I just wanted to check whether i've got all this info right:
From what i understand, before these chips came along, all synthesizer electronics were discrete, a bunch of capacitors and transistors and cogs and wheels (joking about the last 2 XD) then, sometime in the 80's when microchips started to become cheaper and cheaper, they miniaturized alot of these components and bunged them on a chip, so all the wiring turned into traces on the chips, and the transistors themselves became the chip's complex set of gate arrays.
So they did a VCO chip, a VCF chip, etc, (I understand my Mono/Poly has a load of them in) and then they either wired these up to pots and sliders like they always used to (like in the M/P) or, they used a CPU to digitally control them (like in Prophet 600) now, the primitive CPU's lead to a bit of stepping between values, as the analogue values were crudely converted to digital ones using 4-8 bits (i think it's 5bit on the poly 800 for example)
Of course, DCO's came in later, further integrating oscillator circuits into the digital domain, but for now, lets discuss 2 key things.
1. Did i get most of that information right? Is my basic understanding of the CEM/SSM process ok?
2. What exactly is lost in the miniaturization of the circuits? for example people rave on about the SH2 for it's big "discrete" oscillators, can CEM or SSM oscillators ever hope to compete with discrete ones if they're still voltage controlled and not sterile in terms of pitch? Does the chip making process take out a load of voodoo magic away from the oscillator circuit? Also, what about filters? I really like my M/P's SSM 2044, and i really like my C64's sid filter, but is there something missing in the design? could a chip ever really compete with a real moog ladder filter? (I'll probably be buying a moog later this year for THAT sound anyway.)
None of this really matters of course, lots of chip based instruments sound great, but the topic fascinates me and i'd like to know more