The Official Sequential/Oberheim Forum

SEQUENTIAL/DSI => Prophet => Prophet Rev2 => Topic started by: MoogieBoogieMan on December 08, 2018, 12:35:57 AM

Title: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: MoogieBoogieMan on December 08, 2018, 12:35:57 AM
Hello!  It is my opinion that certain Sequential/DSI synths sound harsh in the upper mids/highs to me.  I only own the Prophet 08 and Prophet 12 (thinking about selling my 08 for a rev 2) so I thought it had to be the Curtis filter, but I have listened to lots of demos of other Sequential/DSI synths and I still can hear the harshness.  I think the harshness is only present when the filter more open, so that must mean it's not the filter and that it's possibly the oscillators or the combination of all the components?  Someone also told me that SMPS (switching mode power supply) pollutes audio and that DSI/Sequential synths use it, though that's probably not the reason for this.  Can anyone tell me why this "harshness" is present?   
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: guyaguy on December 08, 2018, 07:26:22 AM
The oscillators are more hi-fi compared to a lot of other synths. A Moog square wave, for example is rounded off both in terms of shape as well as EQ, whereas the Rev2ís are brighter. Some people call that harsh or buzzy or modern. Really itís that more of the audio spectrum is present.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Tugdual on December 08, 2018, 08:26:52 AM
The oscillators are more hi-fi compared to a lot of other synths. A Moog square wave, for example is rounded off both in terms of shape as well as EQ, whereas the Rev2ís are brighter. Some people call that harsh or buzzy or modern. Really itís that more of the audio spectrum is present.
But that wouldn't explain the lack of low end which is also what most people (including me) say about the REV2. The lack of low end plus indeed high harmonics together participate to the harsh perception.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: guyaguy on December 08, 2018, 09:29:23 AM
The oscillators are more hi-fi compared to a lot of other synths. A Moog square wave, for example is rounded off both in terms of shape as well as EQ, whereas the Rev2ís are brighter. Some people call that harsh or buzzy or modern. Really itís that more of the audio spectrum is present.
But that wouldn't explain the lack of low end which is also what most people (including me) say about the REV2. The lack of low end plus indeed high harmonics together participate to the harsh perception.
Iíve not measured the output but I donít think thereís a lack of low end. But if more highs and upper mids are present like they are in the Rev2 then the bass is less noticeable. In other words thereís not less bass thereís more treble/upper mids. Feed it through an EQ with the treble rolled off a bit and youíll hear all the bass that is allegedly missing.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: maxter on December 08, 2018, 11:48:03 AM
The oscillators are more hi-fi compared to a lot of other synths. A Moog square wave, for example is rounded off both in terms of shape as well as EQ, whereas the Rev2ís are brighter. Some people call that harsh or buzzy or modern. Really itís that more of the audio spectrum is present.
But that wouldn't explain the lack of low end which is also what most people (including me) say about the REV2. The lack of low end plus indeed high harmonics together participate to the harsh perception.
Iíve not measured the output but I donít think thereís a lack of low end. But if more highs and upper mids are present like they are in the Rev2 then the bass is less noticeable. In other words thereís not less bass thereís more treble/upper mids. Feed it through an EQ with the treble rolled off a bit and youíll hear all the bass that is allegedly missing.

That makes sense. I don't think it's lacking in the low end, in fact I most often attenuate low end with EQ because I personally think there's a little too much energy straight out of the jacks. I haven't measured it either, but it would be interesting to see. I also find the sub-osc a great improvement from the P'08 in this regard, because it works great at oomphing up the bottom end if/when you want to. So I can roll off the lowest frequencies a bit with EQ, and still get that fatter low-end whenever I want to without tinkering with the EQ and sound image between different sounds.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on December 08, 2018, 03:07:36 PM
The Prophet '08 certainly can be made to sound harsh, but I don't think it is harsh by nature.  Audio modulation, a narrow pulse wave, PWM that is too deep or rapid, excessive resonance, sharp envelope settings, and the wrong filter type will all contribute to making a patch sound overly harsh.  Consider using darker cut off frequency settings, the 2-pole filter, and the sawtooth/triangle wave combination.  There are many ways to soften and warm-up a sound, including some judicious EQ adjustments.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: AlainHubert on December 08, 2018, 08:35:39 PM
I'm pretty much convinced that the "harshness" comes from the Curtis LPF. Because when comparing a classic, identical patch, with 2 oscillators sawtooth, slight detuning between the two, with a filter sweep, both on the OB6 and REV2, the harshness is clearly audible on the REV2, but not on the OB6. Especially when playing a 3 notes chord.

Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: MoogieBoogieMan on December 09, 2018, 03:15:17 PM
The oscillators are more hi-fi compared to a lot of other synths. A Moog square wave, for example is rounded off both in terms of shape as well as EQ, whereas the Rev2ís are brighter. Some people call that harsh or buzzy or modern. Really itís that more of the audio spectrum is present.
I don't hear "harshness" when I just hear a saw wave from a digital VST such as Serum.  I feel like I can hear this "harshness" in the P6 and PX as well just from YouTube demos I see/hear, but it's definitely more present to me in a synth like the 08/rev 2.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: LoboLives on December 09, 2018, 03:46:42 PM
Thereís gain staging in the synths so things sound harsh because the filter is being driven naturally hard. Dave is a big fan of overdrive. The key is in the mixer section and filter cutoff. Less is more.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: philroyjenkins on December 09, 2018, 05:10:01 PM
I can definitely get where your coming from but that sound is part of what drew me to the p8/rev2. I don't really see it as bad or harsh, just the character of the synth. I'd call it chalky if anything.


Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: MoogieBoogieMan on December 09, 2018, 05:10:19 PM
Thereís gain staging in the synths so things sound harsh because the filter is being driven naturally hard. Dave is a big fan of overdrive. The key is in the mixer section and filter cutoff. Less is more.
But that's not the reason for the "harshness" I hear in the rev 2/08.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: S Y Z Y G Y X on December 09, 2018, 05:24:24 PM
What people are hearing as harshness isnít due to driving of the filter or mixer headroom.  Now I donít hear anything harsh about the Rev2, nor do I feel the Rev2 is lacking in the low end, Hell we have a Moog and even so we use the Rev2 on 90 percent of our bass lines.  I get it may not be as thunderous in the lows as a monosynth but Iím happy that itís not as we love the sonic character of the Rev2 and really every DSI synth. 
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: AlainHubert on December 09, 2018, 05:53:34 PM
Agreed that the REV2 can do bass sounds, though not as good as a Minimoog D but pretty darn good nonetheless.
And I agree with LoboLives about the gain staging in the DSI synths. But even though the Curtis filter can be slightly overdriven, the result is far less pleasant than the same thing happening on a Moog ladder filter. Hence the perceived harshness perhaps ?
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: S Y Z Y G Y X on December 09, 2018, 06:07:00 PM
Yeah the curtŪs filter cannot be driven so anything harsh yíall are hearing it not due to the gain staging or the curtis filter. 

