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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 20825
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: hollowsun]
      #938770 - 05/09/11 03:52 PM
Quote hollowsun:

So would I... If it sounded anything like a real CS80!




You don't surprisse me. I've heard it at shows but not played it myself. I thought it had 'potential' at those shows... but the proof would be in the pudding, as they say, and without a poly AT keyboard there's no point in trying.

The real CS-80 was a fabulous thing, with a very natural variation note-to-note that made it seem far more organic than anything else. Total pig to calibrate and line up though, and all those custom ICs for VCOs, VCAs, and VCFs meant that the beast would become harder and more costly to maintain day by day! Eventually, presumably, it will become totally unserviceable, so I really hope someone like Arturia will perfect their models as close as they can while they still have the chance.

Hugh

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Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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hollowsun



Joined: 20/01/05
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Loc: Cowbridge, South Wales
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #938774 - 05/09/11 04:15 PM
A Dutch friend of mine has a 'real' CS80 and bought the s/w version thinking it might be a good substitute (because, as you say, they're a pig to maintain). He contacted me in tears...

Of laughter at the claims that it sounds like the real thing.

Without doubt, it's a great s/w synth - no... a fantastic one... but there is no way that it can compare / compete with the mightiness of a real CS80 on full tilt.

As you so rightly say, a real CS80 is spookily 'organic' and almost 'acoustic' sounding and very few synths achieve that.

I felt the same about the s/w emulation of the Moog modular - if you've ever played with a real Moog modular (even a small one like a System 15), you'd know that they should carry a health warning ... a WMD - weapon of musical destruction.

Again, the emulation is a fantastic s/w synth but no comparison with the real thing.

I'm not one for getting all silly comparing 'real' synths with their s/w emulations because they are mostly very good (especially within the context of a mix) and close enough ... but not those two. Even if they had emulated the 'sound' of the CS80 perfectly, without the poly AT ... well - no more need be said.

I imagine you feel very foolish that you sold that Yamaha beauty, Hugh (sorry to rub salt in the wound)! You and Zuke should get together - both of you can cry into your pints ... you over the CS80, him over the DX1.

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desmond



Joined: 10/01/06
Posts: 8620
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #938776 - 05/09/11 04:20 PM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:

so I really hope someone like Arturia will perfect their models as close as they can while they still have the chance.




Actually, I wish Arturia had never done it and some other company that's good at emulations would have done it properly.

Same goes for the Jupiter 8 - and the Oberheim Xpander/Matrix12/OB8 for that matter...


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Tony Raven



Joined: 15/11/09
Posts: 180
Loc: Minnesota, USA
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: desmond]
      #938779 - 05/09/11 04:43 PM
Quote desmond:

The one thing I really would love ... is a way to expressively control vibrato from my fingers, ideally with side to side pressure.



After my own heart!!

Back around 1974, I had the chance to try out a Wurlitzer organ with the "Orbit III" mini-synth:
http://www.vintagesynth.com/misc/wurlitzerorbit3.php
This third-row appeared in at least a dozen models of Wurly, from their Funmaker up through high-end "theatre" consoles.

The VS entry doesn't mention it, but I distinctly recall being impressed with the "wobble" feature you describe. A slight roll of the wrist actually moved the whole keyboard side-to-side (maybe 3 mm each way), allowing very natural "analog" vibrato not unlike a violin. With a little force, I could bend a note up or down about a whole step. No idea whether the range was adjustable, though.

I'd guess that this might've led to the innovation's demise: it required a VERY light touch, or lateral pressure would throw a note off-pitch inadvertantly.


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hollowsun



Joined: 20/01/05
Posts: 5479
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Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: C.LYDE]
      #938780 - 05/09/11 04:44 PM
The thing is though (bringing this back on topic), we have a staggering and bewlidering choice of tools and toys to play with now than ever before and there's a plethora of hardware and software synths and ROMplers and sample libraries which are all considerably more affordable than they ever were (some s/w stuff being free, of course). And before anyone pounces on that, as mentioned elsewhere hereabouts, a MiniMoog would be the equivalent of around £7,000 today, a Prophet 5 probably about £12,000 - you can buy a Voyager or a Prophet 08 for around £1,500 today. Even £3,000 for a Korg Kronos is bloody good value considering what's on offer there.

The mainstream 'Big 3' aren't going to make anything esoteric - they can't afford to take the risk on anything adventurous (their accounts department won't let them, frankly ... and the major US music store franchise box shifters have 'em by the balls anyway!). But there are all sorts of small, 'boutique' manufacturers doing weird and wonderful things if that's what you want to do. You can buy a true analogue modular synth today for less than a £grand which was inconceivable 'back in the day' when even a modest Moog modular was the price of a house!

On the s/w side, Kontakt is a sodding bargain! £300-something and you get a sampler with a flexible, modular architecture and squigabytes of library and no end of 3rd party library out there, some of it free. We used to pay £2,000 for a sampler that came with four floppy disks not that long ago!!

Or Alchemy - £180.

And there's Reaktor which you can use to design and build your own synths if you are that way inclined.

We're spoilt for choice and to paraphrase Harold Macmillan "Keyboard/synth players have never had it so good"!

