Monday, November 14, 2011

Solaris demo, and a few comments/corrections from John Bowen

First of all, John Bowen has sent along some corrections and additional notes to my overview posts. (I warned everyone that it was a quickn-dirty...) John's notes:

The mixers allow each input to be modulated separately, plus the output can be modulated. So each mixer allows five different modulation inputs. I should have realized that; I guess I assumed that "ModSrc1:", "ModSrc2", etc., referred to the four mixers rather than the four inputs of the selected mixer.

The S/H waveform of the multimode oscillator is tunable and can track the keyboard; it isn't just a low pass filtered noise.

Samples cannot be loaded via the USB interface in the current version of the OS. To get new samples into the system, what you have to do is get a CF flash card reader connected to your computer (they're cheap), pull the CF card from the Solaris, put it in your reader, and then move the sample files to the card. Then, you plug the card back into your synth. I'll write some more about samples and sample loading after I've had a chance to experiment with it.

I forgot to edit something before I published it about signal routing to the FX channels, and as a result I got that part wrong. The four VCAs mix down into a fifth VCA, which you can't control directly, but VCA 6 is connected to it. When you select "synth" as the input to an FX channel, it is taking its input from the fifth VCA.

The overdrive part of the Minimoog filter algorithm was actually moved from the filter to the VCA section, which allows you to use overdrive with any filter. It's the VCA "boost" parameter (which I missed when I read that in the manual).

I mentioned some anomalous behavior in the velocity and aftertouch, which at the time I was writing that post, I had confirmed with MIDI Monitor. Well, guess what: the next day, it was behaving normally with the same patches. So I'm not sure how I did that. Possibly I messed up the sensitivity settings when I was playing with the system parameters (which, fortunately, I didn't save).

The envelope follower can be used with any signal source, not just the external inputs. I knew that, but the way I wrote it may have given the wrong impression.

I should have mentioned that the default routing of the mod wheel to the LFO 5 amount to pitch can be disabled. Then, LFO 5 is output at a constant amount set on the main page 2. You can always route mod wheel anywhere you want, just like any other modulation source.

I made a comment about the joystick on previous vector synths: John says that the Prophet VS and Korg Wavestation (neither of which I've ever had my hands on) were not capable of memorizing joystick movements. So I guess that's a characteristic that was limited, among vector synths, to the Yamaha SY77/TG33 (which John says he didn't work on). I have a TG33 and I know it does that.

Finally, John wrote me some good stuff about his history with Sequential Circuits and Creamware. He wants it to be known that he was not the author of Scope -- it was already written when he went to work for Creamware. John gave me some great info, and with his permission, I'll summarize it in a future post.

Now, finally, the Solaris demo. Note that this was also kind of a quick-n-dirty; there is some parameter tweaking, but it's all based on factory patches. There are four parts: in part 1, I demonstrate a patch that uses a rotor, and demonstrate some of the effects you can get by varying the rotor frequency. There's a quick demo of using the main screen and patch list to select patches, and then part 2 which demonstrates the different filter types. Part 3 is a quick demo of a patch that uses the arpeggiator, and part 4 demonstrates the ribbon controller.