Analog synthesizer Envelope generator performance
The performance of hardware vs. software envelope generators has been the subject of much discussion
Measurements have been done using the VCA envelope at minimum attack, full sustain and filter wide open.
Sampled at 48kHz using a high pitched tone.
The tables below list the attack-times.
|Hardware controlled envelopes||Software controlled envelopes|
|Make||Model||Time (ms)||Type||Make||Model||Time (ms)|
(Samples (wav-files) can be downloaded here.)
Another very important factor is the shape of the complete envelope. Some synths will have a sustain section even with sustain at zero. This will cause a sound with more energy and the ear will percept is as being more punchy compared to an envelope which starts the decay immediately after the attack.
The Paia Fatman even has a toggle switch that adds some sustain.
Below are some screenshots of samples taken with minimum attack time, zero sustain and minimal decay.
The left sample is taken as described above, the right with full sustain for reference. It can be clearly seen that even if the sustain is at zero the sample shows a significant sustain part of approx. 30ms. Towards the end the level even increases way above the normal sustain level.
One can see the pretty slow attack, but maybe more important, the level immediately starts to fall with the decay.
The left image is with the "Punch" switched off, the right with "Punch" on. The punch function adds a sustain element to the envelope.