The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Synths for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Why Don't New VCOs Sound as Good as Old VCOs? Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 23rd April 2018
  #451
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnalvl View Post
There's all sorts of programming tricks you can use to make totally unrelated synths sound similar, but at the end of the day, you may not want to have to research, revise, or implement additional tricks to get the sound you want when other synths can get that sound more readily.

For example on a DCO or wavetable synth there's all sorts of ways you can attempt to imitate slop which may approximate the sound of a VCO to some degree. Likewise analogs like the Alpha Juno intentionally provide waveforms to imitate the era's popular digital synths. Newer digital synths like the Prophet 12 and Xfer Serum allow you to bitcrush/alias the oscillators to capture the sound of older digital synths.

Depending on your tastes and interests, these sorts of programming tricks may be perfectly adequate, or at the end of the day you may be better off with a synth that will capture these sounds readily out of the box without applying any special programming tricks.
I agree with all that, but that's not the hypothesis that was put forward by the OP. What I'm saying is that on the Prophet 6, and probably most new VCO based synths, designers took into account different things and decided to make their new instruments with wider parameter ranges to facilitate their own tastes as well as popular trends. Maybe modern electronics allowed for changes that they'd have liked in their older instruments but would have been impossible or costly. I'm saying that the VCOs, while probably sounding a bit different, aren't responsible for the huge difference that a lot of people here when they first compare the 5 and the 6. Dave Smith was smart to make the 5 one big sweet spot, as tastes at the time were a lot more conservative and synths were still pretty new to most people. Now people are more experimental and adventurous with the sounds they use. Even if you don't listen to bands that are very adventurous, there's a high likelihood that you've heard a lot of experimental stuff in movie and TV soundtracks.

Also, I should point out that my "tricks" aren't really tricks as much as just being intimate with my synth. It's more like buying a new car. For the first week you may end up accelerating super quick or breaking too hard a lot, but your brain develops proprioception and you quickly just adapt to it. I own a different car by the same maker, same year, as my wife's and there's always a short period on the weekend when I'm driving her car where it feels off, but I quickly adapt. I don't consciously think "I'm going for a vintage sweet sound, I'd better use my tricks." I just program it like I'd program any synth and mood take me where it does.

I have a synth called a Neptune 2 by Spectral Audio. I don't know why it didn't do well, but it's a great sounding and inexpensive 3 osc mono. Kind of Model Desque, but with some enhancements. It's filter definitely does not open up all the way. I can see the curve in the sawtooth's harmonics as they roll off. Overall, it's got a very vintage sound to me, and like you suggest, I do naturally go to it when I have those types of sounds in mind, even if I don't consciously make that decision. I would also not say that its sound is totally due to its VCOs.

Anyway, I'm not telling anyone what to use, but I do think that if you believe that there was some fairy dust in old VCOs that make them incredible compared to modern VCOs, you're wrong.
Old 23rd April 2018
  #452
Lives for gear
 
Gnalvl's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
Anyway, I'm not telling anyone what to use, but I do think that if you believe that there was some fairy dust in old VCOs that make them incredible compared to modern VCOs, you're wrong.
Sure, but every synth has its quirks and its sweet spots may lie in different places than others, and those properties will appeal to some people more than others. If someone has such an affinity for the quirks and sweet spots of certain old synths that they feel modern sound terrible in comparison, that's understandable and within their right to feel that way.
Old 23rd April 2018
  #453
Lives for gear
 
daviddever's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by autoy View Post
So for all of you asking for more evidence and proof, there's lots of nice videos to explain what some of us have been trying to put into words. Here's one:

Oscillator detune FAIL. Like WTF? This isn't scientific.
Old 23rd April 2018
  #454
Lives for gear
 
daviddever's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by neonrider View Post
Hold forth.
Old 23rd April 2018
  #455
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SSM2030 View Post
If we only count polysynths what do we have apart from DSI? Omega 8, Sunsyn, Baloran the River, Deckards Dream, Modal Electronics 008, The abyss. So all vintage vco polysynths sound better than them?
Yes all of them. No exception whatsoever.

