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Best Analog Filter in a Synth

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Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Pitchfork » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:34 pm

I was always looking for an analog style filter/sampler, and have looked at the Emax, and dedicated filter boxes, but now thing that a Roland synth would be a good idea as it has an Audio Input for running VST's through the filter, and its filter is analog with TVF and TVA for that gating type sound..

Would the SH-09 be best for this? as I believe the 101 never had a filter input at all..

I know it would be mono, but its apparently a nice filter, and i think the Sh1 Sh2 also had this facility but they obviously cost a little more.

Thanks
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Sam Inglis » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:03 pm

The filter on the SH101 robs the low end quite a lot when you turn the resonance up (at least it does on mine), other than that it's good. I don't know how it compares to the other SH-series synths.
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby hollowsun » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:22 pm

Moog filter

Mooger Fooger pedal
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Pitchfork » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:33 pm

Thanks but does this moog have the TVF and TVA on it?

The emax has this and the SH09 and also in the Morgana vst by 112db

I'm sure this gives the filter it's gating sound of the filter opening and closing to produce that effect?
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby ken long » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:40 pm

Image

4-Pole with Manual or Input trigger. Love mine.
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby nathanscribe » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:19 pm

Pitchfork wrote:Thanks but does this moog have the TVF and TVA on it?

As far as I know, TVF ("Time variant filter") and TVA ("Time variant amplifier") refer to Roland's mid/late 80s way of doing this digitally in the S & W series samplers - never seen it anywhere else. Typically old analogue kit uses the terms VCF and VCA for Voltage Controlled Filter/Amplifier.

However, if by those you mean filters and amplifiers with envelope shaping of the filter cutoff, the answer is it's pretty common, on old monosynths at least.

Basically, if you buy an old mono with an input, you have a couple of different scenarios: either the input just goes to the mixer, or it goes through the filter. If it goes through the filter, you may be able to use the signal's overall level to control the cutoff of the filter - or not, depending on the synth you're using the filter of. THe SH-09, for example, does have an envelope follower, which means the volume of the input will sweep the filter up and down as it gets louder and quieter.

Standalone filters also may or may not have this feature.

As for the amplifier, typically the filter will be gated on by the keys of the synth, or external gate input, not the sound you're running into the filter. Again that depends on what gear you're using.

The Moogerfooger has an envelope follower. It's controlled with the knob marked "envelope" on the front panel.
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Pitchfork » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:29 pm

nathanscribe wrote:
Pitchfork wrote:Thanks but does this moog have the TVF and TVA on it?

As far as I know, TVF ("Time variant filter") and TVA ("Time variant amplifier") refer to Roland's mid/late 80s way of doing this digitally in the S & W series samplers - never seen it anywhere else. Typically old analogue kit uses the terms VCF and VCA for Voltage Controlled Filter/Amplifier.

Your right, I was getting it wrong! :headbang: it is VCF and VCA that gives this almost gating type sound with just the filter running which I like...

The models I mentioned, have this (I think the SH09 too), so can most filters do this?
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Bob Moose » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:32 pm

As an alternative, you can build it as a very small analogue modular synth (it may cost less than some pre-patched synths and you can choose all the components, in particular you have many filter options).
Module choice obviously depends on what you want to do with it exactly. For example you can build an envelope filter (like the famous Mu-tron filter) with 3 modules: audio input, envelope follower, filter

Best
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Pitchfork » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:43 pm

Bob Moose wrote:As an alternative, you can build it as a very small analogue modular synth (it may cost less than some pre-patched synths and you can choose all the components, in particular you have many filter options).
Module choice obviously depends on what you want to do with it exactly. For example you can build an envelope filter (like the famous Mu-tron filter) with 3 modules: audio input, envelope follower, filter

Best
-j

Bob, I wish I could, then I could have maybe a 12-bit sound, some grunge and pick the filter - but as I have trouble wiring a plug, I think this is way out of my league unfortunately! :?
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby ken long » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:02 pm

Bob Moose wrote: For example you can build an envelope filter (like the famous Mu-tron filter)

Image

:D :tongue:
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Pitchfork » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:10 pm

I wish I could build this! especially as these are now upwards of £1000 s/h!?
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Zukan » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:14 am

You can't go wrong with the Moog and Waldorf filters. They are real fun and pretty potent.

I have had Mutators in the past and they are fun too. Sherman is what you want if you're into both extreme and sound design.

Failing that, any of the old synths with audio ins will be useful. Alternatively, and if you have a modular system, then a dedicated filter module would be cool. There are many in this dept that would fit the bill.

Filters on synths can have a great impact on sound so long as you ignore the rubbish names that manufacturers like to give them.

The original Emax had lovely warm filters, Ensoniq EPS had that throaty snappy filter, Roland always went for smooth with variable slopes, anything Russian would make your eyes bleed (Polyvoks)and so on. However, the older gear had some great filters. The SH09 was nice but not an earth mover although the SH3a was a different kettle of fish and highly underrated and cost little more than the 09 in sec hand. The, wait for this, Peavey (if you can find one) filter bank had a lovely smooth slope and was gorgeous on pads and the like. MS20 sounds nice but you would need to buy the whole beast to use it, same as the ASR10....