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desmond



Joined: 10/01/06
Posts: 8620
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: hollowsun]
      #938787 - 05/09/11 05:23 PM
Quote hollowsun:

The thing is though (bringing this back on topic), we have a staggering and bewlidering choice of tools and toys to play with now than ever before




Indeed. And probably less control, in many ways.

Having those options is great, but so is programming by feel on a synth front panel purposely designed for editing it's parameters. It's a much more immediate, intimate, and rewarding way of sound design, albeit limited by what parameters are exposed as physical controls, and the features limited by the nature of those controls.

We're back to the DX7 era - though instead of hundreds of controls hiding behind an 8x2 LCD display, we have tens of thousands of parameters hiding behind a larger computer monitor. It's great for some things, but not all. Synth programming doesn't have to be one parameter at a time mouse control.

But yes, we shouldn't complain. When I was twelve, if I was told one day I could press a few buttons on a computer and download instantly a completely new synthesiser for free, I'd probably have told you you were bonkers...

But it also doesn't mean we shouldn't push for more/better ways of doing things. It's in our nature, after all...


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TheChorltonWheelie



Joined: 22/09/09
Posts: 971
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: hollowsun]
      #938948 - 06/09/11 02:33 PM
Quote hollowsun:

The mainstream 'Big 3' aren't going to make anything esoteric - they can't afford to take the risk on anything adventurous (their accounts department won't let them, frankly ... and the major US music store franchise box shifters have 'em by the balls anyway!).




It's neither of those: the marketplace simply isn't big enough for hardware synths of that nature. The soft-synths are close enough for most people, and they're more cost-effective too, so Roland/Yamaha/Korg have invested their time/effort elsewhere.

In my opinion, 99.99% of the end user audience couldn't give a toss if it's an original Moog or a soft-synth, they never have the ability to determine the difference nor care if there is one. This argument climbs so far up its own back side that it's laughable.


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Blott



Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 732
Loc: Nottingham UK
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: C.LYDE]
      #946321 - 10/10/11 07:21 PM
Quote C.LYDE:


On the contrary, I would rather that focus be shown on 'live' playing - the strength of a musical instrument IMHO is its "immediacy" - simple, responsive, intuitive...

The DAW integration is a different direction best served by a 'controller', no need for a synth .i.e. included sound engine - nothing built into a piece of hardware is going to be better or more flexible than what is already available in the combination of software and a PC/MAC




There has already been 2 decades of focus on 'live play' - that's well catered for.
I play live and have more than enough options for musical expression.
However DAW integration is next to none existent on most hardware synths at the moment and while I play my keyboards live once a week, I'm playing and writing with them in my studio all the time.
This is why I need it to integrate seamlessly with my DAW.
If Korg, Yamaha & Roland really want to build 'workstations', their inbuilt sequencers should be able to import and read and export to Logic, Cubase & Pro tools song files.
Then I could work on a song in a studio and take it out with me on the road. Or conversely I could record a rehearsal into my G7 and then import it back into my DAW at the studio - a proper 'workstation' that would be!
Why would I want to buy a controller keyboard just for the studio???
That only plays other soft synths and hardware connected via MIDI and my Roland G7 already does that thanks.
I want to generate and then manipulate the sounds in my workstation keyboard from my DAW. Editing sounds and sequencing music is a LOT easier on my two 24" screens.
However once my song is finished I want to be able to use my 'Workstations' sequencer to play it back without having to convert everything into WAV files.
This would bring workstations up to date and would make them viable again.
As it is, they have largely ignored this sector for years and are paying a very high price. Sales have plummeted because they are producing 'workstations' that are not actually fulfilling their purpose, so fewer and fewer people now buy them.
That's why you see a plethora of bands using Laptops even when playing live. Of course some are using it for the soft synths, but many are just using it primarily as a sequencer.
How many people really use the sequencer in their 'workstation' keyboards?
I'd wager it's a very low percentage, as they just aren't as user friendly or powerful as a DAW.
You can't get many screens bigger and better than that found on the G7, but it's still a nightmare to do anything serious on it from a recording point of view and so it's rarely used by me for anything but playback (sometimes as a sketchpad for ideas).
DAW integration is the future for hardware, be it synths or workstations.
Until manufacturers embrace it their hardware sales will continue to shrink.
It would be 10 years too late, but DAW integration now would at least be a step in the right direction - better late than never and far more useful to the masses than light beams!!!

--------------------
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https://https://blottuk.bandcamp.com


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Blott



Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 732
Loc: Nottingham UK
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: TheChorltonWheelie]
      #946328 - 10/10/11 07:42 PM
Quote TheChorltonWheelie:

Quote JazzyGB1:

The problem is synths have stopped being synths.
The mistake they make is aiming their keyboards at live players, instead of at studio players, of which there are far more!




You're entirely wrong there; manufacturers aim their products at the available market space, people simply don't want synthesisers any more. Also, it's not a mistake as people like Roland/Yamaha remain in business, without the workstation market they would both have long since disappeared from the synth/keyboard market.




