Andromeda tips & tricks thread

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Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by pflosi » Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:21 pm

so, as the andy is a synth with so many possibilities, there are also a lot of things to figure out. and as questions come up regularly here, i thought it would be a good thing to have an own thread for it to gather all the information. I know we have a subtractive synthesis patch tricks thread, but the A6 really deserves its' own thread.

so after getting known to the synth / have a look at the manual, I suggest everyone should read these and try some things described there:

http://www.wohmart.com/a6/tandt/A6TipsAndTricks.html
http://www.wohmart.com/a6/Using_A6_Public2.doc

those are really good sources that go way beyond the manual.

so let's see, some things that helped me a lot with the A6. I'm sure others will chime in here with some great tricks!

Pre Filter Mix Levels. We had this one in another thread about beating. If you don't want to distort the pre filter mixer, don't go up higher than 40 in sum in the pre filter mix. distorting it can get some nice results, but particularly with string patches / deep pads / to avoid beating, it's good to keep these down.

Envelopes. Being used to straight on EGs found on many vintage synths with useful ranges, it took some time for me to figure out the A6's envelopes. it really is useful to have a look at the real time values (i.e. seconds) when programming the EGs, as well as to think good of the envelope time shape that is needed to get the desired modulation. also, one has to keep in mind that the EG1 and EG2 sustain goes from -100 to +100, while the EG3 sustain goes from 0 to 100.

CROUTES. this one is really nice indeed. for example, when i didn't know how to use it, i programmed the modulation wheel / aftertough to introduce vibrato this way: wheel / aftertouch modulates lfo amplitude, which is normally set to 0, and the lfo modulates the oscs. but i always wanted to modulate the lfo frequency by the keyboard, so the vibrato gets faster on higher keys (sort of faking poly aftertouch). this isnt possible this way, as you can only add one modulation to a lfo. after some unsatisfying tries to use a looped EG to do that, i had to figure out CROUTES. with CROUTES, it's no problem any more.

Velocity and Aftertouch sensitivity. These have to be on 50 to get good results (unless you want to turn it off).

Resetting parameters to useful values: pressing the up and down buttons right to the LCD simultaneously, the selected parameter jumps to useful values (most of the time 0). this is nice to disable unwanted stuff fast, particularly useful on the oscs and envelopes, as well as filter keytracking which jumps to 50, which is the normal scale (playing the self resonant filter).

Getting the filters to be serial rather than parallel. the little button between the filters lets you choose how to route the filters. "mix" is parallel. "notch" let's one put the high and / or low pass filter before the vcf2. you have to turn up the high/lowpass level of VCF 1 up to decide which one should go to the vcf, and they're not parallel any more. thats nice for taking some of the low end away on strings or pads. "bp" is straight from bandpass to vcf 2, you dont have to do something on the bandpass level there.

pan modulations. lfo to pan is nice, but not very special. the s/h (modulated by voice random) is a nice option, cause the voice random will assign every key pressed another random value that goes to the pan. keyboard tracking to pan is also nice for huge pads / orchestral pads that are played across the whole keyboard.

sooo, that's a start. maybe these points help someone to figure out the A6 more. I'm sure some others have some other great tips too. I'd like to hear some things about the tracking generator / engine optimizer, as i havent really figured out how to use these, but i see some potential there. but every contribution to this thread is very welcome!

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Re: Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by shaft9000 » Sat Nov 28, 2009 8:12 am

By all means, use the individual voice outs through a decent mixer.

This makes it sound much better, as the internal summing device of the A6 is pretty bad, and the "voice panning' is a hit-or-miss modulation affair, not true discrete voice separation.

This is my #1 must-do tip, and it's not in the tips and tricks :lol:
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Re: Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by sam » Sat Nov 28, 2009 8:24 am

++++1 for this thread.

