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Viewing topic "Subtractive Synthesis and LFO processing"

     
Posted on: September 09, 2019 @ 07:28 AM
lastmonk
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I’m designing my sounds on Motif using its subtractive synthesis support.  In that scenario each element(oscillator) has its own LFO.  Then there is a common LFO right?  Is this actually physically a different LFO than the one used for each oscillator?

I’ve attached a diagram with the architecture as I currently understand it.  Are the effects input into the common LFO or does the LFO process the sound before it gets to the effects?  Is my diagram incorrect or does it need modifying?

The Yamaha docs are a little fuzzy on the common LFO.  It looks like the common LFO kicks in after the effects routing.  Is that correct?

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Motif-Subtractive-Arch.png
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Posted on: September 09, 2019 @ 11:09 AM
5pinDIN
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lastmonk - 09 September 2019 07:28 AM

I’m designing my sounds on Motif using its subtractive synthesis support.  In that scenario each element(oscillator) has its own LFO.  Then there is a common LFO right?  Is this actually physically a different LFO than the one used for each oscillator?

Yes, there are both per-Element LFOs and a Common LFO. The Parameter settings (waveform, speed, depth, etc.) for the two LFO types are independent of each other, although I’m not sure that one would say they’re “physically” different since they’re both just data manipulation in a silicon chip.

 

lastmonk -

I’ve attached a diagram with the architecture as I currently understand it.  Are the effects input into the common LFO or does the LFO process the sound before it gets to the effects?  Is my diagram incorrect or does it need modifying?

The Yamaha docs are a little fuzzy on the common LFO.  It looks like the common LFO kicks in after the effects routing.  Is that correct?

It’s probably “fuzzy” because the Common LFO routing can be significantly varied.

See (1) Control Dest (Control Destination) on page 63 of the XF Reference Manual. Note that the Common LFO can be applied on a per Element basis to Amplitude/Pitch/Filter Mod Depths, Resonance, Pan, and Element LFO Speed Destinations. It can also be applied to Insert Effect Parameters A(1~16), B(1~16), and L(1~32). See the Effect Parameter List beginning on page 95 of the XF Data List to determine what each of the destinations controls for each effect type.

As to your diagram, to the best of my own knowledge…
“LFO/Low Frequency Oscillator” could be either Element and/or Common, depending on routing.
“Effects” would be Insert Effects, to be followed by System Effects (reverb/chorus) and Master Effects.

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Posted on: September 09, 2019 @ 02:37 PM
lastmonk
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Thanx much for the response 5pinDIN very much appreciated.  Also I will update my diagram accordingly.  thanx.

Now I’ve got some reading and experimenting to do.

But just on the initial read of your response I immediately have a question.

What’s the impact of the Common LFO on an individual element’s LFO setting, if the Common LFO can be set on an element by element basis?

For example if I have element 1’s LFO set to modulate pitch, and then set the Common LFO to also modulate element 1’s pitch do I risk cancellation?, phase cancellation yikes!  Could I un-vibrato my vibrato LOL

My original just seat of the pants assumption was that oscillators are summed and that would include any element LFO settings and then the ‘summed’ signal would be sent to the common LFO.  But if the common LFO can get at an individual element......? hmmm.....  Does that mean the common LFO affects the element after it has already been summed with the other elements?

So that if I have a element level LFO setting and a common LFO setting for that same element are they processed serially by the LFO or in parallel, or something else?

Interesting.....  Sry if I’m rambling here..

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Posted on: September 09, 2019 @ 05:15 PM
5pinDIN
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lastmonk - 09 September 2019 02:37 PM

Thanx much for the response 5pinDIN very much appreciated.  Also I will update my diagram accordingly.  thanx.

You’re welcome.

 

lastmonk -

Now I’ve got some reading and experimenting to do.

But just on the initial read of your response I immediately have a question.

What’s the impact of the Common LFO on an individual element’s LFO setting, if the Common LFO can be set on an element by element basis?


For example if I have element 1’s LFO set to modulate pitch, and then set the Common LFO to also modulate element 1’s pitch do I risk cancellation?, phase cancellation yikes!  Could I un-vibrato my vibrato LOL

My original just seat of the pants assumption was that oscillators are summed and that would include any element LFO settings and then the ‘summed’ signal would be sent to the common LFO.  But if the common LFO can get at an individual element......? hmmm.....  Does that mean the common LFO affects the element after it has already been summed with the other elements?

So that if I have a element level LFO setting and a common LFO setting for that same element are they processed serially by the LFO or in parallel, or something else?

Interesting.....  Sry if I’m rambling here..

