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Roland FA Series "Hard Sync" - "Wave Shape"? "Ring Mod"?


llatham
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I've been getting a little deeper into editing the Supernatural Synth Tones on my FA-06 and have been having a blast.

 

I knew it could "sort of" do some analog subtractive style synth emulation, but I've actually been able to find it's really quite powerful - sure you can't route everything anywhere and it has its limitations, but it has "most" of your traditional controls and elements - and given it's a 3 oscillator subtractive synth with separate Envelopes on each partial, it's a little more "diverse" than even the Little Phattys I have at work.

 

There are 4 controls I want to learn more about though (and specifically on the FA series):

 

Ring Mod

 

Wave Shape

 

Analog Feel

 

Unison Switch and Size

 

Part of what I want to know is what they do - I mean I can hear results, but I guess "what it is they're doing to the sound, and how" is more accurate, and if they are like traditional controls on other synths.

 

Analog Feel has some mathematical formula in the manual and uses words like "babbling brook" - it seems to me to basically introduce some pitch warble...some equated it to old school "drift" but I'm curious. It changes the sound and you can certainly set it by ear, but I'm the type of person who likes to understand things too.

 

Unison - well, what does it do? Again I can hear a change in the sound - it sounds like it's doubling or tripling the waves - and maybe the end result is not unlike the "Super Saw" waveform - just useable on any wave shape.

 

I kind of know what Ring Modulation is, and I believe in this case Partial 2 is fed back into and modulates Partial 1, causing sum and difference frequencies - so IOW the RM is dependent on Partial 2's pitch setting. Is there anything "FM" about that as well?

 

The Wave Shape seems to be a similar idea - Osc 2 fed into Osc 1. I need to test this again but I know this feature worked when I had only 1 partial sounding. I though it was doing something akin to PWM where it was making the wave asymmetrical or something. I'll have to go back and try if Ring Mod and Wave Shape work if Partial 2 is set to a different pitch, but not sounding. And I know there's no "hard sync" but I wonder if something close is achievable with the available controls.

 

I'm a member and casual regular over at the Roland Clan forum, but I don't know that most of the people there have gotten that deep into editing or using these specific controls - or at least can't tell me any more about them than I already know (or we think we know!). I know there are few with experience here so I'm hoping you can maybe clarify these controls a little further for me.

 

TIA

Steve

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Well Steve, from the # of responses to your post on this forum, my guess is that not very many forumites are getting into deeply editing the supernatural synth section of the FA- series. I have to agree with you that there is a lot that can be done within the parameters of the supernatural engine in the FA. I have heavily edited some programs myself and also "had a blast". I was pleasantly surprised at how analog I could get it to sound. I can't expound any more on the 4 specific areas you mention than you already have but I do enjoy this synth. Have you asked these questons on Roland Clan Forum?

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There are some nice sync PCM waveforms, but you are limited to just what's available. You can't tweak. However, they are good enough that I've never felt the need to try get a sync sound with anything but the PCM stuff. The Jupiter series has the same Sync limitation.
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You will find more of us talking about deep editing on Roland Clan.

Although I sold my FA08, I did dig deep for a couple sounds when I had it, and was very pleasantly surprised.

David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Arturia Keylab 61MK2 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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I thought unison was just copying the wave and detuning it slightly.

 

Analog feel seems to subtly detune the single wave, and as you say, give it something of a pitch warble. I always find around 100/127. Combine that with the chorus and you've got an incredibly warm sounding, almost analogue sounding tone.

 

Can't really answer the specifics, but I'm glad to see someone else getting deep into the synth engine. I've spent a lot of time getting lost in those synth menus and can lose hours tweaking every little bit.

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I can't expound any more on the 4 specific areas you mention than you already have but I do enjoy this synth. Have you asked these questons on Roland Clan Forum?

 

Thanks for the reply nonetheless. No I haven't asked there yet. Thought I remembered a few posters here who had dug a little deeper. I think it's just one of those things where so many are just "surface" users of gear - I myself am that way most of the time - happy with pre-sets. I should probably ask the Integra people though as they're more likely to do editing...

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You will find more of us talking about deep editing on Roland Clan.

Although I sold my FA08, I did dig deep for a couple sounds when I had it, and was very pleasantly surprised.

 

David, do you think I should ask in the Integra section? I think the architecture is identical.

 

I know there are a few "power users" on Clan and now that some users have created editors for the FAs there may be more interest in it.

 

You know, I've got to say, though I've only been a tinkerer with tone editing and have created things as necessary for cover bands, I've never done more of the real-time control and "basic subtractive synthesis" kind of stuff with my own gear - which really didn't support it (more PCM-based).

 

I mentioned we have Little Phattys at school, and I have some plug ins myself, as well as the stuff we have at school in Logic.

 

But really have been pleasantly surprised with how "powerful" the FA is - the editing screens are decent enough that it's the first "Rompler" kind of synth I've had that you can edit easily on (be it PCM or SN-S sounds).

 

I bought it primarily as a "preset keyboard" for cover bands, but as I've learned more and more features it really has become that much better of an investment for me.

 

I just wish I could upgrade to the 76...

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I thought unison was just copying the wave and detuning it slightly.

 

Analog feel seems to subtly detune the single wave, and as you say, give it something of a pitch warble. I always find around 100/127. Combine that with the chorus and you've got an incredibly warm sounding, almost analogue sounding tone.

 

Can't really answer the specifics, but I'm glad to see someone else getting deep into the synth engine. I've spent a lot of time getting lost in those synth menus and can lose hours tweaking every little bit.

 

FWIW, a couple of guys on Roland Clan made editors for Mac and PC.

 

I can't run it, but I've been able to set up a controller keyboard to edit the Sn-S tone parameters - I don't have a ton of elements but I can control most of the common stuff for Partial 1 at one time. So I can have loads of fun changing parameters in real time, without having to scroll through screens.

 

It's almost like having something like a System 8 sitting in front of you, but with fewer controls (though I could set up multiple control maps...)

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Analog Feel has some mathematical formula in the manual and uses words like "babbling brook" - it seems to me to basically introduce some pitch warble...some equated it to old school "drift" but I'm curious. It changes the sound and you can certainly set it by ear, but I'm the type of person who likes to understand things too.

 

Steve

 

I think I can answer this one based on what I know from the Fantom series. It's just a random LFO wave applied to the pitch of the selected waveform, with depth controlling the amount of modulation.

 

I always found it better to set this up in the LFO section, where you can control both depth and speed of the random LFO.

 

I don't believe random LFOs have an analog counterpart, but they are very useful in the digital realm for all kinds of things.

 

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I think I can answer this one based on what I know from the Fantom series. It's just a random LFO wave applied to the pitch of the selected waveform, with depth controlling the amount of modulation.

 

 

Thanks Bill - I played with this this afternoon and I did realize it was random once increased the value a lot - it was speeding up and slowing down.

 

It's a nice effect when subtle it seems, but I think you're right - I think real-time control of the LFO might be a more useful tool. I need to play with the Vib Rate/Depth/Delay and see if that's the same as the LFO editing tab - because I can put that on the Matrix knobs - but I think there it applies to all the oscillators, where the LFO tab is unique to each partial.

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