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TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
#3028892 02/13/20 08:16 PM
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We'd like to try a new concept out here at MPN, if we may...

We've asked several of the Keyboard Corner's Advisory Board members to try exploring unique and original software instruments - in this case, Arturia's Pigments 2 - as a group. We'd also be delighted if anyone who already has a copy of Pigments 2 (or wants to download the demo) would like to join us for any portion. Of course, anyone is welcome to comment and/or ask questions during the process whether or not they have a copy. thu

If appropriate, we may even try to get someone from the manufacturer to participate in the process. We have every intention of being very honest in our exploration of the product, and it could be interesting and useful to be able to get the perspective of the folks who helped bring it to market.

So, let's see where it goes. popcorn

dB


Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3028894 02/13/20 08:29 PM
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About Pigments 2:

Arturia has made a very strong name for themselves over the years developing software versions of many of the most iconic and well-loved hardware electronic musical instruments of all time. With Pigments, they decided to take all the experience they've acccumulated over the years and come up with their own design which incorporates several different technologies and a really distinctive and powerful GUI.
[Linked Image from medias.arturia.net]

Pigments 2 added all sorts of improvements over the first revision, including (but not limited to) the ability to load user samples, granular synthesis, an onboard sequencer, and more.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the Pigments 2 synthesizer, the elevator pitch (from Arturia's product page) is:

Quote
Pigments features a twin audio engine, letting you mix virtual analog and wavetable oscillators with a sample engine to create the perfect starting point for your patch. You can even morph wavetables, granularize samples, and import your own sounds to warp and contort.

What you do next is up to you. Experiment with 3 envelopes, 3 LFOs, and 3 function generators. Assign modulators to animate your sound, and breathe life into it. Add controlled, or totally wild random changes to any parameter with a Turing probability generator. Run it through 2 filters, with any combination of iconic analog filters or modern formant and surgeon filters you want. Process your patch with exciting contemporary effects like wavefolder and multifilter, or vintage studio reverbs, tape delays, and EQs.

Definitely not your Daddy's synth. boing

Stay tuned for our first impressions!

dB

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3028926 02/13/20 11:40 PM
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I own Pigments 2 and have used it in my most recent song.

Even so I've only spent a few hours with it, so I really only feel I can comment on it from a usability perspective. Specifically, I nearly didn't buy it because I'd read a few reports that it was hard to navigate / use. I didn't find this to be the case - after watching a couple of YouTube vids on using it I found it fairly straightforward. So my mini-review is: sound-wise I really like it, and as far as usability, take 30 mins to get to know it and you'll be fine thu

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3029159 02/15/20 03:13 PM
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Roll call:

I'm using an old 2011 MPB (2.4 GHz) running 10.11.8. Install went fine. Typically (like most folks, I guess) I run through a bunch of the presets before I do anything else, mainly to see if I'm more drawn towards wanting to start making music right away, or whether I find myself wanting to know more about what's under the hood. With this one, I'm definitely drawn towards the latter - especially with the intriguing GUI providing all this intgeresting visualk feedback.

I'm going to run through their tutorial on the instrument today to see what they think I should know and in what order.

dB

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3029168 02/15/20 05:16 PM
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I'm on a 2009 4,1 mac pro. The install was flawless. No hick ups or surprises. I opened up my host program, digital performer and there it was just as it should be. I love the look of it and more importantly the sound of it. It's going to be a great addition to my toolbox and even though it has to sit next to some heavy hitters it has it's own unique sound and value. I've only had it for a day or two and just going through presets and doing tweaks as I demo them. I'll do a library piece in a couple days and use a few instances to get familiar with it and explore...but so far it's inspiring to play and to put your hands on.

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
linwood #3029201 02/15/20 10:02 PM
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I installed it last night on a Dell Windows laptop. Intel i3 processor with 12 GB RAM running Windows 10. Everything went smoothly. Verified audio and MIDI connections worked. Will give it my first test run Sunday night into Monday.


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3029211 02/15/20 11:13 PM
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I had a friend buy me Pigments 2 on Christmas Eve, which was a great holiday module. Here's a presumptuous pile of quick takes.

*I'm slowly exploring the corners, such as the wavetable section of 100+ sounds. They're not full-range layouts, but more like the Prophet X's high-grade 8Dio library of what I call Oscillator Food. You can get a decent neo-acoustic piano, although it'll be a bit static, even with careful envelope crafting & subtle modulation. That's the line for Real. For synth work, the hybrid e-sounds are very nice and hit a lot of classic 'wavetable' marks, such as very present mallet & bell sounds.

*The Analog engine is a bit on the clean side, but also passes the Moog test for getting quite close to Bob's base ladder filter tone. In that case, there's a notable Roland lush-tropical-fruit-filter feel to it, but its still quite engaging to hear. Having three oscillators is a great boost when you need Big or Lush. Its easy to get some Juno/Jupiter action going.

*The filter section is scary-broad, with variations on the usual suspects, plus a handful of Matrix-12 options I'm still trying to grasp. Since there are dual filters to be had, you can see how running two exotic models could be pleasingly rich or even alien.

*I'm getting a welcome lesson in modulation, thanks to the real-time displays in the center of the GUI. They're just big enough for you to glance up and know where you are pretty easily. In reverse-engineering the more brash presets, I quickly learned where to go to tweak the wobbling and make them more subtle.

*There is a panel offering very rudimentary 2-op FM, Phase Modulation, Phase DISTORTION (the Casio approach) and Wavefolding in one place. You can do the usual tricks for bass/brass/bell sounds with the first three. Wavefolding is a sort of 'West Coast' modular feature that's new to me, but thanks to the graphic display on top, you can watch the effect each section has on the fly. It often adds a certain movement in a linear-sounding way rather than being in-your-face unless you push it. There's a lot of interesting subtlety & grit to be had.

*The Granular section is also new to me, but I'm figuring it out as a superior pad source, for starters. GIGO and all, but once you get the grain size & scan rate established, it can be rather easy to get a nice pad or a scary vocal-like rumble going.

*The Bezier curves for envelopes and modulation are appreciated. IMO, they're all but ideal for the job. I heart grab-&-go graphic tools.

*The GUI can be resized very neatly, TY. OTOH, the preset browser is all too squinty. No deal breaker, certainly, but Pigments, Korg Legacys and all AAS instruments could really use a browser list upgrade, visually. To be fair, it is a lot of data to shuffle, but still...

*The preset library sounds very FRENCH, somehow. Its amusing to hear a Sequential sound, a German sound, a Roland sound and the like in the market. In this case, there is X amount of disposable EDM or screeching material, but the rest is a decent, sometimes surprising cross-section. There are many sweet-deal candidates for layering, very stout Unison patches and more than a few sounds that are good played mono or poly. I love those!

*So far, I've found only a few patches I'd play solo in an exposed situation, but I have a large library of sounds from elsewhere that are dying to cozy up to many of these. The demos convinced me that it was a decent synth, but as sharp a sound as it can emit, its amusing to also see it as a serious "ambient" instrument. It has pad options for days, with a great mod matrix that's potent without being daunting. The dual engines have a lot to do with that.

*I haven't even touched the sequencer/arp yet. I need to have a better grip on the instrument's voice first. Its too seductive to just let some Berlinesque patch loop before you figure out the where and why. Now watch me lie my @$$ off by building a new piece based on one.