I disagree entirely.
The reason their 'Market Space' is shrinking is because they are marketting products that few people want.
The reason the Roland Fantom G series is still the flagship Roland workstation is because no one is buying them. That's why it been 6 years without a replacement. Hell, they even discontinued the G7 (the best one) just to give people a reason to buy a Jupiter 80.
The 'workstation' just isn't cutting it anymore and it's not living up to its name.
Users want integration not isolation.
They would sell many more synths and workstations if they integrated better with DAWs, as far more people create music using DAWs then play live. You only have to look at the explosion in controller keyboards to see that this is the case.
Roland, Yamaha & Korg need to compete with the soft synths and the best way to do this is...to make their hardware a soft synth when connected to a DAW.
Roland have tried this tentatively with the Fantom, but it is so slow, clunky and unstable to the point of being all but useless.
However my Access Virus integrates superbly and is a joy to use, so it can be done.
I think the 'home' keyboard market (pianos, organs etc) is doing far more to keep Roland and Yamaha going than anything else and unless they start to embrace the change we have seen in making music and allow them to integrate seamlessly with DAWs, their synth and workstation sales will continue to decline - not because of how they sound, but because of how they interface with modern music practices.

--------------------
https://soundcloud.com/blottuk
https://https://blottuk.bandcamp.com


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hollowsun



Joined: 20/01/05
Posts: 5479
Loc: Cowbridge, South Wales
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: TheChorltonWheelie]
      #946340 - 10/10/11 08:35 PM
Quote TheChorltonWheelie:

This argument climbs so far up its own back side that it's laughable.



Yes - what would I know? I've only worked in designing and manufacturing products (including synths) for the music industry with major manufacturers for the last 30-odd years!

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johnny h



Joined: 24/07/06
Posts: 3094
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: TheChorltonWheelie]
      #946373 - 11/10/11 12:20 AM
Quote TheChorltonWheelie:

Quote hollowsun:

The mainstream 'Big 3' aren't going to make anything esoteric - they can't afford to take the risk on anything adventurous (their accounts department won't let them, frankly ... and the major US music store franchise box shifters have 'em by the balls anyway!).




It's neither of those: the marketplace simply isn't big enough for hardware synths of that nature. The soft-synths are close enough for most people, and they're more cost-effective too, so Roland/Yamaha/Korg have invested their time/effort elsewhere.

In my opinion, 99.99% of the end user audience couldn't give a toss if it's an original Moog or a soft-synth, they never have the ability to determine the difference nor care if there is one. This argument climbs so far up its own back side that it's laughable.




I think with your fanatical pro-Roland views you shared with us in the Jupiter 80 thread, you're arguments have extremely little weight on here these days.

This 'oh people are idiots / they don't know the difference between genuine or fake stuff' is a load of crap. People may not be able to accurately pinpoint why they don't like something, but they can tell the difference between something that sounds good and something that sounds bad. Arturia were even caught out (by sound on sound) using the same waveforms and filters in their arp and moog emulators! And even then, they were cheap, thin sounding waveforms and filters. Absolutely disgraceful behaviour, but that's the respect vst coders have for us these days.

I really don't care if some people don't mind bad sounds. Some people will buy 2.99 red wine and scoff at others for spending more on the same product. People with no taste have no place in music, nor this discussion.


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. . . Delete This
Here be Dragons


Joined: 23/06/08
Posts: 3888
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: johnny h]
      #946413 - 11/10/11 09:15 AM
Johnny that was out of line.


Chorlton's opinions are as valid and valuable as anyone else's, often, frankly, more than some.... (not saying he's always right mind you.... and i know he can fight his own battles quite happily.... but.... someone needs to say it... )
so what if he's pro roland... many people are..... I suspect your view on that may be somewhat tinted....


the vast majority of the end users... eg the buying audiences, listening on their mp3 players, .... have not the first clue what a wasp, or a cs80 , or a juno is... never mind being able to tell the difference. .

you have a habit of being personally aggressive with other users.... maybe you're the £2.99 red wine drinker?


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TheChorltonWheelie



Joined: 22/09/09
Posts: 971
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: johnny h]
      #946437 - 11/10/11 10:32 AM
Quote johnny h:

I think with your fanatical pro-Roland views you shared with us in the Jupiter 80 thread, you're arguments have extremely little weight on here these days.




Whether I like Roland or not, it doesn't detract from the fact that the end listener couldn't care less about the original waveform, or whether it's a soft-synth, or if it's poor VST coding.


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johnny h



Joined: 24/07/06
Posts: 3094
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: . . . Delete This User . . .]
      #946438 - 11/10/11 10:33 AM
Quote Off duty BBQ lighter AKA Idris:

Johnny that was out of line.


Chorlton's opinions are as valid and valuable as anyone else's, often, frankly, more than some.... (not saying he's always right mind you.... and i know he can fight his own battles quite happily.... but.... someone needs to say it... )
so what if he's pro roland... many people are..... I suspect your view on that may be somewhat tinted....


the vast majority of the end users... eg the buying audiences, listening on their mp3 players, .... have not the first clue what a wasp, or a cs80 , or a juno is... never mind being able to tell the difference. .

you have a habit of being personally aggressive with other users.... maybe you're the £2.99 red wine drinker?




I'm not a huge wine buff but I wouldn't turn up to a wine tasting branding them all idiots and that nobody can tell the difference.

