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digital vs analog modulation sources
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author digital vs analog modulation sources
bbow73
I read some smack about euro being infiltrated by too many digital modules, meh. But it got me thinking

So analog signal flow aside (obvi),
does having digital ENVs or LFOs make a tonal difference?
would it be cheaper to produce a did-quad LFO vs analog?
Are their features that could be introduced to a modulator that wouldn't be possible or too expensive with an analog module?
monroe
I'm an amateur but here's my educated guess. You want an analog signal out of your ENV or LFO to use with other modules, so if it's digital then you'd need some digital-to-analog conversion, and if there is any VC input then you'd need some analog-to-digital, which would probably end up being more complicated and expensive than just doing an all-analog circuit. ADSR's and LFO's are not that complicated for analog circuits, as I understand.
CursedFrogurt
You can totally hear the difference between digital and analog modulators. Take and analog VCO, wiggle it by a digital LFO, and all of a sudden it just sounds like numbers. I don't like the idea of maths modulating my analog gear. It's probably cheaper, but you might as well run your synthesizer with Excel. Go wank off to some spreadsheets you pervert.

thumbs up
baltimoroder
CursedFrogurt wrote:
I don't like the idea of maths modulating my analog gear.


Go figure... I love my Maths.
frozenkore
CursedFrogurt wrote:
You can totally hear the difference between digital and analog modulators. Take and analog VCO, wiggle it by a digital LFO, and all of a sudden it just sounds like numbers. I don't like the idea of maths modulating my analog gear. It's probably cheaper, but you might as well run your synthesizer with Excel. Go wank off to some spreadsheets you pervert.

thumbs up


So you wouldn't use a Hertz Donut's second VCO in LFO mode to modulate your other modules?
dequalsrxt
I could be wrong on this,but I do believe there is a healthy smattering of sarcasm in that post.
J3RK
There goes using a 200e also...
Christopher Winkels
This should be in General Discussion; it's a good topic for all modular systems.

I would love to see some more digital modules for control signals. When it comes to things like an LFO for straightforward vibrato duties, or an envelope to control PWM there is a lot to be said for having the simplicity and low cost of a digital source. With rare exceptions I'm not so keen on them for audio signals (though we're edging ever closer to the day when they do become as good if not better than an analogue VCO), but for control? Bring 'em on.
CursedFrogurt
frozenkore wrote:

So you wouldn't use a Hertz Donut's second VCO in LFO mode to modulate your other modules?


NO I wouldn't. Mostly because I wouldn't want the primary oscillator of a Hertz donut dirtying up my analog signal path with its digital trash. I can't believe you even call it a VCO. More like a NCSDTG(Number Controlled Spreadsheet Digital Tone Generator) Hell, I would actually feel bad about modulating the first digital oscillator with the second digital oscillator. That's like, numbers times numbers. I think there should be a name for that.

I don't care what the resolution is, you can still hear the stepping. You can just hear it counting away, 4,8,15,16,23,42 . . .
dequalsrxt
and that's numberwang!
CursedFrogurt
Christopher Winkels wrote:
This should be in General Discussion; it's a good topic for all modular systems.

I would love to see some more digital modules for control signals. When it comes to things like an LFO for straightforward vibrato duties, or an envelope to control PWM there is a lot to be said for having the simplicity and low cost of a digital source. With rare exceptions I'm not so keen on them for audio signals (though we're edging ever closer to the day when they do become as good if not better than an analogue VCO), but for control? Bring 'em on.


I agree, I'd love to see some crazy digimal modulation sources. I'd like to see something fairly complex, with lots of internal modulation capacity. There's only so much you can do with external modulation in a cost effective manner, due to the added cost of D/A conversion, but a fairly complex modulator with several related channels of output, and some fair configurability, would be very interesting. The problem is interface, but I'd be happy with something that has a computer based editor for in depth modulation programming, and a performance oriented physical interface.

Imagine if you had an RCD/SCM with an internal clock source, tempo-synced and resettable lfos, envelopes that scale to bpm, and any other ideas you can think of, all in one rhythm domination module, with a few assignable channels of external voltage control. A rhythm/control oriented Z-DSP, if you will. Could be amazing. You'd certainly lose the immediate modular repatchability, but you'd have some serious recallable modulation power.

Actually, could we just get a module that ran numerology patches without a computer?
Jason Brock
CursedFrogurt wrote:
You can just hear it counting away, 4,8,15,16,23,42 . . .


bbow73
@monroe. no, no AD/DA. I'm not talking about signal, I'm talking about control.
My guess it that it's impossible to tell the difference if a 'woo woo' is being made by an analog or digital LFO.

@CW, Gen Discuss? I don't give a frac what those 5U toasters do.

On my Nord Wave the LFO section gives me tri, sqr, saw up&dwn, S/H smooth&stepped.

You have to have separate modules if want tri and S/H, lame. Then if you want your S/H smooth you either have to have a slew or an M24, lame.
I'd rather have them in one and save some space and power consumption.

Also on the NW you can turn the rate of the S/H high enough to get metallic or white noise effects. The M24 can sort of do that but you have to turn the depth way down and it doesn't sound as cool.

