I’ve typed this 7 or 8 times before, but here we go again…
Elements = Exciter + Resonator + Reverb.
Rings = just the resonator.
Rings uses the same resonator code as Elements, with two additions:
- The ability to split the 60 filters into 2x30 or 4x15 to do polyphony.
- Two other string synthesis models which are not based on band-pass filters, but on comb filters - and which sound totally different from what Elements is doing (though I might make them available in Elements as Easter eggs).
All this is possible on Rings because 40% of the CPU is freed by the lack of exciter or reverb. This means that Rings will rely on external modules if you really want a large sound palette. For example, if you want to generate bowed string sounds, or blown tube sounds, you’ll need an external VCA, envelope generator, and colored noise source and patch them into Rings - while Elements has all the tools onboard to do this. Elements also benefits from the coupling of the exciter and resonator parameters - some knobs in Elements achieve their effect by controlling at the same time parameters of the exciter, of the resonator, and the mixing of the raw exciter and resonator signal.
So let’s take a comparison you might understand better: Elements would be a complex oscillator + filter, tuned to work very well with each other. Rings would be a multimode filter - it does more but in a narrower domain and your success rate depends on what you decide to throw at it.