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 Forum index » Clavia Nord Modular » Nord Modular G2 Discussion
g2 v.s. software instruments
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emeleia



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:07 pm    Post subject: g2 v.s. software instruments Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

hi guys,

I have been working in the last days with sounds generated by sound editors and plug-ins. I have found that most of the software instruments have a sound never comparable to the quality of the G2. I compared the sawthood and the square waves of the g2 with software instruments and the sound of them are poor (at least the sound of the oscillators).

i used to ask my self, what would be the sense of buying a hardware synth if there are a huge number of impressive software instruments? now i know.

but i found that G2 has only one weakness against software instruments, and it is that using the analog outputs to record pollute the sound with noise. this noise could be very low, but has a strong effect on the music i trying to achieve, where behind the sounds vacuum and nothing exist.

Using the G2 as a fx machine also works wonderful but again, routing audio thru the analog inputs and sending it out also has its a disadvantage.

it would be interesting to know if the next generation of g2 would come with usb outputs and inputs...

what is your point of view?
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I wouldn´t really say that the G2 is noisy. It all depends on how you want to use the instrument. Do you have any specific examples of how you intend to use the G2?

Re new versions:
AFAIK, there have been no annoucements re a G2 revision. From my point of view the G2 doesn´t really lack much at all except from perhaps a software revison and an updated editor.

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emeleia



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
I wouldn´t really say that the G2 is noisy



I don't mean g2 is noisy, but the connections.

I send for example an audio signal from my computer to the g2, to process it with effects, and then back to my computer. i get noise, i think, because of the path that the sound takes thru the cables.

i think that could be eliminated with the usb out/in
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Possibly, but personally I think you should look elsewhere. Connections might an issue but I´d like to know more about this.

Truth be told, I don´t own a G2. I have a wonderful NM-1. Very Happy
I process audio from the DAW all the time and I haven´t really ever experienced noise problems. However, noise might happen depending on the gain structure you have set up. THis could simply be an engineering issue rather than a gear problem.

re USB/DAW integration, I really don´t like this that well. In a reasonably well equipped project studio you wouldn´t really have enough free USB ports and there will be clocking issues and basically too many audio devices on USB will make a serious mess pretty fast. That said, I have already stuffed my mac with UAD-DSP cards and I have no slots left for USB cards.

We might get there eventually with firewire and better protocols and all that. Related is the fact that I want my devices to have a long useful life. Too many computer inetgrated products is like asking for compatibility issues within a year or three.

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Last edited by elektro80 on Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

What exactly is in the signal path to the G2 and back into the computer? Which audio interface do you use?
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emeleia



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
What exactly is in the signal path to the G2 and back into the computer? Which audio interface do you use?



i connect the g2 to a maudio firewire 410, and from this back to the g2 for audio processing.


I'm no saying that i have a loud noise, but it can be perceived...
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have used the NM-1 ( which should probably not be better at this than the g-2 Very Happy ) with the FW-410, the MOTU 828 and the RME Firface 800. I have never gotten much noise.

I will have to ponder on this one for a day or so. Very Happy

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Housefly



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

interesting topic. i'm also kinda strict when it comes to background noise levels.

but never noticed something annoying with the G2. nonetheless i will keep an ear on this next time i'm in the studio...

i'm using dynaudio studio monitors, but this time i'll monitor with headphones.
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ian-s



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

There was a discussion about tapping the G2's digital outputs where they go into the final DAC. This was because of complaints about the 'sound' of the DAC rather than noise but it seemed like a doable modification.

You would need a specialist to do the work though. Then you just get a sound card with the correct type of digital I/O.

I wouldn't do it myself, because I like the sound of the DAC that Clavia chose and have no issues with noise.
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

After some serious thinking I´m still a bit lost here. Sure there is some noise down there but as long as the levels are kept reasonably hot you wouldn´t be hitting the noise anyway. Compared to old analougue gear you wouldn´t need or want to keep it "very" hot. However, is it possible that the processing you do change overall levels in a way that will either bump the signal closer to the noisefloor or actually raising noise? Do you need a makeup level gain stage somewhere in the G2 patch.


Cables might of course introduce noise. When I do external processing I use balanced outs from the DAW/computer and in the case of the NM-1 inputs I use a balanced linedriver with an unbalanced stage for gear with semipro levels like the NM-1.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:37 am    Post subject: Re: g2 v.s. software instruments Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

nothing wrote:

what is your point of view?


Not realy answering your question but; If you think most softsynths sound bad and you have issue with noise in recordings then I would first wonder about your soundcard.

With a decent soundcard there will definately be sofsynths that can easily match the G2 with regard to the quality of the oscilators and you should also be able to record a G2 with a amount of added noise that's well below the audible.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The M-Audio FW 410 is "decent". It used to be one of the better ones in its class. These days it is pretty dated. The analogue sections of it aren´t stellar. Still, at least the one I have here somewhere is not noisy at all. You should be able to get good results from it.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Odd. Perhaps there is a laptop involved that could be ground-lifted? Perhaps that 410 can be put on it's own powersuply instead of parasyting on the host system?
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
Odd. Perhaps there is a laptop involved that could be ground-lifted? Perhaps that 410 can be put on it's own powersuply instead of parasyting on the host system?


well.. yes and no.. if it is powered by the bus then M-Audio says that an external psu should not be used... double power can damage the unit and the laptop.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:20 am    Post subject: Re: g2 v.s. software instruments Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
nothing wrote:

what is your point of view?



