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In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
#3039511 04/19/20 01:40 AM
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Hey y'all!

I have had an ASM Hydrasynth in the studio for a while, and I'm happy to tell you guys about it here in the GearLab. This synth is a keyboard player's dream; while I like bleepy bloopy stuff and DJ gear and weird controllers as much as the next mad scientist, and while there is a desktop version of the Hydrasynth with pressure pads etc., the keyboard version I have here is just devastatingly fun.

I will post some videos and hopefully be here to answer questions of all kinds, so hit me up!

In Part 1, I am drawing the inevitable comparison between the Hydrasynth and the Yamaha CS-80, because for the first week of playing it, that was literally ALL I could think about, and I have to get it out of my system early. I realize that I am diving in at the deep end for one particular aspect of the synth, but when you hear it, I think you can forgive me for an initial "OMG" moment caught on video. It's just SO much fun to play...!

For now, here are my first impressions (go easy on me, I am VERY new to this whole video thing)...



Looking forward to seeing where this goes!

Next time: a tour of the front panel and a general introduction to the synth's layout.

mike


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039545 04/19/20 04:41 AM
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Damn, that thing sounds good. Really full and warm...this instrument is on my short list, so I'm psyched to watch you dig in.
Show us what she's got, brotha! keys2

BTW - totally digging Thing as a guest host. grin

[Linked Image from 66.media.tumblr.com]

dB

Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dave Bryce #3039550 04/19/20 06:10 AM
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How's the keybed feel, especially the polyphonic aftertouch? drool


-Tom Williams
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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dave Bryce #3039555 04/19/20 07:36 AM
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I want a 16-voice version with a 5 octave keyboard, like Novation did with the Summit.

Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dave Bryce #3039560 04/19/20 11:27 AM
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Very nice intro Dr Mike. Looking forward to the next installment.

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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039596 04/19/20 04:32 PM
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Impressive synth and good demonstration. Thanks Mike.

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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039603 04/19/20 05:54 PM
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Good stuff, Dr. Mike. I like this keyboard. Somebody needs to give me one!!!! :- D

The sound is nice, a pair of decent headphones plugged into my older laptop sounded great. The background noise is minor and nothing to worry about.

As far as improving your video (sorry, I'm a photographer!), there are some minor aspects of the lighting that could be improved. I saw your note regarding camera angle, I think it is a good angle for showing the keyboard. Maybe another camera on the other side? That tasks you with video editing so maybe not. Simple is good. I don't mind the angle at all, it's more about the lighting.

The bright window in the upper left of center is causing lens flare, that "foggy" look.

I see the reflection of another light (overhead?) on the knobs. Covering the window when recording video might be all you need to do to improve the image quality.
If the light coming from the window is also improving exposure then a different camera position could eliminate the flare as well. Those are both easy fixes and probably free. Free is good.

If you want to take it a step farther, bouncing light off of white surfaces that are not in the direct image will provide soft, friendly light. White foam core is good, it's stiff, lightweight and affordable. A local sign shop or print shop may sell you a couple of sheets, take a knife to cut it down if you can't deal with an 8'x4 sheet. One sheet on the ceiling above the keyboard with lights bouncing off of it would work wonders for brightening the scene if that's something you would like to do. Hanging or standing a couple of pieces behind you and bouncing light off of them will fill in the area nicely as well.

You can just hang white sheets if that's easier, it will take more light since some will bleed through the fabric instead of reflecting.
It doesn't take much $$ to improve things, experiementing with reflected light can often be done with stuff you already have.
Hope any of this is helpful, Cheers, Kuru.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039656 04/20/20 02:58 AM
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Wow, lots of questions above and lots of answers below! But first:

I'll be doing more writing and less videoing for a little bit, as I break down the basics of the Hydrasynth. Just to whet your appetitues, though, here's a quick tour of the beast!



Now then, questions to be answered...!


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dave Bryce #3039660 04/20/20 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
Damn, that thing sounds good. Really full and warm...this instrument is on my short list, so I'm psyched to watch you dig in.
Show us what she's got, brotha! keys2

BTW - totally digging Thing as a guest host. grin

[Linked Image from 66.media.tumblr.com]

dB
I have been getting compliments on Thing, yes. Hey, one camera and a natural tendency toward gesticulation. Sue me. grin

You have a historical connection to this synth, Bro Dave... the head of the design team was one of the guys who worked on the Alesis Andromeda back in the day.


