Madrona Labs Sumu

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foosnark wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 12:30 pm For everyone complaining that there's not enough "innovation" in the synth world: this is what innovation looks like.

It's unconventional! It's novel! It's actually something interesting and exciting!

Not your cup of tea, personally? That's OK. This is the risk taken when you make something that's not mainstream... whether it's music or a musical instrument. Randy didn't set out to make something that everyone on KVR would love.

But some of you are close to "this isn't useful for music", and pushing a false dichotomy between "sound designers" and "musicians." And that's the kind of thing I expect to see over at TalkBass from the 75-year-olds who only play "Mustang Sally" and "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Margaritaville" on a Fender P with tortoiseshell pickguard and who just can't understand these young whippersnappers with their 5+ strings and their jazz solos and their djent and their pedalboards. :hihi:

[edit: I want to make sure I don't come off too ageist there, don't mean to imply that all Boomers are like this. Some of them are worse! :D But some of them are very cool. My dad's in that age range and is the one who got me hooked on synths and weird music in the first place.]

Personally I'll take Sumu, and Myth (another one to get similar treatment but the thread is much more... septic) over any and all emulations of 70s synths and yet another wavetable-with-27-filter-models and so on.

And what I'll make with these two weird cousins is music. :phones:
Hear hear!

There's a lot of "we want something different" and then when we get something different there's a lot of "why does it not have wavetables, MSEGs and vintage filters" going on.

I find a lot of things are often judged on what they aren't as opposed to what they are.

The Myth thread is a trainwreck with a lot of contributors decrying it for reasons best known to themselves. Myth is a phenomenal synth. Dawesome's best, imho.

I'm very into the idea of something being an instrument. ie. Something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Something that has a distinct workflow, feature set and its own identity.

I think Sumu has the identity but I still feel it lacks some ways to tame the unbelievable sounds into something a little more manageable.

That's probably me contradicting myself there but in my defense I'm not looking for wavetable, fancy filter or arps etc. just more basic shaping.

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kraster wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 2:10 pm
Hear hear!

There's a lot of "we want something different" and then when we get something different there's a lot of "why does it not have wavetables, MSEGs and vintage filters" going on.

I find a lot of things are often judged on what they aren't as opposed to what they are.

The Myth thread is a trainwreck with a lot of contributors decrying it for reasons best known to themselves. Myth is a phenomenal synth. Dawesome's best, imho.

I'm very into the idea of something being an instrument. ie. Something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Something that has a distinct workflow, feature set and its own identity.

I think Sumu has the identity but I still feel it lacks some ways to tame the unbelievable sounds into something a little more manageable.

That's probably me contradicting myself there but in my defense I'm not looking for wavetable, fancy filter or arps etc. just more basic shaping.
The more conventionally musical demos for Sumu (for example, the second Youtube demo that was posted here) just sound okay. Whereas Myth sounds great IMO. OTOH apparently Sumu doesn't include standard effects like reverb (yet? will it ever?) so perhaps it's not a fair comparison (not clear to me whether any of those Youtube demos here added other effects plugins).

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Speaking for myself, I'm not looking for bread & butter sounds out of Sumu. I'm interested in sound design, soundscapes, FX beds, etc etc. Y'know, the stuff it's being sold as catering to. As for innovation, I'm not even comparing it to the wide spectrum of subtractive synths out there - that would be stupid and only a real clown would be making those comparisons - I'm comparing it to other Madronalabs instruments, of which I own and have been an early adopter of all other instruments available. To me, I just don't hear or see the value proposition, why it's commanding the most money of the entire Madronalabs suite, why it's nearly twice the price of Aalto (regardless of music making vs sound FX making). It's looking like the first Madronalabs vst that I don't early adopt. In part because nothing about it has clicked with me to justify the money.

And just to make it clear once more: I am saying this as someone who wants innovation, weird sounds, FX beds, yadda yadda yadda.

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i thought about it a bit more, i think having some more possibilities to shape the pulses would be great but i guess cpu load seems the limiting factor here. also price is a bit much for me but im sure its justified by the amount of work it took, everything seems to get more expensive anyway.

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I actually found myself not using Bitwig modulators as much as I thought I would, just leaning into the design of the synth. It helps that I'm using it for drones and/or using MIDI pressure a lot, so I don't have as much need for more standard LFOs/envelopes as I might otherwise. Though the occasional regular LFO would still be welcome (on Theta for instance).

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foosnark wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 4:46 pm I actually found myself not using Bitwig modulators as much as I thought I would, just leaning into the design of the synth. It helps that I'm using it for drones and/or using MIDI pressure a lot, so I don't have as much need for more standard LFOs/envelopes as I might otherwise. Though the occasional regular LFO would still be welcome (on Theta for instance).
I think for drones or sounds that or more constant there' probably little need for extras.

But I did find a few instances where I was driving the gate of the envelope with the pulses.

Sounded crazy good but since I had no other way of actually controlling the basic amplitude of the output I resorted to some external envelope just for basic amplitude over time.

