Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Yamaha FS1R Formant Shaping/FM Synthesis Tone Generator

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Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by parametric » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:23 am

Generally much loved by those lucky enough to have one . . . .

If you are Curious - this may be a way to go . . . . . http://www.hollowsun.com/HS2/products/fs1r/index.htm

Steve Howell of HollowSun was a genius who sadly passed away unexpectedly a number of years ago . . . .

I came across his work via my Alesis Fusion, but some bad piracy experiences caused him to jump to Kontakt.

Check out his MLM (Music Laboratory Machines). Weird and Wonderful and often less than a Tenner . . . . . :
o

OK, you need Kontakt 4.2.4 or higher, but £15 +Vat is not a lot for the 150 presets on offer . . . .

Could be the reason to succumb finally to Kontakt?

Here's the demo from the above page . . . .

FS1R Montage.mp3
(4.12 MiB) Downloaded 58 times

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Re: Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by Derek » Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:46 am

Sounds good. What I am hearing around 1:25 is, I think, an example of how FS1r FM can sound really vocal like with its formant approach.

It has to be said that as good as it sounds, a sample package will never give you the FM dynamic operator interplay unless they have done a shit load of multi sampling, and even then that will not be 100%.

Having said that, given that the FS1r is now as rare as hen's teeth (I've seen recent ones for sale advertised around the £2,000 mark!), then this package is indeed an absolute bargain if you want a slice of FS1r, but recognise the constraints mentioned above. Of course if you like the sound and dont have reference to the original, you will not know what is missing.

I've probably mentioned it before, I don't use my FS1r much, but when I want to add some extra movement in a track and am looking for a sound that is not going to get in the way of anything else, it is often the FS1r that I turn to.
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Re: Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by FailedMuso » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:41 pm

Ah, the memories of working on this sample library. I was working closely with Steve at this time and our mutual friend had two (!) FS1r's and I stupidly passed on the opportunity of buying one of them! :doh:

The library was developed originally for the Akai S5000/6000 (I still have it in that format) and then we adapted it for Fusion as our focus shifted to that instrument. Steve was, for a long while, vehemently opposed to Kontakt, but eventually caved once the who Akai/Alesis thing kicked off. He simply decided that he couldn't fight against the ever-turning tide and Kontakt gave him a bit more confidence in the piracy dept. although he detested their licensing model.

Reason users can buy a library licensed by our friends at Jiggery Pokery called 'Nebulae' which featured plenty of FS1r pad sounds at their core...

http://www.jiggery-pokery.com/nebulae.html

I just pulled up that original FS1r library and many, many memories came flooding back. I do miss my mentor and partner in crime :(

Last year, I narrowly missed out on picking up an FS1r for under £800 and bitterly regret not pushing the boat out, but being so close to Xmas made it very hard to justify the expenditure. As Derek says, they're as rare as rocking horse poop these days and often go for silly money. But it remains top of my list of Yamaha FM potential acquisitions.

Sadly, it seems Steve's libraries are now stuck in suspended animation. During his final year or two, Steve partnered up with a Kontakt scripter in Croatia and after Steve passed, this guy promised Steve's family he would keep the site going and develop it, and the content, further. Disappointingly, he seems to have done neither. I am hoping to speak to Steve's widow and daughter soon and discuss this.

In the meantime, revel in the brilliance of Yamaha's invention and Steve's interpretation. Both of them are stellar :)
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Re: Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by Derek » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:29 pm

Thanks for the insight, Rob, and quite an interesting story.

Do you recollect how deep the sampling was of the FS1r?

I was lucky to pick my FS1r up for £300 in 2006 when they were still unloved and still came up a little more often than they do now. In the days when EBAY was still more of an auction house (as opposed to fixed price market), it was about the only time I ever went for the “buy it now” option to ensure that I got it.
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Re: Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by Saul » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:09 pm

Shame this doesn't work in KONTAKT player except for in demo mode. I assume that is because a hefty license fee was not paid to Native Instruments for the privilege?

I do hope Yamaha will do something with the FS1r in the future. They have so much great legacy gear to draw from and yet it is left languishing in the past when it could be powering some fantastic music of the future :(
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Re: Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by sockmonkey » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:24 pm

Saul wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:09 pm
Shame this doesn't work in KONTAKT player except for in demo mode. I assume that is because a hefty license fee was not paid to Native Instruments for the privilege?

I do hope Yamaha will do something with the FS1r in the future. They have so much great legacy gear to draw from and yet it is left languishing in the past when it could be powering some fantastic music of the future :(
The Montage and MODX definitely use the FM part of the FS1R as their reference, that is without noise operators / formant synthesis. I still haven't gotten my hands on one of the newer synths, though, so I am not sure whether there's any point in comparing.
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Re: Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by FailedMuso » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:24 pm

Derek wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:29 pm
Thanks for the insight, Rob, and quite an interesting story.

