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possibly dumb Qs re: MI Tides
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Author possibly dumb Qs re: MI Tides
papertiger
As the title states, possibly dumb/obvious questions regarding Mutable Instruments' Tides

First, what are the sound shaping CV inputs that are available when using the module as an oscillator? FM, Shape, Slope and Smoothness?

Second, questions regarding output: which output, uni or bipolar, would be the output for the audio of the oscillator? If the answer is both, what would be the difference between the two, sonically? (or aurally -- I'm asking about audio). What would a unipolar or bipolar oscillator sound like? Would I want to use one but not the other?

Thanks in advance for any help. I'm considering adding this module to my system, but I want to understand it better before I make a decision.

M
ChevChelios
it has been a while since I have used my tides as an audio source, but vco output is typically bipolar. The uni-polar out will produce sound too, however it will "sound" different.

If i remember correctly, I think I read once that the uni and bi outs actually output different wave forms on Tides. i.e. the bipolar wave forms aren't just the uni ones stretched out, they are actually different, but similar, wave tables.
euromorcego
papertiger wrote:

First, what are the sound shaping CV inputs that are available when using the module as an oscillator? FM, Shape, Slope and Smoothness?

Second, questions regarding output: which output, uni or bipolar, would be the output for the audio of the oscillator? If the answer is both, what would be the difference between the two, sonically?

Tides is an excellent oscillator, you will not regret buying it. Bought it mainly for modulation but only use it as oscillator. It is almost a complete synthvoice, really. With an envelope going into the VCA and some modulation it's all you need for a full synth voice.

1. think of Tides as a simple oscillator with waveshaper. No subsequent filter needed. 'Smoothness' is like the cutoff of a (non-resonant) filter. The other two CV input control waveshape. I actually already forgot what they do (but the MI manual is pretty good), I just think of them to adjust the timbre of the oscillator (very organic sounding!).

2. bipolar would be the main audio output. I do not often use the unipolar output, but it definitely sounds distinct (it is not just a shifted coopy of the unipolar output).
savethisrocketship
ChevChelios wrote:

If i remember correctly, I think I read once that the uni and bi outs actually output different wave forms on Tides. i.e. the bipolar wave forms aren't just the uni ones stretched out, they are actually different, but similar, wave tables.


I've been researching Tides for envelope generation and, as I understand it, ChevChelios is correct - at least that is true for the envelope useage of it, so I would assume it is similar at audio rates... not sure what this means in terms of tonal character/'musicality'. You may know better than me at this point, but it seemed like there were a bunch of Youtube videos demonstrating the Oscillation capabilities of Tides... far more than I was able to find for it as an EG. I didn't really watch many of them, so maybe they don't answer your question, but if you haven't looked into that yet it might be a good place to start. Good luck!
REVIVER
If you feel like you're going to use Tides primarily as an oscillator, then it would behoove you to update it with the Sheep firmware.

http://mutable-instruments.net/modules/sheep/manual

Though the original Tides firmware makes for a fantastic sound source, Sheep takes it one step further.

MY ASS IS BLEEDING
Funky40
IIRC, is smoothness a dual function.
to the left ( CCW) a LP filter / to the right ( CW) kind of a waveshaper.
this is perfectly explained in the manual. check there.
shape, slope, Fm is explained there good enough too.

The question is, is the Tides "musical" ? Yes, it is !
as a VCO and as an envelope.




i used mostly the bipolar out. some poeple posted here that they like to mix.
i checked that. Makes not so much of a -worthful- difference to me.

my unit is right now back to be an Envelope. lol
.......has the groove-ping thing going similar to peaks.

and donĀ“t forget, there is also the PLL mode.
not really for the experimental side of PLLing IMHO, but rewarding on its own too
papertiger
Thanks for the responses, everyone. I'm definitely still in research mode, but part of me wonders whether I shouldn't just get a dedicated oscillator.

I'm currently using Braids as my main oscillator, but have been slightly bummed by the limited number of CV inputs... that being said, usually pounding oscillators with a lot of CV modulation results in sounds I don't like, so that's the other side of the "dilemma." I'm trying to make sure that Tides as an oscillator will have enough CV inputs to keep me interested.

I'm in the process of watching all the YT videos and demos, and reading and rereading the manual, but I appreciate the responses! Reports from actual users is nice.

M
pichenettes
The manual has examples of waveshapes:



The slope parameter controls the ratio between ascending/descending segments on the unipolar output, and the ratio between the positive/negative bumps on the bipolar output. As a result, the bipolar output has more harmonics and is more "nasal". It's a bit like saw vs triangle, or 2-pole filter vs 4-pole. Both outputs are relevant - just different flavours.

