Source of Uncertainty episode 6: Waveform Synthesizer!

Discussing some incredible modules that don't quite fit into the other forum categories.

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Source of Uncertainty episode 6: Waveform Synthesizer!

Post by mutierend » Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:40 pm

Episode 6 of Source of Uncertainty is out! In this episode we explore one of the rarest Buchla modules, a replica of the Waveform Synthesizer Model 132. We then speak to Chip Flynn and Mark Milanovich about the recreation of the 132 (and many other modules), and their exciting M.E.M.S Project.

http://sourceofuncertainty.audio/podcas ... 2-m-e-m-s/

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Post by ArguZ » Thu Nov 28, 2019 11:01 am

Amazing to the the 132 coming back to live !!

Something technical, the link to MEMS is not working
http://sourceofuncertainty.audio/source ... oject.info

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Post by dksynth » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:40 pm

ArguZ wrote:Amazing to the the 132 coming back to live !!

Something technical, the link to MEMS is not working
http://sourceofuncertainty.audio/source ... oject.info
MEMS PROJECT

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Kent
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Post by Kent » Thu Nov 28, 2019 3:44 pm

Any chance of seeing a photo of the 132?

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Post by ModHiisi » Fri Nov 29, 2019 2:09 am

Just googled it, here's a picture..:

http://fluxmonkey.com/historicBuchla/132-waveform.htm

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Post by shoegazer86 » Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:52 am

Image

Here is the prototype that we spoke about in the show - this is the one that had traveled from Detroit to Buffalo where we finally got it working.

The first group of people to hear this outside of ourselves was a Compositions class at Wesleyan University, we had an oscilloscope set up so the students could see what it was doing.
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Post by shoegazer86 » Fri Nov 29, 2019 8:00 am

The website will be updated slowly with modules, some of them require quite a bit of documentation - we are also working out permissions on some photos so its something that will slow us down a bit.
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Post by mutierend » Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:51 pm

ArguZ wrote:Amazing to the the 132 coming back to live !!

Something technical, the link to MEMS is not working
http://sourceofuncertainty.audio/source ... oject.info
Fixed. The page is built by the Podbean feed and somehow the http:// got left off. :)

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Post by mgscheue » Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:44 pm

Best episode, yet! Really enjoyed it.

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Post by 01235813 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:07 pm

Great podcast!
Kent wrote:Any chance of seeing a photo of the 132?
Around the two minute mark is where it's at.


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Post by Triglav » Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:21 pm

No wonder Don scrapped the 132, it really is nothing special.
Don Buchla wrote:[…] You have a similar problem if you try to use a sequencer as an oscillator. If you build a sequencer that will run fast enough, you can listen to the stepped output directly rather than using it to control an oscillator, and by changing the height of the various steps you can change the waveshape. That sounds interesting in theory, but the first people who built sequencers that could run in the audio domain—and I guess I was probably the first, but I learned my lesson fast—found that all they were doing when they turned a knob was varying the amplitude of some dominant harmonic, practically independently of which knob they turned. The lesson there is that what we hear in the temporal domain we hear one way, but in the harmonic domain we hear in a different way. So we need to build devices whose design will vary depending on whether they're going to be asked to deal with form or with sound. This way, you can optimize modules for the particular area they're dealing with, rather than trying to make them serve two functions and compromise both, which is what generally happens.

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Post by shoegazer86 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:38 pm

Triglav wrote:No wonder Don scrapped the 132, it really is nothing special.
Don Buchla wrote:[…] You have a similar problem if you try to use a sequencer as an oscillator. If you build a sequencer that will run fast enough, you can listen to the stepped output directly rather than using it to control an oscillator, and by changing the height of the various steps you can change the waveshape. That sounds interesting in theory, but the first people who built sequencers that could run in the audio domain—and I guess I was probably the first, but I learned my lesson fast—found that all they were doing when they turned a knob was varying the amplitude of some dominant harmonic, practically independently of which knob they turned. The lesson there is that what we hear in the temporal domain we hear one way, but in the harmonic domain we hear in a different way. So we need to build devices whose design will vary depending on whether they're going to be asked to deal with form or with sound. This way, you can optimize modules for the particular area they're dealing with, rather than trying to make them serve two functions and compromise both, which is what generally happens.
Yeah, this is the Keyboard Magazine article that Kyle mentions in the podcast. I think resolution was the downfall of the 132, limiting the partials to 32 was a wise foresight but without the ability to parametrically change the amplitude, it sounds too digital. The Waveform Synthesizer does exactly as it was designed, but Don must have liked it enough to build two and design a pcb based around it. I think based on the amount of messy kludge, he was trying to improve the quality of the waveform.

I try to take everything Don says in an interview with a slight grain of salt as he really didn't like them. Thing about the 60s, is that everything sounded warm and inviting, this sounded like a wavetable from the 1980s. Dons comment on "temporal" listening is a hint at the stepping apparent at each partial interval.
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Post by Triglav » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:26 am

shoegazer86 wrote: Yeah, this is the Keyboard Magazine article that Kyle mentions in the podcast. I think resolution was the downfall of the 132, limiting the partials to 32 was a wise foresight but without the ability to parametrically change the amplitude, it sounds too digital. The Waveform Synthesizer does exactly as it was designed, but Don must have liked it enough to build two and design a pcb based around it. I think based on the amount of messy kludge, he was trying to improve the quality of the waveform.