It appears that the Element LFO and Common LFO are processed serially when both are applied to a particular Element. I came to that conclusion by initializing a Voice, and setting Element 1 Waveform to 1388, Sine. I then set both Element 1 LFO and Common LFO to triangle, Depth 63, Amod, but Element 1 LFO Speed to 32 and Common LFO Speed to 16. The sound of the resulting amplitude modulation seems to indicate that the path is Element LFO first, followed by the Common LFO. (It’s even more obvious if the Common LFO Wave is changed to square - the sound level is alternately attenuated or not, at a rate determined by the Common LFO Speed setting.)

With both LFO’s set to triangle wave as above, change the Common LFO Destination from Amod to LFOspd (Element LFO Speed). Interesting effect with one LFO modulating the speed of the other.

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Posted on: September 09, 2019 @ 08:10 PM
lastmonk
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Wow!!!  serial.,,,

I’m going to try your set up.  Probably add the ring modulator into the chain for grins.

LFO modulating LFO hmmm......  wonder if one of the LFOs can be modulated > 20hz LOL

5pinDIN thanx so much for your help.  I’ll post sometime tomorrow what my results were.

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Posted on: September 10, 2019 @ 11:54 AM
lastmonk
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5pinDIN Whoaa!!!!  I tried your set up.  Only difference was I used 2 oscillators both set to sine wave (1388).  My LFO settings were the same except I used 100 for my element amp modulator value.  Totally awesome!  I did just for grins assign element 1 to a ring modulator on Ins A and element 2 to a ring modulator on Ins B OMG!!!  I set Oscillator course frequencies for each ring modulator to different values above 260 hz very nice.  many many many possibilities here. (Can we say kid in a candy store!)

But questions immediately.  Is the LFO wave, speed, depth, etc on the Ring Modulator parameter screen logically separate from the element LFO and the common LFO?  If so wouldn’t that mean Motif has 3 LFO’s?

I know the Ring Modulator is an insertion effect on my two sine waves but what are the mechanics of the modulation.  I know what the LFO’s are modulating, but the ring modulator parameter screen is throwing me for a loop! 

Exactly what is the relationship between my sine wave, the ring modulator, and the LFO wave on the ring modulator parameter screen?  YIKES!

It took a quick look at Dave Polich’s Sound Advice Disk 3 “Ring Modulator” discussion. He touched on some of it.  But I suspect he probably could have done another hour on just the ring modulator alone!  So he probably did not have time to go into as much detail as I’m currently looking for.

He did say that the Motif ring modulator was almost like having another synthesizer all by itself.  Where can I get more info on the relationship between these parameters?  Or will any synth description of ring modulator do?

Also here is an updated diagram of my current understanding of the Motif subtractive synth architecture.  For synthesis purposes, I’m thinking of adding the Ring Modulator, its not quite the same as the other effects.

Image Attachments
Motif-Subtractive-Arch-rev2.png
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Posted on: September 10, 2019 @ 05:30 PM
lastmonk
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After a little more digging., this is what its looking like to me,
at least from the scant documentation we have on Motif’s ring modulator.

The Ring Modulator gives us:

1. Another Low Frequency Oscillator.  How ever this oscillator appears to be limited to sine waves and triangle waves.

2. However we can adjust the frequency of this LFO into the audible range up to 5000 Hz

3. This LFO modulates the amplitude of the element/oscillator that it’s connected to. E.g.  if Oscillator 1 connects to the ring modulator through insA, or insB then the Ring Modulator will use either a sine wave or triangle wave to modulate the amplitude Oscillator 1 at a frequency between 0.5 to 5000 Hz. If Oscillator 1’s frequency and the Ring Modulator’s Oscillator frequency are musically related, then the side bands produced by the Ring Modulator can be somewhat musical, otherwise they will be more bell like.

The end result of these ring modulations make for nice sample material that can produce new waveforms as input into the Motif’s synthesis process.

I could be wrong here, but it sure looks to me like this is how Motif’s Ring Modulator is behaving and that means; Motif has 3 Logical LFO’s.

* Element Level LFO
* Common Level LFO (which can be user defined)
* Special LFO which is part of the Ring Modulator

Correct me if I’m wrong here.  But that’s what its looking like to me.

It also looks like the Ring Modulator can modulate its input signals to make side bands in the audible range.  There are implications for this!

But if I’m off base, someone let me know.  Its hard to know for sure because there’s not a lot of documentation on Motif’s Ring Modulator, and so my conclusions are coming solely from by adhoc experimentation and testing.

I guess I could hook it up to my RIGOL DS1054 and settle it once and for all......  :-(

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Posted on: September 11, 2019 @ 03:17 PM
5pinDIN
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lastmonk - 10 September 2019 11:54 AM

5pinDIN Whoaa!!!!  I tried your set up.  Only difference was I used 2 oscillators both set to sine wave (1388).  My LFO settings were the same except I used 100 for my element amp modulator value.  Totally awesome!  I did just for grins assign element 1 to a ring modulator on Ins A and element 2 to a ring modulator on Ins B OMG!!!  I set Oscillator course frequencies for each ring modulator to different values above 260 hz very nice.  many many many possibilities here. (Can we say kid in a candy store!)