Im really curious about all this though!   How is the Rev2  sounding harsh?  Maybe itís not the synth for you, maybe need you a prologue hell i dunno, Luna and I will be keeping our Rev2 killah, beautiful lush sexy daddy synth that gets dark and rough as fuk! And we lllooooove it!!    The Rev2 is one skraight vibing machine!  We wouldnít want to live without it!
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: guyaguy on December 09, 2018, 08:42:55 PM
Thereís gain staging in the synths so things sound harsh because the filter is being driven naturally hard. Dave is a big fan of overdrive. The key is in the mixer section and filter cutoff. Less is more.
There's no individual oscillator volume control though so the only way to back off the volume is to use just one oscillator and blend toward the oscillator that's off. In comparison Moogs and the Matrixbrute and many other synths have a gain stage between the oscillator and filter section to get different timbres from the filter. Sure wish the Rev2 had that!
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: guyaguy on December 09, 2018, 08:45:25 PM
The oscillators are more hi-fi compared to a lot of other synths. A Moog square wave, for example is rounded off both in terms of shape as well as EQ, whereas the Rev2ís are brighter. Some people call that harsh or buzzy or modern. Really itís that more of the audio spectrum is present.
I don't hear "harshness" when I just hear a saw wave from a digital VST such as Serum.  I feel like I can hear this "harshness" in the P6 and PX as well just from YouTube demos I see/hear, but it's definitely more present to me in a synth like the 08/rev 2.
Maybe you should define "harsh" since it's subjective. Do you mean brassy? Trebly? Bassy? Midsy? Overdriven? Fizzy? Clangorous?
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: AlainHubert on December 09, 2018, 10:30:56 PM
In an attempt to demonstrate the perceived harshness, I've carefully programmed a similar patch on both my REV2 and OB6. It's a simple "string machine" type patch with two sawtooth oscillators slightly detuned, with the LFO slightly modulating the frequency of OSC1, and the filter slowly closing without any resonance. Of course the analog nature of the OB6 created a slightly different detuning than on the REV2, even with the Osc Slop parameter set to 7.
Also I couldn't quite get the envelopes to be identical because the curves of the two machines are different, but it's close enough for the purpose of this attempted demonstration, recorded in lossless .wav format (44K 16 bit). Of course recorded straight from the synths without any effects at all.
 
First is the REV2 and then the OB6.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/9mha8813qjc3fpw/DSI%20Harshness%202.wav?dl=0 (https://www.dropbox.com/s/9mha8813qjc3fpw/DSI%20Harshness%202.wav?dl=0)

Notice how smoother the OB6 sounds and how brash the REV2 is.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: jdt9517 on December 09, 2018, 10:38:34 PM
After playing a P-5 for years, i welcomed the "harshness" of the P-08.  i consider it "clarity".   I felt the P-5 missed a clarity that the P-08 has.  For me, it is a positive feature.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: MoogieBoogieMan on December 09, 2018, 11:03:24 PM
Maybe you should define "harsh" since it's subjective. Do you mean brassy? Trebly? Bassy? Midsy? Overdriven? Fizzy? Clangorous?
Yeah. Harsh, brassy, fizzy, annoying, trebly, midsy, brash, bright, aggressive, rough, course, nasty, abrasive, unpleasant, sharp, etc. must I go on? haha

But I have just done some tests comparing my 08 to Serum.  It's actually hard for me to tell the difference on some patches I made on Serum and the 08.  But I realized it must be the Curtis filter that is causing my perceived "harshness".   I think the Curtis filter sounds fine when the cutoff is lower, but when its all the way open, its still affecting the high frequencies.  In Serum, you can bypass the filter and get a lot of bright high end.  But when I kept the filter on in serum with the cutoff all the way open, I got a similar sound to what I'm hearing on the prophet.  It would be great to be able to bypass the filter like on the prophet X!  I think what I'm hearing is actually a loss of super high's, and perhaps turning the resonance up could fix that a bit. 
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Tugdual on December 09, 2018, 11:21:53 PM
After playing a P-5 for years, i welcomed the "harshness" of the P-08.  i consider it "clarity".   I felt the P-5 missed a clarity that the P-08 has.  For me, it is a positive feature.
Totally agree with you on that one. I love this so called harshness that isímore like richness to me, or indeed clarity. Had a Peak just before the Rev2 which had amazing features but dull sound. This being said there is no good or bad sound, just things you like or sounds for different usages. I would recommend the Peak to the people who find the rev2 harsh, it sounds way more creamy. Rev2 is a bit like a harpsichord while the Peak would be a piano...
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: MoogieBoogieMan on December 09, 2018, 11:23:55 PM
Totally agree with you on that one. I love this so called harshness that isímore like richness to me, or indeed clarity. Had a Peak just before the Rev2 which had amazing features but dull sound. This being said there is no good or bad sound, just things you like or sounds for different usages. I would recommend the Peak to the people who find the rev2 harsh, it sounds way more creamy.
I wish the Peak came in a keyboard form!
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Razmo on December 10, 2018, 12:23:03 AM
I do not hear any harshness, just a brighter sound with a bit too muddy lowend when too many voices are playing at the same time... this is something I often have to battle when creating my sounds... this is also why I do not want MOOG style oscillators in a poly synth, since they are very heavy in the lowend... playing huge pads on a polysynth with MOOG style filters will end up sounding like one big "mud pool"... in fact i often miss a per voice analog HiPass filter on the REV2 to actually dampen the the lowend... a master FX HiPass is not good enough in that case since it does not remove the "mud", it just lowers the volume of it... I'd have liked a per voice HiPass so that the bottom end would blend together better.