BTW, whenever you need to twist an opponents argument to the point of being unrecognizable, to be able to confirm your sense of superiority or just to back up your previous arguments or whatever the reason, it might be a good idea to reconcider your position or at the very least the way you're presenting it.
Old 23rd April 2018
  #456
Lives for gear
 
autoy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by daviddever View Post
Oscillator detune FAIL. Like WTF? This isn't scientific.
I regard you as one of my most respected members here. I am sure you can abstract from exact VCO tuning and other discrepancies to tell fundamental tone distinctions between both, as you should with any other video samples posted. Again, sorry for underwhelming YouTube audio quality but enough real-world experience can train anyone to compensate the missing bits and look what to listen for in these kinds of demos.
Old 24th April 2018
  #457
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnalvl View Post
Sure, but every synth has its quirks and its sweet spots may lie in different places than others, and those properties will appeal to some people more than others. If someone has such an affinity for the quirks and sweet spots of certain old synths that they feel modern sound terrible in comparison, that's understandable and within their right to feel that way.
Right. But blaming that all on the difference between VCOs is like blaming it on the type of wood used on the ends.
Old 24th April 2018
  #458
Lives for gear
 
GeminIAm's Avatar
My karp sounds spot on to me. I can't tell the difference between it and a vintage Oddy and neither can the 4 people that have listened to my songs so who tf cares
Old 24th April 2018
  #459
Lives for gear
 
Gnalvl's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
Right. But blaming that all on the difference between VCOs is like blaming it on the type of wood used on the ends.
Sure, but even the OP acknowledged the potential influence of the VCA and other parts of the signal path in the differences he described, and many others suggested factors like capacitors, PSUs, SMT, OTAs, etc.
Old 24th April 2018
  #460
Gear Nut
 
CZ Rider's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
The VCOs on my MiniMoog sound pretty bad right now because one of them has taken to drifting around randomly. Its not temperature-dependent, it will just slide down down as much as a quarter tone without warning Moving the waveshape and octave knobs don't seem to make it better or worse.

Before I hit the circuit diagrams and start monitoring CV lines, any of you sound experts ever worked on a Moog oscillator with random drift problems?
Many times dirt or corrosion is the culprit. One of the problems here is the self cleaning trimmers inside rarely get moved. Simply exercising the trimmer pots can sometimes bring them back. And sometimes with the help of contact cleaner. Might not even have to open it up if it is indeed just a dirty trimmer.
Can't tell you how many times a dirty trimmer gave me that same problem. My Rogue had one oscillator that went wonky. Just a dirty trimmer. Same with an ARP Odyssey and Solus. My Minimoog had all oscillators randomly drift down a semi-tone. It was the wirewound trimmer for the negative rail that would randomly dip in voltage. Simple fix, just cleaned and rotated back and forth several dozen times and it was as good as new.
Wonder how many similar easy fixes ended up on some techs bench getting an expensive recap or other BS?
Worth a look at those trimmers. Should be sensitive when tapping them to see if this is the problem.

Have some old Moog 901 oscillators here for that vintage tone. My favorites for sure.
Old 24th April 2018
  #461
As humanity has evolved since the days of old VCOs the genetic changes which have occurred since then have made our sense of hearing change in subtle ways and we simply are unable to perceive the sound of VCOs the same anymore.

We’ve evolved past this, why can’t this thread?
Old 24th April 2018
  #462
Ok, how about this scenario

You have a choice between two studios.
Each have the same synth models, one side modern, the other side vintage.

DSI Prophet 6 vs Sequential Circuits Prophet 5
Minimoog D Reissue vs Minimoog Model D
Full Size Korg Arp Odyssey vs Arp Odyssey
Korg MS-20 Full Size Reissue vs Korg MS-20
Tom Oberheim SEM two voice pro vs Oberheim SEM two voice
Yamaha Montage vs Yamaha Dx7
Roland TR-8s vs Roland TR-808

One gives you the benefit of easy tuning, midi, and built in extras.
The other offers vintage tone, drift, and the real thing.