Using the hpf to the (moog)lpf makes very good ms sounds.
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Re: Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by pflosi » Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:51 pm

thanks for the inputs guys!

i now installed the latest beta OS 1.40.13. now the engine optimizer actually makes something :) the EGs can be set really fast with it. another thing i noticed with the new OS is that they switched the polarity for the sustain pedal from - to +.

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Re: Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by madtheory » Sat Nov 28, 2009 7:11 pm

shaft9000 wrote:the internal summing device of the A6 is pretty bad
Could you elaborate on this please? I think it's highly unlikely myself.

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Re: Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by pflosi » Sat Nov 28, 2009 8:43 pm

I don't think it's bad, but i havent tried shaft's trick, so i have no point for a comparison. shaft, i'm interested too, do you have a mixer with 16 inputs just for the A6??? have you tried spreading the voices in mix mode?

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Re: Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by Hades » Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:42 am

just a question guys.
where could I still find PCMCIA SRAM cards type I, to use with the andy for storage ? (in Europe)
seems like it's quite hard to find these.
and I would prefer to use a few cards for backing up and bank swapping instead of having to do sysex dumps to the laptop.

thx

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Re: Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by pflosi » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:07 am

I bought my A6 with a card, luckily. however, thomann seems to have them in stock:

http://www.thomann.de/de/thomann_pcmcia ... am_2mb.htm

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Re: Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by Hades » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:36 am

thx !
I've just ordered it.
that was probably the most expensive data storage item I'll ever buy.
I mean jeez, over 100€ for 2MB !
thank god it's sysex and doesn't take up much space.
how many patches (and/or banks) can one store on one 2MB card ? you got any idea ?

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Re: Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by pflosi » Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:18 pm

yes, they're really expensive...

a 2mb card gives you 6 additional banks (127 patches) of program patches and 4 additional banks (127 patches) of mix patches. that should be enough to begin with ;)

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Re: Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by pflosi » Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:45 pm

pflosi wrote:Getting the filters to be serial rather than parallel. the little button between the filters lets you choose how to route the filters. "mix" is parallel. "notch" let's one put the high and / or low pass filter before the vcf2. you have to turn up the high/lowpass level of VCF 1 up to decide which one should go to the vcf, and they're not parallel any more. thats nice for taking some of the low end away on strings or pads. "bp" is straight from bandpass to vcf 2, you dont have to do something on the bandpass level there.
I just realized that this button can be set to "off". the signal from the pre filter mix will only go to vcf1, and the selfresonance on vcf2 can be used as another soundsource, without having fed something into the filter. that is nice 8-)

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Re: Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by shaft9000 » Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:35 am

pflosi wrote:I don't think it's bad, but i havent tried shaft's trick, so i have no point for a comparison. shaft, i'm interested too, do you have a mixer with 16 inputs just for the A6??? have you tried spreading the voices in mix mode?
I say 'bad' only in comparison w/ the output stages of some of the other's I've got - OBX-a and the Juno6 can get a fatter, clearer sound out of their mix-outs than the A6, ime.
But when the A6 goes thru individual outs, the dynamics, width and clarity of each voice is noticeably, shoot OBVIOUSLY quite a bit better, and really gives the OB a run! All I can say is...Try It!
The point is that you eat up headroom and lose some depth by summing the 16 voices through a single pair of output amplifiers.
Now, consider that EACH voice gets it's own output amplifier when using the individual outs.....

For the A6 alone I'm using a Yamaha MG 12-channel. Right now it's only set up to pan the 1st 10 voices, starting w/ voice one @ 5%L, v2 @ 35% R, v3 @ 85% L, v4 @ 95% R, v5 @ 25% L, v6 @ 15%R etc..., and pipe the remaining 6 voices to one L/R bus.
I much prefer this to the (ime) hit-and-miss 'voice modulation' in the pan section.
A Weird implementation that is btw - it's great for tracking gen mods, EG FX and patches that do modulating 'stereofied' things - but for classic OB "trimpot"-type fixed panning i could not get it to work reliably at all. #-o

I haven't done much of anything with mix mode since I've been holed up in the studio for the last year. I typically use a single timbre at a time, unless i need some super-detuned strings, or more oscillators or LFOs in a single sound.

