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Digital Out
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sinswolf



Joined: Feb 25, 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:36 am    Post subject: Digital Out Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It would be great to have a digital out in the nord modular. (SPDIF and/or COAX)
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Fozzie



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You're not the first to propose this, but it is quite certain that Clavia will not make hardware changes to the G2.
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cebec



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'd also like to see future Clavia synths with digital outputs running at full bandwidth. USB 2.0 or Firewire 800 or whatever's the state of the art when the next synth is developed.
I've had it with analog! Laughing
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Fozzie



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

cebec wrote:
.....
I've had it with analog! Laughing


That's OK and perfectly understandable. If I could help you get rid of some nasty old buggy classic ANALOG synths just say the word Wink
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mosc
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

welcome Sinswolf. Good to have you here.

I think this would be very welcome in future synths, but I'd always want the analog. If I could pick only one, it would be analog outs.

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Kassen
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

For all of analogue´s problems, somewhere in the chain it´ll have to become analogue in order to travel to your ears. Having a digital output, (amongst other advantages) allows you to shift that point to further on in the chain and also allows you to pick your own dac´s.

A non-trivial advantage in a synth who´s primary weakness is realy bad sounding dac´s.

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cebec



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

That's what I was implying -- that I'd like to have the option to bypass a synth's DACs if I find them lacking and/or if I want to pick my own.

I don't consider the G2s DACs to be horrendous, but I haven't really compared them to other VAs. On the other hand, I do know what my softsynths sound like coming out of my Echo Layla24 and now, my EMU 1820m. Still, it's hard for me to A/B these things.
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

well, I do think the G2´s dac´s are horrendous, in fact I think they are so bad that I use the G2 strictly for prototyping ideas and with one exception (I was one a realy tight deadline) don´t use it in recordings, I´m not going to have that pompous, shallow, attentionseeking high end ruin my trademark deep & moody sound. I think the G2´s dac´s fit in the same set of diamonds, cocaine and champagne; I truely hate all those things and people asociated with them. It´s a hollow style, all carefully tailored outside and no inside. Compared to other VA´s I think the G2 uses the same as many synths of it´s generation do. You can hear that sound in many recordings starting about two years ago, I spot it from a million miles away and I refuse to listen to it. I leave the room, I don´t buy those records, I throw demos that feature it around the room. I can´t name names of those other VA´s, I don´t keep track of non-modular synths and am not interested in substractive synthesis anymore so there´s realy no apeal to me in VA´s. They all sound the same to me anyway.

Anyway, those dac´s are the reason that in some circles Clavia has the reputation of making synths you can only use for making trance. I always thought that was a weird thing to say but I had only dealt with the Classic Modular and the Lead1 which are incidentally the Clavia synths from before they switched to the other dac´s. I used to defend Clavia on this mater because I didn´t realise those people were talking about a entirely different sound then I was.

It´s realy sad, the G2 is a great synth from a synthesis perspective, the interface is as close to perfection as I´ve ever seen, it´s a marvelous tool for teaching it might be the best box for treating midi data ever build. It just sounds like utter s**t. I´m terribly sorry about this.

The G1 one also has a trademark sound that you can recognise most of the time with it´s -erm- "drifty" low-end but that´s far more pleasant to my ears. My other main digital synth is Tassman which is a entirely different matter......

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Rob



Joined: Mar 29, 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 1:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Digital Out Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

sinswolf wrote:
It would be great to have a digital out in the nord modular. (SPDIF and/or COAX)


Yeah, I wish it had ADAT or an option bord for ADAT I/O. It is good to still have things to dream about, maybe a future G3 could have one of these options.
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Rob



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
diamonds, cocaine and champagne; I truely hate all those things


Hey, that saves me quite a lot next time you're around. Very Happy
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Luckily one can substitute chemicals, stones and drinks fairly easily for more pleasant results.

