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 Forum index » Clavia Nord Modular » Nord Modular G2 Discussion
G2 needs to be more expressive...
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mosc
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 9:48 pm    Post subject: G2 needs to be more expressive... Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This may be a little controversial...

After a recent gig in Boston, it occurred to me that my music is sounding different now that I've switched from the G1 (NM Classic) to the G2. It is more tonal - less noisy. I used to play a lot of wild FM based sounds with long attacks and decays and lots of timbral and texture changes - more experimental sounding. I used huge modulation indexes . Now, with the G2 keyboard, my music has become more pianistic, or lead synth like. I know there is no absolute good or bad with either of these musical styles, but I personally like the music I was making on the G1. Shocked

I'm wondering, has anyone else noticed this? Is there some reason? Is your G2 music more or less "experimental" sounding.

From a modular synthesis point of view, there isn't much that was in the G1 that isn't in the G2. (The fixed formant filter is the one thing that comes to mind. I expect to see that one in a software update, it's essential). My point here is that as a synth engine, I can do any kind of radical sounds on the G2 as I could on the G1. The G2 is superb as a synthesis engine.

I think the main thing that is disappointing me is the user interface, which ironically seemed to be one of the main reasons to upgrade from the G1 to the G2.

The G2 has only 8 knobs - 10 less than the G1. True, these are much better knobs, with indicators and labels, and they jump to new positions magically when patches and variations change. And even though there are only 8 knobs, there there are over 120 possible knob mappings available with only two push buttons. But, after playing the G2 for nearly a year, it is apparent that at any given time, most of the controls are not instantly available. In in the midst of a performance, most of the controls are essentially invisible. Shocked

I'm starting to think while being a far more powerful and capable synthesizer than the original NM, the G2 isn't necessarily a more expressive electronic musical instrument, especially for the experimentally oriented improvising types - like me. Am I nuts?

I've seen changing my equipment change my music before over the years. Many times this has been a positive growth experience. Maybe I'm becoming too stodgy or inflexible, but I have gotten to the point now that I know what I want my music to sound like and I don't want my instruments to have serious limitations.

For several months, I've been thinking I'd upgrade my G2 for a G2X. I think that would take me in the wrong direction. instead, I think I'll get a Behringer knob box to use with my G2 keyboard. This would make instantly available 24 more parameters. That is plenty. 8 is not enough.

What would be the best for me would be a G2 with no keyboard, and 24 knobs of the type the G2 keyboard has. The Behringer box and a G2 keyboard isn't quite that, but it may be a big step up from the G2 by itself.

Well, I like the keys, so here's what I think would be something much more expressive...


G2X++.jpg
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G2X++ dream synth...
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G2X++.jpg



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gomidas



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think you're right about the control things.After all, nord modulars (G1 & G2) are software based synthetizers wich are very good (the best ones for me) for modulations.
So should they put more knobs on G2 key? Answer : YES Smile
For my part I realize the power of my G2 engine after I bought the BCR2000 and start to tweak my patch in realtime, this can be funny as the BCR2000 (wish it has been made by CLAVIA) is only a midi controller and produce no sound, but without control, power become chaos.... Cool

Anyway your G2X++ IS the best hardware syth of all time Twisted Evil

Thanks Mosc..... to make us dream...........
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I love the NM-1 but I am using an old Akai X-7000 and some roland keyboard instead of that little tiny built in keyboard.
I have planned to design some templates for the control area.. you know.. I can print and cut some foil on this Roland cammjet at work.. and I can laminate the sheets so they get really fat and stuff. I really cannot remember patches well, so I have to see where I put the controls fro.. the VCFs and whatever.
The clavia products are great.... but I really feel that clavia has not yet figured out how to make cool control surfaces. I am not sure I have any great ideas either, but the NM-1 and the G2 are clearly missing "something" in that department.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Why not sliders? Clavia could design some kind of separate control surface with sliders and knobs and switches and stuff..
I love sliders.. it is easy to see what the values are .. visually.. it is easy to manipulate several sliders pretty much at the same time..

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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It's true, making music on the NM is different then making music on the G2. In fact, owing more Clavia synths, they all have their own specialities to me.

The Lead1 and Lead2 direct the programmer very easily towards sharp and raw sounds, while the Lead3 leads often to pads.

