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Amazing NM String Instrument Emulation
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mosc
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 8:33 pm    Post subject: Amazing NM String Instrument Emulation Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is from the NM mailing list. Amazing...

---------------------------------------------------------

Again from the SDIY list for any who are interested.
Sorry, but I'm still weeks behind and still haven't had time to catch up on
posts. Hope to do so by/over the weekend. Problem is I need this internet
computer downstairs, so I'm disconnected weeks at a time. Didn't want
mailbox to overflow so downloading mail now and figured I'd throw up some
recent string filter mods I'm working on. These obsolete the last ones I
did and these soon too will be obsolete too. The first demos used a generic
filter for all string sounds and there was no distinction between
instruments such as violin and cello. These ones I did a first pass on and
moved bands around trying to create peaks and dips where they would be on
the real instruments. Next pass I'll get compare to specific samples that
have certain characteristics I want and try to modify the string filters
even closer to the real thing. Following are some short demos ranging from
about 6 to 38 seconds. Should be listened to through good headphones (I
have not heard them through anything else).

This is a real viola sliding up in pitch on a string followed by the Nord
Modular doing the same thing. Even at this level, they are very close.

Filesize: 95 KB

http://home.att.net/~elhardt4/Viola_Slide_Real_vs_Nord.mp3


String filter adjusted to violin.

Filesize: 568 KB

http://home.att.net/~elhardt4/Nord_Violin_Maneuvers.mp3


I'm playing the Nord violin with my right hand over a sampled string orch
preset from a Roland synth in the background. In the low range the nord
actually sounds better than just about all the violin samples I own,
noticable in particular near the end of the piece.

Filesize: 515 KB

http://home.att.net/~elhardt4/Nord_Violin_Romantic.mp3


Irish reel with nord violin doubled with jig flute sample just for the hell
of it.

Filesize: 140 KB

http://home.att.net/~elhardt4/Nord_Violin_Celtic.mp3


Best part about this piece are the cello parts which also end in a plucked
chord at the end (yes, they can do pizzicato too). Orginally the piece
wasn't too bright so I ran it through custom sharpening code I wrote to
brighten it up, but that really brought out the noise too.

Filesize: 573 KB

http://home.att.net/~elhardt4/Nord_Strings_Beatles.mp3


-Elhardt

_____________[/b]

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here's an earlier amazing post by Elhardt

------------------------------------

Since the subject of multiband bandpass filterbanks for use in string
filtering came up on the Synth DIY list and I went through all the trouble
to respond, might as well post it here where I know there are some who are
interested in some of my latest techniques and how they sound. So below is
the post I made to that list.

----------------------------------


Jeurgen Haible writes:


>>>>(Seriously: Ken Elhardt's string sounds are more convincing than my demos, and he used a handful of readily available FX boxes. Maybe he likes to talk about that)<<


Yikes, I'm weeks behind on catching up on e-mail and posts so I'm just seeing this now. I realize I probably appear as if ignoring people but I'm just busy and really tired of the internet in general. I'll be catching up in a few days I hope, but I can tell you everything you need to know about string filtering and have a few new mp3 demos of my Nord 40 bank string filter in action.

Too time consuming to cut and paste questions, I'll just answer them. Using equalizers for the job? They don't work. I also have that Behringer 24 band feedback surpressor. The sound will still sound synthetic, just filtered differently. No EQ has enough bands anyway. You need about 4 to 6 peaks and 4 to 6 nothches per octave. A 31 band EQ only has 3 bands per octave, which only allows 1 peak and 2 notches or vice versa. Nor are they as steep and drastic as needed. JH could have mentioned some of the stuff I use as it's no secret, such as delay lines and phase shifters as comb filters. But I'm trying to get away from them because I have no control over how the peaks and notches are placed within something like a 40 stage phaser. And the metalic sound that delay lines create makes me have to use many in parallel to randomize the frequency response, and again I have little control over where those peaks are.

I've actually done some high count multiband filtering on my Nord before. One demo I put up is the following showing the effect on an the unprocessed sound. Actually it's part multiband filterbank and phasershifter. I don't think something like the Moog string filter gives such a dramatic change to the sound.