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039662 04/20/20 03:09 AM
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New camera angle looks good!

I like the layout, it makes sense to me.
I can tell this thing can get way crazy!


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Tom Williams #3039663 04/20/20 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom Williams
How's the keybed feel, especially the polyphonic aftertouch? drool
Phenomenally good.

Slightly stiff but not semi-weighted keybed, great for fast playing and with good dynamic range from nuanced playing with varied velocity. Bit of a bummer that release velocity is not transmitted, but it IS received as part of the still-developing MPE support for the Hydra. (If I get a chance, I will try to post about its new MPE capabilities later on. I don't have it for much longer, alas...)

The poly aftertouch is SWEET, way better than anything I've played since the Prophet-T8 back at the dawn of time. I was spoiled by the T8, and was not really a fan of other designs... neither the Ensoniq keybed (too clacky and mushy), nor the Kurzweil (always felt like the keys weren't connected to anything), nor the Infinite Response (very little tactile give to speak of). My good friend Dean Swan swears by the ancient Roland A-80's poly aftertouch, but I don't have enough hands-on experience to make a comparison; alas, the same is true for comparing the Hydra to the original CS-80. But it feels grand, just enough give without being spongy. In a way I am glad it didn't come out a year earlier; it would have made me so happy that I would have never gotten into MPE at all!


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Marzzz #3039666 04/20/20 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Marzzz
I want a 16-voice version with a 5 octave keyboard, like Novation did with the Summit.
A lot of people have said that, and who knows, it may happen. But I think the 4-octave format is a very good compromise as a starter unit, with the possibility of expansion to larger form factors (or compression to smaller ones) in the future.

As for the polyphony, your mileage will vary but personally I think that more than 8 voices in a monotimbral synth like this one is more than enough -- it hits really hard and could bury a mix pretty easily if not played with discretion. Yes, Sequential built a 10-voice version of the Prophet-5, and Oberheim shoved two Xpanders into one box with the Matrix-12... but as an original P5rev1 player and a 34-year owner of an Xpander, I couldn't see the need. Besides, both those examples were kludges that caused as many problems as they solved, to say nothing of the cost.

Someday, yeah, maybe they'll make a multitimbral version with 128 voices split into eight 16-voice engines or something, but I would be hard pressed to see why. This synth isn't a bed of mixed greens or a basic polenta, it's a sweet pepper harissa sauce with extra garlic and chopped arbol peppers; you don't want to drink it by the gallon, that's not the point.


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
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clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
KuruPrionz #3039669 04/20/20 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Good stuff, Dr. Mike. I like this keyboard. Somebody needs to give me one!!!! :- D

The sound is nice, a pair of decent headphones plugged into my older laptop sounded great. The background noise is minor and nothing to worry about.

As far as improving your video (sorry, I'm a photographer!), there are some minor aspects of the lighting that could be improved. I saw your note regarding camera angle, I think it is a good angle for showing the keyboard. Maybe another camera on the other side? That tasks you with video editing so maybe not. Simple is good. I don't mind the angle at all, it's more about the lighting.

The bright window in the upper left of center is causing lens flare, that "foggy" look.

I see the reflection of another light (overhead?) on the knobs. Covering the window when recording video might be all you need to do to improve the image quality.
If the light coming from the window is also improving exposure then a different camera position could eliminate the flare as well. Those are both easy fixes and probably free. Free is good.

If you want to take it a step farther, bouncing light off of white surfaces that are not in the direct image will provide soft, friendly light. White foam core is good, it's stiff, lightweight and affordable. A local sign shop or print shop may sell you a couple of sheets, take a knife to cut it down if you can't deal with an 8'x4 sheet. One sheet on the ceiling above the keyboard with lights bouncing off of it would work wonders for brightening the scene if that's something you would like to do. Hanging or standing a couple of pieces behind you and bouncing light off of them will fill in the area nicely as well.