Your choice...

Last edited by TahFoxKing; 24th April 2018 at 03:49 AM.. Reason: spelling
Old 24th April 2018
  #463
Lives for gear
 
daviddever's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by autoy View Post
I am sure you can abstract from exact VCO tuning and other discrepancies to tell fundamental tone distinctions between both, as you should with any other video samples posted. Again, sorry for underwhelming YouTube audio quality but enough real-world experience can train anyone to compensate the missing bits and look what to listen for in these kinds of demos.
Problem is, in the video clip noted above, the two Korg monosynths are similar enough (with four decades between them) that the result is largely inconclusive–variations between the devices only marginally exceed the resolution of the delivery codec, or the skill of the clip's author to maintain parity between them.

Instead, an experienced viewer ends up scrutinizing the video for how closely the author can match (or fail to match) the two devices (knowing full well that the Korg R&D team had already exhaustively done similar comparisons during the development process), rather than gleaning any meaningful variations between them.

And that's where these exercises generally fail.
Old 24th April 2018
  #464
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnalvl View Post
Sure, but even the OP acknowledged the potential influence of the VCA and other parts of the signal path in the differences he described, and many others suggested factors like capacitors, PSUs, SMT, OTAs, etc.
He did, but he didn’t really name the thread in a way that suggests that he’s serious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neonrider View Post
I don't want to debate *if* they do. That much is obvious. Every non musician I have over to my house I do a little test with. Play a key on a new VCO synth (P6, OB6, "D" etc). Then play a key on a classic.

There's never any contest. Jaws drop. Eyes widen. Goosebumps appear. Panties drop, sometimes.

The question is why. Why do old VCOs sound so much better that even to amateurs it's never any contest? Or even old DCOs? The Deepmind has no emotional effect on people whatsoever. The Juno makes them swoon. Etcetera.

Sure--you can put a soft synth or anything quite frankly--through $10k of high end processing. But that defeats the purpose.

I appreciate the analogue renaissance. I love it. But. The only new poly that gets close to the old ones in tone is the Dreadbox Abyss. The Mini or modular reissues nail it, but that is exactly the old design.

Is it clocking, pitch control, amps, signal chains? All the above?

For example, in the P6/OB6, it seems like the autotune, or algorithmic cv control of pitch, is sampling and holding, somehow forcing, the start phase of voice--there's a weird kind of artificial forced phasing that sounds very unnatural, very weak, it's very noticeable. The voices don't smush into each other. I have no idea, though, I'm not an engineer. I just know it sounds...off. Nice, but not AS nice.

Is it even fair to call something that has total locked control of pitch or phase etc a "VCO"? Again, I have no idea. I just know I'd rather have a real autotune I press now and then than...this constant, ever-present DSP control of the oscillator that appears to be basically what these new VCOs do. Do we need a whole new word for them? Oscillator fascism?

Hold forth.
Old 24th April 2018
  #465
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by autoy View Post
Exactly what I stated in the first place, it’s not meant as a direct comparison but as a way to taste the character of each unit. Listen with your ears and decide which would you prefer just by sound alone. There are some obvious benefits from modern instruments of course, but we are talking strictly sound in this thread. Sadly YT videos are some of the worst listening experiences one can have but even then, might be enough to make a broad preference statement.
How can we decide which have best character when they are set different? We are only presented with a static sound.
Old 24th April 2018
  #466
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HUBA View Post
Yes all of them. No exception whatsoever.

