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Novation Summit and ASM Hydrasynth compared

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Novation Summit and ASM Hydrasynth compared

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sun May 03, 2020 4:25 am

It's been out for a month or so at the time of writing, but for anyone thinking of getting either a Summit or a Hydrasynth, this 90 video is a pretty thorough (at an hour and a half long) semi-review/semi-demo of both.

Not a competition between the two, just some good real-world info (which coincidentally mirrors my opinion of them in the main).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69Eb2ETozE4

Skip to about an hour and six minutes into it if you want to jump the tech details and move more into sound demo territory.
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Re: Novation Summit and ASM Hydrasynth compared

Postby Folderol » Sun May 03, 2020 8:28 am

Interesting stuff. Thanks.
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Re: Novation Summit and ASM Hydrasynth compared

Postby N i g e l » Thu May 07, 2020 11:53 pm

Ta, interesting [hydra] stuff . More info on the Hydra is always welcome. Ive watched the videos, read the manual & read this months review. Im a convert but just slightly confused about FM & PWM ????
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Re: Novation Summit and ASM Hydrasynth compared

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri May 08, 2020 12:33 am

N i g e l wrote:Ta, interesting [hydra] stuff . More info on the Hydra is always welcome. Ive watched the videos, read the manual & read this months review. Im a convert but just slightly confused about FM & PWM ????

The FM is primarily achieved through the use of mutators on the first two oscillators, but the routing matrix permits it do be done in the 'conventional analogue' way by modulating the frequency of the oscillators from a number of sources.

"PWM" is not PWM in the conventional sense, although it does shape waveforms. Much as with various other aspects of the Hydrasynth, ASM have done things their own way and the "PWM" is arguably a lot more than you would expect. As the article I link below puts it:

"... there are three distinct Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) methods...though as we'll quickly see, the term "PWM" is slightly misleading. PWM in the Hydrasynth is not restricted to pulse waves—it can be used to manipulate any waveshape, with each PWM method providing a slightly different means of slicing a waveshape into sections and adjusting them relative to one another.

You might find this helpful - it talks about both FM and PWM as implemented on the Hydrasynth, as well as a few other aspects of the sound generation: https://www.perfectcircuit.com/signal/a ... h-in-depth

There is, of course, also the excellent review by Paul Nagle in Sound On Sound this month.
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Re: Novation Summit and ASM Hydrasynth compared

Postby rACed2 » Mon May 11, 2020 10:43 am

One thing I would say about that video is that it does not do either synth any favours with the sounds used in it. Probably the presenters sound style influenced the selection too much - I found myself wondering if either can produce sounds outside the limited areas demonstrated ... by the end I’m watching thinking fFs change the LFO’s rate [and looking at few other YouTube’s available it seems both can make a wide variety of sounds]. Otherwise its a good overview and comparison.
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Re: Novation Summit and ASM Hydrasynth compared

Postby N i g e l » Tue May 12, 2020 1:12 am

Eddy Deegan wrote:The FM is primarily achieved through the use of mutators .....

good links, thanks. I liked the PN review, inc thought provoking [mini] comparison with blofield too !

i guess I am after an algorithm diagram for FM, which is obviosly not available and why should it be.
The immediate quotes are "a mutator is like a 2 op FM stack" - Osc + modulator.
So from my reading of the manual, I should be able to get a 5 op FM stack using all the mutators in series ?
I think the key to FM here is that the flow is right to left ! not top down or left to right.

I can express my thoughts diagrammatically but dont worry about it as by next bank hol I shall be able to experiment empirically [keyboard version] !!!!

PWM: my ears say it makes sense but im not sure what im seeing on the wee scope.
I always thought that the scope on Korgs were a bit of a gimmick but now i can see that they might be usefull ! or is a scope a bit of a distraction ?


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Re: Novation Summit and ASM Hydrasynth compared

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue May 12, 2020 5:55 am

You're thinking too much in terms of FM in the conventional DX-like sense :-)

Each of the first two oscillators can have up to two mutators enabled. Each mutator has FM capabilities should you choose to use it (other options are available per mutator).

The mutators are in series per oscillator but effectively become part of the oscillator itself so the concept of 5 in series doesn't make sense in the Hydra signal flow, which has feedback loops but is broadly left to right as shown on the right hand side of the panel.

As you might expect, the oscillators are parallel in that they all fire together when a voice is triggered, but they can modulate each other.

The Hydra does things very much its own way, it just uses FM as an optional small part of proceedings.

