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Why isn't there an EMS VCS3 or EMS Synthi AKS reissue/clone?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wagoo View Post
Why though.. people said the same thing about the Minimoog. That it had some inherent magic in the circuit, the thickness of the traces, the way the specific components would interact with each other that would be impossible to replicate with modern components.
And does the Behringer unit sound anywhere close to a genuine Model D?

-No
Old 4 weeks ago
  #92
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Moonwhistle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by midmost View Post
And does the Behringer unit sound anywhere close to a genuine Model D?

-No
Sounds like a Model D to me, you just can't play it like one.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the donal View Post
Here's a thought. Could a pin matrix be built in a way that it could be easier to install- for example if it had pin connectors that slid into sockets onto the edge of the connecting circuitboard ( in the same way some computer components are fitted together). This might take away from some of the complexity of the build if the a degree of pcb was installed to carry the signal to and from different parts of the synth and might have only a minimal affect on the sound if the components and designs for the rest of the circuit board are retained...

This would still be quite an investment in a pinboard that would have a potentially limited application (and keep costs high), but it would facilitate more efficient production...

If the pin matrix is so very expensive then why not make a matrix with little buttons that you can push to make it more modern and cheaper?
Also implement midi routing and usb and other more modern techniques into it and keep the rest of the synthi original.
That would make it a synthi prepared for the 21 century and still original enough to make all the weird out of space sounds we all like.
If Behringer would bring that to the market for something like a 1000 euro and the character would be the same as the old one I would buy it immediatly.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willem1958 View Post
If the pin matrix is so very expensive then why not make a matrix with little buttons that you can push to make it more modern and cheaper?
Also implement midi routing and usb and other more modern techniques into it and keep the rest of the synthi original.
That would make it a synthi prepared for the 21 century and still original enough to make all the weird out of space sounds we all like.
If Behringer would bring that to the market for something like a 1000 euro and the character would be the same as the old one I would buy it immediatly.
I don't think it's the matrix that really does it- it's the sheer job of wiring those things to the board that is probably very complex and time consuming. It would require an awful lot of experience to get it consistently right.

My idea would be to have these as just pin connectors that push into sockets and the circuit boards are designed around this so that this job in itself is pretty much eliminated.

I believe it's still not a cheap unit as they are a very niche thing (how many pin matrices do you see in electronics now?).

A push button version would probably add complexity and cost to that part.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #95
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Arturia already solved the matrix problem on the MatrixBrute, and Microfreak.

It works well, but you still can't get the explicit "circuit overload" qualities you'd get with a real VCS 3.

That is what I think would be very difficult to implement.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realtrance View Post
Arturia already solved the matrix problem on the MatrixBrute, and Microfreak.

It works well, but you still can't get the explicit "circuit overload" qualities you'd get with a real VCS 3.

That is what I think would be very difficult to implement.
We’ve seen a lot of modulation matrices that solve the issues of the pin matrix, but then we start moving towards the form vs. function debate. Is a Synthi still a Synthi if one of the salient characteristics is drastically changed?

Give me the basic sound characteristics still intact as much as is possible, but if there are modern replacements for awkward or problematic old tech, jettison that crap and bring me to the future. I know I’m in the minority on that front, at least here on GearSlutz. I’m sure if you 100% nailed the sound of the Synthi and added a Pro 2 style mod matrix instead of the pin matrix, the villagers would chase it out with pitch forks and torches, as usual.

Anyway, like so many things, if you want the OG, you should get the OG. Can’t afford it? Stew in your yearning and use that to write some really cool shoegazer tunes. What I do is buy things like XILS4 and pretend there’s no difference and cry myself to sleep each night.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #97
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Oh, and just remember, most original owners of an EMS Synthi would jump at the chance to trade it in for a really cool eurorack setup sent from the future.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonwhistle View Post
Sounds like a Model D to me, you just can't play it like one.
It sounds quite like a Minimoog if the oscillator levels on the Boog mixer are kept below 12 0'clock.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
Oh, and just remember, most original owners of an EMS Synthi would jump at the chance to trade it in for a really cool eurorack setup sent from the future.
I'm not so sure they'd want to swap a synthesizer with large, precise controls and a neat pin matrix for something with little controls that would get hidden under a rat's nest of cables to approximate some Synthi sounds. Musicians in the 1970s would have given everything they had for a Kronos or Montage, and would have been floored by a laptop with a DAW and soft synths on it, but a fiddly little version of existing patch cable analogue modular synthesizers wouldn't have elicited a second glance from them.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #100
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The VCS3 and Synthi are weird. As in bad. Terrible pitch vernier controls, bleedthru artifacts, lack of mixing and leveling CVs. Not something you'd play Switched On Bach with. I believe the market for them is small although I am one of them. I also think that any attempts to make it friendlier will ruin it. I will be surpised and absolutely delighted if Berhinger pull this off.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weedlekin View Post
I'm not so sure they'd want to swap a synthesizer with large, precise controls and a neat pin matrix for something with little controls that would get hidden under a rat's nest of cables to approximate some Synthi sounds. Musicians in the 1970s would have given everything they had for a Kronos or Montage, and would have been floored by a laptop with a DAW and soft synths on it, but a fiddly little version of existing patch cable analogue modular synthesizers wouldn't have elicited a second glance from them.
Also true.