One thing to remember though is, that you still can get some harshness from the REV2, but I believe this is due to the FX engine... it can get a bit harsh, a bit like how the Prophet 12's oscillators sound... if this is because of the 11KHz bandlimit that was present on the Prophet 12 is also being used on the digital FX engine of their newer synths, i do not know, but some of the FX do sound a bit "cold", especially the phasers, flangers and ringmod.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: synthboy on December 10, 2018, 04:00:28 AM
First is the REV2 and then the OB6.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/9mha8813qjc3fpw/DSI%20Harshness%202.wav?dl=0 (https://www.dropbox.com/s/9mha8813qjc3fpw/DSI%20Harshness%202.wav?dl=0)

Notice how smoother the OB6 sounds and how brash the REV2 is.

Are you sure that REV2 is the first sound?
Nevertheless nice patch on both synths.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: AlainHubert on December 10, 2018, 05:35:26 AM
Thanks. Yes. Iíve played the same 5 notes chord first on the Rev2 then on the OB6.
What, you hear harshness on the OB6 now? I can clearly hear some on the Rev2, and the OB6 sounds much smoother to me...
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Djinn on December 10, 2018, 05:51:14 AM
Iv only listened on my phone but I'm with synthboy the second one sounds more harsh for want of a better word this could b just a lack of bass frequencies on my phone but well done for getting the sounds so close I love my rev2 it's a grower but it could do with an eq anybody got any ideas? Something small would be good mayb with a tube stage? Probably dreaming
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: LoboLives on December 10, 2018, 06:05:44 AM
Thereís gain staging in the synths so things sound harsh because the filter is being driven naturally hard. Dave is a big fan of overdrive. The key is in the mixer section and filter cutoff. Less is more.
There's no individual oscillator volume control though so the only way to back off the volume is to use just one oscillator and blend toward the oscillator that's off. In comparison Moogs and the Matrixbrute and many other synths have a gain stage between the oscillator and filter section to get different timbres from the filter. Sure wish the Rev2 had that!

Thatís just the way the Curtis Filter is designed in regards to its mixer. Filter envelope is also key. Listening to this video...I donít really hear the harshness people are taking about
https://youtu.be/STaHYVmZBi8
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: AlainHubert on December 10, 2018, 06:22:44 AM
I thought it went without saying that my audio example should be listenend to with good quality headphones and not through iPhone or laptop speakers...
 ::) ???
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: musicmaker on December 10, 2018, 08:02:04 AM
Listening to demo's for months, I felt like I visualized sharp corners hearing REV2 demos and smooth circles listening to P6's. But no matter how many REV2 Soundcloud recordings or Youtube video's I listened to  the demos never sounded as good as the real thing. It could be the demo's used  patches not of my liking. The REV2 sounds amazing and is so very versatile and it can easily made  sound harsh or not at all. For that comparison of the REV2 vs OB6, I felt the OB6 was more harsh. It might be a matter of individual perception how to  describe a sound. It cannot be compared to the Moog One which  has a very different sound palette. It could be the quality of the demo's but the sound is like it's held back, damped or filtered in some strange way. It has not the clarity and "directness" of the REV2 or DSI Sequential synths in general. This is the only demo that gave an overall feeling how it can sound but still not overwhelming or proving it is can sound or do things very different than existing synths. Might need to hear it with headphones on. Well. just my two cents. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnq4vpO4Tfk

Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Sleep of Reason on December 10, 2018, 08:17:12 AM
I can hear this "harshness" in the P6
Yeah well, you know, that's just like ah, your opinion, man. Personally I don't hear "harshness" with the P6 at all.

For that comparison of the REV2 vs OB6, I felt the OB6 was more harsh.

Having owned both, I will say that's the opposite of what I found to be the case.

The REV2 def takes more dialing in, whereas both the OB-6 and P6 always sound good to my ears.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Razmo on December 10, 2018, 08:22:30 AM
regarding the above video... to me it sounds like the stereo-field is the cause for the "withdrawn sound"... many presets in synths are quite bad sounding when dry simply because the author of the sounds rely on the FX engine to make the sounds shine... that is a caveat that you as a sound designer can easily fall into, especially if you create your sounds from the ground up, and introduce an FX early on in the design (which is tempting) ... then as soon as the FX is removed, it sounds dull and with not much other stereo perspective than a modulated pan position... i cannot think, that the MOOG One have a basic raw sound like that in the video... i have to believe that it's the sound design being the reason for that dull sound... and he does take out the FX as he is clearly stating in the beginning.

This is actually why I try to create as much of a sound on the REV2 as a dry sound first, with it sounding its best possible dry... then i add FX to add to it, and doing this you usually do not need much FX to enhance it... too much simply destroy the sound in many cases.

In general... I'd say that all this talk about "harshness" and "withdrawn" is mostly down to the sound design... really... some synths can be easier to program and not get "harsh", others may need a bit more skillful trimming of parameters to remove the harshness... one such synth (in my opinion) is the Prophet 12 for example... it needs careful parameter tweaking to remove it's digital harshness... but the REV2 is analog... it sounds nothing like the Prophet 12 oscillators at all. bright... yes... but I hear no "harsh"... only with extreme FX settings I hear some harshness.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: AlainHubert on December 10, 2018, 10:08:53 AM
The fact that we cannot control the individual audio levels of both oscillators independently going to the filter on the REV2 is a limitation that I don't personally like. And it might have some influence on the perceived brashness of the synth on some patches.
I've never understood why Dave elected to do that on the P08 and REV2 ? It wasn't like that on the P5 or the P6.
Anyway, despite minor quirks like this that, I much prefer my REV2 over the Moog One. 
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: LoboLives on December 10, 2018, 10:20:03 AM
The fact that we cannot control the individual audio levels of both oscillators independently going to the filter on the REV2 is a limitation that I don't personally like. And it might have some influence on the perceived brashness of the synth on some patches.
I've never understood why Dave elected to do that on the P08 and REV2 ? It wasn't like that on the P5 or the P6.
Anyway, despite minor quirks like this that, I much prefer my REV2 over the Moog One.

It's the way the Curtis filter is designed. I believe the OBXa and Prophet 5 REV3 had this. Interestingly the Prophet 5 REV.3 which switched from SSM chips to Curtis chips is regarded as the most stable of the Prophet-5s but also was reviewed as "Slightly colder and thinner than it's previous models." Maybe with the amount of features the REV2 has, Dave wanted to make sure everything was more reliable...which is likely also the reason he used DCOs instead of the VCOs of the P6 or OB6.