My view is only tinted by the extremely condescending attitude Chorlton has to anyone who dares to have a different opinion to his own, or imply anything remotely negative about Roland.

Anyway, to stick on topic, keyboard OEMs have not lost the plot from a business perspective, because selling empty synths with a bargain basement DSP chip is always going to be more profitable than designing good quality analogue circuitry.

Do most listeners know exactly what a CS80 is? No. Is the sound of Vangelis and Boards of Canada extremely popular? Yes. Has their been a software emulation of the CS80 sound which has proved popular with the general public? I'd say no, but I'd be happy for anyone to prove me wrong.


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TheChorltonWheelie



Joined: 22/09/09
Posts: 971
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: . . . Delete This User . . .]
      #946454 - 11/10/11 10:58 AM
Quote Off duty BBQ lighter AKA Idris:

the vast majority of the end users... eg the buying audiences, listening on their mp3 players, .... have not the first clue what a wasp, or a cs80 , or a juno is... never mind being able to tell the difference.




You're right, but it's an utterly pointless crusade: some people refuse to accept these facts not matter how obvious they clearly are.


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Scramble
active member


Joined: 11/09/02
Posts: 2091
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: TheChorltonWheelie]
      #946490 - 11/10/11 12:11 PM
I for one want to see a lot more of Chorlton being acerbic and his opponents' heads exploding. What's not to enjoy?


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Studio Support Gnome
Not so Miserable Git


Joined: 22/07/03
Posts: 9165
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: Scramble]
      #946517 - 11/10/11 02:35 PM
interestingly, Chorlton himself is a Happiness Dragon....


just for the record, despite both being Dragons of a sort.... i am damn certain he's not related to Idris Y Draig (AKA off duty BBQ lighter)







perhaps cynicism comes with age and over exposure to the naivety that this industry seems to encourage in it's newer recruits.






also for the record, I'm aware of several instances where the Virtual synths have been used in place of real ones, with no one any the wiser.... including some self confessed synth heads...


Nuff said.

--------------------
if you don't know who i am, i aint gonna tell you.


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johnny h



Joined: 24/07/06
Posts: 3094
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: TheChorltonWheelie]
      #946616 - 12/10/11 12:02 AM
Quote TheChorltonWheelie:

Quote johnny h:

I think with your fanatical pro-Roland views you shared with us in the Jupiter 80 thread, you're arguments have extremely little weight on here these days.




Whether I like Roland or not, it doesn't detract from the fact that the end listener couldn't care less about the original waveform, or whether it's a soft-synth, or if it's poor VST coding.




No, they only care if it sounds good or it sounds crap. And as we were talking about Arturia's CS-80, the real thing sounds good and the VST sounds crap. Not just to experts, but to casual listeners.


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. . . Delete This
Here be Dragons


Joined: 23/06/08
Posts: 3888
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: johnny h]
      #946703 - 12/10/11 12:18 PM
that's bullshit .


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johnny h



Joined: 24/07/06
Posts: 3094
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: . . . Delete This User . . .]
      #946841 - 13/10/11 12:44 AM
Quote Off duty BBQ lighter AKA Idris:

that's bullshit .




It really isn't.

VST
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2-0fuPx5Ws&feature=related
Real
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0P1JsMTWc0&feature=watch_response< br />VST
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLUVXu6o-6w
Real
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enqSSs8PRmk


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hollowsun



Joined: 20/01/05
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Loc: Cowbridge, South Wales
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: . . . Delete This User . . .]
      #946849 - 13/10/11 03:50 AM
Quote Off duty BBQ lighter AKA Idris:

that's bullshit .



Sorry, Idris.

It's a rare thing for Johnny H and I to agree but I'm afraid he is correct. Arturia's CS80 is an excellent software synth with excellent graphics, etc., but I've done A/B tests between the real thing and the plug-in and there really isn't any comparison. The 'real thing' really does move more air than the emulation... and it moves air in a different way, a more engaging way.

Not just that but (as discussed earlier) the polyphonic aftertouch was a key to the real CS80's sound and expressivity which is simply not possible today unless you have something like an old Ensoniq SQ80 but even its poly AT is not a match for the CS80's 'natural' and 'organic' AT with its wooden and weighted keyboard and totally smooth control voltage (rather than a stream of stepped MIDI controller values).

It's the same with their Moog modular...

It sounds great but it can't compare with the real thing which is a living, breathing beast.

I have a Synthesizers.com modular sitting right next to me ... real analogue, discrete(ish) components for the flow of electrickery ... and it's a monster sounding thing. It should carry a health warning and as I say, is living and breathing and almost with a life of its own and I liken my relationship with it to my daughter's symbiotic relationship with the wooden thing she scrapes called a violin and gets such emotive, living tones from with such astonishing subtlety and which can take your breath away.

I'm not knocking Arturia's stuff - far from it - because they make great stuff and they are terrific software synths in their own right but they don't/can't compare with the originals (apart from their Minimoog emulation is actually very good and quite close - they got something right with that ... and I've done side by side A/B tests).