The module is born from the idea of abolishing the arbitrary boundary between low frequency and audio-rate generators. It's designed to be useful and meaningful across the entire spectrum. It does lots of things, but not through mere concatenation (as Braids, Peaks would do) - there's really a unified approach that makes it work well as both an oscillator and a modulator.

In addition to the 3 main waveshaping CVs, and the FM input, it can also do AM through the LEVEL CV input, and all kind of formant/sync sounds with the TRIG and FREEZE inputs and an auxiliary oscillator. There's also the switcheroo technique: instead of running it at audio rate and sweep a parameter (say SLOPE) at a low frequency, you run it at the low frequency and you modulate the parameter at audio frequency from another sine or triangle oscillator. It's my favorite thing to do with this module. It's a rich generator - probably best module I've done.

Check this, especially around 9:00

guestt
+1 for Tides as OSC! thumbs up

It pairs extremely well with Streams - another extraordinarily powerful module - probably vastly underrated as it's a dynamics module, but oh my does it deliver!!

I need another three Tides at least... and a bigger case help
papertiger
@pichenettes -- I can't tell how you flattered I am that you responded to my questions. Another reason I love modular -- the makers walk among the mortals (or at least the people (like me!) who believe that modules are magic...).

pichenettes wrote:
As a result, the bipolar output has more harmonics and is more "nasal". It's a bit like saw vs triangle, or 2-pole filter vs 4-pole. Both outputs are relevant - just different flavours.


This information is exactly the kind of information i was looking for. The diagrams on the manual web page are incredibly helpful (and convincing in terms of realizing how many things the module can do), but I wondered what they would mean in terms of hearing Tides, not just using it as a modulator.

pichenettes wrote:
The module is born from the idea of abolishing the arbitrary boundary between low frequency and audio-rate generators. It's designed to be useful and meaningful across the entire spectrum. It does lots of things, but not through mere concatenation (as Braids, Peaks would do) - there's really a unified approach that makes it work well as both an oscillator and a modulator.


That's a really interesting concept for a module. I'm still inexperienced with modular systems, but I don't know that I've run into a module that takes that idea as its foundation and runs with it. I know that Maths *can* run at audio rates, but it's certainly not designed to be used that way, I don't think, in the same way that Tides is (incidental vs. intentional).

pichenettes wrote:
In addition to the 3 main waveshaping CVs, and the FM input, it can also do AM through the LEVEL CV input, and all kind of formant/sync sounds with the TRIG and FREEZE inputs and an auxiliary oscillator. There's also the switcheroo technique: instead of running it at audio rate and sweep a parameter (say SLOPE) at a low frequency, you run it at the low frequency and you modulate the parameter at audio frequency from another sine or triangle oscillator. It's my favorite thing to do with this module. It's a rich generator - probably best module I've done.


Ha! I was wondering what it would sound like to have Tides go back and forth between audio rate/sub-audio rates during my coffee break. This sentence from the manual got me thinking about it: "when a signal enters the audio frequencies, we stop perceiving it in terms of its variations in time (the waveform graph), and we start perceiving it in terms of frequencies."

Thanks again for taking the time to respond. This information is invaluable, interesting, and really helpful. And probably has probably helped make up my mind.
cold_fashioned
I'm glad you posted, because I'm learning a lot about Tides in reading through this thread. The #1 thing I have learned is that I definitely need to use my Tides in more patches! I'm still perplexed by PLL (even after reading / watching various explanations out on the web), but one step at a time, for now.
papertiger
pretty sure i know the answer to this one, and that the answer is no, but does Tides include the built-in quantizer that Braids has on the 1v/oct input (for when Tides is used as an oscillator)?

thanks!

M
REVIVER
papertiger wrote:
does Tides include the built-in quantizer that Braids has on the 1v/oct input (for when Tides is used as an oscillator)?


Nope.
papertiger
REVIVER wrote:
papertiger wrote:
does Tides include the built-in quantizer that Braids has on the 1v/oct input (for when Tides is used as an oscillator)?


Nope.


thanks for confirming.
radiokoala
One thing that's blown me away was when I patched a funk slap bass guitar in PLL mode somehow but then, when you switched back to normal, it started to sound like arp techno pattern. Oh wait.. no, actually, I patched the techno percussion first. Ans then, upon switching to PLL and hearing that funk bass, now that's what was mindblowing! MY ASS IS BLEEDING

Another thing worth noting is, with sheep firmware, you have that digital lo-fi output, sub, and then normal output. Mixing them results in so huge and rich sounds it's ridiculous.
papertiger
radiokoala wrote:
One thing that's blown me away was when I patched a funk slap bass guitar in PLL mode somehow but then, when you switched back to normal, it started to sound like arp techno pattern. Oh wait.. no, actually, I patched the techno percussion first. Ans then, upon switching to PLL and hearing that funk bass, now that's what was mindblowing! MY ASS IS BLEEDING

Another thing worth noting is, with sheep firmware, you have that digital lo-fi output, sub, and then normal output. Mixing them results in so huge and rich sounds it's ridiculous.


audio or it didn't happen! Rockin' Banana!
radiokoala
papertiger
Yeah, I have it somewhere. I'll look for it later today! smile
papertiger
radiokoala wrote:
papertiger
Yeah, I have it somewhere. I'll look for it later today! smile


cool! thanks in advance...