I do hope that we will get a big brother to the P6 one day (VCOs, SSM based chips, bi timbral and preferably with the same no menu layout). It will likely be expensive but after listening to the Prophet 10 on so many recordings...it's a sound that's unbeatable IMO.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on December 10, 2018, 10:56:35 AM
On the Prophet '08, there are two parameters for adjusting oscillator volume - the Oscillator Mix knob, which is obviously only a balance parameter, and the Voice Volume in the Misc. Parameters section, which adjusts both oscillators at the same time.  I've always found the combination of these two features to be more than enough to resolve oscillator level problems such as distortion.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: MoogieBoogieMan on December 10, 2018, 12:10:53 PM
First is the REV2 and then the OB6.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/9mha8813qjc3fpw/DSI%20Harshness%202.wav?dl=0 (https://www.dropbox.com/s/9mha8813qjc3fpw/DSI%20Harshness%202.wav?dl=0)

Notice how smoother the OB6 sounds and how brash the REV2 is.

Are you sure that REV2 is the first sound?
Nevertheless nice patch on both synths.
I had listened to the audio file on studio monitors without reading which one was first and I also thought the OB6 was the first one and the REV2 was the second one! haha
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: guyaguy on December 10, 2018, 12:21:02 PM
On the Prophet '08, there are two parameters for adjusting oscillator volume - the Oscillator Mix knob, which is obviously only a balance parameter, and the Voice Volume in the Misc. Parameters section, which adjusts both oscillators at the same time.  I've always found the combination of these two features to be more than enough to resolve oscillator level problems such as distortion.
Itís the same with the Rev2. But voice volume is the last stage so you canít control volume of the DCOs themselves when they hit the filter for different timbres. The only work around I know of will cut polyphony in half: make a 1 oscillator patch with osc1 mixed toward oscillator osc2, paste to layer b and reverse the oscillator blend.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Razmo on December 10, 2018, 12:34:23 PM
On the Prophet '08, there are two parameters for adjusting oscillator volume - the Oscillator Mix knob, which is obviously only a balance parameter, and the Voice Volume in the Misc. Parameters section, which adjusts both oscillators at the same time.  I've always found the combination of these two features to be more than enough to resolve oscillator level problems such as distortion.

according to the CEM3396 datasheet which should be the same chip generally, many of the pins on this chip is simply CV inputs... there is a "balance" CV input which control the OSC mix, so that's why there is no separate control of the volume for each oscillator... probably done to save input pins on the chip. Also, the CEM 3396 actually have two VCA's... one that is linear and one that is logarithmic in their inputs... one is usually meant to be used for an envelope generator, and the other is used for other modulation... they are in series, and they are located POST filter, so that is why they have no influence on the filter at all... the second VCA is probably the one used with the "voice volume" and maybe also the one used in the modulation matrix...

The CEM 3396 is not a stereo chip... so any panning of a voice must somehow be done with a discrete panning curcuit after the chip i guess.

The Curtis chip (CEM3396) is certainly limited in it's signal flow being expanded on... unless you started to make strange hybrid synths with a 3396->SSM chip (with all maner of analog goodies in between them before going into the SSM)... but that's wishful thinking.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Razmo on December 10, 2018, 12:40:41 PM
What really should have been done regarding the build up of audio chips in Sequential synths is to use the modulized chips CEM made... simply take a chip that is only the oscillators, another that is the filter and another the VCA... if that had been the way, anything could have been inserted between the different "synthesis modules" to overcome all the shortcomings of the CEM3396... I get that using the 3396 is probably cheaper and much easier when it comes to the circuit, but you get that simplicity at a price... less flexibility.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: MoogieBoogieMan on December 10, 2018, 12:43:12 PM
Thatís just the way the Curtis Filter is designed in regards to its mixer. Filter envelope is also key. Listening to this video...I donít really hear the harshness people are taking about
https://youtu.be/STaHYVmZBi8
Really? You don't hear that annoying nasality/buzziness/fizziness/scratchiness/metallicness/tinnyness/etc?
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: guyaguy on December 10, 2018, 12:44:31 PM
The fact that we cannot control the individual audio levels of both oscillators independently going to the filter on the REV2 is a limitation that I don't personally like. And it might have some influence on the perceived brashness of the synth on some patches.
I've never understood why Dave elected to do that on the P08 and REV2 ? It wasn't like that on the P5 or the P6.
Anyway, despite minor quirks like this that, I much prefer my REV2 over the Moog One.

It's the way the Curtis filter is designed. I believe the OBXa and Prophet 5 REV3 had this. Interestingly the Prophet 5 REV.3 which switched from SSM chips to Curtis chips is regarded as the most stable of the Prophet-5s but also was reviewed as "Slightly colder and thinner than it's previous models." Maybe with the amount of features the REV2 has, Dave wanted to make sure everything was more reliable...which is likely also the reason he used DCOs instead of the VCOs of the P6 or OB6.

I do hope that we will get a big brother to the P6 one day (VCOs, SSM based chips, bi timbral and preferably with the same no menu layout). It will likely be expensive but after listening to the Prophet 10 on so many recordings...it's a sound that's unbeatable IMO.
The reason is the synth on a chip not just the filter section. (Thereís more than one type of Curtis filter.) The Evolver used the same chip and got around the limitation by just using one DCO per voice.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Razmo on December 10, 2018, 01:10:51 PM
http://razmo.ziphoid.com/CurtisTest.mp3

Here is a small demo of some of my presets that may show the nature of the REV2 as the filter opens in more complex programs with added FX... I feel it's important to show this with "all included" since that is what people usually use, and not just sterile waveforms with the filters opening up.

I can hear the thing that some may call "harshness", and it start when the filter is completely opened up... but this is because the curtis oscillators are very bright, not because they are harsh... if you listen closely, this harshness is not present until the later parts of each sound in the demo... you could easily just roll back a little on the filter, and it will still sound nice and open, just a lot more smooth and creamy... the harshness (in my opinion) comes from the fact that other synths probably do not have as brigt oscillators, or do not open the filter enough to let the brightness thru... learn to tame the filter, and the REV2 is perfectly capable of creating nice analog pads etc. :)

The demo use different waveforms... both Triangle, Pulse and Sawtooth...
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: LoboLives on December 10, 2018, 05:54:23 PM
Thatís just the way the Curtis Filter is designed in regards to its mixer. Filter envelope is also key. Listening to this video...I donít really hear the harshness people are taking about
https://youtu.be/STaHYVmZBi8
Really? You don't hear that annoying nasality/buzziness/fizziness/scratchiness/metallicness/tinnyness/etc?