You can just hang white sheets if that's easier, it will take more light since some will bleed through the fabric instead of reflecting.
It doesn't take much $$ to improve things, experiementing with reflected light can often be done with stuff you already have.
Hope any of this is helpful, Cheers, Kuru.
Thanks, Kuru. I am indeed very new at this (You're gonna hate the bloom on the second video. Sorry in advance.) but your advice is much appreciated. This is literally the first video I've ever shot in this room, which is camera-unfriendly to say the least, and it took a fair bit of arm-twisting from Bryce to even get me to do THIS much. It had to be fast and out the door or I'd second-guess myself and never do ANYTHING.

Over time, I am hoping to improve things, but it will take time and I thank you all for your patience in the meantime. Actually, I am not sure how many actual VIDEOS I will shoot for this keyboard going forward; I may focus instead on audio examples with appropriate writeups in this thread. Or maybe I will shoot video as I do the audio examples... it depends on how much I let your criticisms paralyze me with indecision and self-doubt. grin


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) grin
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clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job
Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039672 04/20/20 03:44 AM
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[quote=Dr Mike Metlay
Over time, I am hoping to improve things, but it will take time and I thank you all for your patience in the meantime. Actually, I am not sure how many actual VIDEOS I will shoot for this keyboard going forward; I may focus instead on audio examples with appropriate writeups in this thread. Or maybe I will shoot video as I do the audio examples... it depends on how much I let your criticisms paralyze me with indecision and self-doubt. grin[/quote]

Please shoot video too, it makes more sense for a review to show HOW the sound came to be - that's my vote.

I saw the bloom, a minor adjustment of the camera angle should make it go away. No biggie.
Or move the keyboard a little forward or backwards.

Light is very logical - "Angle of Incidence equals Angle of Reflection". Bouncing light creates a huge number of Angles of Incidence and softens bloom into insignificance.
Shifting the angle can make it go away too, probably the easier move at thiis point.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039679 04/20/20 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
I have had an ASM Hydrasynth in the studio for a while, and I'm happy to tell you guys about it here in the GearLab.

I remember you telling me at NAMM, 3 months ago, that this was the synth that grabbed you the most of any of the new offerings shown there. Happy for you and us that this review could be pulled off. 2thu


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.
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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039684 04/20/20 05:41 AM
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Thanks for posting these. I'd encourage you to keep going. A lot of instrument videos are rambling, and repetitive. You are keeping them organized and to the point. I'm looking forward to hearing your take on accessing the expression and how easy/hard it is to get it, and how easy/hard the programming is to take full advantage of it.

Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039686 04/20/20 06:26 AM
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Okay, now some details on the architecture of the beast, starting with the oscillators and Mutants.

Here's a snippet of graphics stolen without regard for common decency from the quivering innards of the Hydrasynth's User Manual:

[img]https://www.dropbox.com/s/w9jndxvitnf1rme/module%20path.png?dl=0[/img]

(Click on the link to open the image, I am not sure how to get it to display by itself)

As noted in my video, this is a pretty straightforward analog-style layout, with some nice twists. Three Oscillators plus a ring modulator and noise source into a Mixer, and two of the Oscillators run through chains of two signal processing modules called Mutants. From the Mixer, audio goes through two Filters that can be arranged in a few handy ways, then the Amplitude control module (note that two of the Envelopes and two of the LFOs default to filter and loudness control) and then through the signal processing chain: Pre-FX to Delay to Reverb to Post-FX.

Oscillators

The first two oscillators can be basic waveforms ("Single") or simple wavetables ("WaveScan"); the third one only does Single mode and is mainly used for sub-oscillator voicings and other thickening agents (or for use in FM etc.).

Single waves start with the usual suspects -- sine, triangle, TriSaw (a sort of skewed triangle with a bit more bite), saw, and square. Then things get weird in a tearing hurry. There are over 200 more Single waves available, of all kinds, varying in complexity and timbre, from various pulse widths to familiar waveforms you'd get with basic 2/4/6-op FM, all kinds of sets of waves with slight variations in harmonic content, and even a set of 23 sine waves representing the first 23 harmonics of whatever the played note is. Even if all you want to do is mix three straight-up oscillators and detune them a bit, you'd have way more timbral options than most subtractive-style synths offer.

WaveScan creates a wavetable of up to eight steps, containing any eight Single waves. You can modulate between the stages or set up fixed waveforms that are in between two existing waves. Is it a replacement for a PPG? Not really, but once I got into working with these little tables, I discovered that I could accomplish all sorts of really cool things without feeling like I'd gotten lost or didn't really have a good handle on what was happening.

