Roland JX3P and PWM

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DesolationBlvd
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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by DesolationBlvd » Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:00 am

tertiumsquid wrote:
Bitexion wrote:Yeah go and BUY more synths so you can prove a point in this silly thread! Spend your money faster!
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It's compelling me too! I'm going to be going on a little road trip to buy a broken JX-3P on the cheap.
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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by zmd » Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:40 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:We all love PWM because it's a cool sound.
But it's an effect, not a synthesis too. Lots of synths don't have it. Many vintage synths only had it as an apology for single oscillators. If you want it, seek a synth that has it. If you have a synth that doesn't have it... use the synth for what it does. PWM is not a synthesis tool. If you need it, seek it... but don't expect it.
The fact that the JX3P has so many functions other polysynths (especially Rolands) don't have should be more important.
I'm curious...how is it not a synthesis tool? I see it as waveshaping, which in my mind is a fundamental bit:)
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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by pflosi » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:39 am

Yeah I'm suprised too AG. It's even used in Class D amps to encode sound. How is that not synthesis?

And what does it have to do with the fact that you can "synthesize" it via sync? :mrgreen:

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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by madtheory » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:44 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:We all love PWM because it's a cool sound.
But it's an effect, not a synthesis too. Lots of synths don't have it. Many vintage synths only had it as an apology for single oscillators. If you want it, seek a synth that has it. If you have a synth that doesn't have it... use the synth for what it does. PWM is not a synthesis tool. If you need it, seek it... but don't expect it.
Sorry, weak argument. It's modulation applied to the oscillator, so it's part of the synthesis architecture. It's not an "effect" which is a word you're jargonising here. Waveshaping? Meh- clipping is waveshaping.

Yes, PWM does create a thickening effect with just one oscillator, but it is certainly not an apology. The CS80 has it! That should be enough to shoot down your argument because that synth was without compromise... But PWM doesn't sound the same as detuning. It has a wonderful sizzle that is unique to it. Dual detuning with PWM is something else again :)

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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by shaft9000 » Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:43 pm

PWM on an osc used as clock = variable gate length, which is VERY FREAKING useful in synthesis...unless all you do is play fixed-architecture keyboards

anyway, using sync to achieve PMW is rather pointless(on my MKS-70 anyway), because it's using up both osc to achieve the effect of one osc doing PWM. Ironic, as PWM is only used in most synths to give a double-osc(faking two detuned osc with only one osc) or VCA mod/tremelo effect.
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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by Bitexion » Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:00 pm

PWM also made it possible to send data to any computer via an audio input. That's basically what most cassette decks where used for in the 80s. 1's and 0's translates perfectly to 0 and 1 on a pulse. pack it tightly together and you get an audio rate signal that every computer could translate back into data.

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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by commodorejohn » Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:53 pm

Actually as far as I know most tape interfaces used frequency modulation (probably because it's easier to count the number of edge crossings than to track where they are in relation to each other,) though it's certainly possible to use PWM.

Anyway, I really don't get this notion that PWM is only useful for mimic oscillator beating. That might be what people used it for back in the day, but anyone with ears can tell that it has a distinct sound of its own that is useful for a variety of things.
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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Sun Mar 29, 2015 1:47 am

Boys, boys, boys... I love you, but there is a nomenclature problem, here.

Synthesis is the intentional authorship of sound.
What we do with synthesizers, often, is make the noises that synthesizers make.

The point where the Minimoog was created was the point where we stopped authoring timbre, and started making the exceedingly popular and interesting synthesizer sounds that were made popular by popular usage of synthesizers... which were NOT examples of timbre authorship as much as they were "hey, listen to how cool these weird electronic tones are."

Pulse-width modulation was born of the fact that when you cranked the pulse width knob (which is a waveshaping knob for the purpose of creating timbre) back and forth, it made a weird and cool sound. In fact, it made a sound that was somewhat similar to the sound of two oscillators beating against each other.

Does the Minimoog have pulse width modulation? Well, h**l no, it doesn't. Why would it?

Pulse width modulation gained popularity when companies were creating single-oscillator synths that lacked the ability to create popular detuning effects generated by synths like the Minimoog. It's not opinion, it's not a weak argument, it's the fact of the matter.

We came to know of pulse width modulation as a result of what synth companies introduced, and we liked it. It's cool. But it is not a "how to author timbre" sort of function, it is a "really cool sounding thing that happens with synthesizers" sort of function. That is not a diminishment, it's just a fact.

It didn't exist on the Moog modular until the 921, and while various versions of that existed before 1974, it wasn't until 1974 that it became a thing. It existed on the ARP 2600... but was a secondary function. But how many single-osc synths was it included on?

We got used to inexpensive synths having it. If it's such an important function, why did it take SO long for synths to have it on multiple oscillators at once? Let's see... one of the first implementations of multiple oscillators having PWM at once is the CS-15 in 1979. Can anyone think of it happening earlier?

It's a cool effect, but it's not necessary for synth sounds, or certainly, synthesis. The notion that a synth with TWO OSCILLATORS (which provides a h**l of a lot more functionality than a single osc synth) is dismissed because it doesn't have this "cool sound" doesn't make sense.
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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by commodorejohn » Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:35 am

Well, I suppose you might not have heard of it, but there was an obscure little synthesizer called the "Odyssey" back in '72 that had independent PWM controls for both of its oscillators.
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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:55 am

commodorejohn wrote:Well, I suppose you might not have heard of it, but there was an obscure little synthesizer called the "Odyssey" back in '72 that had independent PWM controls for both of its oscillators.
No, you're right. I must be totally wrong about what I'm saying.


Everyone: I take back what I said. Synthesis can't be achieved without PWM. It's how we make sound.

Thank you, commodorejohn, for setting me straight.
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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by Dr. Phibes » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:22 am

not a synthesis tool my arse.

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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by commodorejohn » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:30 am

Evidently I set you so straight that I managed to convince you of things I wasn't even saying!

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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by antilles » Sun Mar 29, 2015 4:53 am

As much as I like PWM I don't need it on every f**k synthesizer. In fact I've always been somewhat annoyed about people complaining that the original MS-20 doesn't have it, as I really don't think it needs it. I'm aware that the new MS-20M has included it, but I still think that the character and power of the MS-20 is about something else.

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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by zmd » Sun Mar 29, 2015 5:58 am

How to author timbre remains a great way to say it!
I will stand by my earlier statement.
If I alter the partials by adjusting the pulse width, whether by hand, lfo or envelope, then I am certainly authoring timbre.

AG, are you using the minimoog as a line in the timeline sand? As if to say "nothing after the minimoog is authorship" or am I misreading you there?

I see this as good conversation btw, not looking to internet fight:)
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Re: Roland JX3P and PWM

Post by pflosi » Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:43 am

I'm confused... What's the rule here?
  • Must be present on a Moog module before 921 to be a synthesis tool.
  • Must be present on Minimoog to be a synthesis tool.
  • AG must like the effect it has on timbre or it is not a synthesis tool.
:?:

I also wonder, since it's so irrelevant why are there 2 (in words two) CV ins for it on the 921? And finally, is it coincidence that the 921 is also the first Moog module with sync? :mrgreen: But then again the Minimoog doesn't have it, it's getting slightly complicated...

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