No, itís bright when the filter is open but thatís about it. It really comes down to programming I find.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: jg666 on December 10, 2018, 11:57:34 PM
I don't hear any harshness with the Rev2. I'm not knowledgeable enough to get into the discussions about why some hear harshness and others don't  ;D 

It is good though that we all like different synth/filter sounds in my opinion as it would be boring if we all liked the same thing! There are other synths which people rave about that I don't like the sound of, whereas as soon as I heard the Rev2 in person in a music store I was blown away by it.

Edit - I think it's probably the bi timbrality of the Rev2 that makes the sound something more enjoyable for me. I had a play about with the Peak at the same time as the Rev2 in the shop and the Peak didn't hit the spot like the Rev2 did.

Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Razmo on December 11, 2018, 01:18:10 AM
I'm not sure if this is relevant, but in the early days of DSI synths, the cutoff parameter had a parameter range from 0->128 ... since that it was raised to be from 0->164 ... I wonder if from 128->164 is the extra "harsh range" some people seem to hear.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: LoboLives on December 11, 2018, 05:56:56 AM
I'm not sure if this is relevant, but in the early days of DSI synths, the cutoff parameter had a parameter range from 0->128 ... since that it was raised to be from 0->164 ... I wonder if from 128->164 is the extra "harsh range" some people seem to hear.

Interestingly on the P5 presets in the P6, the oscillators are almost never fully open and the filter never goes past 1 or 2 o clock (which happens to me around 120 on the editor). Even on sounds you think the filter is wide open, it's not.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Razmo on December 11, 2018, 06:13:40 AM
I'm not sure if this is relevant, but in the early days of DSI synths, the cutoff parameter had a parameter range from 0->128 ... since that it was raised to be from 0->164 ... I wonder if from 128->164 is the extra "harsh range" some people seem to hear.

Interestingly on the P5 presets in the P6, the oscillators are almost never fully open and the filter never goes past 1 or 2 o clock (which happens to me around 120 on the editor). Even on sounds you think the filter is wide open, it's not.

Exactly... and I know that back then, DSI changed this range... and I bet it was because of the opposite... people back then wanted it to be brighter.... it's just a giveaway, that you simply cannot satisfy everyone ever... there will always be users complaining about something... increasing the value solved the brightness problem back then... but introduced it as "harshness" for other users not knowing that all they have to do is lower the range a bit on the filter cutoff... it's rather simple really... just lower the darn Envelope Amount knob, or control your modulation matrix amounts etc.  :D
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: maxter on December 11, 2018, 10:25:45 AM
...yes, and after all this is subtractive synthesis, so oscillators being very rich in higher harmonics (harshness?) is eligible in this case. The filter serves its purpose, and I'm actually fond of the "harshness" as it makes for more sound design options and can be easily tamed anyhow. Like a toolbox containing more tools, even if you mostly just use a couple of tools, it doesn't hurt to have the others available.

I'd bet that if the oscillators were lamer and/or the filter thinner, the lack of "harshness" would have some people complaining about the sound being "dull" (I probably would). That scenario would be a lot worse and less convenient to overcome, adding something not there to begin with.

I personally prefer the 2-pole mode with cranked up resonance compared to the 4-pole (even without resonance), if using the 4-pole I'll probably stick to using just 1 oscillator, probably attenuated as well. I think the 4-pole can add to the "harshness", which is great if/when you'd want that.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: AlainHubert on December 11, 2018, 10:45:35 AM
It's not only a question of the number of poles, but much more the design of a filter that make up its qualities.
An Oberheim SEM filter is very nice, a Moog ladder filter too. A Curtis one from the late productions (i.e. CEM3396) not so much.
The CEM3320 sounded very nice too, but not quite as good as the SSM2040.
But it's all a matter of personal taste, I guess...
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Razmo on December 11, 2018, 10:54:55 AM
There are so many factors and opinions that matter that there really is no right or wrong... a good filter (if it's YOUR opinion), is not so useful, if you have crappy oscillators... or none of these matters, if the engine is not flexible enough... and if the envelopes are not to your liking in response, it's even more bad... there are so many factors to take into account on what "a good and well sounding synth" is... yes... the Curtis is perhaps not the best compared to a MOOG, but the REV2 engine will beat most MOOG engines, giving you more options etc. etc... I never understood theese debates about a synth being good or bad... in fact I don't give a s**t about what others opinion are... I use what I feel makes me wanna make sounds and music... fair and square.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: jg666 on December 11, 2018, 11:06:05 AM
Like others have said, I don't care what others think of any of the synths I own :)  I liken all this kind of debate to something similar to liking particular music or a particular band.... example....

To some people, Neil Young is a God but to my ears his voice sounds like a cat being strangled and his guitar solos sound like he's dropped his guitar down a long flight of stairs whilst still plugged into the amp.

I'll never agree with those people who say he's great but they have the right to their opinion :) I'll never agree with criticisms of the sound I can produce with my Rev2 but everyone hears things differently and wants different things out of their keyboards.

Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: skrohmer on December 11, 2018, 11:45:33 AM
There are so many factors and opinions that matter that there really is no right or wrong... a good filter (if it's YOUR opinion), is not so useful, if you have crappy oscillators... or none of these matters, if the engine is not flexible enough... and if the envelopes are not to your liking in response, it's even more bad... there are so many factors to take into account on what "a good and well sounding synth" is... yes... the Curtis is perhaps not the best compared to a MOOG, but the REV2 engine will beat most MOOG engines, giving you more options etc. etc... I never understood theese debates about a synth being good or bad... in fact I don't give a s**t about what others opinion are... I use what I feel makes me wanna make sounds and music... fair and square.

agreed totally

Like others have said, I don't care what others think of any of the synths I own :)  I liken all this kind of debate to something similar to liking particular music or a particular band.... example....

To some people, Neil Young is a God but to my ears his voice sounds like a cat being strangled and his guitar solos sound like he's dropped his guitar down a long flight of stairs whilst still plugged into the amp.

I'll never agree with those people who say he's great but they have the right to their opinion :) I'll never agree with criticisms of the sound I can produce with my Rev2 but everyone hears things differently and wants different things out of their keyboards.

agreed totally

Nevertheless thousands of people are fighting for their opinions every day. I'm really glad to read such reasonable statements from time to time. Thanks guys!  :)
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Djinn on December 11, 2018, 11:56:17 AM
Neil Young is great!  :)
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: maxter on December 11, 2018, 12:13:35 PM
Of course I, too, agree with the above. My previous point was not so much about individual taste concerning filters and "good" sound in general though, but more a kind of praise of the Rev2 oscillators and filters "going to 11" (as Razmo mentioned earlier), which opens up for more sound possibilities. Considering it's a subtractive synth, the more starting material to subtract from, the better (generally speaking, of course it depends on the actual material character/quality as well, and the ways and designs to subtract from and modulate it etc etc etc).