This process is helped along by some nifty shortcuts like being able to solo a wave in a particular slot, or hold down the Shift key, select Wave 1, and have the seven WaveScan slots after it be filled with the next seven waves in the list. The list of waves is organized so that natural groupings of waves are ordered for quick and sensible setups; often these are given the same name and sequential numbers (e.g. Horizon1, Horizon2, etc.) to speed the process.

This is a common through line on the Hydrasynth; while it's timbrally rich and deep, it's designed to not be hard to work with. I regard this as a good thing, and I know not everyone does, whether they admit it or not. [See footnotes 1 and 2]

Note that there is no direct modulation built in at the oscillator level, it's all done via the Mod Matrix. So, for example, if you want to honor Nick Batt and set up Pulse Width Modulation, you'd do that by creating a WaveScan table of eight different-width pulse waves and assigning an LFO or whatever to sweep through them, letting the interpolation smooth everything out for you. (Actually on the Hydra you wouldn't do PWM like this at all -- you'd use a Mutant -- but it's still a good illustrative example.)

I regard this as a good thing as well; with only a very few premade modulation routings (like bender to pitch and sustain pedal to amplitude envelope control), all the modulations are collected in one place and you don't have to worry about hidden ones in various pages biting you in the arse when you're trying to figure out why your patch is still warbling even when you've turned everything the eff OFF.

Mutants

So what's a Mutant? It's a signal processing module that an Oscillator runs through before hitting the Mixer. Mutants 1 and 2 are assigned to Osc 1, and Mutants 3 and 4 are assigned to Osc 2. All Mutants are identical in capabilities, so anything can be put anywhere desired. [footnote 3] Mutants are responsible for some of the more complex waveform modifications that you could do with the Mod Matrix but would find a pain (e.g. our PWM example, Nick Batt breathing a sigh of relief). In addition, there are things Mutants can do that are unique to the Hydrasynth or nearly so.

Every Mutant except WavStack has adjustable feedback and dry/wet mix between the input Oscillator and the Mutant output, which greatly increases their flexibility. In some cases (FM-Lin) the use of feedback is obvious, while in others (OSC Sync) it leads to cool new effects.

FM-Lin: yep, linear FM, your basic 2-op setup with a carrier (the incoming Oscillator waveform) and a modulator, with ratio and depth settings. The modulator can be any of the Oscillators, Mutants, Ring Modulator, Noise source, either of the two Mod inputs (which can accept audio as well as CVs), or, you know, a sine or triangle wave, if you INSIST. (Feh.) People who wish there were more than two operators could build certain 4-op, 6-op, or theoretically even 8-op algorithms by creating more than one FM-Lin Mutant and feeding them into one another. One of these days, I'll sit down with a notebook and sketch these out for my own edification. Or not.

WavStack: God bless. The JP-8000 rears its ugly slate-blue head yet again! One wave becomes six phase-shifted copies, a wall of detuned glop ravaging all in its path like a tsunami of harmonics. Some people love this. I regard it as a guilty pleasure not to be partaken of too much, like drinking alone or eating an entire box of Oreos (even with skim milk).

OSC Sync: Forces the waveform of the input Oscillator to align with that of any other Oscillator (including itself). This one's especially cool because it adds a Ratio control, which says "the oscillators will sync X amount of times per wave cycle", where for conventional sync, X = 1. Ratio can be set from one rest every four cycles (0.25) all the way up to 64, and the results can be pretty drastic.

PW-Orig: Pulse Width Modulation in its traditional form, but with the Ratio control added so that the cycle of the pulse modulation can be in fractions of, or multiples of, a single wave cycle. Since this can be applied to any waveform, the results can get pretty whacko in a hurry.

PW-Squeez: Another form of PWM, but instead of stretching and compressing the waveform, the waveform's start and end points get shifted back and forth in time. The manual describes this as slowing down and speeding up the waveform in a single cycle; I am not sure I hear that, but the results are bizarre and very interesting. Use with subtlety or watch your patch go sideways in a big hurry.