@Curse, you LOST me
bbow73
Livewire is back and the Chaos Computer is supposed to be able to weird Pi/Fibonacci stuff.
Jason Brock
*snip*
x2mirko
bbow73 wrote:
@monroe. no, no AD/DA. I'm not talking about signal, I'm talking about control.


Well, control signals are also nothing else than analogue voltages - which a microprocessor won't output. You will need some digital to analogue conversion. Also, if you want potentiometers to control what the module is doing, you need to measure analogue voltage going through those potentiometers, which requires ADCs to make the processor able to read the value of the poti.
So you see, AD/DA is not only necessary in the audiopath.
stk
INFILTRATE!!

we're not worthy we're not worthy
dude
behold the most powerful modulator source set i have seen.


it is amazing and has the function of:


works at mid to low audiorates can be set to track 1v/o. it will steal your daughters.

2011 people. enough with need for analog. it isn't the only thing out there unless you want to sorely limit your palette.
x2mirko
dude wrote:
2011 people. enough with need for analog.

thumbs up
bbow73
x2mirko wrote:
bbow73 wrote:
@monroe. no, no AD/DA. I'm not talking about signal, I'm talking about control.


Well, control signals are also nothing else than analogue voltages - which a microprocessor won't output. You will need some digital to analogue conversion. Also, if you want potentiometers to control what the module is doing, you need to measure analogue voltage going through those potentiometers, which requires ADCs to make the processor able to read the value of the poti.
So you see, AD/DA is not only necessary in the audiopath.


okay, that makes sense... So does that mean that a digital synth like a DX7 is full of AD/DA converters?
makenoise
dude wrote:
behold the most powerful modulator source set i have seen.


it is amazing and has the function of:


works at mid to low audiorates can be set to track 1v/o. it will steal your daughters.

2011 people. enough with need for analog. it isn't the only thing out there unless you want to sorely limit your palette.


My problem with modules like this, is that there is almost no visual feedback. Looking at the module, you only know the settings for the LAST edited LFO. The other 3, who knows! You'd have to guess by listening to the patch I suppose.

T
dude
makenoise wrote:
dude wrote:
behold the most powerful modulator source set i have seen.


it is amazing and has the function of:


works at mid to low audiorates can be set to track 1v/o. it will steal your daughters.

2011 people. enough with need for analog. it isn't the only thing out there unless you want to sorely limit your palette.


My problem with modules like this, is that there is almost no visual feedback. Looking at the module, you only know the settings for the LAST edited LFO. The other 3, who knows! You'd have to guess by listening to the patch I suppose.

T


i assume you have used one though? i thought the same thing before putting it in my system. how could this interface be useful/navigable. all i can say is that it works out once you learn it like any other instrument. the led per channel give you an indication of rate as well as shape. also, there are two different modes for parameter change operation so you can tailor it a bit to your liking.
dude
it is a trade-off with with space/function. you could have that giant module or fit a giant module into a small footprint. bruce chose the latter and i think he was right. the thing i like about my system is that it isn't gargantuan by modular standards but it packs a feature set that is totally usable and wide wide wide wide wide.
Nuuj
CursedFrogurt wrote:

Imagine if you had an RCD/SCM with an internal clock source, tempo-synced and resettable lfos, envelopes that scale to bpm, and any other ideas you can think of, all in one rhythm domination module, with a few assignable channels of external voltage control. A rhythm/control oriented Z-DSP, if you will. Could be amazing. You'd certainly lose the immediate modular repatchability, but you'd have some serious recallable modulation power.


I just posted a similar idea about the RCD/SCM over here a few minutes earlier:
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=29433
monroe
bbow73 wrote:

okay, that makes sense... So does that mean that a digital synth like a DX7 is full of AD/DA converters?
No, the modulation in a digital synth is done completely mathematically, i.e. an algorithm runs that computes what the output would be if X modulated Y, and it generates that at the end with a final D/A conversion of its code into an audio signal. Sure it is easy to do lots of LFOs of many varieties within the virtual universe of software, because we have incredibly fast computers. But if you want it to be part of a modular synth then what's the point? Faithful D/A, A/D conversion is not simple. I mean, some analog circuits are ridiculously simple. For example, listen to Dieter Doepfer talk about a possible modification of the Dark Energy:

Dieter wrote:

There are no plans for a LFO reset feature. The reset circuit would be
larger than the LFO circuit itself (which is nothing but two opamps). It's
not only an electronic switch that shortens the capacitor of the LFO. You
also have to make sure that the LFO starts after the capacitor discharge
alwas into the same direction (usually rising slope of the triangle).
Otherwise the LFO starts randomly after the discharge.


2 opamps! And that gives you triangle and square analog voltage signals that range from minutes long to 5Khz! Also realize that in some sense all digital circuits are just really huge collections of analog components. In the digital world you get quality sauce out of sheer numbers of little parts doing many things really fast. In the analog world you get quality sauce out of a few high-quality parts doing a few things really well. Kind of like an acoustic instrument.
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