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VA for Electronic Gearslutz
Old 1 week ago
  #31
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robinkle's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
Define 'simulating'.
I can't. Find a better word for me.
Old 1 week ago
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robinkle View Post
I can't. Find a better word for me.
Well, i'm not sure this is a good word for defining a VA.
To me VA is actually more about control and feature set than it is about simulating analog components and whatnot. For about the first 20 years since the Nord Lead VA synths only partially managed to recreate the actual behavior of analogs. I almost pissed my pants just now reading the Nord Lead article in the SOS from back in the day. They compared it to a freaking Minimoog and basically said that it is just as good.
My personal opinion is that its mostly a marketing/product category thing. Anything that vaguely resembles an analog synth can be called VA, even if the oscillators are based on samples or the filter doesn't sound anything like an analog filter.
Old 1 week ago
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xanderbeanz View Post
My Mono/Poly smells like charged particles and sawdust.
That's the 1" chip board that Korg used for the bases of their synths.
Old 1 week ago
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
Define 'simulating'.
Quote:
Originally Posted by robinkle View Post
I can't. Find a better word for me.
How about 'Functionally Equivalent'?
Old 1 week ago
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TOYZ View Post
How about 'Functionally Equivalent'?
Yeah,. sounds like a reasonable description actually.
Old 1 week ago
  #36
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robinkle's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
Well, i'm not sure this is a good word for defining a VA.
To me VA is actually more about control and feature set than it is about simulating analog components and whatnot. For about the first 20 years since the Nord Lead VA synths only partially managed to recreate the actual behavior of analogs. I almost pissed my pants just now reading the Nord Lead article in the SOS from back in the day. They compared it to a freaking Minimoog and basically said that it is just as good.
My personal opinion is that its mostly a marketing/product category thing. Anything that vaguely resembles an analog synth can be called VA, even if the oscillators are based on samples or the filter doesn't sound anything like an analog filter.
I’ll try from a different angle. When looking for a synth that sounds analog, there are two choices. Analog or Virtual analog. The difference being that Analog always sounds analog because it has to. A virtual Analog sounds analog because it’s designed to.
Old 1 week ago
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robinkle View Post
I’ll try from a different angle. When looking for a synth that sounds analog, there are two choices. Analog or Virtual analog.
I have heard samplers that sound like analog. Some are much better sounding than older nord leads or virusses. They can even include a separate filter that can be modulated. And you can do PWM with things like transwave from ensoniq. Does that mean that some samplers are actually VA synths?

Moreover, a lot of VA synths don't sound very analog to me. It's only in the past 5~10 or so years that they started to convince me. So does that mean that older VA's are actually not VA because they don't really sound analog to me?

Old 1 week ago
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
I have heard samplers that sound like analog. Some are much better sounding than older nord leads or virusses. They can even include a separate filter that can be modulated. And you can do PWM with things like transwave from ensoniq. Does that mean that some samplers are actually VA synths?

Moreover, a lot of VA synths don't sound very analog to me. It's only in the past 5~10 or so years that they started to convince me. So does that mean that older VA's are actually not VA because they don't really sound analog to me?

So the DSS1 for example, can fake PWM in two different ways, and then run it through an Analogue filter.

The same with the SY77, though that’s entirely digital. The SY77 PWM sounds, through either AWM or FM engine, sound very unique.
Old 1 week ago
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
I have heard samplers that sound like analog. Some are much better sounding than older nord leads or virusses. They can even include a separate filter that can be modulated. And you can do PWM with things like transwave from ensoniq. Does that mean that some samplers are actually VA synths?

Moreover, a lot of VA synths don't sound very analog to me. It's only in the past 5~10 or so years that they started to convince me. So does that mean that older VA's are actually not VA because they don't really sound analog to me?

Hmm. Term defining moments...

I don't think that Virtual Analog synthesis is a certain approach to mimic analog sound, it could be in any way or form.

It's about it being in some way or another, designed to sound analog. It doesn't matter if the result is good or bad, it's about the attempted goal.

A static sampled saw isn't VA. A saw wave that mimics the natural drifting and imperfections of analog, is.