PW-ASM: Yet another form of PWM, but with an odd "wavetable" sort of twist. You can choose eight Warp points along the length of a single wave cycle and affect the waveform width inside those slices; think of a DAW's ability to speed up and slow down an audio track within particular regions for time alignment, and shrink that down to the stretching and shrinking of a waveform along a single cycle. The manual explains it as FM with a modulator waveform that you can draw yourself between eight points; I am still trying to wrap my head around the concept, and failing miserably so far. Sounds way cool, though.

Harmonic: This one emphasizes or de-emphasizes certain harmonic ranges of a waveform. It's not a filter; it's a digital effect that literally goes into the waveform and picks out ranges of the harmonic structure to emphasize or turn down, leaving the fundamental alone. It can create brighter and more detailed sounds, or smooth them out in interesting ways. The Feedback control causes phase cancellation that helps with the smoothing.

Ring Modulator and Noise Source

The last input to the Mixer is this module, which contains a ring modulator that can use any Oscillator, Mutant, or Mod Input as either of the two source tones, and a noise source with independent volume level. The Hydrasynth originally shipped with three possible noise types: white (all frequencies equal), pink (rolled off at 3 dB/octave), and brown (rolled off at 6 dB/octave). With the latest firmware, the Hydra now offers those noise types plus red, blue, violet, and grey (all different frequency distributions with their own unique timbres).

Mixer

All of these sources get fed into the Mixer module, where their relative levels and pan positions are set. Note that pressing the button by any given channel in the Mixer will solo it, which can be very handy if there's something in your sound that you need to isolate and tweak. This is also where you determine how much of each source gets fed into Filter 1 vs. Filter 2, and whether the two Filters are run in series or parallel configuration.

Phew! All that to just get to the middle of the flowchart. Next time, we'll go further, talking about the Filters, Amp, the various effects modules, and the Voice page settings, to take us to the end of the audio chain. I'm going to see if I can pull together some audio or video examples of the stuff I've talked about here, in a simple format to make them easy to hear. Until then, keep smiling! grin

mike




[1]

Footnotes in a forum thread...WTF, Doctor?

Look, people: I am well aware that I can wander off on tangents when I do these things. When I do, I tend to cover concepts that are often really important in and of themselves, but which aren't directly related to what I am trying to teach in my main thread. By dropping them to the bottom of the post, I get them the hell out of the way so you can get through the meaty stuff, and wander off for dessert later. OK?

[2]

Simplicity is not a sin

Many electronic musicians subscribe to the belief that, as Wendy Carlos used to say, any parameter that can be affected must be affected with intent by the composer, or the composer isn't really doing the composing... or as my dear friend Nick Rothwell once said when confronted by his first Roland rackmount ROMpler with over a thousand presets: "That's not synthesis... that's cable TV." They pride themselves on working with synthesizers that are so fabulously complex that it's nearly impossible to encompass all the nuances and possibilities inherent in the platform. In effect, they're saying, "Look at this incredibly complex thing! I have no idea what it does. Isn't that AWESOME?"

I have outgrown this. I see no reason to be proud of working with tools that are beyond my feeble and rapidly aging grasp when I have music to finish before I die.

Don't get me wrong! I still like sculpting and tweaking my own sounds, but I've had many years to focus and refine my sonic palette and approach to composing, and I tend to get to the sounds I want with a minimum of wandering down interesting side alleys on the way there. I did a lot of that when I was starting out, and had a lot of fun... but right now I can appreciate the landscape and the journey while still keeping an eye on where I'm going.

Brian Eno has an Oblique Strategy card that says, "Not building a wall but making a brick", implying that the creative process can be helped by pausing to focus tightly on the components one's using rather than the final structure. I hate that card and would take it out and burn it if it wouldn't ruin the resale value of my deck. Someday I will repost the Metlay Bricks Rant from an old electronic music mailing list that covers this. In the meantime, I digress.... badly.

[3]

Copying and pasting

Yes, it can be done, and is implemented very sensibly. If you've busted your tail getting a particular Oscillator or Mutant module to work exactly the way you want it to, and you'd like to use it again with only a few minor tweaks (or none at all), it's easy to copy it to other like slots. Oscillators 1 and 2 can be copied to one another, and any Mutant can be copied to any other Mutant; the same is true of the five Envelopes and the five LFOs. Copying and pasting doesn't work for anything else, because no other modules are precise copies of one another... aside from pre-FX and Post-FX, which are identical but not copyable. That's a bit of a bummer, because any guitar pedal freak can tell you that half the fun is figuring out whether the EQ sounds best before or after the reverb.

