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Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?

Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #20 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!

Razmo

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Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #21 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.
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Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #22 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

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.

Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #23 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...
Minimoog D (vintage), OB6 (Desktop), Oberheim Matrix-6 (MIDI Controller), Prophet REV2-16, DeepMind 12, VC340

Djinn

Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #24 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

LoboLives

Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #25 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

Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #26 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...
 ::) ???
Minimoog D (vintage), OB6 (Desktop), Oberheim Matrix-6 (MIDI Controller), Prophet REV2-16, DeepMind 12, VC340

Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #27 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

« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 08:12:03 AM by musicmaker »

Sleep of Reason

Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #28 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.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 08:35:28 AM by Sleep of Reason »

Razmo

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Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #29 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.
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Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #30 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. 
Minimoog D (vintage), OB6 (Desktop), Oberheim Matrix-6 (MIDI Controller), Prophet REV2-16, DeepMind 12, VC340

LoboLives

Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #31 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.

Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #32 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.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 11:34:36 AM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #33 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

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

Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #34 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.

Razmo

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Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #35 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.
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Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #36 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.
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Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #37 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?

Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #38 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.

Razmo

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Re: Why do Sequential/DSI synths sound "harsh" to me?
« Reply #39 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...
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