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 Forum index » Clavia Nord Modular » Nord Modular G2 Discussion
NM1 vs. G2 audio quality
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kmmcdonald



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 10:28 am    Post subject: NM1 vs. G2 audio quality Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have had a Nord Modular for several years, and have thoroughly enyoyed it. Now, I am considering a decision whether to go with "real" analog, or to upgrade to the G2X. No virtual analog in my experience, no matter how good, seems to match the smootheness and weight of the sound of a real analog synthesizer. As much as I like my Nord Modular (which is presently my main machine), it has always sounded a little brittle and rough, with an unimpressive low end.

The bottom line is that I am weighing a choice between the G2X and a Studio Electronics Omega-8. Unfortunately, I am unable to audition the G2X in my area. So, my question is this:

How does the sound of the original NM and the G2X compare with each other? Is the G2X any smoother? Is the low end any more solid?

thanks

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Kassen
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If the Studio Electronics suits your needs then I think it's no contest; immediately get that one, I think it's one of the best sounding synths you can currently get.
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, the SE Omega 8 is excellent. It is truly one of the best sounding synths of its kind. Only you can decide if this pretty substantial investment makes sense to you though. You have read the SOS review of the SEO8?. It is quite interesting and i think it describes the product very well.

I think it is fair to say that the sonic differences between the NM-1 and the G2 are slight but some will say that the G-2 isn´t really an upgrade/improvement rather than an instrument with its own sonic character. If you are expecting a seriously beefed up NM-1, then the G-2 isn´t quite that. The G2 is great though.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I should add that I am not sure the SEO8 is what you need. You might just as well get a better fat bass from a less expensive decide. The Voyager rack?

The NM-1 doesn´t lack bass at all, and it is fairly easy to set up simple vintage sounding patches that will play well on a PA.
If you need oldish liveish bass sounds you might want to actually record the bass lines off a PA in your studio. This is the standard way of recording analog synths anyway.


You can get great results with old PA gear that will add rattling and driver distortion / breakups to the sounds.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The sound of the NM and the G2 is directly related to the patch. If you haven't been able to create patches with your NM classic that satisfy you, you may not find the G2 any better, but the G2 does have delay and reverb modules that are quite good, IMHO. I've have a vintage Moog Modular and I've played with Moog Voyagers. IMHO again, the G2 can generate comparable sounds.

The NMs are good for patchers who can work with them to get exactly what sounds they want. If you aren't into that, then you are stuck with downloading other peoples patches which probaby aren't gone to cut the muster.

If you like to sweep oscillators up and down several octaves with a knob, then you won't care for the 128 resolution of the G2s knobs. To me this is the fundamental reason to get a real analog synth. If you call this smoothness, then it is really something you won't get on the G2. The high resolution knobs on the Alesis ION are much better in that department. Have you tried one of those?

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7om



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 6:42 pm    Post subject: Re: NM1 vs. G2 audio quality Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

kmmcdonald wrote:
No virtual analog in my experience, no matter how good, seems to match the smootheness and weight of the sound of a real analog synthesizer.



Have you heard the Arturia Moog Modular V soft synth emulation of the Moog Modular? That is the most impressive emulation of analog gear I have heard. Definitely has the weight of the analog gear. That said, my G2 is my goto synth because it has a much better workflow and doesn't eat up cycles on my computer.
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kmmcdonald



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Let me address some points made above:

I exclusively program my own sounds; that's why I love the NM. I believe that no better sound creation lab exists. However, I have been unsuccessful in equalling the fullness of my Matrix-1000's (even though the M-1000 is a pretty minor analog synthesizer in my book), altough with the use of the NM EQ and filter bank (which I understand that the G2 does not have), I have come close. On the other hand, the NM has a precision in its sound that allows it to sit comfortably in mixes, making my Arturia MMV sould sloppy by comparison. In terms of SW synthesizers, I also use (although less often):

Arturia MMV, Cameleon 5000, Virtual Sampler, and Virsyn Cube 2. Also, I use a somewhat high end sound card (Lynx L22), so. I believe that my lack of enthusiasm for SW synthesizers can't be blamed on a poor sound card. Virsyn Cube 2 is my favorite by far, and it seems to sound the nicest, followed by VS. MMV is fun, but buggy. I have to be constantly on guard for a particular bug where it just starts blasting distorted noise at ear-shattering levels. I NEVER use MMV when using headphones. But MMV still sounds digital to me. C5000 sounds quite poor; I don't understand the positive reviews its sound has received.

