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Envelope Followers... discuss
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Envelope Followers... discuss
odecahedron
i dont see these getting mentioned much. Ive read about them and get the basic concept - the Allen Strange book seems to have them in 90% of the patch diagrams, and i think it may well be what i need to solve a little niggle i have with the Syntorchestra (its envelopes only control the mono section, not the poly very frustrating ) - chords or anything from the poly always have a high Attack. some of the voices have a veeery short/quick shave off the front edge but the effect is mostly still "all-in/up-front".

i was imagining a remedy to achieve slower attack times might go something like this:
Syntorchestra AUDIO OUT > Gain stage > Env Follower > VCA > Mixer ... ( with an EG then controlling the EF generated gate from the VCA ).

does that sound about right? im i close? is what im attempting in this thought experiment even possible?????!

also - what other basic uses might an EF have and what options are available to a 5U guy?

cheers in advance
moogboy
I am unaware of a module that does it in 5U, but the Doepfer A-119 would give you most of what you're looking for. You could feed the Syntorchestra in and then take the Gate out from the A-119 into an envelope, which would allow you to have that control you're looking for.

This exact application was a huge part of why I got into modular for guitar processing. I've always wanted real synth envelopes on guitar sounds and was always held back by using a straight envelope follower.

Envelope followers are at the heart of devices like the MuTron III and Moogerfooger Lowpass Filter. They're great for bass players and guitarists, though on a synth I find them kind of pointless, especially if you've got the ability to just set up another envelope and trigger it from the same source. For a synth, it would make sense if you wanted to control some function with an envelope derived from the volume envelope but could not just send the volume envelope directly. Envelope followers are great with acoustic instruments. I like using them to tame particularly noisy patches, i.e. send the envelope follower signal to control a VCA and then run everything in the patch through the VCA before output, so it acts as a kind of noise gate.

For your application, be certain that whatever envelope follower you get also has a Gate out, if you want it to control an envelope generator. The straight envelope follower output *might* trigger an envelope, but it would not be as effective as having a Gate output to handle it.
donpachi
There is the Oakley EFG in 5U.
http://oakleysound.com/follower.htm
I do not have it but I want it waah
Navs
I experimented with this one afternoon:

http://navsmodularlab.blogspot.de/2010/02/potd-ghost-tracks-pt-ii.html

It was fun, but depending on your goal there might be easier ways to get there e.g. MIDI CCs/ Silent Way.

I thought I wanted 'real' envelopes controlling synth sounds but discovered Maths sounded better hihi
sandyb
modcan 45b in 5u
CJ Miller
If you ever want to use your modular with anything else - external gear, outboard sound sources, other synthesizers, etc - then IMO you need at least one envelope follower. The only reason not to include an EF, so far as I am concerned, is if one has made a practical or aesthetic decision to keep a modular system self-contained. These things are far too fun and useful to not play with.

A few caveats. They are not a substitute for having regular envelope generators for use within your system. They should include or be used with a comparator or two for extracting gate and trigger information. And for maximum utility, they should be adjustable; meaning a following speed pot on the EF, and sensitivity pots on the comparators. Some examples I have seen were too basic, not being able to set the response and timing could make the whole affair useless. Also, a preamp or initial gain stage might be needed for line level sources.
rezzn8r
^^ What CJ said. My most common use is in conjunction with a comparator to extract gates/triggers for percussive sounds.


Quote:
also - what other basic uses might an EF have and what options are available to a 5U guy?


There's Subotnick's CV recording patch. There are a few threads on here that discuss it.
Do you have a VCS-like/slope generator module in your system? They can be patched up as an Envelope Follower.
Reese P. Dubin
Second vote for the VCS for envelope following.
Mrdave1981
been enjoying the Steady State Fate - Positronic Transient Gate in my system. Great envelop follower with gain for line or instrument level signals.
spinach_pizza
Perhaps the dotcom Q118 would fit the bill? http://www.synthesizers.com/q118.html

$92 US.
MindMachine
spinach_pizza wrote:
Perhaps the dotcom Q118 would fit the bill? http://www.synthesizers.com/q118.html

$92 US.


Might be the best $92.00 in 5U land. Very versatile. thumbs up
odecahedron
thanks for the head up guys, order placed for Q118.

keen to find more info on their general beahviour/patch tips etc...
MitchXI
Also, I wouldn't play down the usefulness of using an envelope follower in a pure modular patch to spice things up. If patched at a point in your signal where things are getting complex you'll have an interesting, flawed CV signal that is a little more than just the combination of all your amplitude envelopes.
odecahedron
MitchXI wrote:
Also, I wouldn't play down the usefulness of using an envelope follower in a pure modular patch to spice things up. If patched at a point in your signal where things are getting complex you'll have an interesting, flawed CV signal that is a little more than just the combination of all your amplitude envelopes.


i wont play down your advice either (being one of your 3 yearly posts - better take it seriously hihi

im actually looking fwd to using it with my mic and new looper. i can imagine theyd be useful for doing long complex-lfo type CV's too, i imagine would be nice for evolving noise envelopes

weeeeoooshhhawooosssssstttttttttthhhoooooohwwhwhwhhwwwwww...