Filesize 200,622 bytes:

http://home.att.net/~elhardt3/String_Filtering_motm.mp3

As for my latest experiments below, I'm using my Nord Modular as sound source and to also process its own sound (I'm plugging the output of the Nord back into itself to process itself since I need the power of three DSPs just for the filter bank). I've tried many different configurations, such as 6 bands per octave (every other semitone), 4 per octave, alternating spacing, random spacing, and so on. The best overall sound was alternating between 2 and 3 semitones for about the first 24 filters and then compressing down to 2 semitone spacing higher up. This produced the most wood-like tone, while not sounding too hollow, too synthetic, or all kinds of other problems I've come across. I'm then running that through a Behringer 31 band True Curve EQ to shape the overall sound for a more refined sound.

Also the source sound you create to run through the filter bank is important. Just using a sawtooth oscillator with vibrato is too organ-like. I'm using several delay lines slowly sweeping around kind of as subtle choruses (also used this on my older string sounds), and they act as harmonics animators. If you've ever looped a single cycle of an acoustic instrument, it just sounds like an electronic tone because there is no motion. This also makes the vibrato sound sweeter and more string-like. You also want if possible, randomization of note pitch as fretless violin notes are always somewhat out of tune. You need human-like vibrato, changing in speed and depth. You need control of the string loudness and tone after the key is pressed so you can phrase it the way a string player would. I'm also using a Nord waveshaper module that adds some high freq harmonics for a brighter more scratchy sound which really helps bring out the buzzy top end of the cello, and I can modu!
late it if I want bownoise. If you want to play fast notes, you'll want some kind of bow slipping/scraping sound on the attack. And when I move my string source sound to Reaktor, I'll add the little portamento slides that really help (can't get to sound real on the Nord for some reason). In other words you have to really losen up and get an animated sound. Organ type sound in, organ type sound out.

Filter plot of white noise running through my string filter:

http://home.att.net/~elhardt4/String_Filter_Plot.jpg

(Note that these demos should be heard through good quality highly detailed headphones to hear all the subtleties. I'm often shocked by how the beautiful tone and highend detail can disappear when played through other means.)


Here are some new demos. This one alternates between my warm and fuzzy newage Nord violin and the real one in this Ackerman recording. I had to splice in solo guitar parts from the beginning of the piece, thus some obvious sudden edits. The timbre of the two is quite close just using my default filterbank band placement, so much so that with just a little effort in playing/phrasing and timbre adjustment I could probably replace the real violin in the entire piece and few would notice the change. Following is the timing of what is real vs Nord in the recording. Also threw in a Nord cello toward the end, really showing off the wood-like quality of the filterbank as the virtual bow scrapes across the last cello note.

0:00 to 0:22 Nord
22:00 to 0:38 Real
39:00 to 0:58 Nord
1:00 to 1:16 Real & Nord playing together
1:12 Nord cello enters, all Nord through to the end

Filesize 1,801,370 bytes:

http://home.att.net/~elhardt4/String_Filter_Violin_Compare.mp3


Here is a snippet from the Brahms violin/cello concerto. First take is with the real cello, second take is the Nord. Because my bands aren't in same places as the real thing there is a timbral difference (if I can correct, will be a near perfect match), but in the low end you will see that the cello-like characteristics of the Nord sound almost every bit as much like a cello as the real one, just with a different body timbre. Needs more work in the higher range to get that sad/whiney/stringy cello type sound.

Filesize 541,641 bytes:

http://home.att.net/~elhardt4/String_Filter_Cello_Compare.mp3


One pitfall that I've encountered is when using the same string filter for all the instruments in an ensemble. I did one recording I didn't even place online because the entire orchestra sounded like it was playing through a tin can even though the individual instruments sounded pretty good by themselves. When I thought about it I realized that they were all emphasizing each other. Where as in a real orchestra, different instruments have different frequency responses and they smooth and average each other out. This is just one more reason to do it digitally where you can change filter settings unlike a fixed analog filterbank. None-the-less I tried to do a number of things differently to minimize that bad effect in my following Bach performance of a small up-close chamber group (with sampled harpsichord). Still it's a quite resonance sounding and badly distorts and sounds like total crap in many other ways through computer sound systems. Needs to be played through som!
ething that can handle severe resonances popping out all over the place, such as quality headphones. Even there, there were some problems, such as the popular Sony MDR-7506 which sounded ear-piercingly nasal in the 2K to 4K range. If using those, or others with the same problem, listen to the second file labeled (Sony). If using Sennheiser HD-280, AKG K240, Fostex T50RP (needs treble boost if possible), or most others, try the first one labeled (Senn).