Last edited by Dr Mike Metlay; 04/20/20 06:35 AM.

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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Nathanael_I #3039687 04/20/20 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
Thanks for posting these. I'd encourage you to keep going. A lot of instrument videos are rambling, and repetitive. You are keeping them organized and to the point. I'm looking forward to hearing your take on accessing the expression and how easy/hard it is to get it, and how easy/hard the programming is to take full advantage of it.
Oh, I plan to keep going, but with the text of the thread able to hold all the techy details, I can keep videos focused on hands-on stuff.

What do you mean by "accessing the expression"? I am not sure I follow what you'd like me to dive into here. Do you mean modulations as a form of expression, or playing technique, or...?


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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
KuruPrionz #3039688 04/20/20 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Over time, I am hoping to improve things, but it will take time and I thank you all for your patience in the meantime. Actually, I am not sure how many actual VIDEOS I will shoot for this keyboard going forward; I may focus instead on audio examples with appropriate writeups in this thread. Or maybe I will shoot video as I do the audio examples... it depends on how much I let your criticisms paralyze me with indecision and self-doubt. grin

Please shoot video too, it makes more sense for a review to show HOW the sound came to be - that's my vote.

I saw the bloom, a minor adjustment of the camera angle should make it go away. No biggie.
Or move the keyboard a little forward or backwards.

Light is very logical - "Angle of Incidence equals Angle of Reflection". Bouncing light creates a huge number of Angles of Incidence and softens bloom into insignificance.
Shifting the angle can make it go away too, probably the easier move at point.

Kuru, I should send you an unedited and not-for-publication shot of the room in which I am doing these videos. I think you'd understand where I'm coming from, after you stopped laughing, crying, and throwing up. grin

Thanks,

mike


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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039689 04/20/20 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
Over time, I am hoping to improve things, but it will take time and I thank you all for your patience in the meantime. Actually, I am not sure how many actual VIDEOS I will shoot for this keyboard going forward; I may focus instead on audio examples with appropriate writeups in this thread. Or maybe I will shoot video as I do the audio examples... it depends on how much I let your criticisms paralyze me with indecision and self-doubt. grin

Please shoot video too, it makes more sense for a review to show HOW the sound came to be - that's my vote.

I saw the bloom, a minor adjustment of the camera angle should make it go away. No biggie.
Or move the keyboard a little forward or backwards.

Light is very logical - "Angle of Incidence equals Angle of Reflection". Bouncing light creates a huge number of Angles of Incidence and softens bloom into insignificance.
Shifting the angle can make it go away too, probably the easier move at point.

Kuru, I should send you an unedited and not-for-publication shot of the room in which I am doing these videos. I think you'd understand where I'm coming from, after you stopped laughing, crying, and throwing up. grin

Thanks,

mike

No, I get it. I haven't got a good place in my little condo to make a video similar to what you are doing. I don't have video lighting or the stealth mics that make it easier. Space makes it much easier, I don't have much space.
Some places have beutiful light during daylight hours, my back deck has nice light but the freeway is pretty noisy. Don't want bad sound either, video is much harder than photography.

I can shoot quality stills of guitars and smaller here, that's much simpler. Bouncing flash off white surfaces, that's what I do. The kitchen is white - "poof".

The principle does apply, it can take a while to find it. I try to show all defects, selling used stuff. Sometimes it's hard to show a scratch or a ding, Just takes some experimenting.

You'll get it.


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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039722 04/20/20 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
You have a historical connection to this synth, Bro Dave... the head of the design team was one of the guys who worked on the Alesis Andromeda back in the day.
Who's that? I thought Glen Darcey was the head of the HydraSynth design team... idk

dB

Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dave Bryce #3039747 04/20/20 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
You have a historical connection to this synth, Bro Dave... the head of the design team was one of the guys who worked on the Alesis Andromeda back in the day.
Who's that? I thought Glen Darcey was the head of the HydraSynth design team... idk

dB
I was told by Huston Singletary, in a passing conversation, that Glenn Darcey WAS on the Andromeda team. Was he not? If I got it wrong, I apologize for the miscommunication.

