler are just that… romplers. If your looking for more basic bread and butter sounds then by all means get some Vintage Vault, but if you want a replacement or ITB replicant of a hardware synth and all of it’s creative oddities it will never be up to the task. But sometimes you have to explore the actual instrument to know what you’re missing… what’s cool about it’s layout, limitations or quirks and sometimes, what sucks about it or what you wish it could do or how many more knobs, oscillators, lfos, you wish it had, etc.

Back on topic, I own some Cherry Audio stuff and it’s always a good value, but this might be their best sounding emulation so far. I think it’s cool they’ve decided to do the J-4. It’s definitely a little overlooked among many famous Roland synths. The oversampling does help with the top end here, which is the weakest part of their other instruments, imo. On gearspace they said OS was coming to their other instruments as well. I’m not thinking this is as good as U-He, Synapse or Softube in terms of quality (sound or accuracy) of emulation, but it definitely feels like a step up from cherry and can easily sound good in a track and of course feels very much at home with synthwave or 80’s productions.

I hope they keep it coming with some more unique instruments. I’ll buy this to support.

wwjd
KVRian
552 posts since 18 Nov, 2010

Post Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:19 am

last time I used UVI thing it was such a major PITA I removed even the demo version of whatever it was. guess I'm not fond of jumping through loading hoops and limits of sample based things. maybe its gotten better since I used it?

anyway, the mercury 4 loads fast, works, if fun to play with and sounds great. without all the install weight of uvi

anadroid
KVRer
25 posts since 10 Apr, 2021

Post Thu Sep 23, 2021 6:25 pm

TheHelioSequence wrote:
Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:38 am
UVI doesn’t claim to replicate the exact filter and they don’t (I believe they just use whatever filter is closest from Falcon)
The Vintage Vault plugins are independent of Falcon and the original versions existed long before Falcon. Vintage Vault 3 can run in UVI Workstation, or you can run them in Falcon, if you choose to do so. Electronic Music lauded Vintage Vault for "very good filter modeling."

And of course, Cherry Audio reuses code, and frequently elicit comments like "are all the Cherry synths starting to sound the same?", their filters, envelopes, etc. don't really emulate the hardware, it's "best to regard them as 'inspired by' rather than accurate emulations.", etc.

To me, UVI's effort sounds closer to the hardware, and definitely sound far better. See if you can find a way to try out Saturn-4, and I'm sure you'll agree.
TheHelioSequence wrote:
Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:38 am
Regarding the oscillators of a rompler, How many samples does it have? 1-3 per octave relying on pitch shifting or every note at different dynamic levels with round robins? Can it seamlessly drift the oscillators from note to note? Or does it reset each note.
Sounds pretty seamless to me. In a blind test, I very much doubt you'd know it from something that's not sample-based. From UVI:
For this synth we deeply-sampled the oscillator section to replicate the hardware use as closely as possible with samples. Every position of the oscillator section was multisampled, and every sound in the library was captured with and without the hardware unison and hardware ensemble effect providing an incredibly rich and authentic sound.
UVI definitely didn't try to replicate the Jupiter's workflow. If you want that, then Mercury-4 is the better option. Yes, Saturn-4 can do poly portamento (see the 'Edit' page) and has S&H on the LFO. By default, it can't do simultaneous HP and LP filter, or audio rate modulation of the oscillators, the filter or the vca. I don't think it can emulate the wide mode of the LFO. But if you're running it in Falcon, you might be able to find a way to conjure those up, along with a lot more. Given modern sequencers, arps, Cthulhus, and the like, I'm not sure if the Arp or Chord mode matters that much, but I can understand if you'd want the convenience.
Now don’t get me wrong, I really like UVI, especially Falcon, but their rompler are just that… romplers.
You're really stripping terms like 'rompler' and 'preset player' of their meaning here. Romplers give you some extremely basic controls over some pre-recorded sounds. The Saturn-4 gives you most of the fundamental controls that the Mercury-4 does (along with additional controls, and an extra oscillator) if used within UVI workstation, and potentially more versatility than Mercury-4, if used within Falcon... and it sounds way better.

Let's get to the most important thing, the sonic character of the synth. Mercury-4's sound has a lot in common with other CA synths, and to me, it seems to have more in common with those, than with the Jupiter-4. But when I hear the Saturn-4, I get a sense of the sonic character of the Jupiter-4.

So to me, it seems that if you want the Jupiter-4 controls, workflow, and 'creative oddities', you get the Mercury. Alternatively, you may not care about the emulation, and you just like the convenience of having the sounds that it produces at your disposal (use 'em to get the idea down, and if necessary, replace them with better sounds from another VST before you ship the track), because they fit your style of music - that's a reason I'm considering getting the Mercury-4. On the other hand, the Saturn-4 emulation comes closer to the sound of the Jupiter, and generally, gives you a more production-ready-tone. So there's a legit reason to buy one or the other, or both.
Last edited by anadroid on Thu Sep 23, 2021 6:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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