About to buy XAOC Zadar: Any alternatives worth considering?

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neil_kerr
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About to buy XAOC Zadar: Any alternatives worth considering?

Post by neil_kerr » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:12 am

I've been wanting a new modulation source within my system for a while. At the minute, outside of the obvious such as ADSR's, the LFO on my oscillators etc... I mainly use the Silent Way LFO's for modulation purposes or the modulation functions on my ADM06 Sequencer.

I'm feeling like I want some more abstract modulation envelopes to use for sound sculpting and the Zadar definitely has my eye. Before I go and have a chat with Mr Credit Card about going visiting Debtsville again, I was wondering what alternatives I might have missed?

For example, I didn't know about the Klavis Quadigy until I did a bit of reading up on potential alternatives earlier today. The Klavis sounds pretty class but I am still more drawn to the Zadar.

Anything else I should consider for a reasonably priced, versatile modulation source?

Ta'

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Post by autopoiesis » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:28 am

afaik today, stages, quadrax, quadigy, and andore jr are the best alternatives for "more than mono" CVable function generators in 14hp or less. zadar plus nin is still really fucking hard to beat as long as you don't mind using stepped encoders to dial in your stage times.

I guess ornament and crime has a place in there too but I never use the envelope generator app because it's pretty slow to work with by comparison

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Post by mdoudoroff » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:30 am

Zadar is pretty neat. There’s nothing else quite like it that I know of. Also relatively small and inexpensive. The deformability of its shapes make for a pretty infinite set of possibilities. It does generate only positive envelops (begin at 0, end at 0).

Control Forge is in the same general territory and is bipolar; you can design your own very precise behaviors, and it has some interesting features. CF is also big, only produces one fluctuating voltage (instead of four) and it’s a bit laborious.

Verbos Multistage is the venerable Buchla-esque approach. Very direct and analogue.

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Post by neil_kerr » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:14 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. The Zadar still comes out on top for me due to it's size, price and functions, over the modules suggested. Am planning on using this new module quite a bit in my live system and the likes of the Verbos is just too big.

The lack of biploar output option on the Zadar is a bit of a bummer but what it lacks in that regard it makes up in other respects for sure. I know it's a module that I will definitely get a lot of use out of, I just having been paying attention to new releases lately due to fear of wanting more stuff I can't afford and wanted to check if I missed anything.

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Re: About to buy XAOC Zadar: Any alternatives worth consider

Post by Agawell » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:14 pm

neil_kerr wrote: I'm feeling like I want some more abstract modulation envelopes to use for sound sculpting
Have you considered using utility modules to achieve this with the modulation sources you already have - it's an alternative worth looking at!

for example:

a matrix mixer, with one input being used for feedback

a sequential switch for switching between inputs to modulate a single parameter

mi kinks - adds a basic waveshaper (rectifier really), basic logic (min/max) and a sample and hold

or better yet, combine them all to generate interesting modulations from very few / simpler modulation sources

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Post by neil_kerr » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:27 pm

System space is an issue when playing live. Currently my live rack is pretty boring in terms of modulation modules as I mostly have sound sources such as the Piston Honda, Hertz Donut, Plaits, Iteritas modules etc.... taking up a good bit of room along with VCA's, ADM06 Sequencer, a couple of Expert Sleepers modules etc.....

I can definitely imagine being able to use the Zadar a good bit live to give me some breathing space as I mess about with monosynths, drum machines.....

I should really start using the Industrial Music modules for modulating other things a lot more, I only got them fairly recently but I have been lazy re using them as modulation sources.

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Post by Arneb » Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:22 pm

Rule of thumb: If you prefer drum sample libraries over synthesizing your drums, get a Zadar. If not, don't.