I have found this myself - I've sampled valve/tube oscillators, analogue oscillators and digital oscillators. You'd think a sine's a sine's a sine ... but they're not - there's 'something' about a sine wave generated by valves or by transistors or digitally generated 100110101s ... they all look ostensibly the same on a scope but they ARE different and sound different - the valve/tube waveforms are very 'organic' and engage with you as do, to a slightly lesser degree, the discrete transistor versions but the digitally generated 100110101s? Sorry - no comparison.

And when you compare a digital emulation of the CS80 (or whatever) with its perfect voicing compared with an original and all the vagaries of discrete voices each with their own vagaries due to component tolerance and wear and flaws and non-linear distortions and subtle discrepancies (different for each voice card), well... there is no comparison...

And that's before you even factor in the poly AT and the smooth voltage control.

It's a bit like comparing an orchestral or solo violin sample library with 'the real thing'. The sample library will be good but no replacement for a real orchestra or violin soloist, both of which have a life and expression of their own.

Like the CS80!

The vids that Mr H put up cannot convey the true might of a real CS80 on full tilt - it can be overpowering .... and then you lean into just one note and it sings over the others and tears your heart out!

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johnny h



Joined: 24/07/06
Posts: 3094
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: hollowsun]
      #946868 - 13/10/11 08:25 AM
Quote hollowsun:

Quote Off duty BBQ lighter AKA Idris:

that's bullshit .



Sorry, Idris.

It's a rare thing for Johnny H and I to agree but I'm afraid he is correct. Arturia's CS80 is an excellent software synth with excellent graphics, etc., but I've done A/B tests between the real thing and the plug-in and there really isn't any comparison. The 'real thing' really does move more air than the emulation... and it moves air in a different way, a more engaging way.

Not just that but (as discussed earlier) the polyphonic aftertouch was a key to the real CS80's sound and expressivity which is simply not possible today unless you have something like an old Ensoniq SQ80 but even its poly AT is not a match for the CS80's 'natural' and 'organic' AT with its wooden and weighted keyboard and totally smooth control voltage (rather than a stream of stepped MIDI controller values).

It's the same with their Moog modular...

It sounds great but it can't compare with the real thing which is a living, breathing beast.

I have a Synthesizers.com modular sitting right next to me ... real analogue, discrete(ish) components for the flow of electrickery ... and it's a monster sounding thing. It should carry a health warning and as I say, is living and breathing and almost with a life of its own and I liken my relationship with it to my daughter's symbiotic relationship with the wooden thing she scrapes called a violin and gets such emotive, living tones from with such astonishing subtlety and which can take your breath away.

I'm not knocking Arturia's stuff - far from it - because they make great stuff and they are terrific software synths in their own right but they don't/can't compare with the originals (apart from their Minimoog emulation is actually very good and quite close - they got something right with that ... and I've done side by side A/B tests).

I have found this myself - I've sampled valve/tube oscillators, analogue oscillators and digital oscillators. You'd think a sine's a sine's a sine ... but they're not - there's 'something' about a sine wave generated by valves or by transistors or digitally generated 100110101s ... they all look ostensibly the same on a scope but they ARE different and sound different - the valve/tube waveforms are very 'organic' and engage with you as do, to a slightly lesser degree, the discrete transistor versions but the digitally generated 100110101s? Sorry - no comparison.

And when you compare a digital emulation of the CS80 (or whatever) with its perfect voicing compared with an original and all the vagaries of discrete voices each with their own vagaries due to component tolerance and wear and flaws and non-linear distortions and subtle discrepancies (different for each voice card), well... there is no comparison...

And that's before you even factor in the poly AT and the smooth voltage control.

It's a bit like comparing an orchestral or solo violin sample library with 'the real thing'. The sample library will be good but no replacement for a real orchestra or violin soloist, both of which have a life and expression of their own.

Like the CS80!

The vids that Mr H put up cannot convey the true might of a real CS80 on full tilt - it can be overpowering .... and then you lean into just one note and it sings over the others and tears your heart out!



The videos were the first few things that came up in youtube... but even so, there is a night and day difference between the vst and the real thing. Even with the lowest quality 240p youtube coming out of some tiny laptop speakers! Play them together on a good system and its like comparing a stradivarius with a general midi violin.

Much as I disagree with Hollowsun about current affairs, I always respect people who use their ears and have a genuine passion for sound. It upsets me greatly every time I hear such total nonsense such as 'xxx vst sounds indistinguishable from the real thing, and 'people don't care, they only listen to mp3s out of a tin can, they are happy with the sound of a penny whistle recorded into a soundblaster 16'.

The thing about music lovers, is they love music. It seems there is a sort of snobbery on here, the attitude that 'I have great monitors, I know EQ ranges and how to use a compressor, therefore I know more about music than the great unwashed'. Its not true. Musical people appreciate great sounds, whether they know the internal workings or not. And lets be honest, anyone who will stand up and put their professional opinion on the line and say the CS80v is a reasonable emulation of the CS80 needs to change careers immediately!


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
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Loc: Worcestershire
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: johnny h]
      #947013 - 13/10/11 03:59 PM
As a former CS80 owner, I find it easy to recognise the wonderful qualities of the real thing in some of those 'real' videos. But it must be recognised that a huge aspect of the CS80 sound is in the way it is played as an instrument, and I fear that the Arturia version is severely hampered in this respect by the lack of poly-AT and ribbon strip etc. Some of the 'VST' videos are just poorly orchestrated music played poorly... which doesn't help.