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Ou_Tis wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 2:25 pm
kraster wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 2:10 pm
Hear hear!

There's a lot of "we want something different" and then when we get something different there's a lot of "why does it not have wavetables, MSEGs and vintage filters" going on.

I find a lot of things are often judged on what they aren't as opposed to what they are.

The Myth thread is a trainwreck with a lot of contributors decrying it for reasons best known to themselves. Myth is a phenomenal synth. Dawesome's best, imho.

I'm very into the idea of something being an instrument. ie. Something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Something that has a distinct workflow, feature set and its own identity.

I think Sumu has the identity but I still feel it lacks some ways to tame the unbelievable sounds into something a little more manageable.

That's probably me contradicting myself there but in my defense I'm not looking for wavetable, fancy filter or arps etc. just more basic shaping.
The more conventionally musical demos for Sumu (for example, the second Youtube demo that was posted here) just sound okay. Whereas Myth sounds great IMO. OTOH apparently Sumu doesn't include standard effects like reverb (yet? will it ever?) so perhaps it's not a fair comparison (not clear to me whether any of those Youtube demos here added other effects plugins).
Spaces does have a few reverb settings. The biggest being a longish room.

I think the only Madrona Synth to have a reverb is Aalto. Kaivo has a chorus instead!

I agree that the demos for regular sounds are a bit underwhelming. It's definitely not the first synth I'd reach for if I was looking for something standard.

Sumu sounds best when it's at its weirdest. Not particularly useful in most music but sonically there's very little (if anything) like it at the moment. It really is other worldly and I find it really captivating.

I've been sampling the output in to an SP404 for weird beds under beats and it does really work.

Myth is a lot more versatile. It can be used as a pretty standard synth but also get really out there too.

Having said that it's still not as downright weird as Sumu.

All in all two really great synths. I'm all for people pusing the envelope on technology since that's how we ended up with things like Moogs and Arps in the first place.

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kraster wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 5:17 pm Not particularly useful in most music but sonically there's very little (if anything) like it at the moment.
Probably a very good reason for that :D

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kraster wrote: Fri May 17, 2024 2:10 pm This has to be the synth that I have pretty much zero use for but am so unbelievably enchanted by.
this kind of describes my first impressions with Sumu too. its enticing to get lost in the sound fog, but somehow I can't get back with anything that would inspire a track. my fault, probably, I know.
buffalo roam wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 10:14 am Seems odd that a long-awaited synth is being intro'd as a beta-test with a hefty price tag.
and this, (price aside, as it is what I was expecting), a bit too. somehow I was expecting a more polished offering.

that said, I need more time with this - kaivo also started slow.
I also need more money.
member of the guild of professional dilettantes.

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How many conventional synths does one need, and i didn't know wavetables are cutting edge in 2024!

Madrona Labs is about experimental/forward thinking sw synthesis and sumu delivers that in it's core with an attractive sound quality overall but too much cpu which is always the bottle neck in native sw. Conventional synths are pop/synth pop territory nowadays + derivatives like synthwave... nothing bad about it but not everyone absolutely abides to that taste in music.

Electronic music without sound design is kinda sterile for me , and it's where it's strong point is in contrast with acoustic instruments.

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Ill probably pick this up before the price goes up, its pretty interesting and unique, tho i think its got a ways to go before it's ready
for prime time. CPU consumption is high and
i think a lock on the voice count would be useful.

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masterhiggins wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 7:26 pm
kraster wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 5:17 pm Not particularly useful in most music but sonically there's very little (if anything) like it at the moment.
Probably a very good reason for that :D
Don't underestimate "the bag of cats in a washing machine" genre. :D

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Ed A. wrote: Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:34 pm Saw this on an email Madrona Labs sent to me, I'm very interested:

"There will be one more semi-modular Madrona Labs instrument before I set out for less-charted territory. 'What about a Madrona Labs take on additive synthesis?' This was a question somebody asked me at least two years ago. Since then the idea has been drifting, gaining an ever-less-vague shape. Diagrams and prototypes have been made. It even has a name: Sumu. Think fog banks, murmurations, impressionist painting with sounds. Spring 2018."

I wonder what he means by "less-charted territory"?
He means you'll see it in 10 years time.
However, SUMU is quite inspiring :tu:

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Does sumu only support spectrums made with the Madrona analysis tool? Can it be fed with wav files or fft Data generated elsewhere? I like everything about this synth as an idea. Also is the filter "polyphonic" ? Like one for each FM pair/ noise? Where in the signal path is everything summed?
Don't F**K with Mr. Zero.

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Not sure what you mean - you can feed any kind of .wav file in to the analysis software (vutu) and it'll generate a partials file to use in Sumu? I'm sure you could input a .wav of almost anything, natural or synthetic? So far I've only had time to feed it recordings of guitar tones and a gong, but I should dig up some old glitched .wav files that I edited in photoshop and see what happens... Hmmm...

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