BTW, whenever you need to twist an opponents argument to the point of being unrecognizable, to be able to confirm your sense of superiority or just to back up your previous arguments or whatever the reason, it might be a good idea to reconcider your position or at the very least the way you're presenting it.
He said all vintage vco polysynth sound better except for abyss. I named all new vco poly I could think of. Ok didn't realize he said abyss but otherwise no twisting in arguments.
Do you even know my previous arguments? I've said I expect vintage vco poly to sound little different and I'm biased towards them but like most other here I haven't done any comparison. I've done comparison with minimoog thoug and they sound the same apart from the overdrive. Someone said it has less bass by listening on youtube and now I've seen that argument several times. This is what happens when you just read on forums. And even if I can get them to sound the same I still can't say if they respond the same to knob changes and has the same sweet spot since it's very hard to do a comparison.
Old 24th April 2018
  #467
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SSM2030 View Post
He said all vintage vco polysynth sound better except for abyss. I named all new vco poly I could think of. Ok didn't realize he said abyss but otherwise no twisting in arguments.
Look, and I don't mean just you SSM2030, so don't take it all personal:

You're still insisting on chasing the guy instead of the ball. It's poor debating, extremely boring and bad taste. And I'm aware that that is subjective, so you don't have to point it out for me. Neonrider has not participated in this thread for many pages, and in addition to beating on the same tired argument, by not adressing him directly, you're implying that your overly destilled characteristics of his viewpoint goes for all of the participants that disagree with your position.

We all know he is exaggerating and oversimplifying. The premise for his question is not a scientific fact, and every synth in the world sound different, and different is not necessarily better. Can we please move on and discuss what might be the reason why many old VCO based synths sound different in certain and often pleasing ways than the newer ones, which also can sound very good in their own way, but rarely sound particularly «vintage» unless the designer is aiming hard for that particular quality, and even then, often miss it? Or is that not possible because neonrider happened to ask the question with different words, maybe deliberately so to start a flamewar?

Last edited by HUBA; 24th April 2018 at 03:16 PM..
Old 24th April 2018
  #468
Deleted User
Guest
ARGHHHH...It is not EITHER, OR. Black and White.
The Divide and Conquer have programmed you better than a cheap synth.
Carry On....
Old 24th April 2018
  #469
Lives for gear
 
Gnalvl's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
He did, but he didn’t really name the thread in a way that suggests that he’s serious.
For one, imagine how clumsy the thread's title would be if he tried to namedrop other parts of the signal path.

For another, what's to be gained from taking the least constructive possible interpretation of the thread - particularly when the OP never explicitly denied more constructive avenues of discussion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HUBA View Post
Or is that not possible because neonrider happened to ask the question with different words, maybe deliberately so to start a flamewar?
Yeah, it's a bizarre reaction. If you're trying to prevent a flamewar, why is your best course of action to obsess over the very part of the post you believe was intended to start said flamewar, holding on to it for dear life and arguing with anyone attempting to move on from it to more constructive aspects of the topic?
Old 24th April 2018
  #470
Lives for gear
 
Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HUBA View Post
We all know he is exagurating and oversimplifying.
What's "exagurating"? Is that like regurgitating?
Old 24th April 2018
  #471
Lives for gear
 

Sorry, I meant exaggerating. I will edit my post so that it becomes understandable to those of you who are so into misunderstanding.

Last edited by HUBA; 24th April 2018 at 03:35 PM..
Old 24th April 2018
  #472
Lives for gear
 
Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HUBA View Post
Sorry, I meant exaggerating. I will edit my post so that it becomes understandable for those of you who are so into misunderstanding.
Most of us moved away from the OP's faulty premise the day he posted it ... we're happy to talk about other things.
Old 24th April 2018
  #473
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnalvl View Post
For one, imagine how clumsy the thread's title would be if he tried to namedrop other parts of the signal path.

For another, what's to be gained from taking the least constructive possible interpretation of the thread - particularly when the OP never explicitly denied more constructive avenues of discussion?
Uh... how about, “Why don’t modern synths sound as good as vintage synths?” Oh. Right. There are hundreds of those threads
Old 24th April 2018
  #474
Lives for gear
 
Gnalvl's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
Uh... how about, “Why don’t modern synths sound as good as vintage synths?” Oh. Right. There are hundreds of those threads
So you're not interested in a comparison of VCOs, you're not interested in a comparison of the rest of the synth either... so then why did you come to the thread again?
Old 24th April 2018
  #475
Deleted User
Guest
Comparing oscillators is a good thing.