With a decent soundcard there will definately be sofsynths that can easily match the G2 with regard to the quality of the oscilators and you should also be able to record a G2 with a amount of added noise that's well below the audible.


Off topic:

Which soft synths, in your opinion, match or better the G2 then? Personally I have yet to hear one which comes close. Altho I do like Blue and Albino (Rob Papen Synths), they are still not comparable.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I would definitely check grounds, and cables. I would guess that the computer is connected to the G2 via USB, but a different ground path is taken for audio. USB is lacking in this regard: MIDI is really the only digital interface that specifies that the ground is lifted and leaves no path for ground loops to occur.

Try unplugging the USB cable, and re-record. Also, get the G2 and the M-Audio plugs very close together. And like Kassen said, lift the ground on you laptop if that exists. The only fault I'd give to Clavia is the lack of differential outputs, which would allow for a ground lift right in the audio chain. But it's not entirely necessary. Synths have been recorded with less quality and still remain fairly low-noise for many decades now.
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jksuperstar wrote:
The only fault I'd give to Clavia is the lack of differential outputs, which would allow for a ground lift right in the audio chain. But it's not entirely necessary. Synths have been recorded with less quality and still remain fairly low-noise for many decades now.


Two good points.

It´s sad that synth manufacturers haven´t introduced balanced signal path by now.

And yes, people have even managed to make exellent recordings of say the Korg MS-10! Shocked Laughing That is why I suspect there might be something more to this. How loud is the signal that goes into the G2? What does the efx patch really do? Could this be the cause of the noticable noise? Is the dynamic span of the signal too wide? Perhaps the signal should be hotter and then levelled some and it should be managed in the digital domain before it leaves the G2 again?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Oh, and related to the non-differential outputs:

Make sure your inputs and outputs on the sound card are set for -10db, not +4db operation!!!! This could be a huge source of noise, since your probably gaining up the signal to compensate, but your increasing the noise at the same time.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Good luck in diagnosing your G2 noise problem!

I've processed my guitar with it and have not noticed any noise problems. David Torn is a "name" guitarist who also uses his G2 for guitar processing and is far pickier than me about sound quality.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Might as well toss my 2 cents in.

I've examined the outputs of various G2s and NM Classics under a variety of conditions using numerous analysis tools over the course of 3 years and have never seen nor heard a noise floor any higher than what you could expect from most pro-sumer audio interfaces, i.e., lower than -100 dB (no weighting, 20-20 kHz).
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 6:46 am    Post subject: Re: g2 v.s. software instruments Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

iPassenger wrote:

Off topic:

Which soft synths, in your opinion, match or better the G2 then? Personally I have yet to hear one which comes close. Altho I do like Blue and Albino (Rob Papen Synths), they are still not comparable.


Well, it's no secret that I'm partial to Applied Acoustics. I think Tassman, asuming a soundcard with good DAC's is used, sounds absolutely marvelous, not in the least because every module (as far as I know) is ant-aliassed, not just oscilators.

Of cource there are costs to that, primarily in CPU time but I think that's worth it.

This is comparing aples to oranges as Tassman has a very different aproach then the NM, a very different emphasis and uses very different techniques. I personally find that physical modeling gives you some things "for free" that I find a lot more pleasant to listen to then the G2's emphasis on mathematically perfect wave-forms.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:

well.. yes and no.. if it is powered by the bus then M-Audio says that an external psu should not be used... double power can damage the unit and the laptop.


Right. Can we call that a very, very silly design choice? Thanks. What kind of friggin idiot designs a soundcard like that?

So, do special FireWire cables exist that lack the wire for bus-power? Bus power, combined with improperly designed powerstructures in the host is a huge source of hard to trace uglyness. I'm a bit disapointed that there aren't more soundcards that deal with this.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

M-Audio is a mess. Most of their audio interfaces mostly work ok most of the time but there are always small annoying issues and there are always sickening omissions in the basic design. That said, there are worse products out there.
And why this bug-eyed fascination with FW bus powering? Rolling Eyes All sane muscians and project studio owners already know this is completely silly.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
I'm a bit disapointed that there aren't more soundcards that deal with this.


Real gear, like the RME Fireface 800, won´t draw bus power.

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emeleia



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

cebec wrote:
Might as well toss my 2 cents in.

I've examined the outputs of various G2s and NM Classics under a variety of conditions using numerous analysis tools over the course of 3 years and have never seen nor heard a noise floor any higher than what you could expect from most pro-sumer audio interfaces, i.e., lower than -100 dB (no weighting, 20-20 kHz).


again, i don't mean the g2 is noisy, but it is the path to my computer that introduces this little noise. I was wondering how could be this solve? i thought about an usb connection.

I guess that because the sound of software instruments is created from inside the computer there is no noise behind.

i notice this fact when i record something, and i sent it back to process it with filters or effects....

im using the firewire 410 and i don't think is the best..
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