A lot of the VA synths have this oscillator which is the Supersaw/Hypersaw. I like the sound, and they always describe it as the sound of 7 detuned saw oscillators played together in the manual. My question is, is this actually the way the sound is being created? 7 detuned saw oscillators? Or is there some trick to it, like using delay, etc. Wonder if you know anything about the actual implementation of such suppress oscillators.
Yes, supersaw is 6 or 7 (or 8) sawtooth oscillators, detuned differently (up/down) in prime-relationships (to minimize beating). There are two options:
- use 6 or more separated oscillators
- use a single modified oscillator that has 6 (or 7 or 8) modulo counters/increment values (for QBL) or 6 (or 7 or 8) read index values for WaveTable
A cool example is the Korg PolySix. You could choose between a polyphonic synth with 6 separate oscillators, or mono-synth with all six combined and detuned. The iPad version of the synth is more flexible, letting you choose how many oscillators are combined in their version of "supersaw."
There is a really good free VST2 plugin called SuperWave P8 that is a superwave synth with 8 separate, detunable oscillators (superWave and not superSaw since you can detune any waveforms, not just saw). It makes a nice synth to clone as a project once you get through the book projects, and I even used it once in class as an assignment -- "clone this synth"
I don't have a specific formula (though you might be able to track down Roland's ratios). Detuning 2 oscillators produces beating, but once you start detuning 3 or more, the relationships can cause good or bad artifacts. For example, in the MiniSynth project with 3 sawtooth oscillators, the detuning pushes one oscillator up in pitch, another down in pitch (by the same amount) and the third is unaffected (stays at MIDI note pitch). The beating that occurs has a set pattern to it based on the detune amount in cents. But, if I change this so that one oscillator is at 0.73*detune while the other is at 1.0*detune, the beating occurs, but the underlying pattern is different -- it takes longer for the pattern to "wrap around" sonically. Detuning in primes won't eliminate the beating, but it can make the beating less periodic sounding.
Hi Will, Thanks for the reply!
I tried setting them apart in non constant intervals - sounds so much better. with 7 Oscs I cant really find a 'pattern', but the sound is changing anyway. Gives it something unpredictable, which is a good thing I guess.
For anyone interested: You can make the osc 'predictable' (= pressing a note two times sounds the same) again by resetting it. BUT if you just reset all Oscs to Phase = 0 you will have one instance of beating for a few seconds which almost has the sonic characteristics of a filter envelope. You can avoid this by resetting the different oscs to different start values so they're not in phase.
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