Old 1 week ago
  #40
A small point of clarification w.r.t. Kurzweil terminology -- V.A.S.T. or Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology, existed as a thing long before "Virtual Analog" became a term (the K2000, which AFAIK is the first Kurzweil instrument to use VAST, was released in 1991). It describes how the Kurzweil approach to arranging DSP and other bits is "modular" in nature. Kurzweil did create prototypes of the "VA-1" synth, which was a "virtual analog". Some of the DSP from that effort ended up on the PC3 and Forte lines in the form of DSP "blocks" that can be used if you desire less aliasing. However, VAST itself is not specifically related to "virtual analog" stuff, although that is a subset of what it can do.

To my ears, the main thing that gets tricky when using samples is portamento across a wide frequency range, say from C3 to C6 or higher. This usually involves having to switch sample roots mid-sweep, and can cause audible artifacts which may not be desired _if_ you're trying to sound "analog". I presume that people much smarter and more focused on the problem than myself have ways around this, but of all the reasons to go with a DSP-generated waveform over using a sample/wave table/etc, this is the reason of main importance to me to prefer one over the other barring a good way to smoothly transition across sample roots and/or read a wave table[s].
Old 1 week ago
  #41
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As this thread proves, there's never been a real definition for virtual analog and we are no closer to it now.
Old 1 week ago
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gear_up View Post
As this thread proves, there's never been a real definition for virtual analog and we are no closer to it now.
Thank you, yes, that was my point
Old 1 week ago
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xanderbeanz View Post
So the DSS1 for example, can fake PWM in two different ways, and then run it through an Analogue filter.

The same with the SY77, though that’s entirely digital. The SY77 PWM sounds, through either AWM or FM engine, sound very unique.
Yeah, that's my point. A lot of samplers and romplers have a very similar architecture to analog synths. There is the oscillator part, there is the (resonant) filter, there are envelopes and LFO's. Put some controls on them and they would be indistinguishable from VA's, only with more options.
Old 1 week ago
  #44
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A definition is defined by it's given frame. Are all digital subtractive synths VA's? No. Are all digital synths where the goal of the design is to mimic Analog imperfection, VA's? Yes! We can settle this here and now people!
Old 1 week ago
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robinkle View Post
Hmm. Term defining moments...

I don't think that Virtual Analog synthesis is a certain approach to mimic analog sound, it could be in any way or form.
Is it really about the sound tho?
As i said, i've heared romplers and samplers sound more analog than a lot of (early) VA's.

Quote:
It's about it being in some way or another, designed to sound analog. It doesn't matter if the result is good or bad, it's about the attempted goal.

A static sampled saw isn't VA. A saw wave that mimics the natural drifting and imperfections of analog, is.

By far the most VA's have rock solid digital oscillators with no imperfections and no drift whatsoever.

If the goal was to sound analog a high quality static sample would be just as good or better compared to the generated waveforms of yesteryear.
You can see this implemented in some recent Korg and Modal synths. They don't even call them 'virtual', they just make them part of their analog architecture. So at the moment some the most 'analog' digital oscillators are actually based on sampled waveforms, including stuff like drifting etc.

I do agree that it is about the intended goal or something like that.
VA's are overall a product category with certain (mostly external) features. I don't think it makes sense to define VA's by their internal workings per se.
Old 1 week ago
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robinkle View Post
Are all digital synths where the goal of the design is to mimic Analog imperfection, VA's? Yes!
My JV-2080 rompler has an analog drift parameter...
Old 1 week ago
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robinkle View Post
Are all digital synths where the goal of the design is to mimic Analog imperfection, VA's? Yes
Another one: Clavia, the coiners of the term VA, never bothered to build in any 'analog imperfections' into their synth. No drift or anything like that. Pretty much straight up cold digital perfection.
Old 1 week ago
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
Another one: Clavia, the coiners of the term VA, never bothered to build in any 'analog imperfections' into their synth. No drift or anything like that. Pretty much straight up cold digital perfection.
I'm not sure that is true. My 2x certainly had drift on the second oscillator atleast. And the attempted goal of the synth was to be an alternative to analog synths. So I would say yes to it being a VA.

I know about the JV-1080 analog behaviour. But I don't think the goal of the instrument was to mimic analog synths, it's more of a secondary feature. I would disqualify the JV-1080 from being a VA.