The NM I use mostly for experimental sounds, while the G2X tends in the same direction as the Lead3: beautiful sounds (besides the control in the studio using the MidiOut). I'm sure there is a difference playing the G2 and the G2X, the latter being much more a keyboard instrument. I've never worked with the Engine, so I can't tell anything about it. I had a Micro Modular once, but I used it only to process the sound.

One should be careful to buy such instruments to easy. Even the G2 has its limitations. After a year experimenting the player can really say the instrument is the one needed. And you have to play it a lot.

Even the most limited interface on all Clavia synths, the Electro, is possible to create wonderful sound events, although one has to perform these in real time. Here the G2 MidiOut comes in very handy, like sending the Electro Velocity Midi using the G2 back to the 'Hammond Drawbars', just an example.

Anyway, I'll keep the NM for sure Smile

Wout
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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 6:15 am    Post subject: Re: G2 needs to be more expressive... Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
The G2 has only 8 knobs - 10 less than the G1. True, these are much better knobs, with indicators and labels, and they jump to new positions magically when patches and variations change. And even though there are only 8 knobs, there there are over 120 possible knob mappings available with only two push buttons. But, after playing the G2 for nearly a year, it is apparent that at any given time, most of the controls are not instantly available. In in the midst of a performance, most of the controls are essentially invisible. Shocked


A funny thing... Knowing Clavia talked about 8 knobs years ago, the other factories come with the same number too! That new Korg, at NAMM this week, will introduce it, so did Beringer... All 8, although some in 3 layers, Clavia has more. Is Clavia trendsetter or not?

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My own G2 patches have been more, not less, experimental the my G1 ones, They have also been more planned out. I only did a few, real, finished ones but all of those were carefully planed out, pen, paper and a calculator at hand. Perhaps that´s the influence of the Engine?

As I expressed before, I´m not at all sure about the "keyboardist angle" Clavia has taken on the G2. Admittedly the G1´s interface is a bit of a "brute force and ignorance" one, simply slapping a hand full of kobs on it, but perhaps because of this it feels very "pure" to me. No asumptions were made about how you might want to use it, it was just a set of posibilities. I never listened to the presets back when I got it....

The G2 makes very strong asumtions about it´s use. The buttons for the pages of settings have labels like "envelope", "oscilators" and "filter", clearly asuming you´ll want to do keyboard controled substractive synthesis. Well, I don´t like substractive synthesis that well anymore and for the odd mnoment that I do I use Aplied Acoustic´s Ultra Analog which despite it´s corny name and limited (compared to a modular) feature set sounds like the proverbial shit. My oscilators and filters in the G2 tend to be labeled "clock" and "anti alias" and not manually changed.

I would´ve prefered if those buttons had had names along the lines of "harmonics", "duration", "modulation", "tracking" and "timbre" to name just a few random names. This is just as small matter but things like that do affect the feel of a instrument. Every patch (baring algorithmic mid i controll) will have a timbre, probably one which needs adjusting, not every patch has a oscilator and a envelope.

I´m not entirely sure Clavia is to blame for this feeling, as synthesis stabilises in it´s evolution due to processors catching up with the ideas from the 50´s and 60´s (and no real new ones have been cooked up) interface becomes a more important aspect and aside from the few people that are experimenting not much is being done to adress this. In fact i think Clavia is doing a relatively good job; I don´t know how much inclination you guys feel to buy -say- an new Roland or a Korg Triton or some such thing but I couldn´t think of anything I could do with a Korg Triton.

I wish some company would do a modular interface so we could build interfaces to controll the instruments we create without needing to get out the soldering irons and the pic programers.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 9:39 am    Post subject: Re: G2 needs to be more expressive... Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wout Blommers wrote:
Is Clavia trendsetter or not?


Word. Just ask the friendly people at Access and who-ever else is uing the word "virtual analog" these days....

I´m not so sure about them "inventing" the number 8 in the context of interfaces though. Programers simply like that number and all other powers of 2 because you get to adress and use memory more efficiently. This makes them want to use those numbers everywhere, just like normal people like numbers like 10 and 25.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 11:54 am    Post subject: Re: G2 needs to be more expressive... Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
This may be a little controversial...

Yes indeed
mosc wrote:

I think the main thing that is disappointing me is the user interface, which ironically seemed to be one of the main reasons to upgrade from the G1 to the G2.