I have indeed read the SOS review of the SEO8, which gave me pause. I usually consider SOS reviews quite reliable, but their review for C5000 said that it sounds great, and it is clearly second class when compared to the similar Cube 2. So, I don't know what to make of the SOS review for the O8. Balancing it, however, is the SE user community, which is more positive about SE products (including the O8) than any other user commujnity that I have encountered. I have my eye on the SEO8 over the Moog Voyager, because I really prefer a polyhonic machine.

However, from the comments here, for w2hich I am grateful, it seems that the G2 does not offer an obvious improvement in fidelity over the original NM, so I'm probably better off with the SEO8, which is the present incarnation of the analog poly machine that I set out 20 years ago to acquire but could never possibly afford until now.

Keith

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:

If you like to sweep oscillators up and down several octaves with a knob, then you won't care for the 128 resolution of the G2s knobs.


I read this a dozen times now and I still don't get it.

Let's get this straight; if we devide a arbitrary range into 128 steps then the larger the range, the larger the step, right? Wouldn't a tendency to do sweeps over multiple ocataves make the G2's knobs as bad (without further processing, at least) as any other MIDI based system?

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ian-s



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
mosc wrote:

If you like to sweep oscillators up and down several octaves with a knob, then you won't care for the 128 resolution of the G2s knobs.


I read this a dozen times now and I still don't get it.

Let's get this straight; if we devide a arbitrary range into 128 steps then the larger the range, the larger the step, right? Wouldn't a tendency to do sweeps over multiple ocataves make the G2's knobs as bad (without further processing, at least) as any other MIDI based system?


Yes, Howard is saying that the G2 knobs are not good for sweeping, because of the steps.

That SE08 looks great, that basic design has served us well for the last 20-30 years.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Whoops. My bad. Got confused about "care for" and "care about".

Is that use of "care for" proper grammar or street language? Can you only use it in American or also in English?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
Is that use of "care for" proper grammar or street language? Can you only use it in American or also in English?


It is used hear in NZ (UK English) but not so much by the young.
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Unfed



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

yep, 'i don't think you'll care for the knobs' would be similar to 'i don't think you'll like/enjoy the knobs'. seems more proper grammar, or a more 'polite' way of saying.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmmm.

How about this - 128 steps is ok for some purposes, like envelopes and filter resonance controls, but it is really terrible for oscillator sweep controls. It's a problem the G2 shares with all other MIDI controlled instruments. I wish the NMs had at least one front panel control that was high resolution.

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

kmmcdonald wrote:
I have indeed read the SOS review of the SEO8, which gave me pause. I usually consider SOS reviews quite reliable, but their review for C5000 said that it sounds great, and it is clearly second class when compared to the similar Cube 2. So, I don't know what to make of the SOS review for the O8. Balancing it, however, is the SE user community, which is more positive about SE products (including the OCool than any other user commujnity that I have encountered. I have my eye on the SEO8 over the Moog Voyager, because I really prefer a polyhonic machine.


The C5000 is great fun and I like some of the ideas behind the design, but I agree with you: It doesn´t really sound truly great.
SOS is fairly reliable, but I have often disagreed about some of the conclusions. As for the SEO8, I guess it all comes down to the design philosophy. The reviewer is struggling a bit with that one. However, it does truly sound great. That said, there isn´t really one distinct vintage analog synth sound and the SEO8 doesn´t really attempt to copy Moogs, Oberheims or what have you . It is simply a modern analog synth with its own character.

