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Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:49 am
by impaler42
Could someone explain to me what exactly the differences are (if any) between wavetable and transwave synthesis? Im trying to weigh the strengths of the Waldorf XT vs the Ensoniq Fizmo in particular, but Im confused to how they differ in terms of synthesis.

Re: Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:53 am
by Ashe37
As the owner of a Blofeld, Ensoniq VFX and an SD-1, i tell you: little, if any :D

Re: Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:13 am
by impaler42
Thanks for your reply. I was strongly considering getting a Fizmo, in part because I was allured by "transwave synthesis". But Ive been doing a lot of reading and it seems like there isn't much of a distinction between transwave and wavetable synthesis. Also, Ive heard many of the wavetable synths (particularly in the Waldorf family) are more powerful and versatile than the Fizmo. Im now considering getting a Blofeld. Since you have one, what do you think of it?

Re: Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:16 pm
by Ashe37
impaler42 wrote:Thanks for your reply. I was strongly considering getting a Fizmo, in part because I was allured by "transwave synthesis". But Ive been doing a lot of reading and it seems like there isn't much of a distinction between transwave and wavetable synthesis. Also, Ive heard many of the wavetable synths (particularly in the Waldorf family) are more powerful and versatile than the Fizmo. Im now considering getting a Blofeld. Since you have one, what do you think of it?

I lie the Blofeld, I use it as a combination VA and wavetable synth, as dose my roomate/bandmate use his. I also have two Ensoniq wavetable synths, a VFX and SD-1/32... I use these because they combine wabetable synthesis with rompler-type synthesis (layered samples) and I like the sound of them and can get quite a bit from them. The difference between those and the FIZMO is that the FIZMO is all wavetables, no standard samples, plus the FIZMO filter is resonant and it has an arp. The Blofeld is a lot more modern, and easier to understand than the FIZMO (partly because they went cheap with the display on the FIZMO), more flexible and has more centralized mod routings.

Re: Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:40 pm
by mharris80
impaler42 wrote:Thanks for your reply. I was strongly considering getting a Fizmo, in part because I was allured by "transwave synthesis". But Ive been doing a lot of reading and it seems like there isn't much of a distinction between transwave and wavetable synthesis. Also, Ive heard many of the wavetable synths (particularly in the Waldorf family) are more powerful and versatile than the Fizmo. Im now considering getting a Blofeld. Since you have one, what do you think of it?
One thing to keep in mind: tracking down a Fizmo would be no small task. They only made roughly 500 keyboards and 50 rack units. When it came out, few people knew what to make of the thing and they ended up blowing them out for $400 apiece.

Re: Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:47 pm
by Bitexion
Blofelds are easily available, and very cheap considering what you get.
2 wavetable oscillators with dozens of tables to sweep (and your bog standard VA waveforms at the end of each), a third that only does VA waveforms, loads of filter models (including a ppg wave 2.x model), good effects, arpeggiator etc etc.

Re: Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:13 pm
by impaler42
I guess my interests in the FIzmo relate to its unique sound. Ive heard many accounts that it can create sounds that you cant achieve with other wavetable synths. But many people have also said its kind of a one trick pony, good for only evolving pads and experimental sounds. I guess I wouldnt so much mind that, since Im looking for sounds similar to the ones used by Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze in a lot of their works.

As far as it being rare, I am dealing with someone locally who is selling one for $1000. Im trying to figure out if its a worthy investment. If its sounds are truly unique and you cant achieve them with other synths, then I think it may be worth it.

Re: Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:49 pm
by rhino
I may well catch h**l from FIZMO owners, but I suggest you try an Ensoniq VFX, or SD. They are limited in the number of transwaves onboard, but the idea is there - along with LFOs and filters enough that you (IMHO) get close for a lot less $$ (vfx = 200, sd = 350-400). The FIZ is a landmark synth - just saying spend some time with the other Ensoniq boards of that era and see what you think.

Re: Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:58 am
by suitandtieguy
rhino wrote:I may well catch h**l from FIZMO owners, but I suggest you try an Ensoniq VFX, or SD.
you'll catch no h**l from me.

i traded my FIZZMO for a broken XTK and didn't look back. then i sold the XTK, bought a Blofeld Keyboard and a few expensive nights out, and didn't look back again.

the VFX is something i might pick up sometime. i'd like to play with the Ensoniq "thing" but the FIZMO is really a total abortion of a UI with many parameters hidden from view and no way to initialise to a basic patch.

the Blofeld has some real issues with parameter modulation range and response to modulation but it's the best wavetable synth if you want something you can actually gig with.

