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HELP! Please help me overcome my GAS for wavetable hardware. Can I achieve similar results with VST?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
HELP! Please help me overcome my GAS for wavetable hardware. Can I achieve similar results with VST?








I'm totally enraptured by the demos I'm hearing from the new hardware wavetable synths.
Specifically, I am primarily interested in rich, complex pads.

If you listen to the above demos *in headphones especially* there is an incredible depth/complexity/richness to the sounds.

I'm absolutely gassing for both a Modwave and a Waldorf M. I cannot easily afford either... But if I have to then I'll sell some bass guitars, synths and kidneys to fund the purchase.

The question is do I have to?

Relevant gear that I have at my disposal:
* Serum
* Largo
* Ableton Suite (with Wavetable and Max4Live)
* NI Massive
* NI Absynth
* NI Reaktor
* [Eurorack] 5x 183-3 amps + 4x A-106-5 SEM multimode filters (12dB) + 1x A-105-4 quad-poly SSI filter (24dB LPF)
* Elektron Digitone (FM)
* Yamaha SY77 (FM)

I want to believe I can get close to the auditory goal with the gear I have.

My suspicion is that software, when pushed to its capacity, might be able to get into the range of the Modwave. Perhaps the Waldorf M is a step beyond what can be done in a DAW.

What I am hoping for from you lovely people is the following:

1) Any tips for using software and making it sound richer.

2) Any demonstration (ie videos, audio clips, links to preset packs' websites) that any software can get anywhere close to the same ball-park as the timbres in the videos at the start of this post. This would convince me that the goal is attainable.
I've been tooling around with my own software + trawling videos on Youtube + searching Google for preset packs... I can't find any examples at all which sound as rich as the aforementioned hardware in the videos I linked.
The closest I've found so far is the intro to this:

I guess it's several layers, multi-tracked... But that still doesn't sound as rich as what the Modwave can do without breaking a sweat.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Last night I was experimenting with Largo/Serum - one trick I developed was to follow the synth with an Ableton Effect Rack > split to two parallel, identical signals > add auto-pan to one of those signals > add M4L LFO modulating the LFO of the auto-pan.
This really definitely worked - adds a whole new depth to every single sound you run through it... The effect is that the sound remains consistent across the pan spectrum (from the unaffected parallel signal), but then the focus of the sound scans randomly across that spectrum. It really adds a 3D depth to any sound.

I feel like using tricks like this to one or two layers and layering up the software on multiple tracks might push into the territory of the richness of the hardware.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years


I have the Eurorack modules from the this video. I can therefore send stereo signals from the DAW, through real analogue filters, then modulate those filters.

I could also take that a step further... I had an idea to make a Frankenstein's hybrid poly synth by doing the following - though it's extremely convoluted and I have not tried it yet:
1) Set up 4x wavetable VST with identical patches (with completely open filters), on 4x Ableton MIDI tracks. Distribute a polyphonic MIDI part across those voices.
2) Send each one of those 4 voices > 4 Doepfer amps > 4 SEM filters > 4 VCA
3) Send simultaneous note-on gate signals (from 4x Neutrons that I have) to 4x envelopes (A-141-4) > each filter
4) Send simultaneous note-on gate signals to 4x envelopes (second A-141-4) > each VCA
...... This would give me a true 4 voice polyphonic hybrid synth of wavetable oscillators + analog filters.
............... Sorry if this sounds hard to follow and convoluted - it is!
But, in short, I could patch up a true polyphonic hybrid with analogue filters... I wonder if it would be worth the effort.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Nut
 
Aggelos's Avatar
 
Yes you can.

but if you want new toys check:
waldorf nave
arturia pigments
arturia SQ80 V
and if you want hardware on a budget arturia microfreak v4
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #5
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realtrance's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggelos ➑️
Yes you can.

but if you want new toys check:
waldorf nave
arturia pigments
arturia SQ80 V
and if you want hardware on a budget arturia microfreak v4
Seconded! The Microfreak is great, and now allows for user wavetables, so that's a lot of fun right there.

If you don't have any hardware wavetable synths, save up for the M first. The Modwave isn't just about wavetables, it has a unique mix of modulation possibilities and samples, and control, but plenty of those things can be found in software, too.

If it's the characteristic sound you are after, though.... Save up for the M, you won't regret doing so.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggelos ➑️
Yes you can.
That's great.

I agree with you.

The problem is that (1) I've tried and so far cannot achieve it, (2) When I searched, I cannot find any evidence to demonstrate it.

So the question is, can you point to any audio examples which actually prove this?

Do you, for example, know of a Youtube video which shows any software sounding as good as the videos in my OP?

Or perhaps you can make this in your DAW and post an audio clip.

