Polysynths

Maybe a digression (as you point out), but do you think you could spell this process out in more detail? Trying to figure out if this is something I already do or a new technique to try. And do you mean “69-91” % quantized?

I don’t see it brought up often these days, but I picked up a Hyve a while back, and it feels like an incredible value for the money. Sure, it’s one sound, but it’s a good sound. Being able to stack notes on multiple octaves with ease is a pretty neat trick. Also the easy chord playing is fun. I feel like there are a couple variants that could be useful, but as a minimalist synth, it’s really wonderful and avoids the complications that would come from adding things to it.

May as well share a recent patch I did with it. I actually recorded a bunch of material. This was running through my more experimental modular.

Hyve (mono) > RIP > TXN > QPAS BP > Erbe-Verb > Mimeophon > Analog Heat

Quantum Rainbow > TXN

Just Friends was the modulation source. I forget the specific targets, but QPAS was the main recipient.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CM3zq2Mh0af/?igshid=qhq5flcujkcz

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I still want a hyve, mostly because it is such a nice sound in such a small and fun to use format.

i meant “between 69 & 91 out of 127”, the max value. i think the manual quantization has some inherent magic, but i don’t know the specifics. I believe rytm, a4, cycles, digitone all have this. it’s global quantize and per track quantize.

so what i normally do is take a simple rhythmic idea, like kick + snare, turn on the metronome and start tapping out an pattern with the kick + snare pads while live recording (set to unquantized by hitting rec+play twice). while it’s still playing i will usually tap out some hi hats as the pattern loops. during any point in this process, you can start turning either the global quantize knob or the per track quantize knob. i usually try to tap out my whole pattern before touching it. so once i have something that sounds ok (it can also sound like a mess), i start turning global quantize up. on the rytm, once you get to around 50 you can start to go slower and around 60 it starts becoming pretty cohesive. i think this is the best method for quantizing anything because you can retain a lot of the semi-sloppy human feeling swing but still nudge everything a little closer to perfectly on the grid. i find that the closer you get to 90, its almost entirely robotic but not quite. and the max value is 127

sorry if i’m not explaining the technical details properly but that’s the practical method i use. it took me a little while to figure out how to make the live recording process work for me because on the model:cycles, it’s a little easier and on the octatrack, i pretty much have to record in quantized mode. but this is by far the best. i use my analog four/digitone in a very similar way, just with slightly higher values and usually per-track. but yeah, its a great way to get an idea tapped out, that doesnt sound like a roland drum machine pattern and still be able to snap it to the grid in very incremental steps. its very intuitive because you can hold down the encoder to scroll faster then let go and turn for smaller fine adjustments. you can also do additional per track quantization on top of the global setting if you want one drum sound/pattern to be a little tighter or more loose than everything else. so if you want complex hi hats, i would tap those out first unquantized live. then turn up global until you like how it sounds with the metronome. then record the kick and snare which should already play back with that level of quantization you set the hats to, which you can then further adjust with per-track quantization

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the hyve synth is an amzing thing! i love that it’s nearly impossible to do the exact same performance twice, so it’s really a conversation with the instrument, and you need to be in the mood to create something cool.
so much life in this tiny box!

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To every rev2 owner: the *great J3PO made some patches for the synth:

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Awesome thanks. I’ve been watching his reharm videos lately but somehow missed these

I wanted to report back here and say that after finally getting the Digitone back, i should have never gotten rid of it. such a great, beautiful sounding synth and my hardware setup just doesn’t work without it. i tried a lot of things to sequence all of my analog gear (polysynths included) together and the only thing missing was the digitone. it makes live sequencing and just hardware composition & performance in general incredibly easy and fun. very happy to have it back. i guess sometimes you dont realize how essential a piece of gear is until you replace it

for anyone else who is looking for a hardware composition tool and would prefer to sequence in real-time out of the box rather than multi tracking, strongly consider the Digitone. It’s the best sequencer of all the elektrons and on its own, it’s maybe the best all in one portable groovebox+digital synth to make musical ideas on. But in the studio it is a usb interface for external inputs, excellent fx unit, smooth quadra-synth engine, poly midi sequencer with p lockable midi cc params, drum machine, and it handles external modulation like the “Changes” norns script really well with visual feedback

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Polybrute update.

