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FM synths for Buchla-like timbres?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author FM synths for Buchla-like timbres?
DeanG
Just wondering what you all might think about this. Closest system I have had that could produce some of the complex osc fm and low pass gate types of Buchla timbres was my MN system with the DPO and Optomix LPG and Function...that would make sense of course, but I had to down size and abandon modular and that system for a variety of reasons. After considerable back and forth with a lot of semi modular and fixed monosynths, I've surprisingly found myself very happy with a simple Roland SE-02 setup augmented by the Se02 Ext Box, Goliath (thanks to a wiggler suggestion) and qnexus or a cheap rockband 3 guitar controller.

And while I have found I can get satisfying west coasty sounds from the moogish se-02, especially combined with some insantaneous patch switch and sequencer manipulation, I still often miss the buchla type sounds I used to get from my MN stuff.
My post concerns the couple of affordable fm synths available..Volca FM, and Roland D-05..and whether they can be patched/programmed to produce sounds on the spectrum of the Buchla analog fm etc. I have not done any programming of those types of machines, and I have no interest in type of 80s-90s pop and rock music or movie scores they appear to be associated with, but it seems to me that there must be huge potential for improvised experimental abstract sound design, in my case combined with my se-02 work. The volca fm in particular appears to have made more of an attempt at user interaction and upfront controls than the d05. What would your take be on this idea? Which has the best tweakability? Do these synths have potential as a kind of buchla standin (I've avoided bringing up the powerful tone character of something like the music easel..that's another issue I guess).

Thanks, as always looking forward to your insights.

Dean
nrrrd
Have you had a look at the Make Noise 0-Coast, seeing as you liked the other Make Noise products?

You could buy two of them to cross modulate the oscillators!

Or you could buy one, and one of the 4ms pods to add another oscillator / LPG, etc.
DeanG
Actually I have owned 2 0 coasts at different times, a great little synth, I initially replaced my MN with one..andl later had regrets after selling it. But thing is I am not really looking for a mini modular, as all the cables and patching don't work that well, for me, in live improvising situations. I have been developing presets to call up and then I can interact with them and related patches. I really liked the neutron but keeping track of the cabling and patching is tough for an old guy like me! I figure I can approach an fm synth in a sililar way to what I have going on the se-02. Certainly 2 0-coasts could be a blast but not the kind of interface I am looking for now.
Randy
Dean, it's actually nice to read this, I've been thinking the same thing. PM Foundations and I are designing a panel (yup, yet another synth "voice") for Eurorack but no patch cables are required to use it, other than your standard CV/GATE and an output. All "patching" is done with toggles, push buttons and some default routing.

We're only using Eurorack because the standards are there for power, form factor and the already mentioned CV/GATE, etc.

Our original goal was to replicate the Oberheim SEM but we're going beyond that. I also wanted to be able to do some west coast-ish stuff, so there's VCO FM, a folder and a ring mod included.

We're quite a ways from releasing it (sometime later 2019 I figure) but I just wanted to let you know there are others out there who share your vision.

Randy
DeanG
Randy, I thinkmthe arp odyssey had/has a lot to onspire in that direction...in fact I hope you use sliders!
Randy
Nope, no sliders. I did spend time reviewing the Odyssey, Minimoog, SEM, VCS3 and many others from that era. There isn't much room in the Eurorack form for sliders. I actually based much of the design on the Steiner Parker Synthacon.

We've tried to space knobs and toggles so it's not too cramped. VCOs, VCF and EGs are based on the SEM, but there are many extras. I consider it to be a tribute. We'll leave the "no imagination required" clones for Behringer.
fac
I would look for a Yamaha DX-200. Seriously.

It's basically a DX7 where many parameters are hidden (can be only accessed via a software editor), but it still has enough knobs to control the envelopes and harmonic content of different groups of modulators. Plus it has a decent filter and some basic effects. It also has a sequencer and a mini-keyboard.

I sold mine and have been wanting to grab another one for a while. It's a fun little beast.
DeanG
Cool, DX200, I check that out, didn't know about that one.

Randy, I wasn't suggesting you clone anything, just that I think the arp odyssey did a great job with switches and sliders to create a great user interface IMO..wasn't thinking about eurorack. Good luck on that project!
starthief
If software synths are acceptable, Madrona Labs Aalto is a fantastic West Coast synth and Arturia has a surprisingly decent Music Easel reproduction.
gentle_attack
Might as well take a peak at the Digitone.

Pretty cool combo of FM plus some subtractive elements. Very fun. With p-locks / trigless trigs/ trigless locks you can do things like sustain a pad and then quickly open the filter or change the operator. Can get kind of ping-y sounds, particularly if you are sending it to some delay/verb. Not exactly like a LPG but you can get some pretty intersting struck/impact sounds using these techniques.
Randy
DeanG wrote:
Cool, DX200, I check that out, didn't know about that one.

Randy, I wasn't suggesting you clone anything, just that I think the arp odyssey did a great job with switches and sliders to create a great user interface IMO..wasn't thinking about eurorack. Good luck on that project!


I didn't take your comment to mean you suggesting a clone, not at all, and fully agree about the Odyssey!

Randy
Scories
Not the cheapest option but you might have a look at the Yamaha FS1R.
tim gueguen
The D05 isn't FM, it's a combination of short samples with an early form of what we'd call virtual analog these days.
DeanG
I didn't know that about the d-05, thanks for clarifying.