Only reason I mentioned my general preference of filter settings on the Rev2 (not every other synth, I may add), was to relate to the main topic of "harshness" in this thread in what way I think the filter could be adding to this effect, and an idea on how to avoid it (since it doesn't seem to be the character that the original poster likes). So, my "opinion" on this was not in any way to suppose what is "good" or "bad", in any way. Did anybody not miss my point?   ;)

My opinion is this is an interesting topic.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on December 11, 2018, 12:44:32 PM
It seems to be the claim here - at least among some - that the only way to avoid harshness in the Prophet '08/Rev2 is to somewhat close the filter.  So, in 4-pole mode, a fully open filter creates an inescapable harshness?  I wouldn't agree with this.  There are ways of keeping a wide-open filter from being overbearing, the two most obvious being to restrain the VCA level and to be wary of resonance.  With some patches, it even makes sense to slightly lower the VCA envelope sustain. 

Yes, at higher amplitudes and with excessive resonance the instrument can sound harsh, but it isn't necessary; nor would I call such harshness a characteristic of the instrument.  It's only a potential.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Razmo on December 11, 2018, 01:34:55 PM
Of course I, too, agree with the above. My previous point was not so much about individual taste concerning filters and "good" sound in general though, but more a kind of praise of the Rev2 oscillators and filters "going to 11" (as Razmo mentioned earlier), which opens up for more sound possibilities. Considering it's a subtractive synth, the more starting material to subtract from, the better (generally speaking, of course it depends on the actual material character/quality as well, and the ways and designs to subtract from and modulate it etc etc etc).

Only reason I mentioned my general preference of filter settings on the Rev2 (not every other synth, I may add), was to relate to the main topic of "harshness" in this thread in what way I think the filter could be adding to this effect, and an idea on how to avoid it (since it doesn't seem to be the character that the original poster likes). So, my "opinion" on this was not in any way to suppose what is "good" or "bad", in any way. Did anybody not miss my point?   ;)

My opinion is this is an interesting topic.

Not at all ;) ... I did not even have your comment in my head when I wrote the above... it was just a general statement about the general debate I often see people have, on why this synth is better than that synth... you can certainly debate WHY someone have a bad feeling about a particular synth... I'll even call this thread an ok question... i like these debates if they are constructive, trying to analyze the "problem" etc... and as long as the debating parties have respect and a decent way of going about the debate :) ... on other groups on the net, these kind of debates can quickly turn ugly... for no good reason really...

I actually tried to "hear the harshness" and feel like I "hear it"... with the filter wide open (or rather the range from 128-164)... I heard it in my small demo i made earlier... i too hear this "harshness" from time to time, but i always attributed it to the way the sound was designed, not as a general all-over trait of the Curtis chip... i often lower the filter envelope amount in my sounds, when they seem too bright/Harsh, i just never thought about it as a character of the entire synth... it goes away when the filter is not totally opened...

Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Razmo on December 11, 2018, 01:42:48 PM
It seems to be the claim here - at least among some - that the only way to avoid harshness in the Prophet '08/Rev2 is to somewhat close the filter.  So, in 4-pole mode, a fully open filter creates an inescapable harshness?  I wouldn't agree with this.  There are ways of keeping a wide-open filter from being overbearing, the two most obvious being to restrain the VCA level and to be wary of resonance.  With some patches, it even makes sense to slightly lower the VCA envelope sustain. 

Yes, at higher amplitudes and with excessive resonance the instrument can sound harsh, but it isn't necessary; nor would I call such harshness a characteristic of the instrument.  It's only a potential.

I recently read a bit from the CEM3396 datasheet, and it actually mention that they created exactly TWO VCA's to circumvent a particular distortion situation if it only had ONE VCA... it was something about the VCA envelope that would get possible distortion, if all volume was to be controlled thru only a single VCA CV... now I'm not sure if this has anything to do with this, but if you experience that this harshness/brightness goes away when lowering the Volume VCA, then it may be that it originate from the VCA curcuit maybe... i do not see how anything should be capable of overdriving the VCA stages, as they are the last in the signal chain inside the chip... the raw oscillators are obviously fed directly into the filter, and from there into the two VCA's after that... maybe it's a combination of the oscillators and the filter with resonance... i read in many Sequential manuals, that you CAN clip the Curtis chip with high resonance... so maybe the VCA's inside the chip can get driven too hard from the filter... or maybe if the output from the filter, when it's too low gets amplified and distorted in the VCA's somewhere? ... in other words, I do not know... but it would be fun to experiment a bit with the signal flow of the Curtis chip some day.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on December 11, 2018, 01:55:25 PM

I recently read a bit from the CEM3396 datasheet, and it actually mention that they created exactly TWO VCA's to circumvent a particular distortion situation if it only had ONE VCA... it was something about the VCA envelope that would get possible distortion, if all volume was to be controlled thru only a single VCA CV... now I'm not sure if this has anything to do with this, but if you experience that this harshness/brightness goes away when lowering the Volume VCA, then it may be that it originate from the VCA curcuit maybe... i do not see how anything should be capable of overdriving the VCA stages, as they are the last in the signal chain inside the chip... the raw oscillators are obviously fed directly into the filter, and from there into the two VCA's after that... maybe it's a combination of the oscillators and the filter with resonance... i read in many Sequential manuals, that you CAN clip the Curtis chip with high resonance... so maybe the VCA's inside the chip can get driven too hard from the filter... or maybe if the output from the filter, when it's too low gets amplified and distorted in the VCA's somewhere? ... in other words, I do not know... but it would be fun to experiment a bit with the signal flow of the Curtis chip some day.

