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30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:19 am


Love this one - very rich and varied! :clap:


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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:58 am

Thanks! :)
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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:11 am

9: A very nice timbre and an interesting hook to get started. Though the sound is a good one, especially through the use of external filters, and although there is rhythmic development I think it does start to get a little repetitive hamornically as the recording progresses. As this thread is primarily about exploring the Subharmonicon as opposed to posting complete pieces of music I don't think this matters one bit. The piece demonstrates use of the SH effectively and it's quite catchy.

10: Immediately this grabs me as being somewhat different to those that preceded it. I really really like the smooth sound of the lead timbre and the percussive staccato parts in the other sequencer work very well with it. This is my favourite so far I think. Same point about the melodic repetitiveness but that is anchored in the architecture of the SH and as such not to be judged on its own merits as the SH works so well when used with other devices and when alternative sequences are introduced through multitracking and/or external sequencing.

11: This is an intellectual exercise which works well. I hear the shifting of patterns and although to me they are not particularly musical modulations I'll repeat myself a third time in that this is an exploration of the SH and how it works.

Overall, I think you're bang on track with your mission to deep-dive the SH here Ben and I applaud your commitment and efforts to show that process at every step of the way :clap:
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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby Arpangel » Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:47 am

Martin Walker wrote:

Love this one - very rich and varied! :clap:


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Me too, trouble is, I was hearing a Robert Fripp solo over the beginning of that sequence, can you imagine that?
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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:51 pm

I am actually planning on having guitar in the next batch of songs. :)

Will have to see as this thing develops, of course, but that’s the plan looking at it from this side. The funny (funny strange, not funny haha) thing is, I am predominantly a guitar player!
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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:14 pm

DAY 12. Same basic approach as Day 11, but in a more musical context. I even added a kick drum to this one! :)

I also realised an error I had made yesterday: when you apply external CV to VCO1, VCO2 is automatically normalised to the same pitch. This threw me off at first, and then I just applied the offset to VCO2 instead to create a bass line that goes from the root note to the 5th.

https://soundcloud.com/user-329043613-5 ... nge-day-12

I am now 100% convinced that the SubH works best when you take the audio outputs of each VCO and process them separately. And you can drastically change the way a particular part sounds just by changing the filter type. I have 4 filters available to me: the LPG from Make Noise, the Dreadbox multimode, he Doepfer SEM, and the Doepfer LPF.
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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby blinddrew » Fri Feb 26, 2021 12:35 am

Very interesting one this. :thumbup:
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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby Ben Asaro » Fri Feb 26, 2021 2:16 pm

Thanks! One other thing that I noticed is that with zero offset, the precision adder either adds a tiny delay or detune to the second VCO which in itself sounds very nice when they are playing in unison. Will be trying that out tonight!
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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby Ben Asaro » Fri Feb 26, 2021 11:17 pm

DAY 13. Reaching towards the halfway mark, decided to try another variation using external pitch input into VCO2. This turned out to be rather "Berlin" style. A reasonable about of control is coming from the NerdSeq, including note pitches for VCO2, trigger for the EQ, clock, and reset triggers to both the SubH and Euclidean Circles, which then control my TipTop 808 modules.

https://soundcloud.com/user-329043613-5 ... nge-day-13
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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby Ben Asaro » Sun Feb 28, 2021 10:24 pm

DAY 14. Another patch using a handful of external modules. Today I wanted to create syncopated melodies using the polyrhythm generators. VCO2 is tuned a 5th above VCO1. I then took the clock out for SEQ2 and ran it into Branches, which was connected to the Reset input on the SubH. Adjusting the random reset created further syncopations within the melody. Stereo delay and reverb added ITB.

https://soundcloud.com/user-329043613-5 ... nge-day-14
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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby Ben Asaro » Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:41 pm

I may have found an Achilles’ heel with the SubH! While being a slight bummer, that’s what the deep dive is about: pushing past the Getting To Know You phase, past the Really Cool Sounds phase, and into the I Wish It Could Do This phase. :)

I think that the biggest limitation the SubH has is the four step sequencer. I’ve tried to use the reset to get other note divisions but the SubH never responds reliably to a reset pulse unless the polyrhythmic generators are at full clockwise. As a result it’s impossible to get straight triplets from the SubH. Even with the division set to produce a triplet (and they are not true triplets, there always seems to be some swing) the basis is still four notes long.

However, that’s more of an observation than a weakness in the SubH. At it’s heart, I believe that the SubH is really meant to be a self contained instrument, and not designed to play well with others in that regard. Fair dues, is what it is.

The Achilles’ heel, however, has to do with the VCOs. When feeding an external sequence into VCO 1, there doesn’t seem to be a way to set VCO 2 to be slightly detuned.

I will be experimenting tonight to see if I can make this happen. I am GUESSING that if I set the sequencers to the center position, polyrhythmic generators fully clockwise, and assigned to the VCOs, then turn off the quantizer... that should allow the VCOs to behave like a standard VCO ... but it may require feeding the same sequence into both VCOs ...
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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby Ben Asaro » Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:14 pm

DAY 15. SUCCESS ... sorta lol. To achieve what I was looking for you have to bypass a lot of the SubH's functionality: no quantizer, no sequencer, no polyrhythm generators. Using the NerdSeq, I was able to use a single v/oct and trigger out going into VCO 1 and the trigger input on the SubH. With the quantizer disabled, I could then detune VCO2 ever so slightly. Adding a sub oscillator to each VCO gave me pretty much what I was looking for: a retro-future pluck sound that's deliciously Moog-ish. :)

https://soundcloud.com/user-329043613-5 ... nge-day-15
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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby Ben Asaro » Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:11 am

Another sidebar discussion on the deep dive re: the Subharmonicon's timbre.

I spent a while this evening comparing the sound of the SubH's direct audio outs using external EGs, VCAs, and filter vs the internal EG/VCA/filter after setting up identical sounds on each. I then made changes to the EGs and filters and would keep matching them to see how close they were to each other.

The main advantage of using external EGs is that you can have more complex envelopes than just the internal EG. However, the internal EG for the VCA on the SubH is really excellent. It's not what I would call 'snappy', it definitely has a roundness to it, a bounce... I would definitely call it 'juicy'.

In my opinion, the Subharmonicon sounds subjectively better than the Mother-32 but I feel that's because the SubH has an EG for the filter which allows for a more complex timbre than the Mother.

The only thing I don't like about the Subharmonicon's timbre is that it's hard to get a sound that's mellow and rounded; it always has a peaky-ness to it. It's really challenging to find a tone where it's dark yet present, something that's much easier to do when you break out the audio.
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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby Ben Asaro » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:53 pm

DAY 16. The search for the perfect pluck continues lol. Filter and VCA envelope tweaks as the sequence played, sounded great!

https://soundcloud.com/user-329043613-5 ... nge-day-16
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Re: 30-day writing challenge #2: Subharmonicon edition

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Mar 04, 2021 1:02 am

Ben Asaro wrote:DAY 16. The search for the perfect pluck continues lol. Filter and VCA envelope tweaks as the sequence played, sounded great!

https://soundcloud.com/user-329043613-5 ... nge-day-16

Now THAT I like a lot! :thumbup:

This is an area for me where the modular reigns supreme - fast enough to be difficult to play manually, yet still so musical, along with subtle evolving changes.

I can already hear in my head a complex multi-track arrangement based around this pattern.


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