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Limitations as a feature? Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 2 days ago
  #31
Lives for gear
 
akai612's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarfishMusic View Post
Sounds like an oxymoron to me but I seem to hear that on GS quite abit. That's one reason people like old gear etc. I can see the concept of just having so many options preventing people from doing music without stress of so many option decisions but can't you just NOT try those options? Are people really that OCD they have to try too many things without the will power to just say ok already and go with an early choice?

One thing I can see a little bit is on limited devices like the Emu Sp1200: It might kind of force you to make music the way pioneers of early hip hop for example worked helping you to nail the genre if you are really trying for authenticity. Sound aside though, and I know the SP is unique in it's sound (I'm just using it's workflow as an example) if you understand the type of production in a genre, can't you just impose your own limitations? I used to teach people to use the MPC2000 in the early 2000s when it was the thing most hip hop people had. When I was using it as a sequencer I would generally only play simple single finger parts on a keyboard and not think too much about chord progressions or playng anything the least bit complex. I did this because the people I was teaching had almost no musical knowledge and I was just trying to be fast. I must admit at least for the time wow this really comes out like hiphop (the kind where people were getting away from sampling other's songs due to legality.)

I personally love the sound of analog and old digital gear and that's why I have so much of it. For me it's certainly not the limitations. I often just go with my first musical idea and even first take even though I'm surrounded by a room of stuff including my daw with 100s of VSTs. Sometimes I'm real meticulous, sometimes I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kind of guy. Just depends on my mood. Why do I need the limitations imposed ON me though? Can't I just go by my mood? I just got a Roland S550. It's OS is a huge limitation. It sounds good which is why I got it, but woudn't I want it to have a great easy to use GUI, unlimited polyphony, 16 outputs, a choice of analog and digital filters, gigs of ram etc, usb 3 to the computer and intelligible manual?

I have an electribe 2 for the times I don't feel like hassling with my room full of stuff. I've made quite abit of music on it since I've had it because of it's all in one nature. I'm not so sure it's limitations have helped me though. It cant do more than 4 bar patterns. This bugs the sh-t out of me! So what's your take on this topic? Do you like limitations. What is your relationship with them?
Money cant buy love nor creativity...either you hit a nerve with what you do or you dont...the devlis advocats out there called technocrats are just trying to sell you products...once you start to see through this marketing brainwashing thats going on you migth settle with something like a SP and you'd be better off with just one brilliantly designed old school synth instead a room full of mediocre sounding gear made in china.

Also, I keep on testing new products in a local store and its kind of disturbing that even new high-end synths sounds awfully lame. Somewhat sterile and predictable. It just seems that they got so perfect in their design that they killed off that indescribable magic mojo thing.

On the way to perfection in audio-engineering something essential got lost...and there's no sign on the horizon that things are going to change...even with something like a moog one...from what I've heard so far of the demos available even my Moog Rogue has a ton of more balls...

Well...open up a emu emax for instance..even as a layman in electronics you understand that they applied a totally different type of engineering compared to any kind of new synth available.

5 Seconds of GOODNESS...what else do you need? Join a creative vocalist to this beat and you've got a smashing track at your hand.

Old 2 days ago
  #32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot View Post
Korg and Roland have to make a product that pros, amateurs, and beginners all can use but they tend to skew the use case towards that of the pro, because if you lose them the amateurs and beginners will shy away too.

...

I think this sort of ideal is much like those three element Venn diagrams -- you can have it Good, Fast, or Cheap: Pick 2. Sometimes the extra effort required to make a UI better isn't done because the extra development time and costs don't net anything to designer/manufacturer.
I think there must be alot of that going on. There's one other thing to think about though and it's a dilemna. The people that make this stuff are more busy making it than making music. They are just not using what they make at a high level all the time for years like power users (Except Dave Smith he's awesome) It's a catch 22 and why I don't learn to solder lol