Filesize 809,553 bytes:

http://home.att.net/~elhardt4/Nord_Baroque_Strings_Senn.mp3

http://home.att.net/~elhardt4/Nord_Baroque_Strings_Sony.mp3

---------

Just a couple of demos using my older methods for those who don't know what I was talking about. This string orch uses delay lines and a phaser.

Filesize 439,382 bytes:

http://home.att.net/~elhardt3/String_Orchestra_Nord_160.mp3


All the sounds in this one are from analog or virtual analog synths. Violin and cello use delay lines, the Andromeda guitar sounds use a phaser for nice body resonance. BTW, filter banks are good for other things too. Just in my fooling around I've gotten complex timbres that sound like pianos, harps, sitars, bagpipes, and big organ pipes, that don't sound like anything you'd normally get from an analog synth.

Filesize 881,478 bytes:

http://home.att.net/~elhardt3/Acoustics_192.mp3


-Elhardt

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Fozzie



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Does anyone know - I don't think Elhardt is on this forum - whether he has posted his patches anywhere? I don't seem to remember having seen them on the mailinglist. It sounds so good, it's almost too good to be true. Anyone?
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Fozzie wrote:
Does anyone know - I don't think Elhardt is on this forum - whether he has posted his patches anywhere? I don't seem to remember having seen them on the mailinglist. It sounds so good, it's almost too good to be true. Anyone?


No, as far as i know he considers them as his property and don't want to give them away. Now who could blame him for that, he has done a tremendous amount of work on this topic, so i can understand he doesn't part with that easy. He was involved in making string sounds on the nord modular right from the start, so he is working around 5 years on this. On the nord modular that is....maybe longer on other synths. And i think all his sounds are done on a Nord Modular classic, not a G2 Exclamation

But you never know, maybe he will publish his work one day.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wan wrote:


No, as far as i know he considers them as his property and don't want to give them away. Now who could blame him for that......

.... And i think all his sounds are done on a Nord Modular classic, not a G2 Exclamation

But you never know, maybe he will publish his work one day.


That figures, Wan. I don't blame him either for that. It is already amazing how much good stuff is shared within the clavia community, there's nothing like it (that I know).

And regarding all is done on a G1: do I hear the filterbank issue for the G2 being brought up again Rolling Eyes ?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Jeez, that man is a genius Shocked

Kicka*s work for sure.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

impressive... very impressive.. all of that was made whit a G1?

Luca

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

that elenor rigby clip is damned amazing.
I suppose publishing his work would be a problem (since once a patch is built it can be freely distributed) but I would still buy a published copy if that happened.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Not to undervalue the exceptional synthesis in any way but, a big part of the realism in these examples I think, comes from the playing technique. Which in this case is also exceptional.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I don't know if this is true or not, but this appeared on the NM list today. I thought it best to pass it along. Crying or Very sad

Ville Gustafsson wrote:
Ken Elhardt did the notorious fake Bahn Sage synthesizer "joke" a
couple of years back.

He also posted some string recordings on the nord modular list a
couple of years ago which he claimed was done on the NM1but in reality
FAKE, ie processed acoustic recordings.

Apparently he's a man with too much time and an odd sense of humour.

Unless Mr. Elhardt cares to post his string patches for us all to try
out, I think we can safely assume these are FAKE FAKE FAKE.

/Ville

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
I don't know if this is true or not,


Indeed that discusion has been helt on the NM list several years ago. Ken always claimed it truely was an NM but he reasoned that the patches were his intelectual property and a way to earn money and therefor he should not publish them.

This reasoning seems valid to me, but unfortunately it also means we can never be sure.

For what it's worth, I tend to believe Ken, reasoning like Ian that a big part of the secret is in the playing technique.

I've heard other people produce very convincing results with patches that were not at all that special.

Jan.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:

I've heard other people produce very convincing results with patches that were not at all that special.

right Exclamation I remember recordings by Michael Boddicker done in the 80's with nothing else than subtractive synthesizers emulating brass instruments way cool mostly because of articulation and expressivity.

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

I've listened to some Ken's demos made on MOTM analog synth and are very cool and realistic for an analog synth.. so I can believe that he could make his string emulation on a nord modular. why don't we try to do a workshop to achive same results? I think that can be a good playground for all of us Smile

see ya

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
I don't know if this is true or not...


Something to keep in mind: Ken revealed the Sage fake 'after' someone else exposed it.

Anyway, after all these years it still strongly works against him.

And yes, the playing technique is also very important to the sound of bowed instruments, so there is a very big chance one cannot reproduce the same results, so it could be stamped as a fake again...

