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Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:34 pm
by Jabberwalky
Nice textures and patches vinyl junkie

Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:56 pm
by kushwonder
this thread really interests me...was hoping some people would mention the elektron monomachine....I am curious how its FM engine compares to the DX's...anyone?

Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:50 pm
by vinyl_junkie
Jabberwalky wrote:Nice textures and patches vinyl junkie
Cheers man

Not sure if any one mentioned it but the Korg-707 and the DS-8 did use the same Yamaha YM2164 chip as used in the DX-27, 100, 21 etc Hence why they sound alike albeit the programming on the Korg is completely different.
Pretty interesting to be honest "analogue" like parameters and synthesis methods but it's FM under the bonnet and some real time controllers too

Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:42 pm
by Tiger Jackson
^nice, are those tracks completely 4-op?

Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:06 pm
by msilverbirch
Great atmospheres from those simple FM synths, vinyl_junkie. It makes me want to get a TX81Z module as a companion for my DX7II-D. I think it would provide some lofi contrast to the more natural sounding voices I tend to get from the DX.

Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:07 pm
by vinyl_junkie
Tiger Jackson wrote:^nice, are those tracks completely 4-op?
Thanks :-)
Yes except "Don't Come Back" That starts off 100% 4OP but then I add a Alpha Juno pad under the sound (comes in around 23 secs) and the mono lead is Micro Q other wise that's pretty much it.
All the crackling and stuff is from the synth itself.

FX is nothing fancy, Lexicon and Sony verb/slight chorus with some delay from a Behringer pedal

Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Fri May 10, 2013 2:20 pm
by briandc
tekkentool wrote:Casio PD = Phase distortion = CZ-101, CZ-1000, CZ-3000, CZ-1.

I actually have a CZ-1 sitting around but I have to say it doesn't get too much use, sound is cool but it's shite to program IMO.
Wanna sell it? :D

I used to have a CZ-1000. It did things I've never seen a DX7 do. I loved it..

brian

Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Fri May 10, 2013 2:41 pm
by briandc
CZ Rider wrote:
Tiger Jackson wrote:Why didn't the dx's have a filter?
The Synclavier II has CV outputs on the back for interfacing with external CV filters. The outputs could track at 1 volt per octave, and the CV's were part of the saved patch.
Pic of the many CV outputs on back of the Sync 2:
Image
There are dedicated buttons on the front panel to select the ammount and tracking. These could be used for any preset CV needed, but were designed with external analog filters in mind.
Image
The original Synclavier 2 is a strange digital FM synth that was around before MIDI. So many of the settings have very fine increments and not limited to the common MIDI 128 steps. While it was not "knobby", it did have a dedicated button per function. Tweaking the functions done by a single spring loaded knob, and had two real-time CV pedal inputs. The FM voices are made up of an additive type fixed oscillator with 32 harmonics. This can be used alone or FM'ed with a seperate sine via an envelope generator. Each voice can contain up to 4 parts called partials. Depending on how many voices, mine had 16 voices, a 4 partial voice would have a 4 note polyphony.
Here is a sample of a violin voice made up of 4 partials. In the sample I first play all 4 together, then each individually. I did set each voice with different LFO rates to fatten up the sound. Played at the end of the sample with effects like delay and chorus.

You can hear the oscillators "whine", kind of like a turbine engine sound when they go to lower frequencies. The Sync 2 has a full/large sound due to all the sound cards making the tones. For each set of 8 voices there are five large cards. One is a controller and the other 4 each contain 2 voices. So compared to a DX type synth, this would be more like a TX816, where you have seperate digital generators being mixed via analog audio together.
Here is another sample demo of the oscillator range. All done via the large front panel knob. I think it was playing a Cmin7 at first to show how there is no sidebands/artifacts when the oscillators go into the high range. A little polyphonic glide at the end. (Any sidebands/aliasing is from the MP3 conversion.)

It really does sound strange and has a sound all it's own. You can play the keyboard and transpose an entire sequence while it is playing for some really crazy fun. Sounds like tape slowing down.
Here is a sample of transposing a playing sequence.

A real advanced FM synth in it's day. The DX took FM a step further, but the Sync 2 was out years before Yamaha licenced FM from Stanford University.


The Casio Phase Distortion synths had an interesting way of getting around that license. The Yamaha is actually Phase Modulation, and Casio's take was to read the phase of a sine wave faster and slower. To distort the sine wave into shapes by clocking the reading of the 360 deg. phase at different rates. It does basically the same thing, just a different way of getting there.
I always like the Casio method, and is was more of a subtractive approach. Had three 8 part envelopes, first one for pitch the DCO. Next one for the wave shaper or phase distorter called DCW, and another for amplitude DCA. The numbers assigned to the envelops were a bit strange. A zero time was the longest and 99 the shortest. I found it best to think of these numbers as angles where zero equaled a 1 deg angle, and 99 equaled a 89 deg. angle. Imagining drawing the angles that way gave a better visual of what was going on with the envelopes. There is also anassignable sustain and end point, making these 8 part envelopes the strength of the CZ.
The battery operated model CZ-101, 1000, 230s always sounded different to my ears. Must be the 9 volt rails those models have limiting the headroom, creating a distortion. The 15 volt rail models CZ-1,3000,5000, seem to be lacking that same grit. They seem to just sound clean and loose something.
My favorite patch on the CZ-101 is the guitar one. As the tone settles back to the original sine wave, almost sounds like feedback. Very expressive and a fun sound to play.
Casio CZ-101 lead guitar sound. (Moog modular bass and Simmons drum backing)