I want to believe - I am just trying to find evidence to demonstrate it.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by realtrance ➑️
If you don't have any hardware wavetable synths, save up for the M first. The Modwave isn't just about wavetables, it has a unique mix of modulation possibilities and samples, and control, but plenty of those things can be found in software, too.

If it's the characteristic sound you are after, though.... Save up for the M, you won't regret doing so.
Yeah... the M is definitely the top of my list.

The timbres in the video in my OP are some of the most complex timbres I've ever heard. Every video of it sounds incredible.

I guess I'll be selling some guitars and grabbing one of these very soon.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #8
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realtrance's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator ➑️
Yeah... the M is definitely the top of my list.

The timbres in the video in my OP are some of the most complex timbres I've ever heard. Every video of it sounds incredible.

I guess I'll be selling some guitars and grabbing one of these very soon.
Great! Who needs more than one guitar anyways? You tune six strings and that's it!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator ➑️
I'm absolutely gassing for both a Modwave and a Waldorf M. I cannot easily afford either... But if I have to then I'll sell some bass guitars, synths and kidneys to fund the purchase.
Go for it.

If it's not what it's cracked up to be, you should be able to sell it again easily (or even return it within the warranty period).

If it is all you've dreamt of, congrats.

I'd go for the M first, though.

In case of the Korg, there's the obligatory warning - I really like Korg synths. I've got a TR rack here. Its effects are gorgeous. They're also a big part of the sound; switch them off and things get quite a bit less impressive all of a sudden.

Quote:
I want to believe I can get close to the auditory goal with the gear I have.
There's an important one missing from this list, and it's https://vital.audio/ .

Quote:
My suspicion is that software, when pushed to its capacity, might be able to get into the range of the Modwave. Perhaps the Waldorf M is a step beyond what can be done in a DAW.
In order to level the playing field, you're going to need to make a one-to-one comparison. That means:

- choose the lowest common denominator - if the plugin has 3 oscillators and the hardware has 2, then the plugin should use 2
- don't use features that are available on one but not the other; i.e. Serum's unison trick doesn't exist in the hardware
- very important: use the same wavetables
- use the same processing and recreate the actual patches. This is much more difficult with a wavetable synth than with a Minimoog or Prophet 5 because there are so many more timbral possibilities.

In the Waldorf M example I'm hearing panning effects. The VCA is stereo so I suspect that half of the voices are routed left and the other half (with different modulation, if it's voice-dependent) is routed right. This is quite different from taking an oscillator, running it through a single filter, and then throwing a chorus effect on top.

Serum handles the panning on the oscillator level; I assume but don't know for certain that the whole path is stereo. Massive has dual filters but only a single amp/pan section. Vital also handles it on the oscillator level, but it offers a lot more stereo options - the LFO can be stereo.

An advantage in that sense for analog filters is that they have to be calibrated. The filter per voice is not an identical clone (but it's very close!). So, with plugins, you have to explicitly model this behavior; and as with all modeling things, the trick is to go for perfection first and then build in the possibility to make things imperfect, rather than to force imperfection from the start.

The Modal synths for instance have several voices panned hard left and hard right, to maximize the available headroom. The expansion board allows this to be undone again because it's not always practical. Since plugins don't have to care about noise in that sense and crunch 64-bits numbers, it's not necessary there, so it's again something you have to explicitly model.

Last but not least: the wavetables in the M are likely to be less complex than the ones you'll find in most wavetable synths. This is not a knock on the M. The practical advantage here is in playability and musical results. Simpler tables are more useful in a lot of cases. Serum's got some really gnarly stuff that's only useful in very specific cases.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #10
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jazzcabbage's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer ➑️
I'd go for the M first, though.
Ditto. The M is a head and ear turner. @ Simonator I'd open up a rainy day account and use it to put funds from a mass sell-off of little stuff that's not getting much use?

Plenty of time to build that savings account up as it's going to be a couple months off before the next batch sees the light of day.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Every synth has strength and weaknesses and none of the mentioned has 8 layers with 3 OSC each, so I'd frequently prefer dune 3 even If M sounds richer.

But the quality of the wavetables is lastly the most important aspect when it's about "sound quality" and matching your targets.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
TJT
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator ➑️

I'm totally enraptured by the demos I'm hearing from the new hardware wavetable synths.
Specifically, I am primarily interested in rich, complex pads.

If you listen to the above demos *in headphones especially* there is an incredible depth/complexity/richness to the sounds.

I'm absolutely gassing for both a Modwave and a Waldorf M. I cannot easily afford either... But if I have to then I'll sell some bass guitars, synths and kidneys to fund the purchase.

The question is do I have to?
Just get an Ableton Push 2 and then you have a deeply integrated controller for Wavetable... along with ALL of the other instruments.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator ➑️
The question is do I have to?
.
You should be able to get close with all you already stuff you have already.