Wout
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Axiom wrote:
... why don't we try to do a workshop to achive same results? I think that can be a good playground for all of us Smile


Well in fact it is a NM Classic Patch...

Wout


GM041Violin.pch
 Description:

Download
 Filename:  GM041Violin.pch
 Filesize:  2.14 KB
 Downloaded:  370 Time(s)

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I put together a G2 string filter based on another SynthDIY thread. This was a description of a hardware string filter and included how to calculate the frequencies and what Q to use. I use the whole fx area for a 38 band string filter, I had to drop the lowest and highest filter to fit the summing mixers in. No attempt has been made to adjust the levels to any specific curve but the output is routed via a bus to a 2nd FX area with verb and a couple of parametric filters.
The voice itself is a pretty ordinary synthesiser cello with an implementation of Ken’s harmonic animator and a delayed vibrato with random rate/depth modulation. The 2StringFlt mixer controls the amount of signal sent to the string filter. On a G2 key or G2X, I would suggest turning off the auto vibrato and use the pitch stick.
Still a very long way off Ken’s examples but someone might be able to improve it.

What I’m having difficulty with is the normal way of creating a notch filter from a band pass does not seem to work at very high Q (resonance). That is subtracting the output of the filter from the input signal seems to make a peak not a notch, at least when I look at it on a spectrum display.


String.prf2
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prototype string filter

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 Filename:  String.prf2
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

...am i missing something?

he is playing a violin through an nm1 and calling it emulation? unless the audio is created totally by control signals (and has no violin sound in the signal chain), then it is processing, not emulation (imho).

deknow
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here is a link to the sage fake, seems like an elaborate social experiment to me. I don’t think (but I could be wrong) this has anything to do with faking synthesis of strings.

http://hem.passagen.se/sequence/bauercoop/sage/sage.html
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

interesting Smile The third picture is impressive but the hand over the knob is too sharp to be in right focus. btw, i've found an impotant phrase:

Quote:
Other than the initial "Wow" type
comments, Sage interest on Analog Heaven and elsewhere was virtually zero.
Access can repackage the Virus B for the third time, add blue LEDs and synth
message lists get filled up with talk about it. But give people something
new and spectacular and most couldn't care less. This could be important
info for a synth manufacturer. "Don't create a synth like the Sage."


Why when I read that I can only see the image of Kurzweil VA-1? Smile

----

Back to our modular world, i've tried to do some tricks with NM1 filter bank following Synth Secret's tutorial... some nice sounds comes out but way far from any real stringed instrument.

Wout, your patch sounds well and I'm also using it as a start point. I'm also searching more deep info about fixed filter banks and how they work. NM1 filterbank is good but I wanna try to create a different one... moog 914 and Analog System one seems a good choice to emulate Smile

Luca

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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I found out about this board from a link on another board that I found by accident. Seems people are posting false statements about my Nord emulations.

They are just what I said they are, Nord string sounds created on the Nord by the Nord (the first generation Nord, G1). They're all done on the Nord synthesizer, the only exceptions are some of the backing instruments, such as the string backing for the Romantic violin demo, the Celtic flute, and the harpsichord. Those I clearly stated in the original text. I do not play or own any real stringed instruments to play through a Nord. And any samples would already have the appropriate body resonances in them, so filtering would only sound horrible. Geez.

And it's not just the playing that makes them sound good, though that helps. It is miserably long hours and days sitting infront of the Nord, programming away and comparing to and deriving info from real samples. For example, there is little playing skill involved in my viola slide demo which shows how close to the real thing it sounds like even at this uncompleted stage. It's still a work in progress as I still have to compare the filtered harmonic content of my Nord strings to the real thing and see where it differs.

The reason somebody would probably accuse me of faking them would be to try to get me to post the patches. But they are for my use. I don't want them spreading all over the place. Too many programming secrets in them too.

As for the Sage quote about the Sage generating very little real buying interest: After I announced it was a fake synth, then people came out of the woodwork, some saying they planned on buying one. So that info isn't quite correct anymore. And, no, the hand over the knob isn't too sharp. That's the first time anybody has ever made that goofy comment, and this is from an image that was probably examined in more detail than any other on the internet. Someone even put up a page just examining that image in detail. Other goofy comments included that the person in the picture (that's me) was missing his thumb (wrong), that the hand on the knob was positioned wrong as if coming out of my chest (wrong). All of it wrong considering it really is a photo of my hands in their original positions. And if the hand on the knob is too sharp, then why not my right hand, and the keyboard (yes, that's real too) and everything below which is all from the same photo? Anyway it's fun talking about, but people have become so suspicious that they start finding the same kinds of problems in other images they think are fake but are in fact real photos, the Cwejman synth being a perfect example.

