SKREWELL - Hardware synth equivalent ideas? What is the structure of Skrewell?

EdmundLloyd
EdmundLloyd Member Posts: 5 Newcomer

So I’m super crazy about Skrewell, and I would really like to recreate the sound it makes in hardware, probably with modular.

I feel like there is a LOT of feedback mixed with delay, and possibly some sort of… folding(?) going on. But I can’t really put my finger on it, and I have no idea who Lazyfish is, or how to get hold of him to ask.

Thoughts?

Best Answer

  • colB
    colB Member Posts: 756 Guru
    Answer ✓

    3 pairs of oscillators each pair has cross modulation for FM and AM. two pairs use pulse waves and the other uses sinusoid (par FM)

    each par also feeds a couple of filters with a delay and clipper in a network that also has local feedback.

    There doesn't seems to be much (or any?) global feedback. (maybe there is feedback via send receive modules? those make reverse engineering a bit of a pain). Maybe also feedback via parameters rather than direct audio modulation?

    There are some parameters that have two settings that get switched between. This makes a lot of sense in the context of bifurcating fractals. And that also makes sense in the context of the sound that skrewell makes. It does that thing where components of the sound toggle chaotically between two states, and when lots of things are doing that you get loads of layers that still make sense in that there are recognisable characteristics rather than just a random mess.

    You could use comparators and inverters with VCAs, or alternatively CV switches with offset/attenuverters to create that bifurcating chaotic selection between two states in various parts of the structure.

    So basically:

    4 pulse wave oscillators

    2 sinusoid oscillators

    6 LP filters

    6 bandpass filters (combo lp and hp in Skrewell)

    6 delays (basic delays)

    6 compressors (there is some sort of compression set up using peak detectors and clippers on the post oscillator delay feedback sections)

    Using some more fully featured delays maybe can remove the need for the compressors depending on feature set)

    some way to get 8 random sources (e.g. a doepfer A-152 combined with a noise source and a clock source)

    multiple two state switches (there a lots in Skrewell, but maybe you can get away with fewer and still capture the essence?

    You can probably get some interesting results even with two sections instead of three

    ==============

    This is the reason some folk have huge walls of Eurorack!

    To do something like Skrewell that's easy(ish) in Reaktor, you need a LOT of modules.

    Maybe look into hardware modules that are designed for producing chaotic output. Like Benjolin or other stuff by Rob Hordijk, or stuff like 'fourses'. There are lots of other chaotic analogue modules. They won't sound like Skrewell, but would likely give you more/better results for less money than trying to recreate Skrewell ;)

Answers

  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 4,046 Expert

    Not hardware, but this thread has some suggestions about other VST that could be similar. Maybe you can study them to see what they do


  • Kymeia
    Kymeia Member Posts: 3,502 Expert
    edited July 2023

    You probably want some sort of chaotic noise generator to start with (although Skrewell has 8 of those) - something like this maybe

    Then there is a ton of feedback and reverb as well

  • colB
    colB Member Posts: 756 Guru

    I think the kind of sounds you get from Skrewell depend at least in part on being digital with aliasing and quantization. So to get in the ballpark, digital modules would be required, at which point, why not just use a laptop running Reaktor with Skrewell?

    Feedback systems are often chaotic, so even the same structure makes very different sounds with just tiny changes in parameters. So trying to simulate Skrewell using e.g. Eurorack is never going to get particularly close. Although definitely worthwhile as you will find a huge load of interesting patches while on your fruitless search for the Skrewell sound!

    First thing to do would be load up Skrewell, and dig in to the structure. Work out what the main elements are and see if you have hardware that can be leveraged into performing similar functions...

  • colB
    colB Member Posts: 756 Guru
    Answer ✓

    3 pairs of oscillators each pair has cross modulation for FM and AM. two pairs use pulse waves and the other uses sinusoid (par FM)

    each par also feeds a couple of filters with a delay and clipper in a network that also has local feedback.

    There doesn't seems to be much (or any?) global feedback. (maybe there is feedback via send receive modules? those make reverse engineering a bit of a pain). Maybe also feedback via parameters rather than direct audio modulation?

    There are some parameters that have two settings that get switched between. This makes a lot of sense in the context of bifurcating fractals. And that also makes sense in the context of the sound that skrewell makes. It does that thing where components of the sound toggle chaotically between two states, and when lots of things are doing that you get loads of layers that still make sense in that there are recognisable characteristics rather than just a random mess.