But questions immediately.  Is the LFO wave, speed, depth, etc on the Ring Modulator parameter screen logically separate from the element LFO and the common LFO?  If so wouldn’t that mean Motif has 3 LFO’s?

The Parameters in the three types of LFO are independent of each other. Using DSP makes it a lot more practical (less expensive) than hardware implementation, so why not?  :-)

 

lastmonk -

I know the Ring Modulator is an insertion effect on my two sine waves but what are the mechanics of the modulation.  I know what the LFO’s are modulating, but the ring modulator parameter screen is throwing me for a loop! 

Exactly what is the relationship between my sine wave, the ring modulator, and the LFO wave on the ring modulator parameter screen?  YIKES!

It took a quick look at Dave Polich’s Sound Advice Disk 3 “Ring Modulator” discussion. He touched on some of it.  But I suspect he probably could have done another hour on just the ring modulator alone!  So he probably did not have time to go into as much detail as I’m currently looking for.

He did say that the Motif ring modulator was almost like having another synthesizer all by itself.  Where can I get more info on the relationship between these parameters?  Or will any synth description of ring modulator do?

The basic concepts of ring modulation are universal, the differences are in how it’s executed. I don’t personally care how the effect is created in the Motifs - I’m satisfied to know they can do it - although I’m a bit surprised that a square wave isn’t offered for the LFO besides triangle and sine. As you probably know, ring modulation generates sum and difference frequencies between the carrier (= LFO) and original signal. A pure sinusoidal carrier wave, since it has no harmonics, will lead to only two other sine waves (at the sum and difference frequencies). A triangle wave has the fundamental frequency plus a series of rapidly diminishing odd harmonics. Yamaha may have decided not make a square wave available because its harmonics don’t roll off nearly as fast as with a triangle, so the ring modulator output would be a lot “rougher”.

This article does a decent job of explaining how the carrier interacts with the original signal, and the sort of output that would be generated:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_modulation

 

lastmonk -

Also here is an updated diagram of my current understanding of the Motif subtractive synth architecture.  For synthesis purposes, I’m thinking of adding the Ring Modulator, its not quite the same as the other effects.

You might want to modify the diagram slightly. Besides the configuration you’ve diagrammed, the Common LFO can alternatively be applied to one of the Insert Effects Parameters. Perhaps dotted rather than solid lines could indicate the possible routings.

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Posted on: September 11, 2019 @ 05:12 PM
lastmonk
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Thanx for your response 5pinDIN.  Ok so the Motif effectively has
3 LFOs That’s a big deal., at least to me it is.

What is becoming clear to me, is after all that has been said about the architecture of the Motif it appears there is still a lot more to say about its synthesis capabilities.  We could use a few more good flow diagrams and block diagrams showing the architecture.  I will definitely keep working on the one I posted thanx for your advice.  I’m working on another one that tries to just show the architecture in terms of sources, modulators, amplifiers, and controllers.  The Tec section of the effects block presents incredible opportunities for synthesis modulation and those components are usually not shown clearly and functionally in the common synthesis diagrams for the Motif.

After all this time we’re still just scratching the surface of Motif synthesis capabilities.  Wow :-(

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Posted on: September 11, 2019 @ 06:05 PM
5pinDIN
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lastmonk - 11 September 2019 05:12 PM

[...]
After all this time we’re still just scratching the surface of Motif synthesis capabilities.  Wow :-(

In my opinion a good deal of the problem is that many people think of Motifs only as “ROMplers”, with the attendant presumed limitations. Once cursed by that term, most users don’t tend to dig very far into the features.

I remember a relevant discussion from a few years ago (and I found it):
https://www.harmonycentral.com/forum/forum/Keyboards/acapella-18/318864-

That thread illustrates some of the perceived limitations and misconceptions, although some appreciated the capabilities.

If I had more time to spend on this topic, I’d program some Voices that would demonstrate some of the less-appreciated functions, and include some real time control using the MW, ribbon, and aftertouch. Unfortunately, other (non-music) projects also want my attention.

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Posted on: September 11, 2019 @ 09:52 PM
lastmonk
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That discussion was almost depressing.

I have observed this.  A great many keyboard players seem to want a big/glowing magic button, wizard wheel, or super knob that will allow them to take one click, whirl or twirl and out will come their ultimate personalized sound.