Adat was my first thought too, there could be a expansion box; red square and with four inputs on top and to the left, four outputs to the right and bottom. There would be a comercial campaign with images of pickinics, parties, etc., all with one great black gap in them and this phrase in white letters; "But sinthys were hard to find".

We´d give a free one to those five people that got the joke, declare bankrupcy next and go do something else.

Back to being serious;

I´m not realy interested in speculating about a G3 at this point, if ever there will be one. If I remember the history of the NM, then look at things now, i´m much more interested in what G2 OS 3.5 will look (and sound!) like. I have some hopes, some of those are failry wild, others quite serious.

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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Seems like it wouldn't be too difficult for a dedicated modder to reverse engineer the G2 and extract the direct digital outputs. Maybe someone will publish this some day.
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I dunno, Mosc, I hinted at doing something like that to Rob who made it quite clear that that wouldn´t be feasable. I think a solution might come from some specialised shelving filter, either inside or outside of the G2 because normal eq isn´t realy suitable for this. Because of the issues with the dac´s internal lp filter and sounds that might excite it I´d greatly prefer a specialised module.
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Fozzie



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
....... I think a solution might come from some specialised shelving filter, either inside or outside of the G2 because normal eq isn´t realy suitable for this. Because of the issues with the dac´s internal lp filter and sounds that might excite it I´d greatly prefer a specialised module.


Do I hear a group-buy here Wink ?

Sorry, I've been reading too many kvraudio threads lately.....
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

No, I propose a strike. I propose we go have a sit-in in Stockholm untill they cave in and make the G2 sound like a 60´s jazz record played through a tube-based amp.

;¬)

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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
No, I propose a strike.


Right on!

I think you were born about 40 years too late... Laughing

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Unfed



Joined: May 11, 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

geez, Kassen's comments on the G2's DACs are a bit depressing. i guess i'm glad i'm not an audiophile. Smile is this a huge problem for others? Shoshin?
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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Not a problem at all for me. I would want digital out for the convenience, not for the sound. But then again, I'm the bozo that lives in a sudio with a Moog Modular and doesn't think it sounds better than the Nord Modulars. Rolling Eyes
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jksuperstar



Joined: Aug 20, 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmmmm. Poking at electronics is always the perfect form of procrastination! One thing I learned is: Why do the G2 DACs have differential outs, but the G2 doesn't?

The DAC is a Cirrus Logic CA4392. More Info Here:
http://www.cirrus.com/en/products/pro/detail/P224.html

Page 29 or 30 of the spec contains (what I think) are the interpolation filters used by G2 (it's either "Double Speed (slow)" or "Double Speed (fast)"). I assume they don't have "de-emphasis" turned on.

The data going into the DAC looks very much like the typical data stream sent over SPDIF or ADAT. I don't think it'd take too much effort to tap onto the DAC inputs, and translate into one of the digital formats. Voiding any warranty, of course Smile

This could be done with a chip like the Cirrus Logic CS8405A or CS8406 AES3/SPDIF transmitter, which just happens to have the identical interface. See here:
http://www.cirrus.com/en/products/pro/detail/P57.html

Still interested?
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Tim Kleinert



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
i guess i'm glad i'm not an audiophile. is this a huge problem for others? Shoshin?


Uh, no.

I know I expressed my annoyance with the "Nord sound" in some threads way back, but I've grown out of that as my skills have improved. Actually, I think the G2 DACs are pretty damn decent for a synth.

And to be honest -I do not have the time to obsess about any real or presumed shortcomings of the G2 anymore, as I'm using it daily as a performance instrument. I take it as it is -and am loving it more than ever.

If you ask me, I think the real shortcoming of the G2 right now is a lack of good factory patches. Most of them are just variations based on a NL2 architecture. What I miss is a comprehensive (and preferably documented) library of models one can use as a starting point. Would show how much potential is in this red box.

But I'm getting OT here...