*I felt a restless need to add to my voice options, but I've been at this too long to cry over not having a Schmidt or CS15 for each hand. When I got down to it, it was the WAV import (yet to be tried), wavefolding, granular engine & the 100+ wavetables that sold me. Its also a bit of a landmark. Its the first instrument I've bought for mature, balanced reasons instead of slavering over it first like a werewolf on crack. The more I explore it, the more I feel like I made the right move.


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"SEND MORE CHUCK BERRY!"
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3029241 02/16/20 03:41 AM
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I tell ya, when I get time to sit and play with an instrument like this for a few hours, I forget why it is I have a television. Seriously... puff rolleyes

My first impressions are very positive. Way deep engine, fairly easy to navigate (especially if you've used Arturia synths before), and - as David mentioned above - really easy to see what's bringing the sounds to life by just looking at the GUI, especially the mod matrix.

I'm finding a very nice variety in the programming styles of the sound design team. There are certainly sounds that wouldn't be the first thing I'd reach for, but those are outnumbered by many others that have some really intriguing sonic twists to them. I grew up with a Mini, so I also love having three oscillators per voice...times two if want, with the second engine; plus, I've been a big fan of making complex tones by mixing analog and digital waveforms for a really long time, so I can't help but like having that option on steroids. Can't wait to dig into some of the deeper functions.

I'm controlling the synth with an Arturia Keylab II, so it's already well mapped to the controllers. Like their Matrix Brute, Pigments features four Macro knobs that can control multiple assignable stacked functions, and having dedicated access to those (the last four knobs on the Keylab) enhances the fun with a lot of these programs.

I'm still just at the playing and poking around stage, but I'm enjoying this instrument a lot. Sitting the Keylab on top of the Hammond A100 was an unexpected plus - the two instruments pair quite nicely, but am finding the combination to be...distracting. rocker

dB


Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3029448 02/17/20 07:29 PM
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I'm really diggin' this. The tutorials included were really helpful to get me in the ballpark pretty quick. So far I've gone through a lot of presets and programmed a couple mini leads for it that sound really nice. When I'm doing synth tracks and reaching for a VI I tend to use Omnisphere a lot and I also like Thorn, but in just two days I feel that P2 is a must have for me. It's vast and has a great "hands on" feel to it and sounds fantastic. The arp/seq is great…anybody know if I can control the cutoff with cc11 with my right foot? I know…RTM!!! lol

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3029568 02/18/20 04:48 AM
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I've had a copy for a few months, and though I haven't spent a whole lot of time with it, I can give my feedback.

- First off, MPE integration is surprisingly flawless. It's as accessible as Roli's own Equator, and less buggy than Serum (which has struggled with some MPE aspects for a while). That said, I never tried to do anything particularly complex with the MPE modulators, just plugged it in to my Seaboard and played around with presets. But it looks like all the tools are there. I don't know whether it can do relative Slide yet, Equator is the only one I know of that does that, and it's not particularly important, sometimes I'm not even sure it works correctly in Equator.

- Sound is juicy and full, no complaints there. Presets are aimed a bit more at EDM and dance pop than live keyboard performance, IMO. But that's really been the case with Serum and most of the modern Wavetable synths I've played with. LOTS of wavetables to play with.

- Modulator section is FANTASTIC, probably the largest assortment of usable mods on the scene. No BS "dual LFOs" or blocks that cut corners. I find FXpansion Cypher and Strobe to be almost unusable due to all its weird integration of modulators, nothing sounds like I want it to. User defined functions and THREE random Modulators, which is really really useful for my sound design work. Zebra2 is the only one with more random mods (FOUR), but I don't own it, so I can't comment. Serum has been a big letdown in this department, as they opted for all hand-drawn modulators, which is probably great for most people, but don't allow for randomization. NI Massive never had any, don't know about Massive2. Equator has two, and they're very good, but Pigments' are more flexible.

- Interface... I think I could learn to love this. I've always held Massive as the gold standard with the way it presented its concentric collars. Pigments follows very much in Massive's footsteps, with its own flavor that offers both advantages and disadvantages. Unlike massive, no parameter is limited to two modulators. This isn't a huge thing for me as I've rarely found the need to add more. That was a product of Massive's adherence to making sure everything was immediately visible on the screen (which I applaud), and there's only so many collars you can fit around a nob. Pigments adds the ability to add an unlimited number of mods to a control, with the concession that only the first one is visible at all times. However, if you click a control it immediately highlights the currently assigned mods, and clicking on them will bring up their collars. Where Pigments surpasses Massive and takes a page from Serum and many other new synths, is that in additional to collars, it has a little spark that shows the exact position of the controller output in real time. It's kind of cute, and helpful for troubleshooting.

- The Two Engine system is ridiculously deep. Each Engine has 3 modes: Analog can provide up to 3 simple layered waveforms (for a total of 6!). The Wavetable mode is just infinitely controllable. There are a plethora of high-quality wavetables, and you can import your own which are in the same format as Serum. Visual representation is solid. The Sample engine is quite bizarre, however, being both over and under engineered, and this is where there's some seriously missed opportunities (that may be expanded in later versions). It attempts to be a multi-sample producer, but it only has 6 sample slots. Furthermore, the sample mapping is locked per octave or to a velocity range depending on what mode you choose. Frankly, I don't see the usefulness of this. I'm no stranger to assigning one-off SFX to notes or pads or keys (where this might be handy), but this doesn't allow you to define specific ranges, only octaves. It has modes for round robin and random cycling too, but again, without a discreet range control, I can't imagine much potential for this. I think they could have scrapped the "mode" idea altogether, and just allowed input boxes for note and velocity ranges per sample, which would have made this far more flexible and simpler. Otherwise, it's a fine mono-sample engine, and you can import your own, unlike some of the tacked-on sample playback engines that VIs include in their synths (*caugh* Equator). The sample engine also is the only mode that doesn't allow for multi-voice unions. Not surprising since that's not typically the realm of Samplers. But there was an opportunity there that could have been cool.

In closing, Pigments is a ridiculously deep and well constructed. Very strong FX unit that I failed to review. The interface is one of the most tight and solid I've seen in recent years, which is surprising coming from Arturia whose I consider to be typically subpar. I only spent a short time flipping through presets, and they seemed decent enough. The engine system, mod block, and filters are fantastic and well laid out. The sample engine is rudimentary with some odd rumblings of something greater that never happened... but no worse than any other VI. I guess my biggest concern is that this synth is EVERYTHING. Never in a million years are you going to hear a record and say, "oh, that's a Pigments Patch!" And that's sorta the thing with Wavetablers, isn't it? I mean, I guess I can see a tune was made in 2008 and figure it uses Massive, but it's not like Diva which has it's own simple but juicy flavor. But it's great to have an "everything but the kitchen sink" synth around that just gets the job done, no matter how complex. I'll admit to never warming up to Serum the way many do. It's fine, and Steve Duda is a super nice guy. Like Pigments it's a big ol toolbox, very deep and flexible. I guess I just never felt in sync with the workflow, and I came in right when MPE was new and buggy. Pigments is a little more to my liking, it's a bit more varied in presets, has a Sample engine, as well as an eye on the past, while Serum feels absolutely rooted in 2015.