Last edited by Dr Mike Metlay; 04/20/20 06:29 PM.

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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039788 04/20/20 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
I was told by Huston Singletary, in a passing conversation, that Glenn Darcey WAS on the Andromeda team. Was he not?
Not to the best of my recollection.

dB

Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dave Bryce #3039796 04/20/20 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
I was told by Huston Singletary, in a passing conversation, that Glenn Darcey WAS on the Andromeda team. Was he not?
Not to the best of my recollection.
dB
sigh


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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039847 04/21/20 12:57 AM
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Following up on my writeup above, here's Part 3 of my video series, which breaks down the Oscillators via a tutorial patch that walks you through the basics.

As always, I would love your feedback. I am starting to think that these videos are a bit long, and I might need to chop up the material into smaller pieces, even if it means splitting topics over multiple short clips.

What do y'all think?

Anyway, herewith the Oscillator video. Enjoy!



Next up: Mutants!


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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039930 04/21/20 03:05 PM
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Concerning future videos for this thread:

Any videos beyond this next set (about Mutants) will depend on feedback and demand. Most folks know how filters and FX work, ditto LFOs and envelopes, and I can lay out the unique stuff in writing, the way I did for the Ring Modulator and Noise source. I'll probably want to cover the Mod Matrix and Voice pages, though, because their options are pretty cool and a couple of important features can be found here. I'll also demo the performance aspects of the Hydra keyboard: the quick filter controls, the ribbon, and the Arpeggiator.

It was easy to create a tutorial patch for Oscillators, but Mutants on their own aren't very easy to demo effectively or in an appealing way. So instead, I'm going to select certain Hydrasynth presets that demonstrate each Mutant effectively, and deconstruct them onscreen to show how the Mutants create musical effects. My guess is that this will be better served with multiple shorter videos than long ones, so expect two or more quick videos in this part of the set.

As always, comments, requests, and suggestions are welcome.

Next up: a writeup on the rest of the audio chain. Stay tuned!


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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3039957 04/21/20 04:39 PM
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The latest video looks great, a clear close up of the specific area in question. If I had a Hydrasynth it would be very easy to follow along.

Since I don't own this lovely beast and am not likely to have one in the foreseeable future, I'm probably out for now.
I agree that shorter clips will be beneficial, I tend to learn better in smaller packets.

Trying to fit too many ideas at once into my tiny brain causes thoughts to spill randomly out into the great void of the Nothingverse.
Good work! Cheers, Kuru


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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3040039 04/22/20 12:38 AM
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Its an impressive new hard-synth in an often me-too design world. I actually *understand* your non-convoluted reviews, up to the point at which my eyes cross, heh. Well-structured!

In using Pigments, I'm coming to understand complex wavetables much better, so while the GUI here is very inviting, I can easily smell a third of the instrument's less conventional bits I'd set aside for a while. How so? It'd be with the same idea I have for a ROLI Block approach: much less pure/detailed programming, more attention to the performance aspects. Its an elastic cello more than a keyboard. I'd tweak this (or Equator) for solo playability above tone per se. The sound proper isn't unique. Its the poly AT & touch strip I'd be buying.

A new ROMpler, I could crack within a few weeks. This one? Call me in 6 months, after I can manage more than dive-bomb FX use of the ribbon.

BTW, 5 octaves does 'feel' better to me, but I agree that 4 seems about right in this case. This thing is less of a "piano" than even the Argon8. One note held in the bass end is often the best friend a treble chord has in a synth. More can easily lead to mud. This is built for one hand on keys, one on the ribbon.


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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
Dr Mike Metlay #3040050 04/22/20 01:19 AM
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Dr. Mike:

It's the knowledge of the presenter and the information conveyed that will always resonate with me. So don't be too self-conscious about your production technique. Content is king, and you are doing a wonderful job. Keep going and trust yourself.

Jerry

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Re: In The Lab: Meet the ASM Hydrasynth!
jerrythek #3040100 04/22/20 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by jerrythek
Dr. Mike:

It's the knowledge of the presenter and the information conveyed that will always resonate with me. So don't be too self-conscious about your production technique. Content is king, and you are doing a wonderful job. Keep going and trust yourself.

Jerry
Thanks, Jerry. That means a lot to me, coming from you!


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