I finally pulled the trigger and I’m still not 100% sure I’m happy about it but NO QUESTION this thing can sound really great. My OCD issues are mainly preset recall and compare related.

I’m actually posting because right now I’m working my way through an incredibly (especially for Arturia who tend to feature dancers tweaking their synths in their videos) helpful and illuminating series of videos made by a sound designer called Matt Pike. He really shows what the synth is and can be, and he’s sold me on keeping it, at least for a while…

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I also can highly recommend this guy – his sound set for Polybrute and his video on vintage voice modeling. He applies most of what the Prophet 5 vintage knob does to Polybrute.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9fRryafgKU&t=35s

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The GS-E7 is a seven-voice polysynth designed and produced by GS Music in Argentina. Sadly the video below is the only demo they made public so far, but I love the sounds and on paper it seems very versatile.
Here is a more thorough description.

The only poly I’ve had was the Ensonic Esq1, which wasn’t quite my favorite sounding synth but was a lot of fun. Hopefully there are more demos of the GS-E7 by the time it is available again. The price ($1400 USD) and the fact it is locally produced (to me) makes it quite appealing.

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I’m wondering how people with a Novation Peak like to use it primarily in their setups. I swapped my Rev2 for one recently and while I don’t think it sounds as good for brassy analog pads and chords, it is more versatile.

At first I was trying to recreate more warm analog sounds but after just recently learning how to use fm more effectively, I’m really enjoying making plucky, more glassy dx7 style patches with some subtractive analog elements and overdrive.

I find it hard to get into a lot of modulation and even wavetable synthesis without getting into very digital sounding territory but I’m learning that it is possible to subtly use the wavetable oscillators mixed together with different wave shape positions going through a bandpass filter to make more interesting organic sounds

It’s an older synth now but it’s new to me and I’m interested in pushing it to its full potential by using the more flexible digital elements along with the analog path to create more experimental analog sounding patches, if that makes sense

If you want more “analogue” sounds then consider trying to get the analogue parts to do this for you. In particular the mixer is designed to overdrive slightly if you use all the oscillators. There is a pre filter drive (drive knobs) and a post filter drive (in the voice menu). There is also an analogue master output distortion. All 4 of those can be considered gain stages. You can redistribute the gain between those stages to get more gain overall, but also to hear more of the analogue character of those components. Another thing to consider is turning up the drift and divergence and the filter diverge (in the voice menu with post filter drive). Finally adding a tiny bit of noise from the noise source (or a lot with the noise low pass, in the oscillator menu, closed up a bit) can add some extra character.

With care those features can give you various characters of noiseiness in the signal and instability in the elements of the sound. As for keeping warmth with wavetables, note that some of the wavetables can be very “brittle” sounding (by design). One thing to try is setting the range on those oscillators lower so the fundamental drops and you hear correspondingly less harmonic content with respect to “concert pitch” of the note you are playing. Wave shape sweeps are very smooth on the Peak, but some wavetables have very different entries so sweeping too fast can give some unnatural sounds. Try and experiment with wave shaping with very small intensities (LFO, velocity, keyboard, aftertouch, envelope etc). If the modulation is fast but short lived you can get a bright transient (like with an LFO) and subtle adjustments with other parameters can make the sound more lively. When you use an LFO, use a smooth shape and keep the rate and depth low.

On the whole I like the 12db filter mode for poly sounds so perhaps that will be something to explore. I also try and always set at least some velocity modulation to the envelope modulation routings (for the amp, and both mod envelopes) to also add a bit of variation. You might also like to turn the filter tracking down a little from 127 (100%). If you are using unison mode, experiment with unison detune (and possibly pan spread). I find myself also often using a little chorus (low rate and depth) to add a little more character.