I have a demo version of Alto and Kaivo, both very fun and interesting, but I am not sure what else besides the computer I need to get the best sound quality output, an external sound card I assume. I like Alto quite a bit actually and it is very cost effective. Also I have been playing with the demo of the Arturia Buchla Easel and there again I din't think just running from my computer to and amp is doing it justice. I find I prefer Alto's interface somewhat to the easel.
merlatte
There isn't any official word from Korg or anything, but there's a supposed NAMM leak of a Volca Modular- basically looks like a micro-Easel with LPG's, a complex oscillator with wavefolder, etc. It even apes the color pallet. I really hope it's not fake.
GuyaGuy
I wanted an analog with FM and a wave folder, got the MatrixBrute, and couldn’t be happier. No LPGs but the dual filters can provide for lots of variations.
ugokcen
I have the Volca FM and a bunch of Make Noise modules. They are completely different worlds. Analog FM and digital FM sound very different to start with and wavefolding is a big part of the Buchla sound which is not something you find on DX style synths.

Don't get me wrong, I love the original DX7 and the new Volca but that's because they are powerful synths in their own right and can get you timbres other synths cannot (including the Buchla). The secret is the ability to tune the oscillators in exact ratios and the FM being through-zero.

If you are after west coast style sounds, I think you are going to have to go with modules (or software emulations of modules). Loquelic Iteritas into the LxD is a pretty compact and affordable way to satisfy your Buchla cravings.
DeanG
Thanks good advice and insights. I have been messing with a Caustic fm synth emulation to try to get a taste of the programming etc, and I do agree that there's really cool sounds but it is a different territory (which I may want for what it is). I have also been working with the software Alto as well as demo of arturia Buchla V Easel...and they are more in the ballpark soundwise. But I can't shake the sense that they are virtual. And compared to the modular I had, there seems to be a lack of presence, or physicality, but I know this is in part my subjective head trip..still it is there. In fact I'd go so far as to say my se02 xmod patches get me much closer than the fm or the emulations, subtractive moog architecture not withstanding, and the sounds have immediacy and presence that I don't feel from the software, as good as it is. Plus after 20 years of industrial software development I don't have warm feelings for a computer screen...a personal bias for sure. But I am going to get a better audio interface before I draw any conclusions.

Curios about that korg thing though..
tIB
I remember looking at my buchla in a very funny way the first time I built a track with the nord drum 2 in midi mode (ie 6 part multitimbral). That was for plinky stuff as opposed to droney - sounds incredible doing that.
Knarzwaltz
Minibrute 2 is great for Buchla like timbres... sine trough the metalizer controlled by pressure.

For more FM Buchla 400/700 like sound I would probably look at the Prophet 12/Pro 2 ....
Angroc
This post resonates with me. The idea of a programmable west coast sound module is just terrific! I just can't dial gnarly tones out of the DX type synth as I can out of my sputnik dual oscillator.
DeanG
It was pointed out earlier that the d-05 is not an fm synth. And it seems that an actual fm synth is very different implementation and not capable of creating sounds like the 2 osc fm and wavefolding and lpg of the buchla type design. So now I am wondering what the d-05 synthesis might offer.

I guess my thinking when I posted the topic, right or wrong, was that synths like dx7 because they proved so capable of creating almost acoustical instrument complexity, must be able to produce timbres like the relatively simple osc fm and buchla type sounds in general...if I learned how to manipulate it under the hood. I am still not sure why that isn't possible, but now I am wondering if the roland d-05/d50 might be more suited to that if it is indeed more of a virtual analog type of synth engine. Obviously I don't know much about these machines.
dubonaire
DeanG wrote:
It was pointed out earlier that the d-05 is not an fm synth. And it seems that an actual fm synth is very different implementation and not capable of creating sounds like the 2 osc fm and wavefolding and lpg of the buchla type design. So now I am wondering what the d-05 synthesis might offer.

I guess my thinking when I posted the topic, right or wrong, was that synths like dx7 because they proved so capable of creating almost acoustical instrument complexity, must be able to produce timbres like the relatively simple osc fm and buchla type sounds in general...if I learned how to manipulate it under the hood. I am still not sure why that isn't possible, but now I am wondering if the roland d-05/d50 might be more suited to that if it is indeed more of a virtual analog type of synth engine. Obviously I don't know much about these machines.


To understand how the D-05/D-50 works this is probably the best resource.

https://cultofd50.org/Roland_D-50_Creative_Book.pdf

I'm not really sure it's the synth you are looking for. You might want to consider Novation Peak or Rev2 or any of the synths with a lot of modulation options. Or maybe check out the Lyra-8 thread.
zeit
Just out of curiosity, what do these osc fm and buchla type sounds sound like? like an audio clip or YT example...Now I want to hear them. grin

If you want something under $500, just go with PreenFM2, that synth module is powerful, I want another one soon.... "28 FM algorithms from 3 to 6 operators" thumbs up ....It can import DX7 sysex too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peIoMwklRkQ
DeanG
Indeed the more I look into these the less interested I am. I am inclined to just use the QY70 I have vs something like the d-05 as far as that goes. I believe I will be sticking with analog based synths.

To the point of my post I am feeling the question has been answered regard the fm synth idea, but I remain attracted to the volca somewhat for other reasons. I will probably wait to see if the rumored korg volca "modular" materializes, however I have listened to some monologue demos that has me curious about that. Seems to have some very snappy envelope response and wavefolding, plus the tunability is interesting.

The minibrute 2s is pushing my budget, .
The neutron I had was actually very capable for some sine wave 2 osc fm..maybe I will return to that. For The money it's great...but I started getting annoyed with the patch bay.
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