For me the interface of the G2 is much more accessible then that of the G1. I just hated the unpredictability of what parameter is controlled with what knob on the G1. It rendered the user interface virtually unusable for me.
Now i am the "traditional keyboard playing synthesist" (hi Kassen Smile ), so i guess this brings it with it. But i know people are much better at recognizing things than at remembering things. The G1 interface purely works based on remembering what knob does what, the G2 works with recognizing what knob does what. And that is just much faster. Especcially in a performance situation. Maybe it renders out serendipity, but hey...that you can reach by not naming the knobs on the G2:)
mosc wrote:

But, after playing the G2 for nearly a year, it is apparent that at any given time, most of the controls are not instantly available. In in the midst of a performance, most of the controls are essentially invisible. Shocked

On the G1 all of the controls are permanently invisible. You do see 18 knobs but you don't SEE what they do. I prefer 8 knobs where i can SEE what they do over 18 knobs where you don't SEE it.

I plan the most used knobs to be on one page (B1 in my case). And so far it works out rather good, i can live perfectly with this.
mosc wrote:

I'm starting to think while being a far more powerful and capable synthesizer than the original NM, the G2 isn't necessarily a more expressive electronic musical instrument, especially for the experimentally oriented improvising types - like me. Am I nuts?


Smile
ehhh...no, i guess
So it is the difference in the way we approach our instrument that makes this difference in appreciation of the user interface? As keyboard playing sythesist the G2x is my ultimate dream synth. I can make the synth i want, make the controls i want, and use it as a performance instrument in my band. It replaces a rather big setup (Korg prophecy, Motif 7, NM g1)
and works out nice in that. For me at least:)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, Wan. It's a great keyboard synth - I'll agree with that. But that's really my point - my music has been sounding more like keyboard music than I'd like.

On the old G1, I had just a couple of very flexible patches that I could play all night at gigs and I never got in a rut with the sounds. Not having the knobs labeled on the G1 wasn't a problem because with I knew my patches so well. With the G2, I find I need lots of different patches.

I think the LED collars on the Behringer will help quite a bit, but labels are very useful.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, I can't comment on the G1 much but I did have a fantastic opportunity to mess around with one a bit. The knobs were very inviting...simply because there were a lot more of them. The keys are a bit more inviting on the G2 because there is 3 octaves. I can't think of many things to play on a 2 octave, that is a very limited range for even a melody.

The G2 virtually mimics having a lot of knobs via the pages, but there seems to be a consensus that this is not a true replacement to all the knobs the G1 offered. To bridge this gap, the thing that would help me the most is being able to assign a control in the G2 to MORE than 1 page. I like to tweak multiple aspects of the timbre simultaneously and one control can have a lot of contexts in this regard. Since I can only assign a control to one knob on one page at a time, that control is strictly limited to the context of the other assignments in its page.

I could get beyond this limitation of mine with a behringer knob box, but I think the G2 would become more expressive (for me at least) if this could be achieved without any additional equipment.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

So, Zynth, do you find the Behringer works well with your G2?
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

FWIW, mosc, it works well with mine. And it covers all my softsynth duties, as well. Nothing's going to be a panacea... but with that sysex patch for the BCR2000 floating around this forum, it makes the two interfaces instantly symbiotic! Besides, they're so cheap. I might even get the BCF, eventually.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

zynthetix wrote:
To bridge this gap, the thing that would help me the most is being able to assign a control in the G2 to MORE than 1 page. I like to tweak multiple aspects of the timbre simultaneously and one control can have a lot of contexts in this regard. Since I can only assign a control to one knob on one page at a time, that control is strictly limited to the context of the other assignments in its page.


I believe this point is closely related to my own note on the names of the pages for knobs. There might be a way for you to get by by using some midi loopback and link two constant values to the same parameter and eachother using midi and possibly some extra trickery to avoid feedback but I think the core of the problem lies deeper.

Personally I don´t think the greatest advantage of the schreens is that you can see what knob does what; if you hold the "find" knob you can do that on the G1 too and often it doesn´t tell you anything. I think the greatest advantage is that you can *name* your parameter. It´s all about context, I think.