I remember trying to maintain my CS80, matching control voltages feeding the filters, VCAs and oscillators on each channel card. It was a nightmare to do and the more or less inherent variation note-to note, and for any given control setting between channels was a major part of the overall sound.

I'd have thought those variations would be easy to replicate in a VST version... but maybe not.

As to the sine wave is a sine wave thing... again, the harmonic distortion of valve and transistor generators should be easy to replicate, as should the relative phasing and amplitude variations. After all, if such characteristics are possible to capture by digital recording -- and they are -- then they can be recreated given sufficient attention to detail and processing power.

hugh

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Folderol



Joined: 15/11/08
Posts: 3301
Loc: Rochester, UK
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: C.LYDE]
      #947047 - 13/10/11 07:10 PM
"I'd have thought those variations would be easy to replicate in a VST version... but maybe not."

Rather in the manner that I've yet to hear an electronic organ that sounds as rich as a real theater or cathedral one, I believe one of the biggest problems here is phase relationships.

With truly independent oscillators (pipes) there is none, what is more temperature changes etc. will cause them all to drift slightly differently. Capacitor charge and discharge variations will also cause them to trigger slightly differently, even (especially?) when the same oscillator is re-triggered.

Ultimately every note produced in a VST is related the the computers master clock, I can think of no way of avoiding that. Trying to synthesise independent variable drift would, I think, actually be a mammoth task.

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Kayvon



Joined: 06/09/04
Posts: 696
Loc: Shrewsbury
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: C.LYDE]
      #965687 - 23/01/12 04:04 AM
The Endeavour Evo looks interesting although the guy's playing lacks a bit of inspiration.

My short opinion in reply to the original post (I agree with the sentiment but not really how its been put across) is that I think we have almost all the innovation we need as keyboard players, now it's just down to refinement.

After all, the piano action evolved over a good number of years and we've only really used electro-mechanical/electronic keyboards for what, is it about 80 years since the Hammond? Not sure what predates that.

In all honesty though, controllers or no controllers, if you want more expression from the keyboard the first port of call is a piece of manuscript from around 400 years ago!

In spite of this I do yearn for the perfect synth keyboard and have a number of views (not enough time to write them atm it's 3:59 in the bladdy morning) on possible refinements.

In fact I'm really keen to meet somebody who actually does hardware engineering in this field anyone who knows someone in London I'd love to shoot the sh*t with them.


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Dave B



Joined: 03/04/03
Posts: 5544
Loc: Maidenhead
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: C.LYDE]
      #965714 - 23/01/12 09:46 AM
IIRC, Bob Moog did consultancy work for Fairlight to build a controller keyboard like the Evo. Presumably, it wasn't economically viable at the time (mid 80s iirc) and, judging from the 2800euro price tag for a four octave keyboard, it's still only borderline viable...

Mind you, that Evo would be great for the Animoog!

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Kayvon



Joined: 06/09/04
Posts: 696
Loc: Shrewsbury
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: Dave B]
      #965933 - 24/01/12 12:45 AM
Ahh, interesting stuff.

Yeah, the Evo would be good on the Animoog (which I never use..., ooh just pulled it out it is good isn't it?) as well as the front to back modulation I like being able to choose the scale and key layout as I'm really bad for just playing the same old things/fingerings. The alternate keyboard layout definitely makes me come up with melodies I wouldn't otherwise on a normal keyboard.

Wow, actually the Animoog is excellent, I've just put in an offer for a very expensive analogue polysynth module and suddenly I'm having second thoughts...


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C.LYDE
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Joined: 22/10/02
Posts: 215
Loc: South Africa
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: C.LYDE]
      #983277 - 20/04/12 10:57 AM
Whilst much of the previous discussions rave on about the idiosyncrasies of various synth sounds, I could not help but wonder that the only reason we care in the 1st place was that somewhere along the line these tech monsters were used to create memorable music, and that alone peaked our interest (speaking for the non-electronic hobbyists of course)…

The anti-VST brigade need note that the modern reference point for quality sound is whatever on the air waves now; my mind is drawn to the movie Blowfish – opening synth bits done with Steinberg’s Model E --- far cry from a Moog, but who really cares… none of the movie watchers, I can promise you that !


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C.LYDE
http://soundcloud.com/c-lyde


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feline1
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Joined: 23/06/03
Posts: 4086
Loc: Brighton, UK
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: C.LYDE]
      #983292 - 20/04/12 11:28 AM
I don't think I read this thread the first time round!

I would just like to quibble with Hollowsun's reasoning about why the DX7 was succesful -
I am uncomfortable with the idea that people "wanted" [ ****** ] slap bass sounds and brass stabs (or that Peter Waterman could be right about anything

I think it was probably successful because it was a passable Hammond/Rhodes emulator, robust and hugely more portable than the real things. And it had a quite pleasantly playable keyboard action.

I don't think it succeeded so much because people liked naff FM sounds, but rather cos they loved old electromechanical sounds so much more. Expecting people to lug round Hammonds and Rhodeseses in 1985 is about as realistic as expecting me to write this in to Sound on Sound in a paper leter, have it printed next month, and for everyone else in the thread to respond the month after that.

