Tuesday, February 22, 2011

V-synth Multi-timbral Explained (Play layered sounds like the GT)

The V-synth original (2.0 software) can play more than one patch, layered, and there is a multi-timbral mode. Unfortunately this is slightly hidden in two menus. The only downside is that there are some power & fx limitations.

What is Multi-timbral?

The ability to play more than one patch simultaneously via the keyboard or via 16 midi channels. These channels can also be played back by sequencer or computer. (USB or MIDI).

What Can't it do?

The V-synth cannot use more than one FX bus. All loaded patches (2-16) are loaded through the first main (1) channel's FX bus. For instance if your first patch uses a reverb, all patches will use that same reverb slot. If distortion is in the MFX slot, patches that route to that MFX slot will also sound distorted. Just edit effects to taste and watch levels.

You cannot edit FX routing levels of multiple patches simultaneously. There is no screen for this. Routing levels are saved within each patch. This is not a problem if you think ahead of time and do it on a one by one basis.

V-synth cannot play all 16 channels simultaneously. You will run out of polyphony (notes) way before this.

What CAN it do?

Reliably, you can trigger up to 4 patches simultaneously!!! You can play these layered patches with the keyboard or via midi (usb). I believe that is more than the GT (correct me if I'm wrong), which only does two patches or voices.

How To - Multimbral & Layering Setup :

1. Select your main patch. For your first time, use one that is not distorted or chorused, but has enough reverb.


3. Turn the first four patch slots ON. (or all 16 if you are going to use 16 midi parts with a sequencer)

4. Set every midi channel to "1" This makes it playable on your keyboard which probably uses channel 1 if you havent changed it.

5. EXIT to the main patch edit screen. This is where its kind of weird....

6. In the drop down menu go to INFO. Pretty descriptive huh?? Its almost like they hid it.

7. Here, in the INFO screen, you can change each channel's patch. Change the first four that we are using. Experiment to get different layered effects. Remember that changing channel 1 will also will change FX and you will lose your patch data if you forgot to save.

8. Your good to go! Whether playing 4 patches at once, or setting up a 16 part multi-timbral sequence, you won't be bored just by playing one patch like normal!

Make Your Favourite Vocal Artist Sing Within V-synth

The V-synth can sample and stretch pitch across the keys without losing voice characteristics. Untreated vocal samples work very well for this as do one note instrumentals (like wind instruments). You can use this ability to take your favourite singer and make them a patch. This just an overview. If you don't know how to sample, read the manual. Lets get started.

What you need:

An acapella vocal sample or MP3, prefferabley with little or no background noise

1. First find your acapella music containing your favourite singer. If it is an MP3, convert it to a wave file. (.WAV) using your computer.

2. Find a section where the singer hits a sustained note. This will be the basis for the patch. If it is too short we can't loop it.

3. Using your computer, trim down the size of the file to a specific section so you can transfer it to the V-synth memory. You don't have to chop it precisely-yet. If you sampled it straight to the V-synth, trim it down a bit.

4. Make sure your sample is imported / saved if you havent yet.

5. Go to the Edit button under Sample menu, while your sample is selected. Find the start and end of the note. Hopefully it is a long, sustained note. Trim the start and end of the note, include the attack.

6. Normalize the sample using the drop down menu.

7. Go to the Encode button. Since this is a solo sound, and not a decay instrument (percussion), or ensemble we will encode it in SOLO mode.

8. Loop the sample properly. We need to loop the vocal in an area that does not include the attack. Go to the FWD loop TAB. Select the beginning slider and move it to after the attack. Turn on LOOP and hit play. Adjust the Loop End slider. It is important to play around with these sliders so we get a vocal that sounds like it is looping realistically. If the attack of the voice is still heard, it will be repeated and sound mechanical. ZOOM in and find places in the sample where the voice waveform is similiar. Set the start and end loop points precisely at the same point in the waveform. They may not look exactly the same, just try to guess. Your ears will do a better job of finding an area within the sample that will loop properly.

9. Save the sample. Double check that you indeed used FWD Loop point tab, and not the loop button in the main edit tab. (It can be confusing)

10. Open up a new patch.

11. Scroll to find your sample in OSC1

12. Set the sample to a FWD LOOP. Turn on Vari SW. Make sure robot voice is OFF.

13. Set your patch for Portamento ON, MONO, and "13" in the portamento setting under the COM tab. Make the portamento constant rate.

14. Add FX! Reverb and chorus.

Tip: Using the Humanizer filter you can change the sample's vowel! It will sound like AhhhhEeeeeh! Instead of just Ahhhhhh!

Tip: Use the D-beam to modulate your new singing patch! Try an LFO or filter or change the formant (gender).