etc
CF3
Love Envelope Followers. When I still had a Dotcom system the Q118 was one of my favorite modules. If you do anything with syncing your modular to any other piece of gear it's extremely useful. Input any random audio source and get interesting modulation out the other side. So many uses. Still waiting on the Intellijel unit.
Dave Peck
You can also use an envelope follower as sort of a cheap compressor, to smooth out unwanted fluctuations in volume. For example, some patches with complex sounds being swept, ring modulated etc. can sometimes cause unwanted sudden jumps in volume. If you patch a parallel path of this sound through an envelope follower and then INVERT the CV output of the envelope follower and use this inverted CV signal to control a partially open VCA that the audio signal passes through, the sections where the signal gets louder will now be creating a CV signal that LOWERS the VCA gain. By adjusting the amount of the CV signal you can even out the volume of the final audio signal.
Gringo Starr
Dave Peck wrote:
You can also use an envelope follower as sort of a cheap compressor


I've been wondering if the idea of an Envelope Follower is pretty much the same concept as sidechaining. Or if it could do the same task. hmmm.....
odecahedron
Dave Peck wrote:
You can also use an envelope follower as sort of a cheap compressor, to smooth out unwanted fluctuations in volume. For example, some patches with complex sounds being swept, ring modulated etc. can sometimes cause unwanted sudden jumps in volume. If you patch a parallel path of this sound through an envelope follower and then INVERT the CV output of the envelope follower and use this inverted CV signal to control a partially open VCA that the audio signal passes through, the sections where the signal gets louder will now be creating a CV signal that LOWERS the VCA gain. By adjusting the amount of the CV signal you can even out the volume of the final audio signal.


holyshit - revelation! thats awesome to know - ive been trying to figure out how to tame those filter sweep spikes BEFORE the modular signal hits the outboard - dont have the bones for a decent compressor atm so this will be interesting to try. i have AC's steiner synthasystem filter which i looove dearly - probably my go-to filter but it loves to stick its head out in a mix
Mr. Pete
Brills!!!

applause
Dave Peck wrote:
You can also use an envelope follower as sort of a cheap compressor, to smooth out unwanted fluctuations in volume. For example, some patches with complex sounds being swept, ring modulated etc. can sometimes cause unwanted sudden jumps in volume. If you patch a parallel path of this sound through an envelope follower and then INVERT the CV output of the envelope follower and use this inverted CV signal to control a partially open VCA that the audio signal passes through, the sections where the signal gets louder will now be creating a CV signal that LOWERS the VCA gain. By adjusting the amount of the CV signal you can even out the volume of the final audio signal.
strettara
Dave Peck wrote:
You can also use an envelope follower as sort of a cheap compressor, to smooth out unwanted fluctuations in volume. For example, some patches with complex sounds being swept, ring modulated etc. can sometimes cause unwanted sudden jumps in volume. If you patch a parallel path of this sound through an envelope follower and then INVERT the CV output of the envelope follower and use this inverted CV signal to control a partially open VCA that the audio signal passes through, the sections where the signal gets louder will now be creating a CV signal that LOWERS the VCA gain. By adjusting the amount of the CV signal you can even out the volume of the final audio signal.


Yep, that's a cool trick. I did this when playing with microphone feedback from a speaker, like Reich's pendulum music. Useful in any feedback patch.

In fact I was just about to post this advice, you beat me to it.
missingtwin
Use noise into the EF for some random gate/trigger fun.

Mix noise and a sparse beat oriented material before
EF. Sounds like one drummer got drunk and the one
on time is SMACK!

With the above set up: use a filter on the noise before
the mixer. Filter characteristics controlled by the beat
oriented material... The drunken drummer sobers up
a bit.
dragulasbruder
+1 that just gave me a bunch of good ideas. have any recordings of this patch in action?
APETECHNOLOGY
so much great info! thanks Guinness ftw!
beem
MitchXI wrote:
Also, I wouldn't play down the usefulness of using an envelope follower in a pure modular patch to spice things up. If patched at a point in your signal where things are getting complex you'll have an interesting, flawed CV signal that is a little more than just the combination of all your amplitude envelopes.


Dave Peck wrote:
You can also use an envelope follower as sort of a cheap compressor, to smooth out unwanted fluctuations in volume. For example, some patches with complex sounds being swept, ring modulated etc. can sometimes cause unwanted sudden jumps in volume. If you patch a parallel path of this sound through an envelope follower and then INVERT the CV output of the envelope follower and use this inverted CV signal to control a partially open VCA that the audio signal passes through, the sections where the signal gets louder will now be creating a CV signal that LOWERS the VCA gain. By adjusting the amount of the CV signal you can even out the volume of the final audio signal.


Yeah, both these are great tips. I have mostly just thought about envelope followers as a mean to play the modular with another instrument.
We had this great idea though once to let people control the modular over the web, via js webaudio, amplitude to env follower cv.
ersatzplanet
I have a couple of A-119's in my rig. I use them with the WAV players I have there. A couple of the Wave Players are stereo and I record the loops panned hard to one channel and record a click or rhythmic track on the other channel to feed the A-119. That way I can sync the rest of my rig to the loop playing on the WAV player. Much more useable than just deriving the clock from the whole loop.

Another fun tip. running drum loops through a Bandpass filter before hitting the EF allows you yo pull out different drums from the loop to use as triggers. The resonance controls on the BP will allow zeroing in on things like the snare or the kick. Works with all sources of course, but really useful with drum loops.
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