I went through the period where we wondered what PCs would ever be good for, other than storing small databases of cooking recipes (at least at home).

Well, glad I lived past that! DAWs and soft synths are marvelous, as in, you wouldn't believe your fortune marvelous, from the perspective of the time when they didn't exist.

Ditto every current hard synth out there.

Not even disappointed I never got to flying cars (commercial airlines are amazing enough).
Old 4 weeks ago
  #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realtrance View Post
Not even disappointed I never got to flying cars (commercial airlines are amazing enough).
I really hope I get to experience a flying car... with this playing:

Old 4 weeks ago
  #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HaveItAll View Post
The VCS3 and Synthi are weird. As in bad. Terrible pitch vernier controls, bleedthru artifacts, lack of mixing and leveling CVs. Not something you'd play Switched On Bach with. I believe the market for them is small although I am one of them. I also think that any attempts to make it friendlier will ruin it. I will be surpised and absolutely delighted if Berhinger pull this off.
The badness is due to the fact that that they were cheap. A VCS3 in the UK cost £350 when American synthesisers like the Minimoog and ARP Odyssey were over £1000, so they didn’t use the best components that were available at the time to make them.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
Oh, and just remember, most original owners of an EMS Synthi would jump at the chance to trade it in for a really cool eurorack setup sent from the future.
Nope. I sold off £7K worth of Eurorack to fund a Synthi. Eurorack is not particularly futuristic, as most modules are legacy designs. Yes, the MI modules and things like the Rainmaker take advantage of contemporary digital designs, but nests of cables, small knobs, restricted ergonomics and nasty minijack sockets are hardly forward thinking. It's the workflow and un-predictability of the EMS pin matrix that makes the synths such great instruments to play. More than the sum of all the army surplus parts. There's actually a lot more to the sound than 'On the Run' or Oxygene style noise sweeps, believe it or not.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbleraptor View Post
Nope. I sold off £7K worth of Eurorack to fund a Synthi. Eurorack is not particularly futuristic, as most modules are legacy designs. Yes, the MI modules and things like the Rainmaker take advantage of contemporary digital designs, but nests of cables, small knobs, restricted ergonomics and nasty minijack sockets are hardly forward thinking. It's the workflow and un-predictability of the EMS pin matrix that makes the synths such great instruments to play. More than the sum of all the army surplus parts. There's actually a lot more to the sound than 'On the Run' or Oxygene style noise sweeps, believe it or not.
I think you miss my point. I mean that bands like Pink Floyd were often moving towards whatever could give them fertile ground for experimentation. It’s undeniable that Eurorack isn’t superior for that. Who knows, though. They’d have probably moved back to the Synthi at some point, and continued to the lame state they’re in.

I’m with you, though. I’m allergic to cable spaghetti. I’d way rather have a Synthi... but I’d also much rather it has a Matrixbrute or Pro 2 style mod matrix. All my Eurorack is virtual these days, though I do use my Pro 2 to mess with my Dominion 1 and Torcido. My Synthi is virtual too. I’d love to hear your take on it vs the OG.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midmost View Post
And does the Behringer unit sound anywhere close to a genuine Model D?

-No
...But it does...

See here (I'm sure the link has likely already been posted elsewhere on the forum) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYxc8R_Qys0




RE the Synthi/VCS3 being weird/bad: yes, a completely understandable view.

But it does sound like a Synthi/has a unique voice, and the softsynth versions haven't yet managed a fully accurate replication (including Arturia's recent attempt. Accurate in places - but inaccurate in others i.e eq spectrum/filter ratio).



The worst marketing blunder by EMS is by EMS' very own Zinovieff. At c. 23:20 in the following video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KkW8Ul7Q1I), he refers to EMS' synth output as, and I quote, 'rather pathetic little synthesizers'.

