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SEQUENTIAL/DSI => Prophet => Prophet '08 => Topic started by: tumble2k on January 11, 2020, 06:23:29 PM

Title: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: tumble2k on January 11, 2020, 06:23:29 PM
Topic says it all. The basic timbre of strings is very slightly detuned sawtooths (or PWM, which is basically the same thing). But somehow my patches sound too smooth and synthy or brassy. Maybe I'm missing vibrato? If so, do the string players synchronize with their vibratos or are they all independent?

Also how does one go about creating a realistic tremolo?

Thanks for any advice!
Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on January 11, 2020, 07:15:29 PM
The general understanding of vibrato is that it is a fluctuation in pitch, whereas tremolo is a fluctuation in volume.  For tremolo, I use the LFO to modulate the filter or the amplitude.  I've found that modulating the pan spread also works.

Now for the strings!  I've found that a patch using all sawtooth waveforms makes for a stiff dry effect, and all PWM makes for an unpleasant overly electronic effect.  So, I mix the two together.  I set the PWM at a deep level and a rate of between "16 and "26" (on the Prophet '08).  My standard is to use as extreme a depth and rate as the lowest note in the piece will allow, while still being musical.  As for tuning, I spread the oscillators as far as "10" above the main oscillator and perhaps "5" or "6" below it.  It's commonsensical not to tune in only one direction, so that the instrument doesn't get far off the pitch of the other instruments.  I always use vibrato at a depth of perhaps "2" and a rate of between "64" and "72."  As for the envelopes - it depends on the music, on the speed at which you'll be playing.  Generally, I'll use a moderately slow Amp Attack, combined, with a somewhat slower filter Attack and a slow decay back to "0."  This adds a slight dynamic bowing effect.  Lastly, in order to add an organic heaving effect, I modulate the filter very slightly and very slowly.  This adds a wonderful breathing human-like effect to sustained chords. 

Those are my secrets.  One more.  Everything is duplicated on a P'08 module and keyboard and module are panning to opposite sides.  This makes all the difference in the world.  And the two instruments are detuned by 2 or 3 digits. 
Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: tumble2k on January 11, 2020, 07:32:31 PM
Secrets indeed! Thank you sir! That is interesting what you said about mixing saw and PWM. I would expect PWM to be nearly 100% or else it would sound either like an oboe or a clarinet depending on the base pulse width.

The PWM mod frequency between 16 and 26 would give you a sub 1 Hz timbre variation. I like that rate (as I mentioned in another post) because it makes the tone interesting and organic.

I will try the vibrato you specify. Iím looking for around 4 Hz. Do you use two separate LFOs for the PWM and the saw? I would think that the string players do not synchronize their vibrato and that might be a part of the ensemble sound.

And in your filter trick for heaving strings and I will use all of the LFOs!

Many thanks again!
Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: tumble2k on January 11, 2020, 07:37:02 PM
Ah and yes your panning and detuning trick. Lovely!
Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on January 11, 2020, 07:38:00 PM
Oh, I forgot to say that I do use a single LFO for the vibrato.  I read somewhere that the old string machines used different simultaneous vibrato rates, and I experimented with that for a while.  But I didn't like the results, so now I use only one synchronized vibrato. 

By the way, I'm not striving for a strictly realistic string section sound.  There's no attempt to fool the listener.  I'm striving for a rich warm synthesized string sound, something positively synthesizer-esque. 
Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: tumble2k on January 11, 2020, 07:45:32 PM
That is great information. I agree that the idea is not to get a perfect sound. Even the gigabyte sample libraries fall far short. The trick is to create a sound that captures enough of the essence of the string sound that it satisfies and expresses in a similar way.

By the way, when you use a module, do you sysex the patch over to the module or does the polychain mode do it for you? Or something else?
Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on January 11, 2020, 08:12:54 PM
There are various ways of doing it.  I prefer to make the fundamental patch on the keyboard, dump it onto the module, and then make fine changes to each as I develop the patch.  The two patches are seldom identical.  That's why I like having the separate instruments.  It's both easy and somehow inspirational.  I'm not sure how I'd like the Rev2 for this aspect.  Okay, I have a feeling I won't like it.  My current P'08 set up is just so smooth to design on and operate: the keyboard in the center as the master, with the slave module to the right and the bass pedal module to the left.  This is superb also for designing multi-timbral patches.  I find the physicality of the separate instruments to be really helpful.  And it looks great!
Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: tumble2k on January 12, 2020, 10:37:11 AM
Sacred I think you will need to replace two P'08s with two REV2s.