There are just stupid design decisions where it's blatantly obvious, where it's just so close to the better way yet no. I'll give an example that costs absolutely nothing to implement. I own a deepmind 12. Geat synth BTW. The software editor is absolutely superb to have. On the main outer screen you can move the sliders around but they skip increments. One of the beauties of an editor is quickly auditioning values. There is no way to type in the number value to get exactly what you had before or think is the right one. No you have to fight with the physical or virtual slider to get it there. It's so close! Haven't they used a synth editor before? A softsynth? A plugin of any kind? How can you make a beautiful editor with 2 way communication to a 12 voice analog synth and not know you need to be able to type in values sometimes? (Yes I know you can shrink the program, click to zoom a section, and hold shift while moving the big fader, but that sux!) I'm not bitching that they made the editor, I'm super grateful, but who F doesn't know sometimes you have to type a number? DM12 has WIFI, responds to VR glasses for god sake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akai612 View Post
you'd be better off with just one brilliantly designed old school synth instead a room full of mediocre sounding gear made in china.

...

available even my Moog Rogue has a ton of more balls...

Well...open up a emu emax for instance..even as a layman in electronics you understand that they applied a totally different type of engineering compared to any kind of new synth available.

5 Seconds of GOODNESS...what else do you need?
Seems you're not aware of what's in my room. Just cause you used them as examples; I have an Emax 1, EIII, and E4XT ultra. I also have a Realistic MG-1 which is a Moog Rogue minus wheels and plus some extra stuff. What's better than 5 seconds of goodness? 6 seconds of it.
Old 2 days ago
  #33
Lives for gear
 
Acidizer's Avatar
because one piece of gear doesn't have the feature of another, often that is seen as a "limitation".

but in reality it's good to be forced to work in different ways as you invariably, by nature, will end up with different results. you may want more modulation, but if you are lacking traditional means of implementing this your mind will conjure up an ad hoc workaround... one as good or better or different (or just crappier but in a good way) than if you were simply just reaching for that second LFO.
Old 2 days ago
  #34
Lives for gear
 

I think this also depends a lot on what music you're making. If 80's synth pop is your thing, limitations aren't as big of a problem as long as the tone is right, but if you're into more experimental stuff, reaching for that second LFO, third envelope or whatever and realizing it's not there might stop you halfway through the patch and that's a problem, as you usually don't want your illbient acidkraut patch to sound like a Duran Duran lead sound.
You might try and come up with a workaround, but you usually end up losing another significant feature for the workaround that might be comparably important for the patch as the initial limitation you were trying to get around.

While with more traditional music, where great keyboard playing skills can compensate for things like technical limitations, the same is usually not the case with more abstract music that depend heavily on modulation and settings outside of what the jazz musician for instance might concider as a usable range.
Personally I'd love to be able to play keys like «real» musicians, which seems like great fun, but what drove me into making music in the first place was the abstract side of things and the different, more instinctive and krautrock like approach.

It seems to me a lot of people round here is caught up in thinking of this as a competition of getting the most out of as little as possible, but while there's surely something to be said about minimalism forcing creativity, or stumbling over interesting workaround happy accidents, music is about vision and imagination, and limitations in tools is like being stuck with a typewriter with only half the alphabet working. You might be able to express yourself to a certain extent, but that big novel may not materialize because of this limitation, which can be frustrating for those with words in their heads consisting of more of the missing letters than what is the case for others, hence the argument.
Neither side is better or worse, off course, but the more traditionally oriented musician is much better equipped to get by with limitations in electronic music equipment than the abstract soundscapes dude which is something that can easily be overlooked by those practically not affected by limitation issues at all.
Old 2 days ago
  #35
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Pro5's Avatar
I can take limitations if I like the sound/instrument (SH-2), or they can bug me if I feel the synth would be a lot better with just a few (not going mad) enhancements (Prophet 6 for example).

So limitations or not is not really the deciding factor for me. If I really loved the sound I'm hearing from the Moog One (again just an example) then the fact it's not limited in any obvious way wouldn't matter to me, I'd enjoy the scope of the instrument that only added to the value/fun of using it.

Until of course you cross the line into too much spec in a badly design UI that's just a pain to dig into (Andromeda A6) and that also doesn't have a core sound that is immediately appealing enough for me to want to persevere with.