    You could use comparators and inverters with VCAs, or alternatively CV switches with offset/attenuverters to create that bifurcating chaotic selection between two states in various parts of the structure.

    So basically:

    4 pulse wave oscillators

    2 sinusoid oscillators

    6 LP filters

    6 bandpass filters (combo lp and hp in Skrewell)

    6 delays (basic delays)

    6 compressors (there is some sort of compression set up using peak detectors and clippers on the post oscillator delay feedback sections)

    Using some more fully featured delays maybe can remove the need for the compressors depending on feature set)

    some way to get 8 random sources (e.g. a doepfer A-152 combined with a noise source and a clock source)

    multiple two state switches (there a lots in Skrewell, but maybe you can get away with fewer and still capture the essence?

    You can probably get some interesting results even with two sections instead of three

    ==============

    This is the reason some folk have huge walls of Eurorack!

    To do something like Skrewell that's easy(ish) in Reaktor, you need a LOT of modules.

    Maybe look into hardware modules that are designed for producing chaotic output. Like Benjolin or other stuff by Rob Hordijk, or stuff like 'fourses'. There are lots of other chaotic analogue modules. They won't sound like Skrewell, but would likely give you more/better results for less money than trying to recreate Skrewell ;)

  • Paule
    Paule Member Posts: 1,328 Expert
    edited July 2023

    Lazyfish is a top builder aka Alexander Potekhin. He was also part of TRK-01 and many more ensembles since years.

    Akkord is one of hims.

  • colB
    colB Member Posts: 756 Guru

    ...only one set of osc pairs active at a time... YAY

    ...8 poly voices are cross modulating... OOF

    so... 8 pairs of oscs with 8 pairs of delay/feedback/filter resonator thingies...

    maybe $10000.00 of Eurorack would get you there, but only if you buy the cheaper stuff used ;)

  • EdmundLloyd
    EdmundLloyd Member Posts: 5 Newcomer

    Thanks to all for your input, especially colB. What a wealth if information there!

    So yeah, I guess I’m sticking to the software with a MIDI controller. Now if only I could map more than just the basic parameters to a controller so I can control each slider within the 8-slider area, like hit a switch to cycle through each section and control each sub-section, if that makes sense.

  • Kymeia
    Kymeia Member Posts: 3,502 Expert
    edited July 2023

    You could get a more Eurorack like experience I guess with VCVRack but with the scalability you get with software - maybe even use it to try prototyping a hardware setup that gets you close enough

  • PoorFellow
    PoorFellow Moderator Posts: 1,713 mod
    edited July 2023

    "Skrewell" alternatives apparently is an old discussion though not as hardware alternative , these have been mentioned in discussions as at least borderline interesting : 


    Sophia , Synth Plugin by Audiobulb

    Unfiltered Audio LION: https://www.plugin-alliance.com/en/products/unfiltered_audio_lion.html

    Permut8

    CrusherX 8 with the feedback, the DCO & GCO features

    Lancinantes : https://www.ineardisplay.com/plugins/lancinantes/


    Ref.:

    https://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=535970

    https://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=428339


    not to be negative anyway , but considering the cost and the inherit problems with hardware electronics and adding how far software modular stuff has come then I wouldn't even try hardware modular synth stuff beyond maybe connecting something to an Arturia keyboard had I had one that is !

  • lofide
    lofide Member Posts: 4 Member

    Hello everyone,

    i know it's not under hardware but i didn't want to start another thread. Could someone build a similar Skrewell or TG-8H (Skrewell prototype) using Reaktor Blocks. It could be either Rack-ready or Legacy.

    For educational purposes

    Thank you

  • colB
    colB Member Posts: 756 Guru

    Why? Just dig into the structure of Screwell as is. It's much easier to follow than it would be if it was recreated using Blocks, I guarantee you that for sure!

    It would be easier and quicker to learn Reaktor from scratch and study the .ens than it would be to reverse engineer a Blocks based version. If it was done in Blocks, it would be a huge multi screen mess of wires and multiple instances of the same block. It probably wouldn't run on anything but a very high end PC, and there would be enough workarounds to completely obscure the actual functionality of the different components.

    Just take your time to work through the structure of the actual ensemble, and take notes while you are doing it. The basic rough thoughts I posted earlier in the thread would maybe help to get started - particularly the stuff about polyphony...

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