Indeed in the G1 it´s not at all cear what knob is doing what and this is a problem but the same holds true for patches on a analogue modular. There too you might need to spend a lot of time analysing the patch before the relation of any one knob to the overall sound is clear, even if it´s all right in front of you Figuring out how that infamous toybox on the G1 worked took me more then a hour and a lot of concentration, even with all of it in front of me (in my defence; I hardly knew anything back then, but still).

I believe the original plan for MIDI was to be able to seperate the synthesis engine and the instrumental interface, in this it failed, I feel. I also think almost all interfaces to electronic music boxes are failing in that regard. The problem is that what we are controling is not a sound or a instrument at all. Instead we are controling parameters of the thing that is generating sounds, those two are not the same at all. What we need to get rid of the "keyboard sound syndrome" is customisable hardware interfaces that can be linked in intuitive ways to the sound (NOT to the method of synthesis!), for this link we´ll need some kind of structure which you can indeed patch on the G2 with some thought and efford.

From my perspective that means either MIDI or polyphony will need to go because midi has no ways for truely adressing individual voices because velocity is one dimentional by it´s very nature.

With all due respect to Wan and his enjoyment of the keyboard I think "synthesiser" and "keyboard" becoming almost synonimous is a very bad thing from this perspective. One of the reasons (apart from my rusted keyboard and bad compositional skills) that I never write polyphonic parts in realtime is that the available controlls for synthesis do not alow for sufficient expression. It´s not at all unusual in my own project files for polyphonic lines to -by themselves- cover three or four chanels of midi data which will all by various means go to a huge contraption that will turn it all into one melodic line¹. Sadly the few synths that do allow for sufficient expression are not concerend with such trivla things as having real graphical interfaces and worse yet; if you want a controler that outputs OSC you´ll need to build it yourself.

I can´t stress enough how this is just my own opinion and how much I respect everybody who gets enjoyment out of any instrument, including keyboards but in the end I do think we have a very real and very fundamental problem. Before I get attacked for yet again expressing the need to be able to modulate individual voices by people who -like Rob- stress that nobody is actually using even polyphonic aftertouch; considder that in musical styles like flamengo this is often used and with great effect.

Why can´t we slide note one into note four while two and three play stackato in the same time? Who exactly decided that there was no need for anybody to be able to do this?

¹admittedly those melodic lines will often still be less then great but at least I tried :¬)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Good points, Kassen. The keyboard is in some ways a straight jacket for the synthesizer. People who played early Buchla boxes (an later the Serge modulars) loved them because there was not even an implication that you should play conventional keyboard chords or melodies on the instruments.

Still, I'm not against keyboards. I enjoy playing them. One of the great things about the G2 is that with it's effects, zones, slots, and morphs it's a great stage piano. It's a marvelous electric piano.

I'm looking for the best of both worlds. I ordered a Behringer knob box this afternoon. It's a great bargain. I couldn't build it from parts for that price. I'm glad I'm not compulsive enough to try. Laughing

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
So, Zynth, do you find the Behringer works well with your G2?


don't have a behringer knob box...yet. the order of future upgrades is expansion card, then the knob box (with faders). $ Rolling Eyes $
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Mosc, you might want to look into getting a second hand EMU Launchpad. That´s a small midi controler that I love to death exactly because it doesn´t imply the "keyboard context". Nobody wants those because people have the idea that they´ll only work with EMU dance modules so they are quite affordable. They are also made of real metal and nicely compact.

It´s not a TKB sequencer though, *that´s* a real interface. It doesn´t look that way but it´s surprisingly playable too, I once played a whole -erm- channel of sound on one of those with my other hand modulating a light sensitive resistor. Don´t even get me started on the Universal Slope Generator. Serge is a beacon of light for the mad scientists of this world, I wish I could afford one.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The EMU Launchpad does look like a cool device. I've actually seen them before. I'd enjoy playing around with one, but I'm looking forward for my Behringer knob box. It seems like a natural partner for the G2 keyboard.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i experianced a similar phenomen...
For me its about sound..sofar i wasnt able to get the sounds out of the G2 i loved to patch on the G1...
I am still reserching why this is so..
One of the reasons is the Spectral osc that was replaced by the much softer behaving shape osc... Another reason might be the gainstructure...
i havent had the time lately to check..I just know that the try to transfer my main sounds to the G2 was unsuccesfull in all cases sofar..something is very different.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I used to have an Emu XL-7, which I tend to miss now. It had an "octave" of drum pads, that could be used for bass lines or drumming, and 16 knobs that were made for controlling external gear. The sequencer was tight. It was simply the sounds that were limited (for me). They go for cheap these days as well.

