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How to Simulate a Duophonic Synth on the XW-P1 (and maybe the XW-G1 too!) After decades of defaulting to polyphony, I've finally become fascinated with mono synths and the awesome Solo Synth of my XW-P1. As a result, I've also found myself interested in the duophonic play style of synths like the ARP Odyssey and Moog's Sub 37. It got me to thinking if there was a way to simulate a duophonic synth on the XW-P1 (and the XW-G1) to support that kind of sound. After a week or so of experimenting, I think I came up with a suitable way to pull it off. It won't support the full spectrum of those synths, but it does give me the ability to, for instance, play or hold single notes on one part of the keyboard, and play or hold the Solo Synth on the other. Since you obviously can't have two Solo Synths going on at the same time, the next best thing is to pair up the Solo Synth with a PCM synth tone/tones, split them using Zones, and have them share the same filter. Fortunately others like AlenK, Chas, BradMZ and others have deciphered all the elements I need to do this. The XW-P1 Companion, in particular, was really helpful to me. Also thanks to Clark Denham over on the Facebook Group who said something to me that clicked and kept me from giving up. The XW-P1 Solo Synth app for iPad was also invaluable for the fine tuning I needed to do. Once I accepted that I was going to have to work the Solo Synth and PCM tones, I set out on finding some Solo Synth tones that I liked, ones that were reminiscent of the sound I was going for. I chose a handful of them, then set out to find some PCM tones that sounded similar. I decided that I was going to need a combination of PCM tones to sound right side-by-side with a Solo Synth. In the end, I found a good match between XW LeadSyn 2, and the combination of PCM tones Slow SawLead and Seq.Square. So I put XW LeadSyn 2 in Zone 1 (so that I could later apply its filter to the other Zones), Slow SawLead in Zone 2 and Seq.Square in Zone 3. I assigned Zone 1 keys as the Lower Key Split (C- to B2) and Zones 2 and 3 both (layered) as the Upper Key Split (C3 - G9). The first test was to play Lower and Upper to hear how it sounded, and this is where the first lightbulb went off. What I really wanted to do was play the Solo Synth as the Lead, and let the PCM tones either do bass duty or just be the lower held note. So I switched my key arrangement and that was much better. So Zone 1 as Upper (C3 - G9) and Zones 2 and 3 both as Lower (C- to B2). Much better. So I played B2 and C3 (the split point) to hear how natural the progression was, but found that it sounded like it jumped an octave. So I set Zone 1 with a +1 Octave Shift, and the split matched quite naturally. The tones were close, but it required some fine tuning of the Solo Synth sound and envelope to bring it into line with the layered PCM tones. This is where the iPad app came in really handy, and with a little tweaking, I had a custom Solo Synth tone that sounded pretty much just like Slow SawLead+Seq.Square. (note: I save a lot as I go along, and even save temporary variations in case tweaking goes too far and it becomes difficult to get back. So it really helps to use that Write function on both Performance and Tone so that you can audition variations and finally choose the best combined settings) The next step is some housekeeping to help keep your sanity later on. Basically, you want to normalize the Performance. Go through the Volume/Level settings and match them, match the Reverb settings, do everything you can to get those two sides of the split to match as closely as possible. The goal is a set of keys that sounds like a single tone on a monosynth (on which you can play two notes at a time!). What comes next can be as small or big as you want. Remember that I put the Solo Synth on Zone 1 specifically so that I could apply effects and behavior that was available to the PCM tones as well (see posts like Chas's Filter All and XW surprises). For what I was working on, I wanted an automated LFO Sweep running in a cycle for all the notes. I went back to my SoloSynth tone, set (and saved!) the Cutoff and Resonance of the LPF to where I had a nice medium "growl", went to LFO and set LFO1 and LFO2, made a Virtual Controller for LFO2 routed to the Cutoff of the Filter, and added a Flanger to the DSP. Tweaked as I went along and got the sound I was looking for. Resaved the Tone. Went back to the Performance, into Zone, and set the PCM tones on Zones 2 and 3 to DSP Line "On" so that they could tap into the same effect. Tested it out across the keyboard, probably did some more tweaking and came up with a single sound I really liked. Saved the Performance. The other big lightbulb was serendipitous. I started messing with the Sequencers for the Performance, knowing that I'd probably want to assign Arpeggio to one Zone (only) and Phrase/Key Play to the other. At first I was thinking that Arpeggio would be great for an automated bassline on the Lower Split. But I was messing with the Phrase Recorder and assigned it to the Lower half (again, Zones 2 and 3). I recorded a long single C note on the Phrase Recorder and saved it. When I tried it out, I realized I had just made the Lower half a monosynth! Keep in mind that with the PCM tones in the lower half, I could still play them as poly. I would just have to be careful to play only one note at a time. But with a single note Phrase/Key Play assigned to the Lower Split, I can only play one note at a time. That, combined with the Zone 1 Solo Synth on the Upper Split gives me the "two-note monophonic" synth I was looking for. Essentially, a Pseudo Duo Synth. I saved my custom Key Play sequence, set it to be limited to the Lower Zone keys (C- to B2), set Key Play default as "On", and saved my completed Program (I even named my Program "PseuDual"). I still have some more experimenting I want to do with envelopes, and switching my Upper/Lower assignments to see how that sounds. And since I really have very little hands-on experience with actual Duophonic synths (Sub 37 coming soon), I don't know what I might be missing. Feedback from others here would be welcome and I hope that someone else will find this useful and possibly take it further. I'm not sure if I upload just the Program file if that will include the Tone and other elements, so in the next day or so I'll upload all of the associated files. I'll also try to do a video or audio demo of the results (all of this was for a specific song I've been working on). I just had some time this evening and wanted to make sure I got the basic steps down in writing before they started to drift out of my mind.
I'm having a good bit of fun experimenting with the G1's solo synth mode and experimenting with all the settings to see how to change the sound. However, I can't seem to find out how to link the LFO(s) to the filter. A lot of older analogue synths had this function whereby you could link the LFO to the filter cut-off to get the classic filter sweep effect, or depending on the LFO waveform and speed, all sorts of strange effects using the filter. How do you link the LFO to the filter cut-off? Or link the LFO's to various parameters, especially the filter functions?