PWM is really 'just' changing the shape of a waveform based on its original form. For pulse waves this means varying the pulse width but for other wave shapes it does various different tricks as described in the manual and elsewhere.

They could have called it 'moulding', 'folding' or 'spindling' instead of PWM; it would have made just as much (or little) sense.

Basically you buy a Hydrasynth because it sounds like a Hydrasynth, not for its spec on paper. That it happens to be able to make an incredible range of sounds from analogue-sounding to digital in nature is a big part of the attraction.

Some patches sound like my Prophet or OB polysynths, some sound like the MOSS card in my Trinity, some sound like my Summit, some like the Waldorf Quantum and some are like nothing else I've heard.

Also various combinations of each. It wears all of these hats well, while all the time just being its own thing.

It's a pretty unique synth really.
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Re: Novation Summit and ASM Hydrasynth compared

Postby N i g e l » Wed May 20, 2020 1:50 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:You're thinking too much in terms of FM in the conventional DX-like sense :-)

i very definitely FM think in the YAMAHA_DX style :D, !

Im still getting my mind around the hydrasynth implementation (still theory, not yet in practise)

Just looking simply at Osc1, Mutator 1 & Mutator 2, all using sine waves & 100% wet signals

Mutator 1 can FM modulate OSC1
but does Mutator 2 modulate OSC 1 or Mutator 1 ?
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Re: Novation Summit and ASM Hydrasynth compared

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed May 20, 2020 2:24 pm

N i g e l wrote:Just looking simply at Osc1, Mutator 1 & Mutator 2, all using sine waves & 100% wet signals

Mutator 1 can FM modulate OSC1
but does Mutator 2 modulate OSC 1 or Mutator 1 ?

Although the Mutants are logically arranged in pairs, two for each of Osc1 and Osc2, the output of one of the Mutants in a pair can be fed into the next Mutant and/or into any other Mutant including itself.

If you look at the sources available to a mutant in lin-FM mode, they are any of:

  • Sine
  • Triangle
  • Osc 1-3
  • The output from the Ring Modulation module (which can accept input from a wide variety of sources including any of the 4 Mutants)
  • Noise
  • Mutant 1-4 (Mutants in one oscillator can be used as inputs to those in another)
  • Modulation inputs 1 and 2 (CV inputs via patch points on the surface, which can handle audio-rate frequencies if you want to use external audio as an FM source)

Oscillators and Mutants cannot be used as generic modulation sources however, so the Mutants can only modulate each other within the context of the FM-lin operating mode.

For generic modulation there are the 5 envelopes (which can be free running, optionally loop indefinitely or for a defined number of times) and 5 LFOs (each of which which can be configured to run for one cycle only when triggered). The envelopes and LFOs are per-voice.

The LFOs can run from 0.02Hz up to 150Hz if they are not synchronised to BPM, and up to 1/64T if they are (I don't know if this information is in the manual but on my Hydra keyboard the maximum BMP is 240) so you can do a form of FM outside of the Mutants albeit not across the full audible frequency range.
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Re: Novation Summit and ASM Hydrasynth compared

Postby N i g e l » Tue Jun 02, 2020 11:37 pm

It was just the topology/algorithm that was not clear to me.

as the manual says..
"Each voice is the equivilent of a 2 operator stack"

Experimenting with the Mutants set to sin waves for simpicity, I view this with a right to left flow,

Osc1 FMina <--- Mutant 1
Osc1 FMinb <--- Mutant 2

so the Mutants are in parallel rather than series.

Also I imagine a shadow OSC1, OSC1', which doesnt get the FM from the Mutants.

The Wet/Dry "pot" then fades between OSC1 & OSC1' outputs, FX pedal style

OSC2 stack is the same.
OSC2 stack is the same - so doesnt this mean that if Mutant 2 FM source is OSC2 than a 3 stack is possible ?

OSC1 FM in <--- Mutant 2 = OSC 2, OSC 2 FM in <--- Mutant 3

Apparently not
Mutant 2 = OSC 2 actually seems to mean Mutant 2 = OSC 2', the shadow OSC2.

So OSC 2 can Fm modulate OSC 1 but any FM modualations from Mutant 3 dont get through to OSC 1
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Re: Novation Summit and ASM Hydrasynth compared

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:36 pm

This popped up today and might be useful, assuming you're still curious. It's an hour-long video all about FM and pulse modulation on the Hydrasynth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEioESwQPfE
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Re: Novation Summit and ASM Hydrasynth compared

Postby N i g e l » Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:39 am

thanks, looks interesting..ill check it out later.
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