Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

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GregIcky
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Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by GregIcky » Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:56 pm

Sooooooo, have had the Shifter for many months now and I’ve tried so hard to tame it into something musical. I feel like this is a cry for help. I got it on a smoking deal when I first built my case. Any time that I got frustrated and ended up spitting out just horrible noise I chocked it up to “lack of experience” and figured just spending more time, reading everything I could fine, trying others patch ideas and being system “starting with just sine waves” would eventually bring forth some enlightenment.

I’ve read the “harsh” wave remarks and told myself that people just gave up too early.... well it’s been 8 months now and I just now have turned the volume down to rest my ears, they’re not happy.

One thing I have to say is PRESETS. I would figure that any dev would make presets on their device to show to the world what that device can do... “hey look, here’s some cool sounds, now take it from here and make this thing really shine!” The presets on SS are super boring. There are maybe 3 or 4 that are like actually playable. I’m not saying you should expect a ton of baddass presets with any synth and figure all’s good... obviously. But shouldn’t they show you how you can take the thing to the next level. And shouldn’t they be a good foundation for creating something on the next level after that? Sure tons of synths have boring presets but they usually have that special “bank” of stuff that everyone goes “check this out” to show their friends some insane bit of programming. And sure the SS isn’t an actual full voice synthesizer but still. What’s a reason not to have those in there? I can’t think of one. If what I say is true then intellijel must have put them in, which means what I hear is what I get. OK, given that this unit relies on external modulation - so to really make these things come alive you’ve got to add and envelope or lfo or 3. Sure thing.... I’m sure they put that in the manual just like Make Noise did with Maths.... nope. Nothing.

Let’s talk about the Pong combo mode. Nice oscilloscope picture in the manual. It shows me what Pong looks like. So what. What in the fuck does that matter? It could look like a Salvador Dali but it tells me nothing about how to use that mode. I’ve yet to make a single decent sound with Pong and I’ve tried every wavebank, every shape, every pitch patch mod a, mod b, perc, gate and lfo mode using Pong and it sounds alike shit.

You’ve convinced me fellow wigglers. The waves are harsh as all hell. It make the Piston Honda sounds like a feather bed.

The reason I rant, gripe and whine about this is because I REALLY want to love this thing. I love the clinical look. I love the idea of it. I love wavetables. I wanted sooooo bad to take it to the next level. I wanted perc mode to be a seriously offensive drum patch, not clicks and noise. I wanted to modulate the shape so that waves swept into sweet spots and out of my speakers into harmonic euphoria.....

I figure I’ve got 2 choices. Wait for replies showing me the path to righteousness OR sell it off and find something else. If I opt for the latter option, well shit - at least I’ll have 26hp to work with. :deadbanana:

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by sleepmute » Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:24 pm

If you don’t like it, you don’t like it, but I don’t find it that hard to tame. Re: the combo modes, one thing that makes it a lot more musical is using the quantizer for osc 2 and trying different ratios. Some ratios sound better with certain modes. Small amounts of internal FM help. Subtle modulation of waveshape helps. Try modulating stuff with the pulse output. Try combining the different outputs with a mixer. Subtle external FM modulation gives it an analog feel. Finally, run it through a filter, preferable a low-pass gate.

I’m curious what kind of sounds you’re getting that you hate so much. Could you post some examples? I mean it’s definitely not the warmest or smoothest oscillator ever, but I feel like there aren’t that many sounds you can’t achieve using all the options available.

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by VibratingMotorGate » Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:22 am

The Multiwave function seems to be the main attraction, which harkens back to some of the uses one would think of with the Cheetah MS800 (to an outsider like me). A lot of the wavetables seem to be sets of different frequency ratios, so of course this function would to get more noisy, the more waves you chain together. That coupled with the modulation options with the second oscillator (pong mode would be more suitable for less harmonic-ritch waves i think), and I could only imagine the carnage you're hearing. Can you select how many multiwaves (2/4/6/8) differently for both oscillators, and modulate the number separately by the way (like with a trigger or gate)? This thing just begs for a filter honestly. Everything else on this just unit just looks like chump change to me outside of those main features, except for maybe the delay and vocoder options. Have you tried turning down the lame-looking wave-folder/"fold" knob at the end of the chain?

