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