Arturia just needs to get out there and make some waves, some targeted patch packs, and clean up their Sample engine, and they'd have near perfect synth. At this point I give it a solid 9/10.


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
EricBarker #3029581 02/18/20 05:57 AM
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Excellent post Eric. I just spent 2 hours checking out the presets. I had gotten away from VST's recently (focusing on the hardware I own). This one has renewed my interest. Great to have so many choices. cool
Can't wait to dig into it deeper.


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3029860 02/19/20 10:03 PM
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When Pigments 1 first came out they made a demo available for 3 days which I took advantage of. I thought I commented in this thread but apparently not. No matter, I'll do my best to go into version 2 with an open mind.

Thought I'd start with deconstructing a preset after trying out a bunch of them. Disclaimer - I'm not a preset guy and Pigment 2 reminds me why; My thing is sound exploration and playing/noodling with sounds that get me off. I'm not putting together arrangements or orchestrating and so as is typical I found nothing in Pigments 2 that met my admittedly limited use (or abuse). I do think I can objectively state that almost every preset I tried was slathered in effects which I hate.

Deconstructing a preset lends itself well to figuring out how software (or hardware) works. Basically I'm trying to strip away any modulations, effects and funky things happening to each oscillator or other sound sources. Then I'll turn all but 1 of those sound sources off and start to build up from there. I have to say that just about everything I came across today made sense. I only struggled with a couple of things and not for long. But rather than detail out specifics I've provide a sample clip I created below. I'll provide my comment and opinions in a day or 2.

This patch was created by deconstructing preset "Rusty Digivoice found under the Pad presets

Rusty Marky

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Anti-Markyboard #3029885 02/20/20 12:53 AM
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I really liked the velocity controlled brass stab. thu


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
davedoerfler #3029922 02/20/20 12:17 PM
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While continuing where I left off I'm still exploring the analog engine and something just doesn't seem right. And it reinforces my very initial impression that the oscillators don't seem to "fit together" or blend right. Of course that's subjective but it may be attributed to a possible bug. There appears to always be a sine wave on for each oscillator independent of which waveform is selected. Now I could definitely be missing something here but check this out:

Here is a single oscillator played where I believe I've eliminated all the sound altering parameters (see details in the sound clip description).

Pigments 2 Marky Sample # 2

One thing not in this sound clip is that with unison detuning and stereo set to 0 and Voices set to 1 changing from Classic to Super changes the sound. idk

Again, won't be surprised to find out I missed something.

(Edit:) I should have done this earlier but I started from a completely different preset and same thing.

Last edited by Markyboard; 02/20/20 01:17 PM.
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3029969 02/20/20 07:10 PM
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One more for today. Mixed in a sample using the granular functionality along with the Analog engine. The real time control possibilities are impressive. I wanted to use AT to bring in the granularized sample but not have it abruptly cut off as soon as the AT stops. Took some doing but found a way. I do wish the Combinate Mod choices had a selectable trigger option.

Pigments 2 Sample 3

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3029983 02/20/20 08:55 PM
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Excellent deep dive, brother Marky. Lemme see if I can get someone in the know to comment. idea

dB

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3030109 02/21/20 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
Excellent deep dive, brother Marky. Lemme see if I can get someone in the know to comment. idea

dB


Cool Dave! I'll hold off on my conclusion until next week. I don't believe it will be affected by the analog oscillator mystery but I'd still like to know what the deal is. In the mean time here are the notes I've taken throughout the week:

1) As has been mentioned the display/interface is extremely good - maybe the best I've seen in a soft synth. One minor quibble: the knob “rings” change functionality depending on whether there’s modulation applied or not. Imo there’s no need to redundantly fill in the ring to show position since there’s an arrow on the knob. I think it makes it more confusing then it needs to be – but not a huge deal.

2) I struggled with figuring out how to control the level of the LFOs in real time. Didn’t take long before I realized you have to use one of the 3 Combinators which lets you modulate a modulator (and more). These are cool as there are a number of options including Sum, Crossfade, Multiply, Threshold etc. I still wish the LFOs had modulatable amplitude settings.

Update: There’s a knob at the bottom left of each LFO – doesn’t really have a label until you click on the selected option and you find it’s labeled “LFO 1, 2 or 3 Settings (wtf). You have a choice of Smooth, Key Track or Fade. Smooth does a lot to lower the amplitude but it also changes the shape. These are useful parameters but I think they still needs a dedicated amplitude and offset knob. I’m guessing this is still a work in progress.

3) Sequencer and arpeggiator are very well equipped. Very easy to use and a whole lot of fun.

4) Midi learn is awesome. I was relieved as I initially thought it wasn’t included at all (Massive X very disappointing in this regard thus far). Very well implemented here with additional functions such as min/max limits and an option to make it relative instead of absolute. Awesome!

5) I have to agree with Eric Barker regarding the sample mapping. I wouldn’t have thought of this myself since it’s been many years since doing any kind of sampling and mapping. But yeah it’s some what kludgey and limited.

6) In the Wavetable synthesis it’s very easy to get carried away with the different types of modulation and over power the actual sound of the wave table. It took me a bit to figure out why every wavetable sounded similar until I backed off most of the modulation. This isn’t the fault of Pigments – in fact it’s wonderful that you have these various modulation schemes. But you really only need 1 at a time (or at least individually controlled) and not a whole lot of it/them. Modulating the wavetables with an LFO is wonderful – especially when you turn off Morph. Starts to sound like wave sequencing. Play with the shape and speed of that LFO and you can develop all kinds of rhythmic coolness.

7) The filters and all the choices and configurations are excellent – maybe as good as it gets! Same for the envelopes – didn’t play with the macros or the randomizers but I’m sure they’re fine. Same for the Functions which appear to give an extensive amount of control.

8) Crashed Reaper a few times. Update: As I’m exploring the wavetable synthesis it seems changing the wavetable selection is a fast path to crashing Reaper.









Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3030138 02/22/20 06:50 AM
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I just started messing with Pigments tonight. First impressions: The sound quality is really very good. It reminds me of Alchemy in several ways in terms of the engine. I really miss Alchemy on my PC. frown The filters are very good; no surprise given Arturia's background.

I'm going to dig in deeper in the next week and actually read the manual (I know...wtf?)

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3030141 02/22/20 11:49 AM
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Hi everyone! I am so sorry to be late to the party. I was traveling last week and managed to skim read the manual on flights, but haven't really had a chance to turn on Pigments and cycle through some presets till this morning.

I'll provide review comments in several posts over the next two weeks, but initial impressions are this is a BIG synth, which manages to bring a lot of the detail (particularly modulations) to the surface so that the programmer can quickly customize a sound. So it's a BIG synth which manages to be intimate, no small feat. At first listen the presets are not the types I would use. They tend to be a bit more shiny and effect laden, and less raw than my taste. Nothing wrong with programmers wanting to get a sound production ready. It's just not my taste. So my first two tasks will be to customize some presets to my tastes, and to join in the fun conversation that is already happening around the synth. After that I hope to create some custom sounds, in order to develop an in depth understanding of the strengths and limitations. No question, there is a lot of timbre and excitement in Pigments 2 and I can't wait to unlock it!