The CZ-101/1000 were the originals, with the other models following later. The CZ's popularity was due to being the first affordable MIDI keyboard many owned. Casio later followed up with the iPD, or Interactive Phase Distortion line including the VZ-1, VZ10M,VZ8 and the iPD synthesizer guitar models like the PG-380. The iPD was a little more like the DX series with 8 operators, and sounded different from the CZ series. Casio left the professional synthesizer market after these. Too bad, really!
Thanks for this very informative post! :)
I loved my CZ1000, and a friend of mine made some awesome patches that were on a whole different level than the presets and patches most people were selling back then. I remember biking with a friend to pick up a whole catalog of patches someone was selling nearby. Most of them weren't very good.. But then again, I only paid about 20 dollars..

I think Casio is actually making a comeback. Some very interesting synths they're making now, like this:

XW-P1


brian

Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Fri May 10, 2013 3:33 pm
by Bitexion
Yeah the XWP1 seems like a decent synth at a low price point. Seems like they're moving away from the cheap "piano tutoring" synths of the past 20 years. We'll see. The synth market is pretty full already.

Those plastic casios may be "c**p" in our eyes, but they're the highest selling beginner's keyboards usually, parents or grandparents wanting a cheap "piano lesson" keyboard for a kid for xmas. I casually said that "those casios are s**t" to a store owner and he told me those s**t keyboards are his highest selling items, actually. People don't buy those $2500 synths all that often, compared to $200 keyboards that everyone buy.

Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Fri May 10, 2013 4:22 pm
by zukskywalker
Fantastic thread. And thanks for this because it made a few things click for me.

There is a stupendous relationship between Synclavier and DX, for me at least because the first Synclavier I had ever got to play with had a complete studio built around it. I fell in love with Synclavier but it had a totally unattainable price. Shortly after came the DX. Both with price points that decayed over time and the DX became totally attainable to the masses. For better or for worse the rest is history.
Coming into the game a bit late, I completely missed the analogue synth scene(too busy with Hammonds), and first hit dirt cheap CZ synth, and from there straight into DX(dirt cheap by then). Starting from Casio PD and then moving on to DX FM was/is a mixed blessing for sure but here comes Analogue marching back into the game.
Analogue was about hands on control and FM was about programming, so how to get hands on FM?

Enter ye ol (cheap) DX200 which talks nicely to all of it's cousins.

There's your knobs, and a few other goodies as well.
(DX200 into FS1r trumps Hubble.)

Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Fri May 10, 2013 8:38 pm
by briandc
Bitexion wrote:Yeah the XWP1 seems like a decent synth at a low price point. Seems like they're moving away from the cheap "piano tutoring" synths of the past 20 years. We'll see. The synth market is pretty full already.

Those plastic casios may be "c**p" in our eyes, but they're the highest selling beginner's keyboards usually, parents or grandparents wanting a cheap "piano lesson" keyboard for a kid for xmas. I casually said that "those casios are s**t" to a store owner and he told me those s**t keyboards are his highest selling items, actually. People don't buy those $2500 synths all that often, compared to $200 keyboards that everyone buy.
Also, today everything is already EQ'ed and effects-laden. The early Casio's didn't have external effects. So to today's perspective, those synths are "c**p," but they are actually the "real thing," not the pumped-up stuff you get today.


brian

Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Sun May 12, 2013 9:28 pm
by mute
Programming a CZ synth compared to programming *ANY* FM synth, esp. DX's (except maybe the dx200), is 100% pure cake walk. Casio's approach was much more intuitive but still suffered from the same "all buttons but at least no membranes!" approach at the time.

Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Mon May 13, 2013 8:22 am
by pflosi
Well it's not like programming a DX7 is that complicated, is it? It's just like four things: algorithm, operator frequencies, operator levels, envelopes - done...

Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Mon May 13, 2013 5:57 pm
by briandc
pflosi wrote:Well it's not like programming a DX7 is that complicated, is it? It's just like four things: algorithm, operator frequencies, operator levels, envelopes - done...
Aiui, it's not that there's "a lot" to program, only that settings change drastically with very little modification, and perhaps in some unpredicable ways. Kind of like searching for a needle in a haystack.


brian

Re: What is fm synthesis like on other synths (non yamaha dx

Posted: Mon May 13, 2013 6:22 pm
by CS_TBL
pflosi wrote:Well it's not like programming a DX7 is that complicated, is it? It's just like four things: algorithm, operator frequencies, operator levels, envelopes - done...
It isn't complex if you've ever worked with a routing matrix. It's the fixed algorithms in the DX-line that make things complex. In one algo an operator 'changes' brightness, in another it changes volume, in another it changes brightness (but no ordinary brightness, a special kind of brightness because another operator is changing brightness in another way), and in another algo one operator affects both volume and brightness. If you don't know about operator routing and are just doing trial 'n error, you won't get any idea as for which does what and you probably end up tweaking existing sounds with sheer luck 'n guesswork. And then I haven't even mentioned using an operator as wave shaper yet! If there had been knobs for everything (like that big blue thing), maybe it'd have helped. But alas, a two-line display with membrane keys isn't that inviting at all.

The key to FM is starting with two operators, a modulator (with feedback) and a carrier in one fixed routing. Live with it for some years and you'll be the king of two operator heaven. After that it's far more easier to work with more operators, and your sounds will be quite effective.