-Elhardt
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Ken, welcome here.

Jan.
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

welcome to electro-music.com, Ken. Glad to have you here.

When I copied your posts from the NM mailing list, I sent you an email message. Two of them acutally.

That Sage synth is quite good. I did a fake G2X+ synth last year as an April Fools gag. See: http://electro-music.com/article.php?t=1770 . Not nearly as complex as your Sage, but it was a lot of fun nonetheless. I know what a kick it is to come up with something like that.

As for the string patches, like I said before - amazing. Congratulatons.

I can understand how you want to protect your ideas by not releasing your patches. I respect that, but on the other hand I believe there is probably more to be gained in sharing with your peers and by holding back. I have taken both positions in my life. The older I get, I realize that the more I share the more I get back.

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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

To my ear there does seem to be something deeply G1-ish about these sounds. I can´t put my finger on it but then again; I never could figure out what makes the G1 sound like it does, I just know I recognise it generally.
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mosc
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Joined: Jan 31, 2003
Posts: 18012
Location: Allentown, PA
Audio files: 163
G2 patch files: 60

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here are some more stuff that Elhardt posted elsewhere.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thought these might of interest to a few people who appreciate the art of
synthesis. Since they were done on real analog modulars (monophonic, only one
note at a time), similar things could be done on the Nord. As in all the demos
I've ever posted, every note is played by hand (no sequencers or midi). A few
of the sounds also use outboard gear such as EQ, comb filtering, or chorus.
Note that high quality headphones or speakers needed. Crappy computer speakers
with horrible freq characteristics make many of my demos sound lousy and far
from what I'm hearing on my end.


Huge symphonic finale with strings, brass, timpani, done on the MOTM modular
synth using 26 stereo tracks.

filesize: 490K

http://home.att.net/~elhardt/MOTM_Orchestra.mp3


Heavenly female voice without vibrato synthesized on the motm modular
synthesizer ontop of a real string orchestra recording from CD and a couple of
Doepfer synthesized male bass voices. Best if heard through high quality
headphones.

filesize: 913K

http://home.att.net/~elhardt2/MOTM_Female_Voice.mp3


Full male/female Tomita mellotron-like chorus, male voices Doepfer, female MOTM.
The individual voices were clearer before all being combined. I'm still working
on better clarity and realism.

filesize: 226K

http://home.att.net/~elhardt2/Male_Female_Chorus.mp3


Three Renaissance pieces done on the MOTM. Some imitative, some suggestive, and
some non-imitative synthesis. They were done very quickly, one in just one
night.

filesizes: 700K, 1500K, 1080K

http://home.att.net/~elhardt2/MOTM_Renaissance1.mp3

http://home.att.net/~elhardt2/MOTM_Renaissance2.mp3

http://home.att.net/~elhardt2/MOTM_Renaissance3.mp3


Archaic, primitive, and woody sounding small protable pipe organ done on the
MOTM synth

filesize: 506K

http://home.att.net/~elhardt2/MOTM_Positive_Organ.mp3


--------------- Misc just for fun -----------------

Bass guitar is straight Jupiter-6. All other electric guitar sounds are JP6
through a Johnson J-Station quitar amp simulator.

filesize: 1118K

http://home.att.net/~elhardt/JP6_Freebird.mp3


Here's a demo I threw together mainly to demonstrate the use of a TC Helicon
vocal pitch-shifter / gender-changer. I am not a singer, but by controlling it
like a vocoder, where by I talk or sing into a mic but play the melody on the
keyboard, this device produces great results and even adds very human sounding
vibrato. In a couple of places the melody gets a little to low for the female
voice settings I used and it sounds a little odd, but the rest sounds good.

fileszie: 1410K

http://home.att.net/~elhardt2/Elhardt_As_Female.mp3


-Elhardt

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my music and other stuff
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mosc
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Joined: Jan 31, 2003
Posts: 18012
Location: Allentown, PA
Audio files: 163
G2 patch files: 60

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I respectfully request that at this point we refrain from accusations or questions as to the integrity of Elhardt or to the validity of these sounds. A core value of electro-music.com is respect. It is the one common denominator other than a love of electronic sounds.
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my music and other stuff
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