There are probably lots of other things I do when designing sounds on it, but this is what came to mind. I’ve had it for about 4 years and can’t imagine getting rid of it.

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thank you, these are all very helpful tips.

i don’t know if the diverge setting is what i’m looking for but i have tried using the oscillator diverge and the filter setting before. i also have a hard time differentiating between the pre and post filter drive so i use a little of both usually along with the distortion. i do like the distortion a lot, just subtly to add some saturation. i think i kind of decided that i’m not much of a fan of “slop” type artificially creating analog character, so i wouldn’t use those diverge parameters much, but i can see their utility for sound design in some cases. that’s why i think i’m more curious about how people approach this synth; if they do see it as an analog synth or if they more just use it to push the boundaries of modern hardware synthesis

the lower octave thing is a very good idea. that’s exactly the kind of advice i was looking for. i just learned yesterday that when using fm, it helps to set the modulator operator to 16’ on a sine wave and intensity anywhere between 34-63, but yeah that makes a lot of sense. at first i was trying a lot to recreate the brittle pulse wave shape of the rev2 with two peak pulse waves, but it seems to work much better with the thinner end of some of the wavetable shapes combined. i have not tried using a very fast 1-repeat lfo ramp on the shape though, i am 100% trying that now.

osc keysync is good for fm too, so i usually set that to “on” with every new patch now. key tracking i usually always set a little lower because with this filter’s huge range, i find myself wanting to keep it on the lower end to clamp down on the ultra bright frequencies. but around 12:00 resonance can be very helpful for sharper transients on the 24db filter i think. env hold time helps on negative filter freq for plucky envelopes but im not entirely sure how an extra hold stage effects an adsr envelope. im sure the manual outlines that. i also have to read up on the velocity. sometimes i will arbitrarily set it like halfway, but that’s one of the things i do blindly, kind of like when i set lfo slew to a higher value. i cant really tell what it’s doing although in theory, i understand what it’s supposed to do. i guess it just takes a little time to understand how one synth’s particular parameters affect it’s sound. this kind of advice is very valuable to me though, so i appreciate it a lot

one big thing i don’t understand is how to utilize the ring mod. i remember reading that it’s often viewed as one of the sound sources on this synth, but i can barely hear it when i’m just trying to cross mod between 1 & 2. have you ever used that much to enhance a patch?

I feel like dialing in just a little bit of oscillator and filter diverge, so that you pretty much don’t hear it when playing just a single voice, really makes a difference in how “alive” the synth feels when playing chords because of the subtle difference between voices. Maybe the tiniest bit of oscillator drift – however, that’s much less subtle, so I often don’t use it at all. I’d agree that “drift” in particular is more of a sound design thing.

Lots of cool tips in these two last posts, thanks!

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Anyone have thoughts on the new Sequential Take 5?

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This is not a reply to the Take5 post above, this is just the next post :slight_smile:

Making a new analog poly is like making a new ketchup, mustard or cola when we already have Heinz, French’s or Coke.

Analog polys the synth world needs:

Prophet 5
Jupiter 8

That’s it.

One down, one to go.

Edit: Full disclosure - I am not trolling. However, I am also not in a very good mood and rather tired, so more likely to declare an inflammatory opinion in the open :slightly_smiling_face:

If people thought the Prophet 5 was enough there would be no Jupiter 8.

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So far I really like what I’ve heard from the Take 5. If I was in the market for a budget friendly (relatively speaking) standard issue analog polysynth it would be high on my list of candidates to investigate.

Maybe the synth world doesn’t need it, but it’s nice to have decent options that are less than $4500 Canadabucks. :slight_smile:

I’m gonna be a weirdo and just say that I really miss seeing Dave Smith in the intro video to the Take 5, say, unlike Rev2/Prophet {12,10,6,2 or whatever other numbers}…

The Take 5 looks like very ideal for me. I’ve been thinking about buying a new poly this year.
I like that it’s compact, and the price makes it really tempting. I’ve been thinking about a Rev2 too. I wonder what i’ll be missing compared to the Rev2.

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