An initial thought: When I say this is a BIG synth, the immediate metaphor is of a Gare De Lyon or a Grand Central Station. You can find a train quickly that will take you to the sonic spot you want to inhabit at that moment. Are there bigger synths (train stations)? Possibly... but this is big enough to connect you with most places you would want to go. The quality of the underlying oscillators, filters and efx is as advertised (just like the quality of trains at a world class train station) so that you don't have to worry about whether a component will work. The mini filter sounds rich and moogy, the granular functions are responsive and musical, the delay effect ... sounds just as a delay effect should. So as a sound designer, I expect that Pigments will help me get to destinations in relatively quick fashion, while (hopefully) unlocking some personalized means of sonic control. This can be a primary go-to synth for someone, which is way cool. We shall see what we learn as we dive deeper. smile

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3030242 02/23/20 07:54 PM
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As a way of getting my feet wet with the Analog engine in Pigments, I whipped up a version of the synth growl at the beginning of Tom Sawyer by the band Rush. It’s a straightforward filter sweep for the most part but the growl aspect to the sound that comes from one of the oscillators modulating the filter at audio rates. It helps if the synth supports unison mode and if the filter sweeps are slightly different for each of the voices. The original sound was a preset on the Oberheim OB-X, which Rush incorporated into their hit song. While virtual analog synths cover most analog sounds well, audio rate modulations are famously difficult for them. I thought this sound would be a good way to test Pigments.

So how did Pigments do? Very well as a matter of fact, with some caveats I describe below. Here you can listen to the result. Here you can download the Pigments patch and play with it. It was a quick sketch and easy to do. What I learned was:

- The SEM filter in Pigments is really quite good at imitating the OB-X. (Quite a bit better for this job than the excellent Matrix filter which is also in Pigments.)
- Sadly, Pigments does not allow you to modulate the filter with an oscillator, so I used LFO1 at about 82 herz. I was incorrect. Pigments does allow you to modulate the filter with an oscillator. I've updated the links to the sound and patch above. It's sounding much better.
- As far as I can tell, the envelopes in Pigments are identical for all voices in a unison patch and so it sounds as though all voices are going through the same filter sweep. So I copied the patch to the second engine, and then tweaked it, so that you could have a slightly different sweeps panned left and right a bit. It doesn't quite get the throbbing intensity you could get with six slightly different envelopes, but with two envelopes, it sounds far more compelling than with one.

I'd be happy to use this sound (perhaps with a bit of tweaking and eq) in a Rush tribute. The experience has taught me that the modulation tools in this synth allow you to program a sound very quickly. What are your thoughts?

Last edited by Tusker; 02/24/20 08:56 PM. Reason: Clarified an error
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Tusker #3030249 02/23/20 09:13 PM
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Ah, I see Tusker is well into it but I'm posting this first before reading his and Jim Alfredson's thoughts. Looking forward to both.


Markyboard Conclusions:

The “Analog” synth engine is far from analog sounding. In fact this entire synth is digital as can be – there’s nothing analog sounding about it to me. You can derive the same 4 wave shapes found in the analog engine using one of the wavetables. I duplicated the “analog” sawtooth wave using MB2 shapes (under Synthesizers) to where the two were nearly indistinguishable. You only get one wavetable at a time here but still Nancy Drew had her day. I ran each through several filter types and they still sounded the same. I also wanted to determine if the Analog or Wavetable engine might be the cause of my biggest criticism...

They weren’t. The Mini filter is lame and anemic – there I said it and wanted to all last week. I fed it with a number of different sources and as soon as you increase the resonance even just a bit the sound falls apart. The Drive does nothing other than seems to compress everything and maybe that’s a lot of what I’m hearing – compressed sounds. On the other hand The Matrix 12 filter is alive and full of character. I also got decent stuff happening with the SEM and Multimode filters - again digital but good digital. The other filters are highly specialized but can also bring out good stuff.

The Wavetable engine is very good. I did a bunch of comparing to Massive X creating new programs in both. They’re quite different from each other but both are very good. However while programming Massive X I kept wishing for the far superior interface of Pigments. But not the Pigments crashes which continue.

Sampling engine -as I said look to others for opinions

Bottom Line: Last week I was ready to dismiss Pigments as lovely on the surface, great interface, extensive functionality but lacking in sound character. In fact I was ready to cleverly call this the Moog One of soft synthsduck.
After a more extensive review this is a great digital sounding synth and does it really well (other than the Mini filter). But try to seek out analog and you’re asking for disappointment. For me I don’t have much use for the “Analog” synth engine. I’d just as soon use other VSTs that gets me way way closer to real analog, or just use the real thing. But I can definitely see preferring Pigments from a fit in the mix perspective. For my purposes and considering the price the Wavetable engine, extensive functionality and interface is worth the price of admission.

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Tusker #3030256 02/23/20 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Tusker



Very well as a matter of fact, with some caveats I describe below. Here you can listen to the result. Here you can download the Pigments patch and play with it. It’s a quick sketch and can be improved.


That's impressive Jerry. I can only imagine it sounds that much better on your end before Soundcloudifying it. No surprise that once again a lot of this comes down to the guy/gal behind the tools. Never the less I still hear a digital characteristic that may not be as evident from something like OP-X Pro-II.
To me that doesn't count as a negative towards Pigments - the right tool for the right job blah blah blah.

VST/Virtual Analog vs Real, digital vs analog has been beaten to death over the years and I really just don't care. But this is an evaluation and so when someone ask me to tell em what I think....I tell em.

Thanks for sharing (and all the work). cheers

Btw this was an an excellent approach in showing someone what Pigments can sound like.

Last edited by Markyboard; 02/24/20 01:59 AM.
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3030279 02/24/20 02:16 AM
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Really insightful stuff, guys!

This is tremendously cool watching everybody poke and prod at this instrument. Fascinating to see how and where y'all dig into it, and what's important to each of you.

dB

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3030289 02/24/20 05:05 AM
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I wonder if the Mini filter is bugged because the output is at least 8db lower than the other filter models. And yes, the DRIVE control just seems to compress the signal... which is kinda what saturation does, but it should also add harmonics. Maybe the DRIVE isn't working correctly due to the low output?

The MultiMode filter seems the most Moog-like to me.

Last edited by Jim Alfredson; 02/24/20 05:50 AM.
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Jim Alfredson #3030302 02/24/20 12:50 PM
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Good point Jim. I didn’t measure it but I attempted to slam it harder bringing up the pre-filter signals where I could. Still no dice. The multimode filter certainly covers a lot of territory; but no drive control frown. It does have a 36 dB setting for all modes which you can really pop with the right envelope and resonance settings. Fun stuff.

I often wonder how much we’re influenced by labels. If they just called the filters A-F our choice for a particular sound might be influenced more on what we hear and the available parameters from the get go.

