I'm just pasting my notes in for this one. I'll organize them at a much later date.
This synth introduces several new concepts from the others, but there are four big things I see:
1) LFOs and other envelopes that can modify a great variety of parameters beyond gate and volume, including modify each other.
2) Low and high arrow specific, dial-in definition sliders for several parameters that work in conjunction with velocity and the mod wheel.
3) The ability to take external signals via side chain and route them to be the sub oscillator or LFO modulator.
4) An internal feedback system for the resonance filter.
Cranking up the resonance for feedback gives tones that are tuned by the cutoff. For fun, I randomized the LFO and routed it to the cutoff, killing the main oscillator, and got sounds just like you might hear on cheesy old SciFi shows. Getting slightly more musical, I created this little instrument:
Digital Bubble Tones
Now, the side chain input... I routed some waves in it, and also a 12-string guitar, and a violin... nothing was all that interesting, to be honest. I mean, you can put like a drum loop through that sub oscillator and play around with the filter if you want. That wouldn't be unusual. Now most work of this kind, if you're privy to it, you can just do with a regular filter. But there were a few things kind of interesting. Here's me messing around with parameters while a drum loop is side-chained in as that oscillator wave:
ES1 Side-Chain Percussion Test
What I find interesting about the above side-chain experiment is that you can play the main oscillator with the side-chain feed, and whatever sound changes you make to the oscillator will be copied by the side-chain audio. So... I can kinda see having a little SD fun with this one. It should be noted that I had the source track muted, and the feed from the side chain only plays when you hit a MIDI note. (In the example, you can hear me just moving between two notes, I think a 6th apart.)
Anyway, here are my notes. (And remember to put a limiter on the track so as not to damage your monitors or your ears. Double it with one on the Master if you want to be extra careful. While I was jumping through modulation routings, more than once there were sudden nasty sound spikes!):
The ES1 is a subtractive synth emulating analog circuitry. There are two oscillators, one of which is a sub.
Note that it has an analog% option in the global parameters on the bottom left. This is actually to simulate the wear of analog circuitry. A higher percentage equals slight randomness in note and cutoff frequency. The manual suggests 0% for more percussive sounds, and higher freqs warmer analog sounds.
You can change the waveform of both oscillators. It can be interesting to mess with the sub. It also has the options of generating white noise, or routing a side chain signal through.
The sub square/rectangular(?) can be one or two octaves below. The pulse wave is two. (Backwards?)
5 pipe organ pitch settings
Change square wave width (actually moving between different pulse waves)
Can have different pitch ranges on the bend wheel, using a combo of global and extended settings. (Neg. Bender Range)
Legato engages portamento. Portamento speed is set by Glide.
Difference between a high voice setting and “full” is that, if you have a high Release setting in the envelope, chords and notes will not overlap as they are played and released at “full”. This automatic release cutoff can prevent messiness sometimes.
Like the ES E, there are three chorus settings.
The ADSR setting below gave a type of “reverse effect” feel to the notes played. It is useful to get to know envelopes better, especially as they are used for MANY instruments and effects, including those non-synth.
The ES1 can self-oscillate by driving the resonance to maximum. This creates a sine wave, adjusted by cutoff, envelope, and various settings. Note that it is not dependent on musical notes pressed. To hear it in action solo, turn the sub oscillator off, but the mix all the way to sub, and put the resonance at full. (It will actually kick in around 75%)
Try getting feedback as above, and then putting the LFO on the random wave, high speed, and cutoff. You will get old school SciFi bleeps and bloops. Remember that the cutoff is what really changes the feedback pitch. Experiment with intensity widths on the LFO effect.
While we’re at it, with these settings, engage the sub oscillator by changing to an actual wave. You’ll get interesting effects from the LFO randomizer.
The big “Filter” word in the middle is actually a draggable zone, to mod cutoff and resonance at the same time, somewhat like an XY pad.
This time, the low pass filter has four types (would be beneficial to have a quick discuss and show on low-pass EQ):
24 dB classic — mimics a Moog filter. Increasing the resonance reduce low end
24 dB fat — like an Oberheim filter, it tries to compensate for reduction of lows when resonance increases
12 dB — a soft, smooth sound like the early Oberheim SEM synth
18 dB — similar to the filter of the Roland TB-303
The drive slider is input level into the filter, changing the resonance response. (Notice that in the extended parameters is “Filter Boost”. This increases the output of the filter by 10 dB, but at the same time lowers the input/drive by 10 dB. Ultimately, this gives different sonic characteristics to the filter, especially at higher resonance values, greatly increasing feedback.
The key slider is like the 1/3, 2/3, 3/3 buttons from the ES E(?). On zero, all the keys on a keyboard react the same. The more you move towards zero, the more the sound follow pitch/note, similar to a real acoustic instrument. Specifically, there is a relationship between cutoff frequency and pitch. This difference is obvious when you play a single note at zero and then again at max.
Parameters with upper and lower arrows:
You are setting a range with the two arrows. This is useful for something that gives variable input. Most of the double-arrow sliders here are for velocity, your MIDI keyboard (or whatever instrument) note “level”. So, whatever you set the lower arrow to is the range correlating to velocity 1 (as soft as you can play). Similarly, whatever you set the upper arrow to is the range correlating to velocity 127 (as hard as you can play). The ranges in-between will match your playing styles between 1 and 127. Dragging the blue bar between the arrows moves both at the same time.
Note that the lower-left slider on the LFO listens to your mod wheel on your keyboard instead of velocity.
There are three buttons to select what ADSR parameters you want to affect the amplitude.
Something that should have been mentioned before: Attack and Release times of zero can create pops in when you play, so it’s generally best to have them up a little bit, even if you want an immediate attack or release.
Note that when playing in legato mode, whatever velocity you trigger the gate is where the gate will stay while you play in legato, no matter the velocity you hit later keys with. I think I’ve said this before in different words.
The manual suggests setting the cutoff low and the resonance high, then move the ADSR via Velocity arrows around to get to know it.
The FM modular routing setting creates FM-style metallic sounds on feedback. Otherwise, it’s a distorted effect.
The LFO introduces a descending sawtooth.
The “random” wave is actually called a “sample and hold” wave. The one next to it is also a random wave, but smoother.
Setting LFO rate to zero = DC, which means the mod wheel is to control the change. However, I have yet to find this very pronounced. There are some effects, like if you have the main osc on square wave and have the LFO routed to pulse width, rate zero, at high mod wheel zones you can heard the change in pulse width.
The Mod envelope form; “full” is static/off, decay is fade-out, and attack is fade-in. Small settings can be percussive. Otherwise this is set via velocity parameter definitions.
From the manual:
Set up a delayed vibrato
Drag the Form slider to the right—toward attack.
Select Pitch as the LFO target in the left column of the router.
Use the Wave knob to select the triangular wave as the LFO waveform.
Drag the Rate field to an LFO rate of about 5 Hz.
Drag the upper Int via Wheel arrow to a low value, and the lower arrow to 0.
Here's a slightly cropped pic of the synth: