Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

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BorisYeltsin
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Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by BorisYeltsin » Sun Nov 16, 2014 10:27 pm

Hi there folks 8)

The Sub 37, exactly what parts are 100 % analog and what parts are digital?

Sound on sound wrote: "The Sub 37 is an analogue/digital hybrid with an analogue signal path controlled by digitally generated modulators and contour generators."

Could someone please explain what this means?

Blackout
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Re: Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by Blackout » Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:48 am

yeah i read that too. my eyes raised up...but reading further they only mention digital because the actual envelopes in the last stages that control the sound are digital.

the oscillators and the filters are all analog goodness

lushr
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Re: Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by lushr » Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:05 am

The sound making aspects of the sub37 such as the oscillators and filter are analogue circuitry, it's things like preset memory, sequencer, and so one which are digital. If you want pure analogue, then you can buy an MS-20 mini and lose all the aforementioned features.
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Blackout
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Re: Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by Blackout » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:40 am

well lushr, technically Moog could have made the envelope for the Amplitude and the filter for the Sub37 an analogue one very easily, and still kept the real-time knob control and preset saving , etc, like many other synths. my guess is that this was a cost-saving measure. the two arent mutually exclusive like you suggest.

what we are talking about is that VCA is not really a VCA in the Sub37. its digital, and thus not technically called a VCA. Whether you consider the filter curve or amplitude curve to be PART OF THE SOUND CREATION is debatable. however for me i am fine with these envelopes being digital. it anything it makes them snappier. but possibly a little less "random"...i dunno

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Re: Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by kvitekp » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:25 am

What makes you think that "VCA is not really a VCA in the Sub37. its digital, and thus not technically called a VCA" ? Sub37 specs state that it has a 100% analogue sound engine, so the VCA is fully analogue. The control voltage that controls this VCA is generated digitally using the data that comes from modulation buses and amplitude envelope generator, which are also digital. Generating this control voltage using analogue circuitry with all the EG and modulation modes Sub37 offers would be way too expensive.
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Blackout
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Re: Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by Blackout » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:37 am

kvitekp wrote:What makes you think that "VCA is not really a VCA in the Sub37. its digital, and thus not technically called a VCA" ? Sub37 specs state that it has a 100% analogue sound engine, so the VCA is fully analogue. The control voltage that controls this VCA is generated digitally using the data that comes from modulation buses and amplitude envelope generator, which are also digital. Generating this control voltage using analogue circuitry with all the EG and modulation modes Sub37 offers would be way too expensive.


actually kvit im just going from what the SOS review said. and like i said...it could be argued that the "sound engine" is the oscillators and filter. not some envelopes afterwards. im not 100% sure of what Moog consider to be a "sound engine".

Maybe take a read of the SOS article kvit? maybe someone from Moog can even chime in and clarify exactly what the deal is...

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stiiiiiiive
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Re: Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by stiiiiiiive » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:01 am

I'm in line with Kvitkp here. VCA and how the VCA control signal is produced should not be confused.
Same for VCOs by the way: they are analogue but the CV that control them are digitally produced. That does not make the oscillators digital.

Envelope generators are not VCAs.They are controllers just like the LFOs are. When the LFO modulates/controls the filter, no one says the filter is digital. So when the envelopes modulate/control the VCA, one should no believe the VCA is not analogue.

Anyone, correct me.

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Re: Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by stiiiiiiive » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:03 am

Oh BTW, one reason (if not the only one) why envelopes are digital is that they can be looped and sync'ed, IIRC.

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Re: Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by Blackout » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:13 am

stiiiiiiive wrote:Same for VCOs by the way: they are analogue but the CV that control them are digitally produced. That does not make the oscillators digital....


(your definition above sounds like a DCO if im not mistaken therefore? not a VCO?)

maybe they are DCAs in the Sub37 ? is that what you are trying to say ? (but the actual oscillators are VCO?)

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Re: Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by stiiiiiiive » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:44 am

No, that's not what I'm saying.

DCO are oscillators which pitch is determined by a digital clock in their own core. Digitally controlled VCO are VCO... whose control voltage is generated digitally outboard by another component. This is not the same.

I'm usre Alien666 will chime in and tell me whether I'm correct; we discussed that lately :)

BorisYeltsin
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Re: Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by BorisYeltsin » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:27 pm

What about the Sine LFO, or the two LFO-modulators in general - are they all analog? Since the Sine LFO is only accessible through a digital display, I'm thinking that it's a digitally generated sine wave, but I really don't have any knowledge of all this so.. if anyone with knowledge can explain the specific parts which are digital, and which are analog?