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3030308 02/24/20 02:17 PM
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Thank you Marky. 🙏 Yes, the sound is crispier on soundcloud and it’s no award winning patch by any means. I was as enthusiastic on the effects as Emeril Lagasse with a pepper shaker. Bam! But let’s move on …

To me also, it’s worth pointing to the clear difference between the best-of-breed synths (like Diva and OP-X), and generalist "BIG" synths like Pigments and Alchemy, which might have a component which is modeled after a particular synth, but is not intended for complete emulation. I love Alchemy. It allows you to get in the neighborhood quickly but if you want to go all the way, you will need a more specialized tool. (maybe even analog!) Before I leave the analog engine for a bit, let me make a couple of observations …

- An authentic pre-filter drive IS vital for a strong analog synth emulation. It particularly helps if the emulation is sensitive to oscillator volumes. You cannot expect to adequately fix with downstream effects what is not already upstream in the heart of the engine. I’m trying not to reference other synths and other conversations, but we have had really nice discussions in this community about the beautiful way the Moog CP3 mixer saturates as oscillator volumes are raised and also discussions about whether the Behringer POLYD is calibrated to allow a two oscillator patch to saturate the pre-filter mixer adequately. Whether it's a dedicated drive circuit or the way the oscillator mixer saturates, you have to give the filter something to work with to get to a great many of the richer analog sounds.

Thanks Jim for pointing out the multi-mode filter. Amazing how important labelling can be. I skipped it completely! Doh! I’ll check it out. Loving the conversation!

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
I often wonder how much we’re influenced by labels. If they just called the filters A-F our choice for a particular sound might be influenced more on what we hear and the available parameters from the get go.

Couldn't agree more.

One manufacturer I worked with refused to put numbers on his products for just that reason. Instead, he went with terms like Shimmer, Silk and Sheen - made it a bit mysterious. It was an excellent idea - even some of the more seasoned engineers I know wanted to check his stuff out out just to find out what each of those settings sounded like. Had they actually reflected what they were (just frequency settings) I'm not sure it would have been as appealing.

dB

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Anti-Markyboard #3030378 02/24/20 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Tusker

As a way of getting my feet wet with the Analog engine in Pigments, I whipped up a version of the synth growl at the beginning of Tom Sawyer by the band Rush. It’s a straightforward filter sweep for the most part but the growl aspect to the sound that comes from one of the oscillators modulating the filter at audio rates. It helps if the synth supports unison mode and if the filter sweeps are slightly different for each of the voices. The original sound was a preset on the Oberheim OB-X, which Rush incorporated into their hit song. While virtual analog synths cover most analog sounds well, audio rate modulations are famously difficult for them. I thought this sound would be a good way to test Pigments.

So how did Pigments do? Very well as a matter of fact, with some caveats I describe below. Here you can listen to the result. Here you can download the Pigments patch and play with it. It’s a quick sketch and can be improved.

Originally Posted by Markyboard

That's impressive Jerry. I can only imagine it sounds that much better on your end before Soundcloudifying it. No surprise that once again a lot of this comes down to the guy/gal behind the tools. Never the less I still hear a digital characteristic that may not be as evident from something like OP-X Pro-II.
To me that doesn't count as a negative towards Pigments - the right tool for the right job blah blah blah.



I've never attempted to duplicate a classic sounds like this on any synth but with my warped sense of failed humor I thought screw it, why not use the worst tool for the job? Since I'm getting back to Massive X after 6 months and haven't explored a lot of it I figured it should serve double purpose. This too is quite digital sounding. Jerry - had you not clued me in on the audio rate modulation I never would have gotten even a hint of the original - thanks. Turns out the utility module has an additional oscillator that can be routed to either of the 2 selected wavetables for additional phase modulation. Btw the modular routing functionality of Massive X is pretty cool and not too difficult to get your head around.

Marky Soy Ya

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3030410 02/25/20 05:26 AM
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I emailed a contact at Arturia regarding the Mini filter.

I spent last night re-creating some classic Moog basses including my version of Stevie Wonder's iconic TONTO bass sound from his early 70s output. The Multi-Mode filter works well.

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Anti-Markyboard #3030422 02/25/20 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
I've never attempted to duplicate a classic sounds like this on any synth but with my warped sense of failed humor I thought screw it, why not use the worst tool for the job?


LOL. roll

I love the way you tuned the throb beautifully with the audio rate modulation. Bravo. Soundcloud has it's limitations, so it's hard to draw conclusions. Still, how would you feel if I speculated that in this context the Pigments filter is a tad more accurate and the Massive modulations are a tad cleaner, but as digital tools, they are more similar then they are different?
This is a foolhardy brave attempt by both of us, and I owe you a beer. cheers

I made a factual error in my original post, when I said that Pigments requires that you use an LFO. It doesn't. For clarity, the original post has been updated, so I wouldn't have to eat crow all over this thread, which it appears is now happening. grin


Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Jim Alfredson #3030423 02/25/20 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim Alfredson
I emailed a contact at Arturia regarding the Mini filter.

I spent last night re-creating some classic Moog basses including my version of Stevie Wonder's iconic TONTO bass sound from his early 70s output. The Multi-Mode filter works well.


That's great to hear. Loved that period. thu

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Jim Alfredson #3030429 02/25/20 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim Alfredson
I wonder if the Mini filter is bugged because the output is at least 8db lower than the other filter models. And yes, the DRIVE control just seems to compress the signal... which is kinda what saturation does, but it should also add harmonics. Maybe the DRIVE isn't working correctly due to the low output?

The MultiMode filter seems the most Moog-like to me.


The oscillator output volume knob doesn't seem to have an intuitive relationship with resonance in any of the filter models. Increasing drive in the Mini filter scales back the filter resonance but doesn't add harmonics or low end the way one would expect. Perhaps some variables were mis-calibrated or eliminated when they ported over the code from the previous synths?

I have been keeping a log of the ways in which the Pigments analog engine doesn't quite exhibit behaviors I should expect from a hardware equivalent. These appear too numerous and detailed to have a productive conversation on the forum, but I imagine from a QC standpoint it could be helpful for someone to have a list. I am not sure what to do with them. idk

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Tusker #3030450 02/25/20 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Tusker
Originally Posted by Markyboard
I've never attempted to duplicate a classic sounds like this on any synth but with my warped sense of failed humor I thought screw it, why not use the worst tool for the job?


LOL. roll

I love the way you tuned the throb beautifully with the audio rate modulation. Bravo. Soundcloud has it's limitations, so it's hard to draw conclusions. Still, how would you feel if I speculated that in this context the Pigments filter is a tad more accurate and the Massive modulations are a tad cleaner, but as digital tools, they are more similar then they are different?
This is a foolhardy brave attempt by both of us, and I owe you a beer. cheers

I made a factual error in my original post, when I said that Pigments requires that you use an LFO. It doesn't. For clarity, the original post has been updated, so I wouldn't have to eat crow all over this thread, which it appears is now happening. grin


I re-read your description again and talk about eating crow... I was phase modulatnig one of the oscillators (wavetable single sample). The SVF I chose doesn't have an FM input, but a number of the other filters do. So I re-did the patch this morning and of course that took me to all kinds of places. Anyway this one's a little more burbly (2nd set of 4). I added on to yesterdays' samples and there's some more of my babbling in the Soundcloud description

Questions for you guys: Does a filter FM input modulate the cutoff or is it modulating the input/output of the filter? I would think the former but it sure doesn't sound that way to me.

Marky Soy Ya 2



Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3030491 02/25/20 07:08 PM
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From one of the programmers at Arturia:

“This filter is exactly the mini V filter

there is no volume difference when the resonance is at 0

the Ladder filter is (in)famous for losing energy when cranking up the resonance

the Drive has a significant effect when the resonance is at 0, and less when it's higher, because the Drive is inside the filter circuitry.

it also dampens the Resonance because the signal is overdriven before the resonance feedback circuit, so it results in "less" resonance”

So there you have it.