I could go on all day as I'm a synth slut, but apparently I have to work. Wife says it would be nice to eat meat this month.
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby ken long » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:46 am

Zukan wrote:MS20 sounds nice but you would need to buy the whole beast to use it, same as the ASR10....


You can get a DP4 which will give you the ASR filter (amongst many other goodies and *that* phaser)
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Pitchfork » Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:14 am

Thanks for this, I'd be looking for filtering and mangling long pads for ambient stuff, rather like Irresistible Force does on his albums, "Flying High" and "Global Chillage"

I think both of these were done with an Emax and its filter, so it sounds nice and warm, but in todays market, it would be great to put an Emax style analog filter on the end of say Ableton with its own FX, using the VCF and VCA on a filter (I have ahd 2 Emax SE's by the way and although nice, are fiddly and limited by today's standards)

I have thought of the Sherman, but instead of warm, every single demo shows how distorted and nasty it sounds, which is the opposite of what I want.. The SH-09 sounds ok, but I bet there is better out there..

I'd love to do some hands on knob twiddling while the sound is playing so not so bothered about MIDI and automation.

The Morgana by 112db VSTi has some controls and similar analog sound, which I like, but its not that flexible, and crashes somewhat. So something analog and hardware would be nice. Its just trying to track down online demo's or youtube videos to hear all these :roll:
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:07 am

You could also investigate stomp box territory - Electro Harmonix have a wide range of envelope filters and a good reputation to go with them:

www.ehx.com/browse/envelope-filters


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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:21 am

However, if you want to get into gated, filtered audio signals you’ll need to be able to link the unit to a sequencer - perhaps Doepfer’s Dark Energy would fit the bill, as it’s got an audio input and squelchy filters?

Paul Nagle certainly approved of its filters in his SOS review:

“The 24dB/octave filter should certainly test the ears of those who adamantly declare that only discrete circuits can sound sweet. With its pleasing, even response and a resonance that wails like a tripping ocelot, the filter should serve as a potent reminder that real analogue isn’t pushing up the daisies just yet.”

www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan10/articles ... energy.htm

Thomann currently have it at just £326 inc VAT 8-)


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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:40 am

I had some fun running a D10 through a Monotron, but it only has the LFO to control the cut off, so not exactly what you want.

The Novation Basstation Rack also has an input, but not sure if it is controlled by the envelopes. The filter is pretty dirty to my recollection.
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Pitchfork » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:06 pm

I will have to check some of these out, and have only just discovered the VCF and VCA in the Morgana VST sampler, which is nice (and which I remember from the E-Max) that it sort of bubbles and gates/dips the sound as you wiggle the knobs (not sure on the exact science of these envelopes) but its an interesting sound..

Hopefully as mentioned, these would be included as knobs/sliders on older analog filters/keyboards to run sounds through?

I'm basically looking for a warm analog Emax Filter to run sounds through without having the keyboard or rack! :headbang:
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby johnny h » Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:10 am

Martin Walker wrote:However, if you want to get into gated, filtered audio signals you’ll need to be able to link the unit to a sequencer - perhaps Doepfer’s Dark Energy would fit the bill, as it’s got an audio input and squelchy filters?

Paul Nagle certainly approved of its filters in his SOS review:

“The 24dB/octave filter should certainly test the ears of those who adamantly declare that only discrete circuits can sound sweet. With its pleasing, even response and a resonance that wails like a tripping ocelot, the filter should serve as a potent reminder that real analogue isn’t pushing up the daisies just yet.”

www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan10/articles ... energy.htm
I would advise caution with the dark energy. Very well constructed synth, especially for the price, but it doesn't actually sound very good imo...
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Pitchfork » Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:10 am

johnny h wrote:
Martin Walker wrote:However, if you want to get into gated, filtered audio signals you’ll need to be able to link the unit to a sequencer - perhaps Doepfer’s Dark Energy would fit the bill, as it’s got an audio input and squelchy filters?

Paul Nagle certainly approved of its filters in his SOS review:

“The 24dB/octave filter should certainly test the ears of those who adamantly declare that only discrete circuits can sound sweet. With its pleasing, even response and a resonance that wails like a tripping ocelot, the filter should serve as a potent reminder that real analogue isn’t pushing up the daisies just yet.”

www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan10/articles ... energy.htm

I'd heard exactly the same that it wasn't that good I'm afraid so it maybe something I'll give a miss
I would advise caution with the dark energy. Very well constructed synth, especially for the price, but it doesn't actually sound very good imo...
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Paul Nagle » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:00 am

I'd suggest the "little modular" route also - you can put several filters in one of those mini boxes and add envelope followers, LFOs etc. to taste. Some great choices of filter in Eurorack format.