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ian-s



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jksuperstar wrote:
This could be done with a chip like the Cirrus Logic CS8405A or CS8406 AES3/SPDIF transmitter, which just happens to have the identical interface.


Excellent! I personally don’t want new DAC’s but I think a lot of people would love the option.
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Unfed wrote:
geez, Kassen's comments on the G2's DACs are a bit depressing. i guess i'm glad i'm not an audiophile. Smile is this a huge problem for others? Shoshin?


Well, I´m far from a audiophile myself, I just want a pleasant sound. I realise my problem is highly subjective but I just don´t think it sounds good. Our overall cultural aesthetic is shifting towards more, more prominent, highs and I simply don´t like this. For one thing it messes up my sense of spacial clues. Modern trance records and synths like the G2 have this high end that somehow gets asociated in my brain with sound sources like swarms of bees in that it buzzes with a undefined, blury, location.

We are drifting towards white noise from pink noise. Arguably that´s a good thing, surely we´d like a straight frequency curve¹? One of the problems with this is that we don´t get a phase linear pinking filter so it´s one way traffic in that direction. Another problem is that having a smooth high-end roll-off will mask slight cases of aliassing. Though the G2 may have anti-aliased oscilators, it´s still quite possible to get aliassing in your patch. Perhaps formerly we had two problems; A systemeatic high-roll-off and alisassing but having those two isn´t nearly as bad as just having the aliassing, then getting to hear it in a area where your hearig just detects "something is going on, dunno what".

Regardless of all theory, those cirrus affairs simply don´t sit right with my hearing.

Obviously once we get the s/pdif in the next question is "what dac *does* sound good?"....

¹actually people on average show a preference for pink noise.

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Kassen
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
Kassen wrote:
No, I propose a strike.


Right on!

I think you were born about 40 years too late... Laughing


Perhaps so, yes. I would´ve realy liked to live in Newton´s days too.

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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Obviously once we get the s/pdif in the next question is "what dac *does* sound good?"....


Perhaps it would be worthwhile then to screw around with a few analog filters (post G2 DAC) to see what "sound" really is more desirable on the G2. I agree, there is a fat warmth that is missing with most patches I make, but I'm not sure if it is something in my patch that could/should be added, something in the DACs, or something that should be post-processed.

As for phase-linear filters, it be nice for the G2 to take advantage of the fact that it is digital, and give us an FFT filter to play with.
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Rob



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
We are drifting towards white noise from pink noise. Arguably that´s a good thing, surely we´d like a straight frequency curve¹?
¹actually people on average show a preference for pink noise.


Yeah, its the point I try to make all the time. The fact that a hifi amp should have a flat spectrum doesn't mean at all that a synth should also have a flat spectrum. In fact, a good synth sounds much better if the spectrum is sloping down by two to three dB an octave, which gives the synth more presence and makes it sound a lot warmer and spacious. The slope doesn't need to be straight but be bent slightly in a way that the 2kHz area has the right loudness level compared to the sub 200Hz area and the area above 5kHz. In the studio this can be easily done with a third-octave equalizer, you know, the one's with the 33 bands. E.g. bend down the spectrum by 1 dB per octave until the 1.5kHz band and then increase gradually to 3 dB per octave over 5kHz. Then fine-tweak to taste.

Velocity should of course take the Fletcher-Munson equal loudness curves into account. After all, the final chain in the audio chain is the human brain, which is far from linear. On the G2 it can be easily approximated by using the peak eg module as the velocity control. The velocity morph can be assigned to both the level and the peak knobs, e.g. from 80 to 127 on the level and from -4.5 to +4.5 dB on the peak knob. The center frequency should be set at around 2.5kHz and the band should be wide. This will give just that little extra 'subjective loudness' on e.g. hammered and plucked type sounds.

There's just a whole lot of tricks like this.

All in all, its all about psycho-acoustics. I promised Mosc to give an extensive talk on this subject on the upcoming Modular Event, so I won't spill the beans yet.
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