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Anti-Markyboard #3030505 02/25/20 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard

I re-read your description again and talk about eating crow... I was phase modulatnig one of the oscillators (wavetable single sample).


All these audio rate modulations are like cousins at the family reunion to me. You are going to get similar genetics and there are differences for AM, RM, bi-direction cross mod, filter FM etc. Each has their typical sideband profile. Still, so much depends on the signals being fed into the circuit that you can achieve similar effects a number of different ways. If it sounds good it is good, and you made it sound good. thu

I'm not at a place I can listen to the latest audio file, but looking forward to tonight.

Originally Posted by Markyboard

Questions for you guys: Does a filter FM input modulate the cutoff or is it modulating the input/output of the filter? I would think the former but it sure doesn't sound that way to me.


I'm with you. It's the former. To me, modulating the filter cutoff has more potential for higher pitched sidebands to create bubbles, pseudo vocal effects, snarls. Modulating the input/output to a filter would be a type of amplitude modulation, emphasizing lower pitched sidebands (for a given signal pair). Depends on the context I think. idk

I like to do something like this to test a filter ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMywGcOub7E

Last edited by Tusker; 02/25/20 08:36 PM. Reason: added a video
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Jim Alfredson #3030508 02/25/20 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim Alfredson
From one of the programmers at Arturia:

“This filter is exactly the mini V filter
Never tried the mini V but I have no reason to doubt it.

there is no volume difference when the resonance is at 0

What, when cranking the Drive up? There's a huge difference - much lower volume/energy and attenuated highs approaching the max drive knob setting. They could have reversed the knob direction and I would have thought it to be more normal - seriously.

the Ladder filter is (in)famous for losing energy when cranking up the resonance
Of course - no dispute here.

the Drive has a significant effect when the resonance is at 0, and less when it's higher, because the Drive is inside the filter circuitry.

it also dampens the Resonance because the signal is overdriven before the resonance feedback circuit, so it results in "less" resonance”


Maybe it goes back to my comment about labels. Obviously the real mini doesn't have a drive knob but perhaps they should have labeled this one UNDERDRIVE.



So there you have it.



That's it, I'm revoking their driver's license! mad fume grrr

Btw thanks for checking Jim. And in case people don't know of my sarcastic cynical nature I'm not really mad in the slightest(*). This is part of the fun in checking out these products.

* Just deeply disturbed freak


Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3030556 02/26/20 02:57 AM
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Late to the game, I just got it installed today (flawless on my 16" MBP/Catalina). Showed up in DP10 as expected without a hitch. Only had time to make sure it was working and whip through a few presets, but gut impression was that I was impressed by the sound quality. That said, it may be a good while before I can have any more to say. Those that know me, know that I'm earlobes deep into The AFM Pension cuts issue, and without slipping into politics, I'll just say that I get up every day with 29 hours worth of stuff to do. When I get a breath catching moment, I'll throw my 2cents in. laugh


"What's the point of living longer if you have to give up everything that makes life worth living to do so?"
Einstein (supposedly)

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Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Anti-Markyboard #3030585 02/26/20 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard


Bravo Mark. Thanks for providing the insight of put the two next to each other (wavetable modulation versus wavetable + filter). thu

It seems to me that the modulation routing to the filter is lower resolution than the routing to the wavetable in Massive X. Does that sound like an accurate observation (pre-soundcloud) to you? It would make sense that Native Instruments focused first on bullet-proofing the wavetables, since wavetables are so DSP efficient.

Analog filters relish being tortured while digital filters don't. roll

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Tusker #3030596 02/26/20 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Tusker
Originally Posted by Markyboard


It seems to me that the modulation routing to the filter is lower resolution than the routing to the wavetable in Massive X. Does that sound like an accurate observation (pre-soundcloud) to you? It would make sense that Native Instruments focused first on bullet-proofing the wavetables, since wavetables are so DSP efficient.

Analog filters relish being tortured while digital filters don't. roll


Good observation Jerry. But I think it's more because the oscillator modulating the filter is at half the frequency of that doing the phase mod. There's also some digital break up that could have to do with competing envelopes. That's one of the advantages of these soft synths; At least in Pigments and Massive X (Moog One also as I understand it) you can tweak the envelope shapes and such for days on end cool.

At one point I believe the selected filter FM was changing the tone frequency but I'm not hearing that this morning. This is why I asked about the Filter FM but it's very likely I had something else configured wrong. I can now fine tune that burble frequency/spacing. But I think I've beaten this one to death and then some.

And you're right on cue ...time to go torture some analog and perhaps even play some music while I'm at it. keys2

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
[And you're right on cue ...time to go torture some analog and perhaps even play some music while I'm at it. keys2


Music is what drew us to these instruments in the first place brother Mark. clap

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3030602 02/26/20 03:51 PM
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It’s just a fad, they say. People are reconstructing the iconic THX Deep Note sound on all manner of synths. Pretty ridiculous. And since we are testing Pigments … you knew I couldn’t resist. grin

But can a six oscillator synth sound like James Moorer’s 30 oscillator masterpiece? Not at all. It’s just a way of getting to know a synth, using just the one instance and nothing else.

So here is a Pigments version (a relatively quick sketch) and the patch (hold down the D below middle C for about 30 seconds). Do you like the sound quality of this synth? Please feel free to take this patch and play with it or improve it.

How to make the patch? Essentially it’s a giant D major chord, preceded by a lot of random movement. All of Pigments’ Modulators (Envelopes, LFOs, Functions, Randoms and Combinates) … were put to work. Super easy. Function 1 served as the “traffic cop” for all other modulators … allowing them about 12 seconds of random movement then gradually reducing their influence during the 6 second slide toward that D major chord.

I learned that:

- I really like Pigments as a sonic sketchpad. It’s fast.
- the control key is very helpful to fine tune parameters. (does anyone know if there is a way to type in parameters?)
- A minor quibble is that you can probably hear a slightly plastic quality when oscillator pitches change rapidly. You won't hear that if you are using analog control voltage, but it would likely take several analog synths to pull this off. I guess it's a reminder to all digital luthiers that it's worth using a higher resolution or a smoothing/lag algorithm when dealing with pitch. I haven't had a chance to investigate the "lag" function in the Combinate modulator. It could be there is a solution to this question there.
- Pigments sounds very clean and beautiful but if I was allowed to I would prefer to use third party EFX from a daw. I wish the EFX had more real world parameter values (like herz, dB, etc) to help the programmer.
- I do think that if someone really wanted to nail the THX sound, using multiple instances of Pigments, it would not be a challenge for this synth. There is a lot of power under the hood.
- the modulators are cool!

Comments?

Last edited by Tusker; 02/26/20 11:55 PM. Reason: added more things I learned
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3030780 02/27/20 11:30 PM
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I made some Tomita-esque strings today in about five minutes. Just one analog engine with the unison voices turned up to 8 (so 24 oscillators) and some gentle comb filtering to emulate a resonator bank. It sounds really good! I agree with Tusker that as a sonic sketchpad, Pigments is extremely intuitive and fast.

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Jim Alfredson #3030855 02/28/20 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim Alfredson
Just one analog engine with the unison voices turned up to 8 (so 24 oscillators) and some gentle comb filtering to emulate a resonator bank. It sounds really good!