I think this thread has revealed that groupthink has failed to poison this sub-forum of Gearslutz.

Skepticism and critical thinking are alive and well.
Old 24th April 2018
  #476
Gear Maniac
 

Poor Socrates did not fare too well. Suppose thats the price to pay

Quote:
Originally Posted by trashman View Post
Comparing oscillators is a good thing.


I think this thread has revealed that groupthink has failed to poison this sub-forum of Gearslutz.

Skepticism and critical thinking are alive and well.
Old 24th April 2018
  #477
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by neonrider View Post
For example, in the P6/OB6, it seems like the autotune, or algorithmic cv control of pitch, is sampling and holding, somehow forcing, the start phase of voice--there's a weird kind of artificial forced phasing that sounds very unnatural, very weak, it's very noticeable. The voices don't smush into each other. I have no idea, though, I'm not an engineer. I just know it sounds...off. Nice, but not AS nice.
I just remembered that I felt there was something up with the phase of the Prophet 6 when I first got it, but switching it to a mono output made it go away. Considering the 5 only had a single out anyway... you do lose voice panning and stereo effects though. What I do is switch from using it as a mono out to stereo out when the patch calls for it. I wish it were smart enough to know when only one output was being used and auto disabled pan and stereo effects. Most times I do keep it in stereo because I tend to use it for pads and other sounds where the phaseiness you're describing is a plus.
Old 24th April 2018
  #478
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Most of us moved away from the OP's faulty premise the day he posted it ... we're happy to talk about other things.
Really? Well do you have an opinion then, on what's most likely to cause the phenomenon of the "vintage sound" differing from the "modern sound", that is not based on belittling dismissals like superstition, nostalgia or magical thinking?

To be clear, I believe a soberish yet somewhat long winded version of the premise, that many hopefully could agree with, would go something like this:

Just like old synths, however sh**ty they otherwise might be, generally don't suffer from having a «modern sound", unless they are carefully designed to sound «vintage», newer synths are usually lacking something soundwise, even VCO based synths, that a number of older synths seem to have in common. A certain behavour that many find pleasing, be it warm, organic aliveness or soul, presence, weight or whatever, we all know the characteristics.

So what do you think would be the main reason(s) behind this phenomenon? That is if you agree that it is real.
Old 24th April 2018
  #479
Lives for gear
 
norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CZ Rider View Post
Many times dirt or corrosion is the culprit. One of the problems here is the self cleaning trimmers inside rarely get moved. Simply exercising the trimmer pots can sometimes bring them back. And sometimes with the help of contact cleaner. Might not even have to open it up if it is indeed just a dirty trimmer.
Can't tell you how many times a dirty trimmer gave me that same problem. My Rogue had one oscillator that went wonky. Just a dirty trimmer. Same with an ARP Odyssey and Solus. My Minimoog had all oscillators randomly drift down a semi-tone. It was the wirewound trimmer for the negative rail that would randomly dip in voltage. Simple fix, just cleaned and rotated back and forth several dozen times and it was as good as new.
Wonder how many similar easy fixes ended up on some techs bench getting an expensive recap or other BS?
Worth a look at those trimmers. Should be sensitive when tapping them to see if this is the problem.

Have some old Moog 901 oscillators here for that vintage tone. My favorites for sure.

Thanks. I last had the thing open 10 years ago,when I calibrated it. The trimmers are super-sensitive. I've been putting the repair off for several years , though I don't know why. It wasn't until I considered buying a Boog that something in my head said " if you're going to do that, at least fix Osc 2 on the Moog first.. "
Old 24th April 2018
  #480
Lives for gear
 
norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by trashman View Post
Comparing oscillators is a good thing.


I think this thread has revealed that groupthink has failed to poison this sub-forum of Gearslutz.

Skepticism and critical thinking are alive and well.
Ahh, but non-groupthink is the groupthink here, and contrarianism is what we agree on
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump