Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

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matia
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Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by matia » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:11 am

Hello:

While on holiday here in sunny Cyprus an idea popped into my head that I wanted some help with. I was thinking about building a patch on the Nord Modular G2 that would emulate the Synclavier's synthesis section. Now obviously I can't really do the 'impluse' based modeling that the Synclavier can do in it's additive engine, but I am thinking more about the overal synthesis architecture.

My question to you guys is if anyone knows of a detailed block diagram or lengthy explanation of how the synthesis section of the Synclavier is laid out architecturally. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

-matia

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Re: Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by maindeglorie » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:59 am

Interested in this too for history's sake.

OT: Looked at your signature... SMS MODULAR??? WOW. Nice man. Share some pics in another thread or something!

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Re: Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by matia » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:55 pm

i will do some pics of my studio when i get back from Europe. For now you can see this video that shows you where it use to be:


-matia

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Re: Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by 8bit9bot » Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:46 pm

I was interseted in the Synclavier FM a while ago too. I found most of the information I wanted to know from reading the original manuals.

The basics from what I understand are... there are 24 partials in a carrier. They are all fixed frequencies (harmonic intervals) w/ variable PHASE and AMPLITUDE... the modulator is simply a sine wave w/ variable frequency ratio. I believe the carrier and modulator have amplitude EGs but each partial does not... its "set it and forget it". There are no algorithms like on DX FM synths. These sets of carriers and modulators can be stacked to create very complex sounds... I'm not sure what the exact amount is but if you limit the polyphony you can layer something like 12 of these carrier and modulator sets. I forget all the exact terminology used by the manual but if you can google it (which i did) you should be able to get all the specifics of what you're looking for. And I am sure you know, it uses 8-bit processing which doesnt seem very easy to re-create.

I found that there are a couple of soft synths which seem to be similar to the Synclav. Maybe check out: Octopus, and Sytrus. They both use additive synthesis and FM combined but w/ algorithms like FM8. In my opinion both are much more advanced than FM8.

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Re: Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by hfinn » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:27 pm

I had a synclavier and not that I have an answer here, although I just wanted to say the closest I came to the sounds of the sync was when I was using the FM synth section of the Nord Stage 76.

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Re: Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by matia » Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:43 am

ok so I found one manual for the Synclavier. It seems like the 24 partials share a common amp envelope from what I can gather. What I still don't understand is, is there only one modulator for the carrier that is composed of the 24 partials? So far it seems like this is this case. The architecture looks very straightforward and not as complex as I initially hypothesized it would be. Also, it seems that you can vary the amplitude of each partial as time progresses. This is something the Nord Modular is very good at because I can assign all these values to a morph group and then pretty much use anything to modulate the change. Man... I pretty excited about this patch already. I know the nord has a great DX emulator but I am always excited about doing FM a little bit differently (case in point and speaking of the DX7, I took one of my favorite DX7 patches and remade it on the SMS modular using lot's of mult's and mixers, it sounded incredible and was so rewarding to visually see a complex algorithm). If you guys get any more info or diagrams, it is greatly appreciated. If someone has a Nord Modular G2 and wants a copy of this patch when I'm done let me know. I have some other really cool homebrewd patches for the nord like my Jomox Airbase sequencer and all parameter controller.

As for the 8-bit processing, I can attempt to simulate this with bit reduction on each partial and modulator. I know there are also more intricate ways to create this effect on the G2 but perhaps that will be the start.

thanks for all the feedback,

-matia

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Re: Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by 8bit9bot » Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:52 am

yes i am pretty sure the 24 partials share a common amp EG... and yeah its much more straight forward than any DX synth's FM... theres only 1 algorithm... carrier modulated by modulator... the end

i think the "morph" mode... or "timbre frames" is one of the updated forms of synthesis on the later models or available as an upgrade - when you use the synclav in that mode... you lose the FM... it becomes strictly an additive synthesizer like the kawai K5 - the partials count increases from 24 to 32 in that mode - i may be wrong but i'm pretty sure i read that somewhere

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Re: Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by matia » Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:27 pm

when i get back from holiday I am going to see what the DSP count is when the basic patch is done. Ideally I will be able to create several layers of the 24 partial 1 modulator set up, with a layer mixer, sequencer and some FX. I've got the DSP expansion inside the G2 so hopefully that will help out getting the layer count solid. I will also see how the bit reduction sounds versus no bit reduction. One other question: Was the modulator only a sine wave or was it possible to assign different waveforms to the modulator?

Just wanted to say thanks again for all the info and hopefully I will have enough time to post some sound examples of the patch in action.

-matia

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Re: Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by matia » Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:30 pm

hfinn wrote:I had a synclavier and not that I have an answer here, although I just wanted to say the closest I came to the sounds of the sync was when I was using the FM synth section of the Nord Stage 76.

That's also good to hear since I think Clavia took a lot from the Nord Modular and implemented it into their other products. I always loved the sound of FM on clavia synths (Nord 3 had a great fm sound).

Also, overall, what did you think of the Synclavier FM sound?

-matia

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Re: Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by 8bit9bot » Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:14 pm

I am 90% sure from what I read in the manual... the modulator is sinewave only. Keep in mind almost all i know about the Synclav FM is from reading the manuals and other sources on the internet. I definitely love the sound of the old Synclav and I most likely will never own one.

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Re: Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by CZ Rider » Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:45 am

matia wrote:Also, overall, what did you think of the Synclavier FM sound?