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by joskery » Mon Jul 20, 2020 2:45 am

’Lame-looking’?

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by helix » Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:25 am

I must say I bought one second hand because of the mylarmelodies video. It’s an incredible machine when you use it right and for the right genre/styles of music. But it wasn’t for me. I sold it after about 9 months of struggling to make anything other than some (really nice) FM tones, chords and wave folded sines. I could already do these things elsewhere so ended up getting rid and replacing with a DPO. I love this thing! I can fold already but this thing just has so many sweet spots. I wish I had the money to get Another shapeshifter and have a real good play with it but hey ho

I’d sell it if I was you it’s obviously been more of a pain than an enjoyment. You’ll have lots of space and money to fill with other things when it’s gone so I’d watch some videos and work our what it is you really want!

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by dubonaire » Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:37 am

One thing to make sure is that you have the Mod A attenuator turned completely down when not using it, if you don't it will alter everything.

Personally, I think complex waveforms need filters, that's my taste. Complex waves, I rarely use them, except as LFOs, don't forget it works as an LFO.

I'm not sure what people expect. This is a complex waveform generating machine - it is raw material. I absolutely love the chords it makes, that's enough for me.

Lame-looking knob? LOL!

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by cptnal » Mon Jul 20, 2020 5:35 am

I take it we've checked out the Seth Shafer series of videos on YouTube? The first one goes through how to set an "init" patch, turning off all the controls that could lead to weirdness. I don't often use the combo modes other than the first two. Although I did recently have a good experience modulating AND through mod B.
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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by inoshi » Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:16 am

Hey man uhhh.... wanna sell it?

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by exper » Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:23 am

Watch these:

I have 2 shapeshifters because it is such an amazing module...
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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by cptnal » Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:26 am

exper wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:23 am
Watch these:

I have 2 shapeshifters because it is such an amazing module...
Yeah, that one.
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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by 6667 » Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:21 am


GregIcky wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:56 pm
I love the clinical look.
:hmm: :hmm: :hmm: :hmm: :hmm:

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by cliffemu » Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:35 am

The more musical you want it to be, the more subtle you should be in modulating away from the init patch. The raw waves sounded really nice when I had mine.

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:14 am

Code: Select all

he tried so hard
but got square waves
post on muffs
asking whats the matter
in the end
he sold it off
got something else
his VCO got fatter
WWW.EATYOURGUITAR.COM <---- MY DIY STUFF

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Dob
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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by Dob » Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:26 am

Something to keep in mind is that you should never buy a module because of 1 enthusiastic/insane YouTube movie. More often than not the vid is sponsored and shows you the sweet spots, flying over the interface as in auto pilot, cutting out the 10 misses that came before the shown success. (i.e. very smoothly editted)

I've been on the fence for this one too, mainly because of those infectiously enthusiastic mylar melodies vids. Then I read about it, saw more vid, read the manual, again, read some more threads, etc. etc., and although it has my name all over it, I steered clear. To this day I still want to like it.
I can probably navigate it with my eyes closed :), I don't think I ever did as much research as for this.

I did end up with the QPAS because of too much budget/space, loving Make Noise, and a vid by mylar melodies. Isn't that the vid that actually also stars the Shapeshifter...?! Yes I think it is. I got lucky there, because the QPAS is something special I will not be giving up on anytime soon. Although MM does show the sweet spot in a very sweet way. And he doesn't enthusiasticly tell you about the downside, which is that if you turn up resonance, everything that goes through it will sound like QPAS. (Which you have to like)

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by starthief » Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:59 am

exper wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:23 am
Watch these:

I have 2 shapeshifters because it is such an amazing module...
That's an excellent video series, thanks for posting the link.

