Knobcon Synthesizer Setup
  • I'm starting to work on the Knobcon synthesizer that I'll be showing off at Knobcon in Chicago:

    I really suggest people come - it's like Comic Con but for synthesizers. It's by far the most fun and welcoming convention I've been to.

    Pictured below is the rack I'll be bringing. In the 1U space that's empty there, I'll have a little cardboard paper Audulus banner with the logo and website or something. The signal flow will be illustrated on a paper cardboard stand next to it.


    (It's a 42HP Pulp Logic case if you're curious.)

    There are 4 modules, Left to Right:

    Mordax Data - for visualizing the oscillators post-filter
    Expert Sleepers ES-8 - sends CV/Audio in and out
    Doepfer SEM - analog filter for synth, replaces internal filter of Curvature Micro
    L-1 Tube VCA - analog "drive" control, not used as a VCA, but instead as a distortion.

    The Endangered Audio Research Spectravibe will also be attached as an external effect, clocked by Audulus.

    Audulus will be running on my Mac in standalone mode. The synth with will be sequenced by sequencers in Audulus and controlled with the Keith McMillen 12 Step.

    If Taylor can get MIDI out working in beta beforehand, I'll have a sequencer that's sending MIDI out to my Roland SH-01A. If not, I'll just have a Keith McMillen QuNexus to control the synth so people can play along with whatever's being sequenced. Either way, the SH-01A will be clocked by Audulus.

    There will be a drum machine, mixer, and FX. Everything will be sent out of the ES-8 in stereo and piped back into the UAD Apollo 8, with some preamp, EQ, compressor, & tape effects applied.

    Instead of showing off lots of different kinds of patches, I'll make several performances that will auto-play when you load them up.

    I'll post progress pics and patches here - so come on by to Chicago Sept 8-9 (I'm leaving early on the 10th, though it continues into the afternoon on Sunday), and say hi!
  • May I recommend developing some lissajous patches for the DATA?image
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  • @RobertSyrett - that's a great idea!

    Right now I'm working on the oscillator section - this is a much beefed up oscillator from the one that's in Curvature. Massive 7 detuned saws sound. Features the Doepfer SEM VCF and the Tube VCA (where a lot of the "scream" comes from).

    There's sine, triangle, square, saw, morphing between all of them, each has several shape controls, and it sounds fat as hell. If you don't count the 7 detuned saws, this is basically 1 oscillator (no sub octave/5th oscillators/etc - just mixed in different proportions). It's mostly going between the super saw and the wavefolded sine.

    Gets really throaty at 2:24
  • Progress - really big sounding seven detuned saws here with some pretty unique features!
  • Very nice! I look forward to playing with it.
  • @stschoen @robertsyrett

    Details about the supersaw:

    o = pitch

    Sync is a reset for all oscillators

    Number of Saws fades from 1 saw to 7 saws, but fades them slowly and exponentially in from the least detuned to most

    Proportional Detune detunes the saws by a fixed ratio between them all which creates a predictable cycling detuned sound, the detune spread applies an exponential curve to the proportional detune (less detuned towards middle, more detuned towards edge)

    Drift is a more random detune that’s more “analog"

    Shape is saw shape, basically giving you 14 saw sound, but you can also modulate it at different speeds or against the other detune sound, so you can get a SUPER rich detune sound that's way beyond a normal 7 saw.

    Shape Spread applies a similar exponential spread of the saw shape so the oscillators that are most detuned have a higher shape value than the ones that are the least,

    Squareize inverts every other oscillator before mixing and creates a “supersquare” wave. this is a fading control (not button either/or) so you can get a mix of the sounds.

    Stop Gate stops the proportional detune when the gate is high - so you can slowly spread out the detune of the saws and then push a button or have a gate go high and the detuning halts and the saws are fixed at a particular tone rather than this ever-evolving sound. drift still applies though. That combined with the sync function with rhythmic retriggering creates some wild sounds.

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  • I will do a livestream featuring this tomorrow, possibly with the iPhone camera so you can see what's going on with the Mordax Data scope. I was out at the Biltmore today with my mom who was visiting Asheville, so that's why I didn't do a livestream today :)
  • Cool, it will awesome to see stuff on the scope!
  • Oh and I guess if you count the -1 and -2 suboctaves, you can have 9(*2 with shape control) for 18 detuned saws!
  • Here's another Instagram clip that shows more explicitly what each function is doing:
  • What time are you going to do the livestream?
  • @stschoen - I think i'll do today's at 7pm instead to give some people time to settle in after work
  • Great! I have to take my macBook in to the Apple store this afternoon. I think I've got some bad memory. It blew up during the last upgrade. Also ate my backup. Good thing I had a second mac. Lost some recorded music and it'll be a pain to rebuild all the software, but such is life.
  • This is awesome
  • Just realized the dang power requirements aren't met. So rearranged the rack and this is what I came up with


    The flying input that's at the bottom is (eventually) going to come from my SH-01A, and the flying output at the top is going to be used for clocking external things (like my Endangered Audio Research pedals).

    The SEM filter is there for pads

    The Koma is there for bass

    The Sea Devils is there for filtering the drums for breakdowns

    The 3x1 mixer is for kick, snare, and hat (synthesized in Audulus)

    The SH-01A will be for leads.

    Each instrument has its own independent volume fader.

    The passive mult is for multing the clock when necessary.

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  • What? Data is a power hog?

    Also, you already have an SH-01A?
  • @RobertSyrett - yeah, unfortunately. And no, the SH-01A's on preorder. Sadly coming when I'm gone at Knobcon.

    Three more samples:

    the 2hp filt is a the filter in the delay loop of the delay that's on the pad - the tube vca is just a distortion for the pad, and the SEM filter is the pad's filter. the square wave bass is just going through the sea devils. then drums synthesized/sequenced in audulus. some post processing with UAD plugins to get tape warble sound and compress it
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  • lookin pretty retro!
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  • (O_O') that ting is massive
  • Lookin' awesome.
  • @biminiroad, I made you a logo for the supersaw. (I cheated and got some free clip-art)
    supersaw icon.audulus
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  • @stschoen I actually laughed out loud
  • Thought I'd post the Affinity file in case you wanted to change the size
  • Here's the synth - final version before Knobcon. You'll need an ES-8 to actually use it, but I figure you might just wanna open it up and looksee too! Very high CPU, so may not work on older iOS devices.
    Knobcon FINAL.audulus
  • Looks great! It's running at about 35% on my mid 2011 iMac which isn't too bad considering my initial design for a 256 stage ASR was running at about 65% and it wasn't making a sound! It's at about 60% on my iPad Air 2 which is still OK. Wish I had an ES-8 so I could hear it. Sorry I won't be able to make it to Knobcon, I'd love to go. Maybe next year.
  • @stschoen - thanks! Now I just need to redesign it for my new Audulus rig lol. It's ok though every time I build something I learn more and can make it better.