V-Synth Analog Tricks


Here is a collection of small tips for V-synth users doing "analog" sound design. With these tips you will probably get a sound that is a lot less harsh/digital than what people would normally expect from this synth. As I've experimented and written about this before, I don't think I can go any further in this area. These are my absolute best tips to make it sound more "analog." I doubt anyone out there has more realistic settings and I won't write about this analog stuff ever again. You can use these tips with any patches you see fit or even within your computer software

1. How to get a pulse wave.

The standard square wave can be adjusted into a pulse wave. Use the "Pulse Width" tab in the oscillator section. Set it to "41" which has about the same pulse sound as other roland synths.

2. How to get a ramp wave or reversed saw.

If the standard saw is too harsh for you, you might want to try the reversed version. Use the triangle wave, but set the pulse width to about "62" This steepens the triangle wave so much that it is now a ramp saw (like minimoog saw).

Also remember that sometimes a sample is the best way to go if the wave your trying to copy is too complex or your synth's waves just don't have the right tonality.

3. Proper Analog Detune

This will be something closer to the real thing, not just deviating one of the oscillators out of pitch. Try this out:

Use the "Com" button menu. Go to the Matrix Control tab on the left. Set Key follow or KEYF as a source. The target will be both oscillator 1 & 2's pitch. Adjust the sensitivity anywhere from 25 to 32. A lower number works better if you are doing a polyphonic patch, a higher number will be a severe detune. This method gradually steps the pitch across the keys like a real oscillator. Don't use the same amount of sensitivity/amounts for each oscillator. Remember each oscillator is not built exactly the same in real life.
Use LFO for "drift". Try + 5 and + 4 Pitch LFO on the oscillators. Again you don't need them to be the same. Go to the the LFO tab and set to RND or random and then the rates to 51 and 52 or so for each oscillator. If you wish you can variate pulse width with LFO as well. Set PWM to -5 and -4 or so (a small number). Set it negative because we have the width up high already for our ramp waves. This variates the length of the waveform slightly.

4. A different filter.

In COSM 1 menu, Use -24db. Try adjusting the DYN knob in the cutoff tab to about "20" Set the envelope amount to "41" or a little higher. Adjust other settings like cuttoff, and the envelope to taste. I prefer a a lower cuttoff setting because it will mix better and doesn't sound annoying / digital. Overall these settings might give the filter more bite and more depth. You can also try turning the dynamics in reverse and then the filter seems more hollow. This is just a recommendation since the filter should be whatever you want for the patch. If you use a high-pass, crank the dynamics up even more for a waspy-type-sound.

5. Use COSM Waveshaping after filter

After the filter is in Cosm 1, try putting Waveshapping afer it as COSM2. This makes your wave a little more agressive and adjust its tone. Originally I wanted to use this setting to simulate internal gain, but I found just a little changes the waveform. Use the SINE wave shape (smooth up and and down, not triangle), and set the drive to "8" or higher. Just use your own preference around "80" you get really noticeable distortion.

6. Tube Amp Gain & Volume boost.

Jack your patch volume to a better level and simulate "warm" distortion without overdriving it. We will be using the MFX Guitar amp setting. Be careful when adjusting these, you can clip your speakers. Most of them are turned way down because we just want a slight tube amp sound and gain boost.

Set MFX send to 74 or higher. You can adjust the initial volume here.

Under MFX Tab set the type to Guitar Amp

Set type to "MS1959I+II"

Set gain to "LOW"Turn down all the Bass to "0"

Treble and Midrange to "70"

Turn presence to "0"Set input volume to "31"

Turn OFF the speaker simulator and noise suppressor. I use the MFX send to re-adjust the overall levels once I'm done.

Tip: I've found that changing some of the volume input knobs doesn't do anything to adjust the amount of distortion. It only changes the volume. The amp type and the EQ do far more.

7. Roland "Analog" Chorus.

"Chorus 2" best simulates the built-in roland synth chorus.

Set the Chorus Send to 0 in the routing. Under the guitar amp MFX setting is a small send knob, set it to 127. The regular chorus send is pre-MFX and the smaller one is post.

Set depth to 18 and rate to 1.10. You can also try setting the depth to 100% and the rate to .10 I'm not sure which I like better, as they both sound similar for some reason. Experiment.

Well thats it for now! I won't ever write about this faking analog stuff again. Next tutorial will be on how to capture your favourite singer and make them into a patch.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oscillator Drift

Jurgen Haible has a great write up on VCO characteristics. The page also has video demonstrating oscillator drift. (Quicktime MOV)

Article: "Living VCOs"

Video Link: http://electro-music.com/forum/phpbb-files/living_beat_rate_137.mov