Until now I've pretty much ignored the Shapeshifter -- I decided early on it looked complicated and menu-divey, a bit too much like some digital synths I used to have that I didn't get along with all that well. But now that I understand the feature set and see some of the potential I think I should probably dive in and check it out, now that I'm going to have some space to play with. My favorite VCOs are Hertz Donut mk2, E352 and Akemie's Castle, and this seems to have aspects of all of those.

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by exper » Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:10 am

@Starthief - I agree. It is just a great doing FM/Folded complex osc sounds like the Hertz Donut 2, has wavetable sounds in 1 dimension. I've never really listened to an Akemi's Castle before, but I think that's more of a 4 op Yamaha DX-like voice. The Shapeshifter has two oscs for FM.

That said, you can use Morph to get access to more wavetable terrain, and/or sequence presets to get wavestation-like sequences going. It's such an amazing playground for sound sculpting, not to mention its use as FX (waveshape external sounds, wavefolding, vocoding and delay/comb filtering.

Then when you realize all of that power can be put into LFO mode for complex modulation for other modules, it truly blows your mind. If I ever have to reduce my system, My two shapeshifters will always remain...

Also, it's not really "menu-divey" like say, a Braids or Bitbox is. Everything is a button press and/or knob twist away pretty much.
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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by tuj » Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:23 am

So if you want to see where the shapeshifter came from, maybe a better place, debatable, is the Cyclonix Cyclebox II and expander. No screen/menus, one knob/switch per function. Aggressive but not so much so that you can't find happy places. I have the shapeshifter too and the cycle box takes me back sometimes.

IIRC the shapeshifter evolved out of the cycle box.

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by starthief » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:04 pm

exper wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:10 am
I've never really listened to an Akemi's Castle before, but I think that's more of a 4 op Yamaha DX-like voice. The Shapeshifter has two oscs for FM.
Yeah, Akemie's Castle is a 4op FM synth, based around a NOS OPL3 chip, and the two separate outputs share the algorithm but can be independently tuned. In terms of synthesis I tend to prefer 2op FM -- so I tend to use the algorithms that have two or three carriers. That allows a sort of limited additive synthesis, and with chord mode, some potentially very dense chords and clusters which make for powerful drones (especially when modulating the various carrier levels as well as the mix of the two outputs).

Shapeshifter is not a direct replacement for that, but it has a bigger palette of chord modes and controllable detuning, and 8-note chords rather than 5, so it could play a more or less similar functional role in my system. I guess I'll find out :)

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by 3hands » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:10 pm

EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:14 am

Code: Select all

he tried so hard
but got square waves
post on muffs
asking whats the matter
in the end
he sold it off
got something else
his VCO got fatter

That made me laugh out loud. Thanks!! :)
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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by Apiento » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:28 pm

I’ve just got one and spent a good few hours copying those Seth videos and have to say I love the thing. It’s just a ton of fun. Instant vibe that you can properly turn inside out to your taste. And I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface. I’m now goi g to go through the tips and tricks docs someone kindly collated that’s in the main Shapeshifter thread.

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by GregIcky » Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:08 pm

starthief wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:59 am
Until now I've pretty much ignored the Shapeshifter -- I decided early on it looked complicated and menu-divey, a bit too much like some digital synths I used to have that I didn't get along with all that well. But now that I understand the feature set and see some of the potential I think I should probably dive in and check it out, now that I'm going to have some space to play with. My favorite VCOs are Hertz Donut mk2, E352 and Akemie's Castle, and this seems to have aspects of all of those.
I'm surprised that you haven't tried that Starthief on your great adventure.... But at least you know the struggles of finding what works for you and chucking the rest. With SS I pretty much made a decision not to let it go and instead step back and let it rest, come back to it from a different angle and a fresh set of ears.... this has led to a pretty much "I love this thing and will never sell it" attitude all the way to a 180 "I can't get this thing to behave and my dog is hiding under the bed"

I think my patching in general leads to days of utter joy and love for all mankind... to other days when nothing is working at all like I envision. Knowing this has kept me from getting rid of the few frustrating modules I own. Back when I first got a Maths I was questioning the validity of that decision, but from all the comments of people way smarter than me I kept on it and now understand the totally legit reason that that thing is a star player!