http://www.sonicstate.com/synth/emu_xl7.cfm

Though, the behringer would probably be more appropriate, given the similarity of led/encoders, etc.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

3phase wrote:
i experianced a similar phenomen...
For me its about sound..sofar i wasnt able to get the sounds out of the G2 i loved to patch on the G1...
I am still reserching why this is so..
One of the reasons is the Spectral osc that was replaced by the much softer behaving shape osc... Another reason might be the gainstructure...
i havent had the time lately to check..I just know that the try to transfer my main sounds to the G2 was unsuccesfull in all cases sofar..something is very different.


I was also unsuccessful (or maybe unwilling to put enough time) in reproducing certain sounds from the NM on the G2. I think that, even though there are equivalent modules in most cases, the behavior across parameter ranges isn't the same. Anyway, I still have my NM so I can use it for those sounds, and I'm inspired (by necessity) to create some new ones for the G2.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jksuperstar wrote:
I used to have an Emu XL-7, which I tend to miss now. It had an "octave" of drum pads, that could be used for bass lines or drumming, and 16 knobs that were made for controlling external gear. The sequencer was tight. It was simply the sounds that were limited (for me). They go for cheap these days as well.

I find that the XL-7 is an excellent control surface, but I don't use it to control the G2. In fact I use the G2 as a control surface to play sounds on the XL-7.
It is actually very programmable as a synth engine, if you put some time into it. Some of the best sounds are on the expansion ROMs, which can hard to find now. It makes a nice complement to the G2, adding polyphony and more conventional sounds. I don't need to spend a lot of time programming strings, drums, pianos etc. on the G2 and can focus on the things it excels at (strange noises, odd sequences, flexible effects processing, highly programmable real time controls).
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cebec



Joined: Apr 19, 2004
Posts: 1064
Location: Virginia
Audio files: 3
G2 patch files: 31

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'd like to hear more about the character or qualities of these sounds that are possible on the NM Classic that several here say are not as easy to reproduce or impossible(?) on the G2.

Perhaps we can try to better understand what everyone's talking about. Whether it's the interface or the 'sound quality' or the 'gain structure' or 'parameter range response' it's hard imagine a patch.

Should we leave it at 'i know not what' or try to narrow it down to specific types of sounds or specific patches on the Classic?

Maybe some of us will be challenged...
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3phase



Joined: Jul 27, 2004
Posts: 1152
Location: Berlin
Audio files: 13
G2 patch files: 138

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I will give the conversion of patches a try again because i miss some very important sounds on the G2..and with just G2 patching i had problems sofar to have similar results.. maybe its because 4 years patching with the NM1 and just less than 1 year with the G2... Just the fact that not so much monster patches came along sofar... While on the G1 i established a certain soundquality after a while. In general said i miss a certain roughness on the G2.. But maybe this can be patched..maybe not.
For now i think it has something to do with the way how clippings are handled in the G2. On a heavy overload you can cause the sound to mute on the G2..This never happens with the G1..Therefore there is a difference in the way overloads are handled. Its to early for me to make a judgment yet..its maybe just about finding the wright trick and all my G1 sounds are there again... Maybe i need to get a G1 as an expander for the G2...
The G2 sounds nicer and warmer in a lot of applications but a certain NM 1 sound is not so easy to achieve.. I would love to have the original Spectral Osc back.
I will do some more tests.
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Rob



Joined: Mar 29, 2004
Posts: 580
Location: The Hague/Netherlands/EC
G2 patch files: 109

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

3phase wrote:
I would love to have the original Spectral Osc back.
I will do some more tests.


The spectral osc morphs between a sine wave and a tangential wave. On the NM1 the tangens is actually hitting the headroom, on the G2 it is not allowed to go that far.

Attached is a little patch that show a trick to regain that NM1 spectral osc snappy energy that got lost on the G2 shape osc.


NM1SpectralOscEm.pch2
 Description:
A trick to make the G2 shape osc sound more like the NM1 spectral osc.

Download
 Filename:  NM1SpectralOscEm.pch2
 Filesize:  2.41 KB
 Downloaded:  815 Time(s)

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