Why is it called "Spectral Oscillator"

Wondering about the derivation of that name. Doesn’t seem “spectral” to me (e.g. using SpectralLayers as a reference point), but most likely I’m missing something obvious.

Thanks – Todd

It is indeed.
Many vst synths with multilayer capability introduced a “sample” engine where you can load your samples and play on the keyboard, as Padshop 2 can do also in its Spectral osc, away from the key that was originally played. There is some trick behind this feature - choose keyfollow to Formant in the left if you just want a “replay” feature. In some (few) of these synths I can decide the cursor position, and this can be done in Padshop Spectral Osc. Finally, only in Padshop (among my 12 vst synths) I can control/modulate cursor position in the Spectral Osc (as well in the Granular Osc) by a slow LFO with a sawtooth wave that starts at 0 and ends at the maximum level, so it scans the wave from beginning to end at a selected speed that I decide in the LFO settings (for instance 16/4). With a monophonic LFO (1-2) with retrigger: First I can slow the sample in a way that no other synth can do, synced to my other tracks. How can a sample player do that? Impossible. Padshop must have built, within itself, a kind of representation of the wave, which is its spectral content, its equivalent in the frequency domain, where a periodic signal is represented by a number of frequencies called partials related to its fundamental, and when Padshop has them, it can play them infinitely, or slow.
The Purity parameter knob seems to control the number of partials (they decrease with rotating clockwise). The Inharm parameter seems to control the odd/even balance of harmonics: try importing a sweep sample (a wav whose frequency goes up, as a continuous slide from down to up notes) in the spectral osc and put inharm=0 and you will hear a stepped, quantized increase that is related to an harmonic scale: this is a demonstration that Padshop Spectral osc has done a FFT of the signal (Fast Fourier Transform) at discrete time intervals.
I also have Spectralayers and I can see beautiful colormaps in there, that allow me to understand better a spectral processing. When Steinberg did the Spectral Osc wanted to port a bit of that spectral processing into Padshop, without seeing it, but just playing with knobs. Indeed I enjoyed it a lot by modulating Purity, Inharm, Formant, Pan Spread. When you also explore these, inform me if you can get similar results with other vst synths, since I could not with mine. And Padshop has up to 8 cursors that you can spread around the sample with precision, here in the Spectral osc (as in the granular osc).
In conclusion, the spectral osc is perhaps less spectacular than the granular, but indeed it is capable of many unique gems. When you experience those, you return to it because you cannot do it with other synths.

Thank you for the detailed response. I’ll play with Purity and Inharm as you suggest. With the little I’ve played with the Spectral OSC, I wasn’t getting how one could isolate part of the spectrum, as in (e.g.) SpectraLayers. The manual is terse on this, at least in terms of my limited interpretation.

Best wishes – Todd

I agree the manual doesn’t say much. I read Sound on Sound regular topic about Cubase (web) and they wrote a tutorial on the granular osc and promised a similar tutorial on spectral osc that never came out, also youtube videos are scarce on that and I wrote to Steinberg to promote the spectral osc a little more. The only way to learn for me was purchasing the add-on libraries that came after v2, they are full of examples.

Yep - I read that SoS article on the granular oscillator, hoping that the author would follow-up with the spectral oscillator as hinted.

You’ve done an admirable job of discovering its secrets! I recently purchased some Padshop 2 libraries to better understand what’s going on.