We haven't quite defined the meaning or cause of the "harshness" in this thread, so things are a bit vague.  What I was referring to above was a harshness that was the result of slight distortion.  Because I use layered patches all the time, distortion is a serious and constant problem for me.  High audio levels, distortion, and a fully-open filter are a recipe for musical disaster.  But again, I do think a full open filter can still be made to sound pleasant, rather than harsh.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: guyaguy on December 11, 2018, 03:31:31 PM

I recently read a bit from the CEM3396 datasheet, and it actually mention that they created exactly TWO VCA's to circumvent a particular distortion situation if it only had ONE VCA... it was something about the VCA envelope that would get possible distortion, if all volume was to be controlled thru only a single VCA CV... now I'm not sure if this has anything to do with this, but if you experience that this harshness/brightness goes away when lowering the Volume VCA, then it may be that it originate from the VCA curcuit maybe... i do not see how anything should be capable of overdriving the VCA stages, as they are the last in the signal chain inside the chip... the raw oscillators are obviously fed directly into the filter, and from there into the two VCA's after that... maybe it's a combination of the oscillators and the filter with resonance... i read in many Sequential manuals, that you CAN clip the Curtis chip with high resonance... so maybe the VCA's inside the chip can get driven too hard from the filter... or maybe if the output from the filter, when it's too low gets amplified and distorted in the VCA's somewhere? ... in other words, I do not know... but it would be fun to experiment a bit with the signal flow of the Curtis chip some day.

We haven't quite defined the meaning or cause of the "harshness" in this thread, so things are a bit vague.  What I was referring to above was a harshness that was the result of slight distortion.  Because I use layered patches all the time, distortion is a serious and constant problem for me.  High audio levels, distortion, and a fully-open filter are a recipe for musical disaster.  But again, I do think a full open filter can still be made to sound pleasant, rather than harsh.
Thatís why I was asking for a definition of harsh earlier on. One manís harsh is another manís super saw. 

Speaking of saws...I wonder if the perception of harshness would change if the default wave were triangle or square...
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on December 11, 2018, 07:42:05 PM
One manís harsh is another manís super saw.

Masterful.  This is a proverb that deserves neon lights.  ;D
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: AlainHubert on December 11, 2018, 09:49:51 PM
A super saw cuts both ways... Some like it a lot, some not.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: synthboy on December 12, 2018, 04:24:40 AM
Thanks. Yes. Iíve played the same 5 notes chord first on the Rev2 then on the OB6.
What, you hear harshness on the OB6 now? I can clearly hear some on the Rev2, and the OB6 sounds much smoother to me...

Had to listen again (using Sennheiser Momentum Wireless headphones) and yes i still think the first sound is more smooth and muffled. The second more harsh and metallic. Seems that more than me have the same opinion.
I would prefer the first sound playing solo but the latter in a mix.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: jdt9517 on December 12, 2018, 09:16:47 PM

Exactly... and I know that back then, DSI changed this range... and I bet it was because of the opposite... people back then wanted it to be brighter....

I was one of those "back then" who wanted the P-5 to be brighter.  Hence why I prefer the P-08 over the P-5 sound wise.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: MoogieBoogieMan on December 14, 2018, 11:21:23 AM
I figured out why I think it sounds "harsh" to me.  It's not about brightness, I like bright sounds.  I don't hear the "harshness" when I hear a saw wave from Serum when the filter is bypassed.   But I can hear a similar "harshness" when I have the filter enabled and all the way open in Serum.  The filter is still cutting out a bit of the highs even when it's all the way open.  So to my ears, I think the "harshness" that I'm hearing is the Curtis filter affecting the highs.  SO now I'm totally fine with the "harshness" that I was hearing now that I know where it was coming from.  It would be great to be able to bypass the filter, but that doesn't really make a lot of sense on an analog subtractive synth.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: guyaguy on December 14, 2018, 05:51:02 PM
I figured out why I think it sounds "harsh" to me.  It's not about brightness, I like bright sounds.  I don't hear the "harshness" when I hear a saw wave from Serum when the filter is bypassed.   But I can hear a similar "harshness" when I have the filter enabled and all the way open in Serum.  The filter is still cutting out a bit of the highs even when it's all the way open.  So to my ears, I think the "harshness" that I'm hearing is the Curtis filter affecting the highs.  SO now I'm totally fine with the "harshness" that I was hearing now that I know where it was coming from.  It would be great to be able to bypass the filter, but that doesn't really make a lot of sense on an analog subtractive synth.
I've never heard treble attenuation described as harshness.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: chapterhaus on December 15, 2018, 02:33:54 AM
I too think that my DSI is a little crisper than other synths; so I did a little test. Backstory: I've been trying to model some Juno 106 patches (borrowing from a friend) on my Mopho X4, and for the most part can get them dialed in. I began with debatably the easiest tone, Patch A11, Brass. A simple saw wave with some chorus. I replicated the patch sans chorus, and then compared the two while using the TAL Chorus for the X4, and the chorus on the Juno. They're pretty close.

The problem lies in comparing the high end, I noticed the Roland has a softer edge to it. The MOTU interface I have sports a useful oscilloscope and FFT analysis, so I stripped the two tones down to the most basic saw, played a middle C, and here are the results (attached photos).

The Mopho has a more abrupt wave, more angular, with a slightly concave down shape and a small notch at the top. The Juno has a very noticable concave up shape in the bottom part of the saw. These are matched levels, with no filters applied.

Does this mean anything? Probably not, but I thought I'd contribute this to the conversation (even though you all are talking about higher end synths than these two).
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: guyaguy on December 15, 2018, 08:51:29 AM
It means that if someone is comparing the Rev2 to a Juno theyíre comparing something close to a genuine saw to a weird saw/square hybrid.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Razmo on December 15, 2018, 09:55:31 AM
The two waveforms are clearly different, but what is more revealing would be if we saw these in a spectrum instead because the Juno waveform would probably have a different frequency spectrum than the DSI one... and with that curved bottom on the Juno I bet that there would be less higher harmonics, and maybe even more pronounced lows... this is probably also why the DSI waveform sounds brighter when the filter is completely open... to round off those abrupt edges, you would need to lower the cutoff a bit... which again returns us to the fact, that the "harshness" is simply just how the waveform sound unfiltered... just lower the cutoff a bit, and you would be good ... problem is, that if you do NOT know about this fact, you would like with all other synths assume, that the envelope amount should be set at max to get the whole spectrum included... you will just get the overly bright nature of it included as well.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: eXode on December 16, 2018, 02:34:01 AM
I too think that my DSI is a little crisper than other synths; so I did a little test. Backstory: I've been trying to model some Juno 106 patches (borrowing from a friend) on my Mopho X4, and for the most part can get them dialed in. I began with debatably the easiest tone, Patch A11, Brass. A simple saw wave with some chorus. I replicated the patch sans chorus, and then compared the two while using the TAL Chorus for the X4, and the chorus on the Juno. They're pretty close.