Sweet! That comb filter is something else isn't it. thu

I just wanted to clarify a question for us Jim, since readers might wonder in what sense Pigments could be a six oscillator synth, when you accurately describe it as being able to generate 24 detuned oscillators in just one of it's two analog engines? How could it be both a six oscillator synth and a 24 oscillator synth? The question might arise ...

Originally Posted by Tusker
But can a six oscillator synth sound like James Moorer’s 30 oscillator masterpiece?

So here's the answer: Both are correct. It depends on the musical purpose of the oscillators.

If you are playing polysynth chords, you could use unison mode to detune all six oscillators obtaining the chorusing effect of up to 48 oscillators (3 oscillators X 2 engines X 8 voice unison). So if you are playing Jump or Don't Give Up, it's up to 48 oscillators as Jim says! Huge! But if you want each oscillator to buzz around independently as they do in Deep Note, unison mode introduces symmetrical pitch distances between oscillators. So you get six pitch centers plus a bit of extra wiggle by modulating the unison voice spread. This can make certain moments in Deep Note sound more like six note chords rather than 30 random oscillators. As I mentioned, you could utilize multiple instances of Pigments and mimic the 30 oscillator score precisely. Still, even restricting yourself to one instance, most would agree that Pigments can generate an impressive emulation. It's a powerful synth.

Phew, I hate to drag everyone into the weeds, but hopefully that provides a bit of insight and an answer to the question.

[Linked Image from thx.com]



Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Tusker #3030874 02/28/20 04:05 PM
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You guys ...what a bunch of geeks hider

(edit:) in case this is needed...
roll

Last edited by Markyboard; 02/28/20 07:28 PM.
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3031324 03/03/20 12:55 AM
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Just FYI - Luftrum have announced a soundbank for Pigments 2:

https://www.luftrum.com/luftrum23/

I think I shall be partaking.

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
David Holloway #3031336 03/03/20 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted by David Holloway

I think I shall be partaking.


Please let us know what you think if you decide to purchase.


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
davedoerfler #3031378 03/03/20 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by davedoerfler
Originally Posted by David Holloway

I think I shall be partaking.


Please let us know what you think if you decide to purchase.


Absolutely thu

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3031691 03/05/20 12:01 AM
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He's fantastic (Luftrum). I wonder if Electric Himalaya will do one? He was one of my favorite sound designers from Alchemy.

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Jim Alfredson #3031697 03/05/20 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim Alfredson
He's fantastic (Luftrum).


I wasn't familiar with him so I checked out his site. Seems like a very cool dude, raises lots of money for charity, has a family, not much ego.


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
davedoerfler #3032108 03/07/20 11:57 AM
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Looks like version 2.01 was just released. I can't copy/paste from the release notes but you can see them in the Arturia Software Center tool.

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Anti-Markyboard #3032109 03/07/20 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
Looks like version 2.01 was just released. I can't copy/paste from the release notes but you can see them in the Arturia Software Center tool.


Thank you for this brother. thu

Release notes (from website)

V 2.0.1

New Features

Pigments 2.0 presets are now NKS compatible
No more time limit on user samples
Add non-voice-stealing poly mode
Sample engine crossfade has been improved
MPE support has been improved
Micro tuning support has been improved
Minor GUI improvements

Bugs

Sample loop points are now correctly saved
No more crashes with Ableton Live during preset scan
Parameter smoothing has been improved
Samples too quiet are no longer normalized
Poly aftertouch is working again
Minor bugixes for the function in loop mode
Free run sources are now reset by the sequencer on each start

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3032232 03/08/20 05:18 PM
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After coming up with a hardware solution for the KC Brainstorming Modulations Thread I was curious to see how I would approach this in software.

I stated previously that the Pigments "Functions" are really cool. I would now say that used with the "Combinators" they are the answer to just about any type of modulation you could ever dream of. However, one thing I could not figure out is what setting the "gate source" to another function does; eg. function 1 gate source set to function 2. Seems there should be a threshold control associated with this but I'm probably not understanding something.


Anyway if you happen to be affected by switching to Daylight Savings Time this weekend rest assured, it has nothing on Pigments as far as lost time goes.

gofish

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3032277 03/09/20 12:17 AM
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Well said Markyboard wink

My mini-review on the Luftrum sound set for Pigments is that:

(a) as always Luftrum do a beautiful job and this set is no exception

(b) there's enough 'new' stuff in there compared to the default Pigments 2 patches to make the price of the Luftrum sound set worth it. I'm not talking radically better or different but interesting enough to make me want to delve a lot deeper.

thu

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
David Holloway #3032285 03/09/20 01:09 AM
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Thanks David. I like the way we each focus on our area of interest to give this product a thorough shakedown. If anything this tells me Pigments will keep just about anyone happily busy for a very long time.

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Jim Alfredson #3033380 03/14/20 10:50 PM
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Quote
From one of the programmers at Arturia:

“This filter is exactly the mini V filter


That explains a lot. Back in 2005 I played with the Mini-V at NAMM and as an owner of an RA Moog Minimoog I was unimpressed by their Minimoog filter.

When I was playing with Pigments I thought that lame anemic sounding "mini" filter sounded familiar... the same one in the unimpressive Mini-V.

Quote
there is no volume difference when the resonance is at 0


Which defeats the elusive "minimoog bass sound" because on a real Minimoog if you increase the resonance and spike the filter with the EG, the resonance actually decreases at the low extreme of cutoff frequency due to imperfections in the circuit. So as resonance falls off, the bass patch increases in volume. That's a big reason for the beef of the Minimoog bass, which Arturia defeated.

Quote
the Ladder filter is (in)famous for losing energy when cranking up the resonance


Infamy can be useful. Yes it loses energy with increased resonance. But in the digital domain where clipping is nasty, such "infamy" can keep the gain staging under control.

After dealing with health issues I'm finally getting around to exploring Pigments, and not all negative... more later.

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3033431 03/15/20 06:55 AM
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Late start on the team review...

I haven't yet learned my way around Logic Pro to use Pigments as a plugin so I'm playing with Pigments as a standalone app with CME USB controller. Loaded on MacBook Pro (8GB RAM) and on MacPro (mid-2012 twelve cores with 96GB of RAM), both running OSX High Sierra.

I come from the prog/classic rock world with an extensive sound design background dating back to the 1970s. I initially browsed Pigments using the presets, then dove into creating my own sounds. I started with new preset with bare patch no FX, just the way I like it. FX are often the last modifier I apply, I prefer to achieve most of the sound design with the patch dry.

To test the intuitive design of the interface, I did my sound design while referring to the user manual as little as possible. Some actions required a referral to the manual but for the most part the interface is very intuitive. thu

I'm pretty much an outboard guy. I own Andromeda which is king of modulations in analog polysynths. Also own vintage analog monosynths & polysynths like Moog and Oberheim as well as plenty of vintage pro audio outboard FX. Pretty tough crowd here. bang

Pigments has a VERY extensive feature set, so today I focused on emulating my favorite analog sounds which I have no learning curve. As today was "learn my way around Pigments interface" day, I will explore other features later. coffee

Don’t rely on Pigment's CPU meter, check the Activity Monitor app (OSX) or Task Manager (Windows) for the true load on the CPU. It was easy to approach 50% on my MBP with just one engine, and OSX struggled to run other apps like Safari while Pigments was open. MacPro did not suffer from this, it multithreaded merrily. keynana

Be careful with laptops. According to what Activity Monitor reports, Pigments puts a heavy demand on the battery and it prevents sleep mode (for very obvious reasons). Always have the charger plugged in.