-matia
I have a 1983 16-mono voice FM here. It has a unique tone and a certain clarity with chord voicings. Perhaps because there is quite a bit of hardware making the sounds. Each of the 8 voices have 5 boards, one controller and 4 identical sound cards with 2 voices each. So there are 10 seperate cards for sound, with 16 seperate analog audio outputs mixed to the final output.
There were so many upgrades available through the years, but this system started as release G, with upgraded disk H and finally running release I/R. With release H there was an upgrade to stereo FM cards available. (I've read these were prone to failures?) And with release I/R came the "Resynthesis", and a few other software upgrades to the LFO's.
Image
The archetecture is simple for an FM synth.There are only 4 seperate synthesizer voices available at one time, called Partial Timbres. These can be assigned in any number in a patch from 1 to 4. So on a 16 voice system a patch with 4 Partial Timbres has 4 note polyphony, 2 Partial Timbres would have 8 note poly, and so on. There is a Chorus button that will double up and detune the 4 Partials for as many as 16 Partials per key, but still only 4 seperate Partials, just mirrored and detuned.
Each Partial Timbre has it's own Volume Envelope, FM (Harmonic) envelope, 24 part Digital ~ tone generator, LFO (Vibrato), and Portamento section. The Digital tone generator is dialed up from a total of 24 sine wave harmonics to produce the additive waveforms. There is no envelope per harmonic, just the master Volume Envelope. (Resynthesis added this feature latter.) The Harmonic envelope controls the sustain and peak amount of FM from a sine wave, frequency set by the FM ratio amount. Not sure about the 8-bit part though. The ABLE computer runs at 16-bit and there are 24-bit Frequency Descriptors listed in block diagrams. The frequency output seems really high. Perhaps the sine waves are drawn with 8-bits?

Here is a 4 Partial violin patch sound. First the dry sound, then each partial singled out,1,2,3,and4. Note the seperate vibrato amounts and delays for each Partial. Then the dry patch played. Has 4 note polyphony. On the low notes you can hear the oscillators "Whine", one of the characteristics of the Sync2. And finally with FX the way is sounds when I use it.

Here is a 3 Partial brass patch. First dry patch, then each individual Partial. 5 note polyphony. Fx on the last part.

This is a plucked string patch using only 2 Partials, so 8 note poly. The FM ratio is set at .500, so it sounds an octave lower. At 10 sec I press the FM ratio button and it jumps to 1.000, then 2.000 all the way up to 16.00 and cycles back to 1.000. At 20 sec I manually lower the ratio from 1.000 to .500, you can hear it pass the fifth and fourth till it ends up at .5, an octave lower(35sec). At 45 sec I drop the ratio lower to .250 another octave lower. At 58 sec I raise the FM very high and get a bell like tone. At 1:15 lower the ratio down past zero to negative ratio. Here the ratio no longer follows the note but the remains constant, like a ring modulator. Super high resolution as there are about 2600 increments.Fun stuff!

Oscillator tuning has the same high resolution. Here I play a chord while changing the tuning from sub-audio 0.1 all the way up to 1760. A little polyphonic portamento at the end.

Resynthesis was introduced with release I/R. I can play Resynthesis patches but can't roll my own. Too bad, because this sounds like the most fun. You need the mono sample to disk option with a terminal. Basicly you sample a sound , and assign highlights (or slices) from the waveform over time. Then the system interpolates the sound to the first partial. (now there are individual envelopes on the harmonics over time) You can still add FM to that partial, or even add in the other 3 normal partials to the Resynthisis partial. How many slices and the original complexity of the sample determine the accuracy. (Any other synth do this type of sound creation?)
Here is a Resynthesis sound "Lucky Man". At 9 sec I add in some FM to the very Moogy sound.

The Sync2 can do some crazy stuff too! You can transpose a playing sequence the whole 5 octaves and add pitch bend. Got to be a use for that.

Sounds great with FX. I have a dedicated FX unit for live gigs. Space Violin.

So yeah, I have an old original FM/additive one. This system in 1983 went for about 25 grand with all the flight cases. One of those synthesizers if you have to ask, "How much?" you couldn't afford it. Found it cheap, but never thought I would end up owning one. Now where's my Ferrari? :lol:

PS: Found this Sync 2 demo, a little more musical with the same patches:

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Re: Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by madtheory » Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:14 am

Wow, czrider, great demos! Best insight into this synth I've ever heard. Actually I think your demos are better than the "musical" one. Dunno why the brass is being showcased, it's by far the worst sound. The strings and pitch mod stuff you did are far more cutting edge and musical.

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Re: Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by matia » Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:22 pm

CZ Rider:

That was wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing all that info and sound clips (they sound wonderful)! This is going to be a huge help to construct my nord emulation.


-matia

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Re: Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by OriginalJambo » Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:10 pm

Damn - those are some sweet FM sounds. Hat is off, good sir! =D>

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Re: Synclavier Additive/FM Architecture

Post by hermitnerd » Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:53 pm

CZ Rider wrote: Here is a 4 Partial violin patch sound. First the dry sound, then each partial singled out,1,2,3,and4. Note the seperate vibrato amounts and delays for each Partial. Then the dry patch played. Has 4 note polyphony. On the low notes you can hear the oscillators "Whine", one of the characteristics of the Sync2. And finally with FX the way is sounds when I use it.
Hi CZ Rider, the sound links you posted are no longer working - is there any way you could repost them somewhere? Thank you for all the Synclavier information!

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