If the DX7 had had the knobs of a Jellinghaus DX programmer built in (and, really - are *knobs* so very expensive?!? I don't get it!) the rest of the 80s might have sounded very different....

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~~~ A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen as you are tossed with! www.feline1.co.uk ~~~


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hollowsun



Joined: 20/01/05
Posts: 5479
Loc: Cowbridge, South Wales
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: feline1]
      #983336 - 20/04/12 01:55 PM
Quote feline1:

I think it was probably successful because it was a passable Hammond/Rhodes emulator, robust and hugely more portable than the real things. And it had a quite pleasantly playable keyboard action.



I don't disagree but the fact that it was thoroughly reliable, 16 voice, velocity and aftertouch sensitive, readily available in most high street music stores and, of course, about a quarter of the price of flimsy, temperamental, unreliable, 5/8-voice analogue, non-touch sensitive polysynths which you could only really buy in places like Argents probably had a lot to do with it as well!

Don't forget as well that the DX was the first synth to offer expandable sounds by way of cartridges. Compared with the (usually hopeless) cassette back-up polysynths, that was quite something and kick started the whole business of buying, selling and sharing sounds which was largely non-existent before - for the first time, instead of having to buy a new synth, you could buy new sounds for your existing one.

Quote feline1:

(and, really - are *knobs* so very expensive?!? I don't get it!)



The knobs aren't - the ADC's to scan them are (especially back in those days).

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Website / Music Lab Machines / Blog


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feline1
active member


Joined: 23/06/03
Posts: 4086
Loc: Brighton, UK
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: C.LYDE]
      #983340 - 20/04/12 02:07 PM
yeah those are all good points.

Even as a veteran ZX Spectrum user, ever wary of "R Tape Loading Error", I have still wept when the lovely sound I thought I had saved (and VERIFIED!!) from my synth refused reload next year.

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~~~ A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen as you are tossed with! www.feline1.co.uk ~~~


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Scramble
active member


Joined: 11/09/02
Posts: 2091
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: feline1]
      #983422 - 20/04/12 09:30 PM
I think it was both things that attracted people to the DX7 at the time. All that convenience was great. But some people *did* like the new sounds. Not necessarily because they were good, but because they were new, and creating a new sound back then got you noticed and regarded as cutting-edge (even if, in the opinions of analogue-loving musos like myself, the new sounds were naff).


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hollowsun



Joined: 20/01/05
Posts: 5479
Loc: Cowbridge, South Wales
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: Scramble]
      #983446 - 21/04/12 01:31 AM
Another factor in this was that Yamaha carpet bombed us with demo tours, in-store demos, promos, evening 'concerts', events and so forth to push and promote the DX.

And what people heard was nothing like they'd heard before from a 'synth'. They/we were used to 'synth' sounds and resonant filter sweeps, etc.. But we were also becoming used to hearing '3rd World' instruments through the likes of Peter Gabriel and his use of the Fairlight - marimbas, chiffy pipes ... sequenced slap bass samples through the likes of Trevor Horn's use of the Fairlight with Frankie ... and so on... and we'd had a taste of Yamaha's FM in Toto's hit, 'Africa' with the preset 'prototype' GS1.

And when people attended the well advertised DX demo evenings and in-store promos, this is what they heard - they heard something new and different ... sparkling Rhodes, marimbas, vibes, glocks, slap basses, some fashionable 'digital' synth sounds a la PPG, smooth pads, harmonica (with the breath controller), half convincing sax sounds (with the breath controller), THE Toto 'brass' sound from 'Africa', Synclavier sounds, metallic 'thrangs' (like the intro to 'Beat It') - they were hearing new and 'expensive' sounds formerly only available to an elite ... on a 16-voice synth costing £1,200 instead of (now) 'old' and 'boring' analogue synth sounds from unreliable (now) 'old-fashioned) £4,000 polysynths. And a monosynth was just a joke!

AND the damned thing had this new MIDI stuff on it. A runaway success was almost guaranteed.

Then Whitney Houston had a hit with THE DX Rhodes...

The rest is history!

Now fast forward six years or so...

Affordable sampling (with the Mirage - up to a point - but more significantly, perhaps, the Akai S900 and Emax) paved the way for ROMpling and the D50 and then the M1 with 'real' strings, Rhodes, Hammonds, slap basses, marimbas, vibes, glocks, some synth sounds plus choirs, sampled digital waves and drums and so on ... and a sequencer and effects ...

And a similarly aggressive marketing campaign. 250,000 units sold eclipsing the DX sales and becoming the best selling 'synth' ever and which set the format for the modern 'synth' we know today - the Fantom, Motif, Triton and all derivatives are all largely based on that '88 M1.

But understandable in a way - 'safe' products that sell themselves with the risk averse bean counters hoping for a good ROI. Dull? Yes! But understandable.

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C.LYDE
member


Joined: 22/10/02
Posts: 215
Loc: South Africa
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: feline1]
      #983469 - 21/04/12 11:01 AM
Quote feline1:



I think it was probably successful because it was a passable Hammond/Rhodes emulator, robust and hugely more portable than the real things. And it had a quite pleasantly playable keyboard action.