(Justifying spending thousands on a synth when one of the company founders describes it as 'pathetic' is possibly going to be difficult. If Frederic Brun described the Matrixbrute as 'a hybrid piece of junk', I'd question my purchasing of the synth.)


This is followed later in the film by Zinovieff's commenting on the use of computers to pursue new sound worlds. Which I'd agree with fully (breakthroughs are generally in this domain i.e CCRMA, IRCAM etc).



However, there are generally two camps i.e those wanting to create/explore new sound worlds, and those wanting to replicate the sounds of the music they have an affinity for. It isn't a black/white dividing line, but the synth world can generally be divided into those categories.

'There is nothing new here' could easily and justifiably be met with 'it isn't meant to be new'. And vice-versa, of course.



The most innovative musical instrument of the past 30-40 years is without doubt the PC (or rather, digital technology). Chowning's 'Stria' still sounds like it could have been written yesterday (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=988jPjs1gao), as do most pieces by Murail (e.g 'Desintegrations' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4basuUUatf8)



Modular, whilst interesting, isn't exactly pushing boundaries of innovation. Granted, there are some interesting modules out there. But most interesting modules are the equivalent of certain words from the dictionary repackaged as a bite-size selection of words.


They aren't expanding the vocabulary.


(Which doesn't mean I don't own a modular. Or don't write music on one.)


But I don't believe the companies are claiming to be the forefront of innovation (are they? Maybe they are. If so, this is perhaps loose use of language), therefore no harm done.


Most analog synths also aren't expanding the vocabulary (but the innovation may be at a more granular level i.e refinement RE precision of filter etc). Hence the marketing focus.




I think the majority of 'clashes' online RE synths are clashes of assumption of function i.e innovation vs. replication/refinement of function.


Softsynth replications (and hardware replication, of course) are objectively quantifiable in terms of accuracy to original (comparative spectral analysis etc), but anything else is, objectively, probably a pointless discussion, as the discussions are more a matter of taste than anything quantifiable.


The best-sounding Synthi is a Synthi.
But it can't do what a DX does.
Neither can a DX do what a Synthi does.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
I think you miss my point. I mean that bands like Pink Floyd were often moving towards whatever could give them fertile ground for experimentation. It’s undeniable that Eurorack isn’t superior for that. Who knows, though. They’d have probably moved back to the Synthi at some point, and continued to the lame state they’re in.

I’m with you, though. I’m allergic to cable spaghetti. I’d way rather have a Synthi... but I’d also much rather it has a Matrixbrute or Pro 2 style mod matrix. All my Eurorack is virtual these days, though I do use my Pro 2 to mess with my Dominion 1 and Torcido. My Synthi is virtual too. I’d love to hear your take on it vs the OG.
Ah right, I understand. To be honest I'm not sure whether any of the 70's artists who ditched their EMS gear got any more interesting or innovative with poly's and patch saving.
I had a demo of the Xils Lab a few years ago, but those in the know seem to rate the iPad iVCS3 as more accurate - which actually should be more inaccurate if you know what I mean Don't have an iPad though.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbleraptor View Post
Ah right, I understand. To be honest I'm not sure whether any of the 70's artists who ditched their EMS gear got any more interesting or innovative with poly's and patch saving.
I had a demo of the Xils Lab a few years ago, but those in the know seem to rate the iPad iVCS3 as more accurate - which actually should be more inaccurate if you know what I mean Don't have an iPad though.
Most of them sucked in the 80's with poly synths.

iVCS3 is not that accurate but does behave like a synthi.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KrisL1982 View Post
...But it does...

The worst marketing blunder by EMS is by EMS' very own Zinovieff. At c. 23:20 in the following video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KkW8Ul7Q1I), he refers to EMS' synth output as, and I quote, 'rather pathetic little synthesizers'.

.
I thought that comment was just embittered and dismissive of the innovative work that Cary and Cockerell had put into the VCS3 at the time. I have a dual view on Zinovieff - on one hand I really admire his pioneering search for digital control and sound creation, but on the other hand I see him as a rich dilettante who got others to do all the actual design and engineering work.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbleraptor View Post
I thought that comment was just embittered and dismissive of the innovative work that Cary and Cockerell had put into the VCS3 at the time. I have a dual view on Zinovieff - on one hand I really admire his pioneering search for digital control and sound creation, but on the other hand I see him as a rich dilettante who got others to do all the actual design and engineering work.
Yes, I agree. It certainly comes across as a little bitter/resentful. Certainly short-sighted. And potentially damaging to EMS. 'Never speak ill of one's own children'...


From the perspective of innovation, his view is valid. But if the only products released were ones where the wheel was reinvented, we'd be waiting a long time for new products!
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