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Any synth that really sounds different

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Any synth that really sounds different

Postby phil123456 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:43 am

Hi,

far from willing to be offensive, all synths reviews I watch gives me the feeling of a new package/branding, but the same sounds every time

I rarely heard a new /old synth really differentiate itself from the rest of the herd in term of sound it produces

anyone feels the same ?
are there some synth that really worth it ?

thanks for your advises

Phil
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Re: Any synth that really sounds different

Postby Arpangel » Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:05 am

The sound of a synthesiser comes from the player, not the instrument.
Give me ten different synths and I’ll make them all sound the same, because that’s the way I play, and program, give one synth to ten other people and it’ll sound completely different every time.
Just choose a synth that seems to help you do what you want to do in the the best way possible, there has never been a time when there are so many types of synthesis, and instruments to choose from.
YouTube videos are very bad sometimes, you must make up your own mind in the end.
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Re: Any synth that really sounds different

Postby BJG145 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:12 am

There was a discussion on this a little while ago where people suggested that a lot of modern high-end synths covered a lot of ground, and were capable of producing similar sounds, but perhaps the biggest difference is how you get there. They might lead you down different paths and open up new ideas. I haven't played them, but the Hydrasynth and PolyBrute seem to be a couple of the more innovative synths recently.
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Re: Any synth that really sounds different

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:31 am

The ASM Hydrasynth is a fairly stand-out device in terms of the noises it can make. I've not got to grips with my PolyBrute yet but having had a few plays with it I'd say it's out there too.
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Re: Any synth that really sounds different

Postby Arpangel » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:00 am

There are some synths that seem to have the ability to mould themselves to the player more than others, and at the same time, be extremely flexible sound wise.
These synths are nothing new, older ones are just as capable, like the Prophet 5.
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Re: Any synth that really sounds different

Postby aled » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:22 am

I think this is a great question.

On one hand, I think a lot of this might be psychological. Primed by the accepted wisdom of what makes brand 'x' sonically distinct, I think we can often hear what we want to hear, or what we think we should be hearing - especially if it helps us justify buying a new synth! :lol: This is a known phenomenon in wine tasting. Knowledge (even if it's false) of the supposed quality and cost of a wine will affect the words people use to describe the wine. [Irrelevant link removed] Why shouldn't this also be true of synths?

On the other hand, I personally believe there are some synths out there that have strong, identifiable sonic characteristics. Dreadbox synths come to mind. To my ear, the oscillators have a distinctive gritty roar. I'd like to think I could pick out an Eerebus from a Mother 32 in a blind test (but I wouldn't bet the house on it!) :D

Thirdly, I think the potential for movement that a synth provides contributes as much to its distinctive sound as the raw timbre of its oscillators / filters does. For example, the Polybrute's morphing function, or the Super 6's bitimbrality give those synths something that would be hard, if not impossible to replicate on another hardware synth. I think it's hard to argue that these synths don't sound unique or at least distinctive, but it's not because of their timbres.
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Re: Any synth that really sounds different

Postby Arpangel » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:41 am

Out of all my favourite records, over many years, I couldn’t tell you what was used on them, keyboard wise, most of the time.
And I didn’t care at the time, it was just good music to me.
Also, a lot of top artists, start from the opposite end to what some of us here do, they end up with a synth for various reasons, it was in the studio, a friend lent it to them, and they just thought, hey ho, I’ll see what I can do with this.
They didn’t spend hours labouring over forums, watching videos, studying brochures, they just had an idea and realised it on what they had available.
Then there are those that couldn’t seem to find anything, and literally, had to design their own systems, to realise what they had in their heads, but both of these examples have one thing in common, the ideas, weren’t "in" the instruments, they were in the heads of the musicians, before the instruments even came into it.
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Re: Any synth that really sounds different

Postby phil123456 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:45 am

"modern synths sound the same"

you can check reviews about "good old synths", they all sound the same listening to them for a while...

I already checked Hydrasynth & PolyBrute ... and many others, even Arturia emulators

they all are really cool and gorgeous, but the sounds they create are quite the same from one synth to the another...the difference being in the tools to mix the sounds togethers

a lot of modern synths offers sound morphing, which is nice, but the human ear is still the same, you can't reinvent the wheel

yet...I keep dreaming of something drastically new
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Re: Any synth that really sounds different

Postby blinddrew » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:49 am

Maybe try starting with a different instrument entirely and process the heck out of it?
I very rarely use synths but get lots of synth-like pads and drones from guitars, vocals, basses all run through reverbs and other processors.
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Re: Any synth that really sounds different

Postby Arpangel » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:57 am

phil123456 wrote:"modern synths sound the same"

you can check reviews about "good old synths", they all sound the same listening to them for a while...