I'll try again. You can't get right the first time anyways:

Definition of a VA synthesis:

1. The attempted goal of the design is for it to be the digital alternative to analog synthesis.
2. The functions of VA synthesis are equal to analog synthesis, but operates in the digital domain.
Old 1 week ago
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robinkle View Post
Definition of a VA synthesis:

1. The attempted goal of the design is for it to be the digital alternative to analog synthesis.
2. The functions of VA synthesis are equal to analog synthesis, but operates in the digital domain.
I'd agree with point 1.
Point 2 is taking it too far i think. The functions are not 'equal', but they are designed to at least resemble some common analog functions.

Not sure about your 2X. Maybe they just detune the oscs by default. But that is not drift.
Old 1 week ago
  #50
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robinkle's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
I'd agree with point 1.
Point 2 is taking it too far i think. The functions are not 'equal', but they are designed to at least resemble some common analog functions.

Not sure about your 2X. Maybe they just detune the oscs by default. But that is not drift.
Why is it too far? Just so that I know what you mean.
Old 1 week ago
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robinkle View Post
Why is it too far? Just so that I know what you mean.
Mostly because of the word 'equal'. Compared side by side they are often not equal to analog counterparts and a lot of the actual analog behaviors are not emulated well. They are maybe meant to be equal but usually are far from it.
Usually the term 'equal' applies on an abstract level to the block diagram of the architecture. But in that sense they are 'equal' because they implement typical subtractive synthesis blocks and not because they manage to emulate analog synths so well.
Old 1 week ago
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
Mostly because of the word 'equal'. Compared side by side they are often not equal to analog counterparts and a lot of the actual analog behaviors are not emulated well. They are maybe meant to be equal but usually are far from it.
Usually the term 'equal' applies on an abstract level to the block diagram of the architecture. But in that sense they are 'equal' because they implement typical subtractive synthesis blocks and not because they manage to emulate analog synths so well.
Oh now I get it, yeah I can agree with that. My english isn't great, just so you know.

Definition of a VA synthesis:

1. The attempted goal of the design is for it to be the digital alternative to analog synthesis.
2. The functions are designed to resemble those of analog synthesis, but operates in the digital domain.

How about that?
Old 1 week ago
  #53
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These are very good, probably the best I've ever seen.

On this thread, I've noticed that folks have interpreted "VA" as a form of digital synthesis.

Performance controls are often considered to be another defining characteristic.

For example, dedicated knobs and sliders and other control surfaces are much more common on digital synths that are designed to be an alternative to analog synths.
Old 1 week ago
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syntonica View Post
With the release of the new Rolands, I've noticed there's a lot of misunderstanding about what VA is, how it works, terminology, etc. So, I hope to explain it well enough that we can all at least argue with a common understanding of the terminology.
okay?
Old 1 week ago
  #55
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Originally Posted by Mister F View Post
okay?
If wishes were horses....
Old 1 week ago
  #56
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robinkle's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gear_up View Post
These are very good, probably the best I've ever seen.

On this thread, I've noticed that folks have interpreted "VA" as a form of digital synthesis.

Performance controls are often considered to be another defining characteristic.

For example, dedicated knobs and sliders and other control surfaces are much more common on digital synths that are designed to be an alternative to analog synths.
A VA can also be software. And there are Analog synths like Modal 008 rack that doesn't have knobby interface. But the controls are still very defining I agree. But the likes CS1x and JD-800 might be the exceptions.

And when writing this, I came to think about the likes of CS1x and JD-800, that the definition might seem blurry. The synth engines of these are subtractive synthesis, but not VA, because the goal wasn't to make these the alternative to analog synthesis in a digital domain. But to provide control similar to analog synths to a sample based subtractive synthesizer.
Old 1 week ago
  #57
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monomer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robinkle View Post
Oh now I get it, yeah I can agree with that. My english isn't great, just so you know.

Definition of a VA synthesis:

1. The attempted goal of the design is for it to be the digital alternative to analog synthesis.
2. The functions are designed to resemble those of analog synthesis, but operates in the digital domain.

How about that?
Yeah, i think this is pretty close to a good definition.
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