So let's start with the "acid test" of my sound design toolbox... choir patches test the modulations and quality of the filter resonance. If the filter(s) can get a decent choir sound, then they can pretty much do anything. It took some playing around to get good results; not great but the filters show promise. The least impressive was the anemic cold "mini" filter, and I own a vintage RA Moog Minimoog that is a tough customer. A choir patch will test the modulation because the modulation depth has to be real fine. I've played digital synths where the mod depth was too coarse and was unable to get a decent choir sound. Pigments does have fine enough resolution to meet this test.

When adjusting a control, I like the popup that tells me the value of the control. Nice for modulation depths.

THANK YOU for using REAL WORLD VALUES on the controls not just abstract values. like

This is the first Mac application I used that doesn’t use cmd-S for a save operation. I intuitively reach for this but Pigments uses a different hot key (uh, is there one?). It dawned on me later that this may had been a deliberate decision because it is a plugin where cmd-S is reserved for the host DAW. Pigments does use cmd-Z for undo (Thank you!) but how about a hot key to revert to the selected patch after multiple edits (without pressing cmd-Z multiple times) so I don't have to move my mouse to the menu.

I like the level meter by the Master Volume, easy to glance if clipping internally. Handy for balancing the volume on my user library patches.

Envelopes: better name for “ADR” is “unconditional contour”. That initially confused me at first, and was one of the few referrals to the manual rtfm

One thing I REALLY don't like: VCA envelope resets to zero with repetitive strike on same key. VERY annoying with release tails like pads, calliope, celeste, tine pianos, choirs. Still searching the user manual how to correct that. taz

Analog Oscillators; With pulse waveshape, width control will not set <50%. There’s a world of sound design here that I can’t get to. Boooo. When I want to design patches that use PWM between <50% and >50%, LFO will not modulate pulse width <50%. Boooo.

For patches where I need filters with resonant color, “Multimode” work better than “SEM” (!). I own Oberheim polysynths (FVS, OBX, OBSX) and the Pigments SEM simulations have weak resonant color. “Multimode” or “Matrix 12” sounds closer to legacy Oberheims. Still need to play around more to find a filter that can approach my Memorymoog patches.

Formant filters are quite good! If only I could get an oscillator pulse width <50%…

LFOs: phase sync available? I have sound design tricks using two LFOs where frequency of both are controlled from master LFO, while the slave LFO is phase sync’d to get phase offset of 90deg, 120deg, 180deg, etc. When applied to oscillator pitches this gets a chorus effect that you can't get from a standard modulated delay.

How about LFO frequency tracking the keyboard… YES! Little known but excellent sound design trick from my toolbox.

Matrix 12 filter in 12dB lowpass… judas is that good for Oberheim brass sounds. Bump the pitch of one of the oscillators with the filter EG… FAT rawk EG curves really help here. Matrix 12 LP 12dB sounds more authentic than the SEM LP!!! SEM BP works good for OB brass too. Some patch variation and add chorus FX: instant Rush “Subdivisions”. Not an easy timbre to get outside a real Oberheim, much less a software synth… *applause* clap clap clap

I only wish the EGs had an extra D/S stage, but this is already powerful software.

Had to try "Tom Sawyer". First off, it's a unison multivoice sound. Pigments is halfway there, a big step towards authenticity is emulating the "imperfections" of the OBX that was the source of that sound. See, the OBX filters don't track very well between voicecards, and the EG timings aren't exactly the same either. But imperfections can be a good thing, as the imperfect tracking and EG timing resulted in high resonant filters sweeping out of sync, which gave "Tom Sawyer" that grinding timbre that sounds like a tablesaw cutting wood. To emulate these "imperfections", I searched Pigments for "voice number" modulator that could be use to offset filter cutoff or modulated the decay transient of the filter EG... no luck.

So far I like it. The more I use it, the more I like the interface especially with a trackpad as the only controller. This is the first synth plugin I've had major flight time with. I've sampled too many that came up short but Arturia had been listening to customer input and coming up with softsynths that are getting closer to the real thing (but that "mini" filter has to go...).

More to explore, more to come.


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Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
The Real MC #3033462 03/15/20 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Late start on the team review...

More to explore, more to come.



... and we are off again!

Awesome review! clap

It will be fun to kick around examples of when the extensive modulators can give us workarounds for any shortcomings in the synth engines (asymmetric PWM is a possible example) and when they cannot. thu

Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Tusker #3033474 03/15/20 03:43 PM
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Michael, fantastic input and review. 2thu cheers


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Tusker #3033476 03/15/20 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Tusker
Originally Posted by The Real MC
Late start on the team review...

More to explore, more to come.



... and we are off again!

Awesome review! clap

It will be fun to kick around examples of when the extensive modulators can give us workarounds for any shortcomings in the synth engines (asymmetric PWM is a possible example) and when they cannot. thu


I'm pushing towards that boundary. While building choir patches I threw in quite a few subtle modulations. Used all three LFOs at different rates for pitch modulation, PWM. At low mod depths. Even tried a trick for a string patch where two LFOs (borrowing from the ARP String Ensemble: one at 1hz, the other at 6hz) are jointly modulating one oscillator. Route key note to decay rate for the Oberheim brass. I couldn't hear any glitching, but at the same time I'm not in a DAW and not using other processor heavy tools like FX yet. But the fact it could seamlessly pull off all those modulations... nice.

When I was on the Andromeda sound design/beta test team, I designed a decent piano sound - FOR AN ANALOG SYNTH. That used a LOT of modulation such that it reached the limits of the CPU, as it was the only patch that sometimes crashed the Andromeda. That's a future trial for Pigments.

Other reviewers lament at the lack of analog warmth. I was finding that too, until I hit on the Matrix 12 filter while testing for Oberheim brass. Now THAT'S analog warmth.

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Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
The Real MC #3033483 03/15/20 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by davedoerfler
Michael, fantastic input and review. 2thu cheers



+1!



Originally Posted by The Real MC


How about LFO frequency tracking the keyboard… YES! Little known but excellent sound design trick from my toolbox.


No doubt some people don't know about it but on some synths it happens automatically when you assign an LFO to modulate the pitch or the external filter cutoff input.

Glad this thread is still alive. Still never heard about the strange oscillator pulse waveform that appears to have something else riding on top of it. Also the response that the low pass filter is "exactly the same" as the Mini V filter; the Mini V Filter doesn't have a drive control best I can tell from the manual so there's that rolleyes.


Re: TEAM TEST: Arturia Pigments 2
Dave Bryce #3033497 03/15/20 07:12 PM
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Forgive the name dropping...but last week I did a few things for Sheena Easton to use in her live show. They now have Pigments 2 in da house. I used it for pads, brass type stuff (although it was layered with Omnisphere for this one), and some arp/seq type sounds. All were pretty much factory presets that I tweaked to fit what I wanted. Wonderful VI to have in the toolbox. With a lot of synths the technical stuff gets away from me and I'm just a knob turner/tweaker find it as quick as I can and track kind of guy. Point is... it was a valuable part of the project.

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