If not maybe go cheap with the Aruturia Microfreak which now loads wavetables?

I think the hands on simplicity would be a lot of fun with this one!

Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Hi Yoozer. Thanks for your deep engagement and taking the time to listen in detail to the examples I posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer ➑️
Go for it.

If it's not what it's cracked up to be, you should be able to sell it again easily (or even return it within the warranty period).

If it is all you've dreamt of, congrats.
Yeah, though I only want to do that if it's the only practical option. Hence this thread to try to explore that. If I can get there with what I already have, that's definitely preferable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer ➑️
There's an important one missing from this list, and it's https://vital.audio/ .
Cool. Never heard of this. Will check it out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer ➑️
In order to level the playing field, you're going to need to make a one-to-one comparison. That means:

- choose the lowest common denominator - if the plugin has 3 oscillators and the hardware has 2, then the plugin should use 2
- don't use features that are available on one but not the other; i.e. Serum's unison trick doesn't exist in the hardware
- very important: use the same wavetables
- use the same processing and recreate the actual patches. This is much more difficult with a wavetable synth than with a Minimoog or Prophet 5 because there are so many more timbral possibilities.
To point out - I'm not necessarily wanting to replicate those precise patches in the videos; just the general quality of the timbres.

Also, even if I did want to do that, there's no way I can match the wavetables or replicate the routing of those patches, since I don't own the hardware and so have no way to see what's going on.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer ➑️
In the Waldorf M example I'm hearing panning effects. The VCA is stereo so I suspect that half of the voices are routed left and the other half (with different modulation, if it's voice-dependent) is routed right. This is quite different from taking an oscillator, running it through a single filter, and then throwing a chorus effect on top.

Serum handles the panning on the oscillator level; I assume but don't know for certain that the whole path is stereo. Massive has dual filters but only a single amp/pan section. Vital also handles it on the oscillator level, but it offers a lot more stereo options - the LFO can be stereo.
Yeah, so much of the awesomeness comes from the stereo data going on.
I'm pretty confident Serum must be stereo throughout the entire chain.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer ➑️
Last but not least: the wavetables in the M are likely to be less complex than the ones you'll find in most wavetable synths. This is not a knock on the M. The practical advantage here is in playability and musical results. Simpler tables are more useful in a lot of cases. Serum's got some really gnarly stuff that's only useful in very specific cases.
Though the M can load user wavetables, so I guess this doesn't matter too much, right?
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leras ➑️
You should be able to get close with all you already stuff you have already.

If not maybe go cheap with the Aruturia Microfreak which now loads wavetables?

I think the hands on simplicity would be a lot of fun with this one!

Microfreak is fun, but, even with the new update, I don't think it will get anywhere even close to the examples in the OP.
Do you think it would?
I'm definitely not hearing anything remotely like that in the current demos on YT.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by romplix ➑️
Every synth has strength and weaknesses and none of the mentioned has 8 layers with 3 OSC each, so I'd frequently prefer dune 3 even If M sounds richer.

But the quality of the wavetables is lastly the most important aspect when it's about "sound quality" and matching your targets.
I'm listening to demos of Dune 3 on Youtube right now and it sounds fabulous.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator ➑️
I'm listening to demos of Dune 3 on Youtube right now and it sounds fabulous.
Oooof, the final sound, after 6 minutes:



Beautiful. I'm yet to hear a sound of this quality come out of Serum.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #18
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator ➑️
Microfreak is fun, but, even with the new update, I don't think it will get anywhere even close to the examples in the OP.
Do you think it would?
I'm definitely not hearing anything remotely like that in the current demos on YT.
Well... it's only mono. Just posted as I thought it was pretty interesting that they added the user wavetable functionality. I think you could get close to modwave tonally though - just in mono

I'm not sure the modwave is all that amazing (to me...). I thought that the Serum soundset you posted sounded better to me, at least less glassy?

Not so sure re: the M. I think the M sounds really awesome, a really chunky sound at times. I think it's pretty unique, but again, I like the chunky bass or bleepy tones from it more than 'glassy/organy' type sounds.

but these types of pads/ambient... I would bet there is something close in Largo, and Massive can do pretty much anything with a bit of tweaking. So between those and Serum - I reckon you might get close with software as well...
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #19
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator ➑️
Oooof, the final sound, after 6 minutes:
Two pads and an atmosphere patch it said in the video.

Did sound nice though, very atmospheric and had that glassy pad sound in there that you seem to be after.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #20
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator ➑️
Though the M can load user wavetables, so I guess this doesn't matter too much, right?
Yeah, but if you were particularly charmed as well by PPG and Microwave I demos like https://youtu.be/EjHa-FS3g88 - then relatively simple WTs are where it's at

Anyway, get into the stereo options of Vital - I'm certain you will be pleasantly surprised. It has replaced Serum as my favorite. Plus, the cheapest edition is free, but can still load patches created with the paid version.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leras ➑️
I'm not sure the modwave is all that amazing (to me...). I thought that the Serum soundset you posted sounded better to me, at least less glassy?
Have you tried listening in headphones?