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Post by nios » Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:55 pm

The original Double Andore (not the mkII) has wavetables as its envelopes, sort of like Zadar, only with it you have two curve generators instead of four, but with built-in VCAs. The DAs are overall DUSG-like with some perks like VCA crossmod, which I find to be an absolutely epic feature but isn't relevant here. The mkI is also an old long-discontinued module, so it's larger, more expensive, has far fewer curve shapes than Zadar, and far harder to get to boot but it is still something in the same ballpark.

Even so, consider Zadar also has the Nin expander and it is really hard to argue you should use anything besides it for that kind of envelope/LFO work. At least, as of this moment. I've been considering getting a second one but am waiting to see if anything else like it shows up on the radar. I was thinking sooner or later, we'll have a module where we can upload any arbitrary user-made curve to use as an envelope or LFO, and it seems we're getting that in LFO form with the upcoming IME Kermit mkIII. It can also do one-shots which can make it possibly a Zadar contender with some fiddling, and unlike Zadar seems much more naturally-aspirated to oscillator roles as well, like the original which is surprisingly good at being a dual wavetable osc. Zadar can go into osc rates but it doesn't seem really intended for that.
Last edited by nios on Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by autopoiesis » Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:01 pm

Arneb wrote:Rule of thumb: If you prefer drum sample libraries over synthesizing your drums, get a Zadar. If not, don't.
haha, yeah, alright. I'll take your trollbait

for the 12 months that I've had a Zadar, when using it for envelopes I've stuck with about 4 different waveforms that are basically classic but widely deformable attack-decay shapes. scrolling through dozens of waves to audition their effects on my patch is not my thing but it is utterly optional.

I like being able to choose whether triggers reset the envelopes to 0V or to wherever the envelope is currently in its trajectory, apply two CV sources per channel to its amplitude/speed/warp/linearity with internal attenuversion, dial in click-suppressing attacks with greater precision than I ever could with a Function or Mini-Slew, freeze the envelope like with Hang on Function, get the snappiest responses I've heard from any envelope generator besides Function and Maths, and use spare channels as unipolar LFOs with an extremely wide temporal range.

you can get artisanal as fuck with simple AD shapes, the Nin expander, and a couple of CV sources. drum sample libraries :deadbanana:

still don't see what challenges it in these regards for 4x function generators in its size and ergonomics.

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Post by dubonaire » Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:43 pm

mdoudoroff wrote:Control Forge is in the same general territory and is bipolar; you can design your own very precise behaviors, and it has some interesting features. CF is also big, only produces one fluctuating voltage (instead of four) and it’s a bit laborious.
Actually CF has two outputs, one an inverted version of the other. You are spot on about everything else though.

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Post by mdoudoroff » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:08 pm

dubonaire wrote:
mdoudoroff wrote:Control Forge is in the same general territory and is bipolar; you can design your own very precise behaviors, and it has some interesting features. CF is also big, only produces one fluctuating voltage (instead of four) and it’s a bit laborious.
Actually CF has two outputs, one an inverted version of the other. You are spot on about everything else though.
Ok, you also get an inverted copy of the same fluctuating voltage. :party:

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Post by Dragonaut » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:18 pm

You can make a lot of Zadar’s funky wave shapes by adding an envelope (SW Voice Controller) or another SW LFO after your SW LFO. This way you are modulating your modulators. That’s a lot of what Zadar is. It takes the VCA and extra modulation source out of your complex modulations. Using the smooth parameter on the SW Step LFO will also give you a lot of quick and easy complex modulations. This is how I’ve convinced myself I don’t want Zadar for now anyway, haha! Add a Maths to all this and really Zadar is just a shortcut although not much of one since you’re still going to have to dial in plenty of parameters.
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Post by Dragonaut » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:31 pm