Do you recollect how deep the sampling was of the FS1r?
Steve and I would always sample at every minor 3rd and use the sampler's engine to create sustain loops that gave us more flexibility and, more importantly back in those days, a smaller footprint in terms of sample RAM size.
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Re: Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by FailedMuso » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:34 pm

Saul wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:09 pm
Shame this doesn't work in KONTAKT player except for in demo mode. I assume that is because a hefty license fee was not paid to Native Instruments for the privilege?
Exactly that. Steve despised their licensing model but went with it because if he didn't, he'd never have made the sales he did. Which weren't that big as it was. To make use of the Kontakt Player, developers had to stump up a ridiculous amount on top of what they already had. I did try to persuade him to look into UVI as an alternative, but this was in the days where they were developing Mach Five for MOTU and they had their UVI Workstation. Their licensing was far more favourable, and included access to the free UVI Workstation platform, but the market demanded Kontakt and Steve could never justify doing both. I think, had he lived, he may well have changed his mind after seeing Falcon and how well that has performed. All ifs and buts though...
Saul wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:09 pm
I do hope Yamaha will do something with the FS1r in the future. They have so much great legacy gear to draw from and yet it is left languishing in the past when it could be powering some fantastic music of the future :(
Agreed. When I saw the MODX, I hoped upon hope that they'd fully resurrected the FS1r engine. FM + Formant Shaping was exactly where Dr John Chowning said FM should go and he did a lot of work in that field, so the FS1r delighted him. It deserves a new lease of life and given the current trend of companies either cloning (e.g. Behringer) or rejuvenating and improving old technologies (e.g. Korg Wavestate), now's as good a time as any ;)

Don't forget it's NAMM this week! Who knows? :wink:
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Re: Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by FailedMuso » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:39 pm

sockmonkey wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:24 pm
The Montage and MODX definitely use the FM part of the FS1R as their reference, that is without noise operators / formant synthesis. I still haven't gotten my hands on one of the newer synths, though, so I am not sure whether there's any point in comparing.
They are able to import old DX files through their web-based convertor but they sometimes omit some modulation data in that process, so it isn't quite 100%. Also, the MODX skimps on build quality too, being far more plasticky than the Montage and lacking keyboard aftertouch, which is a shame.

I'd genuinely love them to do a new 8-Op FM-only keyboard with formant shaping, full backwards compatibility, a full complement of modulation controls, powerful FX and a control surface akin to the Jellinghaus or DTronics DT7 programmers :)
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Re: Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by parametric » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:24 am

FailedMuso wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:41 pm
Sadly, it seems Steve's libraries are now stuck in suspended animation. During his final year or two, Steve partnered up with a Kontakt scripter in Croatia and after Steve passed, this guy promised Steve's family he would keep the site going and develop it, and the content, further. Disappointingly, he seems to have done neither. I am hoping to speak to Steve's widow and daughter soon and discuss this.

In the meantime, revel in the brilliance of Yamaha's invention and Steve's interpretation. Both of them are stellar :)
Hey Rob - I never realised you worked so closely with Steve :o

What a pleasure THAT must have been?

I corresponded with Steve on a number of occasions and have to say - What a charming and amusing correspondent

he was. The very sort I would have liked to have a long chat with over a beer or two in a NICE Pub . . . .

I did correspond with Mario briefly after Steve's passing - about his "Commercial" offerings for the Fusion . . . .

Nebulae, Novacord and Taurus . . . . . with respect to - what to do about them . . .

When Steve first announced his EOL offer it was declared a LIMITED offer . . . .

I suggested that it might be more sensible to let them remain, as people are constantly discovering the Fusion,

and WHY NOT - if they can still generate revenue for HS . . . . ?

I think in the end, Mario and the Family decided to let them be FREE (Last I heard, anyway).

You probably KNOW that Mario is Mario Krušelj, a.k.a EvilDragon. He's a regular on the Cuckos/Reaper Forum.

I was delighted to discover that Nebulae was available for Kontakt (Which I have NOW, but didn't THEN),

So I bought it just now . . . . .

It seems that all the other Stuff, the MLMs and the other-worldly items are also Kontakt (which Steve had

announced when he "dropped" The Fusion)

Between HS and KPR, there is a formidable amount of choice for the Fusion . . . . .

Add in the Kontakt stuff - and there is now an "embarrassment of riches" to be sure :lol:

As for the FS1r - it would be nice if Yamaha would pick up the baton . . . . but they seem unaware of what they HAD?

Perhaps Mr Behringer may oblige, in time?