I don't quite understand what you mean by what is to be gained via spreading the voices in mix mode.
Seems to me it would hardly sound any better than in single-timbre - as it's going through the same SUMMED output and up against the same darned panning-modulation quirks??
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Re: Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by pflosi » Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:24 am

shaft9000 wrote:
pflosi wrote:I don't think it's bad, but i havent tried shaft's trick, so i have no point for a comparison. shaft, i'm interested too, do you have a mixer with 16 inputs just for the A6??? have you tried spreading the voices in mix mode?
I don't quite understand what you mean by what is to be gained via spreading the voices in mix mode.
Seems to me it would hardly sound any better than in single-timbre - as it's going through the same SUMMED output and up against the same darned panning-modulation quirks??
If an external mixer really makes a difference, spreading the voices in mix mode wouldnt do much to improve the summing, i agree. but it would eliminate the "hit and miss" modulations in the pan sections. i guess i really have to try that once

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Re: Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by madtheory » Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:19 pm

shaft9000 wrote: Now, consider that EACH voice gets it's own output amplifier when using the individual outs.....
This is interesting point you're making Shaft. There are several aspects to it. Be warned- I'm a sceptic! :)

Firstly, your science is a little off. Actually each voice already has its own output amplifier, in order to buffer the output before the summing amplifier. That's standard stuff in any active device with multiple channels, such as the Andromeda. I don't know the circuit of the Andy, but there's really no other way to do it, so I think it's a safe assumption. And in order to sum the voices, they all have to go through a two channel summing amplifier at the end anyway, be it in your mixer or the Andromeda.

Secondly, it is possible that the summing is under par in the Andromeda, but I severely doubt it. We could settle this scientifically. Could you could post a recording of a sequence played on the Andromeda recorded directly from the stereo outputs, and another of the mixer output? Then we could do a blind A/B comparison of the two. This avoids the bias caused be seeing the audio routed through the mixer.

It might be the case that your mixer adds a euphonic distortion that you like! If that is the case, then you would hear the same distortion from the stereo outs of the Andromeda as you would the split outs. So maybe you could post a recording of that too?

What mixer are you using by the way?

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Re: Andromeda tips & tricks thread

Post by Synthaholic » Tue Dec 01, 2009 2:22 pm

I have a few tricks I use.

The Ribbon: Such a cool performance controller. I like routing it to the HPF level on pads, so I can use the ribbon to add some "sizzle" to the sound. On some patches I've routed the ribbon to the pitch of one of the oscillators, tuned so that it goes up an octave at the midpoint of the ribbon, 2 octaves at the far right. This allows for some cool spacey pitch sweep effects (use with reverb/delay).

While talking about reverb and delay, the effects section is pretty blah on the A6. External or VST effects are much better. They're handy for tweaking around though to see what kind of effects you might want on a patch while programming it.

Add some filter FM on a resonant filter sweep to get that "Tom Sawyer" sound. Another trick I used when I created a Tom Sawyer patch was to assign voice random to S&H and route that to the filter EG decay time, and use Unison X. This way each voice has a slightly different decay time, much like the OB-X did if it wasn't perfectly calibrated. And of course, use filter 1, LPF, for the Tom Sawyer sweep. ;)

Like others have said, you can disconnect filter 2 from the pre-filter mix so it can be used stand-alone in self oscillation. In one patch I created, I used the sequencer to modulate filter 2 to create an arpeggiated sequence played by the filter while a pad sweep plays through filter 1.

The A6 can do a very convincing Vangelis CS80 brass. Two saws, detuned a bit, run through filter 2 with a little resonance and an envelope to make it swell some. Assign aftertouch, the ribbon, or an expression pedal to filter cutoff to add expression. Add some pitch modulation via LFO, add a nice helping of reverb, and voila!
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