One of my personal favourite "process anything" filters is the Xone VF-1. Pretty sure I saw one of these in the SOS ads for around £150 and was very tempted to buy a second one. It's stereo too and very smooth, with valve overdrive too.
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Pitchfork » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:02 am

Paul Nagle wrote:I'd suggest the "little modular" route also - you can put several filters in one of those mini boxes and add envelope followers, LFOs etc. to taste. Some great choices of filter in Eurorack format.

One of my personal favourite "process anything" filters is the Xone VF-1. Pretty sure I saw one of these in the SOS ads for around £150 and was very tempted to buy a second one. It's stereo too and very smooth, with valve overdrive too.

That sounds nice, and it does the VCF and VCA filtering? does this sound smooth and thick/analog instead of distortion which alot of the boxes seem to do these days!
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Paul Nagle » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:46 am

It's definitely smooth and fab-sounding without adding massive amounts of colour. Some might see that as a disadvantage I guess but I find it perfect for much of my external processing of loops etc. from Logic. If you want 24dB you have to switch to mono but for most general purpose filtering 24dB is often too much. Similarly it has MIDI control (I confess I never use this) and I'm pretty sure you can get gating via MIDI or at least some kind of on/off action. I really should read my own review. :)
The overdrive is very nice and you can have a little or a lot - you don't have to use it at all.

A much underrated piece of kit I'd say, I'd have not known anything about it if one didn't arrive for review but I'm jolly glad it did.
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Chevytraveller » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:31 am

Zukan wrote:

MS20 sounds nice but you would need to buy the whole beast to use it....


You can always buy eurorack modules in a small case. You can get the MS20 filter here

Still love the SEM style filter on my Telemark.. LP/BP/HP and patchable inputs

:bouncy:
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:09 am

Ah, the Nagle has landed 8-)

Do you want to stand by your positive words about the Dark Energy filters in your SOS review, or have you changed your mind? :beamup:


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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Paul Nagle » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:20 pm

I do like the sound of the Dark Energy filter and got some great squelchy acid sounds from it. But if I had to choose a little synth with a great filter it'd be the Vermona Mono Lancet. It has an awesome Moogy sound and its filter happens to fit my taste better. The downside is that you need the modular expansion to access it, never tried that myself alas.
A +1 to the Analogue Solutions MS20 filter. Totally excellent. I had the rack version briefly but for some reason it never sounded as good - Filtered Coffee was it called? Sorry, rambling now...
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Bob Moose » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:01 pm

Pitchfork wrote:Bob, I wish I could, then I could have maybe a 12-bit sound, some grunge and pick the filter - but as I have trouble wiring a plug, I think this is way out of my league unfortunately! :?

Oops, sorry I was actually talking about ready-to-use modules, like Eurorack modules. You do not have to wire anything, only to plug patch cables between modules.

The stombox solution is great too. Look for envelope filters, some of them are really good. Most of the time they have a limited frequency sweep range, but it may be ok for your applications. For example check the EHX Q-tron series, the Lovetone Meatball, the Barge Grinder, the 3Leaf GR2, the Mu-tron 3 filter (second hand of course) and the Maxon AF-9.
The differences between stomboxes are: available filter modes (LPF, BPF, HPF, etc); optical filter or not; filter slope (usually 12dB/oct on pedals); frequency sweep range(s); envelope direction switch; presence of attack, decay and resonance controls. Some models have a side-chain input that can often be useful.

-j
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby TrickyDicky » Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:45 pm

Its a shame there isnt a hardware stand-alone box for the Emax filters as they are very popular and analog with that warm creamy sound, without getting the full keyboard

I think they are SSM? but am not sure where you would get those analog filters today in a filter box?
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby forumuser695516 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:52 pm

I quite like the sound of the Dark Energy. Both as a synth and it's filter alone. But I guess we all have our own preferences.

TrickyDicky wrote:

I think they are SSM? but am not sure where you would get those analog filters today in a filter box?

You could well be right. I think there are a few variations of the SSM based filter though. But fortunately parts for some of them at least are not impossible to get. I've built a few Shruthi-1 monosynths, and these can be configured with various different analogue filter boards. And I chose to make one with the SSM2044.
http://mutable-instruments.net/shruthi1
The same company also came up with the Sidekick, which can take the same filter boards as the Shruthi synth. This is basically a filter box with added shenanigans for extra sonic tomfoolery. I've not built one of these yet though..
http://mutable-instruments.net/sidekick

But yes, it's another DIY job im afraid. Although you do occasionally find prebuilt ones on the site for sale.
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Re: Best Analog Filter in a Synth

Postby Pitchfork » Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:20 pm

Thats interesting..

So how much are these 'kits' and how much would it cost to get one built?

I think this is the SSM Filter that the Emax has : SSM2044

http://mutable-instruments.net/shruthi1/build/ssm2044

Is this what you are saying is in the two build kits that you linked to? The "Sidekick" seems to be the slightly better and more intriguing of the two..

If this was an exact analog SSM chip then it would literally be the "filterbox" part module from the Emax!! - I take it these have analog ins and outs to process signals? (or maybe mono?) :bouncy: :D
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