I already checked Hydrasynth & PolyBrute ... and many others, even Arturia emulators

they all are really cool and gorgeous, but the sounds they create are quite the same from one synth to the another...the difference being in the tools to mix the sounds togethers

a lot of modern synths offers sound morphing, which is nice, but the human ear is still the same, you can't reinvent the wheel

yet...I keep dreaming of something drastically new

They are not the same!
Who’s making the noises?
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Re: Any synth that really sounds different

Postby desmond » Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:03 am

Arpangel wrote:The sound of a synthesiser comes from the player, not the instrument.

Not really, it comes from the technologies used, the character of the instrument, and the range of available components.

No one can make a VCS3, a DX7, a Matrix 12 and a Hartmann Neuron sound the same whatever sound you start with.

There is usually some overlap between instruments, and the amount of overlap will vary based on how similar the instruments are. Take two classic analog mono synths, for example, and you'll probably find quite a bit of overlap that only dissappears once you start using features unique to them. But take two very dissimilar synths, with dissimilar technologies, say, a Minimoog and a Wavestation, and on their own there is very little overlap between them - probably only when you use a one oscillator basic sawtooth sound with the filter wide open, and even there, the differences in character would be obvious.

The problem is in this day and age we've explored many new technologies - I've lived through a great period in synthesis when genuinely new instruments, making new, never-before heard sounds were frequent.

However, now, there are a range of fairly mature available technologies with certain strengths in sounds - analog subtractive, digital FM/PD, sample-based synths including romplers and granular stuff, additive synths, physical modelling and so on.

If you've only got, for example, a bunch of analog synths, they try using something with very different technology for a different range of sounds. These days of course, with software synths, we've all got so many synths with so many technologies and features it's incredible, but ironically fewer and fewer of them get to be explored in depth.

And ultimately, any instrument can be pushed into new places - it just take a little creativity...
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Re: Any synth that really sounds different

Postby Folderol » Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:55 am

desmond wrote:These days of course, with software synths, we've all got so many synths with so many technologies and features it's incredible, but ironically fewer and fewer of them get to be explored in depth.
This ^ :thumbup:
And ultimately, any instrument can be pushed into new places - it just take a little creativity...
And this ^ :thumbup:
After 15 years I'm still discovering new things about just one soft-synth.

P.S.
My biggest problem now is remembering what I discovered :lol:
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Re: Any synth that really sounds different

Postby The Elf » Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:06 pm

One of the reasons I have a number of synths here is that they all do sound different. A D-50 sounds nothing like a MiniMoog! A reface YC and an ARP Odyssey are very different creatures!

But... a bigger difference is the path a certain synth will lead you down. A Hydrasynth has poly aftertouch, so I'll exploit that, but an Elektron Analog Keys has parameter locking and I'll exploit that. I can't play the same lines on a MiniMoog that I would on a Roli Seaboard. Granular synthesis reaches parts an analog poly never will. Some synths will restrict you in some way, but pay back in another. So many options out there...

It's this ability to see the good in different machines that makes me still use Stylophones, toys, 8-bit computers and test tubes! None of these things sound the same! Some of these I can sample and use in synths - and none of those will sound the same either!

You have to see beyond 'String Pad 04' and look deeper into instruments to find what they can do and how they can help you express the music you have in you.
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Re: Any synth that really sounds different

Postby clarkio » Sat Apr 17, 2021 12:24 pm

I'm not really sure what the OP is expecting. Yes lots of synths share similarities waveshapes, wavetables, filter type, ADSR etc. However they all have different characteristics from the bite of the filter to the snappiness of the envelopes to the "sloppiness"of the waveforms to the craziness of the modulation. To say they all sound the same is like saying all guitars or pianos sound the same.

Given it's digital and not exactly new and some might even say it's actually a ROMpler, I might get shot down in flames, but, for my money Korg's Wavestate is one of the most interesting and different modern synths.
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Re: Any synth that really sounds different

Postby Arpangel » Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:11 am

desmond wrote:Not really, it comes from the technologies used, the character of the instrument, and the range of available components.

No one can make a VCS3, a DX7, a Matrix 12 and a Hartmann Neuron sound the same whatever sound you start with.

It doesn’t really matter to me what synth I have, sure, I’ve got my preferences, I’ve owned a VCS3, and a DX7, for example, but the sounds I got from them were always in the same emotional ball park, two completely different instruments, but the same musical and emotional results, both synths "would have done"
What sounds do you have in your head? what do you want to do with them? Synthesisers, effects, modular, combining things, anything is possible these days.
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