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Hardware Synthesizers vs Software Synthesizers
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#61
13th July 2007
Old 13th July 2007
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I must say that I've been getting good results running softsynths through a moog filter, and also the sherman filterbank... also some nice pads running fm7 through an electrix filterfactory, highpass with the envelope follower...

like I said, a combination of gear and software always wins.
#62
13th July 2007
Old 13th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tibbon View Post
I think that a well designed UI on a hardware analogue synth means a lot. Perhaps more than the actual characteristics of the sound of the oscilators really.

I don't think that with any existing "midi knob bank" and a Moog emulation I would have the same workflow, creativity, or connection with a virtual Moog synth, as I can have with the minimoog.

Just the tactile feel of the knobs and switches, and an amazing layout are going to beat most Moog software clones. A mouse just doesn't turn knobs as well, and neither does a Behinger knob bank. Having a "click" when choosing the octave of an oscilator means something oddly, 10x moreso when improvising, making new sounds, or playing live.

As an experiment however, I'm going to see if there's a demo of some Moog VST, and see how mapping the voyager's controls to it works for me.
You can get around that by using a hardware programmer with software.
#63
13th July 2007
Old 13th July 2007
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I think that the only hardware synths worth keeping are the analog ones, I mean 100% analog not only the filter part.
I woul buy today an Omega 8 or tha andromeda A6 for ex.
I have a waldorf mixrowave xt which I thought was irreplaceble...well...I got NI's MAssive and it is much more flexible and better IMHO.
I think that the fact that hardware synth may sound better is because they have nomally very good D to A converters, better than standard audiocards, but if you have a very good audiocard like Presonus, RMe , you name it, the soft synth sound will be better.
To add warmth, on the other side, I would not use digital vst's, I use a valve pre for the voice in which I drive the valve alot.
Other that that, vst is more handy and flexible.
Mylo, BT and other have made entire LP's on PC sometimes only with demo versions of vst's and also, in a year or so, we will have quad core laptops with wich you will be able to carry your entire studio in a bag.
#64
13th July 2007
Old 13th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arkamaxx View Post
I think that the only hardware synths worth keeping are the analog ones, I mean 100% analog not only the filter part.
I woul buy today an Omega 8 or tha andromeda A6 for ex.
I have a waldorf mixrowave xt which I thought was irreplaceble...well...I got NI's MAssive and it is much more flexible and better IMHO.
I think that the fact that hardware synth may sound better is because they have nomally very good D to A converters, better than standard audiocards, but if you have a very good audiocard like Presonus, RMe , you name it, the soft synth sound will be better.
To add warmth, on the other side, I would not use digital vst's, I use a valve pre for the voice in which I drive the valve alot.
Other that that, vst is more handy and flexible.
Mylo, BT and other have made entire LP's on PC sometimes only with demo versions of vst's and also, in a year or so, we will have quad core laptops with wich you will be able to carry your entire studio in a bag.
-The A/D convertors should help a lot, but i'm not sure the sound will be the same good but different.

-Analog/digital hybrids that include a partially digital signal might also be hard to find comparable substitutes for. The XT is all-digital, not a combo.
#65
13th July 2007
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Just loaded up MiniMonsta, and it's neat. I was controlling some of it's controls with my Voyager, which definitely helped out a bit. However, it does sound different than my Voyager at least. The filter is REALLY different. But it's envelopes were pretty nice actually. Not going to positive better/worse, but let's say that I know I can get the MiniMonsta license for cheap, and sell my Voyager. Yes, that COULD save me a lot of money that I could spend on other things.

However, I'm not going to. If I want Moog polyphonic playing, i'll buy Voyager RMEs, or multitrack mine. I won't be going for a softsynth of it.

Just doesn't have the same mojo.
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#66
13th July 2007
Old 13th July 2007
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I would like to say hello to everyone here...this is my first post.

I started out writing electronic music with NI's first creation, Generator, and a midi keyboard. Today I use a Serge Modular and an Andromeda.

I think you have to look at it from a number of perspectives. Sound, interface/GUI and your personal workflow.

IMHO software has not been able to emulate analog...the question remains can digital every really emulate electricity and its energy? Perhaps the word emulate is the problem. There are synths out there both soft and hard that for me stand out regardless of their platform. NI's Absynth is one. The Serge Modular is another (OK I am bias).