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Re: Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by _DemonDan_ » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:50 pm

Perhaps a slight oversimplification but, my understanding is:

If it's in the audio path, it's analog.

If it's in the control path (LFOs, EGs, MIDI, Seq, Arp, Preset storage, etc.) it's probably digital.

You're NEVER *hearing* digitized audio.
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Re: Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by EMwhite » Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:46 pm

Synths like the Roland Juno 106 and the Oberheim Matrix 6 each had DCOs; the Moog products are VCOs, however in the case of the Sub37 (and I believe, the SubPhatty before it), there is much improved tracking in the modern Moog VCOs than what was in my Little Phatty Tribute near zero warm up, etc. Both are still analog but the frequency clocking is controlled digitally on DCOs; waveforms are generated with analog circuits on both.

The Matrix 6 was based on a multiple CEM3396 ICs required external clocking on pin 4 and 9, but the core of the oscillator was indeed internal to the core of the IC and was highly integrated analog. Many other 'custom' synth ICs operated similarly.

To me, hybrid synths are synths such as the Dave Smith Prophet '12, the Mono & Poly Evolver (which has two digital and two analog oscillators), and the new Modulus (which is incredible if you haven't seen it you should check it out). So is the Mutable Instruments Shruthi and for that matter, so was the PPG 2.x They've got wave tables and CPU generated waveforms which feed into analog filters and VCAs, etc. Of course, some of the Dave Smith devices go digital again at the end of the signal path for effects which he's been particularly keen on as of late.

But all of the above use Digital CPU and/or micro controllers (Ti, Atmel, PIC, or in the case of the vintage gear, a 6809 processor) for the typical functions of patch management, in some cases, keyboard scanning, and in fewer cases, to drive envelopes and LFOs. The most recent Moog products do just that, use software based envelopes to produce voltages which control the cutoff frequency or the amount of amplitude not to mention LFOs, etc. If you've ever used a MP-201 (Multi pedal), it had a handy envelope generator which was done 100% in software, but then used DACs to output an analog voltage.

Backing up a few years and you'll see that the Voyager is very unconventional, or rather, very conventional meaning that the CPU is only used for housekeeping functions such as patch management and Midi processing. Compare the analog board in a Voyager or Old School to a Little Phatty and you'll see [easily] 2x the number of components. And no, the fact that there is a 3rd Oscillator and an additional filter on the Voyager does not account for the difference. Rather, it's what is done in software vs. pure hardware, primarily in Logic ICs. The Little Phatty / Slim Phatty also were among the first to have digital noise and sample and hold. Can you tell the difference?

I think you can sum it up by suggesting that digital control of modulation does not result in a digital or even a hybrid synth. At least that's what I think.

In this context, SoundOnSound is wrong in my opinion, it's not a hybrid. And a Matrix 6 is not a hybrid either. Prophet 12 and Prophet 2, yes. That's a hybrid synth.
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Re: Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by kvitekp » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:42 pm

There is no reason to dislike digitally generated EGs and LFOs -- these days they are as fast as we need them. This is verify different from the old synths like Prophet 5 or Obie Matrixx where a single 8 bit CPU had to run pretty much everything: keyboard scanning, voice allocation, midi port polling, EG and LFO generation, which, in result, where very far from snappy due to the lack of processing clocks available.

Moderns synths use fast processors perfectly capable of generating audio rate modulation. In addition, since MCU chips are pretty cheap, they use dedicated MCUs for voice related tasks and for user interface tasks. Sub37 is no exception: according to Amos, there is "main firmware" and "panel firmware", which apparently run two different MCUs.

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Re: Moog Sub 37 - is it analog, digital or hybrid?

Post by lushr » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:06 pm

Personally I think the sub moogs are the best of all the synths out there in choices for what should be digital and what should be analogue.

I mean they really thought about old analogue issues like being out of tune, taking time to warm up, and as far as I know they're the only ones to have come up with a solution (not very familiar with the dave smith and other products though)

They've kept the great moog sound, the incredible ladder filter, they've made really interesting choices about their wave shapes and noise generators to give us something with that bit of extra flavour.

They've eliminated the worst analogue traits of un reliability and they've added a host of hands on bells and whistles, anything they could do digitally, like sync and loop functions across the board, step sequencer, extra Arpeggiator patterns, huge amounts of memory, after touch and midi control....

I've seen other synths that had a lot of great features, polyphony etc... But there's nothing like the moog sound, that's not snobbery or blind brand following, it's just personal taste, I haven't heard anything even close to as good as the moogs. And the sub 37 is my favourite.
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