I'm still waiting for the modern synth that hits the perfect balance of sound, spec, ability and not being too overblown as to be more like sitting down with a computer than a musical instrument. It's not easy to do it seems, some have come close functionally (Prophet Rev 2), just enough spec to have fun not too much to drag things down (though in this case the sound isn't there for me), others have come close sound wise (Prophet 6) but lack just a handful of things to lead to some frustrations (inc 4 octave keybeds), so neither end up ideal (for me). I'm waiting for Sequential to release a VCO 5 octave analog poly with a similar depth to the rev 2, richer oscs and filiter than the Prophet 6, and some additional new twist to make it interesting above the sea of other analog polys. Basically a Sequential moog one with a bit less spec and a great sound (for a fair price).

I can work with or without limitations, I just need to connect to the piece of gear. That said, it does seem as my preference for musical connection is higher than my preference for kitchen sink spec I've fallen back on 3 old, simpler synths for now that get me what I want, fast and in a way I enjoy the sound of (in a mix which is more important than solo noodling).
Old 1 day ago
  #36
Lives for gear
 

Also, because manufacturers are all about ignoring what should have been an agreed upon standard of features for a modern synthesizer for the last 20+ years, the less traditionally oriented musician, which is a category I imagine a lot of synth heads fall into, easily ends up with a unergonomically pile of equipment that all has to sync up properly and work together with as little flow killing quirks and confusion as possible. Getting your setup right can be a demanding task to say the least and is probably a bigger reason for going all ITB than economy. The problem is that means lag, glitches and in effect unusable MIDI input timing, so many end up going back to hardware again.

Needless to say, you can easily find yourself in an endless loop of problemsolving and frustration when you really just want to make music. Learning is an essential and unavoidable part of making electronic music, but it shouldn't be necessary to have to learn the quirks of a bunch of different machines because manufacturers refuse to make proper instruments.

I'm now concidering between a Roland JX-305, a groove rompler, or an anchient Ensoniq keyboard, alternatively a seemingly highly convulted Casio XW-G1, all because I can't find a modern complete VA keyboard synth scratchpad with fx, sampling and a proper realtime sequencer. Synths are all about step sequencers only, for some mysterious reason, which are of no use for me. I'll probably end up with a house full of bulky workstations and 90's groove boxes, neither really working out properly, before said instrument becomes available. I would seriously concider a 16 voice Moog one for the price they ask if it had sample import and a proper realtime sequencer. I know it's not the concept being expected from Moog, it's just meant as an example of what I think is missing in the market and how much I'd pay to get this issue solved.
Old 1 day ago
  #37
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oldgearguy's Avatar
 

For me, a big part of it is muscle memory/ease of use. I don't have days/weeks/months of time to dedicate to music. It's often short bursts of time spread out over many days. Because of that, I tend to gravitate towards simpler gear first. No manual required, no menus to sift through, no hidden button combos/Page 2 info to recall - just power on, move the sliders/knobs/switches and enjoy.

Some of the complex gear I have can literally take a lifetime to master and to explore all it can do. I end up setting aside time to simply practice with that gear so that I'm quicker using it when I want to incorporate it.

If I'm beta testing something or developing patches/presets, then I'll focus on that one instrument in depth, but if the goal is trying to create a song then I'd rather have dedicated instruments that do something well and do it quickly so I can focus on the composition (unless it's an ambient thing, then I'll sit down with the Fizmo and H9000 and spend all day tweaking a couple patches on each - lol).
Old 1 day ago
  #38
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acreil's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HUBA View Post
It seems to me a lot of people round here is caught up in thinking of this as a competition of getting the most out of as little as possible, but while there's surely something to be said about minimalism forcing creativity, or stumbling over interesting workaround happy accidents, music is about vision and imagination, and limitations in tools is like being stuck with a typewriter with only half the alphabet working. You might be able to express yourself to a certain extent, but that big novel may not materialize because of this limitation, which can be frustrating for those with words in their heads consisting of more of the missing letters than what is the case for others, hence the argument.
Right, contriving some rules as a creative exercise is fine (although I'd argue it doesn't have to take the form of "limitations" - it should work just as well to aim for something really extravagant and ambitious), but only so long as you have some alternative. I can make a complete track with pretty much any piece of garbage. It's fun, for example, to make something using nothing by a Casio PT-30 and a modified Yamaha REX50. But I definitely wouldn't consider using something like that for an entire album. It's strictly a one-off thing. That way I can focus on getting the best out of that particular setup without worrying about repeating myself. And if it's not working out, I have no qualms about abandoning the original idea and using something else.