For example: place a SW LFO and set it for a square wave (or some funky shape it’s capable of) repeating at sixteenth notes. Not very exciting. Now add another SW LFO after it and make it a basic rising ramp or saw wave shape set to repeat at 1/4 notes or half a bar. It’s now enveloping the first LFO with a ramp shape so your 1/16 note squares rise in amplitude gradually and are slightly saw shaped. Feed it to a filter CV input and attenuate to taste and you’ve got yourself some pretty funky modulation. This is why we say you can never have enough VCAs although in this case you don’t need any VCAs- just more Expert Sleepers outputs.
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Post by Arneb » Thu Nov 28, 2019 3:34 am

autopoiesis wrote:
Arneb wrote:Rule of thumb: If you prefer drum sample libraries over synthesizing your drums, get a Zadar. If not, don't.
haha, yeah, alright. I'll take your trollbait
I didn't intend to trollbait. Just to point out that Zadar's uniqueness comes from being a sample library for envelopes at its heart - nothing wrong with that, you can do great and creative things wIth sample libraries if you're so inclined. It's just that this kind of workflow isn't for everyone.

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Post by dubonaire » Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:11 am

Arneb wrote:
autopoiesis wrote:
Arneb wrote:Rule of thumb: If you prefer drum sample libraries over synthesizing your drums, get a Zadar. If not, don't.
haha, yeah, alright. I'll take your trollbait
I didn't intend to trollbait. Just to point out that Zadar's uniqueness comes from being a sample library for envelopes at its heart - nothing wrong with that, you can do great and creative things wIth sample libraries if you're so inclined. It's just that this kind of workflow isn't for everyone.
It did sound trollish but nonetheless, why is it a rule of thumb? I'm quite happy using drum samples, drum machines, and making modular drum patches.

The Zadar looks like a very cool module to me and it's restrictive to reject it on the basis that the raw material is samples.

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Post by xaoc_tech » Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:10 am

Just to clarify, there are NO samples in Zadar. You cannot take a sample of a sharp impulse and scale it between a milisecond and half hour without loosing details or sharpnes of edges. Either you would end with obvious steps or a very blurred impulse.

The signals in Zadar are generated algorithmically (based on internal definitions of shapes being a sequence of curve nodes and slopes), similarly to the way (analog and VA) oscillators generate their waveforms. Hence, if you agree that a VCO offering a triangle, sawtooth and sine is not a sample player, Zadar is not a sample player as well.

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Post by autopoiesis » Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:13 am

Dragonaut wrote:You can make a lot of Zadar’s funky wave shapes by adding an envelope (SW Voice Controller) or another SW LFO after your SW LFO. This way you are modulating your modulators. That’s a lot of what Zadar is. It takes the VCA and extra modulation source out of your complex modulations. Using the smooth parameter on the SW Step LFO will also give you a lot of quick and easy complex modulations. This is how I’ve convinced myself I don’t want Zadar for now anyway, haha! Add a Maths to all this and really Zadar is just a shortcut although not much of one since you’re still going to have to dial in plenty of parameters.
I use Zadar in exactly this way with its normal AD shapes, because I prefer to roll my own amplitude and shape modulations. in just this regard alone it's in its own class because with Nin you have two assignable CVs per channel x4 channels in 13HP. with attenuversion of everything built in.

I used to do this kind of thing with 2 Mini Slews and a Function but this is a lot more space efficient and economical. different strokes, and different case sizes too I guess.

if you have 9U or more, maybe better to get a bunch of more knobby function generators with these kinds of CV inputs for more immediacy. but Zadar is plenty immediate to me. do the math on relative costs too.

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Post by dubonaire » Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:38 pm

xaoc_tech wrote:Just to clarify, there are NO samples in Zadar. You cannot take a sample of a sharp impulse and scale it between a milisecond and half hour without loosing details or sharpnes of edges. Either you would end with obvious steps or a very blurred impulse.

The signals in Zadar are generated algorithmically (based on internal definitions of shapes being a sequence of curve nodes and slopes), similarly to the way (analog and VA) oscillators generate their waveforms. Hence, if you agree that a VCO offering a triangle, sawtooth and sine is not a sample player, Zadar is not a sample player as well.
:tu:

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Post by b9 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:12 pm

buy an 8hp O&C and get 4 channels of infinitely tweakable envelopes plus 20 other things you may not yet have realized you can't live without.

