How important are analogue envelopes?

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kayvon
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How important are analogue envelopes?

Post by kayvon » Thu Jun 21, 2007 1:53 am

Just an idle question here about whether or not analogue envelopes are that important. Obviously there's such a thing as good digital/software envelopes, ie snappy ones with preferably an exponential response or options to switch between linear/exponential but I was wondering whether or not actual analogue envelopes bring anything extra to the game? Furthermore is there a difference between digitally produced envs and software digital ones?

I was impressed with a friends Juno 6 and how I could mould the envelope to my liking more than the linear digital envs on my JX-8P but then the other day I read somewhere (can't remember where) that the Juno 6 and Moog Voyager both have somehow digitally produced envs.

Can anyone enlighten me on this subject?

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Post by micahjonhughes » Thu Jun 21, 2007 3:46 am

The envelope generator is digital. The signal path is still analog. They use the digital clock to time the changes in the envelopes.

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Post by kayvon » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:01 am

Thanks for the reply micahjon, so for the end performer does the fully analogue way of creating envelopes offer any advantages over that digital method you describe? Also, how do software envs compare to the ones you described? I should imagine they're easier to manipulate for a start.

Thanks again for the reply.

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Post by Bitexion » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:31 am

It's not important at all these days. Digital envelopes can be equally fast or faster than analog envelopes. The "digital sux, analog rox" thing about envelopes is a myth that dates back to the early days of digital synths. Back then, envelopes would be slow and sluggish because the synths only had weak ZX80 CPU's that could only handle a few things at once, and the EG's would be down prioritized and be slow.

Nowadays with 500MHz CPU's, digital EG's can be as fast as they want to be, and way surpasses old analog EG's in most cases.
In 99% of the cases you can choose between linear or exponential (curved) curves on the envelope stages. For instance the Andromeda, you can choose between 9 different shapes for each EG stage, and can loop between 2-3 parts, creating a kind of LFO, choose different triggering types, modulate the EG stages with other EG's etc.

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Post by johans121 » Thu Jun 21, 2007 7:05 am

Bitexion wrote:It's not important at all these days. Digital envelopes can be equally fast or faster than analog envelopes. The "digital sux, analog rox" thing about envelopes is a myth that dates back to the early days of digital synths. Back then, envelopes would be slow and sluggish because the synths only had weak ZX80 CPU's that could only handle a few things at once, and the EG's would be down prioritized and be slow.

Nowadays with 500MHz CPU's, digital EG's can be as fast as they want to be, and way surpasses old analog EG's in most cases.
Yes and no. I say yes because of the obvious, because of what you said. I say no because the snappyness of an EG is only half of the equation, you also have to consider slow envelopes. When you are dealing with a very sloooooooooooooooooow envelope, digital stepping becomes very obvious on most synths with digital EG's (or LFO's) - ESPECIALLY the older synths. Not so much as on the newer ones, but it still becomes obvious under certain extreme circumstances.

h**l, I was just f**k around with my PEK just a little while ago and I heard stepping in a LP cutoff I was controlling by an insanely slow EG. Not that it bothers me much as I covered it up, but it is still something you have to consider.....


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Post by kk994 » Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:55 am

I usen't to think it mattered and it doesn't of course but that said there is a difference. I never thought about the difference between analogue and digital envelopes until I got an analogue synth and there is a difference. I find analogue envelopes sound smoother... not better or worse but I can get them to sound smoother... like I say not something I was expecting.
Last edited by kk994 on Tue Jul 03, 2007 1:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by mr_m0nks » Thu Jun 21, 2007 1:20 pm

does midi have any relevance to this?


bearing in mind that midi cc messages only go from 0 - 127 so can only have 128 specific values when controlling any parameter?
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Post by kk994 » Thu Jun 21, 2007 3:13 pm

mr_m0nks wrote:does midi have any relevance to this?


bearing in mind that midi cc messages only go from 0 - 127 so can only have 128 specific values when controlling any parameter?
Thats my guess...

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Post by kayvon » Thu Jun 21, 2007 3:27 pm

I'm pretty sure it doesn't mr m0nks, I guess on some synths you'll only have 128 values for the adsr times/level as they're tied to midi cc but it terms of actual envelope generation it shouldn't come into play.

Going back to analogue, I guess that at a push, some analogue envelopes aren't perfectly exponential (then there's the vca/filters response characteristics) so they may have a slightly skewiff character and also their shape may change when their values are low or high.

This is all just speculation on my end but hey, it's interesting to talk.

This thread was actually brought on by some gas for a SE-1x which has software envelopes.

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Post by shaft9000 » Thu Jun 21, 2007 8:52 pm

essential for long, smooth attacks (30+ seconds)

also, when tweaked digital EGs can sometimes jump abruptly to their new values, whereas an analog EG will sound more, er...'rubbery' under similar circumstances.

It's all quite subtle, though, and hardly of any interest to anyone but purists.
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Post by ronmcdonald » Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:22 pm

I think they're only important if you're using analogue letters.

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Post by prophei » Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:41 pm

Analog ENV's offer a lot of different "feel" that you will never get out of a digital ENV. I think that the reason isn't so much that the digital ENV can't produce it, as much as it is something not programmed for. As an example, ENV's can be made out of many different analog types of circuits. One would consist of the Vactoral based ENV. Vactorals have a distinct way of working that imparts itself heavily on the sound of the result. They use em for filters too. Different circuits mpart different vibes.

If you are the kind of person where a certain variety of textures is important to you in the workings of your various synthesis functions, then there is a reason to look at analog ENV's. There are lots out there, and they behave differently from one another. If you don't get that anal about it, there undoubtedly plenty of digital ENV's that might be fine.
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Post by Villi » Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:42 pm

I think they're only important if you're using analogue letters.
:lol:

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