I also feel hardware has perhaps gone as far as it can simply because of its physical limitations. Software on the hand wil not really come into its own as long as it keeps trying to "emulate" hardware.

For me a big part of the musical experience is the actual physical sculpting of sound using knobs, sliders and patch cords. I like to touch, and a mouse does not give that experience.

Great Thread,

Julio
#67
13th July 2007
Old 13th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julio View Post
I would like to say hello to everyone here...this is my first post.

I started out writing electronic music with NI's first creation, Generator, and a midi keyboard. Today I use a Serge Modular and an Andromeda.

I think you have to look at it from a number of perspectives. Sound, interface/GUI and your personal workflow.

IMHO software has not been able to emulate analog...the question remains can digital every really emulate electricity and its energy? Perhaps the word emulate is the problem. There are synths out there both soft and hard that for me stand out regardless of their platform. NI's Absynth is one. The Serge Modular is another (OK I am bias).

I also feel hardware has perhaps gone as far as it can simply because of its physical limitations. Software on the hand wil not really come into its own as long as it keeps trying to "emulate" hardware.

For me a big part of the musical experience is the actual physical sculpting of sound using knobs, sliders and patch cords. I like to touch, and a mouse does not give that experience.

Great Thread,

Julio

I agree Julio and Welcome!
All that CPU power being used to sound like a minimoog...
So much more can be done with it.
Personally I'd love a KYMA system but had to get rid of mine for $$$ :-(
#68
13th July 2007
Old 13th July 2007
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I've personally never really enjoyed programming software synths. I am a big fan of Nord synths, which i don't think i could replace with any VSTs. Some may argue that there are VSTs out there that sound like the Nord and that it is recreatable. I wouldn't argue with them, but I'd personally never replace the interface of the nord lead 2 with a controller, or worse even, a mouse I find hardware more spontaneous and insiprational to work with.

oh, and hi to all, new here
#69
13th July 2007
Old 13th July 2007
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I think it's better to build your equipment arsenal based on sound and use.
Some amazing sounding vintage synths are a bitch to use, but I wouldn't discount them completely. Some digital/analog hybrids are awesome sounding synths, so I wouldn't discount them either.
Some softsynths would be hard to replicate with hardware (Atmosphere, Kyma for example). So they too have their uses.
Again, I agree with those who love hardware synths.
The sound seems more 3D and the ability to turn two or more knobs at once, plus the accidental sounds borne out of tuning issues or overloading the inputs make harware more enjoyable than software for me.
But they all have their place.
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#70
14th July 2007
Old 14th July 2007
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U used to have some hardware synths...then i went all software.

And now i am back to hardware. Personally i don´t think even the digital synths can be replaced. i have a roland jd-990 and it has its own unique sound. after working for one or 2 years with softsynths i get so sick of hearing them. take something like the arturia jupiter 8. my friend has real jupiter and i think the soft version doesnt even come close to the real thing. maybe only my ears but i have never heard an analog softsynth emulation sound half as fat as my waldorf pulse...
#71
14th July 2007
Old 14th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hossegor View Post
Personally i don´t think even the digital synths can be replaced. i have a roland jd-990 and it has its own unique sound.
Amen Bro.
#72
14th July 2007
Old 14th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestBerliner View Post
I've personally never really enjoyed programming software synths. I am a big fan of Nord synths, which i don't think i could replace with any VSTs. Some may argue that there are VSTs out there that sound like the Nord and that it is recreatable. I wouldn't argue with them, but I'd personally never replace the interface of the nord lead 2 with a controller, or worse even, a mouse I find hardware more spontaneous and insiprational to work with.

oh, and hi to all, new here
this is one of the MAIN reasons (beside the sound factor) I LOVE hardware. You cant beat the hands on approach for programming sounds.

I bet I can whip up (program) a particular sound 10 times faster using my 2 hands on any hardware synth than someone using one mouse and clicking through the screen..

sure, you can use automation on DAWs, but on hardware you can use both hands and just rotate those damn knobs and sliders until you get one hell of a live performerance..

damn.. I didnt want to get into this soft vs hard debate.. But I got carried away.. he he..

I LOVE HARDWARE!!!
#73
14th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by analogbass View Post
You can get around that by using a hardware programmer with software.
It's not just that you have a bank of knobs, it's that its layed out well, and has a good tactile feel to it.

Unless you are using a Moog Voyager to control a Moog softsynth, then it won't be like playing a moog.

That's like saying playing Piano patches on a Guitar synth, or guitar on a piano is the same as playing a real guitar or piano. The interface matters.

One of the biggest complaints I see about the Doepfer A-100 systems is that they have tiny little knobs and such in comparison to the Moog modulars and similar. Why's that a big deal? Little knobs when performing aren't fun!
#74
14th July 2007
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Why softsynths

The main advantages I can see of softsynths are:

1) They are cheap in comparison
2) They don't weigh anything
3) You can always have multiple instances

I'm not even going to say that they are reliable, because my computers will crash more frequently than my Moog will blow up on me. The Moog might go down in 10 years of use, maybe once? Any computer will go down and cause issues MUCH more frequently. Likely monthly at least. Ok, maybe they stay in tune more? But that is not the only measure of reliability. You can fix tuning, you can't fix your own softsynth when the code is broken.

Hardware offers:

1) Better sound
2) Better looking and more impressive to clients
3) Better workflow and interface
4) It's actually an instrument. I've had to explain to some of my non-musician friends that a Moog isn't just another keyboard, but an instrument unto itself that requires learning to play it. All pianists aren't great Moogers
5) As long as you maintain it in some very basic ways, it will last forever. How many 5 1/4" floppy drives do you still have around your studio? How many 8" floppy drives? Software obseletes itself and becomes unrunnable, and unsupportable after a while. Hardware doesn't. A Moog from 1973 will still run fine with a little TLC. Try using some software from 1973. Forget it. Your copy of FM7 will NOT run in 2026. And perhaps it won't have been ported to the new system then either! TurboSynth doesn't run on OS X for example.

So for me, I can't understand why people want to use softsynths, asides from being cheap, and having no space. I am cheap and have no space, and still prefer hardware.
#75
14th July 2007
Old 14th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tibbon View Post
Hardware offers:

1) Better sound
2) Better looking and more impressive to clients
3) Better workflow and interface
4) It's actually an instrument.
I would never put your number 2 in there.

Hardware offeres a more intuitive work method.
Hardware can yield unpredictable results....in a good way.
You can carry synths from studio to studio (no iLoks or authorisations)
Hardware can be seamlessly connected.
You can process a Doepfer patch through a Moog filter for example.
Or use a hardware sequencer to control several synths all at once.
Software is great, but flexibility and unpredictability are not strong suits IMO.
#76
15th July 2007
Old 15th July 2007
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I was messing with my Obie Fourvoice today and every time I come back to this synth it always blows me away just how raw and full SEMs sound. I mean SO much fatter than any other osc I have. I'd find it hard to belive there is a software equivalent that has that punch ?
#77
15th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I would never put your number 2 in there.
Half the reason I see people wanting a large console or control surface is to 'impress' clients. I think that's the reason that half the studios keep 2" machines around too. Few clients use them, but they think, "They have TAPE!"

If have someone come over to your studio hoping to hire you as a sound designer, a wall of modular synths looks a HELL of a lot more impressive (or an ARP 2500) than a Macbook Pro sitting on a table running Reaktor. Seriously.

I've seen people just about flip when they seen an MPC or two sitting in a studio, even if they've never touched one themselves.
#78
16th July 2007
Old 16th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tibbon View Post
Half the reason I see people wanting a large console or control surface is to 'impress' clients.
I understood your point, I just thought it wasn't THAT important in terms of this debate.


I love my OB Four Voice.
Quite an awesome synth!
#79
16th July 2007
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In the land of gearslutz, it's not hw vs sw, but hw AND sw.
#80
16th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perx View Post
this is one of the MAIN reasons (beside the sound factor) I LOVE hardware. You cant beat the hands on approach for programming sounds.

I bet I can whip up (program) a particular sound 10 times faster using my 2 hands on any hardware synth than someone using one mouse and clicking through the screen..

sure, you can use automation on DAWs, but on hardware you can use both hands and just rotate those damn knobs and sliders until you get one hell of a live performerance..

damn.. I didnt want to get into this soft vs hard debate.. But I got carried away.. he he..

I LOVE HARDWARE!!!
word!
outofphase
#81
16th July 2007
Old 16th July 2007
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I love soft synths.

C'mon boy's, try to program some serious arrangement with just one DX7, or if you are not Kraftwerk give me a nice one just with 1 or 10 hardware Minimoogs!!