Yeah, I'm really wanting to get get some use out of the PERC mode on this thing..... I've had minimal success. It's most times either too clicky or just downright annoying AF. Any advise would be welcomed. Seems like SS is one of those modules that people either love or hate.

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by GregIcky » Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:09 pm

Ah shit, this part got deleted:

Well thanks a ton everybody. You make me laugh!

OK, I went back and zeroed everything out like the video says to (I've watched it countless times). I got the simple sines and everything playing nice. Then I started just trying ONE change, like changing the OSC 1 wavetable.... I got some pretty smooth non-offensive sounds coming out. Then I tried sweeping the int FM knob around and got nice sounds with that.... Next I moved the output to FOLD and got some richer things... sounding good.

One thing that boggles my mind is that damn MOD A input. Yes I get that it's normalized to the osc 1 input... but what I DON'T get is why? Like I've never been able to use that and get anything other that crazy static just totally trashing the Phase of osc 2. What's the catch? And why is it audio rate? If you stick an ext vco in to it, isn't that just turning it into a sync input? I can't wrap my tiny brain around why that thing is normalled to something that is basically useless by design? What am I missing here? I get that you can use it to address the wavetable (basically bypassing the saw that it uses).... but how do you use it to produce a useable outcome?

My other gripe is yeah in osc 1 combo mode things can sound great... and I've had some luck with "And" but what about Pong, XOR and Glitch? How are people using those modes to produce anything other that incoherent trash?

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by starthief » Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:28 pm

GregIcky wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:08 pm
I'm surprised that you haven't tried that Starthief on your great adventure....
It's a definite blind spot I've had, for what seems now like a really silly reason. But I'll correct it soon enough. :)

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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by cptnal » Mon Jul 20, 2020 2:01 pm

GregIcky wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:09 pm
Ah shit, this part got deleted:

Well thanks a ton everybody. You make me laugh!

OK, I went back and zeroed everything out like the video says to (I've watched it countless times). I got the simple sines and everything playing nice. Then I started just trying ONE change, like changing the OSC 1 wavetable.... I got some pretty smooth non-offensive sounds coming out. Then I tried sweeping the int FM knob around and got nice sounds with that.... Next I moved the output to FOLD and got some richer things... sounding good.

One thing that boggles my mind is that damn MOD A input. Yes I get that it's normalized to the osc 1 input... but what I DON'T get is why? Like I've never been able to use that and get anything other that crazy static just totally trashing the Phase of osc 2. What's the catch? And why is it audio rate? If you stick an ext vco in to it, isn't that just turning it into a sync input? I can't wrap my tiny brain around why that thing is normalled to something that is basically useless by design? What am I missing here? I get that you can use it to address the wavetable (basically bypassing the saw that it uses).... but how do you use it to produce a useable outcome?

My other gripe is yeah in osc 1 combo mode things can sound great... and I've had some luck with "And" but what about Pong, XOR and Glitch? How are people using those modes to produce anything other that incoherent trash?
With your basic sine patch try switching the Mod A destination to Phase 1, then patch Out 2 to Mod A in.
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Re: Shapeshifter: I’ve tried so hard

Post by Stice » Mon Jul 20, 2020 2:48 pm

Always wanted one, and perhaps perversely, this thread inspired me to pull the trigger. I'm sure the info here will help me get to terms with it.

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