It's important that these rules shouldn't be your only option. Being dogmatic about it isn't helpful. The end result is ultimately the important part, not the process.

Last edited by acreil; 1 day ago at 12:04 AM..
Old 1 day ago
  #39
Here for the gear
 
NawSon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarfishMusic View Post
What I picked up from Rob Ocelot 's post was interesting to me. He has that thing at least in part because it's easy to work. That makes me think it's quite possible alot of people's affinity for limitation might actually be just the simplicity of USING gear with limitations. Isn't then at least an answer just better operational design? Maybe my mind just doesn't want to wrap around people actually want less choices. I just can't help but feel that people almost always would want more choices if those choices were organized better and had no operational penalty for existing.
There is always a limit. 100 low penalty choices in 10 pieces of gear is just as much of a hangup as 100 in one piece.

For me I like simplicity all around. I like simple and easy to use individual pieces of equipment. I like the setup of connecting them to each other to be simple. I strive for zero post production now. I want no ability to tinker with **** on a minute level. I don’t want recall. I don’t want to come back to the track later and do a remix.

I understand I am in the vast minority here.
Old 1 day ago
  #40
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enossified's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarfishMusic View Post
One thing I can see a little bit is on limited devices like the Emu Sp1200: It might kind of force you to make music the way pioneers of early hip hop for example worked helping you to nail the genre if you are really trying for authenticity.
This "limitation" thinking just goes along with the usual cognitive dissonance here at GS. People talk about wanting to be unique and different and then turn around and want to use the same gear as <insert heroes and genres here> to get an "authentic" sound.
Old 21 hours ago
  #41
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NawSon View Post
There is always a limit. 100 low penalty choices in 10 pieces of gear is just as much of a hangup as 100 in one piece.

For me I like simplicity all around. I like simple and easy to use individual pieces of equipment. I like the setup of connecting them to each other to be simple. I strive for zero post production now. I want no ability to tinker with **** on a minute level. I don’t want recall. I don’t want to come back to the track later and do a remix.

I understand I am in the vast minority here.
this sort of reminds me of the ... mistake i made when trying to
decide over juno 106 and jupiter6 when they were only a couple
of hundred quid apart. i went for the MIDI and sysex friendly 106,
which i sold a few years later. pretty sure i'd still have a jp6 if i'd
got one. (but maybe a different subject) at the time it was an
obsession with getting stuff 'remoted', so i could run it all from
the computer, and do amazing whatever i wanted.
Old 21 hours ago
  #42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
Limitations can be useful. I remember reading an article by Eric Persing (the famous sound designer). He said he will limit himself to one or two synths at a time when making sounds and loops. It forces himself to be a good programmer.
This is very similar to the way I work. I never turn on more than three pieces of hardware at a time. Usually I just work with one or two and print that to audio tracks then move on with my life. I’ve got a few tracks on the SoundCloud which are made only with a single synth, and I find that exercise quite fun while also liberating, even though it’s restrictive.

I’ve been neglecting much of my hardware ever since I got an iPad earlier this year. It does what I want very well, for the most part. I’ve been threatening to sell probably half of what I’ve got because of what someone mentioned earlier. It has less to do with the interfaces or ease of programming but more to with the ‘pain in the ass’ that is integrating it all.

Hate to say it, but I think I’m getting too old for all this hardware **** and the piles of spaghetti it requires. My least favorite part of this whole love/hobby/passion is dusting around every nook and cranny of this nightmare.

I’m probably going to get some good time with my gear during the holidays and really think about what to purge. Then I’ll put some of it up for sale when the tax returns start coming in.
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