What to do with ring modulators?

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Neither
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What to do with ring modulators?

Post by Neither » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:34 am

I never understood ring modulators. Especially back in the days I used VST plugins. To me, they just make everything sound terrible. Well, recently I got a ring modulator for my modular - thought it would be somehow different. But I get mostly headache inducing sounds through it. Is it supposed to sound horrible? I've tried to mix different wave forms (triangle/saw) through it but a wavefolder sounds million times better.

What are some creative ways to use a ring modulator?

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Post by Navs » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:16 am

If you don't like the way it sounds, you can use a ring modulator for its polarizing function, e.g. to gain voltage control over the polarity of a modulator or feedback signal.

Here are some ideas for non-linear distortion using a RM:

http://navsmodularlab.blogspot.com/2011 ... rtion.html


Ring mod patch ideas come up frequently:

search.php?search_keywords=ring+modulat ... _chars=200

RMs multiply and make complex out of simple, so if the sounds are too harsh, try using two sine waves as a starting point.

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Post by lisa » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:13 am

I’m sure ring modulators can be used for all sorts of clever patching that I know nothing about but for sound I just view it as another timbre. Like FM, or logic mixing of waveforms, or wavefolding, or etc. All of it sounds bad sometimes and sounds just right other times.
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Post by BugBrand » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:30 am

Yep, rarely gelled with them sonically - but, as control building blocks they're golden. VC-polarizing as Navs says - like a VCA but with the added ability to swing into inverted output.

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Re: What to do with ring modulators?

Post by Graham Hinton » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:22 am

Neither wrote: What are some creative ways to use a ring modulator?
Here's a few: ModMix Applications

You will get more pleasing tones if you start with inputs that have a simple harmonic relationship.
Navs wrote:If you don't like the way it sounds, you can use a ring modulator for its polarizing function
Only if it is really a linear multiplier with DC coupling. "Real" ring modulators with transformers and diodes are AC coupled.

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Post by lisa » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:20 am

This thread inspired me to try out some ring modulation and really listen to it. I must say that I like how it sounds. I made a recording of a simple beat:

https://we.tl/t-mg0rvO5EMQ

First one oscillator is sequenced while the other is just droning and the sine outputs are going through a ring modulator. Then I sync the droning oscillator to the one playing the melody. Then I unsync and I send the sequence CV to the other oscillator too which I keep for the rest of the track. I then try rectifying one of the signals for a little while. After that I lengthen the envelope a bit and start playing around with FM cross modulation.
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Post by Yes Powder » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:10 am

I like to tune both waves being sent to it in order to get some really big and gnarly sounds. Assuming you keep the harmonic relationships relatively simple as Graham Hinton said, you can still get sounds that work well in a Western 12-tone context. This of course requires you have a way to effectively play or sequence both pitches you're sending it...

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Post by what gives? » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:06 am

If a ringmodulator modulates Rings, is the modulator a Rings modulator, or is it a ringmodulator? :hmm:

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Post by Llouwelyn » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:14 am

ModMix is fantastique, in the patch without pretention I use ModMix with output B, 1/2 & 5/6 in my filter.
Like Application:
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My objectif in the patch is a test to record my synth with my microphone.
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Post by Buttons ARE toys » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:54 am

I like using them for switching between positive and negative feedback on a delay, especially with Karplus-Strong patches. It changes the tone but also alters the pitch in a pleasing way so it's great for adding some variation to a melody.

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Post by MarcelP » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:02 am

lisa wrote:This thread inspired me to try out some ring modulation and really listen to it. I must say that I like how it sounds. I made a recording of a simple beat:
Hah! Nice one - Willy Wonka and the Bottle Factory.