The problem lies in comparing the high end, I noticed the Roland has a softer edge to it. The MOTU interface I have sports a useful oscilloscope and FFT analysis, so I stripped the two tones down to the most basic saw, played a middle C, and here are the results (attached photos).

The Mopho has a more abrupt wave, more angular, with a slightly concave down shape and a small notch at the top. The Juno has a very noticable concave up shape in the bottom part of the saw. These are matched levels, with no filters applied.

Does this mean anything? Probably not, but I thought I'd contribute this to the conversation (even though you all are talking about higher end synths than these two).

The two waveforms are clearly different, but what is more revealing would be if we saw these in a spectrum instead because the Juno waveform would probably have a different frequency spectrum than the DSI one... and with that curved bottom on the Juno I bet that there would be less higher harmonics, and maybe even more pronounced lows... this is probably also why the DSI waveform sounds brighter when the filter is completely open... to round off those abrupt edges, you would need to lower the cutoff a bit... which again returns us to the fact, that the "harshness" is simply just how the waveform sound unfiltered... just lower the cutoff a bit, and you would be good ... problem is, that if you do NOT know about this fact, you would like with all other synths assume, that the envelope amount should be set at max to get the whole spectrum included... you will just get the overly bright nature of it included as well.

Unless those measurements were taken directly from the waveform output those "differences" don't mean much, as there's possible coloration/distortion, etc on it's way to the output, even with the filter completely open.

The DSI products seem to have a very high frequency range for their filter, going high above human hearing, some filters like i.e. the modern Moog filters seem to cap the knob at about 16 KHz for instance (though the modulation allows it to go beyond that). On top of that the DSI products also have a very deep modulation range, again it seems to allow for deeper/wider modulation than i.e. the modern Moogs (mentioning the modern Moogs because I know them).

I believe the perceived brassiness on DSI products is because of it's wide filter range, combined with modulation depth range, making it easy to go bright compared to some other synths. The key is really in dialing back the filter frequency, as well as the mod depth. Start from very little and work your way up, carefully.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: psionic11 on December 16, 2018, 07:36:25 AM
Shay, don't forget that you can wave shape the Rev2 saws, and the colors available are slightly warmer or hollow.

In trying to emulate the basic osc tones this is important.  The Moog One saw shaper rounds off the highs.

Also, the Rev2 tri/saw shapes are less harsh.

As for the Curtis filter, the 2 pole responds differently and can be less harsh as well.

The filter key track acts as a secondary cutoff knob, and dialing it left really shaves the highs.

Finally, you can use filter FM or slight FX distortion to slightly change the Curtis 4 pole sonic profile.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: guyaguy on December 17, 2018, 06:27:39 PM
Here are some spectro screenshot showing some of what's been described here. These images are an init sawtooth patch playing C1--no filtering. Only output volume was adjusted to match levels. You can see how the Rev2 has a bit more going on close to the 10K range compared to both the Matrixbrute and the Moog Subsequent 37. You don't always want that extra range where normally your cymbals or banshees live but it can be useful.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: guyaguy on December 17, 2018, 06:33:32 PM
And here are shots of the Moog Subsequent 37 and Rev 2 filters set with resonance all the way up. The screenshot shows the frequency on the right where oscillation starts to happen. On the Moog it's just past 10K. On the Rev2 it's literally off the charts! That filter can squeal!

Notice, though, that the bass is still intact on the Rev2 here; in this case it's louder than the Moog's in fact. But it's probably the squeal that's going to catch your attention!
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: MoogieBoogieMan on December 19, 2018, 02:36:39 PM
Shay, don't forget that you can wave shape the Rev2 saws, and the colors available are slightly warmer or hollow.

In trying to emulate the basic osc tones this is important.  The Moog One saw shaper rounds off the highs.

Also, the Rev2 tri/saw shapes are less harsh.

As for the Curtis filter, the 2 pole responds differently and can be less harsh as well.

The filter key track acts as a secondary cutoff knob, and dialing it left really shaves the highs.

Finally, you can use filter FM or slight FX distortion to slightly change the Curtis 4 pole sonic profile.
Can you waveshape on the 08?
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on December 19, 2018, 02:46:06 PM
Can you waveshape on the 08?

No, you can't.  But there is a sawtooth-triangle combination waveform.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: MoogieBoogieMan on December 21, 2018, 11:47:48 AM
Here are some spectro screenshot showing some of what's been described here. These images are an init sawtooth patch playing C1--no filtering. Only output volume was adjusted to match levels. You can see how the Rev2 has a bit more going on close to the 10K range compared to both the Matrixbrute and the Moog Subsequent 37. You don't always want that extra range where normally your cymbals or banshees live but it can be useful.
What are banshees?
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Razmo on December 21, 2018, 12:15:38 PM
Here are some spectro screenshot showing some of what's been described here. These images are an init sawtooth patch playing C1--no filtering. Only output volume was adjusted to match levels. You can see how the Rev2 has a bit more going on close to the 10K range compared to both the Matrixbrute and the Moog Subsequent 37. You don't always want that extra range where normally your cymbals or banshees live but it can be useful.
What are banshees?

Undead female elves, screaming so horridly that people die if they hear them... according to fantasy role playing at least :D
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: guyaguy on December 21, 2018, 03:21:43 PM
Here are some spectro screenshot showing some of what's been described here. These images are an init sawtooth patch playing C1--no filtering. Only output volume was adjusted to match levels. You can see how the Rev2 has a bit more going on close to the 10K range compared to both the Matrixbrute and the Moog Subsequent 37. You don't always want that extra range where normally your cymbals or banshees live but it can be useful.
What are banshees?

Undead female elves, screaming so horridly that people die if they hear them... according to fantasy role playing at least :D
See also: Irish myths and legends  :)
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: Jeroen van Bergen on January 12, 2019, 07:05:46 AM
And here are shots of the Moog Subsequent 37 and Rev 2 filters set with resonance all the way up. The screenshot shows the frequency on the right where oscillation starts to happen. On the Moog it's just past 10K. On the Rev2 it's literally off the charts! That filter can squeal!

Notice, though, that the bass is still intact on the Rev2 here; in this case it's louder than the Moog's in fact. But it's probably the squeal that's going to catch your attention!

Thanks for sharing this! This sound character was a reason for me to get the Rev2. It can be really brutal and overwhelming.
Title: Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
Post by: maxter on January 17, 2019, 07:16:15 AM
I'm curious about what the cutoff is set to on an Init patch on the Prophet '08. Been quite some time since I sold mine, but if memory serves me it was 128? Or is it set to 163, like the Rev2?