Re: Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:00 pm
by balma
An example easy to understand:

If the Fizmo would have the word "hello", you can use a knob or another parameter to go through the "hello" word back and forward, while keeping the key pressed.
You stay looping on the Hhhhhh, move the knob a little bit to the right, and then go to the Eeeeeee, then to the Llllll, to the Ooooo...move it again to the left, and yo go backwards to the Hhhh again. You can go to a certain point of a sound, and keep looping there, and then moving again, while holding the note.

On transwave synthesis, you can scan through a sound´s spectrum without having to retrigger it from the beginning.
On normal romplers/samplers, ,if you want to advance to the middle or the end of a sound, you must, advance moving to the new start point, and then playing the note again. But you can´t do this on realtime, while holding the sound. Transwave synthesis can do it.


I think that´s the most relevant thing from the couple of transwave synths released by Ensoniq on the nineties. Other instruments can do similar stuff, but not in realtime. Emu romplers, can assign the start point of a sample, and loop section, to any parameter. (LFOs or ADSR envelopes can control the start point of samples) but you must retrigger the note to hear the effect.


Fizmo has a unique sound and it´s almost impossible to recreate it with any other machine. . That´s a fact. But that does not makes it a better synth than others for the price the go today. I paid around $600 for mine.
Today they are f**k expensive and I think each Fizmo being sold these days ,had a lot of previous owners.

Transwave technology is f**k great. But why not adding this technology to a synth with 256+ waves??? you have this unique realtime stuff, for 56 waves only...... and goddammed, some of them are kind of cheesy.

Now, a transwave sampler... that would make my pants wet....

Re: Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:29 pm
by impaler42
Thanks Balma for your useful example. I think Im going to go ahead and purchase the Fizmo. Ive always wanted one, and given their rarity, it seems like it wouldn't be difficult to sell it if I don't end up liking it.

Re: Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:49 pm
by mharris80
balma wrote:An example easy to understand:
Now, a transwave sampler... that would make my pants wet....
Vintage Synth Explorer wrote:In this light, the ASR-10 basically looks like an advanced TranseWave (waveform modulation) synthesizer in which YOU create its WaveSamples!
Now if only that was more than halfway true... I think they were on the right track with the ASR, but didn't quite get there. (Too few envelopes, for one thing) Such a shame what Creative Labs did to Ensoniq.

Re: Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:08 pm
by balma
impaler42 wrote:Ive always wanted one, and given their rarity, it seems like it wouldn't be difficult to sell it if I don't end up liking it.
Just be sure to get one with the power supply issue solved.
The best sounds I´ve got from the Fizmo, were pure luck. f**k synth, avoids all deterministic methods to obtain a specific sound, but from time to time, delivers something magical. But there will be a lot of c**p on the way....
Transwave synthesis gives a lot of control over sounds. You can loop on a specific segment of a sample without clicking, smooth transit over recorded waves. That´s real cool. Is a cool synth, but... wtf... how do I get that sound again..? :roll:

Re: Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:10 am
by ninja6485
balma wrote:how do I get that sound again..?
Somewhere I have a sample of a sound from the fizmo that sounds almost identical to birds chirping in a rainforest canopy. Never got that one back, lol.

I just got sounddiver working on my laptop - I needed a newer version then the one I was struggling with. I had no idea how much was under the hood, and I've had it for almost a year. Here's a screen shot of the edit page. Note the size of the scroll bar. This image contains all of oscillator 1 and some of oscillator 2. They each have a different bank of transwaves.
There is then 3 more sounds each with 2 oscillators.
Image
Before sounddiver, I didn't even know it had two filters per oscillator! Also, you'll notice there are at least 9 controlls per envelopes. The Fizmo offers 4 on the front pannal. the other 5 depend on the patch before you edited it! I should add that you can initialize a patch from the editor, and if you save it to one of the banks, you can copy it anywhere you like.

It's really not overly complicated to program, but some of it's charm lies in the mystery of tweaking its knobs, never really knowing what it will do next. It's nice to know if you get frutrated you can approach it logically. Obviously nothing this complex is really a one trick pony, but it seems certain types of sounds are just...more fun to do on the fizmo.

Re: Wavetable vs Transwave Synthesis

Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:35 am
by Ashe37
And believe it or not, that is *simplified* form the VFX/SD series... 11 stage envelopes, and up to six oscillators per patch.