Ring Modulator Question

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SciNote
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Ring Modulator Question

Post by SciNote » Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:02 am

Just curious about this. As I understand it, ring modulation is when the synthesizer uses one oscillator to modulate another oscillator in a certain way at frequencies in the audible spectrum (as opposed to low frequency LFO modulation) to generate new and complex sounds. Yet, as I check out the specs on other synths on this site, I see that some synths that only have one oscillator per voice, such as the Yamaha CS-50, have a ring modulator. So, with only one oscillator per voice, how does that work? Does it double up the available oscillators per note and reduce the polyphony by half? Does the ring modulator provide its own oscillator specifically for that purpose? Or is there something else going on that I am missing?

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celebutante
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Re: Ring Modulator Question

Post by celebutante » Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:08 am

Single-oscillator synths with ring mod have a separate oscillator. I'm not sure exactly how it's implemented on a CS-50; it may be per-voice (i.e. four additional oscillators), but it's likely just one single extra oscillator.
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Re: Ring Modulator Question

Post by SciNote » Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:22 pm

Thanks for the reply. That's what I was thinking, but then that brings up two questions. If they only use a single oscillator for the ring mod effect, then that would produce a different sound than when a dual-VCO per voice synth does ring mod, because with the dual-VCO synth, I would think that each oscillator's pitch changes with the notes played on the keyboard, whereas if only one dedicated oscillator is used for the ring mod of multiple notes being played, then it would seem that, by definition, that oscillator is only going to have one specific pitch. And then, what pitch is used? The highest note played? The lowest? An average? A fixed value?

But then, if the ring mod on something like a Yamaha CS-50 does provide an entire bank of oscillators for that function, the question becomes, if there is a duplicate set of oscillators for ring mod, then why not just make the whole synth a dual-VCO synth? If the oscillators are already there, I wouldn't think it would take much more in parts and circuitry to have them accessible from the front panel and then ran through the synth's signal chain.

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