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AngusHastie



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Sorry - dumb question, but "under the hood" doesn't the G2 subdivide each step into lots of tiny steps so the sweep can be smoothed out if you control the pitch using a constant value module (assigned to a panel knob) fed through a glide module and into the pitch input of an osc?
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Angus: definitely! However, you can't get the value to be stable on an in-between setting; maybe that's Mosc's problem. Also, the hassle of adding an extra module (editor!) may be problematic for people (?).
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, you can smooth the 128 steps, but it will always stop at one of the 128 places, usually a pitch I don't want.

To be sure, this isn't a show stopper for me because I generally use lots of FM and stuff. Usually I never notice it, but every now and then it is a heart breaker, if you know what I mean.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
Yes, you can smooth the 128 steps, but it will always stop at one of the 128 places, usually a pitch I don't want.

To be sure, this isn't a show stopper for me because I generally use lots of FM and stuff. Usually I never notice it, but every now and then it is a heart breaker, if you know what I mean.


Well, you should see that as a feature rather than a problem. I chose to accept the obvious problem of the Wave´s wavetable stepping as a feature. What one would want would of course be a blend. Stuff like this adds to the character of the instrument, no matter how annoying.. Laughing

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
Stuff like this adds to the character of the instrument, no matter how annoying.. Laughing


Rolling Eyes

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
Hmmm.

How about this - 128 steps is ok for some purposes, like envelopes and filter resonance controls, but it is really terrible for oscillator sweep controls. It's a problem the G2 shares with all other MIDI controlled instruments. I wish the NMs had at least one front panel control that was high resolution.


One way of dealing with the stepping is of cource smoothing it out, but perhaps it would be nice to have a extra option for MIDI cc controlled parameters to S&H them at note on. THat will instantly take care of all glitches but of cource it comes at a price....

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
mosc wrote:
Yes, you can smooth the 128 steps, but it will always stop at one of the 128 places, usually a pitch I don't want.

To be sure, this isn't a show stopper for me because I generally use lots of FM and stuff. Usually I never notice it, but every now and then it is a heart breaker, if you know what I mean.


Well, you should see that as a feature rather than a problem. I chose to accept the obvious problem of the Wave´s wavetable stepping as a feature. What one would want would of course be a blend. Stuff like this adds to the character of the instrument, no matter how annoying.. Laughing


Yeah, and it can be very musical if used right. I once spoke to this guy who enjoyed Yamaha digital synths because of this "feature". I can't rememember which on it was but some new synth can quantise the stepping to the midi clock. For systems with lots of feedback the stepping can introduce noise that will act as a exciter, allowing you to "bow" the whoe thing with a midi fader too, quite cool, I think.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
I wish the NMs had at least one front panel control that was high resolution.


They do, the mod wheels, but the software can't interpolate between 23 and 24 for example, so in this case they're practically useless as high resolution controllers... There's just something about tweaking stepless analogue knobs, especially for audio rate modulation stuff where it sounds "just right" in a certain place which more than likely falls somewhere between two semitone steps.

Isn't there a post somewhere that rob made which explains how to use high resolution nrpn's to control parameters of the G2?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Afro88 wrote:
They do, the mod wheels, but the software can't interpolate between 23 and 24 for example, so in this case they're practically useless as high resolution controllers...


But if there's a modulation input on the 'target module', there's no problem, right? You can use the wheel output from the device module into a mod input. Or is the 128-step problem still present in this configuration (have only an engine so can't check)?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

MIDI Modulation (Mod wheel) is limited to 7 bits, just like the other standard controllers. MIDI Pitch Bend is a 2 data byte command with sign and up to 13 bits. unfortunately Clavia have chosen to only implement response to the MSByte. Making it also useless (but it does seem to have some smoothing, specially close to center).
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've had both the NM and G2, and I much prefer the sound of the G2. I think it's smoother, with a cleaner high end.
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