I spent some time implementing the patch. Wow sounds great! I'm not completely convinced by the vibrato. It seems like a setting of 2 is too low and 3 is too high. Maybe 2.3 is just right. Also I'm getting a slow phase because of the detuning between the saw and the pulse that makes long sustained notes janky. But the space!

Unfortunately I only have a single P'08, so I had to layer and use the Pan modulator destination with the modwheel as the source. I wish I had the DC modulator. The biggest problem is that I lost 4 voices! Now I can't play octaves in the bass and triads with my left hand. I would need at least 8 voices if I want to do this smoothly. I definitely see why you'd want a module...

Anyway thanks for the Sacred Synthesis String Secrets! I named the patch SacredStrings.

Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on January 12, 2020, 12:17:16 PM
Sacred I think you will need to replace two P'08s with two REV2s.

I spent some time implementing the patch. Wow sounds great! I'm not completely convinced by the vibrato. It seems like a setting of 2 is too low and 3 is too high. Maybe 2.3 is just right. Also I'm getting a slow phase because of the detuning between the saw and the pulse that makes long sustained notes janky. But the space!

Unfortunately I only have a single P'08, so I had to layer and use the Pan modulator destination with the modwheel as the source. I wish I had the DC modulator. The biggest problem is that I lost 4 voices! Now I can't play octaves in the bass and triads with my left hand. I would need at least 8 voices if I want to do this smoothly. I definitely see why you'd want a module...

Anyway thanks for the Sacred Synthesis String Secrets! I named the patch SacredStrings.

Thanks a lot, Tumble2K.  I'm honored by the patch name.

It's true about the two units.  I do intend to get both a Rev2 keyboard and a module.  It's a matter of work flow, as much as anything else.  I realize (as Creativespiral mentioned on the "Prophet '08 Vs. Rev2" thread) that a single Rev2 can create a rich stereo spread, but since the instrument makes sense to me only as a Prophet '08 upgrade, I would want to go beyond the present voice limitations, from 8 to 16.  But yes, 4 voices leads quickly to problems, especially with long envelopes.

Vibrato depth is a tricky thing, and I get similarly frustrated with the Poly Evolver's delayed vibrato setting, which is either too shallow or too deep.  This is where we could appreciate an analog slider or knob.

As for the phasing, it's been quite a while since I used a string patch with only 2 oscillators per channel.  Perhaps my description is flawed in that it requires more.  My patches consistently use a total of 4-8 oscillators, which tends to bury any phasing issues.

Pardon the self-promotion, but the following is the string patch end result on my side.  I could play this sort of patch all day and all night.  And notice the in-built heaving effect; it prevents a single static moment.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsbuydINfxI&list=PL-CSFEgC2tTydFcvrBITryRPZHg4tUde5&index=3 

 

 
Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: tumble2k on January 13, 2020, 10:11:30 AM
As for the phasing, it's been quite a while since I used a string patch with only 2 oscillators per channel.  Perhaps my description is flawed in that it requires more.  My patches consistently use a total of 4-8 oscillators, which tends to bury any phasing issues.

Pardon the self-promotion, but the following is the string patch end result on my side.  I could play this sort of patch all day and all night.  And notice the in-built heaving effect; it prevents a single static moment.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsbuydINfxI&list=PL-CSFEgC2tTydFcvrBITryRPZHg4tUde5&index=3

When I listen to that I'm transported ... beautiful! Heavenly might be a good description. My strings a quite a bit buzzier. Yeah I could play your patch day and night too! I will try the filter modulation you described.
Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on January 13, 2020, 10:59:02 PM
Thanks!  I do love that instrument.
Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 01, 2020, 04:33:04 PM
A variation on the theme - Prophet '08 vintage strings, as in the old string machine sound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOWT9yshJuQ
Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: tumble2k on February 05, 2020, 09:58:37 PM
That is lovely. Thank you for posting.
Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on February 08, 2020, 05:53:38 PM
Thanks!
Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: jdt9517 on October 04, 2020, 10:01:26 PM
SS- It's been awhile since I've been able to get on Youtube and listen to your music.  In a word  . . . Masterful!
Title: Re: How to make realistic strings on P'08?
Post by: Sacred Synthesis on October 04, 2020, 10:18:43 PM
Thanks, Jim.