I can comment from the 'scene' I was in at the time and the DX7 EP sound was the bizness... even from people who did not even own a Rhodes or care for its sound; granted this is small country and the cost of equipment had a huge impact on its popularity; but when a classically trained, jazz-gospel pianist teacher bought one and started playing at all the concerts it set the std for a whole generation of young players...

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http://soundcloud.com/c-lyde


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desmond



Joined: 10/01/06
Posts: 8620
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: C.LYDE]
      #983479 - 21/04/12 12:10 PM
The DX7 broke lots of trends. Compared to the previous keyboard instruments (analog polysynths, fender rhodes etc etc) it was small, light, had buckets of instantly switchable sound presets, had 16-voice polyphony, had the new-fangled MIDI thing, had a sleek new, modern look and delivered many of the sounds that keyboard players (as opposed to synthesiser enthusiasts) wanted, as well as sounds that weren't typically done that well up to then (really fast, spiky, dynamic sounds like percussion and clavvy-type things, modern digital sounds, spiky, harsh and this rather than fat, thick and smooth). Plus it was easy to get new, decent sounds by swapping out cartridges.

And was pretty affordable. It ticked a lot of boxes, was the right thing at the right time, and correspondingly sold in bucket loads.

I always hated it, even back then.


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Blott



Joined: 10/09/04
Posts: 732
Loc: Nottingham UK
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: desmond]
      #983485 - 21/04/12 12:50 PM
Quote desmond:


I always hated it, even back then.




Yep - so did I.
Always thought it was pants and still do!
That said I was a synth fan, listening to Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Human League and Ultravox back then.
I was about as far away from Whitney Houston, rhodes piano, slap bass and xylophones as you could possibly wish to get!!
Still am!

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Chevytraveller
member


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Posts: 713
Loc: London
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: Blott]
      #983486 - 21/04/12 01:12 PM
Quote JazzyGB1:

Quote desmond:


I always hated it, even back then.




Yep - so did I.
Always thought it was pants and still do!
That said I was a synth fan, listening to Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Human League and Ultravox back then.
I was about as far away from Whitney Houston, rhodes piano, slap bass and xylophones as you could possibly wish to get!!
Still am!




+1



Bloody awfull tinkly rhodes schmoltsy toss.. ugh!.. give me the dark grittiness of an EII any day




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MBP 15", Motu 896, X-Station, LogicX, Reason7, Korg legacy, ACE, Alchemy, Emulator II, E-Synth, Obie-4V, Evolver MEK, Waldorf Pulse and Blofeld, AS Telemark, AS Leipzig-S


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hollowsun



Joined: 20/01/05
Posts: 5479
Loc: Cowbridge, South Wales
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: C.LYDE]
      #983502 - 21/04/12 02:23 PM
Quote C.LYDE:

Quote feline1:



I think it was probably successful because it was a passable Hammond/Rhodes emulator, robust and hugely more portable than the real things. And it had a quite pleasantly playable keyboard action.





I can comment from the 'scene' I was in at the time and the DX7 EP sound was the bizness... even from people who did not even own a Rhodes or care for its sound



Many bought the DX (including myself) because they wanted a Rhodes sound but didn't have / couldn't afford / didn't have space for 'the real thing'...

Here was an affordable, portable, eminently playable keyboard instrument that provided the perfect 'tiney' Dyno-My-Rhodes modified Rhodes sound and many bought it just for that one sound, especially after the huge international success of 'Saving All Your Love For Me'!

Bob Moog had the international success of 'Switched On Bach as THE ultimate demo for his new products back in the 60s; Yamaha had the international success of 'Saving All Your Love For Me' for the new DX back in the 80s!

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The Elf
active member


Joined: 14/08/01
Posts: 9161
Loc: Sheffield, UK
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: hollowsun]
      #983506 - 21/04/12 02:52 PM
The sounds that sold me on the DX7 were the metallic, percussive patches and some of the 'hard' basses - such as my over-used 'Level 42' patch. The harpsichord, log drums, marimbas, high bells, harpsichords and such all still sound abolutely excellent today.

I still use these kinds of patches layered under other sounds, because they often sound subjectively more 'realistic' than sample-based material. When you need a little fairy dust over thicker analogue sounds, or to add a bit of honest sparkle to a ROMpler the DX still has it. Layered Analogue/FM basses can be incredible.

I never actually owned a DX7. I used the more compact TX7 and a librarian/editor. Later I moved all of my favourite patches to a TX-802, that remains bolted into my rack. FM8 wipes the floor with my old TX for convenience and sound quality (I have no interest in any of the subtle mystique surrounding the hardware), but I keep my TX for the time when FM8 won't run on the latest OS!

--------------------
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.


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hollowsun



Joined: 20/01/05
Posts: 5479
Loc: Cowbridge, South Wales
Re: Have keyboard OEMs lost the plot? new [Re: hollowsun]
      #983507 - 21/04/12 03:02 PM
I should also add that the DX7 was bloody great news for analogue synth heads (like myself) because these fell from grace almost overnight and there were real bargains to be had. I picked up an ARP 2600 and Roland MC4B MicroComposer for a few hundred quid and an Oberheim SEM for £90 around that time!!

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