There is also a trend, fad, and current rising interest in the old analog style synthesizers, that allows the player to experiment with oscillators, filters, and envelopes.  There is a whole generation of new players that want to get into this, but
in many cases they really don’t even understand what it is they are doing.  But the fact that there are only 10 or 20 knobs involved seems to make them feel less intimidated.  I guess the new approach is keep turning knobs until they hear something they like?  LOL

Programming Oscillators, Envelopes, Filters and Modulation, is both art and science and TBH IMO Motif is actually a far better instrument to learn on than say a Moog. If for no other reason than you can easily save and retrieve parameter settings and visualize your envelopes and filters using Motif’s 5.7 inch screen LOL.

Odd thing, I was programming a AWM2 engine before I even knew what a rompler was LOL. So maybe that’s why I don’t understand why players don’t realize how much of a synthesizer the Motif really is.  TBH my understanding of a rompler was a keyboard that had preset sounds that could not be edited in any real way.  And that keyboard could not create new sounds from scratch. So if people see Motif as a rompler then Motif is really misunderstood :-(

I imagine that when Yamaha first introduced AWM and AWM2 that maybe they spent more marketing effort to explain the synthesis power of the engine.  I have not really looked, but I’m guessing the marketing surrounding the SY77, or EX5 was probably a lot more synth heavy.  And by the time that Motif came along, AWM2 was just an afterthought,assumed and played second fiddle to the music production and workstation capabilities of Motif.

Well, I’ve got a show coming up in November.  I’m programming new sounds for it now, perhaps I’ll post some of the audio that showcases some of the different stuff that can be done with the Motif Synth engine.  Also our group is working on its debut album which features Motif and the Geoshred in the synth department.
I will definitely post the bandcamp link when its ready.

In my local area we have synth and knobcon type meetups 2 or 3 times a year. I usually bring my Mox and my QY100 and people are tripped out by how much of their analog synth techniques I’m able to match and exceed.  If the thinking is that AWM2 is a rompler no wonder they’re always so shocked and stunned LOL.

I say this often and really do mean it. I’ll put my Motif Synthesizer against any body’s synth at any time. They may have a synth that can do some stuff that may be a chore to pull off on Motif, but that’s a two way street, Motif has tricks of its own.  I’m always up for a good old fashion Synth shoot out!  LOL

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Posted on: September 18, 2019 @ 02:26 AM
marky_markuk ( Maxxuk )
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Hey you two.

I have the XS, had it since they first came out. I have long wanted to play with creating sounds, but I really don’t have the first clue where to start. So where does one start ? - Where do I start with the principles of sound creation ?

Mark.

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Posted on: September 18, 2019 @ 08:27 AM
lastmonk
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marky_markuk ( Maxxuk ) - 18 September 2019 02:26 AM

Hey you two.

I have the XS, had it since they first came out. I have long wanted to play with creating sounds, but I really don’t have the first clue where to start. So where does one start ? - Where do I start with the principles of sound creation ?

Mark.

I would suggest at least these three resources:

http://shop.motifator.com/index.php/sound-advice-dvd.html

http://futureaudioworkshop.com/product/power-tools-for-synthesizer-programming/

https://usa.yamaha.com/files/download/other_assets/1/812531/synthesizer_en_pm_c0.pdf

I Highly Recommend Rob Papen’s book!  If you can find it:

https://www.robpapen.com/dvd-sound-design.html

I understand more are due to be reprinted soon! Maybe you can e-mail him.

Any way if you don’t already know what to do., you can’t just learn sound design with trial and error without understanding the terminology.  Sure, you can stumble over some stuff, but you need some kind of structured tutorial (either from a person, book, video, youtube), etc.

Dave Polich’s Sound Advice is very good for getting Motif specifics on the Sound Design possibilities or capabilities of the Motif.  Do get that Synthesizer Parameter manual if you don’t already have it!!!

The book that I reference above is very good.  Its current.  Not too simple, not too complex.  The author is a nice guy.

Sound design is done in Voice mode on the Motif.

From Voice mode you work with Motif’s 8 Oscillators (i.e. elements), the filters, the envelope generators, LFOs and the insertion effects.  I want to point out that the TECH section of insertion effects are particularly relevant to sound design on the Motif.  This usually falls through the cracks.  But its a powerful part of Motif’s sound design palette.  So from Voice Mode you will have to learn about and apply:

Motif’s 3,977 Waveform (sources)
Oscillators
Filters
Pitch Envelope Generator
Filter Envelope Generator
Amp Envelope Generator
Element LFO’s
Common LFO’s
Insertion Effect LFO’s
TECH (Insertion Effects);
Velocity Mapping
Velocity Cross fading

These are the basic synth building blocks on the Motif.  The possibilities are literally endless.  If you’re serious about sound design, take your time to learn about each of these components, where they fit, and how they interact.

After you have you’re basic voice design down (I include insertion effects as part of the voice design here), then you can add system effects, and master effects.

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