M
lysander
pichenettes wrote:
It's a rich generator - probably best module I've done.


Not that your other modules aren't amazing, but I might agree and add that Tides is probably one of the best Euro modules ever made.
It does so much and does it so well accross the board.
I've got one but I want more. Many more.
I could see myself owning 4 and using them all the time.
radiokoala
Okay I promised, so here it is... no changes/tweaks at all except turning PLL mode on (on=funk) and back!
taintedsun
papertiger wrote:
Thanks for the responses, everyone. I'm definitely still in research mode, but part of me wonders whether I shouldn't just get a dedicated oscillator.


So, I'm going to shy away from the pack here and give you another perspective which ties into what you said about just getting a dedicated oscillator.

Tides was one of my first modules and I had a lot of fun with it, but for me, it was trying to fill too many roles. As everyone had said, it's a great sounding oscillator, but I bought it as an envelope generator. I recently sold it because it's kind of fat for an envelope generator, and I rarely used it as an oscillator (if I did, I felt like I was missing its envelope functions).

I found that in my small systems modules serve dedicated functions, and having the option to switch a module over to a different mode is great, but only if you have enough VCAs and envelopes and mixers (etc) to handle that. In my case, I found I needed it to do one of its two functions all the time, and I was losing out on 50% of the module.

In a big system, my hunch is (and owners of monster systems, definitely call me out if I'm wrong), you're likely going to have so many options for an envelope or an oscillator that you're never going to need to have the duality. You'll likely decide you like one functionality over the other and only use it in that form, which begs the question:

papertiger wrote:
...whether I shouldn't just get a dedicated oscillator [or envelope generator].


But hey, after writing this down... it seems like it might be a Goldilocks situation where a medium system does great with a module like this.

(Full disclosure, I'm not into modules like Peaks or Distings, for example, that serve multiple purposes with assignable outs. I like dual or quad modules just fine, and a module that can be tricked into performing a task it wasn't designed to perform, that's cool, too. And yes, this is all my personal preference, and by no means an appeal to classic modules or spirit of modular. It's just a product of what I want to put my hands on, haha. I'm intrigued by what Mutable is doing and by modules like this, and I'm happy so many people love their modules.)
guestt
I heard this perspective before I even got my first module and I total appreciate where you're coming from taintedsun; it makes me want two of the same module a lot smile

Having said that, I really like that I can switch functionality on several modules and essentially have a completely different instrument in the same box.

For example, I never really wanted to do drums on my modular, that's taken care of elsewhere and was never part of the vision, but the other night I got to wondering what was possible with my current set up and I was blown away - synth morphs into drum machine with so little effort This is fun!
taintedsun
Baddcr wrote:
I heard this perspective before I even got my first module and I total appreciate where you're coming from taintedsun; it makes me want two of the same module a lot smile


I think that's a fair conclusion to come to, haha.
mqtthiqs
Hi, interesting discussion indeed!
I always had some small questions about my Tides; maybe this is the place to ask... Olivier (if you're still around) or anybody else:
- what is the range of frequencies accepted in the inputs? (FM, three CV and two clocks) i.e. can we do proper FM/AM/Sync?
- in PLL mode, the Range switch still switches between three options, which are not the frequency range. What do they control? (I can't tell by ear)
Thanks!
bennelong.bicyclist
mqtthiqs wrote:
Hi, interesting discussion indeed!
I always had some small questions about my Tides; maybe this is the place to ask... Olivier (if you're still around) or anybody else:
- what is the range of frequencies accepted in the inputs? (FM, three CV and two clocks) i.e. can we do proper FM/AM/Sync?
- in PLL mode, the Range switch still switches between three options, which are not the frequency range. What do they control? (I can't tell by ear)
Thanks!


The ADC inputs are read at 6kHz, except for the Level input, which is read at the sample rate (48kHz). Thus you can do full-range audio-frequency AM, but not full-range audio frequency FM. The gate inputs (Trig, Freeze and Clock) seem to be read at the sample rate too, hence you can use them at audio rates.
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