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Post by BrokenBo » Fri Nov 29, 2019 1:42 am

mdoudoroff wrote:
Control Forge is in the same general territory and is bipolar; you can design your own very precise behaviors, and it has some interesting features. CF is also big, only produces one fluctuating voltage (instead of four) and it’s a bit laborious.
CF can process external cv, CF can sequence presets, CF has logic and random functions, CF can be set up to be played live, CF has trigger outputs, so CF has a lot more possibilities and control which makes it something unique between a sequencer and an envelope generator while zadar is just great for instant complex envelopes / lfos.

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Post by cincyjack » Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:02 am

autopoiesis wrote:
I use Zadar in exactly this way with its normal AD shapes, because I prefer to roll my own amplitude and shape modulations. in just this regard alone it's in its own class because with Nin you have two assignable CVs per channel x4 channels in 13HP. with attenuversion of everything built in.

I used to do this kind of thing with 2 Mini Slews and a Function but this is a lot more space efficient and economical. different strokes, and different case sizes too I guess.

if you have 9U or more, maybe better to get a bunch of more knobby function generators with these kinds of CV inputs for more immediacy. but Zadar is plenty immediate to me. do the math on relative costs too.
Well said. Zadar is a hoot.

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Post by mosorensen » Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:28 am

I never fully understood the CF (admittedly, I have never used one). While CF offers fantastic control, as BrokenBo explains, it does this for a single CV only, AFAIK.

In my own patching, I would always prefer to have several less controllable CVs than a single very precisely controlled one, but maybe that just shows the limitations of my own patching (I use Zadar and Stages for CVs).

For people with experience with CF, how do you use this single very precisely controlled CV in your patches?

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Post by insoul8 » Fri Nov 29, 2019 11:13 am

I just ordered the Quadrax myself. The Zadar was high on my list but since I can be a little less concerned with size, I went with the Quadrax. Just the fact that you would need to use one of the 4 outputs on the zadar to get an eor/eoc was a factor for me. I do really like the visual aid in the zadar though. Who knows, I may end up switching down the road if all of the key combos on the Quadrax prove too annoying. They seem like they won’t be too much of a problem though, short or remembering the different shapes.
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Post by mattsb » Fri Nov 29, 2019 11:40 pm

I have just ordered a Zadar so I find myself reading this with a fair bit of anticipation. I currently have Stages, Ornament and Crime and Maths in my rack. I bought O_C for everything else but recently tried the envelope generator. The results were awesome but the process infuriating. (which is how I find O_C in general, TBH). Zadar looked closest to that in a module that looked a lot more immediate, and with a much better visualization. If I want to make a crazy, custom modulation source or envelope, I have Stages although the crazier it gets the less envelopes I get out of it.

Sadly Maths is going to have to make way for Zadar (and Odessa) so we will see how I fare without it.
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Post by b9 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:59 am

mattsb wrote:I have just ordered a Zadar so I find myself reading this with a fair bit of anticipation. I currently have Stages, Ornament and Crime and Maths in my rack. I bought O_C for everything else but recently tried the envelope generator. The results were awesome but the process infuriating. (which is how I find O_C in general, TBH). Zadar looked closest to that in a module that looked a lot more immediate, and with a much better visualization. If I want to make a crazy, custom modulation source or envelope, I have Stages although the crazier it gets the less envelopes I get out of it.

Sadly Maths is going to have to make way for Zadar (and Odessa) so we will see how I fare without it.
understood about the O&C. already spent hours upon hours building the mental muscle memory to navigate it's depths with some certainty and I'm still finding new things it does every time I sit down with it. But I program obscure and cryptic CNC machine controllers as a day job so perhaps it's just something in my wheelhouse. The Double Andore mk2 also deserves a nod along with the previously mentioned IME offerings.

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