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A genuine question.....

For fans of synths, pianos or keyboard instruments of any sort.

Re: A genuine question.....

Postby FrankF » Sun May 31, 2020 11:59 am

BJG145 wrote:It's mainly about the colours, whether someone prefers red, orange, purple.

Best comment so far, however, shouldn't it be moved/copied to the Guitar Technology forum? :headbang:
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Re: A genuine question.....

Postby zenguitar » Sun May 31, 2020 12:57 pm

FrankF wrote:
BJG145 wrote:It's mainly about the colours, whether someone prefers Butterscotch, Sunburst, Cherry.

Best comment so far, however, shouldn't it be moved/copied to the Guitar Technology forum? :headbang:

I've edited the quote to demonstrate what would be suitable for the Guitar Technology forum ;)

Andy :beamup:
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Re: A genuine question.....

Postby ManFromGlass » Sun May 31, 2020 1:19 pm

:mrgreen:
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Re: A genuine question.....

Postby FrankF » Sun May 31, 2020 1:42 pm

But seriously...Libertarian that I am, I would make touch-strips mandatory on all keyboards, even home keyboards.

They can't be that expensive to include, as my cheap-as-chips, 20 year old Yamaha DJX has one, and what's more, it can be configured to control pitch, mod, sustain, FX, etc.

Interesting to see that NI now include touch-strips on their Maschine controllers and most of their keyboard controllers. Well done, NI! Vorsprung durch touch-strips!
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Re: A genuine question.....

Postby Mike McLoone » Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:34 am

DanielBeach wrote:I’m looking at trying a few hardware synths, so I’m genuinely interested in learning. I get that S&S-type keyboards will sound different due to having a different set of samples/wavetables etc., but what about all these other synths on the market?

As an experiment on Friday night I took the Access Virus B Indigo Roadster out of it's flight-case where it'd been hiding the last years. Hooked it up to the 88-key controller and thought, here we go, let's get lost in some nice virtual analogue pads and leads.

About an hour of noodling later, I could only come to one conclusion. Most of the current software synthesizers easily ran circles around the Virus.

It seems romantic to have all these LEDs flashing and knobs for direct access to parameters, but I find I still spend quite some time on the two-line dot matrix LCD display, going through menus, trying to turn the effects off so I can actually record the sound. Then it's real time recording, adjusting the parts in the DAW manually to align for the delay compensation, trying to save the patch over something which was hopefully less important using a knob to enter every letter of a 128 character name which cannot possibly include the album/track/type of sound/patch name/revision details. Then remembering to do a SYSEX bounce into the DAW to back it up at the end of the session. Then realising I could have done the same sound in Alchemy or Omnisphere using a 23" GUI in HD resolution and automated it using the DAW controller in front of me, and it would be saved in the session automatically.

I spent years lusting after the VA synths, finally bought the Virus second hand when I got my first job and I know the beast inside and out. It has been used on one production track, that is one lead sound of one track in the last 15 years. The other 44 tracks I've released have been done using software synthesizers.

Here's a good quote from an SOS article on Armin van Buuren which was a kind of eye-opener for me:

"Let me tell you something: ES2 in Logic can make almost any sound you want. Maybe there's a few analogue things it can't do, but you can always emulate those in other ways. Benno has proved to me that you can make 95 percent of any synth sound you want with ES2. You don't really need more than one synthesizer if you invest some time in learning how to work it. "
https://www.soundonsound.com/people/armin-van-buuren

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Re: A genuine question.....

Postby Dave B » Mon Jun 01, 2020 1:33 pm

Mike, hence our One Synth Challenges round these parts. They are there to remind us to dig into what we already have rather than lust over something else as it might be used for classic sound 'xxx'....
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Re: A genuine question.....

Postby The Elf » Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:24 pm

Dave B wrote:Mike, hence our One Synth Challenges round these parts. They are there to remind us to dig into what we already have rather than lust over something else as it might be used for classic sound 'xxx'....
...and working on a one synth challenge you being the appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of any one synth in isolation - makes you appreciate the luxury of having choices.
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Re: A genuine question.....

Postby DanielBeach » Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:28 pm

Many thanks for all the replies and views - I'm learning!

I never thought/realised that simple sine/triangle waves etc might not be identical from one instrument to another, but of course with different circuitry and components I guess it must be so.

As for colour - I agree - who'd want an orange synth??? I'd love a red one, but they're too expensive for me.....

I'm getting hold of a Yamaha MODX8 in a couple of days' time (I don't have any outboard gear apart from a Korg 05R/W which I love), and am bidding on an SY77 on a specialist site, which I'm hoping to win. SY77 for me is the best synth I've ever played - why on earth I exchanged it for £150 and a DX7ii when I was 16 I'll never understand.....
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Re: A genuine question.....

Postby BillB » Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:37 pm

Mike, I am sure you are correct in the context of being a productive studio musician. For all the reasons you mention, InTheBox is probably the best synth for production efficiency. If you are a gigging musician, you might take a different view (and there are many on this forum who do) about what constitutes a reliable and robust live setup. Then you get other persons ( :wave: ) who just love their hardware, whether it be the most productive approach or not.

The One Synth Challenge has now proven (if proof were needed) that there is nothing much to separate the sounds of VST, VA, real analogue, S+S etc etc. Most of them can produce the kind of sounds that their owners would like them to produce. A small number of well-chosen virtual synths could replicate the sounds of a room full of hardware synths.