In Mario's defence - I DID have a question about installation of Nebulae2 in Kontakt, that I asked on the

KVR/HollowSun Forum . . . . He answered the following day (Y)

If you see Angela and Alice - do send my best wishes for the future of HS, and of course - Themselves :wink:

ATB

Chris
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Re: Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by Derek » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:31 am

parametric wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:24 am
As for the FS1r - it would be nice if Yamaha would pick up the baton . . . . but they seem unaware of what they HAD?
I think Yamaha knew what they had, but didn’t know how to market an FM synth deeper than an DX7 with an even more obscure programming interface with far more complexity. It really was like the “trying to paint the Cistene chapel through the letter box”.

Therefore, the FS1r was a technical success but a marketing failure as it seemed the world was not ready for a difficult to program 16 operator (8 voiced and 8 unvoiced) FM synth with formant sequencing in rack form.

And then Yamaha, being Yamaha, Had to endow it with some stupid quirks:
  • They gave it the ability to take user formant sequencers, but never released an editor.
  • And if you did want to write your own formant sequences, it halved the voice memory from 128 voices to 64.
  • They gave it DX7 patch import capability, but only edit buffer dumps, not 32 bulk voice dumps, and 99.9% of DX7 SYSEX files on the internet are the latter not the former.
The last point is the most significant. If it had been easier to get DX7 patches into the FS1r it could have been a runaway success, even just as a DX7 replacement in a rack.

As it was, the FS1r was a marketing failure and was only on the market for a year. Poor sales and short lifespan contributes to its rarity. At the same time the EX5 was also not a stellar success due a flawed implementation in many areas and not enough DSP horsepower to unleash its power in performance mode, sluggish SCSI speed, etc.

With these two events and the public backlash on the EX5 (at the dawn of mass use of the internet, so much easier to group and spread bad news) Yamaha’s reaction was to move away from innovation that did not sell well or for which they got flamed for not getting it quite right (but then did little about it)

So Yamaha moved to the safer territory of packaging up AWM2 With a much larger sample set in the Motif. That was a roaring success, as we know, but, to me, cutting edge synth cuisine had been replaced by stodgy “meat and potatoes”. But the success of the Motif compared to daring products like the AN1x, VL1, FS1r and EX5 showed that there was less risk and more money to be made in playing it safe with a solid good sounding AWM synth.

That’s why I pleased that Yamaha seems to have recovered some of its mojo with the Montage. I just wish they had gone a little further in the multi engine dept.
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Re: Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by EXer » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:20 pm

FailedMuso wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:39 pm
They are able to import old DX files through their web-based convertor but they sometimes omit some modulation data in that process, so it isn't quite 100%.
I really don't understand why Yama didn't implement a DX7 patch converter on board the Montage/MODX.

On the face of it the so-called FM-X engine is a subset of the FS engine (everything is there but formants) and the FS1R has a built-in converter which can receive DX7 sysex dumps directly and translate them into FS1R patches accurately.

So why should Montage/MODX users rely on a web-based application to import DX7 patches into FM-X ?
What when Yamaha does not support that web application anymore?
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Re: Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by Saul » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:45 pm

I would guess that some bright spark at Yamaha figured it would be a good way to keep people returning to yamahasynth.com if they forced you to used a web based app rather than incorporate the function within the Montage/MODX.

To my way of thinking there is no "sensible" reason not to have the conversion carried out within the Montage/MODX. It is one of those annoying 'Yamaha' qwerks that always sours what in many ways is a fantastic product.
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Re: Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by Macke » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:18 pm

EXer wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:20 pm
I really don't understand why Yama didn't implement a DX7 patch converter on board the Montage/MODX.

So why should Montage/MODX users rely on a web-based application to import DX7 patches into FM-X ?
What when Yamaha does not support that web application anymore?
I also agree I would prefer to be able to do the conversion onboard for the very same reason EXer mentioned.
Saul wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:45 pm
I would guess that some bright spark at Yamaha figured it would be a good way to keep people returning to yamahasynth.com if they forced you to used a web based app rather than incorporate the function within the Montage/MODX.

To my way of thinking there is no "sensible" reason not to have the conversion carried out within the Montage/MODX. It is one of those annoying 'Yamaha' qwerks that always sours what in many ways is a fantastic product.
To me it looked more like a way of making it easier to fix issues with conversion in a web app than in the instrument itself.
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Re: Curious about the FS1R . . . . .

Unread post by Saul » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:23 pm

Macke wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:18 pm

To me it looked more like a way of making it easier to fix issues with conversion in a web app than in the instrument itself.
There shouldn't be any issues. What about all those who either cannot or do not want to use the web to convert patches?

Yamaha invented the whole DX7 FM thing. They have decades of experience with it. You think they could not implement an onboard converter?
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