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Post by Just me » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:23 am

Google the GregAE document "Lord of the Ring Mod" and you will find some useful patching ideas. I use mine as a Tremolo, it's least complicated use.
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Post by lisa » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:51 am

MarcelP wrote:Hah! Nice one - Willy Wonka and the Bottle Factory.
Yeah, something like that. :)

I remember when I used Jeskola Buzz a lot, like fifteen years or so ago, I used ring modulators quite often. I used to modulate full drum machine beats with speech. Like a politician talking or such. I loved the sound I got, which was the same beat but modulated. It added movement and gave it some kind of organic feel. I should try that again.
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Post by tito_tunes » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:51 pm

Sync your oscillators first. That keeps it from being atonal. Totally opens up new worlds, you can get a filter sweep like thing happening.
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Post by cg_funk » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:12 pm

tito_tunes wrote:Sync your oscillators first. That keeps it from being atonal. Totally opens up new worlds, you can get a filter sweep like thing happening.
Yes! Sync is the KEY to ringmod. This unlocks a whole new range of harmonics. The sync makes sure that whatever modulations you create, you still track the fundamental of the main oscillator.

The whole trick with the new "Zing" modulators on the new Rossum Trident is that the three oscillators are synced to each other for the ring modulation.

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Post by Noodle Twister » Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:38 pm

There's a couple of ideas in this Doepfer A-114 Dual Ring modulator manual.

http://www.doepfer.de/a100_man/A114_man.pdf

The first example is with two sine waves at different frequencies.

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Post by EPTC » Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:01 pm

Just me wrote:Google the GregAE document "Lord of the Ring Mod" and you will find some useful patching ideas.
+1 - That PDF is wonderful.
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Post by naos » Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:53 pm

You can also quickly reach phoneme synthesis tones with the ringmod, something I've never experienced with another device.
I must admit that what comes out of my MF-102 is tin box crap 9 times out of 10, though, but the thing is still fascinating: you make two sounds fuck each other and get the robot baby.

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Post by Blairio » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:54 pm

Slightly off piste in a modular thread, but the Nord Electros have a great ring mod effect. The single control appears to determine ring mod speed and depth, and any volume pedal can operate it via the cv input. Great for electric pianos.

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Post by Buttons ARE toys » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:20 am

Navs wrote:Here are some ideas for non-linear distortion using a RM:

http://navsmodularlab.blogspot.com/2011 ... rtion.html
This is excellent! I spent most of yesterday exploring patches using this and it sounds amazing and the tone is so malleable.

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Post by revtor » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:31 am

For synthesizing machinery sounds, mixing a bit of ring mod signals in is the ticket.

The key is subtle use, the reason we love analog’s infinite resolution!!

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Post by luketeaford » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:40 am

I learned a technique from Rob Hordijk called "poor man's reverb" where a ring mod is used to invert the phase with an envelope. It tricks your brain into thinking you're hearing a reflection and is super cool.

If you put the same signal into signal and carrier it makes an octave up version (since it's the SUM and differences A + A = 2A and A - A = 0). I use this technique in combination with pulse division to create chords from a single oscillator.

Ring mod can be a VCA.

I love ring mod sounds in general.

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Post by Cybananna » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:30 am

I love the bizarre, otherworldly, painful sounds of non subtle use of ring modulators. So I clang the heck out of them. :zombie:

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Post by fitzgreyve » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:08 am

a couple of ideas from Rolands "THe syntheziser", both taken off string patches:
- "bowed tremelo" - VCO/VCF to one RM input, LFO to the other.
- "bowing" - VCO/VCF to one input, joystick or similar to the other, uses RM as as a VCA but where output is proportional to speed of moving the joystick.
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Post by Graham Hinton » Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:40 am

fitzgreyve wrote:- "bowing" - VCO/VCF to one input, joystick or similar to the other, uses RM as as a VCA but where output is proportional to speed of moving the joystick.
This relies on the control input being AC coupled with the right time constant. Credit should be given to EMS and the VCS3 rather than Roland.

Actually it would work with any VCA if the control were AC coupled, it's just that this feature is often available with RMs and rarely found elsewhere.

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