When I listen on my (very decent) monitors it all sounds pretty average.

When I listen in headphones it's a different world.

The Modwave demos I posted (and even more so the M demo) have this incredible depth. They sound rich, organic, fizzing, alive.
Conversely, the Serum demo sounds like a few moderately good sounds multitracked. It doesn't have anything close to the same depth. To my ears, there's a world of difference there.

However, I am hearing something close to that magic in Dune. I feel like Dune possibly has the potential to get me where I want to be.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #22
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer ➑️
Yeah, but if you were particularly charmed as well by PPG and Microwave I demos like https://youtu.be/EjHa-FS3g88 - then relatively simple WTs are where it's at

Anyway, get into the stereo options of Vital - I'm certain you will be pleasantly surprised. It has replaced Serum as my favorite. Plus, the cheapest edition is free, but can still load patches created with the paid version.
Cool. Thanks.

I'm a bit creeped out by subscription software and I assume even the free version regularly makes secret communications from my computer to the developer?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
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CasimirsBlake's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hmm no one has mentioned Matt Tytel's marvelous Vital plugin yet. It's really worth trying.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #24
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by CasimirsBlake ➑️
Hmm no one has mentioned Matt Tytel's marvelous Vital plugin yet. It's really worth trying.
Yoozer has been pushing that quite a bit in this thread.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #25
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator ➑️
Have you tried listening in headphones?

When I listen on my (very decent) monitors it all sounds pretty average.

When I listen in headphones it's a different world.

The Modwave demos I posted (and even more so the M demo) have this incredible depth. They sound rich, organic, fizzing, alive.
Conversely, the Serum demo sounds like a few moderately good sounds multitracked. It doesn't have anything close to the same depth. To my ears, there's a world of difference there.

However, I am hearing something close to that magic in Dune. I feel like Dune possibly has the potential to get me where I want to be.
I hadn't actually - but you are right - with headphones the differences are clear. Probably I commented too quickly

I agree with you the Modwave is a lot more present and alive. I think the low end is rolled off quite sharply, which maybe helps give it more presence. I'd kinda written this off from a quick listen, but actually it has some great sounds in that demo.

Serum does also sound 'softsynthy' especially when there is some noise/fuzz in the sound. It may have a more full spectrum sound. but lacks bite.

I really like some of the tones of the M, I think it's a different beast again. I don't think I'd utilise it's full range though. I think there is as much if not more 60s sci fi, german lab equipment sounds as really usable musical tones. :-)
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leras ➑️
I hadn't actually - but you are right - with headphones the differences are clear. Probably I commented too quickly

I agree with you the Modwave is a lot more present and alive. I think the low end is rolled off quite sharply, which maybe helps give it more presence. I'd kinda written this off from a quick listen, but actually it has some great sounds in that demo.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Leras ➑️
Serum does also sound 'softsynthy' especially when there is some noise/fuzz in the sound. It may have a more full spectrum sound. but lacks bite.
I'm starting to realise that my mistaken belief that 'Serum was the best that software had to offer' may have been prejudicing me against software.

Now I'm hearing Dune 3 and also Hive 2 (not sure if the latter was yet mentioned in this thread) I'm very much more optimistic that I could live without hardware for this.

The first patch here is nothing special, but there are some real nice ones in the vid:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Leras ➑️

I really like some of the tones of the M, I think it's a different beast again. I don't think I'd utilise it's full range though. I think there is as much if not more 60s sci fi, german lab equipment sounds as really usable musical tones. :-)
Ehehe. I was listening to that OP demo of the M last night, after I'd enjoyed a tasty bowl of green vegetables, and the sounds were absolutely blowing my mind. Never heard anything like it. Incredibly high fidelity, rich tones. So complex, but also so clear and focused.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
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I am quite taken by the M ... especially by the conversation with the developer Vlad to get an understanding of the ideas, the plans, the compromises, etc that have gone into it.
Waldorf are with Modal, making my favourite instruments too.
BUT ...
I can't afford an M at the moment ... and like you I have a whole collection of VST's and some other options. I am sure I need to work out how to use what I have properly... just like playing the guitars I have ...
I was updating my QuNexus keyboard today and found myself messing with Ableton's Wavetables... and realised it's another thing that I haven't explored properly...
So keen to hear how your explorations go Simon ...
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator ➑️
Oooowh, listen from 3.07 [with headphones]. Wow. So beautiful.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
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🎧 10 years
>>>>

3.43:

>>>>

Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
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🎧 10 years
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