I try to take everything Don says in an interview with a slight grain of salt as he really didn't like them. Thing about the 60s, is that everything sounded warm and inviting, this sounded like a wavetable from the 1980s. Dons comment on "temporal" listening is a hint at the stepping apparent at each partial interval.
The stepping is one thing, but to me the main problem seems to be with the interface. You have no way of knowing in advance if you're going to introduce more harmonics or less with any given knob. I find that drawing the waveform manually is usually disappointing. I wonder how the waveshape editor works on the 700.

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Post by shoegazer86 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:03 pm

Triglav wrote:
shoegazer86 wrote: Yeah, this is the Keyboard Magazine article that Kyle mentions in the podcast. I think resolution was the downfall of the 132, limiting the partials to 32 was a wise foresight but without the ability to parametrically change the amplitude, it sounds too digital. The Waveform Synthesizer does exactly as it was designed, but Don must have liked it enough to build two and design a pcb based around it. I think based on the amount of messy kludge, he was trying to improve the quality of the waveform.

I try to take everything Don says in an interview with a slight grain of salt as he really didn't like them. Thing about the 60s, is that everything sounded warm and inviting, this sounded like a wavetable from the 1980s. Dons comment on "temporal" listening is a hint at the stepping apparent at each partial interval.
The stepping is one thing, but to me the main problem seems to be with the interface. You have no way of knowing in advance if you're going to introduce more harmonics or less with any given knob. I find that drawing the waveform manually is usually disappointing. I wonder how the waveshape editor works on the 700.
That was already taken into consideration, the pulse output is to facilitate monitoring on a scope for proper visualization. A pulse fires out every 16th step, for an oscilloscope trigger input.
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Post by ArguZ » Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:23 am

Maybe someone could talk to VPME.de about making a ZEROscope in h series..
That would ne very useful in general and especially useful in this particular case.

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Post by Kent » Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:48 am

Thanks for putting in the effort with the videos and photo links and production.

:sb:

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Post by mutierend » Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:33 pm

Kent wrote:Thanks for putting in the effort with the videos and photo links and production.

:sb:
Thanks for your support!

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Post by @green » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:58 pm

I loved the sounds that happened when you started using the 123!

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Post by jimfowler » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:10 pm

Great show! Really enjoyed it (as usual). Please keep it up.

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Post by Ossicle » Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:09 pm

shoegazer86 wrote:Image
.
:mygod: There must be at least 15 knobs on it, maybe even 20!

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Post by bitone » Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:29 pm

lol, 34 knobs to be exact

I think i heard Chip refer to the 132 one time as like a 'waveform etch-a-sketch', loved that description! ha
:mrgreen:

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Post by divisionbyzero » Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:41 pm

Triglav wrote: I find that drawing the waveform manually is usually disappointing. I wonder how the waveshape editor works on the 700.
the waveshaping on the 700 (and 400, touche, 259e, and probably other places i've forgotten) is based on drawing a transfer function for a sine wave (rather than drawing an actual waveform). this is best described in "A Tutorial on Non-Linear Distortion or Waveshaping Synthesis" by Curtis Roads.

the 700 (and 400) editor allows you to draw the transfer function linearly (like a 256e with an arbitrary number of breakpoints), but you can also specify the level of various harmonics (like the 132). i don't know exactly how those two pieces combined in the original, but in the software version i'm working on each linear segment can selectively enable / disable harmonic control.

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Post by shoegazer86 » Sun Dec 15, 2019 11:14 am

bitone wrote:lol, 34 knobs to be exact

I think i heard Chip refer to the 132 one time as like a 'waveform etch-a-sketch', loved that description! ha
:mrgreen:
Chip has a lot of names for it, mainly when I was trying to use photo editors to see through the PCB image that waveformless posted.

The most popular name was "that stupid thing again", or other four letter words that had nothing to do with Buchla.
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Post by Triglav » Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:28 am

divisionbyzero wrote:
Triglav wrote: I find that drawing the waveform manually is usually disappointing. I wonder how the waveshape editor works on the 700.
the waveshaping on the 700 (and 400, touche, 259e, and probably other places i've forgotten) is based on drawing a transfer function for a sine wave (rather than drawing an actual waveform). this is best described in "A Tutorial on Non-Linear Distortion or Waveshaping Synthesis" by Curtis Roads.

the 700 (and 400) editor allows you to draw the transfer function linearly (like a 256e with an arbitrary number of breakpoints), but you can also specify the level of various harmonics (like the 132). i don't know exactly how those two pieces combined in the original, but in the software version i'm working on each linear segment can selectively enable / disable harmonic control.
Ah, that's neat. I recall watching a lecture by Aaron Lanterman on the 259 wavefolder where he analysed its transfer functions.

By harmonic control, do you mean you can also choose the level of specific harmonics (like the Verbos Harmonic Oscillator)?

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Post by divisionbyzero » Thu Dec 19, 2019 1:29 pm

Triglav wrote:By harmonic control, do you mean you can also choose the level of specific harmonics (like the Verbos Harmonic Oscillator)?
yes, except instead of just mixing raw sinewaves the 400/700 use chebyshev polynomials so things sound more interesting.

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