Those beasts are condemned to death !!
#82
16th July 2007
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outofphase- why can't you do any serious work with a DX-7? I can't stand it when people say they are hard to get your head around. Maybe if you don't understand how FM synthesis actually works, but they aren't that bad!
#83
16th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tibbon View Post
outofphase- why can't you do any serious work with a DX-7? I can't stand it when people say they are hard to get your head around. Maybe if you don't understand how FM synthesis actually works, but they aren't that bad!
And for the price of a decent VSTi you can nearly get the TX816 these days. 8 DX7's. Fabulous!

I did a few songs for an EP with the TX816, Serge and TR808 and didn't feel limited at all.

Pain to program? Yes! Worth it? Yes!
#84
16th July 2007
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I must be a real sadist, because a DX7 never seemed that hard to program to me.

Oddly enough, I find it impossible to get a Korg Triton to make a decent non-canned sound however. Never could figure out why people would drop so much for them. At least a Kurzweil has some decent strings and pads.
#85
16th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tibbon View Post
I must be a real sadist, because a DX7 never seemed that hard to program to me.

Oddly enough, I find it impossible to get a Korg Triton to make a decent non-canned sound however. Never could figure out why people would drop so much for them. At least a Kurzweil has some decent strings and pads.
A dx7 isn't easy to program initially. That is it's problem. No instant gratification here.
I used spend hours on the TX816 making one patch out of 8 modules using each to create a partial of the sound (not layered as such but each module responds to a certain keyrange and dynamic differently. Believe me, that took time, but I thought it was worth it. Then I got a life
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#86
27th July 2007
Old 27th July 2007
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Does anyone here have anything to say about Reaktor? ImpOscar? Any other softsynths here worth mentioning that are a "must have" synth? Come on, a harware user knows how you just can't live without that Moog bass sound or that Juno string patch that makes it into every song. I am just wondering if I am missing the Vitual Synth boat.
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#87
27th July 2007
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Back to the 80's!

Remember in the 80's when everyone was ditching their tube amps for solid state crap? Even the cheapest amps were 100 watts easy! And they sounded so different! But they were cheaper, lighter, easier to maintain.

I mean who wants a Fender Twin or a JTM45 anyways! Everyone wants a Crate stack! Replacing tubes is such a bummer.... Remember when "Digital" was a stronger marketing word than "Tube"?


That is today. The fools thinking that their hardware synths are too heavy, cumbersome, unstable, expensive, hard to maintain, etc... Cheap/fast/light/dependable is what you want right? Everyone jumping on softsynths.

Forget that. To me a real analogue synth can be a real instrument just like a violin to me. It has character, it has tone. It has a feel. It has a personality. It treats you the way you treat it.

I don't think that anyone has the same relationship with their 2600 softsynth that someone that's got a real Arp 2600 does. It's not just a senimental thing, it's just that regardless of hardware controllers, midi faders, etc... the real thing is the real thing. Your minimoog D is YOUR minimoog D... and doesn't sound, feel or play quite like anyone else's. The software is.... all the same.
#88
27th July 2007
Old 27th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Popbott View Post
Does anyone here have anything to say about Reaktor? ImpOscar? Any other softsynths here worth mentioning that are a "must have" synth? Come on, a harware user knows how you just can't live without that Moog bass sound or that Juno string patch that makes it into every song. I am just wondering if I am missing the Vitual Synth boat.
Reaktor actually has good sounding oscillators. But it is just so buggy and prone to crashing. And like most softsynths it is very hard to mix with the sound that comes out of reaktor. At last if you want a mix that breathe like good ol analog.
#89
29th July 2007
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Just demoed, purchased, and currently downloading the Krishna Synth from devine-machine..... looks AWESOME........
no ssl yet
#90
29th July 2007
Old 29th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hossegor View Post
U used to have some hardware synths...then i went all software.

And now i am back to hardware. Personally i don´t think even the digital synths can be replaced. i have a roland jd-990 and it has its own unique sound. after working for one or 2 years with softsynths i get so sick of hearing them. take something like the arturia jupiter 8. my friend has real jupiter and i think the soft version doesnt even come close to the real thing. maybe only my ears but i have never heard an analog softsynth emulation sound half as fat as my waldorf pulse...
I just compared my Roland Fantom xr to the JD990. My 990 puts the Fantom to shame. (With all of it's 14mb of memory)
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