That point was again proven in a challenge here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CafW_O_9VPo
Espen Kraft used:
Yamaha RX11 - Drums; Roland D-550 - Pads; Roland Juno 2 - Synth Guitar; Roland JX-8P - Poly synth; Roland Juno 6 - Bass (sampled in S-10 for MIDI sequencing); Yamaha DX7 - Fairlight Flutes and Italo Poly synth; Yamaha TX802 - PPG Digital Guitar Bells; Elka EK22 - Synth bells.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0RB1H8pSqM
Woody/Xavier used:
Drums: Samples from Yamaha RX11; Synth Bass: TAL U-NO-62 (Roland Juno 60 Emulation); First Lead Sound: Dexed by Digital Suburban (Yamaha DX7; "Clav" Lead: PG-8X by ML-VST (Roland JX-8P Emulation); Synth Pad: PG-8X by ML-VST (Roland JX-8P Emulation); "Jump" Sound: OBXD by Datsounds (Oberheim OBX Emulation); "Metallic" Sound: Dexed by Digital Suburban (Yamaha DX7 Emulation); Flute Solo: Dexed by Digital Suburban (Yamaha DX7 Emulation) (with Espen's favorite flute patch)

All VST's were free.

So I could sell off my room full of synths and do the whole shebang probably a lot more efficiently....

Not happening! :headbang:
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Re: A genuine question.....

Postby nathanscribe » Mon Jun 01, 2020 9:49 pm

BillB wrote:efficiently....

That's the thing, isn't it! I'm more efficient with hardware. Plugins throw me off. Can't get my brain into it at all. But I can knock up a modular patch and a chain of hardware effects in a few minutes, play it, tweak it, record it, done. And yet, I've seen skilled Pro Tools people do things *very* fast that would take me ages. Depends what you know, really.
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Re: A genuine question.....

Postby The Elf » Mon Jun 01, 2020 9:51 pm

BillB wrote:OBXD by Datsounds
I like that one too - it doesn't have the heft of my OB Xpander, though. It's a great example of 'close enough for live', but in the studio the real deal has an ever-moving sound the plug-in can't really match.
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Re: A genuine question.....

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Jun 02, 2020 2:03 am

Ben Asaro wrote:
zenguitar wrote:
Dynamic Mike wrote:Isn't a sawtooth wave just a sawtooth wave irrespective of how it's generated?

Theoretically, Yes. But reality rarely lives up to theory; real world materials, tolerances, and circuit designs all fail to live up to the theory.
Also, how the sawtooth wave is derived has a bearing on how it sounds as well.

For a long time I understood that filters can vary considerably in their response, particularly with higher resonance settings, but for the life of me I couldn't understand why analogue oscillators were so preferred to digital ones, when they were ostensibly generating exactly the same waveform and thus the same combination and mounts of harmonics.

Two factors ultimately intruded into my consciousness ;)

1. Not all synths creative 'perfect' sawtooth, triangle, square waveforms, and sometimes its those imperfections that generate a certain 'mystique'.

2. It's the way the oscillator waveforms combine that often creates the magic - analogue oscillators conveniently drift around creating a wonderful richness in combination, whereas even with clever algorithms to slightly wiggle their frequencies about, digital oscillators often still lack this real-world richness.


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Re: A genuine question.....

Postby Folderol » Tue Jun 02, 2020 8:08 am

Martin Walker wrote:2. It's the way the oscillator waveforms combine that often creates the magic - analogue oscillators conveniently drift around creating a wonderful richness in combination, whereas even with clever algorithms to slightly wiggle their frequencies about, digital oscillators often still lack this real-world richness.


Martin

Welcome to the world of free phase instruments :)
A term I learned to appreciate in the 1970s when first thinking about designing and building my own instrument. I only got as far as building one octave's worth before the cost started to mount up and I could see that it would do so astronomically. Simple as it was though it did sound lovely.

All discrete components, completely separate oscillators and filters per note, and a bank of relays to switch in capacitors etc.
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Re: A genuine question.....

Postby Dynamic Mike » Wed Jun 03, 2020 12:32 am

Martin Walker wrote:Two factors ultimately intruded into my consciousness ;)

1. Not all synths creative 'perfect' sawtooth, triangle, square waveforms, and sometimes its those imperfections that generate a certain 'mystique'.

2. It's the way the oscillator waveforms combine that often creates the magic - analogue oscillators conveniently drift around creating a wonderful richness in combination, whereas even with clever algorithms to slightly wiggle their frequencies about, digital oscillators often still lack this real-world richness.

Martin

I'm not sure I'm buying the first one, because surely that would be simple to emulate, but I can understand the second adds another level of complexity due to the interaction. As a simple guitarist I'm stuggling to understand what gives a particular synth it's individual 'character'. I guess what you're implying is something similar to the difference between playing a 3 note chord on a guitar & playing the same the 3 notes on 3 individual guitars? Essentially you get more out than the sum of the parts. Obviously this only holds true if the synth in question has wooden end cheeks.
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Re: A genuine question.....

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Jun 03, 2020 12:40 am

Dynamic Mike wrote:As a simple guitarist I'm stuggling to understand what gives a particular synth it's individual 'character'.
... the synth in question has wooden end cheeks.

For a 'simple guitarist' you answered your own question jolly well I thought :clap:

Also, we can't tell you the real answer, for the same reason you can't tell us why a Burnished Blogwarble finish sounds better than a Fireburst Azure. Or was it the other way around (I forget) ;)
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